Mobi-Snaps: Phuket Honeymoon
Back in March, 2004, I married my fourth wife, Dang, and the following month, we went on a delayed, two week honeymoon in Phuket.
We stayed at the Royal Phuket Yacht Club, a very beautiful, upmarket hotel located on Nai Harn Beach, and all things considered, has a pretty good time. It was very quiet, as it was only 4 months since the tsunami had devastated parts of this beautiful island paradise.
Here is a small selection of some snaps that I took during my stay.
Mid-April in Pattaya brings the madness that is Songkran – Thai New Year – where everyone gets drunk, hundreds are killed on the roads and the whole population decides it is great sport to throw water at each other.
The official day of Songkran is April 13th and for most of the country there is a 2-3 day period when the Thais ‘play’ Songkran; but here in Pattaya, it goes on for the best part of 3 weeks and is only just winding down as I write this piece.
I fully expect that over the next few years, the Sonkran water festival will slowly extend its tentacles throughout the entire month of April in tourist spots like Pattaya, as it brings in so much luverly- jubberly money from all the water- throwing obsessed tourists and Thais alike.
For senior citizens such as Mobi, it is a time of year when we hunker down in our humble abodes and wait patiently for the annual madness to pass.
For Pattaya’s young and not quite so young and spirited citizens, like the loverly Noo, it is an opportunity to go and play with water for nigh on 10 days on the trot without being accused of reverting back into their second childhood.
Every day she drove off around mid-day, sometime meeting up with friends, sometimes going alone and joined the melee in Pattaya, returning home around 6 p.m., soaking wet and exhausted, still with a cheeky Thai look of fun all over her lovely face. It will probably take her about a week to recover.
The advent of Sonkran has also brought with it some much needed rain and thunderstorms, with a consequent drop in the soaring temperatures that have been gripping Pattaya for many weeks.
However, the last couple of days have seen a return to bright sunshine and climbing temperatures, but I note from the Weather Channel on my trusty smart phone that storms are due to return soon, so fingers crossed.
In any case, on Tuesday, the three of us are off on a little mini break to Koh Chang, which was booked prior to Mobi’s financial collapse. We are staying at a small, quiet resort (I hope) at the end of White Sands beach for a couple of nights and I’m hoping it will be a nice change – a chance to re-charge our batteries and plan for a much poorer future than I had ever imagined in store for me, barely a few weeks back.
I was last on Koh Change almost 10 years ago, when I drove down with my then- wife, Dang, for a couple of nights. It will be interesting to see how much the island has changed during the intervening period. Quite a lot I would imagine.
My abiding memory of that trip was the distinctly low quality of bar girls who adorned the small clutches of beach bars that operated in those days and the audible expressions of envy from the leering male tourists when I waltzed into the bars with the delectable Dang on my arm.
She was in her mid-twenties and at her most dazzling. In those days she favoured micro-mini skirts which showed off her gorgeous legs and thighs to the full. She was by far and away the most beautiful girl on the island.
She knew it, I knew it and so did the poor muts sitting there with their distinctly third grade ladies of the night.
‘Eat you hearts out’, I used to think to myself, but in the end, it was Mobi who ate his heart out – much more than those ‘poor muts’ at the bars could ever dream of.
Maybe I can repeat the trick with Noo…. hardly likely, with a 12 year old kid in tow…
On Monday, it will be 4 weeks since I sent my manuscript of ‘A Lust for Life’ to the publisher and as yet, not a word. I have no idea how long these things take, and whether indeed I will ever receive an acknowledgement – one way or another.
How long do I wait before I explore other avenues?
The simple answer is that I should be trying other avenues while awaiting a reply, but knowing how difficult it is to get anyone’s attention, I think I’ll wait a little longer.
After all, I don’t want to waste my time if the eventual response is positive. I think my next step will be to start to look at the idea of self-publishing on Amazon.
There have been thousands of hits to the blog ‘pages’ containing my novel, although it is difficult to know exactly how many hits, as anyone who accesses the novel through my home page is not included in the ‘hit count’ to the novel pages.
I have no idea how many of you made it through to end of Part 4, and I am the first to admit that it’s not everybody’s ‘cup of tea’. Frankly, even within my own family and friends, there are few who would go out of their way to read this kind of novel.
However, I do believe there is a potential readership out there and I have received some very kind and gratifying comments. That alone has convinced me that my efforts weren’t a complete waste of time.
So many thanks to all of you who have taken the trouble to read it, especially to those who took the trouble to write some nice comments.
During the past week, I published “The Remarkable Adventures of Terry the Tom-Cat”, a children’s’ story that can also work for adults. All I can say is that if “A Lust for Life” didn’t do much for you, then may I suggest you try ‘Terry’.
The story is only 20,000 odd words as compared to 218,000 for ‘Lust’, and whereas there is little humour in ‘Lust’, I like to think that ‘Terry’ is full of humour.
It’ll only take you half an hour or so to read the whole lot – so give it a go and see what you think….
Bang! Bang! You’re dead!
No, this isn’t about Boston.
Sorry folks, I cannot let my weekly blog pass without commenting yet again on the almost incomprehensible failure of the US Senate to pass some extremely modest gun control legislation, which would have expanded background checks to people purchasing weapons at gun shows and on-line sales,
This was in the face of of numerous polls which established that 0ver 90% of the American population supports such measures!
Yes, I know, it really beggars belief, doesn’t it?
So why did it happen?
Well if you had tuned into Fox news and other American TV channels, (and even BBC World news), over the past few weeks since the terrible events of Newtown, you would have gleaned at least a suspicion that such a defeat may be inevitable.
Most of you probably know by now that I have strong conservative leanings and have much sympathy for the Republican Party’s views on the US economy and a host of related issues such as Obama-Care and the ever expanding overblown welfare state where a mind-boggling 46 million US citizens are currently receiving food stamps.
I also have much sympathy for some of their views on ‘pro-life’ although I wouldn’t go as far as some of the extreme elements who wish to ban abortions in almost all circumstances.
In matters of abortion and related issues such as providing under-age girls with free contraception and letting them deal with matters of sex without reference to their parents is,I believe, totally wrong.
In all these and many other Republican–espoused issues, I tend to generally agree with what they have to say, and quite often I have been shocked and appalled by some of the extremist, extreme socialistic views of the left wing Democrats, of which, I regret, Obama seems to be one.
But it is as if I am in a different world whenever the subject of gun control comes up.
It is almost as though these rationally minded people, who generally talk such sense on a wide variety of topics, (including some on which I disagree, but nevertheless respect their views), have suddenly had their brains hi-jacked by some alien force.
Against their better judgement and will, they seem forced to vomit out so much utter clap trap that they hardly seem to be in possession of their sanity. Here is a small sample of their ravings:
- The solution to preventing Newtown and other similar massacres is to arm yet more people, including the teachers in classrooms
- The banning of assault weapons and multiple ammunition clips is the beginning of the end, and before the American public know it, all guns will be banned.
- The introduction of background checks is the start of a ‘Big Brother’ plan to keep watch and control on the population at large. The banning of assault weapons is the start of a devious plan to dis-arm the entire populace.
- Background checks would prevent an innocent citizen in buying a first time weapon on the spot, while checks were being made. This would put people in danger if they needed the gun to protect themselves in an emergency.
- The high death rate from guns in America isn’t due to the easy availability of guns, but totally due to the mental instability of its citizenry. So the solution is to build more mental hospitals rather than restrict gun ownership.
And so it goes… on and on and on…I mean, honestly, you really couldn’t make this stuff up. Dozens upon dozens of apparently intelligent, highly educated people uttered such crap that even they must be embarrassed when they view back what they have been saying.
To be fair to the arrogant Bill O’Reilly, while hedging his bets a little, to his credit, he couldn’t see much wrong with the proposed legislation.
We all know why so many Republicans and not a few Democrats speak such garbage on the subject of gun control.
(For my non- American readers, let me just inform you that the bill in the Senate would not have been defeated if it hadn’t been for some prominent Senate Democrats who also voted against it!).
They do it because they are in the grip of the all-powerful, all pervasive, monstrously rich, insidious gun lobby headed up by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
For generations they have convinced Americans, -right up to the learned justices in the Supreme Court – that legislation which was enacted over two hundred years ago to ensure that local militias, comprised of ordinary citizens, could be readily armed when necessary, meant that it was an inalienable right in the 21st century for all people to own arms of whatever size and power; and to acquire them at will, without fear or hindrance.
And today, such is the control they hold over politicians of all political hues, that they can demand obedience to their cause, even though 90% of the electorate are in favour of the extremely modest legislation.
The senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which during the last election, spent around $25 million on contributions and lobbying.
The NRA, with its membership of three to four million, lobbied hard and effectively against the bill. It spent $500,000 last Wednesday alone, on an advertising campaign criticizing “Obama’s gun ban”.
It had already said that it would award a negative mark to senators who voted for the bill to be debated. Four Democrats, all from predominantly conservative states, joined Republicans in voting against.
The pattern of spreading untruths about the proposed legislation served its purpose. The lies upset an intense minority of gun owners and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.
The passion of gun owners can never be underestimated. Either they are convinced, or the lobby groups have convinced them, that any form of control would soon lead to draconian bans, despite repeated assurances from Democrats, including President Obama, that they will respect Second Amendment rights.
Every time restrictions are proposed, the gun lobby argues they will make no difference to the number of massacres. Newtown may have been tragic, the argument goes, but the lone gunman would have committed his heinous crime anyway.
This logic rests on the supposition that it is not the gun that kills but the person. It is pointed out that gun ownership is high in Finland and Switzerland (though still half the rate of the US), which have lower crime rates.
This ignores the point that a person with a high calibre weapon with a 30-round magazine can kill many more people than someone armed with a revolver, a hunting rifle, or a knife.
The point they omit is that you don’t know if restrictions work until they are tried, for a long period of time. The case against control is hypothetical because it has never been properly tried.
It may be that the constraints that were defeated on Wednesday wouldn’t have made much difference. But we just don’t know. America won’t know the effect of even moderate controls until it tries. And this was an occasion when most Americans wanted that effort to be made.
After all, who would have believed that the events of 1866 would eventually lead to full equality for black Americans. It may have taken 100 years or more to get there, but you have to start somewhere or nothing will ever happen.
So it is, I believe, with gun control.
Obama was furious, and his bleeding heart liberal mate, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York and a national champion of gun control, called the vote “A damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington”.
For once I don’t blame them and I am 100% on their side.
But where was Obama over the past six years on the subject of gun control? If he felt so passionate about it why did he remain totally silent on the subject for so long?
Was it – dare I suggest – that he knew full well that it wasn’t a vote winner? That by making his views known; it may have hurt his election chances?
Is Barack Obama already a lame-duck president?
Doesn’t anybody listen to what he says anymore?
Maybe, nobody is interested in winning his approval and maybe few care if he thinks they have “let the country down”.
Is he a second-term president who has lost all his leverage because he’s no longer running for office and everybody is patiently waiting for the day when he quits the White House?
Maybe Obama’s difficult personality has made matters worse. Gloating in victory, adolescent in defeat – he doesn’t make it easy for folks with different views to work with him.
Why should conservative senators give him a legislative victory after he has spent four years painting them as knuckle-dragging rednecks who hate women and the poor and want to push ageing, sick grannies off the cliff?
These ‘gun control’ events may turn out to be a damning indictment of Obama’s presidency – loads of style, lots of inspirational, tele-prompted rhetoric and, when the votes are finally counted, not too much to show for any of it.
America has four more years of this lame-duck president telling them all that they have let him down. If only he could tear up the Constitution and rule by decree he might save himself a little disappointment.
Fortunately, American democracy doesn’t quite work that way, despite the efforts from the socialist left and the extremist gun lobby to make it so.
The Shame of Bahrain
I can’t believe how many times I have put fingers to keyboard to write yet again about the unbelievably sickening decision to stage Formula One Grand Prixs in the repressive Arab state of Bahrain.
This decision is based purely on commercial greed.
Ecclestone and his cohorts know full well about the repressive and undemocratic conditions that continue to prevail in this tiny, US-backed state – probably better than you and I do – but their propagation of lies, evasions, and distortions of the facts to justify the holding of this globally watched event, frankly beggar belief.
Some of my previous articles on this subject can be found:-
I have no particular desire to go over old ground, so I will confine my comments to a few salient bullet points.
- A group of British MPs have called for the Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled amid unrest in the Gulf state. In a letter to Ecclestone, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain said: “We request you cancel the Grand Prix. Since April 2012, many more people including children have lost their lives and the whole country exists in fear and intimidation,”
- Last year’s race was held under conditions of martial law and three hundred protesters were arrested, some spending months in jail.
- Most democratic-minded people, including many motor racing fans, are appalled by the staging of the Bahrain leg of the Formula 1 championship, amidst the most atrocious human rights violations
- The FIA president said the Bahrain Grand Prix can have a ‘healing effect’ (WTF!!!!) on a country struggling with civil unrest. Sport and F1 can have a positive and healing effect in situations where conflict, social unrest and tensions cause distress.”
(So the FIA President is also a leading expert on international relations, civil unrest and national tensions is he????)
- Ecclestone told the AFP news agency: “There’s no reason why the race shouldn’t be a success. What’s happened? They’re demonstrating now? I didn’t know that. There’s nobody demonstrating.”
- A week of protests to coincide with this weekend’s race began last Friday, organised by the opposition to the ruling royal family.
- There have been daily protests and more than one hundred have reportedly been arrested in connection with the race. Many in the opposition oppose the race arguing that the government has failed to deliver on promises of reform.
- A blast occurred late on Sunday night in the Financial Harbour district of the city. An opposition group calling itself the February 14 movement has claimed it was behind the blast.
- There is a massive poster depicting the Grand Prix on the wall of a home in the Bahraini village, with a circle around the phrase F1 crossed out in red spray paint.
- For the most part, the opposition feels the West and friendly Sunni-ruled Arab states are ignoring their plight, as more horrific headlines from the civil war in Syria and Egypt’s major economic problems dominate media coverage.
People are being killed daily, but the government wants the world to believe that there’s nothing wrong in Bahrain. At a protest in Shi’ite Al-Aali, thousands called for greater freedoms and for the downfall of the king.
- Home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has faced unrest since pro-democracy protests broke out in February 2011, pitting a Shi’ite-dominated opposition against the minority Sunni-led government. The protest was crushed when dozens of people were killed and authorities razed Pearl Square, in central Manama, where mostly Shi’ite demonstrators camped out
Enjoy your blood money… Bernie, Sebastian, Lewis, Fernando, Jenson, Kimi and the rest of the billionaire gang… may your untold riches never suffer from the loss of your beloved Bahrain Grand Prix revenues.
Click here for this week’s collection of Mobi-Pics