Bangkok Enters 2004, Part III

Between Part II and Part IV

January 16-23, 2004

Friday, January 16, 2004

The changing face of Silom Road ... the Walmart model? And, something more ominous?

It's a natural ... why didn't someone think of this before: a combination Internet Cafe and Tattoo Parlor. You have a totally inert client who will remain that way as long as he is in the shop.

But is this downsized 7 Eleven a sign of things to come?

PS: Yesterday was P' Pom's birthday. She is 39: she's the one with the cake. The other girls in the picture (left to right) are Tai (28), Watcharee (29) and Golf (25). I stayed out of it.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Reader L. Palmquist from Iquitos, Peru writes:

"Don't you go to Patpong anymore? Your site is becoming soooooo ... bland and boring!"

Patpong is located near the Sala Daeng Sky Train station. Almost without exception I stay on the train (with one transfer) until the Phloen Chit stop. However,the Nana exit is just a few hundred meters down the tracks from Phloen Chit. Nana, of course, is the home of the notorious Nana Entertainment complex. This Nana panorama is for the benefit of Linda Palmquist.

Are there any requests from anyone for shots of Cowboy or Soi 33?

PS: Reader Ian Sackville-West from Tunbridge Wells (England) writes:

"As a lifelong train-spotter I am interested in your impression of the Sala Daeng Sky Train station. Being English I have no interest in anything that goes on in Patpong or Nana or any other vile spot."

This, for reader Sackville-West:

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Last night we had dinner at The Spice Market, the Thai restaurant in The Four Seasons Hotel. Originally the hotel had been built in 1984 by The Peninsula group from Hong Kong ... the lobby is almost a duplicate of that found in the Kowloon 'mother' property. It remained a 'Peninsula' for just a year before becoming The Regent (under a new owner). And, within the last few months it had a name change ... but, it kept the same owner. Now it is The Four Seasons ... as are most other Regent hotels.

PS: This cartoon is from the January 12, 2004, issue of The New Yorker. I've started to pick up this magazine of late ... now that I regularly pass by a news agent that carries a good stock of 'farang' rags.

This particular issue had an excellent article about Dean; while the January 5th one did the same for Saudi Arabia. During the last four-plus years I have pretty much limited myself to the IHT, the Economist, Time, Newsweek, the Asian Wall Street Journal and the BKK Post. The New Yorker is a refreshing read. Hmmm, I wonder if the January 19th issue will be on the rack today.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Two days from now these ingots of "999.9" pure gold will be destroyed by us. Tune in to see why.

PS: Ting wants to join the PCC. Of course,we will have to call a meeting of the members to vote on this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Once THOCBDC starts dishing out its HOTSI (Hero Of The Soviet Internet) awards for 'way cool' sites ... well, people all over the world will want to go directly to the source. Since most of the world won't be able to divine The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot Com out of THOCBDC, Paul and I decided to capture either OR as the pointer back to our house. After some back-and-forth we decided that the former, though redundant in the tail, was more honest. Paul then went on to reminisce about his New York days and how something from 15 or 20 years ago led him to acquire a totally useless, but fun, domain name.

"" is probably best, because the full term THOCBDC has been used so regularly. Of course, it's a little repetitive to add the ".com" after the "DC" at the end ... but I still think it's probably better. Either (or both) would work, though.

I'm always thinking about picking up more goofy domain names. A few weeks ago I added "". (I don't think it goes anywhere at this point.) The name makes no sense, you had to be there: A bunch of my pals and I were out at our Long Island country house 15-20 years ago. We were fairly liquored up (as usual). We were talking about "Fatal Vision," the great book that had recently come out about Jeff MacDonald, the Army doctor who allegedly slashed up his kids and pregnant wife and then scrawled, in blood, the words "Acid Is Groovy. Kill the Pigs." on the bedroom wall to make it look like drug-crazed, Charles Manson-inspired hippies had done the deed. Well, it just seemed to us like such a funny, silly thing to scrawl in blood, phrases more likely to be hoaxed by an uptight Army doctor than created by actual self-respecting hippies.

Anyway, as I said, we were all liquored up, and some girl had brought her golden retriever with her that weekend, and as we were sitting around the living room, we suddenly decided the dog needed a new hairstyle. (While this particular project was a first, we were frequently prone to engage in, um, unusual activities, especially when we were all liquored up.) So, combining the conversation about the book with what we were actually doing, the book's bloody scrawl ("Acid Is Groovy. Kill the Pigs.") morphed into "Scotch Is Groovy. Mousse the Dog." Similarly wacky, but more appropriate to our immediate circumstances in its identification of the catalytic substance involved and the action it inspired. See, you really had to be there (and probably liquored up), but the phrase just stuck with me for all these years. Of course, as I say, it would make no sense to anyone else. But now I've got the damn domain name.

THOCBDC finds it amusing that already Eastern European copy cats are at work. Apparently the idea of our HOTSI award has found its way into the vast array of 'chestal' ornaments that are now available from the former Soviet Union. Pirates!

Please compare!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 [Unofficial start of Chinese New Year]

The city (*) as seen from just past the entrance to Lumpini Park.

(*) What's wrong with this picture?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Yesterday afternoon Watcharee and I went to P'Pom's house to welcome the coming of Chinese New Year (*). The centerpiece of the celebration was a huge lunch. But just before lunch we burned millions of dollars worth of valuables ... presumably so that these goodies would find their way to heaven (via smoke?) and be waiting for us when we eventually checked in.

P'Pom's brother, Ko ... his wife, Am ... along with Shirt and Chap (Ko and Am's kids) were there. As well as, Golf and her boyfriend, Ball. And P'Pom's sister (brother), Kig ... was around for added color. (see the group photo ... minus me)

Late in the afternoon we visited what looked like a Buddhist theme park (sans rides ... but with ice cream); an open air building chock full of tablets (domino style) that contained all the writings of Buddha; and a huge lake-spotted park that lay underfoot of Asia's tallest Buddha.

(*) According to the calendar it really doesn't start until today (it's something about the moon being the timekeeper that makes some people jump-start the year).

PS: Reader D. Bull from the American tobacco state (Virginia) perceptively pointed out:

"I saw some things being destroyed on today's page but no gold bars????"

No doubt he was referring to my journal entry of the 19th in which I promised the destruction of some gold bars.

This omission was an error ... THOCBDC apologies to its readers and it regrets any inconvenience this might have caused (*).

(*) Gold 'futures' remained unchanged on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange1. London 'spot' gold was up a 'tick'. Bangkok's Precious Metal Market saw gold rise by half a baht.

1 Presumably US traders were still recovering from the long Martin Luther King weekend.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Water Cart Crushed in Bangkok Road Accident
Paint Scraped From Side of Giant Volvo Tourist Bus
Parked Car Dented

A handcart used to transport bottles of drinking water was partially crushed on a busy Bangkok street yesterday. The accident occurred behind the Shangri-La Hotel shortly before rush hour. The driver of a large Volvo bus, while attempting to reverse his vehicle from the hotel parking area, did not see the small human-powered water cart that was minding its own way. When this 30 ton giant of the road nudged the flimsy pushcart there was nowhere for the little thing to go save into the side of a parked vehicle.

Though officials were unable to attach a monetary value to the combined damage, a spokesperson for the operator of the water cart said: "We are just thankful that no water was spilt." Declining to give his name, he referred all questions to the police.

Four hours after the accident the involved vehicles had not yet been moved. By this time a large crowd of onlookers had gathered. However, this sea of people was quite ruly. Drink and food venders made a killing.

The owner of the parked vehicle had not been identified by the time print reporters and television cameras had left the scene.

PS: Also at the Shangri-La Hotel (*):

(*) There was no word from the Shangri-La Hotel as to whether the any occupants of the Volvo bus that crushed the water-cart were attendees of the Bangkok Film Festival.

Next: Part IV

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