You know that friend you have in every city that gives you thee best advice while travelling? Well that's me. And this is my blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Moving from Bangkok to Jakarta Drunk Post

In Vino Veritas Or. Blind Drunk Blogging after Uber Party. Or. Why you Should Snort Feces Rather than Move to Jakarta


Listen. This lil' momma likes to drink and recently Bangkok has offered her sweet nectar of life up for the gulping. I'm talking about Free Flow parties, baby. A launch party or two every week for a new company or resto whateva. (If you're an intern or student on exchange this city is ideal for you). Last night it was the launch of Uber Taxi in Thailand, and lemme tell you I was Moses in the Red Sea, a midget surrounded by walls of alcohol and my safe passage could only be guaranteed by my ability to drink my way through. I basically opened the flood gates with MY MOUTH. We were standing in the main bar area of Ku De Ta (a miracle, never saw it full before) and every 30 seconds a new drink would pass. I have restraint (yup) but c'mon, I was hanging with the cool kids in the internet crowd, you know, Pomelo Fashion, LINE chat, ex Rocket, and these kitties also like their fair share of bacchanal. Needless to say, mojitos were only the beginning, shots brought the chickens home to roost. Anyways, long story short. The night ended with me taking a time out, riding Rhonda home and answering THIS EMAIL BELOW. 

I forgot about it until I read it the next morning. I was shocked. But you know what, eff it. While I grimace at its crudity I decided to post it because I couldn't have been more honest with you about moving to Jakarta. I understand many people like living in Jakarta as an expat (perverts..nah my old roomie who is a normal female really likes it), but I rather snort fermented feces than ever go back to living there. (Second) long story short, DO NOT DO IT. Indonesia and Indonesians are great though, just not Jakarta. Thanks Sergio for the email. I understand if you want to never ask me anything again ever for a little while. This buzzfeed article might offer you more insight though :). Obviously if you disagree then go..take a walk. I mean, share your comments below. Jeez, I don't know what it is about this city that channels all of my negative energy. 


    • Hello Felicia,
      S*** here. I am just a guy who is probably going to move to Jakarta soon. I am living in Bangkok now.. yes.. I know maybe it is not a good change... but I guess that is the way it is.. anyway... 
      Are you still living there?
      I came across your blog, congrats for that. I liked it.
      I have already been in Jakarta few times, and I guess I am already aware of its general problems: crazy traffic jams, no roads to walk, etc

      However, I just would like to have a very general point of view of somebody that has been living there (expat) for a while and get to know how everyday life actually can be there.

      I am obviously not expecting Jakarta to be Bangkok... just generally wondering how it would be.

      Don't want to bother you, I know this kind of emails are not pleasant, specially when you do not know the other peson at all.

      By the way, I saw you enjoyed Kolour Sundays in Bangkok some time ago... We had a crazy one last Sunday... 

      Cheers,
      S***


    • Daily life differences:
      1) Cannot walk. your life will be the culmination of of one a/c bubble to another.

    • 2) The general air around you stinks. That may not be a big deal to you, but as a canadian, i love fresh(ish) air. In jakarta, get used to asphyxiating always.

    • 3) the people don't get the 'sabai sabai' mentality. There is an air of stress and depression as omnipotent as the stink 

    • 4) live by night. day time in jakarta involves only living through work and traffic jams. The only stress free zones come through partying (which, i love..but after one week it gets old)

    • 5) club indo girls (ayam) are easy and western chicks are desperate. No girls get d*ck there or casual sex unless they act completely wanton. the result? women are easy pickings.

      The summary: you will hate your life by day. You will spend most of your time plotting your bali escape and you will have insane party nights. If you are an ugly desperate dude this place will be the best thing ever. (if youre a woman I have coined the term Vagina Graveyard, bc any sensible woman would not hook up with the scum that collects there, thereby starving their lady parts to moribund.

      Anyways, don't ask me for jakarta advice if you are looking for a positive reinforcement for your decision to move there.

If you find yourself here then at least have a good time with these tips on where to drink without prositutes, eat locally and shop vintage in Jakarta, bros. 

Let the good times roll

My Indie Music Reco of the Week ! Cute but too simple 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Indie Guide Bangkok Nightlife: Thong Lor & Ekkamai


Finding Toronto in Bangkok in Thong Lor
Two years in Asia and I wouldn't be lying if I said I could not find anywhere that channeled Toronto vibes. You know what I'm talking about? Remember my stint in Ossington, with the ol' amour?  The street art, the small dive bars, the smell of interesting people doing interesting things ( not the stench of carefully cultivated authenticity that Jakarta struggles to hide)..



Praise da lord! Bangkok has an alley with awesomeness too! 2bhonest, I was shocked to find such a culture enclave in a city known for lady boys and red bull buckets in the street (you literally drink alcohol out of a bucket). Yes, yes, I too sold my soul deep into the depths of soi 11 pail drinking and trashy partying long ago,  resigning  my boy Coran's Kolour Sunday event as the sole reprieve from the sloppy college like goodtimes that Levels and RCA provided.

But now my eyes have been opened wider than your mama's booty. 



Where to go
I absolutely recommend Sukumvit 51 in Thong Lor and Ekkamai for this Toronto secret goodness. It's no secret to my friends living here but I am certain it is not the first place people go when they grow their kahunas big enough to venture off Khao San Road. The standard spot seems to be the club called levels on Soi 11, which is fun but definitely not the apotheosis of cool. 

Here are two bars I discovered this weekend:

Tuba Design Store and Restaurant (Ekkamai): Filled with antique furniture, funky nude paintings, super heroes  and no two chairs that are alike. This funky joint is a sit down bar to enjoy with a big group or even as a couple. The music is not obnoxious, the vibe is as comfortable as your living room on a Sunday night with cigars ( oh yea there is indoor smoking). I don't do bars that much, preferring house parties or clubs to shamelessly shake tail, but this place sedates my inner wild child into humble pleasure.



WTF (Thong Lor): small, dim mood lighting, a glowing heart hanging outside (not a cute heart, like a human heart), and a massive Buddah in street art made its way dep into my soul and gave me a pang of Toronto missing. For my friend John visiting from jakarta, he said while we hung outside for a block party (!!) that Bangkok is the coolest city in Asia. I mean when you come from Jakarta it's not a hard standard to beat, but I totally got it. The city is the perfect mix of Jakarta's roughness with Singapore's development. 

Location: thong lor BTS, sukumvit soi 51



Not finished yet
Anyways I'm doing my first blog post through mobile, so please excuse the poor everything. Like why am I even writing at 4am? Update on the work side is that my job and company is damn cool. If you are following on instagram or twitter you saw I got to go to Singapore to do this! He is one of my  favourite street artists from indonesia. Despite doing awesome shiz, I  am feeling more and more like an adult (I equate this to becoming boring? Which is why I am blogging less?) I dunno, I'll just stop whining now and call the waah-mbulence!

My office in Singapore. Coolest start-up ever letting me brand them with art !


Now that I've woken from my drunken stupor I am excited to help you discover more awesomeness! I met a Japanese artist tonight, he told me there are openings every week (with free food and drinks, for all you interns out there!). Bangkok, you rock the c..lock!




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Koh Samet: Weekend Bangkok Escape and Political Turmoil

Cheapest and Quickest Way to Get to the Beach and out of the Political Shitstorm of Bangkok!!


Too much sexy to handle in Koh Samet. Look out Tinder!

Need a quick weekend escape from a city that is in the midst of a potential political coup and its upcoming illegitimate elections that could turn violent? Yea, well even though things have been largely peaceful here in Bangkok, I felt a small tickle of an unfamiliar feeling called concern...Concern that the geographical divide that keeps the Yellow and Red shirts from rampant violence would close as conflicting factions came to a head at the polls. How much would it suck to die from some stray bullet not even meant for you?


I live in one of the biggest protest sites at Asok and (lucky me) I work at the other in Lumpini (above, this is next to the entrance of my office, woo). I ride Red Rhonda (bicycle) every day through barricades that have gotten bigger and sturdier each day. My friend James joked that the size of the barricades is a pretty good indicator of how worried we should be (which had largely been..not at all). Maybe he wasn't wrong. At first in early December the barricades were just a couple tires tall, now they are 6 levels high reinforced with sacks of rice and netting (to catch grenades?!). I've taken up jogging in Lumpini Park and I can't help but marvel at the fact that I am running with my short pink booty shorts and iPhone like I have not a care in the world while maybe 1000s of people have camped into the park refugee styles in non-relinquishing protest to a government they believe is corrupt (and may well be). Proof truly that people have the capacity to normalize any damn situation. These people are preparing for war yet we smile each other in the park while my fat arse struggles to do squats.

Anyways, did I think it was a good idea to take a weekend trip from Bangkok during the protests? Yes. I've taken to hanging out with a gaggle of French girls and so myself and ten Frenchmen headed to Koh Samet, an island 4 hours from Bangkok. I swear, if you want to learn French go to Thailand over Paris anyday. I speak more here than I ever did in 3 years of dating the ex Parisian amour.

Koh Samet is the closest island to Bangkok and thus serves as a simple and cheap weekend trip for expats. While, Koh Chang remains my favourite, Koh Samet is just slightly more accessible. We left comfortably on Saturday morning at 8:30, whereas for Koh Chang you have to leave at like 4 am and end up just exhausted during the day while there. If you have only the weekend do Koh Samet. Long weekend Koh Chang is my first recommendation. AND NEVER PATTAYA.

Here's our plan if it helps you with yours!

How to Get to Koh Samet from Bangkok Saturday 8:30 am - 1 pm, 400 Baht
Buses leave every half hour and they take you to the pier.
Meet at Ekkamai Bus station: 8:30am
Depart in Mini Van: 9:00am | Cost: 200 Baht
Speedboat: 200 Baht

Koh Samet to Bangkok Sunday 4:30pm - 9pm, 450 baht
Speed boat (11 people): 4:30 pm | Cost: 200 Baht/pax
Minivan (10 people, private): 250 Baht


Where to Stay on Koh Samet
Beach: Tubtim
It is beautiful, has a volleyball net and not super busy. Granted, there tend to be mostly plumpy old tourists, but it's where the group of French alway stay.

Lodging 
Tubtim: 700 baht/pax in 3 bed a/c room with towels, shampoo and delicious breakfast. It's not the cheapest spot but the rooms are very clean and the service is nice. As a young profesh' I can afford this preference.

Phudsa: 350 baht/pax for 2 bed fan room. Cheaper option but service is not great and they constantly try to change the price. They don't know how to appreciate repeat customers from what I understand, and I have no patience for that. It's where the other half of our group stayed and where they usually do.

The group totally hungover hanging out at Phudsa. 

Where to Eat the Best and Cheapest Seafood Dinner Everrrr
Tubtim beachside restaurant. This is not an exaggeration, the barbecue fish I had was the best I had ever tried. They bring it in a dish with a fire under it so it slowly cooks in all the flavours even more. We ordered fish, squid, chicken, crab fried rice, corn, potatoes and beers and it came up to 300 baht/pax (and we had food to spare)!!! Super impressed.

Where to Party
There are a couple big beachside bars but the gay bar is infinitely more fun. And not fun in a purely straight girl in a gay bar fun, but overall the music is better and the crowd. Our French gang clashed with another massive French gang. While they eyed each other wearily we all ultimately globbed into an island of straight people dancing. Great night that ended in a very modest late night swim!


French boys / mega nerds on the dance floor. 

Conclusion
Last time I was in Koh Samet it was 2009 and it kind of sucked. It was dirty with bottles and plastic on the beach and the people there were not as lively and fun as Koh Chang. But I must say it has come a long way. The clubs are super developed and the clean-up is much better. For a weekend trip from Bangkok when on a budget I recommend this like whoah!

Please share your thoughts if there is anything I'm missing!

Let the good times roll


Musical Moment of the Week
French Guy Singing German Minimal Folk Mix. So good!!


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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Indie Guide Bangkok Nightlife: Kolour Sundays Sunset Party

3 reasons you should ignore your hangover and party at Kolour Sundays aka the best party in Bangkok

Yo World Broskis, after enough fist-pumping with lady boys and/or dancing with sexies to shitty David Guetta the past month, I think I've finally found the raddest party in Bangkok. Think of the ETE D'AMOUR electro parties in Paris along the quai + Singapore's Tanjong Beach Club (minus the Jersey Shoreness) and you can cop a feel of the vibe that Kolour Sundays rocked out.

The concept, created by bkk alt-music pillar Coran Maloney and event organizer Vina Charay (also does French Tuesdays), started out in Coran's old crib where he would throw Sunday parties for his home slices. United in a love for good times and frustrated with the Bangkok status quo, the two decided to get their salt and pepper shakers shakin' and create something delicious for the city to enjoy. The result was a Sunday sunset party that takes place 4-6 times a year in an undisclosed location. In my humble opinion, they got everything right, a rare feat in Southeast Asia. Here's why.





1. The crowd is the best of the Bangkok expat and local scene

This is word of mouth marketing at its strongest. Kolour Sundays attracts cool people doing cool things in the city, and filters the worst-- mud-in-their-toenails backpackers from Khao San road or saggy ball pervs from Soi 11.  As my eye-ball survey can confirm the party was filled with young professionals (a demographic I'm discovering actually may be the best..imagine having the energy of a student with the money of an adult? I couldn't have imagined when i was a graduate. Whoahiwow) to second and third-jobbers. Undoubtedly, this also has something to do with tickets being more than a long island ice tea bucket, going for 500 baht. It even miraculously lacked douchey bro types. I thought it was impossible to escape those, as we know from the super hype, yet douche bag infiltrated Dim Sum Dance Parties in Toronto.

People were casual, laid back yet extremely stylish. A mighty big difference from Jakarta or Singapore where an attempt to do the same would just stink of Eeau de T'ry too Hard. People, particularly women, could rock their jeans and flats at Kolour and look perfect, not needing to teeter around on useless heels for some dress code, enforced for the sake of its own enforcement. (Sidebar: One might say that Lucy in the Sky is the Jakartan answer to the prevailing laughable style code, but I assure you it is not yet there. While it's the best Jakarta has got, there's the scent lingering of attempted pretentiousness that just feels desperate, read more here).


Oh heyy. I was a bit hungover so excuse my simple style attempt! I just went with a comfy summer city look. I rocked my vintage boots from Toronto's Good Will (8 bucks), blue patterned dress from Chatuchak Market (10 bucks), vintage Ray Bans and my pink purse from H&M for my beloved colour splash. 

The only discernible dresscode was sunglasses and that was enforced by the SUN. God, I love Southeast Asia. 


This shirt needs to be in my life. 


Dutch guys being tall.

2. Daytime drinking along the river while the sun sets is unbeatable

I arrived at Viva Aviv, an open air bar along the river, at about 4pm and faster than a snake's tongue my main man Coran Maloney was liquoring me up with vodka shots wielded expertly from his secret stash behind the dj booth. Hair of da dawg! My 7 am finish the night before lost relevancy and my body operating systems resumed full service. I became ready to dance for 12 hours straight (which indeed happened).  As a Canadian, I admit being absolutely partial to drinking in the great outdoors.

And you better love the sun on your face and drink in your veins. At Kolour Sundays you start early (1pm -10pm) and then it continues at the afterparty, which was at Glow this time. It's perfect though, because if you want you can enjoy the whole party and still be in bed by midnight..if turning into a pumpkin when the clock strikes 12 is your main concern, I guess?

Awesome photo by John Lafond Wright from Facebook. 


3. Disco Funk, Minimal, Electro..A riverside reprieve from the mainstream bologne

The subtle confidence that Kolour exudes stems from what makes the difference between a 'meh' party and the sort of party that builds fan loyalty for life, and that's the dedication to the music. I've known Coran since '09 and even though we met at RCA (the human factory of clubbing) when I was an intern for the IOM, we just clicked and have been friends since, rockin' out Bangkok, temples and Full Moon Parties. Now 5 years later, I've moved back to Bangkok and I'm seriously impressed. He has gone on to create one of the best parties in Bangkok! The passage of time is awesome when you see how far your friends have come.


It's no surprise though, this guy has always been dedicated to discovering the most cutting edge sounds. He just needed to get the formula right between music and venue. Boom.

"Bangkok had loads of events and clubs but there was always one or two elements missing. For example they would have underground music but at dark and dirty venues. Or they would have great clubs but the music would be tailored to the mainstream," Coran told me.

And that's what makes the difference with Kolours and try-hard bullshoi (most Jakarta joints except Treehouse) or soulless romping grounds for drunk assholes (Levels in Bangkok). Kolours has AMAZING DJs. Everyone had something different to offer, but my two fav's were Coran and Sunju, who really knew how to get the beautiful people moving. Coran was perfect for setting the summer vibe with disco funk, minimal, electro pop and poolside house early on, while Sunju played you house that made you stop what you were doing and just dance.





Some guy was crowdsurfing? What the hanus? 

Six hours of party later. Then onto the afterparty. 

Conclusion

Kolour Sundays is the rare kind of party that when you're inside it, nothing else matters. Everyone you possibly want to know or talk to is there, the location is perfect and the music makes you lust for nothing else. The holy trinity of party is fulfilled! Whether you've just moved to Bangkok and looking for a different nightlife scene or are just visiting and want to see the heart of the city at its best, come out. Great news if you missed this one. The next one is on January 26th! Thanks so much Coran and Kolour Crew for a wicked as night. Follow along for more updates and photos from the party!


Let the good times roll


Music: Young, Summer Sounds from 18 Year Old Belgian DJ, Henri Pfr

!!! This kid has a great ear. Listen to this mix to feel the summer on your toes. Need to bring this guy for Kolour Sundays. He just gets it especially at 10:30. Shit. It's 4:30 am, I have work in a couple hours but hell, this makes me ready for another dance party. What do you think? 




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Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Brief History of Guyana and Good Bye Toronto

First Generation Problems slash Why My Family Hates My Life


My Guyanese family, especially my grandparents, are surprisingly the biggest brand ambassadors of Canada. Though they have visited three of the world's 196 countries, they have the audacity to claim that Canada is the BEST one. Are they hanging with Rob Ford smoking the c-rack?! Maybe not. Here's how they broke it down to me.

"Do you know how hard we worked to come to this country?" They asked me with scowling dark eyes. " Do you know how many people are dying to get into Canada, and you.. you! You can't wait to leave!"

How does one respond to that?

Normally, I feel no more or less Canadian than my whitey compatriots even though I am the first generation from my fam to be born in this country. So what if I didn't grow up listening to Rush? I like hockey, I'm polite and a strong liberal and say 'sorry' and 'about' in ways that foreigners find off ( or cute?).

Yet, when my family plays the ol' Guilt Trip playlist with hit songs like 'Responsibility to the Nest' and 'Ungrateful Child of Mine' I quickly remember that in fact, I am different. I am not only Canadian, I am Guyanese. You hear a lot about ABCs and CBCs (American/Canadian Born Chinese), but do you know anything about why there are so many people from West Indies (Guyana, Trinidad) here?

Once I understood the sad history of Guyana and my family as orated by my family I started to understand why my incessant wayfarer-ness is a life choice they cannot accept.


Asian first-gen problems are not so different..

A Brief History of Guyana
Just look around Toronto and Queens New York. These places are rife with people who look indian but sound like a cross between Bob Marley and a songbird. The Guyanese and Trinidadians all showed up in the 70s because shit was going down in the homeland after the ruling British power decided they couldn't handle their colonial empire no mo'.  Typical colonial bullshoi around the globe at the time.

The West Indies'  brand of strife was between the Indians and the Africans—the two main groups the British brought over to work the sugar cane fields.  Over time different social economic statuses developed between the two, creating a class tension that burst like a pus-filled pimple once the Brits left.  Scape-goating and targeting of the Indians took place. Riots were brutal, no one felt safe. It was during this period my grandfather had his house burned down and had to hide in fields holding my uncle, a mere baby at the time.

In Guyana, my grandpa George at 26 (my age now!) owned land and a shop but there was no way in Zeus's lightening was he going to risk his family through the volatility that Guyanese politics were at the time. He decided it was time to make like a cricket ball and bounce. And that's when the universe smiled at them and a golden gate opened up. The golden gate was Canada's Open Door Policy of the 1970s and the gate keeper— the revered prime minister Pierre Trudeau. A legend for Canadian immigrants, making faithful Liberals out of them for life. It was a golden gate indeed for so many people who needed it in the terrible global fall-out of post-colonialization in the context of a divisive Cold War. Never doubt an immigrant Canadian's patriotism. I get their vigour. I hope it makes sense to you even if you ain't an immigrant.

My mom and three of five siblings in the early days of Canada life.


But swinging into that open door wasn't easy at all. My gramps had SIX children that he needed to import to Canada from Guyana. And he had had a lot of his assets destroyed in the riots. What the hell was he going to do, right? But he was determined and hardworking. As such, him and my other grandparents worked menial jobs earning meagre wages in order to bring their whole family over to Canada—a stark contrast to the lifestyle they had in Guyana. My grandmother dragged buckets on her feet as she collected worms for fishing bait here, earning 5 cents for every worm she collected (this is the same grandmother who gave me a Versace handbag and a fur scarf..!). My grandfather worked in a hospital as a cleaner. You know how expensive flights were in those days?! My grandfather was also divorced, so he was a single father with those six immigrant children trying to support and shape into what would be the new faces of Canada.

The new faces of Canada. My Mom in the 80s


He lived like a bottom-feeder and slaved away to leave third world's instability so his family could build a better life, one of both security and freedom.  And they succeeded, my whole family is in Toronto. Now they all  have massive homes and everything they want, they can obtain. It makes me fiercely believe that a country that has a strong presence of these sorts of immigrants has a vein of strength and perseverance pulsing through it that those without can possibly imagine. Sure, there are risks of crime and instability that comes with reintegration, but the longterm effects build the foundation of people that will drive the country… aka us first-generation kids.

Anyways, fastforward to tomorrow. Grandpa George's granddaughter is leaving Canada heading to Southeast Asia, to a country still stiff with political tensions, underdevelopment, corruption and more. By following my dreams like an old Canadian (re: white), I have veritably slapped him in his face.

All I can say is that I agree. Toronto and Canada may indeed be one of the sweetest places. Thanks to them I am the holder of one of the best passports in the world—able to travel anywhere, grew up in a just society with good values and an education that has enabled me to go to the places I have. Toronto is an amazing city with great music (Metric, Feist, Austra, The Diamonds) film life (James Cameron, Ryan Gosling, Michael Cera, Ellen Page), food (it's the foodcourt of the world), universities (U of T) delicious tap water and greenery that will make you cry in the presence of its beauty.

It's only because they left Guyana I have any of the opportunity I have today. I wish they would realize that.

Anyways, in a very Canadian fashion I will apologize. Sorry for the extremely boring post. Below I've posted some pictures that highlight my love of the city. I am sad to say goodbye to all my friends and family, but honestly so excited to get back! I love Asia. I love the adventure and hope to see you soon!




Wearing my Autumn hat because I needed it and not because I was forcing fall fashion in hot Asia.

Chinese Checkers with my bro at Grandpa George's house on his 75th birthday.


Trinity College at University of Toronto. Amazing school. Brought me where I am today.


Things like this happen. Canadians love Halloween. Will miss friends. Obvi. 

Wide open spaces. Suburbia has its charms. 


Access to vegan and organic everything in life does not exist in Asia. 



Is your family like this? Any advice on how to win their acceptance? Be a bro, share below.