Wednesday, 2 November 2011

My Trip to Thailand Typecast, Oct 2011

This will probably be a long post, folks. I'm putting it up so that I can refer to it years from now when I've forgotten what I actually did on this trip.

While the idea of bringing a typewriter with me and posting 'dispatches' here was good in theory, I soon realised that it might impinge on what was meant to be a relaxing holiday with the family.

Plan B was to perhaps find a cheap typewriter in Thailand and use it there before maybe mailing it back home or returning it to the seller (without expecting a refund. Call it a rental.), but we landed in Bangkok on a Monday so we had therefore missed the famous week-end markets where I'm told you can buy virtually anything.
Ahh well, there's always next time.

So anyway, I bought a cheap faux-skine A5 sized notebook and decided to keep a journal of the trip that I would later transcribe onto this blog via typecasting. This also gave me a chance to do some long writing on various typewriters of mine. This was a good exercise, because it allowed me to really road-test these machines properly. As such, I have decided that my Imperial Good Companion 5, while a nice typewriter to use, doesn't do anything that my Olympia SM2 and Remington Quiet-Riter can't do. So, it looks like I'll be putting the Imperial on eBay sometime soon.
I also carried a small pocket-sized Moleskine notepad in my back pocket at all times for jotting down notes and such.
I've transcribed directly from the journal and I've noticed that my writing flits between past and present tense depending on what I did, and what I was gonna do. I've left it exactly as I wrote it, in the interests of confusion.

So if you're staying for the duration, thrill-seekers, put the kettle on, pour yourself a stiff one, smoke 'em if you got 'em, and away I go...

A work colleague of my wife would be looking after the house and cat while we were away. We fed Her Ladyship and left her on the couch. As were we leaving, she was nowhere to be seen in the lounge room. We were wise to her tricks, however. A quick look in the bedroom and...

We arrived ten minutes ago. The Concierge told us our room would be ready at around 7:30!
Still, the view was nice.

View from our room at the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld, Bangkok, Thailand.

First tuk-tuk sighted.

Me among the crowd. Out of respect, I had my arms and legs covered. Not sure if they're as stringent about this requirement as they used to be.

I don't know what this said, but it looked beautiful.

Detail of the Golden Palace, showing the gold leaf tiling.

We ate at this place back in 1999. Nice to see that it's still there.

taste savoury, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they tasted like doughnuts! Very nice. And, they were served in a recycled office document of some kind.  I should have eaten more of them, but the kids were getting restless from the heat, so it was time to keep moving. 

It was our last night in Bangkok and I tipped like the millionaire that I'm not. 
The service at this hotel was excellent. And that's coming from someone who did 22 years in hospitality.
Earlier in the day, we went to a bookstore called B2S Books and I snagged a copy of a book on Gil Elvgren's pin-up girl paintings from the 1940s. I almost bought this book on eBay last year, but it was selling for about forty bucks. Here in Bangkok, I got it for fifteen. I also bought some Waterman's blue-black fountain pen ink. Back in Oz, it would have cost $15.oo a bottle. At B2S, I paid $5.78. So I bought three, as well as some packets of ink cartridges.
Despite how hectic the traffic could look in Bangkok...

...I didn't see one accident, heard no screeching of tyres or blaring of car horns. And, if road-rage exists here, then it's done very quietly.

And the skywalks positioned above the roads meant that you could walk one end of a busy street to another without being at ground level.

Not sure if this photo really captures just how wonderful this resort looks. Nestled between the huge rock formation and the shore off the Andaman Sea.

Yes, I know we had a whole ocean within spitting distance, but we spent most of our time in the pool.
We hung a towel off the railing of our room so that we knew which one it was for the photo.

My wife had asked me if I wanted to go out to Phi-Phi Island ,where the Bond film "The Man With The Golden Gun" was filmed in 1974. I declined because I had a perfect view of a similar rock formation from the beach. Besides, it was a Roger Moore Bond film, anyway.
Here is the jetty where the boat would drop us off every day. The jetty was a series of hollow plastic blocks linked together. It would ripple when the waves came in.
Not that my kids were worried by this.

The Monkey Trail as it runs along the beach. (Monkeys Sold Separately).

I didn't see this one until she got real close. Pretty nifty the way I can jump out of my shoes like that. Then I thought she was gonna swipe 'em.

We never managed to take a ride in a long-boat. Next time, perhaps.
One of the main streets in the town of Ao Nang. I'm not used to seeing mountains as a backdrop to a street with a Starbuck's in it.

The...uh...'driver' sits on the elephant's head and issues gentle commands.

That elephant was very delicate in the manner in which it took the banana from my hand.

The trunk felt like old dry leather. Very noble animals with a certain dignity to their movements.

"Ooh, aren't they cute?", my daughter exclaimed. Eeeww. They looked like open handbags...with eyes. Still, I suppose they're one of God's creatures, but man!

Yep, all that's missing is the toe tag. It took me a few minutes to figure out that some of the blue pigment had come off from the inside of my shoes and stained my feet. Not their finest hour.

BUSTED!!! Those were MY peanuts, buddy!

When I regained consciousness and asked her about it later, she said; "Well, I'm here. It's my holiday, and I may as well have a try." The Jumping Snakes aren't venomous, but their bite reputedly hurts like hell.

Yes. That's right. 'For keep company.'

Three cobras with flared hoods watching his every move while some Lady Ga Ga track blares from the speakers off-stage (that alone would make me wanna bite somebody)...

...all within striking distance, and easily able to eject blinding venom into his eyes...

...but I'd say a few of these serpents think he's a righteous dude.

But he wasn't always so lucky.

It's not just a snake show. These fellows also supply hospitals throughout Thailand with venom for the production of anti-venoms. And if you're bitten by a snake while you're in Krabi or Ao Nang, this place is where you'll be brought to for emergency treatment.

No, I don't have any peanuts. Remember? You ate 'em all yesterday.

My son samples the potato twist. On the table sits a bowl of mini spring rolls. Should've done this earlier.

A Roy Lichtenstein..uh..homage. For sixty bucks. Getting it framed will cost me three or four times that much. If I'm lucky.

I must've been looking back for quite a while, since my wife had enough time to get the camera out of her bag and take this snap.

Mind you, this is what I saw every afternoon. Maybe that's one reason why I was looking back.

My daughter catches some sea spray as the sun sets.

Last landing at Nopparat Thara Pier...for a while.

I have to say that Thai Airways were a pleasure to fly with.

Ten days in my back pocket.

But I don't want to end this post with a picture of a butt-moulded notebook, so here's a poorly taken iPod photo, but the colours are nice;

And one last pic...with a wristwatch in it.

To the three of you still here, thanks for reading!


  1. I'm still here. Amazing holiday post! I like your innovative scans.

  2. OK, skipped through this too fast - there's so much! Looks like you had a great trip. Some neighbours of ours are heading back to live in Thailand - I can see the appeal. I'll come back later and READ everything. Another great looking post. Especially the peeping tom monkey.

  3. Great travelogue, Teeritz! Thanks for sharing your Thai adventure with us.

    Glad you're not in Bangkok now, you would have needed an amphibious tuk-tuk and a waterproof Skine. Some of your pics brought back Bangkok memories. And looking at those cool Krabi pics, I'm having beach envy!

    Faux Liechtenstein, yay. Looks awesome.

    By the way, it just dawned on me that with an alias like Teeritz and surreptitious pics featuring your back, your nape, and your feet, you could actually be Spiderman. C'mon, do a reveal of your secret identity at least once. Lol

  4. *four* of us! :D

    Glad you had a safe and enjoyable vacation in Thailand - I'd heard about the flooding and had a stray thought or two about how that would be affecting you. Sad that you didn't find a nifty writing machine there, but you sure brought back some great memories and a fine stack of attractive Centara Grand Hotel letterheads (:

  5. Since I'm immersed in NaNoWriMo along with everything that usually fills my day, I haven't had the time to read all the typecasts, but much enjoyed looking at them and the photos. I lived in Thailand for a few months in 1990 and these images bring back many memories. Thanks!

  6. Great travelogue! So much better than the slideshows of old. I like the non-linear (nice way of saying ripped) typecast sections. Believe it or not, your handwriting is more legible than mine.

    I've read portions, skimmed some and will go back and read more. What a great family vacation.

    One last thing: we envy your meezer, and an applehead at that.

  7. Phew! Made it to the end. Noble of you to share your holiday like this - I think typing up after the event was a wise decision. Pen and paper isso much less intrusive on the experience yo are supposed to be having - especially those you were sharing it with. And like you say, you got the best of both worlds when you gave your typewriters a workout back home. I'm begging you, on behalf of the unsung heroes of Kingston upon Hull, keep the Imperial.

  8. Epic post! Beautifully-photographed typecasts, as usual, and that letterhead is very nice too.

    As you can see, quite a few of us read through to the end. The scenery looks wonderful, sounds like you chose the perfect resort.

    That snake bite photo is not pretty; I never want to be in striking distance of one of those things.

    So monkeys really do like peanuts... *stores away for future reference*.

    Traffic in Bangkok looks rather modest compared to Accra... however those skywalks are pretty nifty! Great idea.

  9. Thanks for the kind words, folks. I kept putting off writing this post because I knew it would be a long one, but it was great fun using the various typewriters. The '46 Smith-Corona Sterling is bullet-proof.

    @ machinengeschreiben, thank-you. I'm glad you liked the scans. They were beginning to get complicated.

    @ I dream lo-tech, I WISH I were Spiderman! My favorite Marvel hero. Gwen Stacey and Mary-Jane looked really cool in the comics that I read in the mid '70s.

    @ Ted, yes I have to say that we experienced no major mishaps or illness on this trip. And I felt very safe in Bangkok.

    @ Richard, thanks for taking the time to stop by. I'd forgotten that NaNoWriMo was underway.

    @ Dwayne F, thanks buddy. I had to Google what the hell a meezer and applehead were. And don't you worry about Madame Furball (this cat's got SO many names), I'm thinking of giving her a regular column here. If you want to read her shocking true story, I wrote about her here in June. The Gods smiled down on me the day she arrived. The pest!

    @ Rob, Oh man, don't do this to me. I'm a sucker for unsung heroes. And I live in the council of Kingston (who would've guessed?).

    @ Adwoa, yes, the letterheads just looked so...'pleasant'.
    The snakes, well...there's another photo of my wife sitting in a cage with a nest of pythons piled on top of each other. The cage was about as wide as your average dining table. I always knew she was crazy for marrying me, but now...
    The peanuts were salted, too, but monkey scoffed them down without stopping. If I were better prepared, I would have poured him a beer to go with them. But he looked like he was in a hurry.