Thailand – The Beginning

On April 2016, I made one of the most important decisions of my life. I decided it was time for a new chapter to my humble existence, for I was lonely and bored of my tedious lifestyle in Scotland.

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I travelled with a friend from Stranraer who had been going back and forward to Thailand for a number of years and he took the planning and hard work out of my trip, which to be honest was proposed as a holiday with a view of remaining in the country if I settled. I knew within three days that I was not returning to the UK.

I secured a Retirement Visa and have been living in Pattaya ever since.

I have an abundance of stories and photos to share and will endeavour to bring as many to my blog as possible to maintain the blog.

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This initial post is merely to deliver and update to the blog as I haven’t been posting for sometime. The first image is taken from Pattaya Bay, whilst returning by ferry from the Island of Koh Lan. Anyone who has visited the wonderful city of Pattaya will be familiar with the sign, which is photographed more often than not at night and I will post nighttime images soon.

Next is a photo that depicts the old and the new. Pattaya is a city that is based on both traditional and modern life. For instance you can enjoy amazing street food, cooked over hot ashes, often from a motorbike and sidecar. The flavours can be mindblowing. Then you have the contemporary city with its skyscrapers and modern shopping malls. For me though, the real Pattaya is the older timeworn and antiquated buildings and transport such as the sailing vessel above. Once again this was taken in Pattaya Bay.

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I mentioned food. This image was snapped as a friend was enjoying traditional Thai food. I like the Bokeh and clarity of the fork and squid.

Food in this country is high on the agenda for every Thai. The locals eat more often than westerners in general and their portions are huge, yet there are very few overweight Thais to be found. Their diet consists mainly of spicy seafood and what I call “jungle”. My girlfriend will enjoy five or six large meals per day and yet there is nothing of her.I eat once or twice and I sit here writing this dross, looking like a beached whale in comparison. Her favourite delicacy is Papaya Salad – an immensely hot jungle based offering. You do not want to kiss someone who has just eaten this.

Food is cheap. She can eat for under 100 Baht (£1) while I can enjoy western food for between £3 and £5. Going to a decent restaurant and having a meal for two and a beer or two will normally be under £10 or 500 Baht. The food is delicious in most instances and even if like me, you cannot eat jungle or very spicy food, there is an abundance of western establishments that will cater for your needs.

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Now Pattaya is an amazing city and I enjoy long walks traversing the streets and smaller sois. I often get myself lost but the people are so friendly and welcoming that I never feel threatened or in any danger.

The image above is taken from the 55 floor Pattaya Park Tower, a major tourist attraction in the city. The tower has three revolving restaurants, which I have to confess, I have not tried so cannot pass comment on them but I am told they offer excellent cuisine. It also has a zip slide which can be seen in the image below, featuring my Grandson who came for a holiday.

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It looks a lot scarier than it actually is. The initial departure is daunting but the slide itself is slow, allowing you to take in the excellent panoramic views as you coast down.

The park surround the tower consists of swimming pools, a monorail, a couple of theme park rides, snooker tables, jogging routes, water slides and numerous hotels and shops. Well worth a visit if you are here.

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Next we have a view taken once more from the top of the tower. The two buildings on the bottom right are the location of my first condo when I arrived here. Although the city is vast it is well spread out and not as busy as its near neighbour Bangkok.

I say near neighbour but it is actually around 75 miles away and the location of Suvarnabhumi Airport, where I landed, following a 13 hour flight via Dubai. To give you an idea how affordable this country is, I travelled from Bangkok to Pattaya for £20. Try travelling 75 or 80 miles in the UK and see how much it costs you. My guess would be £100-£150 plus.

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My lovely girlfriend Pranom, whom I met in June 2016, took me to the city and province of Roi Et to meet her family and see Thailand away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy Pattaya. This image was taken knee deep in the mucky waters of the rice fields.

On the same day I watched an elderly lady produce cloth on an archaic loom, a man milk his cows by hand and water buffalo chilling in the cooler waters of the rice fields.

I also took some fantastic photos of a massive Buddha parade, which I will show in another post.

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The Thais love their religion and Royal Family. Of course it was heartbreaking when the news broke of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s passing a few days ago. The revered king was 88 when he died and the country is now in a state of mourning. His majesty was the longest serving head of state at the time of his death. He was so highly thought of here that people openly cried in the streets when they heard of the sad news.

The Buddhist Temples such as the one above in the Province of Roi-Et were jammed full as people prayed for their King.

On a happier note, there are gorgeous temples everywhere in Thailand, which are well worth a visit for the tourist. Some of these buildings are spectacular – a must see.

27332923381_2fad80f292_k Now Thailand has what is known as the wet or rainy season and flooding is a daily event in some parts of the country. We are currently enjoy the said season now. I say “enjoying” because the thunderstorms and atmospheric, electrifying events, usually featuring deafening thunder and sheet lightning shows. So my image above is a rarity in that it contains fork lightning.

I had noticed the flashing show from my balcony and decided to give it a go. Could I capture the electrical display? Well I did but it took me over an hour to do so, always missing by a split second.

The rain of course is another matter. Once the skies open, the streets become rivers in minutes. It could be a few inches or it could be two or three feet in depth. Cars and motorbikes are stranded, although why you would even attempt to ride a motorbike is beyond me.
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I will cover the weather and transport in a following post, not to mention the stories of everyday sightings that will leave you amazed.

The couple above are yours truly and my beautiful lady Nom. We have been together four months now and have at the time of writing never spent any time apart.

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This one is taken at a recent trip to the Floating Market, which again I will cover in more depth in a later post.

I will leave you for now with the knowledge that Thailand is the land of the free. Everyone is accepted here. Whether you are gay, lesbian, ladyboy, transvestite or just plain weird, you will be welcomed.

No one gives a monkeys what you are.

The people are happy, although in the main – poor. Their friendliness has to be seen to be believed. The respect they show their elders used to be found in the UK back in the so called “Olden Days”. The bars are fantastic and again I will cover the Go-Go bars, my favourite haunt Rompho and much more as I play catch up.

Finally one of my favourite photos. This one was taken as a parrot nibbled my phone which was live on Facebook, filming other birds. I held my Nikon D750 in my other hand and snapped away.

I hope you enjoyed this post and will come back and read more of my antics in Thailand – a beautiful country with amazing people.

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