Time for something a little bit different here on Stickboy, a story written and sent in by a reader about their experience in quarantine after returning to Thailand from the UK that I think is worthy of publishing.
INTRODUCTION – THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Brit. Vegetarian. Went back to the UK for XMAS. Tested positive for Covid (felt like a standard winter cold for a couple of days, nothing more). Not sure which strain it was. Self-isolated for the required period feeling completely normal. Tested negative in the 72-hour pre-flight window and fit-to-fly OK. Fit as a fiddle. Flew back from the UK and into quarantine.
In this tale, I won’t be naming the hotel nor any other facilities. The tales are 100% true but told with a British-type take on life.
PART 1 – A (WEEKEND) DAY IN QUARANTINE
Having trouble sleeping. Jetlag – yes of course but partly due to the idiot in the room above. The hotel is a sturdily-built older style near the river (the river part is irrelevant to the story but provides you, the reader with positional information) and yet I have to suffer his fitness routine which goes like this:
4 x per day, scrape all furniture along the floor, presumably to create space for his ‘gym’. Circuit training which involves skipping every 2 or 3 minutes for a minute. I hear the ‘tap’ of the rope followed by the thud of a great ape. Just how heavy is this guy? Goes on for 30 mins or so, gap, then the scrape of the furniture being replaced. Clearly, he’s not too strong otherwise he’d pick the f*cking stuff up!!
So last night I kept going until 10:30 or so then tucked in for the night. Maybe the pre-snooze choice of viewing – story of Caligula on Netflix – wasn’t the best, but by 11:30 I’m wide awake again. Why? Yep, Joe Wicks upstairs is fitting in a final routine. Scrape…..tap, thud, tap, thud, tap, thud. I’m lying there imagining him lying there in a writhing mess tied in his own rope, or maybe falling past my balcony have tripped over it. Sadly, neither happen. A final loud scrape of the table and he’s done. But no my friends, he clearly needs a bath after his exertions, and proceeds to fill it at a pace barely fast enough to register but which fills my room with the sound of running water sufficient to prevent sleep.
Back to sleep about 1:30, then awake at 2:30 for an hour, followed by – thankfully sleep until 8:30 when I woke with a start. Yep, Bonzo above has risen from his post-bath slumber and has turned into a furniture salesman again.
Being the weekend, arranged breakfast for the leisurely hour of 9am, that being the latest time of offer unless you want to go the room service route (THB 800+++ for full English, errr no ta). Fed up of eating out of the plastic trays they give you, so yesterday called up and asked for a plate. Given the shocked response you’d think I’d asked for carnal relations with the receptionist. I wasn’t giving in and, finally having promised not to try to return the plate (i.e. has to remain locked in my room), one duly arrived, so I moved my work stuff from the table (note to King Kong above, quietly moved) and set-up restaurant style. Decided to try the eggs today, serviceable but a tad cold. The hash browns were a disaster – never been a fan of them – but fried food delivered from the kitchen by 1 man who’s probably been to 20 rooms and doesn’t have one of those heated trolley things – just doesn’t work, trust me.
As I write, Steve Austin above must be on the sit-up part of his routine and the rope has fallen silent momentarily.
RANT – PART 2 (BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR)
My wishes going into Saturday were as follows: for Joe Wicks upstairs to trip up over his own skipping rope and fall headfirst into the river and for me to miraculously shed the pounds I have piled on during December pre-UK trip binging and the isolation in UK. Way too much booze and way too many carbs.
So, after my poached egg breakfast, I settled down with a book with the patio doors open to the balcony to allow the breeze to flow through. Yes, the tugs straining to pull whatever cargo they transport up and down the river are noisy, but my stomach is full and I’m getting to grips with the whole quarantine thing. Even planning on trying to break my record for the number of steps taken in a hotel room when the phone rings.
‘Meeester you’re test is positive and you need to leave to hospital do you want lunch’. What?, I’ve got 1 hour to pack up everything back into my suitcases, put the stupid blue plastic coverings back over my boaters and I’m escorted out, but not before I have to lift my own cases onto the concierge trolley thing.
I’m now in a personal van (isolation has started). It says ‘First Class’ which momentarily amuses me but I have to hang on for dear life while the madman driver horns his way down side streets whilst talking constantly on WhatsApp. Upon arrival, I’m told not to leave the van. The reason becomes clear when another post-apocalyptic being drags up a wheelchair and I have to leaver myself into it without touching the floor and he wheels me into my room via a lift. Signs are placed on the lift to deny entry in case someone tries to join us from another floor.
The room is stark. Tiny hospital bed, bathroom, but is private. They close the door without saying anything and sod off. Now what? A nurse comes, wants a blood sample. Why? Then a form to fill in which is mostly about where I’ve been (surely that was the point of all the pre-landing controls) and how much money I have. That sorted, she sods off too. Silence. Or rather not, there are 322 lanes of busy traffic right outside my (single glazed window).
4 hours later I get a Line message from someone’s personal account. Do I want any food and do I have any questions – yes & yes. They only have Thai food. My request to see a doc is summarily brushed away; they are either busy (no shit Sherlock) or gone home. Marvellous. Food arrives – tiny portion of pad thai, but just edible. Turn on the aircon – no!, it’s like having a World War 2 bomber in my room. Message the faceless Line person and I’m moved to room opposite. I have to move myself – doesn’t that defeat the whole object of quarantine?
The bed is pretty uncomfortable. And the pillow the worst I have ever had. I swear it has bricks in it. The are no blankets, just an outsized towel. I am not joking here. Sleep was almost impossible but finally went off at 4am, only to be woken at 7 for breakfast – just the knock on the door and run away routine. Bowl of cornflakes and, get this, jelly. Jelly as in kids jelly. Not jelly as in jam jelly. WTF. Haven’t bothered to eat it. Oh and some pepper.
Next knock and run is a pack of tablets. The writing is in Thai so I don’t know what they are. Shan’t be partaking of those.
Still no doc. Still no information. I wonder what my blood pressure was this morning.
So, back to the start of this story. I don’t have to put up with Joe Wicks any more and I am clearly on a diet so all’s good. This is Thailand. Happy days.
RANT – PART 3 (SAME OLD SAME OLD)
A long, dreary Sunday devoid of sunshine, wind, noise, fresh-ish air, reliable Wi-Fi, my mate Joe Wicks and edible food. Oh and TV, no English channels.
After Jellygate (which was left to melt and poured down the sink) lunch arrived in form of a Chinese soup in a plastic bag which was basically water laced with liberal amounts of MSG. Had about half of it and then proceeded to empty the fridge of water, me being more parched than a camel after a desert trek.
Dinner arrived 3 hours later in the form of yet another pad thai pak, only this one had a surprise ingredient – prawns. Dumped that outside, and requested the veggie version which duly arrived 45 mins later, stone cold and devoid of any veggies whatsoever. Cold, congealed noodles are not, and never will be, on my culinary wish list and are also dispatched outside with a flourish. Rummaged through my suitcase and knocked up a delicious pot noodle (bought in the UK in case the hotel food was rubbish – oh, little did I know). Dessert was a Club Mint biscuit, now rationed to 1 per day due to the current and forecasted menu situation.
The Wi-Fi is patchy at best. Keeps dropping. When connected it’s rapid, but the drops make working just too much hassle and I give up and return to my doggy jigsaw – a challenging beast it is. This is my 2nd attempt at it; the first being trashed after my 1 hour ultimatum to leave my salubrious premises for this sh*t hole.
A nurse appears twice a day to take my blood pressure, pulse and temperature. The routine is the same: she takes the above readings, says ‘no temperature, no fever’ to which I reply: ‘yes cos I’m not sick’ and we both have a jolly good laugh about it (that last bit isn’t true – there is no conversation – she just shuffles off).
After having been totally ignored all day, a voice appeared from an intercom thingy on the wall. ‘Allo Meeester how are you’. Me: ‘absolutely fine thanks (thinks about having a rant about the terrible food but for now decide to bite tongue). ‘OK the doctor can talk to you tomorrow about 9 or 10am, is that OK?’ Me: ‘Yes, I’m not planning to go anywhere’ and we have another jolly good laugh (you can make your own mind up if I’m telling the truth here).
And that’s it. Another day in the paradise island of Thailand draws to an ignominious end. It’s 7:20pm and I’ve run out of things to do. Briefly consider another pot noodle, but decide that’s not in the spirit of the enforced diet. Made my bed, that is moved the towel over the mattress so that it’s in-line with the shape of the mattress.
RANT – PART 4 (YOU AIN’T GOING NOWHERE BOY)
So could things get any worse, if you want to save time the answer is ‘yes’ and just skip to the end.
First the good news. My request for a new pillow was a resounding success – no rocks in this one. This despite them saying there is no point as they are all the same. Clearly not madam. Two other changes improved my sleeping a LOT – 2 extra towels (they are towels and not blankets) meant I could wrap one around my feet and stop it slipping off the slidey bed and I rigged up a contraption to cover the massive frosted window immediately outside of which is an arc light which would easily allow night-time work in a shipyard. 6 hours kip is 3 x what I got the night before. Result. Time to face the world.
Breakfast is delivered via the hit and run service and it’s…..friend rice. Groan. I am longing for just a piece of toast. Worse still, despite me opening the door as soon as I heard the knocker the deliverer had sprinted away, it was stone cold. Tried re-heating but still not pleasant. Trails of grease left on my spoon again. Decided to stick to coffee which thankfully I had the presence of mind to bring from the UK. Served in a washed-up disposable cup. No pottery here.
Blood pressure time. Normal as usual despite the hapless breakfast service. We had our usual giggle about my health of course. It’s great to have a laugh with the staff each morning. The man who is in the room across the corridor I vacated (the WWII engine repair shop) doesn’t look in a good way. Unable to get out of bed for his BP test. Grim. I hope you pull through fella.
My work called and asked if there was anything they could do. Yes, as it goes, remind them (a) I need to speak to a doctor and (b) tell them I want to move. Doc duly calls via the intercom and it goes like this: ‘how are you feeling?’ Me: ‘Good’. Doc: ‘any symptoms? Me: none. I did think of trying some smart-arse reply such as ‘my leg has fallen off but ‘tis but a scratch’ or having a rant about the food but think better of it. Figure she’s probably not in charge of catering and humour is not their thing. Doc tells me knows I want to leave and will look into it. With a click is gone. The intercom is 1-way – transmit only – so I have no way of re-starting the conversation and anyway I wouldn’t know who to ask for, unless they only have 1 doctor that is – like the BBC.
Mid-afternoon now and another person I’ve never heard of contact me by Line to introduce themselves and summarily shuts down any notion I may have had of getting out of Thai prison. ‘You cannot refer to another hospital, the Department of Defense does not permit it because you are infected with Covid’. DoD? My word, is it because I may go thermonuclear at any moment? The chat continues. ‘Can I”, I ask politely, ‘take another test’. There is a pause in comms, but the result is another ‘cannot’. Seems that even if I tested negative, they are still not going to let me go back to the hotel. They won’t even let me pay for another test. I know how Jim Carey felt now in The Truman Show. Physically I feel great, symptom-free. Have been since early Dec.
Not giving up and sensing that the opportunity given by the enemy finally putting their heads above the ramparts, I steel myself and enquire as the possibility of getting some decent grub. Cue various conversations over the intercom and an admission they’ve never had a vegetarian before, are not used to catering for Westerners and certainly not for grumpy ones (I made that bit up, but yes I am). I talk them through what a Western meal is, and tonight got pasta (lukewarm which for them is an achievement akin to the first summit of Everest) and some tomato-y sauce, resembling if I’m not wrong Heinz 57. Still, for a hungry man it was OK. Wouldn’t want it tomorrow though. Tomorrow’s breakfast (having explained what a vegetarian and / or westerner would eat) is an omelette. Technically omelette with soup, but I pointed out that soup is not to be served pre-lunch.
Decided to launch into the hotel. Why had the sent me to a place clearly geared up for locals more than tourists? Why, when I had book 5 star did they send me to a place that wouldn’t know good food if it fell on them? Or know an oven coming to that. And would they mind awfully giving me some money back given my insurance is currently taking a caning and paying for my current accom. I’ll save you the effort of reading further – no is the answer. Non-refundable and they have to disinfect my room blah blah. Like that will take 11 days. I have a good mind to call the hotel and ask to be put through to the room I stayed in so speak to the guest that is no doubt there.
So that’s it. I’m stuck here. Definitely the fittest person on this ward and, who knows, maybe the hotel. I hope the ladies come past again at 6am having a loud Thai conversation as I need the practice and I’m at my sharpest then.
Tomorrow I resolve to be happy (but I’ve got my fingers crossed just in case).
RANT – PART 5 (DAY 4 – COMING OVER ALL MICHAEL PALIN)
Over XMAS, I watched a documentary on one or other of the UK channels where Michael Palin re-visited his epic trip to the Himalayas. He has such a child-like outlook on travel and a wonderful way of describing it, which he often does in the present tense. I’m noticing that I have started to the same (the describing part, not the travel – that currently sucks big time) – see, I’ve just done it again.
Sleep was fitful last night, but I need to take a moment to reflect on this awful disease. I had only been asleep for about half an hour when I was roused from my slumber by the loudest coughing I have ever heard. Almost sounded like it was being done for effect and coming from inside my room; neither of which of course was true. Some poor chap was having a coughing fit, which was only briefly interrupted by the sound of female nurses attending to him and, for some reason, talking very loudly. I have a brief present tense Palin-esque ponder about how fortunate I am in real terms, but after that ponder and a totally unnecessary check of the news on my phone to find that nothing had changed much in the world in the 30 mins since I last checked-in, I find that in fact, I am now 100% awake, a situation that I also find is still very much in progress 2 hours later. Wondering if hunger could be the cause I launch into a bowl of Shreddies brought from the UK and saved for such a major emergency. The only milk I have comes from small cartons which come with a mini straw stuck to the side. I have no knife to cut open the top, so have to use the straw, hole arrangement to sort of squirt milk, mostly onto the cabinet but occasionally onto my cereal. Imaginary hunger now sated, and the poor chap’s coughing now under control, I snuggle under my towels for sleep until my alarm for work comes just as I enter the part where you get deep refreshing sleep.
I know when breakfast is about to arrive as there is a rising crescendo of noise which builds as the trolly moves along the corridor. I amuse myself by trying to match the volume of the totally unnecessary Thai chit-chat and trolley wheels and various rattles to their estimated GPS position on the floor. Stealth commandos these ladies are not. I’ve heard quieter bin men and lorries in the UK. Frankly, I’ve heard quieter community firework displays. I think they would give Donald Rumsfeld and his Shock & Awe routine quite a run for its money.
I was kind of looking forward to breakfast – not for the goodness and calorific intake particularly but to see what they would make of their first attempt at a western veggie breakfast. Boy, did they not disappoint. A luke-warm omelette (never a good thing, and containing something quite questionable as a filling) accompanied by ham and sausages, and a salad drenched in some white sauce. OK, so the at least the salad is veggie and on the plus side, they had clearly done a run to 7-11 as there were a couple of slices of the square white bread sold in said store, the one with zero taste or calorific value that is almost see-through. Bless their cotton socks for trying. And I mean that most sincerely folks (as Hughie Green once used to say). Was he one the 70s entertainers with…..err….questionable tastes? Can’t remember, anyway I digress.
There are a total of 8 light switches in this room. Each one controls just 1 light, but in a Thai Engineering / random particle generator sort of way, there is absolutely no logic in terms of which switch controls which light that I can see. Now that my jigsaw is finished I see this as my next mission – to work out the logic behind the design. I suspect the answer will be ‘that’ll do’ but I’m going to give it my best Stephen Hawkins and see what I come up with.
About 10am there is a knock on the door. Strange, as I’ve already had my morning BP check and banter with the nurse steadfastly remaining on the corridor side of proceedings. ‘All normal, healthy’, she says as usual. ‘Yes, that’s cos I don’t have Covid, I’ve already had it’ I reply in a jocular manner which she no doubt really appreciates but runs off quickly down the corridor just in case she’s asked to join in with audience participation. It’s the same twice a day but we never get tired of it. I will surely miss it when I’m released, perhaps I could pay somebody to knock on my door on a daily basis and do role-play for me. I wonder if she goes home to her partner after a long shift and talks in glowing terms of her star patient (and his shorts – see below).
Click, the intercom springs to life. Usual scripted 2 questions about my health and then ‘what do you want for lunch Meeester’. My reply – and it was polite – was ‘nothing thanks’. Click, gone. Oh well, I enjoyed my human interaction while it lasted. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s back-and-forth, cut and thrust of witty repartee with my unseen friend. For I do see the voice as my friend. Despite this, and at 1pm, the lunch I specifically didn’t want specifically arrived. Didn’t even both bringing it indoors.
Around mid-day there is another knock, and this one really is welcome. 2 bags of stuff purchased from Villa Supermarket and delivered right to my door by a nurse, via a ‘family member’ for that is the rule – deliveries only from family members – how much fun would sitting on the committee who dreamed up that nugget be? Croissant. Baguette. Hummus. Crisps and more. A real plate (denied here of course). Nail clippers, mouthwash, proper toothbrush. Oh, the unbridled joy. Lunch was pretty much all of the above, minus the nail clippers obviously. I never thought I would be so happy to see a crisp. Lashings of UK chocolate too.
Interesting comment relayed by the nurse who never talks to me and translated as: ‘we know he’s not sick but we have to stick to the rules’. No shit Sherlock.
Due to a major logistical error in the packing department on the outbound leg of this mammoth journey I have only been in possession of a single pair of shorts so these have been my constant companion for the 3,541 days I’ve been marooned here. A trusty companion that has started to show the signs of age and over-use it has to be said. So the inclusion of new, clean shorts in the red cross parcel was a delight to behold. I’m not sure yet whether to submit my old faithful friend to the washer (no facilities here), for cremation on the banks of the Ganges or mount him (for he is a he) on a plinth for prosperity.
RANT – PART 6 (DAY 5 – GOODBYE FAITHFUL SHORTS, HELLO STARBUCKS)
For those of you asking about the fate of my shorts, they are currently lying in rest. After a short (sic) but dignified ceremony they will be cremated this afternoon, their spirit to live evermore in the giant Uniqlo in the sky. RIP faithful friend, you have been a loyal servant. Once worn, never forgotten. OK, 10 times worn…..
Breakfast today was a non-event – literally. Nothing came. I can only surmise – quite rightly so – that they have concluded that I’ve already eaten my last mouthful of their slop. Surmise, as nobody actually called me to confirm the cessation of deliveries. They did, though, come to check my BP and temp as usual, a constant 36.3. Yep, that fever is-a-raging in my body. I didn’t take the friendly banter option today as I was in the middle of a conference call: ‘sorry, give me 2 mins folks I need to have my temperate checked’ maybe had them worried they had p*ssed me off. I’m sure she was disappointed at the banter-less visit but we still have this afternoon’s visit to put that right. A post-apocalyptic character took the chance to dart into the room’s bathroom to undertake what I thought would be a re-stock and clean. But no, she (I think a she, rather hard to tell) flushed the loo and left. I’m pretty sure I had flushed earlier, but hey, you can’t be too sure in these Covid times. Stay safe folks, flush those loos!
Momentous news. A deal was brokered and signed yesterday between the Red Cross and what I assume to be a friendly nurse which in terms of impact to the human race is akin to the accord which ceased the Arab-Israeli war and the Good Friday agreement rolled together. I transfer money to their account and a Starbucks coffee is delivered to outside my room in the morning at 8am. At 8:50, this came to pass. Small mercies. Small victories. They need to work on their timing, however. The goal of winning the war will remain unattainable unless just surviving until release can be considered as such a victory. Probably not come to think about it, as the hospital will still be standing, ready to welcome some other unsuspecting farang who will fail a less-than-perfect test and be wheeled – literally – to this very room. I hope whoever it is likes cold, tasteless food 3 x per day and their temp remains at 36.3. In humanity and Starbucks we trust. Continuing the war analogies and whilst I have established this beachhead, I’m thinking of expanding this treaty to include a further delivery for the afternoon to enjoy with my stash of UK choccies. I’m no longer on emergency rations in that department which is another major win.
On the subject of chocs, I had completely forgotten how nice Time Out bars are. Or maybe it’s just relative to the current environment. With a cup of tea. I may go for Cadbury’s Caramel bars in the next parcel – need to be careful though, don’t want to spoil the hospital-mandated crash diet.
Cutlery given here is a spoon and fork. White plastic, especially good for the environment, and wrapped in plastic.. No knife. Anyway, if you are ever at a loose end, try slicing a tomato with such implements. I think the choice of spoon and fork says everything about this ‘International’ hospital.
Lunch was offered – as in dumped outside a la Amazon delivery service in the UK (‘ring & run’) – and rejected. But it did come with a Slurpee (I think that’s what they’re called). Iced sweet drink – this one was orange – in a plastic container where the lid has a large hole in the middle for – presumably – a very large straw. They had removed the lid, covered the drink and cup in cling film, and then replaced the lid. Amazing. But even with the crap food, it’s a nice touch. Someone has taken the time to go onto the street and spend 15 Baht of my food allowance on this. Splendid. Not sure my dentist would agree though.
Whilst grabbing my Slurpee I notice that the room opposite is now empty. This is the room with the WWII bomber-esque aircon and the chap who wasn’t able to get out of bed. I hope he has either been discharged on moved to ear, nose & throat ward to repair his bleeding eardrums.
News of an ornithological nature now, and I can report that the corrugated flat roof just outside my window is in fact ground zero for pigeon mating in Bangkok. I believe the correct term is Genetic Assortive Mating but I stand to be corrected and probably will be.
Raise a glass to the dearly departed shorts.
RANT – PART 7 (DAY 6 – CAN HE FIX IT? YES HE CAN)
Lying awake for hours last night I did wonder if there would be any worthwhile material left to make a blog for today. I should have had more faith in my captors; they have delivered in spades. Bravo. So in the spirit of Terry Waite, I shall continue to defy my captors and write this blog.
Shorts may have passed on, but SoS (Son of Shorts) is in fine fettle, so long as I’m extra careful not to repeat the food spilling catastrophe which partly led to the demise of Shorts. If we go by human years, SoS is now an adolescent and tomorrow will celebrate manhood with a small but classy gathering over afternoon tea, given that booze is very much banned. I’m thinking one of these cake stands usually seen in smart London hotels and country houses, full of….err….cake. In reality, it is more likely to be a Time Out or Club biscuit.
Having logged on and started work, there was a 5 minutes complete interruption to Wi-Fi which, to be fair has been decent so far. Better than the hotel actually. Microsoft Teams (gotta love rich Uncle Bill) apparently can’t handle such an exception and promptly froze, prompting me to have to do a full reboot of laptop and VDI session. All this before coffee. That’s the wrong way around no matter how you look at it.
Talking of which, the underground hospital delivery network (UHDN) has fixed the timing issues related to yesterday and I’m supping my coffee watching my laptop reboot by 8am. Nice work team. Yesterday’s military-eque victories have seen me in confident mood to push further over the trenches, and stride across the battlefields, pushing as far as ordering an egg Sarnie with my morning coffee. That would be my lunch since we’ve agreed to no more slop deliveries apart from fruit. Delivery? Yes. Met client expectations? Resounding no. They had taken the sandwich, toasted it (yes toasted an egg mayo sandwich) and stuffed it back into the bag. Figuring that wouldn’t taste great by lunchtime, it became my breakfast. Now I am without lunch. Oh, the hammering they are going to take on TripAdvisor.
Sandwich finished, laptop rebooted, coffee located on table I’m ready for a 9am conference call. At 08:59 Bob the Builder decides to start taking up the concrete floor in the room above using (a) a jackhammer and (b) as far as I can tell a hammer. There was also a ‘tappy’ thing but I can’t imagine why they’d try floor removal with an HB pencil. I try audio through headphones (single ear, losing both the battle and will to live), via laptop speaker (forget that, it’s like an ancient cassette player v Metallica live). No choice but to get back onto the faceless Line account and, this is the nub of the request you will understand, tell them to shut the f*ck-up. 20 mins later I get a message that the Head of Engineering is involved and shortly after peace prevails….until exactly 11:30 when I can only assume that the negotiated armistice period ran out and mayhem returned. Nothing else to do but write this blog.
The usual nurse arrived for morning pointless health checks but there was a surprise in store. A team ventured into my room, kept me at more than arm’s length, changed the sheet – I mean towels – that had been on the floor where they had slid off overnight and flushed the loo. Here’s an interesting thing, I’m in complete isolation, but the door I have to open to get my BP checked and reach for food, doesn’t self-close despite having the contraption fitted. Talk me through that if you can!
In other disturbing news, the hotel, I mean the hospital has effed-up my insurance paperwork. They – for whatever reason – told the insurers that the reason I am here is for ‘rest, quarantine & isolation’ so the lovely people at the Insurers gleefully pointed at the exclusion for such treatment and told me to sling my hook and get my credit card out. Now this place isn’t cheap, cr*p yes, but cheap no. Messaged Ms Faceless: ‘what am I in here being treated for?’ Faceless: ‘Covid’. My Angry: ‘so why did you tell the insurance company it was for rest?’ Faceless: ‘oh sorry, sorry for everything’. They are now attempting to address this situation with – let’s be honest here based on track record – a very low probability of success.
I am minded of the penguins in Madagascar who, when in the sh * t mutter: ‘smile and wave boys, just smile and wave’. That’s been my go-to philosophy recently, but there hasn’t been much smiling today and the wave I gave the post-apocalyptic cleaners today may have come across as a little creepy.
Dinner tonight should be a real haute cuisine affair. I’m thinking Pot Noodle, and luckily I have a few varieties from which to choose. There is a coffee on order too, though that’s not included in the restaurant’s cover charge. Can’t wait for tomorrow to see what the Chef, Head of Engineering, Faceless Line person and The Gods have in the stores for me.
Part 2 coming soon…
My Week Off Was A Washout
I turned 50 last Monday and the plan was to work all day then, later on, celebrate with my missus and a couple of close friends before taking a few days off to relax and do something other than sit in front of the computer all day and night.
This plan was carved out on Friday night and Saturday morning.
All weekend I had my head down putting together a skeleton schedule on social media for my planned time off to keep things ticking over, just at a trickle.
Then on Sunday evening, the entire plan fell apart in one small but sudden movement.
I did my back in and the pain was excruciating.
Despite feeling like I was getting tasered every time I moved I cracked on with the social scheduling on Monday and went out as planned.
By Wednesday I could hardly move. I tried walking, laying down, heat pads, a massage thingy for your back… no dice.
A few packets of pills from the doc started to ease the pain but coughing or sneezing left me on the verge of passing out in pain.
Over the weekend with lots of pills and laying flat out on bed relieved things somewhat but what a wasted week.
I did nothing and went nowhere.
So here I am, back at my desk having had the longest period of time off since November 2019 when I flew back to Scotland for a few days and no better off.
One word sums up my week off – washout.
No Twitter, No Problem
Facebook is the dominant social media network with far more users than the likes of Twitter but with more users comes more rules and for Stickboy that has been an ongoing problem for the past 7 years.
In February 2020 Zuckerberg & Co pulled the plug on the original Stickboy Bangkok Facebook page that had gained 60,000 followers.
25,000 photos, 1000’s of videos and endless hours of work gone in the click of a moderators mouse – well, it is their site and their rules which I tried hard to follow but it was impossible with the haters and keyboard warriors reporting all the posts and AI technology used by Facebook incorrectly marking content as offensive.
This has made the new Stickboy BKK FB page rather dull and boring plus it isn’t as easy to share others content on the platform like it is over on Twitter where they are far more relaxed with their rules of what is and isn’t acceptable to post.
The problem is a lot of people aren’t interested in Twitter or just don’t get it so followers of Stickboy end up missing out on some great content and conversations shared on that platform that just isn’t suitable for Facebook.
As a way to give readers choices, I have published a page here on stickboybkk.com that lets you see my Twitter feed without the need to download the app and sign up for an account.
I have also done the same for the Stickboy Babes Twitter account that doesn’t exist on Facebook as the risk and chances of getting banned are far too high.
So there’s no need to miss out on any great content being shared somewhere you aren’t interested in or signed up for.
No account needed, read right here on the Stickboy website
FROM THE ARCHIVES: 5 Things Expats Love To Boast About
Bangkok is bullshit central as far as I’m concerned – it always has been and it always will be. It matters not where you work or socialise, your fellow expats in vast numbers tend to talk utter crap, usually about themselves.
There’s no stopping them and what I’ve listed below are only a handful of the things expats like to boast and brag about with 99.99% of it nothing more than a figment of their imagination.
If you are here in Thailand legally what difference does it make what visa anyone else is on?
Well, to some a great deal as it happens and anyone on anything they deem a “lower status” option than theirs shall be looked upon and treated like shit on their shoe.
Yet, many claiming to have their house in order are the ones disappearing over the border every three months… because they just love Cambodia so much.
Who They Know
Name dropping knobheads are everywhere and there’s no escaping them.
Do you know such and such? I bumped into blah blah the other day. Yeah I’m pals with the owner of XYZ.
My answer in these situations is always, “Nah, sorry I don’t know many people here” and to be fair, that’s a true statement. I don’t know many people here.
The chances of me knowing some guy who put on a show in an unknown venue located down a sub soi in the arse-end of Sukhumvit Road are about slight to none much the same as me knowing the owner of XYZ.
But they are super well known in Bangkok… well, I live under a rock with a tiny population and that’s just how I like it but good for you on having such a well-known and well-connected network.
They will talk to fellow expats in Thai and then pull a face when you don’t respond – we are both native English speakers you fud so what’s with the Thai?
Then we have those who “think” they can speak the lingo when at best they can tell the taxi driver left and right on the way home but that doesn’t stop them making a complete fool of themselves with their gibberish.
So you can speak some Thai, good on ya, but you aren’t alone, there are plenty of foreigners here who have put in the effort to learn the language but there’s a time and a place but chit-chatting to me in Thai isn’t one of them.
Wife / Girlfriend
Her heritage and social standing will be mentioned in the first breath of manure coming out their mouth about her being Thai-Chinese, or is it the other way around?
You will quickly be informed of how she is the only child of a super-wealthy hi-so family who owns half of Thonglor.
In their head this makes them believe they are superior to anyone foolish enough to date an Isaan native.
And what usually makes this funnier is they aren’t dating some super-rich chick at all but some wannabe WAG.
But why spoil the fun by pointing out the obvious? Let them carry on with their foolish fantasy.
Their Latest Money Making Idea
And the most important part of the title is “idea” because 99.999% of these dreamers who harp on about the millions they are going to make with their amazing money maker never ever get around to putting their big plans into action.
They spend all day, and night, talking and do absolutely nothing.
And it’s funny how they always need a “partner” to get it off the ground.
Right, Stick is outta here before we get to how long they have lived here, the millions they are earning a month, how much champagne they drink, the fantastic job they have, how successful they were back in farrangland… and please don’t let me ever meet another special forces guy.