Chinese Food At A Top Bar

A few weeks ago it was announced that the Corner House Bar in Rompho, Pattaya had done a deal with a local Chinese takeaway company called Wok N Rok, with the outcome being, the bar would be hosting a special buffet featuring Wok N Rok food.

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Going forward, the Corner House will also be offering Chinese cuisine from Monday to Saturday, so not only do I have access to some of the best delicacies in town, I can now eat it at one of my favourite bars.

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I decided to pop along to the buffet night and took my Nikon D750 with me to grab a few photos.

The food is cooked in a typically British style of Chinese cuisine, similar to what you find in almost any town or city across the UK. The chef is Thai but she spend many years working in Chinese restaurants in Scotland, so this for me is like a piece of home.

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My favourite is Chicken Curry, I cannot order a Chinese without having a curry, and Wok N Rok offer a fantastic variety of curries including beef, pork, chicken and special curry.

I am also partial to some Sweet ‘n’ Sour or Spare Ribs in either Gravy or Barbecue Sauce or in some instances, I will even have them dry.

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Wok N Rok have an extensive menu so it could take me some time and many visits to see Stuart and Phetch at the Corner House before I have worked my way through what’s on offer.

The buffet was a huge success as people ventured in over a four hour period.

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I hope that the daily service will take off, for Chinese restaurants are few and far between in the city of Pattaya.

I only took a few photos on the night, mainly due to a variety of circumstances but the food as you can see is amazing.

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The Corner House rarely do things by half measures and this was no exception. Everyone appeared to enjoyed their “All You Can Eat” buffet and washed their meal down with a few drinks of their choice.

Sadly I got caught up in other things and did not get the opportunity to sample the self service fare on offer but I will be around soon to order my favourite curry.

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Nom on the other hand, delved in and sampled the delicious food from what was, a substantial buffet.

Can you do it again Stuart?

And we need another Rompho party night ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party Times In Pattaya

It has been a while since I found time to update my blog but despite this, I have been active with the camera, although not as much as I would have liked.

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I still have an ongoing issue with my Nikon D750 but there is little I can do until I find a way to get my D610 delivered to me from Scotland.

Most of my attention has been taken up by parties, a subject that often involves great hilarity and meeting new and wonderful people here in Pattaya.

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Take my first image for instance. I was at a birthday party for a good friend “Phetch” when I spotted a gorgeous little girl enjoying a lolly. I introduced myself to her mother and asked permission to take a few photos.

The result is an image of an angelic little girl.

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My next offering is of the birthday girl herself and her boyfriend Stuart as he presents the birthday cake. This lovely couple own the Corner House in Rompho.

Next we have two images that for me, were the best of the night. Wan attended the party and sat beside myself and Nom. She had a couple of drinks and got up to dance. At the time however, she was on the stage and singing along with the band, providing me with a few classic images.

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Wan is one that you never take your eyes off, for you just do not know what she will do next.

The image of the lady singing (the one WITH the microphone) sings with a another chap that I have never managed to discover their name either as a duo or own identities. They are often seen entertaining around Rompho though.

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They are an excellent duo and produce some great cover versions of rock standards and ballads.

Staying at the Corner House Bar, I have included one of Nom, taken with Wan, before either of them had been dancing.

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I was going to say they were taken before any alcohol was consumed but that may be a lie.

Shortly after Phetch’s party, I was invited to another party for my good friend “Dong” er Martin.

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Martin and his delightful partner Oil, own New Country Road Bar (NCR) in Rompho, a short walk from the Corner House. I had assisted with some arrangements for this event, following the highly successful Jerry Lee Carlson gig at the NCR. Click here for photos and blog article.

Martin, like Stuart, has been very supportive of me during troubled times, and I owe this pair my very existence in Thailand. Yes you know who to blame now ūüôā

Dong as he is affectionately known is pictured above.

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The entertainment for this came in the form of a Scottish lassie living in Pattaya by the name of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Stephanie. Steph does a lot of oldies like her name suggests, with a bit of hip shakin’, gyrating and knee grinding thrown in.

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One of the guests was a guy called John, another top man living here in Pattaya. John loves to dance, especially to the likes of Chuck Berry and despite being in his 70s, the man can boogie all night – almost non-stop.

Where he gets his energy from I have no idea but I wish I had half of it. Stamina beyond belief!

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It is incredibly rare for me to feature in my photos, mainly because I am almost always behind the lens.

But due to camera issues, another splendid chap known as Marcus attended, with a view of offering advice but as a result of his presence, I got some time to be on the receiving end of the camera. Marcus is a top photographer in his own right.

This one is of Nom and I, which would usually only be captured on a phone picture.

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Anyone hosting a party in Pattaya should really look into hiring the Jäger girls. These two lovelies work for free, promoting Jägermeister and other drinks such as Jim Beam.

The deal is simple, they will sell customers one measure from your own stock and they will provide a free drink from their collection. The guest gets two drinks for the price of one, the bar gets the sale they may never have had and everyone gets inebriated. Result!

It is difficult to say no to a Jägerbomb when a two ladies are offering a free one, along with a photo too.

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So what happens when customers get free¬†J√§gerbombs and Jack Beam? See for yourself ūüôā

I don’t know the girl standing behind Nom but she was the life and soul of the party. She had everyone in tears of laughter all night long. A top girl and one that would be welcome at any party of mine. Here she has bent a drunken Nom over and well – I will leave the rest to your imagination ūüôā Jenny can be seen sitting on the bar looking weary.

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Another classic featuring the wonderful Julie, who is a regular with husband Steve at both aforementioned bars. Steve and Julie love to dance and are in fact, featured on many video recordings from this night. Friendly people who liven up every party they attend.

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The image above is one of my favourites. I had just met Karin for the first time and found her to be an outgoing person who loves to sing and enjoy herself. I snapped this photo when she was laughing and chatting with her friend Poi. Completely natural and one that I am proud of.

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Next is Martin’s girlfriend oil, who was still reasonably sober at the time but like the majority of Thai ladies, they love to dance. And boy can she dance! Later in the evening she was found on top of the bar with Jenny dancing to many party hits.

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Above, we have Poi and her magician boyfriend. The latter entertained us with some magic tricks when we required a bit of respite from the antics going on inside the bar.

Rompho throw the best parties ever. I have attending parties galore since arriving here and very few disappoint. Often people get very drunk but you never see anyone causing trouble. No requirement for bouncers here.

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I will finish with a photo taken at Phetch’s party at the Corner House, simply because I wasn’t sure what was going on but again, it depicts fun and beautiful people. Well OK – Stuart adds the fun part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven In Pattaya

What a fantastic couple of weeks I have enjoyed as far as music is concerned. Firstly, I went to see Helmut and Friends at the wonderful Hemmingways in Jomtien, where the band blew me away, with some amazing cover versions of soul, blues and rock tunes.

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Helmut is a guitar maestro and handles everything from Mark Knopfler to Gary Moore. In fact, the whole band are superb and if you haven’t seen them and you are in the Pattaya area, head along to Hemmingways on a Thursday evening from 20:00 and observe an awesome band in action.

The food in the bar is rather tasty too, I hasten to add.

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However, this post is about a certain Jerry Lee Carlson from Sweden and Håkan Nelson, from the same country. The pair played four gigs in Pattaya and I was fortunate to see two of them.

Initially I ventured out to The Triangle in central Pattaya, where a large crowd gathered to enjoy the show and secondly at New Country Road Bar (NCR) in Rompho, which is located in the Rompho Complex in Jomtien area of the city.

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Many people said the event would never work in Rompho but my friend Martin asked me to promote it for him and I did just that. Firstly with posters and flyers then numerous videos supplied by Sweden’s number one rock ‘n’ roll star, Jerry.

Jerry has played all over the world, including tours of Europe with his legends show, featuring tributes to Elvis, Roy Orbison and of course Jerry Lee Lewis.

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He has recorded a number of albums, appeared on TV and radio and is simply, one of the best entertainers you will ever see.

A lot of planning and preparation went into the NCR event, hours of hard work, hiring equipment, tables, covers in case it rained, food and so much more. Was it worth it?

Damned right it was.

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NCR attracted 102 people seated, plus 16 inside the venue and approximately 40 bystanders, who watched from the sidelines, due to either a lack of seating or they were enjoying the event from another bar.

Jerry kicked off the show as always with thundering rock ‘n’ roll classics from his hero Jerry Lee Lewis. He sang the hits of Elvis, Fats Domino, Hank Williams and even did a rendition of a Robbie Williams hit, just to show his versatility.

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Rock, country, blues and boogie woogie tunes all blasted out from the venue. H√•kan Nelson on drums was his usually faultless self ashe followed Jerry’s left hand to keep the tempo going.

People came from other bands to watch the gig. Local media in the form of Pattaya People were present to record video material, which will air shortly. Love Pattaya were represented too and kindly supplied the bar staffs shirts.

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Bar owners came from pubs in Pattaya and Rompho to enjoy a fantastic show.  Many people came to Rompho for the first time and hopefully they will return with other new faces for future events.

Jerry sang “Great Balls Of Fire”, “Whole Lotta Shaking”, “High School Confidential”, Hound Dog”, Bonnie B”, ” Mean Woman Blues”, “Lewis Boogie” and many more classics from the golden era of music.

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If ever there was a man born to entertain, Jerry Carlson is that man. He is a genius on a keyboard/piano and sounds identical to a certain Mr. Lewis, when the legend was in his prime.

He also does a great impression of¬†Andy Kaufman’s fictional character¬†Latka Gravas from the hit US sitcom “Taxi”.

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Jerry also impressed with a version of “Take Me Home Country Roads” with a “NEW” added into the lyrics, just for the bar. He sang ” Blueberry Hill” replacing Blueberry with Phratamnak to give the song a local feel about it. Phratamnak Hill is a popular area in Pattaya with tourists.

Yours truly even acted as compere for the night, introducing Jerry and¬†H√•kan. Not something that was planned, I can assure you but it’s amazing what you can be persuaded to do following a few Smirnoff Midnight’s.

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Jerry did three sets and even came back for an encore or two once he had washed the sweat from his face because it was incredible hot on Saturday evening.

Like many others, I felt disappointed when the show came to its conclusion. The guys had entertained us for a couple of hours but I would have happily listened for another two hours.

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I love rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly, especially when it is produced to this standard. But all good things have to come to an end – till next time that is. Jerry and¬†H√•kan’s return cannot come fast enough and rumours are rife that they may return as a trio. I hope so!!

Next up NCR have Rock ‘n’ Roll Stephanie, who will feature at Martin’s birthday party. Steph, like me, is Scottish and does a fair bit of hip shakin’ during her act.

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If that event proves successful it will pave the way for further live music events at NCR, which can only help to attract visitors to the area, which in turn will benefit the many other bars and restaurants in the complex.

I happen to know a few great singers and bands in the UK, who if they ever fancied a busman’s holiday to Pattaya, could be catered for.

Ziggi – your audience awaits you ūüôā

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Helmut & Friends At Hemmingways

I have visited Hemmingways a few times for food but I have never ventured into the bar/restaurant on a Thursday. This is when they have their live music nights, which features a band known as Helmut and Friends.

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Manager Mark, had previously invited me to come along on a Thursday evening but time had always been an issue for me. However, when assisting with a promotional project for a good friend, who just happened to want to see the group, it was a sealed deal.

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But there was something else to factor into the equation.

Pranom’s mother was visiting from Roi Et and I wanted to take her to a pleasant eating establishment, where I knew the food would be of an exceptional standard and the surroundings would match the quality of the cuisine.

So with these two details taken into consideration, it had to be Hemmingways.

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As always we were greeted by one of their friendly staff as we entered the bar. A smile and a warm welcome are not unusual in Thailand but the employees here are top drawer.

The band had set up but were 30 minutes away from commencing their show. So we took the opportunity to order our food and a drink.

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I have to confess that the staff at Hemmingways are exceptional, as mentioned above.

They look after you from the minute you walk in the door. They all speak very good English, which is a huge bonus, even though I was with two Thai ladies.

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The food as always was tasty and well presented with large portions. The ladies enjoyed a Thai offering from the extensive menu and I went for a burger that was put together following  my instructions.

I was armed with my camera, for I had agreed with the bar that I would take a few images for the venue and the band.

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Having never heard Helmut and Friends play previously, I was keen to perceive what they had to offer. I had listened to mixed reviews but 90% of the people I spoke to, rated them very highly.

They would not disappoint.

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I had a twenty minute chat with Helmut before they commenced playing and discovered that they often performed as a five-piece outfit, fronted by Filipino singer Jovy Del Rosario, who by all accounts is a fantastic vocalist.

Alas, on Thursday, there were playing as a four-piece band and one wondered if it was going to be a second rate show. But they were far from that!

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They began with a number of slow songs, mainly, I would imagine, because people were still enjoying Hemmingways’ cuisine. Songs such as “My Girl” provided light entertainment, whilst the diners enjoyed their food.

The band sprung to life during their second set of the evening with an absolutely brilliant version of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper”, done in their own impeccable style. The vocals on the song from Jayson Camilo were astonishing.

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They continued with well known hits such as “Africa” and “Down Under” and even had the audacity to cover Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summer Time”, which again was flawless.

During many of their songs, the band can be observed sharing jokes and generally having a great time, which often had the audience laughing along with them.

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Helmut is a huge Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits fan and let us see just how good a guitarist he is with a variety of amazing solos.

Anyone who can replicate, Knopfler on “Sultans of Swing” has to be a genius on a guitar and the song suited his vocals to a T, to quote an old idiom.

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This was jaw dropping stuff from Helmut and appreciated by those in the bar.

Then to show us their true versatility, they sang an uptempo version of Dean Martin’s “Volare” and and worked a treat. Vocals being from Jayson once more.

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In their third set they did many rock ‘n’ roll songs from the likes of Chuck Berry before displaying their versatility with Stevie Wonder classics and “Get Down On It” from the disco era. The bass playing on the Kool and the Gang hit from Jeckson Echavez was exceptional.

Drummer Marvin Javier, provided the beat and held the band together as they played hit after hit, from almost every genre of music you can imagine. The keyboard skills from Jayson and lead guitar solos from Helmut, truly are world class.

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Add into the equation, the amount of fun the band have as they play for you, and you really do have a fantastic ensemble for parties, night clubs or any other event you care to name.

Hemmingways have secured Helmut and Friends every Thursday from 20:00 and I would highly recommend, popping along to see them play. The venue is a high class establishment, spacious, air conditioned, free Wi-Fi and offers a huge selection of draught beers, wines and spirits.

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And in between the group’s sets, you can enjoy watching sport on one of their many televisions, strategically placed around the venue. They even have a beer garden, should you care to sit outside.

I would like to give a mention to the staff who work at Hemmingways. Rarely will you meet a nicer group of people, who treat their customers with the utmost respect.

From the minute you enter the premises, to the moment you leave, the crew at Hemmingways ensure you want for nothing.

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If you haven’t been there – it is well worth making the effort, whether it is for live music, excellent food or to view a sporting event on TV, Hemmingways is deserved of a visit.

Helmut and Friends were: Helmut Schachtner on vocals and guitar from Germany, Jayson Camilo, keyboard and vocals, Marvin Javier on Drums, Jeckson Echavez on bass,  all from the Philippines.

Missing was Jovy Del Roasario, whom I will make a point of going to see very soon. When someone tells you that “she will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up”, you have to take notice.

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By the way, the Hemmingways staff are a fun loving bunch too, happy to get involved with the photography.

Thanks to the band and to the management and staff. See you all soon I hope.

 

 

 

 

Songkran 2017 – The End

I wrote earlier that Songkran 2017 had so far been a huge disappointment compared to last year. But the Thai people were just saving the best for last.

Today, I travelled to Rompho Market, a large complex of bars, street food, massage shops, barbers, restaurants and other small businesses.

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I had observed from my condo window, that an assortment of small stalls were set up along the roadside, which are not normally there. Curiosity got the better of me so I had a sneak peak at what was going on.

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Street vendors were selling food, water guns, waterproof pockets and a variety of other items, which may prove useful for the water events and those in attendance.

But what was more surprising was the vast amount of people who had gathered by the side of the road, with one goal in mind – to immerse people in water.

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Now I am a good two miles from the centre of Pattaya and have never witnessed the likes of this previously. As I headed towards Rompho in my taxi, there were literally thousands of people. lining the streets and showering passersby with water.

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The traffic congestion was horrendous but far from boring. I could have spend all day watching the antics of the locals as they went about the business of soaking people or indeed being soaked in return.

A guy had a fire hose and was showering people as the they passed by in open backed pick-ups. Pick-up and trailers were full of people and containers of water. Again, there was only one place that water was going.

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People were dancing in the middle of a four lane road, which had cars using the wrong side just to make some distance, including my impatient taxi driver.

It was party time in Pattaya at last. A time for me to attempt to capture the action.

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However my camera was very much tucked away in my bag and remained there till I got to Rompho. Then I went in search of the hilarity.

It is fair to say that the majority of the people who take part in the shenanigans are either girls or kids. The men of Rompho preferring to remain in one of the fifty bars, although that did not always guarantee safety, as you can see in the second image from the top.

My good friend Jeff was treated to bucket of icy water as he enjoyed a beer.

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People walk around with buckets of what is either flour or talcum powder mixed with water, to form a paste, which they then use to cover a persons face with the substance.

I am not sure what the significance is but most people welcome the temporary facial.

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I had two fears. One was someone pouring a large bucket of water over me and drenching the camera and the other was being hit in the eye with the high powered jet from one of the water guns.

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The camera is allegedly waterproof and has had a number of wet days over the years.

The eyes however; well let’s just say one of these guns could blind someone.

I was hit in the eye on day one and I can tell you, it hurt like blazes. I did not hold back when telling the guy he was an idiot for aiming at my face. He did apologise profusely I have to add.

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Songkran from a photography point of view is a fantastic time. I only wish I had a back up camera so I could risk getting right in amongst the action but having only one with me, I opted for safer ground.

Today was the final day of the celebrations. The people of Thailand will no doubt party throughout the night but tomorrow, it will be back to work for most.

The image above of my mate Jimmy getting wet, came about because I instructed the girls and kids to target him.

This was actually the last in a series of six images. The best ones were taken seconds before but alas they were also blurry and no good.

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So it’s a sad farewell to Songkran 2017 but I sincerely hope I am around for the 2018 celebrations.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone Loves A Party

Since arriving in Pattaya, Thailand in April 2016, I have enjoyed many wonderful parties, typically in the area known as Rompho. My latest venture into the nightlife of Pattaya was no exception.

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Rompho is a complex of bars and other small businesses all set in one location. It is said that there are fifty bars within the complex but if I am honest, I have frequented around a dozen or so.

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I have my favourites that I used to visit often but since moving to a new condo, three kilometres away from Rompho, I am not seen just as often as I would like to be.

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But every so often, I do return, mainly to see friends or maybe I am passing by whilst out on one of my 10 kilometre walks in the sun and I pop in. I always get my haircut at one of the barbers in Rompho, just so I can say “hello” to people I know.

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Recently I was invited to a double birthday party, although it may have been my camera that was asked for more than me ūüôā

Never one to turn down a good party (within reason), I packed my bag with my Nikon D750, my SB700 flash unit and a couple of lenses and set out to do what I enjoy most. Getting drunk! No – seriously – taking photos.

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When I arrived I was delighted to see that the band were one that had appeared at the venue before, the location being, the Corner House Bar in Rompho. Despite having photographed the band previously, I still don’t know if they have a name. They certainly didn’t the first time I saw them. But when you are adept with your instruments and fronted by a talented vocalist, it doesn’t matter what you call the band!

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It was the lead guitarist who attracted my attention. The man was made for the camera. He has one of those lived in faces that every photographer hopes to stumbleupon. AND he is willing to pose as he plays, acting up for the big shot. My opening image features this man, and once again, I apologise for not knowing his name. Next time I will ask.

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The party, as always at the Corner House, was a huge success and my role was to capture as many of the guests on camera as possible.

The celebrations were for Stuart, the gaffer and his friend Chris from Luton, who were both honouring each other’s birthdays. Why we celebrate being a year older is beyond me. I would rather rejoice if they discovered a way to become a year younger!!!

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My second image is one of my favourites, for there is nothing more rewarding than photographing good looking people. I captured this lovely couple as they entered the bar.

Next up is a man with a face that you cannot forget. His beard is distinguished and the extraordinary ponytail, if that is what it’s called, is an eyecatcher.

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The bar staff in most bars in Pattaya are worth concentrating on. This image of the dark haired beauty, is the Corner House’s cashier – Bee.

Then we have the girl in the green dress, who was sat opposite me and my girlfriend, Nom. But I bet she regrets sitting at the photographer’s table, for when I got bored, my attention switched to her. She was a star it has to be said, posing like a true model but unfortunately I missed most of her ingenuity whilst striking a pose and she wasn’t one for repeat performances. However, the photos of her that were taken when she forgot about my presence, provided some fun shots.

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Then we have birthday boy Chris and one of his friends from England. Two very nice guys. Chris, went to the trouble of buying every lady in the bar a flower from one of the many flower sellers, who come round Rompho. The girl with the roses must have thought it was Christmas.

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A Scottish friend and rock ‘n’ roll singer appears next. Stephanie was there for various reasons but one was the hope of getting the opportunity to belt out a few songs. She gave us three renditions of Chuck Berry classics to mark the passing of the rock ‘n’ roll legend. Steph is well known around Pattaya, often seen singing in a variety of bars. This time however, she performed with a very good band, and was awesome. Not that she is bad without the band of course. Best get that in before I get thumped!

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I have included one of that man again, the lead guitarist but this time with an artistic approach. I set the camera to F2.8 and got close up, zoomed in, so that I achieved a depth of field that blurred the closest point of his guitar. The focal point being his plectrum.

Now the gentleman who looks like he is crooning his way through a Frank Sinatra song or belting out a power ballad, is actually singing “Happy Birthday” to Stuart and Chris. In another life, he could be a soul singer, at least for photographic purposes. I love this image.

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The presentation of the birthday cake to Stuart from his lovely partner and soon to be wife, Petch. I have much to thank Stuart for but that is something I won’t go into here, suffice to say that I am honoured to be associated with him.

The two beautiful girls are again anonymous, for either I cannot recall their names or I forgot to ask. Well I was drinking copious amounts of Vodka at the time. But they take a lovely photo and that is all that matters to me.

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Another good man, playing pool. Steve, who asked for an action shot of himself, which may not be the best term to use in the city of sin, as described in certain newspapers.

What’s going on over there then? The boys from Luton seem interested in something but I have no idea what caught their attention. I am also at a loss as to what is going on behind them ūüôā

I will leave you with another image of a man that I could photograph all day or night in this instance. Again the aperture on the camera is set to blur anything close or in the background as I focused in his face.

Many thanks to Stuart for the invitation to his party. May there be many more.

The whole collection can be found by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Pattaya Beach Football

I was invited to attend and photograph the 12th Pattaya Beach Football Cup at Jomtien Beach in Pattaya, Thailand. If I am perfectly honest, it turned out to be something totally different from what I was expecting.

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I wrongly assumed that it would be a bunch of holiday makers, who were unfit, hungover, overweight and didn’t know one end of a football pitch from the other.

How wrong could I be?

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The real scenario was that many of the players were professional footballers and were here to win this cup. The mentality was serious.

The stamina and fitness was genuinely of a very high standard.

The skill levels on show were superlative. Many of the players were flown in especially for this tournament.

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Twelve nations were represented including the host nation Thailand along with Cameroon, Norway, Scotland, England, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Finland, Ireland and my assigned country Holland.

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There was also a ladies competition, which pleased me, for as many of you will know, I used to work closely with women’s football in Scotland for over three years, so when I was made aware of the female game, I didn’t need much persuasion to give them some publicity.

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The opening ceremony was held, presented by the officials, sponsors and local dignitaries.

The teams entered the arena carrying their national flags. Many of the players at this point had not arrived but the ceremony took place regardless and was a success.

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Following the speeches and photographs, the competition got underway.

The tournament was split into two groups of six ,with the top two in each group progressing to the semi-finals.

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The first match I observed was between England and Germany, which culminated in great disappointment for me. I expected the German team to be exceptionally good but alas, the English played them off the park or in this case the sand.

It goes without saying that I am a lover of German football.

England dominated before running out easy winners in the end. Maybe next year the German team will offer a greater challenge.

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Still I was there to take photos and make videos, so I got on with the task.

Holland began with a win over Ireland. A respectable and close game of football but the Dutch were simply too strong for the Irish, who incidentally had a Scotsman from Peterhead in the squad.

I had a good old chinwag with the lad before the match.

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Day two and beyond saw the team in orange face other opposition in the form of France, Finland, and Russia. The Russians were, like Holland, well supported. The atmosphere was electric as Russia took a two goal lead. At this point I had the Russians down as clear favourites to win this match.

Not for the first time over the course of the tournament, I was to be proven wrong.

The Dutch came back to win the match scoring four times in the process. Relief all round!

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They then faced the team that had won the tournament for the previous six years – Norway.

Like all but one of their previous matches, Holland came back from a 2-0 deficit to win and earned their place in the semi-final against Thailand.

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Once again my adopted nation were slow out of the traps before overcoming the host nation.

I actually enjoyed watching Thailand play. They were well prepared, displayed exceptional adeptness with a ball and had a very athletic goalkeeper, whose agility was remarkable.

In the final they met the current champions Norway once more, who had disposed of Cameroon in a rather heated affair.

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So it was Holland v Norway in a repeat of last year’s finale, which of course the Norwegians won.

Could Holland defeat them twice in one week? Hundreds of people turned up hours in advance to discover who the victors would be.

Once more the Dutch fell behind early on and I wondered if this was a step too far. I mean how many times can one side come back from going behind to claim victory?

The Norwegians looked strong and once they took the lead, they settled, playing some good football. Their hearts were firmly set on winning that seventh title in a row.

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However team orange were not going to lie down and accept defeat without the usual fightback. And fightback they certainly did.

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Chances were missed at both ends before Holland finally equalised. Once they found the net, they began to dominate and control the game, eventually winning by a scoreline of four goals to one. A just result in my opinion. They had controlled the match with the majority of the play and took their chances in front of goal.

Norway desperately tried to come back. Even in the last minute and three goals behind, they drove forward in search of a goal. However it was not to be. Not this year.

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Over the piece Holland deserved their medals and cup for they fought hard, had a never say die attitude and were completely professional from the outset.

The competition’s top scorer, a chap called Ali, hit the net 20 times for Holland. An impressive achievement.

The final match was chaotic for photographers. The presentation was a frenzied affair as Camera men and women fought for space with people standing with mobile phones or small cameras.

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As a result, the images I obtained of the Dutch team receiving their trophies and medals were poor and I feel I let the guys down, through no fault of my own.

In the ladies competition, I was asked to do some photos for Planet Football, a local football academy in Pattaya.

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Now this side had the smallest squad of all the teams who had entered but their five or six girls put everything into their play and went on to win the trophy with relative ease.

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The ladies provided some wonderful entertainment, as these games were played in a more light hearted spirit but they engaged the crowd, who were engrossed in their matches as much as they were with the men’s.

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Now you cannot have a successful football competition without players but you also require supporters.

The organisers built three stands to accommodate the fans but this was not sufficient, such was the demand to watch this tournament.

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People were climbing scaffolding, which supported the floodlights. They stood behind the advertising boards, sat in the sand behind the goals or were squashed into a corner with minimalistic views.

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This did not deter them however as they create a deafening blare of chants and songs. Once again it was orange clad Dutch who stole the show but other nations got behind their team, even if it was in lesser numbers. Half a dozen Finnish ladies throats must have been sore from encouraging their side.

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The Russians were out in force to watch their countrymen too and of course the Thai’s, typically the ladies, could be heard screaming at any opportunity that their boys had to¬†score.

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Once again many thanks to Colin, the Dutch Manager for inviting me along and a congratulations to the organisers, who ensured the competition ran like clockwork.

My only criticism, if you could call it that – would be to increase the size of the venue to seat more people. Is that really a condemnation though? Of course not.

 

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This is a very popular event but I know people were leaving due to lack of seating. Success breeds success and my personal feeling is that another hundred seats would not go amiss. The event has the capability of becoming even more prosperous, so what not endorse and encourage this!

I would also have a dedicated press area, especially at the presentation. Fighting for space with a proud granny or wife is not fun lol.

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Following the presentation of the cups (and their were many), the Dutch team and countless¬†supporters walked the short distance to The Tulip House, which was one of the team’s sponsors. The bar provided entertainment for the ensuing party that was quite simply – amazing.

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With 90% of the people present being from Holland, it was a colourful, joyous event, with singing and dancing throughout the evening. These people know how to party and party they did!

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Sadly, having been on my feet for five hours, whilst carrying a heavy bag full of camera equipment, I was ready for my bed and I departed the scene of the celebrations earlier than I would have preferred. From a photographer’s point of view, the festivities would have provided some excellent shots. Having said that, I did get a few while I was there.

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I would like to end with what turned out to be a very important image for me. It was taken on the spur of the moment when I noticed a very thirsty young female player, drinking from a bottle of water but the majority of the water was not reaching her mouth. It appeared that she did not care either due to intense heat and thirst she was suffering from.

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I used the image to promote my Facebook Page and at the time of writing, it has been viewed by almost 17,000 people, liked by nearly 3000 people and attracted 1000 plus page likes in less than six days.

I have no idea who the girl is but I must offer my sincerest gratitude for making a wonderful image for me.

You can see the image above. I love it and I hope you do too.

I have just found out that the top scorer Ali, mentioned above, has been interviewed by a Dutch newspaper and they have asked permission to use some images. Many thanks to both the newspaper and Ali.

Also to all the people I met who encouraged and thanked me for the photos – I offer my sincerest gratitude.

The Triangle And The Tulip House

I cannot even begin to explain the week I have had following and working with Jerry Lee Carlson.

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From The Robin Hood Tavern, then two gigs at Murphy’s Irish Pub, both of which are ¬†in Pattaya, Thailand, I thought I had witnessed the best of Jerry but I was wrong.

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Sure he put on three fantastic shows that had the audiences in awe of his talent and showmanship but there was more to come, for Jerry dropped the backing tracks and brought in a drummer, fellow Swede Hakan Nelson for the last two gigs in Pattaya.

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I arrived at the Triangle Bar in central Pattaya an hour ahead of Jerry’s appearance and the venue was jam packed. It was standing room only!

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I was worried because I did not think Jerry could better his performances at Murphy’s and with only a drummer to back him, this could have been so bad or so I thought.

But the pair did not disappoint. In fact they rocked the joint to its core.

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People were stomping their feet. They were standing and clapping. Jerry even had them singing by themselves, following his lead.

He is billed as a Jerry Lee Lewis tribute act but he is so much more. He is an entertainer and one of the best I have ever witnessed.

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The man is pure class. He oozes quality and knows how to capture an audience’s attention.

You could hear a pin drop between the notes of the keyboard and drum beats.

Jerry changed the format of the show completely, introducing songs not previously heard at other gigs. His repertoire is vast. Not only did he do Jerry Lee Lewis rock ‘n’ roll classics but he did Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Elvis and a fair bit of country music too.

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The audience grew as time went on at The Triangle, yet how they squeezed into the bar still baffles me.

The following evening, Jerry and Hakan took their show to Jomtien, where they again had the venue jumping.

Every seat was taken and people were turned away as Tulip was bursting at the seams.

As soon as they began, people looked at each other in amazement, for they had not expected such a sound from two men on keyboard and drums. No backing tracks were used whatsoever.

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Soon there were people dancing. One man was even simulating playing the piano on his table.

The staff joined in the fun, taking videos on their phones for I am sure they had never heard nor seen the likes of Jerry Carlson in their lives.

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Chantilly Lace, Mean Woman Blues, Little Queenie, Good Golly Miss Molly, Blueberry Hill and many more rock ‘n’ roll masterpieces were played to perfection.

The second gig contained a lot of country ballads, which went down a treat with the older audience, many of whom were from Sweden, Norway or Denmark.

But it was the classics like Great Balls Of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin’ that got everyone going. The sound was incredible.

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I have seen a lot of bands in my time. I have witnessed great showmen. But I can honestly say that this is a top entertainer, who plays rock ‘n’ roll¬†quite like no one else.

When he finished his encores, people stood up and wanted to shake his hand and have their photograph taken with him.

CDs were sold, postcards given away with his autograph on them and generally people left both venues singing the songs they had heard at the gigs.

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Why this man has not played the UK yet is beyond me. Some of the promoters in the UK should sit up and take note. Get him there ASAP!!

You will not be disappointed.

Finally, a big thank you to all venues who looked after me during my time working with Jerry.

The Robin Hood and Murphy’s who provided drinks and food. The Tulip House who reserved a table for the entire entourage who travelled with Jerry and picked up our food and drinks bill at the end, and did so with a true appreciation of what had been witnessed.

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I should give praise to Hakan Nelson, who played two excellent sessions on drums with very little rehearsal time and was the unsung hero over the final two events.

And to all the wonderful people whom I met along the road over the last week – thank you. I have had a ball.

Finally, Jerry Lee Carlson – I hope our paths cross again on a professional basis and as friends. I truly appreciate the opportunity that you and our hosts presented me with. An experience that will live with me for a long time.

Keep on rockin’

New Year In Thailand 2017

For the first time in my life, I celebrated the bells at New Year away from my homeland, seven hours ahead of Scotland. Yes Р a new experience for me as Thailand and its many tourists got into party mode.

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My second invitation to take photos at a wonderful bar in Rompho in the south of the city of Pattaya, Thailand was presented to me from the bar owners. This bar is known simply as The Corner House and is aptly named, seeing as it sits on the corner of The Rompho Complex.

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I had attended the Christmas Lunch festivities last week and enjoyed a delicious meal, courtesy of the The Corner House but it has to be said they surpassed everything I have witnessed at Rompho previously.

I have attended many parties and events with the Rompho Complex, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed but none had went to the expense of laying on a live band before. And what a great band they were too.

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The party was put together in conjunction with The Sexy Girl Bar on the opposite side of the thoroughfare. Between them they hired a group of musicians from the Philippines, who I later discovered had no name for they were put together especially for these sort of events. This had no reflection on the quality of the musicians, for they were excellent, doing great covers of mainly rock songs. From Blondie to The Animals to Dire Straits, they nailed every tune.

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The party was halted by twenty minutes of rain, which threatened to sabotage the night’s entertainment but like most precipitation in Thailand, it did not last long, and if anything enhanced the atmosphere of the early celebrations as everyone crammed into the bars. I met a multitude of new people as the rain poured from the heavens.

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The raise ceased and soon everyone was returned to the seating areas outside in the warm evening to enjoy a drink and edibles.

The Corner House had a buffet laid on as did their counterparts The Sexy Girl Bar and by all accounts, the offerings were superb, although I was kept busy and missed the opportunity to sample the food.

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That was until the barbequed pig was cooked to perfection and served to the many queuing patrons. I will add that all this marvelous food was free of charge.

I said the to the owner of The Corner House “You have put on a fine spread here and the band are phenomenal”. The response was simple and to the point. “If something is worth doing, then do it right.”

It was indeed carried out to perfection.

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Faces young and old were present. From babies to great grandparents. People from the UK, Canada, America, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Australia, France, Germany and many more were to be found partying and dancing the night away. A multitude of Thai people helped balance things out as everyone mixed in unity. The world could learn some valuable lessons from Thailand from the way everyone gets on together.

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There was one gentleman who entertained a number of children for hours on end. His stamina and patience was a joy to watch as he danced with the youngsters for the majority of the night. I was enthralled just watching the kids jubilant smiles as ran around getting into the party spirit. I bet the slept well when they got home!

The band were exceptionally good and before long people of all ages were bopping away on an area retained for dancing.

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I was kept busy, for as at all parties, people see a photographer and wish to have their photos taken. This is me in my element. I love working with people and Thailand has lovely folks in abundance.

I had the opportunity to take photographs of beautiful ladies and handsome men. People with faces that told stories, that lived in appearance.

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Dancing children prancing around having a ball. One little girl saw it as a game, running away just as I was about to press the shutter button. I got her though – in the end.

At the bells streamers and tinsel were strewn everywhere as the band brought in the New Year.

Sadly there was no fireworks out of respect for the late King, who passed away earlier in 2016 but the party was still a massive success, pulling in at a guess around 200-300 guests. Over the piece it would almost certainly be more for visitors came and went as they sought out friends to wish them all the best for 2017.

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Personally I felt tearful at midnight for I miss so many people back home but it didn’t stop me enjoying myself with new friends in Pattaya.

There were no lager louts, no one so drunk that they became troublesome or even a little bit annoying to others in attendance.

So well done to both bars and the festivity goers, who made this a brilliant night to remember.

A happy New Year to one and all and as they say in Scotland “Lang may yer lum reek.”

A full set of photos can be found here https://www.flickr.com/gp/139555139@N07/9xu7V4

 

The Corner House Bar

On Christmas Day I was invited to attend Christmas lunch at the Corner House Bar in Rompho in the city of Pattaya. I didn’t intend to venture far for Yuletide but I decide to take my friend up on his offer. I also took up the option of taking my camera with me.

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I have been in The Corner House a few times previously and always found it a friendly place to have a drink or an inexpensive meal, so I knew roughly what to expect.

Upon arrival, I sat outside, for in Thailand Christmas is a warm event. The sun was splitting the skies as the temperature peaked at around 33 degrees, unlike the cold wintry Crimbos I am accustomed to in my homeland of Scotland. a pleasant change indeed.

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The bar is situated at the corner of the Rompho Market Complex in Jomtien and is one of the first you will observe as you approach the area from Jomtien Beach. It has ample seating inside and out or you can sit on a bar stool within the bar and enjoy the sun as you watch the world go by. It has two open sides, which contributes to its spaciousness, with ambient lighting giving it a homely feel.

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You will be welcomed by friendly and courteous staff, who will serve you swiftly but will never hassle you in anyway. Press the bell for service and the girls will appear, take your order, delivering it to your table posthaste and always with a smile.

There are TVs suspended from the ceiling or walls as the bar offers live football and other sporting events for the customer to peruse whilst enjoying a cold beer.

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The Corner House serves excellent food from a small but varied menu, which is very affordable. The food is delicious and portions are on the large side.

If you fancy a game of pool, there is an excellent pool table in the bar and I am told the pool team is rather good.

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So back to Christmas lunch. Turkey is something I am not a huge fan off, unless it is for Christmas lunch or dinner. My food was well presented and looked mouthwatering. As I sampled my first piece of white meat, I was in heaven. The turkey breast was moist and cooked to perfection. The brown meat matched the breast for taste and quality, mixed with succulent potatoes and trimmings.

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I had of course been working the camera before and had watched with interest how the staff dealt with the high demand, seeing as the bar was sold out for Xmas lunches. They worked their socks of attending to their customers. The kitchen staff, the waitresses and bar girls all toiled in the heat of the moment to ensure that every customer was a happy one.

The bar had a DJ playing a mixture of Christmas tunes and assorted songs covering most genres. However the music was never overpowering, with the volume set so that people could enjoy each others company.

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What truly amazed me, was the diversity of the people in attendance. The majority were from the UK or Australia but it wasn’t single men. The bar had attracted families from the age of seven through to people in the sixties or seventies.

The was an extended table, which had twelve people seated at it, all English, all ages and with one intention; to enjoy themselves.

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The Corner House has a fantastic laid back and friendly atmosphere within good surroundings.

So if you are ever in Rompho and you fancy a quiet drink or a luscious meal or even to take in a football match on TV, then give The Corner House Bar a visit. You will not be disappointed.

Walking Street may be the place for wild nights out but The Corner House offers an alternative that is often desireable. This is a venue where everyone is welcome.

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