This will be the last "short" rant about the honeymoon. Now that myself and the lady have returned home I can finally sort out some photos to stick up on here alongside proper entries for the trip.
But for now, in the same vein as the previous entry, let's go with some of the odd things that were observed in Thailand.
Musoc: The resort that we stand in for the last four days, a five star place of pure luxury that will be fully talked about in a different rant, had a nice little restaurant on site. A place for folk to come and grab breakfast, wine and dine, listen to the crazy "Musoc" played over the speakers. Side note: Musoc is actually not me mis-spelling music multiple times and not noticing, it was an actual spelling I seen on our Thai-travels.
Anyway the Musoc, which was some Thai group doing covers of a number of English songs in English, was something to experience. I am only gutted that now, as I type this, I didn't think about maybe recording some of the tracks to post here for people to listen to. They basically covered anything and anyone, from Coldplay to Madonna, Greenday to Foo Fighters. It was a random assortment of songs to be sure, but the real hilarious bit was how they were sung. It was as if the group, who could sing and play instruments quite well it has to be said, merely downloaded the lyrics and notes and then just played them. Almost like a child who has heard a very adult themed joke and is repeating it. They don't really understand the workings of it, just that the end result should sound like something.
Tones, inflections, beats...gone. Such classics as YMCA were played out in a Jazz-style. You could tell it was YMCA, but not YMCA at the same time. Parts of Californication sounded like the cast of Glee were just reading from a sheet.
It was bizarrely addictive and unsettling in equal measures.
Thai Tuc Tuc Guys: Now I won't lie, I real did hate the Sri Lanka Tuc Tuc guys. As in if ever an ethnic cleanse of job types could be done those whores would be top of my list. But the ones in Thailand, ah salt of the Earth lads if ever you saw one. They drove the same three wheeled death traps and still watched with eagle eyes for the white folk strolling the streets. They would zip on over, toot the horn, then ask if you needed a tuc tuc. I politely said no, in English, and they would smile and wave bye and drive off.
That was it.
No driving on up the street and jumping out to confront you face to face. No waiting outside a hotel and dogging your steps for thirty minutes before they finally gave up. You simply said no thanks, they took that at face value and off they went.
When that cleanse does happen I will hire every Thai Tuc Tuc driver to lead the charge. The friendly bastards!
Conas a what: We stayed for two nights in Bangkok, an amazing city and no denying it. Culture, history, great people, interesting food. It literally has everything in spades. Now like all cities around the world I am sure it has a dark side, but we were very lucky to never see it. Before heading over friends of ours told us to make sure we hit a place called MBK for some cheap cheap shopping on pretty much everything you could think of.
Except size twelve Converse. I was called a giant more than once by the stores in MBK when I asked for that size shoe. Bastards
Anyway as we strolled around the place looking at everything from junk you stack on shelves to Samsung phones selling at a third of the Irish price I was caught unawares by a tailor standing outside his store.
The store was nothing special, your average suit store with some nice items on display. But it was the friendly guy outside that really grabbed my attention. Most people we met in Bangkok had really good English, some in MBK had fluent levels of English. This was a problem because it meant they just shouted at you as you walked past, but did allow us to politely tell them no. The tailor, however, pulled an ace out of his sleeve and as we walked past asked me "Conas ata tú?"
It stopped me dead in my tracks. He had said it word perfect, not like a bad attempt at something he'd seen on the Internet. Then he told me his name, asked what part of Ireland we were from. The whore had half the language in his head. For once me being a six foot three ginger was a bad thing because he said he only tried it when it was obvious I was Irish.
I had a grand old yap with him then, in English, and felt a bit bad that we didn't buy something from him because it was an impressive little skill he had.
The Wily Guys: One of the spots we visited in Bangkok was The Grand Palace. We had a map that made it nice and easy to figure out how to get to it via a train ride and a boat trip. The map was clearly geared at English speakers because it had a warning on it that said none of the temples , museums or palaces closed for anything. Prayer time, holidays, rain. Nothing. They were open everyday from nine until four.
Bit odd, we thought, but we went along anyway. Upon arriving at the palace gates I pointed out a funny sign to the lady that was written in multiple languages and was very official looking. It simply said "Beware of wily strangers!"
As we read it a loud speaker hummed into life and a recording played a message out in four languages, one of them English, saying the same as the map. That the palace was always open and never closed for anything such as holidays or prayer time.
Then up comes a Wily Stranger. Now I found this hilarious really because he was talking to us in English while the announcement was being played in English and we were standing right beside a sign warning us about wily strangers. If I had of had the camera ready I would have tried take a snap of it all.
Basically this dude was a con-artist. He told us the palace was closed until half two so the monks could pray and that he had another area he could take us to for only ten dollars that was much better then when we got back at half two we could go in. He was very convincing as well. How we both kept a straight face as he played the worst con of his career I will never know. If we were not listening to a loud speaker system warn us of exactly what he was saying it would have been an easier sell.
But, just like the Thai Tuc Tuc lads, after he made his pitch we told him we'd just walk on a bit and come back later and that was that.
Now, once I get some photos sorted, I will post proper rants about the trips.
Stupid trip that is now over
We've just left Sri Lanka and checked into our hotel in Bangkok which is, in a word, bloody awesome. Not least because it seems to have a stable enough wifi for us to reconnect with things Internet based. While I plan on doing a proper write up about the Sri Lanka trip upon returning home, I wanted to just throw up a few littles notes of the trip here. Not particularly important ones and definitely a few will fall under the "rant" category.
Tipping: We were warned about the tipping culture before we went to Sri Lanka by none or that H and her great husband who had spent some of their honeymoon in Sri Lanka as well. The problem is neither of us were really prepared for just how much tipping had to be done. While it is true that the average wage of a person there is tiny compared to what we earn in Ireland and something like three hundred Sri Lankan rupees (which sounds like a lot) converts to about two euro and change that really meant very little with the whole tipping thing. Sure throwing a guy a few hundred rupees for carrying your suitcase up to your room is chump change in the First World scale of things, but when whores are attacking you the moment you step outside the airport things get uncomfortable. We had a guide hired for most of our time in the country and he went off to get the car. With the car parked in front of us these two bastards just came over and lifted out cases into the car for us, then started demanding tips. Not only that but they wanted either Euro, Dollar or Sterling. One even stuck his head in the car after the lady wife had gotten in while I was tipping his buddy.
That would have earned a swift punch to the throat under normal circumstances.
This was just the tip of the tipping iceberg (pun intended?) and it never let up. Waiters needed to be tipped, tray collectors tipped. You order a drink, tip. You get the drink brought to you, more tip. After a while you start to just carry around a bundle of notes purely for tipping people. Regardless of whether they did a good job or not. It was just expected. When we had gone on a day tour and used the washrooms before leaving the guy mopping the floor put his hand out in front of me and rubbed his fingers together for a tip. My tip was that I politely walked past him.
Least he could have done was shook my lad if he wanted a tip for doing sweet fuck all.
Manners: Despite the tipping thing grating on me, mainly for those that I would never tip in normal circumstances and not the lads that genuinely deserved a tip, there was another aspect of the trip that we both found unsettling: being waited on constantly. The people, as a whole, had fantastic manners with only a few exceptions. It was all "Please, sir" this and "Thank you madam" that for the entire trip. Which would be fine, I guess, if you had a house slave. But for us it was a little too much. Just stacking up our dirty dishes and handing them to the waiters seemed to brighten up their day. It was like we were the first white folk to ever come to the island and try to help make their job a little easier. But given that our last hotel had an insane amount of Russians staying at it, who argued over everything on a bill to try get something for free and left without tipping constantly, we most likely were the first white people that came and tried to make things easier for the hard working folk.
Tuc Tuc Guys: If ever I wanted to kill somebody by beating them to death with their own skull it was the tuc tuc (being a little three wheeled death trap on the roads) drivers in our last hotel. Now the lady wife will probably say that I am being too hard on them. They do, after all, have to try and earn a crust. Which is fine. But they are some pushy bastards who just don't take no for an answer. The last hotel had a private beach area out the back, which was great for just chilling in and readying a book under the shade. The tuc tuc guys were not allowed beyond a little stone wall that separated pool area from sand.
A wall that they marched along constantly in an attempt to rope you in.
Our guide had warned us to not have any dealings with them at all in the final hotel, saying that they sometimes did things that you usually see in a Harrison Ford movie were he is pretty Frantic about his missing wife. We had decided that this last hotel was going to be a restful stay anyway, never leaving the pool area, and figured we would heed the guide and just ignore the tuc tuc guys. I told herself that when they were in ear shot we would only speak in Irish, even if it was bad and actually made no sense. Ten minutes after sitting down we had our first attack. Up he comes like some snake in the sand and starts calling to us. Straight away I just said, in Irish, that we didn't speak English and thanks very much. Twenty minutes later after trying to sell us everything he could think of and being called a "a stupid fox with a jumper in the sky" he gave up.
Only to try again an hour later, this time with German. Again we used Irish to tell him we weren't bothered and this worked a little faster this time.
That is until he got clever. Without me spotting he slipped a few rupees to a hotel staff member, who came over to us both and checked if everything was okay and could he get us anything. We both had no need of anything, told him everything was great, and off he went. Which meant that the tuc tuc twat now knew that we spoke English, so in he went for the kill.
Again we just didn't give him an inch as he tried to get us to buy a massage trip off him for the following day. He finally decided to play his trump card and declared that "How can you be staying in this hotel, nobody speaks the language you are using here. You must speak something else".
Ah Mister Tuc Tuc driver, when they invented bastards I was the one they used as the template. I told him thanks for the milk and we left to go for dinner.
The Great Tea Conspiracy: This last one could almost be an entry in itself. We visited a tea plantation and had a tour of the processing plant and got to taste some of the different blends. It was actually really interesting stuff, which I didn't think it would be if I am being honest. During one part of the tour the woman explained how they sell their leaves to all major brands and started listing them off. What myself and the lady wife noticed was that Barry's and Lyons were mentioned. So we asked what type of tea each buys.
"Oh we don't sell specific tea to one or the other," the nice lady said. "Many companies buy from us in bulk. They put into boxes and bags and then put their branding on it."
That's right, the age old debate had by tea drinkers for years about which brand was better. The stupid crap you have to listen to when somebody says "Oh I'd love a cup of tea, but only if you have Barry's!". The -insert other tea debate here- that goes on around the country. Is all bullshit. The tea in the Barry's box comes from the exact same bushes as the one in the Lyons box.
So be warned. Any whore who tries that shit with me from this day forth will be force fed the tea until it is just brewing straight in their stomach.
So, I'm married!
Truth be told that is not a sentence that I ever thought I would write about myself, yet alone be one that is one hundred percent true and awesome.
As most folks will know my recent radio silence on The Bauble has been down to me not wanting to post just a dozen rants about preparing for the wedding, which would have also run the risk of me mocking things that had to be done before the wedding. Generally in life a top tip is don't mock wedding related things when your wife knows you have a blog. It tends to result in a violence! But now the wedding is over, the honeymoon just begun, and I can once again start to fill this space with the vapid thoughts that bubble around in my addled mind.
But let's get the ball rolling by recapping the wedding.
Man alive was it everything it could have been and more. The lady friend, who now needs a new moniker on this site as she has since become my wife, looked absolutely stunning on the day. Our bridal party managed to pull off an amazing amount of work on the day. The speeches ticked all the right boxes and pleased the assembled mass (no pun intended). The food was beyond great, although herself had a bad case of nerves on the day and didn't really get to eat anything. I however wolfed down two lamb shanks and the best sticky toffee pudding you could ever ask for. Our band and DJ were very well received and filled the floor the entire night, without any of the usual awkward moments at a wedding where people have to be dragged onto the dance floor in order to make it look like people are having fun. All the guests seemed to have a good time as well, which was nice, and nobody got "messy drunk" and ruined somebody else's night. I didn't get talking to everyone on the night sadly and even the ones I did talk with I only got conversations that last three or four minutes before trying to tip along to the next group, but alas such is the way with weddings. On the day the bride and groom barely see each other and only get to hear how the wedding went as they are too busy with the "meet and greet" as well as the typical camera bombardment that takes place at these things.
Now, however, myself and the little lady are on honeymoon ( which will be getting a few rants posted up to make folk nice and jealous of course ) and enjoying life after a very, very hectic eighteen months or so.
To all that came to the big day a massive thanks, you really brought the energy to ensure it was a great party for everyone involved. For all who helped out leading up to the event, you are legends in your own right. To the bridal party, well such a crack skilled team has only been assembled once before in 1972 and even they would not have been able to do the job you all did! True story.
To my new wife, thanks for only being thirty minutes late. That really helped with the nerves
Now I need to figure out a new title for herself on this site, suggestions in the comments below. Best one will live in infamy forever more.