Making Passes at Snakes With Glasses

I’m not sure if I’ve been lucky or unlucky with the weather since my arrival in Udon Thani last weekend. It’s been hot, hot, hot. The Bangkok Post has put the temperature at around 34 degrees Celsius each day but you can add a good four to five degrees to that figure at the sun’s peak of the day and when stepping out of the shade. Unlucky?…I much prefer the thermometer just above the thirty mark.

A Meeting With a Famous Thailand Blogger

Myself and Wonderful Wi enjoyed one night in Udon Thani city before hitching up our wagon and heading out to our country home and I was fortunate to spend two hours of the evening with a famous Thai blogger. Pete Garwood, the man behind Frogblog Thaidings was in town and I enjoyed a couple of hours in his captivating company. I’ve wanted to meet Pete for a long time and it was great to finally talk face to jet lagged and intoxicated face (yours truly) with a legend from the Thailand blog circle. Legless meets Legend. Cheers Pete.


I’d like to recount one of those Thai-English conversations which many readers will have encountered during their relationship with Thailand and its colourful people. The hybrid language spoken in part English between Thais and farang is often called Tinglish, and Wonderful Wi and myself had one such conversation when travelling to our village home last weekend. Wilai was at the wheel of our rented car and I was as always watching the world whizz by.

“Hus…band, I have snow come”
“Snow? … I don’t understand”
“I have snow come my hair”
“You mean dandruff”
“If Dan is rough then he must go see a Doctor”
“Mai khao jai (I don’t understand)”
“You said dan..luff”
“Urrrrr…… dan…luff”

Red Roses for Boys and a Flowery Monk

I always thought boys bought roses for girls. Apparently not so in this neck of Isaan and that role reversal is helping to make Wi’s fledgling flower business grow a little bit more.

Each of the school mornings thus far a gaggle of giggling schoolgirls have come to our house to buy roses for their sweethearts. What’s that all about. Come on boys, flower power is a very potent aphrodisiac.


Word of Wilai’s blossoming flower business has now spread to the next village and one of the monk’s from there dropped by to order marigold’s and roses for the village temple. I was left to entertain him with a bottle of Sprite and a few cigarettes whilst Wilai cut 300 flowers.

Snakes and Glasses

Prior to arriving in Thailand I had finally accepted the need to where eye glasses all  the time. It was a hard decision for me to make but I acquired an expensive pair of varifocal lenses. And boy are they good. Too good.

In the six years or so I’ve visited our village home I’ve only ever seen two snakes in our garden. That’s been due to my vision struggling to see a haystack on top of a needle. Now I can see a pin at ten paces and I’ve clocked two snakes in our garden over the past couple of days. They were both about one metre long and triggered reflex bowel movement. I’m not sure wearing glasses in a Thai village is a good idea at all.

Never make passes at snakes with glasses. They look too damn big and scary.


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

16 Responses

  1. Martyn says:

    Paul – Wearing glasses full time makes a helluva difference, my quality of life is so much better now. It’s just the simple things like picking up a newspaper and being able to read it. An English one that is.

  2. Hi Martyn, it probably won’t be too long before I’ll need to wear glasses full-time. You think missing out on snakes is bad, I almost brought the wrong kid home when I went to pick up my son from school.

  3. Martyn says:

    Paul – Nearly taking the wrong kid home from school is a pretty good sign you need glasses. Varifocals take a bit of getting used to because of the three different strengths in the one lense. Things can suddenly leap up at you. Slowly I’m getting used to them.

  4. Catherine says:

    Martyn, first off, welcome back (again 🙂

    And now about those glasses… seeing is believing but I’ve discovered the art of unfocusing my eyes. It’s a wonderful talent to have (especially in Thailand).

  5. Martyn says:

    Catherine – Thanks for the welcome. I gave Pete a big hello from you.

    The good thing about my glasses is I can read small print now. I didn’t realise Ponstan 500 tablets were for muscular and joint pain. I popped one and slept really well last night with no jip from my knee. And whilst I can’t read Thai script the funny scrawl is a lot clearer to me now. That will make learning to read Thai one helluva lot easier.

    i not sure if the street food stalls will look so tempting with my new super duper vision. I’m pretty fussy on food hygene.

  6. Catherine says:

    Martyn, it’s great you finally met Pete. I’ll be seeing Hugh again in a week or two. Meeting up with bloggers in person can be interesting and often fun (even for a hermit like me).

    Good point. Getting new glasses does mean that you are totally out of excuses. So it’s time for you to finally learn how to read Thai! Lucky you 😉

  7. Martyn says:

    Catherine – For me to learn how to read Thai I may have to ask Specsavers to refocus my brain. I’ll part get there one day but never the whole hog.

    I’m a hermit like you but this year I’ve decided to be a bit more outgoing. Pete admitted he had a tendency to be a bit of a loner too.

  8. Catherine says:

    Martyn, taking Nootropics has made a big difference in my hermit nature. I’m a lot more outgoing now… and … [drumroll] … my studies have improved immensely.

    It took me awhile to find my ‘sweet spot’ but as some take up to 9 months of trial and error, I’m quite chuffed that it was this quick (two months but only one month seriously).

    I’m not finished trying out the different Nootropics (it takes time) but I’ll write an update post Monday/Tuesday.

    Maybe Nootropics will work for you, maybe not. I know they are not one size fits all but with all the variations out there, who knows. My son started on Nootropics two weeks ago and he’s quite pleased with his results.

  9. Martyn says:

    Catherine – I will definitely have to look into Nootropics when I return to the UK. Your update will point me in some direction too.

    At the moment I’m trying to deal with tropic and not Nootropic. The temperature here in Udon yesterday must have been near to 40 degrees C. That’s hot and it really kicks the life out of me by late afternoon.

    Today we’re off to the horse racing in the city. Should be fun, though how the hell a horse can run in this heat is beyond me.

    Onion pie? … it reads beef and onion.

  10. Lawrence says:

    Better to see the little (and not so little) buggers before you step on them, Martyn. The snakes, that is.
    Roses? Have you not clocked how near it is to Valentine’s Day? So make sure you are one boy (at heart, at least) who does buy roses.

  11. Martyn says:

    Lawrence – I can see lots of things now. Travelling in the car I can read the signs (English ones) and generally spot things I’d have missed before. The big plus is that now I don’t get as tired as I did before.

    As Wilai might say ‘led loses for Walentines Day’.

  12. Catherine says:

    Martyn, people keep saying that it’s hot but as I’ve been confined to the sofa, I’m only as hot as the fan over my head. Something like that. Today, finally, I venture out.

    Beef and onion? I might need new glasses myself…

  13. Martyn says:

    Catherine – Does your pad have air con? and if so do you prefer the overhead fan. Both have their pros and cons.

    Sofas…our youngest dog keeps weeing on ours during the night (not every night) and I’ve rubbed his nose in it and put some newspaper down in the kitchen. That was a week ago and since then the sofa’s remained dry but so has the nangseuphim. I’m confused.

    Have a good venture or two.

  14. Catherine says:

    Martyn, I do have ac but I prefer fans. So when I renovated this condo I had ceiling fans put throughout.

    I learned long ago that if I sleep under, or depend too much on ac, then the heat of Thailand will make me miserable. And obviously, a huge electric bill would make me miserable as well.

  15. Martyn says:

    Catherine – I couldn’t agree more. This trip we haven’t used the air con in the living room once. Only in the bedroom at night, and set to a very comfy 27 degrees.

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