Monday, October 09, 2017

Leaving Thailand: Reflections 3

On one my last nights in Bangkok, I drank some of my duty free champagne and watched "ZULU" with my neighbors, Richard and Andrea. Richard made a pizza and some salad and I cranked up the a/c. 

I have loved living in Sethiwan Residence and have lured friends to live here with me. Nothing is better than spontaneous dinner parties, movie nights, and hanging out with your neighbors. 

Also, I have a fantastic cleaning lady (Khun Nee) who took good care of Simon LeBon and me after my kidney surgery in 2011. The office managers have always been great and helpful. 

I'll miss my motosai driver buddies out front too - they always took great care of me and remembered where my hair salon was, that I don't like to go down Sukhumvit and prefer the back roads, and would run errands for me. 

It's been a good home to me. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Leaving Thailand: Reflections 2

When I moved to Bangkok in 2011, I was overwhelmed with choosing where I wanted to live. I saw apartments all over town and in the end - I had to pick one solely based on where they accepted cats as tenants as making Simon Le Bon's arrival comfy was my top priority! I found a place in Sukhumvit in a neighborhood called Nana...right off Soi 13. 

One of the draws was being close to Sukhumvit Soi 11 which was a lively little street which meant I could walk to restaurants and bars and walk home. Soi 11 had lots of little dive bars and two very chic ones (Q bar and Bed Supper Club). 

Every night, little VW buses pulled up and turned the whole street into a party. We used to love going to the Red Wagon. 

My favorite restaurant on the street was the old 70s style American diner at the Federal Hotel where I could get a great crab fried rice and coke in the little bottles for less than $2. 

You could hang out in the alley and drink beer at Cheap Charlie's or the Pickled Liver. Both were great because they didn't really attract bar girls or prostitutes like many of the divey bars in Bangkok. You met a huge variety of people - expats, old thai men, tourists, the young and the old. 

There were two beautiful old houses on the subsoi between 11 and 13 and one was a spa. The closest mall was Siam Paragon. 

Today, as I went down the soi (which is torn up with construction), all of those things are gone and in their place is "luxury" condos, three new hotels, 2 hotels under construction, two big dance clubs (Club Insanity and Levels), an expensive "Argentine Steak House", a Baskin Robbins, a Starbucks, an Au Bon Pain, a Pomodoro, and lots and lots of empty little bars that used to be there scheduled to be knocked down for luxury condos. 

We have Terminal 21 on one side, Central Embassy on the other, and the big giant splashy Emquartier two stops away. The Thai junta banned the VW buses and all the fun character seems washed away. 

Guess its time to go before the whole city turns into a sanitized mall of chains that you can find anywhere in the world.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Leaving Thailand: Reflections 1

I get my medical care at Bumrungrad hospital which is a super diverse place. They have a McDonalds there that i always find myself eating a sundae at - today no different. The mix of people joining me at this American travesty of a restaurant really sums up Bangkok for me: Older Thai people with devoted adult children, sweet Thai nurses, old Arab men surrounded by veiled women and men in polo shirts and cargo pants, old white men with their young pregnant Thai wives, backpackers with motorcycle rashes, Thai and Indian families with young children, and a smattering of white expat women like me. The Japanese all go to Samitivej hospital. I will miss this slice of humanity and Thai kindness.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Movies from 2016: My Reviews of the Good, the Meh, and the Ugly.

My thoughts on movies I saw in 2016 

(Note: some movies come late to BKK so there are some 2015 movies that I didn't see until 2016. Also, I watch movies on planes... so some are even older.)

The Good:
A Bigger Splash: That scene with Ralph Fiennes! The Hot Matthias Schoenaerts. I'd link to the scene with him and Tilda Swinton in the pool but that might be NSFW.

A Perfect Day
: Despite the fact it was shot in Spain and about Wat/San Engineers - it was quite good at the annoyances and joys of being an aid worker. I really think Benicio Del Toro has been a MSF log. And that grumpy French girl is for sure an aid worker.

A Conspiracy of Faith: Danish film that I watched at the Sarajevo Film Festival. Sort of like a Kurt Wallendar book.

As I Open My Eyes: A stunning Tunisian film about what it means to be young and a woman who loves music. Lovely.  Sarajevo Film Festival.

The Big Short - made me cry because people are so greedy and there is nothing we can do to fix the world.

Brooklyn: love Saoirse Ronan.

CameraPerson: Lovely and evocative.

Captain Fantastic: I love Viggo Mortenson.

The Childhood of the Leader: One of the most atmospheric and interesting films I saw this year. Loved the imagery. Watch the trailer and tell me what you think. It's a pity that the whole crowd that came to see it at the Sarajevo Film Festival were only there to ask Ser Davos inane questions about Game of Thrones.

Dead Pool: I've always been a fan of Ryan Reynolds but he has picked some shitty movies. This one was good and brought us back to his glory days of Van Wilder.

Hail Caesar! Love the Coen Brothers but Channing Tatum channeling his Gene Kelly! And "Would that it were so simple."

I, Daniel Blake: It broke my heart. Also Sarajevo Film Festival

The Legend of Tarzan: Alexander SkarsgÄrd in a loincloth. Need I say more?

Letters from War: Like watching a poem unfold. A Portugese film about the angolan civil war - a Sarajevo Film Festival special.

The Lobster: One of the oddest but best movies I saw last year. What animal would I be? Maybe a long haired pony. :)

Love and Friendship: Whit Stillman! A mean Kate Becksindale! Saw it at the Sarajevo Film Festival where after watching Lady Susan scheme and cheat everyone, a clueless female festival attendant stood up and told us and Whit Stillman that she really admired her and she was a "real woman" and all of us should be more like her.

Rogue One: Oddly, I read no previews before I went so was blown away! And Diego Luna!

Sicario - Emily Blount as a bad ass and serious evil drug lords but a bit confusing and not quite sure what was going on .

Testament to Youth - doomed british young men and Jon Snow marching off to war instead of Oxford. Weep Weep Weep

Taxi Driver:

The Meh:
Absolutely Fabulous: I wanted it to be so much more. But it was just okay. But I still love Patsy and Edina.

Burned - Bradley Cooper trying to channel Anthony Bourdain without the charm and saucy sexy sparkle but serious food porn

Hacksaw Ridge: Andrew Garfield alternating between Jesus and Forrest Gump. Some of the grossest violence ever. But an amazing man and a real life story. Too bad Mel Gibson was directing it.

Doctor Strange: Is there a movie that Benedict Cumberbatch WON'T do? He's turning into Nicolas Cage.

Zootopia: Not a huge fan of animated films. Cute but not memorable.

Land of Blood and Honey: Angelina Jolie's film about rape in Sarajevo. Some good performances but very dull. She seems to equate dull with serious.

Graduation: A Romanian film about a young girls' rape and her fathers ambitions for her. Just meh.

Various short movies at the Sarajevo Film Festival - not a fan of short movies.

The Awful:

The Hateful 8 - awful and boring "a long racist play."

Humidity: A Sarajevo Film Festival Serbian Film. I was so bored and annoyed. It made me hate everything about Serbia. At the end, the man next to me and I just sighed and said "Thank god its over."

Los Bastardos: Just like this skit from Saturday Night Live ... a pretentious and weird student film.

How to Be Single: One of the worst films I've ever seen. Dakota Johnson has ZERO chemistry. She is sooo lame.

2015: A year in movies

The good:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

Bridge of Spies


Magic Mike: XXL


Mission Impossible

What we do in the shadows

White God


Jurassic World

Hunger Games: Part 4

While We're Young

The Bad:

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Countries I have visited (2017)

Albania (2017)
Bosnia - Herzegovina (2017)
Bulgaria (2017)
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Cote d'Ivoire
Czech Republic
Greece (2017)
Hong Kong (2017)
Macedonia (2017)
Montenegro (2017)
Papua New Guinea
Saudi Arabia
Serbia (2017)
Sierra Leone
South Africa
South Sudan
Sri Lanka
United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland but not Northern Ireland)
United States of America
United Arab Emirates
Vatican City