Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bangers is the new New York

Yesterday was all the emotional shit, today it’s the cool stuff.

By now you will have gathered I love Bangkok, well here are some of the reasons why…
View from balcony.
I seriously can not rave enough about this hotel. Every detail. The restaurants, the food, the bars, my room, the service, its location, the gym (yes, I went 4, I repeat 4, times) – just everything about it. They just made everything so easy and anything I asked for they took care of, all with a smile. The staff were just beautiful. By about Day 4 where ever I went in the hotel they seemed to know my name. They have this beautiful Tower Club that has complimentary drinks and food between noon and 6 – they knew my name first. On my birthday I came back from a day out and there was a chocolate birthday cake in my fridge. I could’ve cried with JOY. Thank you Lebua.

Did 6 massive shopping centres, and then my two favourites twice. There is nothing you can’t buy in Bangers and I bought at least one of each. My absolute fav centre had two floors of local designers. Besides the issues I had with local sizes – a Thai large is a snug fit on me - I stocked up big time! All up I got something like 3 shirts, 2 jumpers, 5 t’shirts, 2 shorts, 2 scarves (one with a nautical motif), 2 wallets and 4 pairs of shoes. Not bad at all. But the biggest and the best purchase was my little birthday present to myself… may I introduce my new boyfriend, Louis! From the Louis Vuitton store at Emporium, my No. 1 of shopping centres.

The food was so good I kept taking pictures of my meals – I am practically a Japanese tourist. Did not have one bad meal the entire time. OMG I love a curry and the Thai’s do a very lovely curry. The best was a chilli crab curry, so good I believe it changed my life. Wasn’t very brave when it came to buying food on the side of the road, which is how so many of the locals seem to eat. Well that’s what I thought until I stumbled on the worlds biggest food court in the shopping district that had enough people in it to fill the MCG.

Everything about Bangkok is about the senses. Its one big giant overload of all the senses. The smell of the streets can make you gag one minute, swoon the next. They love their food and will set up a cooking station just about anywhere. Every second store offers massage. I thought this was just a tourist thing but then I went out to the suburbs and it was no different. It’s a city so crammed with action there is always something catching your eye. Everything is about the senses in Bangers. I absolutely felt obliged to have a massage every day – 3 full-body, 1 back and shoulders, 1 scalp, a beautiful manicure and a foot massage.

Just so friendly and lovely. And I love how Bangkokkers are so entrepreneurial. They will set up their little business doing just about anything, just about anywhere. I know this is driven by the widespread poverty, which can break your heart at times, but you gotta respect their willingness to make the most of everything. I saw quite a few men and woman who’d set up as a tailor on the edge of the road. There was one guy, a locksmith, who’d set up his business on the edge of a frantic intersection – with a full lathe. Now you’ve got to respect that!

It’s probably very wrong to go from talking about the poverty to the strength of the Aussie dollar, but I did try to do some good with it. I found I was doubling the price of things when it came to paying because for me it was the difference between $3 and $6, but for them it was so much more. You can live very well in Bangers on our dollar, and how I made myself feel better about that was to spread as much of it as I could. Cab drivers were my favourite, so appreciative. You can live very well and still make a subtle difference (without being completely patronising…)

So after a week I feel like I could be a very good Bangkok tour guide. Well I know all the best shopping and the best hotel in town. I also know where to find an amazing curry. The rest in Bangers takes care of itself.

I love Bangkok. It’s why I’m calling it the new New York.

Phew! Finally got all that Bangkok-love out of my system. Tomorrow, St. Murphy will be back to its boring old self.

Thanks for indulging me.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just a table for 1 thanks.

I’m having a lot of trouble writing this. This is the fourth time I’ve started this post. Normally this blogging thing comes quite easily to me but this one has been a real struggle.

I absolutely loved my little holiday in Bangkok, loved it so much it’s hard to put into words. I know why I loved it but its kinda tough sharing. It was momentous on a quite a personal level (yes, I know how wanky that sounds...). It’s not just the city itself, which is truly amazing, but for me I made two huge breakthroughs, which has left me on top of the world.

Without really knowing it was weighing heavily on me, I realised while I was away that I am going to be absolutely fine on my own. It’s only been a few months since ‘the break-up’ and I thought I had been doing really well. But I arrived in Bangers and had a bit of a meltdown the first few days…

“What the fuck have I done? Why did I think I could do things like this on my own?”

This culminated in me waking up on my birthday filled with absolute dread that I was spending the day on my own and the only conversations I would have would be with shop assistants and waiters.

Thankfully I checked in on Facebook and Twitter which made me feel so special – thank god for social media. Then I got all depressed again that I was so far from home and alone on my birthday, which ironically was actually the whole purpose of the trip.

“What the fuck were you thinking Steven? Why did you think you were up for this?”

Bolstered by the b’day messages the day turned out to be very cool and for the first time I did a Table for 1 restaurant booking. (By the end of the week I was very, very good at this! In fact I did it every remaining night.) Got myself suitably drunk for my b’day while trying to decide if I should go out to celebrate - did my head in on this one. Eventually fell asleep watching bad American sitcoms.

Woke up next day and was stupidly sad. Nothing worse than an empty king size bed when you are feeling sorry for yourself. Then still not sure from where, I got it in my head that if I’m going to be on my own than I really need to be ON MY OWN. For the last few months Twitter, Facebook and this blog have been my crutch to get me through. You are never alone when you are on social media. All those nights I’d spent physically alone at Man Pit I was surrounded by friends online. I needed to stop using my crutch. A self-imposed social media ban was the answer! Strangest thing, as soon as I made this decision my holiday became even more of a beautiful, wonderful thing.

I got high on feeling so independent and in control, and from feeling happy just being with me. I think this was the first time in a very long time.

“I can do this and I can have a fabulous time on my own.”

I suddenly felt so empowered. I also finally understood that I could do exactly what I wanted when I wanted which was very cool. More importantly, I also stopped feeling like I should be doing things just because I could or should – my second breakthrough! Just because you are on holidays doesn’t mean you need to cram it full of experiences. Even though you have an idea or plan in your head, if it’s not what you feel like doing than you shouldn't feel you have to. This has been a problem for me my whole life and it’s usually when I get myself into trouble. Hopefully not anymore.

So besides the amazing shopping, the beautiful food and the gorgeous people; Bangkok was so special because I feel it gave me more control of my life than I have ever had before. I feel very grown-up. I have a smile from ear to ear. I would never have guessed that being alone could do that. I feel like a light has been turned on in my head. After being surrounded by people and relationships my entire adult life you can hopefully understand why this is momentous for me. It’s certainly not a re-invention of the wheel, many will think me ridiculous, but for my personal experience this is a huge breakthrough.

“I am going to be absolutely fine on my own.”

** First person I spoke to about all this shit was my Ex. He's a good man. If anyone was going to understand it was him, and of course he got it completely.

** This one's all for me today so I've turned off the comments section. xoxo

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Lady-boy tried to sell me a fake iPad...

Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me. 
Happy Birthday to Fat Old Bastard, 
Happy Birthday to me.

Oh dear. 39. But before we go down that celebratory path I first need to cover off yesterday. (I always write this blog the night before it goes up so it’s not yet my B’day as a type.) I went shopping yesterday. But not just any old sort of shopping. I went BANGKOK shopping!

The first thing I want to show you is this beautiful all in one denim jumpsuit.! And before I hear StylingYou scream out in pain, I also need to say I didn’t buy it. The only reason I didn’t was because they only had one left in stock. The only way I could’ve seen this little creature working in my wardrobe is if Mrs Woog also had one and they were for Sunday afternoons with a Belvedere in one hand and the Foxtel remote in the other. Also it was rather expensive, especially by Bangkok standards.
Mrs Woog????
I trolled for a while through MBK where the rip-offs outnumber the originals. Seriously, how do they get away with such blatant breach of trademark laws. It is good though for cheap shit that you know is gonna fall apart in 2 weeks – I bought 3 t’shirts for $16 AUD. But by the time I got to the technology section I was completely confused. I had a Lady-boy try to sell me an iPad but I couldn’t work out who was the bigger fake.

The next shopping centre was much better. Found my new favourite store in the world. It’s called Loft and it is just jam-packed for of quirky, cool, funky, kitsch shit. I could have spent $1000’s just in the stationary section. I found a stunning leopard print hardcase for my laptop – not appropriate at most meetings though. Also had fabulous homewares, but I had my 32kg bag limit to consider. Oh well, I love you none-the-less Loft.

Found all these kooky local designers all up on the top levels of the next centre who did some very nice stuff. But, alas, when Thai’s are designing for their fellow countrymen their idea of a Large does not fit a middle-aged ‘healthy’ Aussie guy. Literally nothing fit me, certainly not anything remotely tailored. I guess they think tourists would be to lazy to climb the stairs to Level 6.

Weird shit just happens in this city. Hard to explain but so much of it just doesn’t fit together. Like when I found at the top of a shopping centre a full ice rink! Tonya Harding could have trained here right in the heart of sweltering, balmy, humid Bangkok.

Or like one centre over, more even weirder shit. They still have a Sizzler. Well that’s lunch taken care of (jokes, I ate local).

Then the sky opens and rght there before your eyes is Siam Paragon, a shopping mecca. Now (I think) this is the high-end centre for all of Bangers. Its massive, and beautiful. Has all your usual designer elite as well as a massive department store. As much as I love and deserve to shop at Hermes, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry, my little wallet can’t take the heat.

But I did find some brilliant local stuff in the Thai Designers section of the department store. There was some amazingly cool stuff. And most of it was relatively loose fitting (and this is where I found the denim jumpsuit). Perfect. Snapped myself up two gorgeous loose, light, kinda weird knits… I adore them! And very cool pair of khaki shorts for upcoming summer cocktails.

Also throw in a shitload of underwear and all up a very productive day. Of course I was exhausted so booked in for another massage, after all, I am on holidays. You know how yesterday I was telling you I had a woman literally throw me around the room by the torso, well today I had a man. I actually lost track of where my head was at one point when he performed a similar move. Must be a Thai thing…

Tomorrow... What does one do when alone in Bangok for their birthday????

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Made it safely!

First of all, I have a huge issue with the Ex! All those years of him obsessing over Schapelle Corby (and subsequently why I know him as Aschapelle) reared their ugly this morning when, while travelling on my own for the first time, I went into complete meltdown that someone had smuggled illegals into my bag. I even bought locks at the airport! That 9 hour flight gave me plenty of time to fret, stew, analyse and ultimately grieve for the life I was about to give up in a Thailand prison cause someone had smuggled drugs into my bag.

I don’t care what anyone says… Schapelle Corby has ruined south-east Asian travel for all Australians (whether she’s guilty or not!).

Of course upon landing I swanned through immigration and customs like the fabulous gay single middle-aged man wearing head-to-toe black and wool that I am. My driver even found me, I didn’t have to find him. By the time I was in the comfort of his plush car and he had dispersed his chilled water and fragranted moist towelette I was completely stress free and ready to put behind me the self-imposed mental trauma of the past 9 hours.

And then there is Lebua, my hotel. First of all, no requirement to stand at a check-in counter here. They pleasantly seat you on a chaise lounge and then the receptionist comes to you to check you in. Felt so glamorous I did an unnecessary hair flick. Now my room is larger than my apartment. Stopped myself from stepping it out but I am very confident. Lebua shits on Man Pit! Bvlgari in the bathroom, complimentary mini-bar, free internet… That alone ticks every box I am looking for in a hotel.

To ensure that the chilled water and towelette had sufficiently done the de-stressing I booked myself in for a quick ‘Soothing back and shoulders massage’ at Lebua. Jeee-susss! At one point she was on all fours on my back with her knees and elbows digging deeper than I thought was possible. To end she made me sit up and literally waved me around the room by the torso. Next time I will be asking for soft rather than medium/hard for the first time in my life in any sense.

A quick shower and a tending too of the giant scab I still have on my face – I am on now on high rotation with 4 different antiseptics / cold sore creams – before heading off to explore the famous bars at the hotel. Let me start at the less-glamorous one…
Note the sweeping staircase

I'm a bad photographer...

And the all-important, signature-Lebua bar, Sky Bar…

I think I shall be very happy here.

Of course by this point I am exhausted, what with the time difference and all, so I do what all Australians do when they travel in south-east Asia – I ordered room service Nasi Goreng.

Good night. Tomorrow… SHOPPING!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bangkok here I come!

I’m leaving on a jet plane (can’t remember how the rest of the song goes, only that line).

To quote another song… One night in Bangkok! Except I’m going for 6!

Heaven. I’m calling it my mid-year break, my escape from my birthday. The last 6 months have been a massive rollercoaster so a holiday was much needed. And no one wants to celebrate 39 when the big 4-0 Party is next year.

So why Bangkok? I love a crazy city and there is none crazier than Bangers. So dirty, smelly and crowded with fantastic shopping. Everything I want. Staying at a posh hotel and have nothing in the planning other than shopping and day spas. And food. Lots of food. And quite possibly a number of cocktails, especially at the hotel’s sky bar.

First holiday ever where I will be spending the entire trip on my own. Feeling very adult and mature about that. Not foreseeing any problems but I do think that I may tire of it a little by the time I dine by myself for the 6th night in a row. That is unless I strike up a friendship with an eastern European bachelor party, who knows.

So this weeks posts hopefully will be a little more interesting than normal. I do love an adventure. Bangkok is just the adventure I need.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is the well dry?

After yesterday’s excited post… crash and burn!

There are some days that the well is just dry. 

Actually, it’s not so much the well, but rather my head. I can not think of the next sentence, I do not think I have another sentence in me…..

Why… ???????......

Ok. I’ve got something. I’m tired – mentally and physically! It’s a combination of a huge work week and two sessions with my beloved personal trainer. Also throw into the mix I am in the final stages of a holiday countdown and everyone knows that can mess with your head.

Also throw into the mix I have bad hair. And I’ve still got a bung knee from my dramatic drunken fall at the Imperial near 3 weeks ago. And I’ve got a giant scab on my face that neither Zovirax or Betadine will get rid of. Why is that? What could it be? I’m nervous I may have picked up a rare and exotic disease when I was splayed on the floor of the Imperial.

Do you know what else makes me tired. Voicemail. Voicemail exhausts me.

I’m tired of trying to remember that I now have two sets of keys.

Why is it not appropriate for middle-aged single gay men to wear head bands in public?

Vacuuming. Vacuuming literally sucks the life right out of me. (And that wasn’t even a sad attempt at a play on words, the carpet at Man Pit is filthy!)

Why can’t there be a giant flying fox between my work and my home? Surely this is not too much to ask.

Where’s my passport?????

I’m tired of being tone deaf.

I’m tired of being expected to eat from all five food groups each day. I can’t remember what the other four are.

I have four remote controls. Surely that’s excessive. No wonder I’m tired.

Sometimes I just stop in the street and pray to someone else’s god that Foxtel was available on my iPad.

Speaking of... Why doesn't the standard iProduct charger fit the MacBook?

It really is exhausting being as selfish as I am. No wonder I am tired.

Who can install a doogy-poo-bag dispenser in my kitchen???

Please Coles, Woolworths, IGA, Aldi or even BiLo can you open up with a 400m maximum radius of Man Pit?

Why the hell is Dolly Parton coming to Australia and why are people excited????

Ok, now I just think I’m bordering on ridiculous…

Worst case scenario… I even think I am tired of Law & Order! (GASP, SHOCK, HORROR!)

Need to go back and read that post on the homeless in my neighbourhood. That will snap me out of my whingey, whiney stupor.

Or I could watch porn.

Goodbye. Until I have something even remotely interesting to say.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

About to lose my blogging virginity!

I love blogging. One of the things I love most about blogging is other bloggers!

I’ve still got my training wheels on when it comes to this stuff but there has been one absolutely brilliant thing to come out of St. Murphy – becoming part of the blogging community. I can not believe how amazingly supportive and funny and genuine and entertaining and helpful bloggers are. Through this little computer I’ve been introduced to the worlds of all of these amazing people and so many of them have reached back.

Just go to any blog and you’ll see links to other blogs that they are reading and recommending. Bloggers direct people to read other blogs that they themselves enjoy. Everyone comments one each others posts and re-tweets each others links. It’s this one giant circle of blogging-love. I had to tweet out some love this week to two of my main squeezes cause so many people were coming to my page via theirs. Then I was so flattered and excited later in the week when I got some similar feedback from two bloggers I love. That sense of community just makes blogging so special and it warms the cockles of my heart.

You are literally never alone when you are blogging. It's actually real hard to explain. I had no idea about this community before I started this page back in Feb, or that this was how blogging worked. It’s this whole other layer of satisfaction that you get from sharing your stories. The people I have come into contact with and the stories they share have inspired and entertained me so much this past few months, now I am completely addicted.

So it was time to take my growing love of blogging to a whole new level and lose my blogging virginity. In other words, attend a blogging event.

I heard from my blogging-bestie Mrs Woog that this conference had just been announced in Melbourne. I started buzzing – this could be my chance to really immerse myself in this world. I checked out the website and signed up immediately. It’s the NuffNang Blogopolis 2011 and I CAN NOT WAIT!

Then it all kind of happened real quick. So many people who’s blogs or tweets I follow were also signing up around the same time. There were also some gorgeous people who I’ve already been lucky enough to meet who were also signing up. Suddenly for me this event is the coolest thing ever. SO excited! Not only by the stuff that is going on at the conference but more importantly for the people I will be going with. We have already decided there will be many martini’s.

And one of the sessions is on improving blog content so I’m sure that will be music to the ears of the people I force or guilt into reading this page. I’m also hoping it will help me work out what the hell I’m doing on here. You may have noticed it can be a little bit scatty. I have got so much to learn.

So Blogopolis is gonna be HOT! How’s that for a fabulous way to lose your blogging virginity!

Just to finish up, a huge and sincere thank you to all my little blogging mates who’ve just been so welcoming of me into their community.

Woogsworld, Jo Blogs, Styling You, Edenland, So Now What, Wanderlust and Daisy Roo and Two - you are the HOTTEST bitches in town!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I used to push gherkins in a gherkin factory.

I’ve had some weird jobs in my time! No idea why I started thinking about this yesterday, normally this topic is reserved for drunken story-telling. Everyone has weird job stories to tell after a few voddies. I need to come clean and share some of mine. This may come as a surprise but I didn’t start out as the uber-glamorous PR type I am today.

McDonalds Gherkin Factory.
You may not know this but all McDonalds gherkin’s used to come from my home-town, Griffith. I had a job there one summer where I stood at the end of this massive pit filled with dirty gherkins. I had a 6 foot pole and with that pole I had to push the gherkins down a shoot and into the factory. As the pit emptied the next truck would pull in and unload. It was dirty gherkins for days. And the stink! Awful. Gherkins in brine is truly revolting. I was practically paid as slave labour. I still can not bare to eat a McDonalds gherkin, I’ve seen what goes in that pit!
Brick Stacker.
This was hard, heavy work. While wearing thick leather gloves I had to stack the bricks after they’d come out of the kiln on to the pallets. Can you imagine anything more mind-numbing or exhausting? I learnt the stacking technique from an old-timer who I’d bludge a sneaky Horizon off at afternoon tea. No one spoke to anyone. And it was winter and freezing. I shudder still thinking about it. It was during that winter of brick-stacking that I resolutely decided I was not built for manual labour.
They looked EXACTLY like this, haunted!
Safety Bus Driver.
Who the hell gave me the keys to the safety bus? Now that’s just negligent! I had a licence to drive a 32 seater cause I was a Residential Tutor and to earn extra money I’d drive the safetly bus. The worst night to be rostered on would be a Thursday which was bar night. You’d end up with a bus full of pissed idiots singing Zombie at the top their lungs. What made it more infuriating was that the Thursday nights I wasn’t rostered on I’d be the one leading the pissed-idiot singing.

Country Music Festival.
Now this is one of the best fortnights of my professional life. The Divine Ms M got me a job as a journo at the “Foster’s Australasian Country Music Festival” – I remember that cause I had to say it at the start and the end of each voice report that I’d send through to metro radio stations. Why this job was weird was because I knew absolutely nothing about country music. Took a mad crash course over that fortnight so by the time we got to the big finale – the Golden Guitars – I was besties with all the big stars. I still so clearly remember doing a story on learning how to line-dance. I reckon I could still bust out those moves if the tune was right.
Tamworth Rocks, my mate Lee
Cocktail Waitress.
I had a one-night-only gig serving cocktails at a Mens Only event at the Botanical Gardens. Hold up, that story can’t be told here.

Pool Cleaner.
Let go of all those stereotypical ‘pool boy’ fantasies. It was an indoor pool and they had me in to clean it when it was shut. The irony of me having any sort of cleaning job is not lost on me. I’m a filthy bitch. The only reason I took the job was cause it was a stepping stone to earning a highly-prized lifeguard position. The best part about the job was that they would leave the pool kiosk open while I’d be cleaning and I used to gorge myself on Freckles and Red Frogs. I stunk of bleach all that summer.

I could go on for days on this topic. In fact there is a whole post on my days as a Bank Teller! Now that was a very special two years. Weird they let near the money of the safe, but ahhh, such good times at the State Bank Griffith. Will post that one soon.

Over and out, 10-4 Big Daddy, keep on truckin’!
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