Monday, September 30, 2013

RIP Chewy

It's been a very unhappy weekend at chez Penfold, as one of our pet dogs sadly died. The mutt in question was Chewbacca, affectionately known as Chewy.

Although he was very old, he had only been with us for 2 years. We adopted him, together with another dog called Yoda, from a rescue centre near Bangkok.

During the terrible flooding in 2011 countless dogs were separated from their owners and many people also rescued stray dogs that they encountered. Faced with such a large number of animals, the local government set up a temporary shelter at a place called Banpakong, on the outskirts of the capital.

We found out about shelter from the internet and paid a visit to donate some food and see if we could adopt any of the homeless dogs. Whilst we were there we were introduced to numerous dogs but we took a liking to Chewy and Yoda.

Very little was known about his origins or previous life. All the rescue centre could tell us was that he was found wandering the flooded streets and was approximately 8-10 years old. He was very malnourished, had a weak heart, arthritis in his back legs and extremely limited vision.

This is what he looked like on the day we brought him home.........
He was a dirty, smelly and cantankerous old thing and wasn't very fond of human contact.

But a few weeks of good meals and walks around the garden, he was rejuvenated and looked like a new dog.
Despite his poor eyesight and advancing years, he was adept at sniffing out his dinner and he had a way with the ladies!!!!!

He remained smelly and crotchety to his dying day but we were all extremely fond of him and he will be sorely missed.

RIP matey.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Snakes alive

You may remember the Hollywood movie "Snakes on Plane", but I doubt the inimitable Samuel L. Jackson will be signing on to star in the Thai version.........."Snakes in the Shitter".

 
((I am not the owner of the photograph above, nor do I hold its copyright. It is reproduced courtesy of testusatest.blogspot.com)

It transpires that this story has been bouncing around the internet for several years now, but it's only recently that it was brought to my attention. My wife stumbled across it, one evening, whilst browsing the web.

Here is a link to the blog that first featured the story.........

http://testusatest.blogspot.com/2010/05/meaning-of-picture-snake-in-toilet.html

What's more frightening than the venomous serpent dangling inches away from your bum-crack is the disgusting state of the toilet bowl.

You're more likely to get necrosis in your nut-sacks from the filthy porcelain than from a snake bite!!!!

You may think that this is reminiscent of a scene from a horror movie but it's a fairly common experience here in Thailand!!!!

The aptly named blogger "Missadventure" also stumbled across a snake in the toilet on the island of Koh Samet.......for the low-down please click on the link below.

http://www.missadventuretravel.com/koh-samet-thailand-theres-a-snake-in-my-bathroom/

And just to show I'm not exaggerating. Here is another story from Kanchanaburi province in Western Thailand.

http://malcolmandciejay.blogspot.com/2011/02/snake-in-neighbors-bathroom.html

I have encountered all manner of critters lurking in the darkest depths of my lavatory including hand-sized spiders, rats and toads but never a snake.

Although I'm fond of snakes, the idea of getting envenomated isn't particularly appealing. Since reading this story, every time I sit on the throne, I take the precautionary measure of cupping the crown jewels in my hand until I'm 100% sure there's nothing dangerous down there!!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rip-off Thailand - DO NOT visit the Pattaya Dolphin show

I'm a vehement critic of the Asian practice of double pricing and almost fell victim to it on a recent day-out with my wife and extended family.

We had decided to visit the Pattaya Dolphin Show, as it was an attraction that had not been to before. But, upon arriving at the ticket kiosk, I was informed that as a foreigner, I would have to pay 500 baht (about £10), despite showing my Thai driving licence.

Normally, upon producing your Thai driving licence at tourist attractions, national parks, museums etc you will pay the same rate as the Thais, which in this instance was 250 baht (about £5)

But, even with proof of residence, I was considered to be a tourist and worthy of being robbed. Why should pay double the price you cheeky thieving bastards?

The attitude of the clerk on the ticket desk was also extremely poor. When I asked why I was being charged twice the price she just said "farang pay more" and upon showing my driving licence she said "cannot do, cannot do". After telling her that the pricing structure was daylight robbery and I would not be paying to watch the show, she simply said , in true Thai style......."up to you mister". To which i replied, "you're right you ignorant peasant, it is up to me and I will take my business elsewhere" and I also politely suggested they re-name the attraction to the......."thieving toe-rags" dolphin show. 

Instead of treating me with due respect and consideration and by attempting to fleece me, they not only lost my custom that day and the potential for any repeat business, they also have to deal with the negative publicity.

I have informed all my friends and acquaintances about the dreadful experience and I would urge all holiday-makers and expats to AVOID the Pattaya Dolphin Show like the plague!!!!  

I would also ask my readers to pass on the information to their friends and families, so no unsuspecting visitors get ripped-off.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What were you thinking?

I am constantly lambasting the Thais for their stupidity and lack of common sense, but this time the flip flop is firmly on the the other foot. 

Khun Somchai looks like an Oxford Don next to the hapless Isabelle Brennan, the English backpacker who was recently mauled by a tiger on a trip to Thailand.

(I am not the owner of the 2 photographs above, nor do I hold their copyright. They are reproduced courtesy of Featureworld.co.uk) 

Miss Brennan, along with her sister and a friend were one week into their "trip of a life time", when she almost became lunch for one the feline denizens of Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yanasampanno, better known as the Tiger Temple Sanctuary, in Kanchanaburi.

Young Isabelle was one of many visitors who take part in the activities of washing, walking, petting and posing for photos with the tigers.

Yes, you read that right, petting a tiger!!!!! Jesus, Mary and Jospeh, that's just asking for trouble!!!! Did she not think it might be dangerous when she was asked to sign a waiver before entering? Despite being a student at the renowned UCL (University College London), she appears to have her brains wired to her backside.


The full story can be read by clicking the following link......   

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2407513/Student-19-mauled-400lb-tiger-Thailand-popular-tourist-attraction.html


This is another example of somebody underestimating the dangers of travelling in Thailand and not taking the right precautions. Admittedly, i's very easy to do when you're in a relaxed, holiday-orientated frame of mind and enjoying the delights of a tropical paradise.But, if you lower your guard in Thailand, your life can be over in the blink of an eye.

Isabelle herself admitted that she was very lucky and despite being scarred for life things could have been a lot worse!!!

The general rule of thumb when travelling  is to ask yourself the question "Would I do this in England?" and if the answer is no, then why would you consider doing it in Thailand!!!!

Isabelle has learnt this the hard way and I'm sure it's a lesson she won't forget in a hurry!!!!!!