Momay had a great time there. It was her first try but I bet she will visit Flowhouse more often. Momay got a nice shape, and what an ass. Sweet !
I liked the vibe of the place. The Thai youth are behaving well, it’s in general not the style of the Thais to be very loud, wild and showing off as maybe you know it from US male youth or college guys.
The people that stand behind Flowhouse Bangkok are good, I spoke with a few. They are really excited about it and got some fine ideas.
Toon is a good teacher of the sport. I saw her helping plenty of kids and she seems to give some good advice for learning it more quick.
When I watched the people there, I got reminded a bit of some old days when I was skateboarding (years 9 to 13). That is a long time ago and I never was really good at it, but it was fun still. At weekends there were a bunch of kids all skateboarding in our area and we had a self-constructed ramp for some jumps and grinds.
Flowhouse is on Sukhumvit Soi 26, at A-Square. It’s a very hip place since they opened September 2012. It was a success from the very start and it seems to fit well into Bangkok.
The sport has the look of surfing, the ride of snowboarding, the tricks of skateboarding, and boards derived from wakeboarding. The first Flowrider opened 1991 in Texas, USA. Currently there are more than 100 Flowrider installations around the globe.
Toon Wera, a pro rider and Momay are showing us the place and sport a little. In Bangkok, 10% of the customers are females, around 40% of the people are below 18-years-old which shows the high attraction for them – and they simply got more free time.
It’s not too expensive and the food/drinks are pretty ok as well.
I am happy with the photo result, I am planning to do more, occassional shoots outside of Bangkok.
For the “Army Girls” I focused more on photos than on video. It’s really hard to simulate cool video action stuff with my little preparation time, resources and considering the skill set of the models. It’s often easier trying to work out interesting photos in such case. Anyway, I mainly see it for pleasure. I could imagine returning to Khao Yai / Pak Chong, it’s a good place for relaxation.
I enjoyed my time in Khao Yai a lot. The people are very friendly and it is a peaceful and beautiful area, reminding of Tuscany, Italy at times. Of course there isn’t too much to do in Pak Chong : a bit of relaxation, some golf courses and a few decent restaurants – that’s basically it. The shoot itself compared with my usual stuff in Bangkok was pretty relaxed, in general I prefer locations where not so many people are eventually around. Moroever the mild climate didn’t let me sweat too much. It was nice to work with Nokky and Sa. Sa is a little better for photos than for video, Nokky is pretty good for both. They are funny and cheerful girls. Nokky looks a little like the younger sister of Emma whom you know from the “Sporty Girls” video. The smile and her face look similar.
I still have not much knowledge about cooking and food, so I got some help of Mimi and Daniel. Daniel is from England and lives around 9 months per year in Bangkok for around 7 years now. Mimi lives since 12 years in NYC, USA. She owns a Thai restaurant in Midtown Manhattan named Chai Home Kitchen which she opened in 2007.
We went to Krudam’s gym on Sukhumvit Soi 24, behind Emporium for some Muay Thai. Krudam is well-known in Bangkok, he won a few titles and opened his own gym. It’s one of the best Muay Thai gyms all across Thailand you can possibly find at the moment. What I really loved about it is the open concept with trees around although being conveniently located at central Sukhumvit. The area of the video looks like being far away outside of Bangkok – but that’s not the case.
Pewe and Guitar are fighting for Global Nanpa. Pewe works for Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel and is training Muay Thai quite often. You might see her around at Krudamgym. Guitar is actually more into yoga, but she had done Muay Thai a bit before. Thanks a lot for joining. This was more a small sports event, the next one is getting bigger again with plenty of girls.
“Khaosan Road is a short street in central Bangkok, Thailand. It is located about 1 km north of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.
“Khaosan” translates as “milled rice”, a reminder that in former times the street was a major Bangkok rice market. In the last 20 years, however, Khaosan Road has developed into a world famous backpacker ghetto. Khaosan shops sell handcrafts, paintings, clothes, pirated CDs, DVDs and second-hand books, plus many backpacker items.
There are several pubs and bars, where backpackers meet. The area is internationally known as a center of partying, and just prior to the traditional Thai New Year (Songkran festival) of 13 April to 15 April, water splashing that usually turns into a huge water fight.”
Happy Songkran ! Khasoan is the backpackers paradise. My personal highlight is the delicious and cheap street food there. Guitar gives us a video tour of it. Her communication skills are very good. You feel a cynical undertone about the happenings at Khaosan quite often, I sympathize with her true feelings. Further she knows a lot about backpacking and travelling, having recently done 4 cities in 10 days in India.
Think about Bhutan and their USD 225-250 tourist visa fee per day (!). It’s a different approach of managing tourism. Khaosan would probably not exist if Thailand would charge a small tourist visa entry fee.
Thanks a lot Guitar for the insightful tour.
Mercy Centre – Human Development Foundation I Bangkok
“The Human Development Foundation (HDF), also referred to as the Mercy Centre, is a non-profit and non-denominational organization in Bangkok, Thailand. It was established by Roman Catholic Redemptorist priest Father Joe Maier with Sister Maria Chantavaradom in 1975. The organization and its Mercy Centre (the first and largest free AIDS hospice in the Khlong Toey slums of Bangkok, founded in 1993) is a declared partnership with the poor, committed to building and operating schools, improving family health and welfare, protecting street children’s rights, combatting the AIDS crisis, responding to daily emergencies, and offering shelter to orphans, street children, and to children and adults with AIDS.”
Mercy is in the slums of Khlong Toey, it was a longer motorbike ride for me. It took around 45min from Sukhumvit (Asok) to get there leaving at 9:30am, with a taxi it might had been around double the time. The people in the area know that place, just refer to searching for “Mercy” when you are close. Those “slums” don’t look like real slums to me, it’s a pretty ok neighborhood. The slums I have seen in Manila, holy shit – now that are real slums and poor conditions for orphans, begging their way on the streets of Manila.
The Mercy Centre is a fantastic, 5-star hotel compared with what I have seen in the Philippines and Cambodia.
The standard of Mercy with around 260 kids is very high, it was great to see it and to get to know a little how they operate. The video tour is insightful. The kids look happy, cheerful and social to me.
The hygiene standard is very high as well, I was impressed. The medicine for the kids gets provided directly from the goverment. A little strange is the brand placement on the ground, like a Ronald McDonald sitting there. It’s good that McDonalds and Coca Coca are donating but international cooperations don’t do that for free : it purely serves the purpose of image polishing.
I made a small donation to Mercy, I mainly wanted to see how the process works. It looks legit to me. I also spoke with a person from Chicago later on. He is smart and he seems to be one of the brains and real helpers behind the place.
Baan Gerda is another interesting orphanage in Thailand. What I really like about it is the the way the kids live there. It’s a smaller place with “only” around 85 kids living there. What’s better than at Mery Centre is that there is no political and religious association. Both have international cooperations as sponsors which isn’t too great.
“BaanGerda is a humanitarian non-profit organization that looks after AIDS orphans in Thailand. It is a project of the Bangkok-based Children’s Rights Foundation. The small village community cares for over 70 children that were born with HIV and whose parents died of Aids. The organization has no political or religious associations. The children’s homes have been built on land donated by a famous monk in the Lopburi province, approximately 230 kilometers north of Bangkok, Thailand. Unlike a state orphanage, BaanGerda has a unique operating model that provides family-style homes for orphans with foster parents looking after the children. All of the parents are HIV positive, thus ensuring they are sensitive to the needs of HIV infected children. It is the only one of its kind in Thailand.
The founders of BaanGerda are Karl and Tassanee Morsbach, who were originally involved in building schools along the Thai and Burmese border. It was built with their own money. In 2006, Germany honored Karl and Tassanee Morsbach for their humanitarian work by awarding them the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.”
It is common for children infected with HIV to be excluded from school. However, the children of BaanGerda were fortunate to be accepted at a local school and follow the national standard curriculum.
BaanGerda got a youtube vidoe as well. It only got 400 views, although being a well-made video existing since almost 8 months. Considering all the praises for being a role-model orphanage this can only be dissapointing. Poor and sick people simply aren’t popular at all in our society. Most shocking I found how the kids get treated by some Thais with very prejudiced beliefs. Like at 54 seconds :”They come out often, it is dangerous for the village”. And such comments are common around in Asia (excluding maybe only Japan), people really don’t want to see the sick and poor. The Thais might be tolerant towards ladyboys and gays, but it isn’t the general case for sick people. More awareness training needs to be done in Thailand.
BaanGerda and Mercy Centre are the positive exception of places being established in Thailand to help orphans. They are just a drop in the bucket in terms of size yet, but I hope for them they continue the great work at such a high level and to get more support.
From my point of view : Project Avatar 2045 is the long-term hope for humanity. Even the Dalai Lama has given his blessing to Dmitry Itskov’s Avatar 2045 project last year. See the video below.
The Park Plaza on Sukhumvit Soi 18 did impress me like I hoped it. I already considered their sister hotel on Ratchadapisek next to BTS Asok to be a very good budget hotel. This newer one now is equally good. Congratulations Carlson group.
This hotel is more hip designed than the other one. The rooms are spacious and are modern equipped. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The benefits are also pretty good, I especially liked to make use of a late check-out (they allow 5pm but I only stretched it to 1.30pm) because of a previous party night. For wild party nights (outside of the hotel) I start to base myself into budget hotels since a few trips. That might sound strange to some but I consider it to be more “safe”. I feel too much watched/observed in the 5-star hotels. As a guest you are considered as work for the 5-star staff, so whenever you hang out at the facilities, you will be approached sooner or later. I really dislike getting any sort of attention at times. That’s 1 good reason why I prefer to have a good mixture between 5-star and budget hotels. Nobody gives a fuck about me at places like Park Plaza and it is still a very pleasent stay there. I can switch to “do not disturb” mode for a LONG time and nobody gets worried. I can sleep/rest out my hangover and nobody gives a damn as well. Real privacy you will much more likely get in budget hotels than in 5-star hotels in Bangkok !
I am a fan of the street Sukhumvit Soi 18 : the people are very friendly there, moreover it’s a great place for hitting the lower Sukhumvit in the night, although still being located at a quiet spot. There is also a little, charming beergarden next to it. The restaurant on the 1st flor is nice for getting the first beers before hitting the bars. 2 white chicks in their mid 20s chatted me up in the restaurant during early evening, asking me about where to go for clubbing. They saw me wearing a Global Nanpa shirt and told me they know the site, laughing. Sweet, hehe. And not to forget : the pool on the roof is very decent as well. This might be one of the best budget hotels of Sukhumvit at the moment. My next stay is already booked.