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About one hour before my non-stop flight to Bangkok from JFK was to leave, my mother told me AGAIN, the hours of departure and arrival didn't make sense. I thought I was to leave at 12 midnight. I was wrong. I was to leave at 12 noon. I immediately called my travel agent in New York and she managed to reschedule my flight for the next day. I had to get online and arrange for a $100-a-night-hotel in New York in order to get to JFK in time for the next-day noon flight.

I arrived in Bangkok and checked into the Mind Mansion Apartments in Huai Khwang. My lady friend, Gop, had stored a box of items from last year with sheets, towels, and other items I would need to get settled into my apartment.

Most of my first month was involved in watching a lot of international TV and trying to get together with my friend Timmy in Pattaya to talk about building and starting up a noodlestand, but, Timmy was too involved with other business.

I bought a Thai cell phone and called as many friends in the USA as I could. Since my mother has turned 90 it is good to call her every few days, too.

A great party with her family and best friends
My mother at her 90th birthday party
Photo of my mother's hand
that my sister took and
won 2nd prize in an internet
photography contest with over
2,500 Photos submitted
My sister's photo of our mother's hand

I traveled to the beach town of Pattaya to arrange for an apartment for my second month. On the bus I met a Russian, Misha. He had just arrived and was also looking for a place to stay. We went to Central Place Apartments where I have stayed in the past, but it was booked up for months in advance. Misha had studied the internet for places to stay in Pattaya so we went to the Sawadee Mansion and found two rooms for rent. I stayed for a day and showed Misha around Pattaya.

My friend Misha from Moscow with
four of his Russian comrads
Misha with Russian women at Pattaya Beach

Disappointed at not finding an affordable apartment, I headed back to Bangkok. At the bus terminal I struck up a conversation with Dr. Pipob who told me he has a condominium on the beach in Jomtien (the next beach community south of, and adjoioning, Pattaya). He offered it to me for two months at $100 a month!

This is wonderful for a man like me who sleeps in his car in the USA. Because of the Bush Administration mishandling the US economy, the American dollar is loosing value, big time! When I first came to Thailand in the year 2000 I got 42 Baht for a dollar. A week ago it was 35.5 - now you get only 35!

The economy here is booming. In 1997, when the bottom dropped out from under the Asian economy, buildings that stopped construction are back under construction again. There are at least 7 new apartment and condo buildings opening for business around where I live in Huai Khwong that were not there last year. The Bangkok skyline is a mass of cranes on top of climbing skyscrapers!

My thirty day visa expired so I took the 8 hour journey by bus to Vientiene, Laos. The visa to get into Laos cost $50! I didn't complain too much since we Americans dropped more bombs on Laos than any other country in history during our illegal war with these poor, communist people during the Viet Nam era.

Crossing over the Thai Lao Friendship Bridge from Nong Khai to Vientien
Crossing the Mekong River on the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge

I met a Swedish gentleman and his Thai companion at the Lao border and we shared a tuktuk (3 wheeled taxi) into town. On the way I got a quick education about Laos and when we got downtown I was shown some good places to visit. I spent the day walking around taking pictures and sampling the food. When I returned to Thailand I got another 30 day visa, free. >My Russian friend, Misha had to return to Moscow, so he made a stop-over in Bangkok and we went out on the town. I gave him the once over lightly tour and then after dark took him to my favorite girlie bars, The Star of Light in Patpong and Lolitas in Nana. I spent too much money but had a great time.

It's been a month since I arrived so I moved out of the Mind Mansion in Wuai Khwong, Bangkok and moved into the Jomtien Beach Condominiums two hours southeast on the Gulf of Thailand. I was told that there are 3,000 units in the complex. Also there are several restaurants (one with WiFi), convience stores, a couple of bars, two large swimming pools, and 24 hour security inside and at the front gate. Right across the road is the beach. This old hippie is really livin' it up!

This photo was taken from
the roof of the condo
Big swimming pool

My condo is in the building
in the center and stays in
the shade all day
Smaller pool and condos
The kind Dr. told
me to use anything in
his condo I needed
My space in the condo

You can see the gulf
and Koh Larn Island
behind the building
in the center
View from my balcony
The beach and water are much
cleaner than in Pattaya
Jomtien Beach looking north

I rent a lounge chair in the
shade of an umbrella for
$1 a day and lots of
vendors have food and
drinks to sell
Noodleman lounging in Jomtien
There is a good mix
of Thais and 'farang'
on this beach
View of Koh Larn Island from my chaise longue

View a video of a warm gulf breeze on Jomtien Beach
Also available at YouTube
After watching the video, click the "back" button to return to Noodleman

My friend Rose eating at our favorite noodlestand 
at the Jomtien Beach Condominiums
"Rose" eating at her favorite noodlestand

At the end of the month I will be going to Cambodia, and when I return I will get a visa for my third month's stay. Since the military takeover of the Thai government from the Thai Rak Thai Party prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, foreigners like me are only allowed to stay for three months at a time. I'll take what I can get because I love it here.

Ron "Noodleman" Carter

View my video of a Thai dancer in front of the condo's Buddhist Shrine
Also available at YouTube

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