July 17-21, 2005
Another health warning from Marlboro:
This is Thailand's Marlboro Man: Krong Thip (*)!
Clever marketing. Rather than wrap their smokes with scenes of a surgically exposed set of cancerous lungs, rows of stained and decayed teeth or a face prematurely aged by tobacco ... yes, the people on Bangkok's Madison Avenue have opted for an Asian movie star look-a-like nonchalantly blowing smoke past the skulls of death. No wonder this is the cigarette preferred by Bangkok's macho motorcycle drivers.
(*) Produced by Thailand's Tobacco Monopoly. Sure, foreign brands can be imported ... but they carry a steep duty. And, they still have to carry the government 'health warning photo'.
"Alf, you are so boring! Or, are you just lazy? Take your camera outside!"
Last night we took Pom and Golf out to dinner; to 'Spring', a new restaurant on Soi Promsri ... just off Sukhumvit Road. It is about a 45 minute drive (during rush hour) from our River Garden. I was the backseat driver. Watcharee turned the steering wheel. Pom rode shotgun. Golf sat in the owner's seat. (*)
This restaurant attracts a lot of "Hi So" (**) Thais.
The food and presentation: both are excellent. The place has not yet been discovered by many farangs.
(*) The seat immediately behind the front passenger on an S class Mercedes controls the legroom of the seat in front. Its occupant has the option of shoving the front rider nose-close to the windshield if he or she chooses. Yes, the footman is at the mercy of the King.
(**) Thais use this phonetic to describe anyone who is 'high society'. It is not a pejorative; rather, something to be envied here. There is even a tongue-in-cheek booklet on how to act Hi So ... some examples: speak Tinglish with an American accent,1 tell your friends that you never buy garlands from street vendors as you have heard that these peddlers are fabulously wealthy and are just faking poverty, eat Soi food while wearing designer stuff, etc.
1 When lapsing into English ask your listener "How do you say this in Thai?"
From the car wash shop there is a good view of what was once the prospective home of a Sofitel Hotel. In December it will open as The Bangkok Hilton. It looks like the contractors are on schedule. Seasoned readers will remember what it looked like at various times ... including when it was the headquarters of the PCC.
It's that time again. In less than 12 hours we'll be on a BA flight to London; and from there to Miami. We should be in Fort Lauderdale late Thursday afternoon.
Bye for now.
The bow of BA's 747 #10 (non-stop service from Bangkok to London) is made up of a dozen or so cocoons. And, unless you twist your neck to check out your fellow 'co-cocooners' the only person you'll ever see on this 11 hour flight is your personal server ... provided you don't have to make a trip to the toilet.
Even the pre-flight safety announcement comes to you via the LCD screen. And, if you are deaf you will be 'signed' down the escape slide.
OK ... we have just left BKK ... we are now passing over Rangoon. At least so says the map.
This screen even shows our RPMs...so to speak.