Sunday, February 18, 2007


How do you negociate when people walk away from you as soon as you say your price?

It happen not once, not twice but all the time. I came to the point that I start doubting about my own breath, wondering if I had some fuelling pimp on my face that make people scared of watching me in the eyes, or maybe that I have 2 heads, one small and the other almost normal.

But I had the confirmation at the custom office that I have no problem at all. They film you during the entire stamp process and certainly put it on if you behave badly in their country. Maybe it's the way I talk, my accent, but even there I still thing that I communicate more easily with non-english people than with native english mother tongue (Have you ever seen an English Tongue?)

I tried to apply the new skills that I learn during my negociation classes at school, working on the the relationship, building the bridge to be able to cross the main substance on it. But NO, they walk away.
They just walk away.

Taxi driver with his kid waiting at the Taxi stop bench.

Here is the breaf dialogue that usually happen when I am in Thailand talking price:
Me: " That's pretty good, what is it?"
Them: "How much do offer me for it?"
Me : "Wait a minute, I don't know if I want to buy it. What is it called?"
Them: "10,000 Bath" (US$200)
Me: "This is expensive!"
Them: "Ok then 9,900 Bath" (US$199)
Me: "This is still expensive! What about 90 Bath"
Them: "-?!"

This is the exact time that they walk away from me, no talk, no look, just their back going away.
I am left with my hands in the air and my mouth wide open. Sort of giant poulp.

View from the Hotel Swimming Pool
overlooking the bay.

Ok I admit that I started way too low, but that the game afterall.

I start very low so that we can talk for a long time, just to exchange some ideas along the way, like what is it like to live in this island, or what color is the most important in the city, vital stuff. I was thinking that negociating any price is part of the cultural experience that one might have in any foreign land (home country maybe as well). But how can you negociate when no one is in front of you .... very frutrating for me. They tactic is working very well. The price is fixed and no one can change it.

Pankace motorbike street vendor.
My fav banana-coconut-pancake.

I became paranoid to the point that I was avoiding talking price at all cost !
I still don't understand how you could do walk in a price negociation, you could be unhappy, yield at someone, laught but walk away ... this is very rude for me. So I start doing the same thing to see if I would trigger the same thing in people mind. As soos as they start talking money, I walk away.

Phuket, white sand, tanned tourist and blue sea

I felt very bad, walking away from people without smiling and turning my back to them. I could not do it for long. I use then another tactic, I gave up. I just pay what ever they were asking me to pay. It turns out to be quite an expensive trip, but I felt better. In retrospect, I think that the problem was not me going to bargain reclusoin land but because tourism kills the local habits of negociating. Too much tourist kills locals.

I had finally my Paid Taid on the beach
for my last lunch overlooking the beautiful sea

Speaking of tourist, I went down on Saturday night to "Funland" Patong Beach where you can see what Thailand is also famous for. I am not talking here about its cuisine or its white sand beach. Watching tourist bar full of testosterone ready to explose over any Thai Girl or Thai Ladyboy made me wander how damaging that would be for future generation. What to do?

What I want to keep in mind is rather my Red Lobster, Green Oysters and Black Chili Crab on the terrasse restaurant in Patong Beach rather than the Ladyboy Lobster, Professional Oysters and Green German Crab at the bar later on at night.

Recommendation in case of
Tsunami emergency.
BTW, there is no high ground around.

Phuket was devasted 2 years ago by the Tsunami. Maybe not as badly as Indonesia, but the 4 waves that came at 8 AM are still in people minds and people talk. Some saying it could have been worse because it was a Sunday and school were closed, it was early in the morning and people were still sleeping. Could have been worse if it was happening during the afternoon or at night when tourist are all alert, brave and drunk to fight the Thai-land.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Phuket address

Phuket is in reality an island, with plenty of things to do.

In Phuket island you have a Phuket town, and according to some source this town must be avoided at all cost. Expensive, no charm and nothing to do were the common qualifiers that I heard about the town. I did not take the chance to verify the veracity of each of the adjective mention above.

What I can recommend instead, is the place to stay. Among the different beaches you have, you better aim to the west coast (the West is not the Best, always?). Kamala, Kata and Karon are the nicest beach around. Pick a hotel and cruise between the swimming pool and the sea.

What you will not miss in Phuket is accomodation.
You don't beleive me, check this list out !

  • Aquamarine Resort & Villa Phuket , Kamala Beach.
    Very nice hotel, high end budget with 3 swimming pools, one swimming bar and numerous places to have a great view overlooking the bay. What is a bit disappointing is the fact that the hotel is a bit remote from Kamala village, at the end of the road. This is nice but every time you want to go somewhere the hotel cab service charge you an arm and a leg to go anywhere. It cost more to go from the hotel to the local town (2 minutes slow taxi drive) than to go from the airport to the hotel (45 minutes ride).
    Don’t even try to bargain, otherwise they walk away, and never come back !
  • Mom Tri s Boathouse, Kata Beach.
    I have been recommended as well this remote place at the end of the island. The pictures seems nice. Must be a very high end hotel ... for those who can afford

  • Pier, Kamala Beach.
    You have plenty of bar and sea food restaurant along the only main street in Kamala. Choose you fish from the massive sea food display table and then walk in, wait a drink or two and then enjoy your sea food battle. Sea food platter for less than 30 € per person.
  • Food court, Putang Beach.
    This is probably what I liked the most in Putong. On the main street, between 3 professional bars and some street vendors, you have massive food courts. They are a bunch of benches on small place close to the street where in the back street cooks try to feed all sort of people: hungry locals, courageous tourists or foreign foreigner. My recipe for success did not change, choose your lobster and your crab, wait a beer or two and battle with your sea food platter delicacy. The visit to the kitchen on the way out was fascinating. The orchestration of the cooking competed with a visit at Harrods during the sales. Sea food platter for less than 20 € per person.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pangkil Island

I auto-proclam myself King of Pangkil.

I am sure that you played this game many times in which you have to choose 10 CD, 10 movies or 10 books to go to a desert island. But have ever thought about what kind of island you are going to? That will probably change your list if you knew better where you are going to spend the rest of your life.

Boat trip to go to the desert island

For me this is the island I want to live in if I have to choose 10 CD, 10 movies and 10 books. Althought I am not sure that 10 CD, 10 movies and 10 books will be sufficient till the rest fo my living life as a King of Pangkil.

But hang on there! I could change the law if I want to. As King of Pangkil, I proclame that 10 is not enought, and you can take as many thing as you want. I also proclame that beach is a national sport, with sea shell pickin at low tide and crab staring at high tide. I proclame that every subject must at least have 43.43 minutes of sun per day no matter the weather. All day breakfast, lunch or dinner. Swimming pool diving contest everyday at 5PM before your daily oil massage. Party-Music at the pool or at the Beach depending on the number of stars you can see. I proclame finally that law should not exist, and your dream desert island should be the way the way you want.

The beach

Let me tell you how I landed in my dream land. We were 30 or so to take off direction Pangkil Island in Indonesia. We took a ferry at 6 PM on Friday afternoon to the main Indonesia island from Singpore. 2 hours later we arrived in thje dark in mainland Indonesia and after a quick custom exercise taxed with a one page visa on passport, we all took a giant bus. I managed to squize in the chief's 4X4 just to finish our discussion on what would be the best was to invest in the area (see later the importance of the discussion). After some talking we reached a peer where 2 long Indonesia boats were waiting for us to cross the bay direction Pangkil. The quick dinner was good enough to propulse us to the daily night drinking contest. Finally We were ventilated in our respective house and mine was just above the main "dining room", but I could only appreciate the view in the morning.

And what I discover in the morning was what you could see below !!!!!

The view from my room

The next days we just wandered around playing volley ball, drinking cocktail, eating sea food, playing cards, joking around, dancing salsa in the sand, watching shooting stars, talking about life and other important topics, taking nap, receiving massage and enjoying time.

An inland house

The size of the island was big enought so that we did not had to see each other all the time and could take a break if we wanted to, but was small enough to be able to walk from one side to the other, the swimming pool to the main Beach and not being tired. We were a group of random people, doing random thing and having a good random time.

The outdoor lounge.
Between the Main Dining room.
Under my Bedroom

I thing that as an desert island everything depend on the people you go with and paradise can easily turns into hell. BUT we were a bunch of good people and we did enjoyed our time to the fulliest. We enjoyed so much that some of us extended our stay for an extra night. I was part of the 8 survivors gang and let me tell you that nothing is better than to wake up in paradise once again when you know that you should be somewere else.

Sunset in Indonesia

I gave back temporary my throne to the one of the local chief in command. On my way back from my island to civilisation I thought about conquering Indonesia island by island, and I came up with the master plan. I need a crew of happy people from time to time.

I am looking for my master plan:
- 1 bonefire manager with experience
- 14 massage ladies with experience
- 2 cooks (no experience needed)
- 1 swimming pool watch guard with some movie experience
- 1 boat taxi driver
- 3 bartenders and 1 DJ (recommendation is a must)

And then we will think about the money later on ...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Koh Samui

Full moon was on the rise when people showed up at the pier ... we were thousand crusing in Koh Pha Ngan, wondering from one place to another searching for smiling and familiar faces. But in vain after some fight back to move still as a group, we all gave up and split to the four differents corners of the party, whishing eachother good luck in one eye lush. We had a good time all night long and told our respectives stories at brunch time the next day.

We had a blast in the decadent and proper way, let me tell you how?

Scooter land

Koh Samui is not the island that everyone is going to party, but rather Koh Pha Ngan where the full moon party is on every full moon. Don't worry, if you are around and it's not the full mood, you will still ahve a party, if will be call the black moon, the first of the last moon, but you will have a full party under the moon.

Ko Samui White Beach, Salty Sea

Koh Samui is an island where you have the main and closest airport, full stars hotels and facilities nearby the party island. At night you take a speed boat and 50 minutes later with your new boat-party friends you land on the promise island. At first you dont really understand why you been taged with a all-incluseve bracelet, but a quick look around make me think of my South-West ferias under the tropic. That night, I was sure that some people would sleep where they fell. We still were a group of 30 or plus people together moving still at the same pace and promise to each other that no matter what we will not lost one soul in this sea of human being.

Lunch on the beach

We were wrong, after the first corner we lost half of the crowd and deide to go ahead anyway, thinking that it was already one o'clock and we should go the the main party if we don't want to miss it. So we walk ahead, buying on our way 5 liters bucket of what ever we could, here local Rhum, Gin or Whisky. An 30 people animal stroke-drinking is a wild animal that needed to be fed on regular basis. So we did it.

Street coconut vendor on the beach.
Does that make him a beach coconut vendor?

We finally reach after 3 or 4 buckets the main playa del Full Moon. Imagine thousand of people dancing barefoot on the beach at the sound of a blasting techno music under a full moon. We lost thousand people from pour group and find them back. I was personally lost twice and been rescue by J. twice as well.

Smile on a sea-bike

A small group of full mooner took the last boat back to the Koh Samui. The departure was the most chaotic fighting ever. Try to convince a fellow english man drunk, that the shoe he thought was his is in reality your tee-shirt. The last people from the island jumped in the last boat from where we saw the sunrise between 2 snoring. The return must had took the same time but I still dont remember it.

One of the many night restaurant on the beach

Full Moon party is a must in the life time of parier but no recommend to boat averse, unless drun all time. Life is hard when you don't know what to do with, but easy if you let if flow

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Koh Samui address

  • Chaweng Cabana, Kho Samui
    Very nice hotel/cabana squeezed between the main road and the beach. A foot step away from the main attraction and a sea shell through away from the white sand beach. Supposed to have some breakfast as well, but I can’t comment on that. I am not sure at what time I came back from the party.
  • Le Paradis Boutique Resort & Spa, (formely known as Princess Village)
    Le Paradis has a beachfront swimming pool and a variety of spa treatments, perfect for relaxation and pampering. Very nice place to wander around. Not to menction the bar restaurant overlooking the beach. That was our HQ for the rest of the weekend. Highly recommended for nice a nd relax stationary strategic dreamover.

  • Karebu at the hotel Spa Le Paradis.
    The menu is just fantastic. Fusion food mixing west Western & Thai.
    But the best is probably the view you have at dinner time, lsiten to the waves crashing on your feet, or watching the moon rising above the sea.
  • Beside the KArebu, I don't remember eating much, only drinking, must have ate something, but don't quite remember, must have been some Whiskey and shrimps or some sort of condiment.
  • I remember having an ice cream on my way out to the airport.
    Does it count?


  • Soi Green Mango and its surrounding is a full-tilt bar zone.
    Take off your wallet and dance your ass off all night long.