Wednesday, 03 June 2015 15:23

Like a cold beer?

Dear Hillary,

I just don’t understand why people say they have negative experiences here. I’ve been to over 40 countries and my favorite by far is Thailand. Since the first time going to Pattaya, I have loved the people, atmosphere, weather, food, and the cold beer. Right now, I still cannot wait to return and have another wonderful vacation.

Can’t wait to get back!


Dear Can’t wait to get back,

I agree with you, Petal. As you say, “I have loved the people, atmosphere, weather, food, and the cold beer,” so what more could a young man (or an old man) want? I do believe that most of the people who have a negative experience have brought it upon themselves, and many of the long-stayers in Thailand say that for this group of long-stay complainers it is a case of “Som nam na”, as the Thais would say, or as the English speakers would say, “serves you right”. I have read very similar complaints and “problems” with ex-pats and visitors to Spain and South America, for example. But by the same token, there are many who really enjoy their times in exotic places. Look at Ronnie Biggs, for example, and what happened to him when he returned to the UK from Brazil. No, Can’t wait to get back, you stick with your positive mental attitude and enjoy yourself as always in the Land of Smiles. The cold beer sellers are looking forward to your return as well.

Wednesday, 03 June 2015 15:20

Isaan “cooking”

Dear Hillary,

I have a problem with my wife’s cooking. It’s not that she’s a bad cook or anything. She does a mean sausage, egg and chips these days, and even has a go at toad in the hole. So you think I should have no complaints. It’s not her British cooking that’s the problem - it’s when her girlfriends come over and they start cooking that Isaan stuff. The really, really, really bad smelling stuff. Honestly Hillary, when I walk in the door of the house I get hit with it. It’s so bad I come close to puking. She knows I hate the smell, but she does this at least twice a week. It puts me right off my food as well. What should I do? She’s a great woman, other than the Isaan cooking.

William, but they call me Bill


Dear William, but they call me Bill,

This is an easy one to fix, my Petal. All houses have a back door, and Isaan food should be cooked outside. Most homes that foreigners live in have two kitchens - one indoors for the sausage, egg and chips and the other outside for the Isaan, where the pungent smells just waft away with the afternoon’s breezes. The one outside is called the “Thai kitchen” and does not get used for toad in the hole, either.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 13:37

A kiss on the first date?

Dear Hillary,

Is there a standard number of dates before you can kiss one of your “good” girls? It’s not like I’m trying to drag her kicking and screaming into the lion’s den, but while she is great company, there’s no sign of relaxing the no kissing rule. Surely five dates are enough? With the “bad” girls it’s all go after the first 30 seconds! So now you might see why 95 percent of blokes end up at the beer bars.



Dear Johnny,

It all depends upon what you want out of life. If your ambition is to prefer shallow relationships (“Hello sexy man, I lub you too mut.”) then the beer bar is the place you should be. But if you would like some intelligent conversations with someone who knows that Ubon isn’t the center of the galaxy, then look for the “good” girls. Sure, it will take a little more time than the beer bar’s 30 seconds, but hang in there, Petal. It’s worth it in the long run.

Dear Hillary,

My problem I believe to be a common one. The morning fight with the mixer tap for the shower. That little handle which you point to the right for cold, or left for hot, or maybe vice-versa since you can never remember in the morning. But it is worse than that. The pesky little lever has a hair trigger mechanism behind its chrome exterior. Move it one millimeter one way and the water is so hot it would take the fur off a moose. Move it one millimeter the other way and you freeze to death. It can also do this hot-cold trick on its own, usually when you are totally immersed with shampoo in your hair, and now in your eyes! How do I correct this problem? You are a lady of experience, so I’m sure you’ve met the problem and will have the answer for me.



Dear Faucet,

So I’m now an expert in hydroponics (no wait, that’s for growing organic lettuce), no it’s called hydrodynamics (I looked it up). I most certainly do have the answer for you, Faucet, my wet little Petal. You have to learn the old adage, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. You are in Thailand, so do what the Thais do - you have cold showers. The Thai people also found the impossible mixer tap problem, and fixed it by bringing the lever all the way to the right and letting it rip! See! That was easy!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 13:35

Is this a troll?

Dear Hillary,

Unlike the usual guys who write to you complaining about their unfaithful girlfriend, I have twice the problem - two unfaithful girlfriends! What makes my problem even more tricky, is they don’t know about each other. I have their overnights on different days - one on even number days and the other on odd numbers. Sundays I have off for me, and a little dalliance at times. There’s nothing wrong with that. So, should I kick out number 1 or number 2 or both? Or should I just toss a coin?

Sunday, Sunday


Dear Sunday, Sunday,

It is obvious to me that you should use the coin tossing method, because you do sound like a bit of a tosser my Petal. Either that or you are trying to pull my leg, and you can stop imagining about my legs. Whatever, I do think this was a troll post.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 13:33

Sam’s friendly loan service

Dear Hillary,

After getting to know one of the bar girls quite well in my local beer bar, she asked me for some money to send to her mother as her daughter was sick and stays with her mother. It wasn’t much, only 5,000 baht and I really didn’t care if she repaid me or not. The only problem is she’s come back to me twice more since then and it’s starting to add up. It’s now 25,000 baht and that’s getting up a bit, even if she doesn’t charge me anything any more for short-times and stuff. How do I tactfully tell her that there’s no more loans and I’d like her to start paying back the money I gave her? And please no sermons, my buddies are good at doing that, but they’ve got no answers for me.



Dear Sam (the sucker),

The whole situation revolves around the phrase “the money I gave her”. She looks upon it as a gift, which you did originally, but now you want to change it into a “loan”. It’s a little late for that, my Petal. No matter how many short-times, as you quaintly put it, you are never going to see the 25,000 baht again. How do you tell her tactfully that the well has run dry? Quite easily, next time she asks, just say no. She won’t fall apart, she’ll just move on to the next customer. That is the occupation that these girls have chosen. They live by their wits and the guilty consciences of the suckers they fleece. Kiss it good bye, literally and metaphorically.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 11:51

Ain’t love grand!

Dear Hillary,

Is it possible to really get to know a Thai girl? I have been dating this girl from the local bar in Jomtien for almost three weeks now and we get along fantastically well. However, the other night she said that she was going to go to Sweden in June as her “Sweden boyfriend” was sending her a ticket and she had her visa to go. She never said anything about this bloke from Sweden before. How can you ever trust them? I am shattered, as I thought we had a good future together. Is it finished or what?



Dear Shattered,

“Is it finished or what?” How old are you, my dear young boy? A very young 20 something? It hasn’t even started! Look at it this way, Petal. If someone offered you a ticket to Brazil would you take it? Or would you say, “No, I’ve met this person in a bar two and a bit weeks ago and we get along fantastically well, so I’ll stay here and enjoy my lady drinks. Wake up! Good future? That will last until next payday.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 11:51

My water’s been cut off!

Dear Hillary,

We have not been here very long and already we have had the water cut off from the house (twice!) and the electricity (once) all because I do not understand when and how the bills come. I am sure we did not receive at least two, but when I tried to explain this at the Water Department I got nowhere - and had to pay an extra 500 baht to get re-connected. What can we do?



Dear Bill (or is that “Bin”?),

There are all kinds of ways to make sure you get your bills, and the first is to know what date the bills come each month. Ask your neighbors. Secondly put a small letter box on your gate, with “For Electric and for Water” - but in Thai writing, not in English! That should make sure you get them and now you can pay them at your closest 7-11. Easy Peasy!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 11:50

The disappointed morning shopper

Dear Hillary,

Why do the shops open so late in Pattaya? The main shopping centers officially open at 9, 10 or11, but many of the shops are still setting up at 11.30. I am sure they must lose an awful lot of business with this late opening. Can’t the shopkeepers get out of bed in time?

I’m intrigued


Dear I’m intrigued,

Be intrigued no longer, Petal. How many shoppers do you see early in the morning - other than yourself reflected in the closed glass doors. What time do the shoppers finish in the evening? In the popular tourist areas you will see them still open at 10 p.m., midnight and even 2 a.m. Let them have some sleep as they need to lock up and have couple of Changs before bed, and then get up to serve you! You obviously haven’t been here very long, have you? Pattaya is a night time city.

Dear Hillary,

As I am thinking about retiring here, I was hoping you could advise me on a couple of points. It has always been one of my ambitions to have my own little pub (I’ve spent a fair deal of time in little pubs and bars after work). There seems to be quite a few very successful bars for sale and they only want about 600,000 baht for most of them. Since I will be getting a nice tidy sum for my retirement, I thought I might invest in one by buying a half share or something. It would be nice to make money at a bar, rather than spending money at a bar, don’t you reckon, Hillary! My only worry is that I have heard that foreigners have been ripped off and I am hoping you can advise me on what to watch for.



Dear Gordon,

With apologies to the Charge of the Light Brigade - “Into the valley of death rode the six hundred” (thousand baht). Gordon, Gordon! For a start, there are very few successful bar owners who learned the trade from propping up the outside of the bar. Even with half shares for sale, have you stopped to think why the owner of such a successful establishment would want to give half of it away? Things to watch for? There is always the scam where third or fourth 50 percent shares that gets sold. Unfortunately, with the economic downturn, tourist cancellations etc etc etc, the bar will pay no dividend this year and the regretful owner will buy your 50 percent share back for 100,000 baht. Yes, there are quick profits to be made in the bar bizz - for the seller, not the purchaser. Mind you, if you can get a half share in Jameson’s for 600,000 baht, count me in too!

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