We are now two weeks into our new bar-venture and this weekend heralds the start of week three.
Despite a few ups and downs, I can report that things are continuing to proceed in a satisfactory manner, especially considering the unbearable afternoon temperatures which peak at over 40 degrees and the insufferably high humidity. Even when the sun goes down, the level of humidity barely drops and when you are away from air conditioning, your body remains permanently covered in a sheen of perspiration.
Everyone is praying for the rains to come, which are due in the next couple of weeks, as that will cool everything down quite nicely and bring many of the scorched lawns back to life.
Pattaya considers the months of May to October as the ‘low season’. It is the period when tourist numbers are at their lowest levels, and this year, due to the continuing political protests in Bangkok and also the warnings issued by most western embassies about the possible dangers of visiting Thailand, many holiday-makers and some of the longer-stay expats are giving Thailand a miss.
Although the drop in tourist numbers does not directly affect our potential clientèle even many of the local expat residents decide to go back to their homes in the west or visit their families at this time of year and many local bars and restaurants are bemoaning the sudden drop in customer numbers.
So if I take all these negative factors into account, I really can’t complain about business so far.
Last Sunday – the last day of the EPL football season together with the staging of the Spanish Grand Prix – brought in a number of punters, and we had a very pleasant evening chatting and watching the sport. Quite bizarrely, it transpired that one of the new customers had attended the same grammar school as I had back in the UK, (I started in 1957 – a year ahead of him), and we both remembered the same teachers, and the bastard of a headmaster.
There has only been one really bad day, when we only had a handful of customers in, and the evening was so quiet that we closed up shop at 11 p.m. I have since been told that this ‘dead day’, Thursday, is always a very bad day for bars. Quite why this is, I can only speculate on.
But the very next day – Friday – we had our best day yet, and the punters arrived in droves and spent, spent and spent. We were literally rushed off our feet as we only had three staff, including Noo, as the fourth girl has gone ‘absent’ for 10 days with a customer!
We also ran out of a brand of popular local beer – twice – despite having quite a lot in stock, and had to rush out to buy replenishments before the last remaining ones in the cooler were consumed. It all went pretty seamlessly and nobody knew we were having a mini-crisis.
So its onwards and upwards and we will see what adventures week three brings to the Mobi household and my extended ‘bar family’.
On other matters, the dogs are missing us dreadfully as their whole routine has been upset. I, and to a lesser extent Noo, are still at home in the mornings and early afternoons, but once we go off to the bar, they are left alone, or in the company of Noo’s son, until we return around 1 a.m. They must miss their evenings together with us watching TV and getting their little tid-bits as we eat our evening meals.
But they haven’t been totally deserted and they still spend the night in our bedroom with the two little ones snuggling up to us on the pillows and even the Labrador desperately trying to join us on the bed, only to be shooed off in no uncertain terms by an angry Noo.
I had originally thought I could take one or all of them to the bar in the afternoon but this has proved impossible as the area is ‘owned ‘ by local street dogs (who also protect our bar) and Noo tells me the area is awash with ticks. So home is where they remain.
I only have one vehicle out for rent now as we have had to take the Triton Pick-up back for use in buying and collecting our stocks from the local cash and carry.
We save money by doing our own purchasing, as the Pattaya ‘cash and carry’, (Makro), is cheaper than the local wholesalers, who will deliver. We seem to be the only bar around that does this, as the others rely on the wholesalers. It would seem they find it too much hassle to buy the stuff themselves….
The other vehicle, a Toyota Vios, is still being rented out although it stayed in the rental shop for about 2 weeks earlier this month but is now thankfully out on hire.
My other projects, (my creative writing and eBay), have ground to halt and are on hold while I devote my entire attention to the bar.
I haven’t given up on these other ventures and will return to them when the bar business has stabilised.
My health has continued to be pretty good; I only had one brief period when the diarrhoea came back, and that was on a day of extreme stress for one reason or another, so I can now say for sure that my condition is definitely stress related, which is what the specialist has already told me.
It seems so strange that only a few months ago, I really was beginning to think my life was slowly grinding towards a painful and unsatisfactory conclusion; yet here I am, a new man, running around like someone half my age, managing a bar and playing ‘mine host’ for many hours every evening.
In case anyone is wondering; no, I haven’t touched a drop, nor have I been tempted. I’ve actually lost a bit more weight and my figure is getting trimmer by the day.
The only thing that has fallen by the waterside is my evening walk around the lake, but I will try hard to reinstate that, once I think the bar can do without my invaluable presence for a couple of hours, and when the humidity drops a little.
After more than three years of spending 95 % of my time at home, on my computer and watching TV, my daily life has been totally transformed and I feel like a new man. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime, I will try to enjoy it.
I’m going to be a long time dead….