TAWANDANG night club, a few streets away from the house became our regular haunt where we saw live bands and had food and drink until late.

Our pre-wedding (stag/hen) party would also be held here, plus the April leaving party.

We ( me! ) had several restaurants that became regulars, including one that had a live group playing music. In the end I was a familiar face and on “speaking” terms with them. By that I mean, smiling, waving and nodding because neither side spoke the other’s language.

I think one time we went to the night club, the music was so loud I was partly deaf for a while.

Music is a universal language and despite not understanding the language, it is possible to enjoy it.

RIGHT: This photo was the time that we went with Tad’s sister and boyfriend of the time, called “gloy” (translates to “bananas”).

I had told Tad that I was interested in seeing some of the magnificent temples in and around the area.  I think we managed about a dozen in the month I was there.

It’s the same here in the UK, we don’t really visit the local tourist spots so my requests to visit places were often seen as strange but nevertheless every one enjoyed it once we got there.

I had a weird experience while celebrating Christmas eve.  As a family we’d gone to the local event where we had food and drinks while listening to the band in front of the shopping mall, Central Plaza.

Considering I was still not good walking I staggered across with Tad to the huge light covered Christmas tree for photos taken by her brother.

As we posed for photos two strangers (men) came over and flashed official ID cards saying they were from Immigration and Home Security.  

They asked me in English if I was OK and was I “with” the couple voluntarily? I explained she was my partner and he was her brother and the rest of our group were over on the table (I pointed).

They said they did random checks on foreigners to see if they’re okay and safe.

I must have really looked vulnerable or stupid, or both especially as I staggered about!

ABOVE: a nice photo of us


RIGHT: the Christmas eve party outside Central Plaza Mall.


BELOW: In Tad’s house/courtyard having food

RIGHT: sisters are doing it: Wiyada, (me), Tad and Nuttakarn and the food after giving out the Christmas presents!


BELOW: Pakorn (Nuttakarn’s husband), left, and Tad’s brother Angee.

DECEMBER 2014 - SECOND TRIP TO THAILAND

So the lightening fast 28 days included trips to various malls, the Christmas market, the various temples near and far, zoo and water park and all sprinkled with family and eating.

Food plays the same important talking point as the British weather, and as a focal point for sharing and discussing. Obviously, thai food is for eating and boy is it just yummy!

Tad’s sister and boyfriend invited me and Tad to drive down to Phuket for new year, which was 1,279 kilometres taking over 20 hours.  We  left late on 30th December with the intention of spending new year plus a few days in this tourist resort.  We finally did make it by the following late afternoon, but because no one could find the hotel, we had to get a different one.  It was reasonable and local to the main party street always named “walking street” for some reason.  Anyway, the boyfriend hit us with some news; we would have to go back on new years day, as someone had died and he was needed back home.

Between you and me, I never really enjoyed the stay because of stuff that went on between the sisters and their friend who was already there. It created a bit of an atmosphere and later on in the hotel an argument, which is difficult when you don’t speak the language.  Besides that,  I did not enjoy Phuket because it is so touristy, and doesn’t show foreigners in the best light.

On the journey home I persuaded them I should share the driving, to save the boyfriend doing it all, but also negating the need to stop for hours as we had done on the way down.  The meant we were back very late on new years day having set off after breakfast.

Next time, if there is one, for the sake of sanity I’ll go by plane…it is only 3 hours!

At the end of the holiday period we planned to go to Bangkok and get all the legal paperwork sorted that would make us properly together.  It was the same process as the marriage registry system in the UK but a lot more complicated in the paperwork department. Through the agent we employed a professional who also spoke English and was based in Bangkok.  After driving the hire car down to Bangkok (about 8 hours, not including getting lost in Bangkok) and finding the hotel the agent recommended, we checked in for two nights. Next morning, the first thing to do was go to the British Embassy and get a legal paper showing my marital status, for which I had to bring divorce certificate and other stuff.  

We had to wait for the stuff to be completed, after which a trip to a translating service to get everything put into Thai. We then had to return to the traffic jams of Bangkok (I wasn’t driving, although it was my hire car). We then proceeded to the register office were the final pieces of paperwork were done and both of us signed the forms when required.  I saw there were quite a few couples waiting, each mostly had helpers to do the complicated bits.

We had to leave next day for the airport for my flight home.  We arrived at the airport eventually, driving around and around trying to work out where the hire cars are returned to. By a process of elimination and a phone call I found that it should go to arrivals.  A long story short, the car was returned… Plenty of time spare, but it was prudent that we had left when we did.

I had to say good bye to Tad 8 hours before my flight because she was going home by plane via domestic departures.  So, a very emotional hug as a married couple, we said goodbye and went our separate ways.

My plane wasn’t departing until much later and she’d be home well before I even take off

NOTE:  Special Assistance is FREE as far as I know in Bangkok airport. Tipping is at the discretion of the passenger and I usually give 50-100 baht.  I had booked in for my flight and was taken to the gate by a special service agent, who wear distinctive uniforms and badges/id.  The guy seemed a bit “odd”, couldn’t place it, and had been assigned I presume through the normal channels.  At the gate, because I was very early, there was no one about.  In broken English he practically demanded a fee.  I got my 100 baht out, assuming he was asking for a tip, which would be rarely done but not totally unusual for Thais.  I was taken aback when he looked at the 100 and said, no, 200 baht!  I was shocked but nevertheless paid him the 200 baht that I luckily had left.  He was writing stuff down at this point. He “said” he would come back at midnight and left.  As the gate opened I made my own way down the ramp and as far as I could tell, no one came back for me. Now when I go to Bangkok I look at every guy in the hope I could recognise him!

LEFT: this temple was gigantic and at the top of a hill. If you feel fit, you can walk up the steps or you can do what I did and drive.  Tad decided to walk down them, so by the time I had driven down I still had time to watch her arriving and take photos…

ABOVE: while seeing  Graham we went back to the noodle bar that we had our first date!

BEST INVESTMENT ever was TOM TOM for android, Thailand maps.  Plus I also used GOOGLE MAPS for some of this journey.