Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Man, do I feel guilty.

Just a mere three days since I originally happened upon "Brassiere," and posted their sign here, they go out of business. I guess their integrated marketing campaign wasn't as successful as I thought. Whoever won a Clio Award, Cannes Lion or One Show Pencil for the original sign should probably return them immediately.

The sign actually hasn't been removed, just turned around. Maybe whoever opens a business at this location (near Chitlom) will find some use for it, but at the very least it will live for all posterity here on my blog.

All of my best to the fine folks at "Brassiere" with their future endeavors.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I've been here nearly four months and still have not found steady work. I've gotten a few freelance assignments and have donated my writing and editing services as well, but I haven't been able to get back into advertising. I've made a few contacts and friends in the field, so hopefully something will happen one of these days. I just thought that a 15-year career crafting ads in Detroit would be more beneficial than it has. Silly me.

While walking around the other day I saw this sign in front of a store and the reasons for my struggles suddenly started to come into focus.

With such stimulating visuals, there really isn't a need for any copywriting. Sure, it has a simple headline (or tagline): "Most Secret & Beautiful" and after that, what more can you say? Everything about this store is crystal clear. There's really no need for clever worldplay or the hint of an idea.

With that being said, if someone here can help me get my foot in the door at a local ad agency, I would be forever grateful - or at least grateful for the next three years or so that I'm here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Located inside the downtown JW Marriott hotel, Nami is an upscale Japanese teppanyaki restaurant. Right next to it is a companion eatery called Tsu, which is a fancy sit-down place. When you put the two names together it spells tsunami - get it? I'm not sure if that's the most politically correct name around here considering the recent natural disaster, but I won't hold that against them because the food and service was so great.

The whole point in going to a teppanyaki restaurant is watching the food being cooked on a grill right in front of you. It is really entertaining if the chef goes out of his way to make a show out of the whole presentation. Our chef (Khun Viyakorn) had an excellent personality and was great juggling salt shakers, eggs and other objects.

The food was fantastic, as it should be for the prices on the menu. I decided to splurge and order lobster with prawns and that was priced at nearly $50 US. Luckily, I was dining with my friend Greg and his trusty Marriott Rewards Card which cut the bill in half. (Thanks Greg!)

If you want Japanese food in Bangkok, Nami is definately a place to consider. I'm sure I'll try Tsu one of these days, but for now Nami is at the top of my list.

Monday, October 09, 2006


The streets and sidewalks of Bangkok are always overflowing with vendors selling just about every kind of delicacy you can think of - balls of fish, chicken and pork on a stick (most of which is either stir-fried, deep-fried or barbecued), squid, soup, noodles, rice, fruit and various sweets.

I have never eaten food from any of these vendors, mostly because I don't want to get sick. First of all, I don't like spicy food and secondly I have no idea how it is prepared and whether or not my stomach is ready for it even after nearly four months here. It must be OK, because I see plenty of locals scarfing this stuff down on a daily basis. Financially, it might be the way to go because from what I hear you can get a plate or bowl of food for around 50 cents US, but at this point I'd rather spend some extra cash to eat a legitimate restaurant rather than risk getting a stomach parasite of some sort.

The other night I happened past this vendor whose selection would have immediately frightened me off if I hadn't been so curious. It's kind of hard to see in these photos, but available for consumption here are various deep-fried critters including cockroaches, grasshoppers, scorpions, beetles, and larvae (click on the close up pics to zoom in even more).

I guess this kind of diet is supposed to be high in protein, but I'll never personally find out. The whole scene reminded me of something I'd see on reality TV. I half-expected Survivor host Jeff Probst to emerge from behind the cart and offer me a plate of these "snacks" in return for a chance to see my parents for the first time since June.

As this sign indicates, these vendors don't appreciate pictures being taken of their wares (I think that's what "Take Photo No Tips Please Get Away" means), although other people were doing just that so I joined in. Right before I left, the woman on the left turned around and gave me a dirty look. I didn't mind - it beats a plate of crickets.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Located on Rama IV Road in the heart of downtown, Wat Hua Lamphong isn't one of those famous wats that you can read about in every guidebook. It isn't the home to any solid gold Buddhas, emerald Buddhas or reclining Buddhas. I think it's just a standard wat where people go to worship. Still, I've passed by it many times so awhile back I finally decided to check it out. When I walked through there, none of the signs were in English, so that's a clear indication that's it not a tourist destination.

One of the interesting things about Wat Hua Lamphong is that a new temple is currently under construction there (or perhaps an old one is under reconstruction). I'm so used to seeing the ornate paint schemes and decorations on these buildings that when I saw one where parts were stark white, the effect was startling. It reminded me of one of those white plaster statues that kids can buy at the mall to paint themselves.

The main structure was nice enough, but pretty standard. It's home to a Buddha image (of course) and from the top you can see the roofs of many of the other structures in the compound, as well as the busy Bangkok streets.

Around back is a spire, but it's nowhere near as impressive as the Gold Mount or the spires on some of the other wats I've visited.

Wat Hua Lamphong is also home to the Ruamkatanyu Foundation (at least that sign was in English). I had no idea what they did, but after a little research I discovered that they are a volunteer rescue organization. That's sounds like a pretty worthwhile group to me.

I really can't recommend Wat Hua Lamphong for any serious sightseeing. It's OK to stop by if you happen to be in the area. Or better yet, you can always go there to pray to Buddha, because after all, that's what wats are for.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Why is this adorable two-year-old smiling?

Is it because she finally mastered the melody to "Old McDonald Had a Farm" and now is moving on to the complicated lyrics?

Perhaps she is delighted because about a half hour earlier she had chocolate milk in her bottle as opposed to standard white milk.

Or maybe, just maybe, she is happy because she is secure in the knowledge that her parents are so concerned about her well-being that they would never put her in an automobile (no matter how short the trip) without first strapping her into a US government-approved child car seat.

OK, I doubt if it's the last one, but if I were her, that would be my choice, especially when you consider how some kids here in Bangkok get around town.

Check out this family going down a busy highway in the back of a pickup.

Those children are no more than ten years old. What would happen to them if driver had to make a sudden stop or sharp turn? I shudder when I think about it.

Or how about this sweet little baby?

Granted, this photo was taken in the city when traffic was at a virtual standstill, but I'm sure he or she got to that point in the back of this truck with no safety precautions whatsoever. The infant is just being held by a family member. What if their vehicle got in an accident?

I have no idea what the laws are over here in regards to child traffic safety, but from the amount of similar cases I've seen around town it's safe to assume that there aren't any. I can't tell you how many times I've seen infants, probably less than a year old, strapped to a back of a motorcycle as the driver weaves in and out of traffic. Just today, I saw this family (although the child was around ten).

This one is a rarity, because no one on the motorcycle was wearing a helmet. Normally the driver (usually male) has one, while the passengers (usually a female and a kid) don't.

The whole situation to me is shocking and kind of sad. Maybe these families can't afford car seats and extra motorcycle helmets. Or maybe they just don't know any better. I only hope that I never have to witness a real tragedy that could have been avoided if there weren't such a lax set of safety standards here.

I will post more photos like this as I can get them in hopes that somebody someday will read this blog and help get a law off the ground to protect the children of Bangkok as they travel on the city's crowded highways. Perhaps then they can rest easy (like this little cutie)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


You never know what you're going to see on the roads here. One day it could be a guy with a refrigerator strapped to the back of his motorcycle. Another time, it's a woman pedaling a four-wheel cart loaded with brooms and bananas down the ramp of an expressway.

So it really wasn't that surprising when I saw this truck barreling down the road the other day. It was covered with rubber bats and birds that looked homemade (possibly constructed from old tires).

I'm curious what this was all about. Maybe the driver is an artist and this is his way or advertising his work. Or perhaps the decorative motif is supposed to ward off evil spirits. I really have no clue, but if anyone else does, please drop me a line.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


The way I see it, there's only a few reasons to visit the Bangkok Hard Rock Cafe:

1. You've never been to a Hard Rock Cafe and want to check it out.

2. You've been to a Hard Rock Cafe (or Cafes), but like going to different ones just to see what kind of memorbilia is on display.

3. You're looking for a place that's "kid-friendly."

And finally:

4. You have a hankering for a cheeseburger, but the Garage (see my previous review from back in August) is too far away from where you are.

When we went there, our reasons were clearly 2, 3 and 4.

I've been to several of these establishments over the years in places like Orlando, Paris, and Tokyo. Being the big-time rock fan that I am, I enjoy checking out all the guitars, photos, costumes, etc. that are on display.

A few years ago, the Hard Rock Cafe opened its doors in Detroit, just a couple of blocks from my office. I was actually excited about this, but after going there several times, I realized that the food was pretty mediocre. The burgers are OK, but in Detroit I can name about 10 places that bury the Hard Rock Cafe in that department. In Bangkok, that's just not the case. As far as I can tell, it's either the Garage or Hard Rock for burger lovers on this side of the planet.

So since we were in the area, with the kids in tow, we decided to check it out.

The staff was excellent. They really seemed like they were going out of the way to welcome us and make our kids happy. For our daughter Julia (age 5), this didn't take much: some crayons, some balloons, and some temporary tattoos. For Max (age 8), this entailed allowing him to roam around the place at will and even letting him get on their mini stage to act out his rock-god fantasies.

The atmosphere is like any other Hard Rock: loud music and cluttered walls. Some of the unique items on display included a signed drum head from Ringo Starr:

A bass guitar from the Who's John Entwistle:

The Artist Currently Known as Prince's jacket:

Shirts from the closets of George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix:

And a really cool jacket that was once worn by Marvin Gaye (personally, I think this belongs back in Detroit):

The restaurant had several levels but for some reason seemed a little dingier than the other versions I've visited. All in all, we had a good time. My bacon cheeseburger hit the spot, and around here that's always a good thing.