Monthly Archives: January 2010

Jao Por Tap Chinese Parade

The Chinese people of Samrong in Samut Prakan Province believe that their God Jao Por Tap will help them get rich. Behind Imperial World, on the old Paknam Railway Road, they have built a large Chinese shrine dedicated to this God. Every year, on the last Sunday of January, they hold a parade through town which is attended by literally thousands of local people.

It was still dark when people started turning up at the Jao Por Tap Shrine. We arrived there shortly after 7 a.m. and both the road outside and the grounds of the shrine were crowded to capacity. This was the first time I had attended this parade and so didn’t really know what to expect. There was so much going on in different directions that I didn’t know where to focus my attention. The Governor of Samut Prakan was there as well as local politicians. In fact, anyone who was anybody had turned up for this event.

The opening ceremony involved the usual speeches and these came to an end with firecrackers and crashes of cymbals and banging of drums. This signalled the start of the parade. I think it would be fair to say that this was the largest Chinese parade that I have ever seen. As well as marching bands there were also the dancing dragons and acrobats. There was even this guy that had skewers through his cheeks.

The parade left the shrine shortly after 8 a.m. and made its way up the Old Railway Road and then turned right next to Samrong Hospital and headed towards Imperial World and then out onto Sukhumwit Road. Along the way, shopkeepers had set up small shrines on tables. The dancing dragons and acrobats did a small performance in front of these shrines and they were then given some money.

There must have been over 1,000 people in the parade but there were also thousands of people lining the parade route through town. It was a big event on the calendar for Samrong. From where I stood taking pictures and shooting video, it took them about 45 minutes to pass by me. Then as quickly as it started it was all over. Though, of course not for them. They still had a long way to go.

You can see many more of our pictures and also a video over at and

Tour of Samut Prakan 02

TOUR2 : Bang Nampheung Floating Market, The Erawan Museum, Reclining Buddha at Bang Phli and finishing with a meal at sunset at the Bang Pu Seaside Resort.

Samut Prakan Province is sandwiched between Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand. As it is so close to the capital of Thailand it doesn’t receive many independent travellers. Most people see it as just the suburbs. Even the mighty Lonely Planet Guidebook for Thailand has now dropped the chapter on Samut Prakan. However, despite this, the province has a lot to offer for people who want something different. In Samut Prakan Tour 01 I told you about a day trip to see all the highlights such as The Erawan Museum, Ancient Siam and the Crocodile Farm. What I am going to do today is take you to a floating market, the largest three headed elephant in the world, the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand and the most expensive toilets in Thailand.

The first stop on this tour is the Bang Nampheung Floating Market. Probably the easiest way to get there from Bangkok is to go by Sky Train to Krung Thonburi BTS Station and from there take a taxi which will take about 20 minutes to reach the market. Don’t go there expecting a picture postcard Damnoen Saduak kind of floating market. This was mainly set up for local Thai tourists. So, plenty of shade and stalls selling food and local handicraft and OTOP products. However, you can rent a boat if you are crazy enough to go out in the blazing sun. It is best to go here early as it can get crowded. I usually aim for 8.30 a.m. at the latest and spend at least two hours here. A great place to have breakfast. Don’t forget, it is only a weekend market and usually wraps up by about 2 p.m. With luck you should be able to find a taxi that has just dropped someone off. If not, take a motorcycle taxi to the river ferry at a local temple to catch a boat to the other side. Here you will find a taxi for your next destination.

Your next stop is the giant three-headed elephant at The Erawan Museum. If you go there by taxi then make sure he takes the Kanchanapisek Outer Ring road as there is an exit right by the museum. If you had to cross the river by boat, a taxi from the other side would only take about 15 minutes or so. To join a tour costs 150 baht each for adults and 50 baht for children. There is a museum in the basement and then you are taken up into the belly of the elephant. You really need a wide angle lens to get some good pictures of this giant elephant. It really is massive and worth every penny. It is a unique tourist attraction in Thailand. You will be spending at least an hour here if not longer. To get to your next destination, you will need to go by taxi again. Don’t worry, you won’t have any trouble in finding one. The trip shouldn’t take much longer than about 25 minutes.

From The Erawan Museum, you need to get back on the Kanchanapisek Outer Ring Road and head east to Bang Phli. It will be the third exit. Your first stop will be the Reclining Buddha at Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang. It is 53 meters long and much bigger than the famous one in Bangkok. In addition, you can go inside this one and see the Buddha’s heart! After you finish here, take a motorcycle taxi to the nearby Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai. It shouldn’t cost more than 20 baht. This temple is popular for Thai people because of the revered Luangpho To image. You might find the nearby 100 year market more of interest which runs alongside the canal. The temple also has a 5 million baht toilet. At the weekends, you can join boat tours in front of the temple. If you want to do this, then come straight to this temple as the Reclining Buddha is on the boat tour.

From Bang Phli, there is a road that heads straight south to the Gulf of Thailand at Tam Ru. You shouldn’t find it difficult to take a taxi from Bang Phli to your next destination at Bang Pu Seaside Resort. I would think it would take no more than 30 minutes to get here. The best time to come is late afternoon. In addition, if you come between October and March then you should have the added attraction of being able to feed a handful of the thousands of migratory seagulls here. This is a very popular place for Thais to come at the weekend to enjoy the fresh sea breeze. You can also do bird watching here and eat at the restaurant at the end of the pier. If you are here at the end of the day then you might be lucky to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the gulf.

Click here for a map of this tour. Also visit the Samut Prakan Forums where I have posted some more details and where you can swap tips with other people.

More Edith Clampton & Readers’ Responses

(Would be extremely difficult to get these two mixed up – but Mrs Clampton did)

Due to the positive feedback from the last blog “The Legendary Edith Clampton (Mrs)”, I think it’s only fair to write up a part 2 and include some of the readers’ responses – some of which are in concern to Edith’s complaints in the first blog, so you may have to look back. I’m sure you’ll have to agree, this is the Bangkok Post at its editorial best.

Not Up to Scratch (reader’s response) from first blog

SIR: My company subscribes to the Bangkok Post which I read every morning. I look forward to reading Post Bag as it often provides insight into the thoughts of the expatriate community and certain sectors of Thai society. However, I have always felt annoyed by the frequent letters of some correspondents. Which brings me to the reason for my own outburst on these pages: Edith Clampton.
I have just read her latest adventures in Southeast Asia. Doesn’t Edith realise that the green buses are called “mini-buses”? The micro-buses are red. The drivers are relatively considerate. The conductors are young women. The fee is 15 baht. (Did Edith pay 15 baht for a green mini-bus ride?) Unfortunately there is no outlet for your electric toothbrush, and sometimes no Bangkok Post on a mini-bus and that is why the conductor looked at you that way. I would not have been sitting with Khun Parker, driving behind the bus. He would not have been driving very safely while rolling on the floor laughing.

John Knipfing

Who has the Right to Elephant Dung (reader’s response) from first blog

SIR: Thank you Mrs Clampton for bringing up the subject of elephant dung. I have discussed this with my legal advisors and they offer me the following: The drunken farang woman would be the legal owner only if she said, “Here elephant, I would like to loan you these bananas”. If she says “There elephant, these are for you”, then the bananas become the property of the elephant and subsequently the elephant can claim full ownership of the manure. Regarding the mahout – he would be the owner if the papers could be produced showing he was the legal owner of the elephant. Unfortunately, Khun Hazel is left behind on this one and has no claim to the dung.
Legal action could take a long time an collecting evidence would be a nightmare. I suggest dropping it.

Wilbur Featherly-Jones
Commander RN (Retd)

Pizza Men on Bikes Prove Too Elusive (reader’s response) from first blog

SIR: Mrs Edith Clampton recently brought to our attention the difficulty she had with stopping one of our Pizza Hut delivery drivers to buy a pizza.
Edith could make her life easier if she was to call and place an order for pizza. By so doing, she is going to make it safer for herself and our delivery drivers. If Edith lets us know where we can meet, we would then have our drivers deliver a pizza to her.

Choompot Tantisoonthorn
Manager-Call Service Centre
Minor Group Food Division

Teething Troubles (readers’ responses and Edith’s response to angry Filipinos) from first blog

SIR: Congratulations go out to Mrs. Edith (wealthy person) Clampton for the most pathetic letter I’ve read this year.

Non-electric toothbrush

SIR: I was utterly amazed about Mrs Clampton’s tale of woe. Only now in my lifetime have I read about someone with the guts and “grotty pearly greens” to gnash with, blame her oral problem on my country’s current power crises. What I perceive is a case of sheer laziness on Mrs Clampton’s part. To top it, her vivid description of her oral condition is really repulsive. I guess Mrs Clampton should switch to a nuke-powered toothbrush (if there’s anything like it, she’s in luck) to scrape off all those accumulated ‘sediment’ on her teeth.

Arlene Esperida

SIR: When Mrs Edith Clampton complained about power failures in the Philippines one would think her life was placed at a very grave danger because her dialysis machine couldn’t function. But no, it was only her status symbol electric toothbrush. How shallow, how self-centred and how silly of the Bangkok Post to provide space to this whinging airhead. Weren’t there enough letters that day worthy of attention?

Emmanoel T Francisco
Newport Beach, California

SIR: Why so many people are taking it upon themselves to condemn me, because of my misfortunes in the Philippines, is beyond me. Their replies in Post Bag make me look stupid and I feel the real reason of their attack is because of my wealth. I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me so I kept my original letter short. For their information, I also returned to Thailand with a terrible bout of the flu. No electricity also meant no electric hair dryer and as the Philippines has no fire-places, I was forced to spend many nights with soaking wet hair. Regardless of what people say I will never return to that rag-picked country again.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Keep First Class First (Edith)

SIR: On a recent overseas flight (steve notes: Thai Airways) I was appalled at the conduct of some passengers. I had just settled into my seat when a herd of interlopers were moved into the first class section. They were loud and smelt like they hadn’t bathed for weeks. I complained to the head waiter on the flight but he explained his hands were tied – they had been upgraded by a higher authority.
Higher authority or no higher authority first class passengers shouldn’t be expected to have to suffer a flight sandwiched between backpackers. What upset me further was that I arrived ay my destination looking like a basket case whilst my maid, Khun Hazel, who travelled in economy arrived as bright as a button. Airline officials in high authority will now need to review their policy on upgrading, or genuine passengers will be forced to seek alternative ways of travel.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Keep First Class First (reader’s response)

SIR: I fear that our dear friend Edith Clmpton (Mrs) has got in a muddle again! Regular readers of the Clampton saga will no doubt recall that not long ago she went on a green mini-bus, under the mistaken impression that it was a micro-bus. Now she had a mishap on her flight, apparently by getting her tickets mixed up. Her maid, Khun Hazel, who “arrived as bright as a button”, most likely travelled in the first class cabin while poor Edith roughed it in economy.
I believe the “alternative way of travel” Mrs Clampton is considering may well be the rail journey from Singapore to Bangkok on the Orient Express, and I look forward to reading her account of the journey in your columns.

Michael Marsh Edwards

Discomfort (Edith)

Notes: Comfort 100 is a portable urine bottle which can be used by motorists in heavy traffic.

SIR: Could someone please introduce a law that it makes it compulsory for Bangkok taxis to have curtains between the driver and the passenger. Several times now I have caught the driver’s beady eyes looking at me in the rear-view mirror when I have been desperately trying to use the Comfort 100.
The whole experience gave me anything but comfort.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Discomfort (reader’s response and Edith’s response)

I was utterly shocked and disgusted by one of your Post Bag letters headed “Discomfort” by Edith Clampton. I was totally embarrassed just reading such a shameless complaint.
I am from New York, USA, and I’m coming to the end of a wonderful two-week holiday in this beautiful country, and about to take back such blissful memories. WHAM! then I read this sort of putrid filth, this woman should be ashamed of herself. Yes, we have Comforts in the States and of all sizes, the 100 being the largest, and it’s an acceptable woman’s personal appliance, for private use, certainly not in the back of a taxi!
Thailand does not need this type of woman. She actually had the “Brass neck” to inform us that the taxi driver was “watching her”! and she was having a problem with that! I’m surprised he didn’t crash his taxi. Of course he was watching her, he was wondering what the “buzzing was” was!

Mrs Ruth Dempsey

SIR: We were absolutely dumbfounded to find the Australians have their very own version of the Comfort 100. But as I explained to my maid, Khun Hazel, you’d have to pretty desperate to want to use it.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

(general reader’s response)

SIR: I have read a lot of letters written by this Edith Clampton, and sad to say most of them are just about her ridiculous and often pathetic “tragic misfortunes”. Judging from the way she writes letters, I can say that she is a sour person, has a very serious attitude problem, is very difficult to get along with and is someone whom I do not want to know.
I hope the Bangkok Post will not publish any more of her letters. As for me, the most I could wish for is to watch Edith Clampton (Mrs) being caned in Singapore. Just a thought…


Shoddy Footwear Maid Somewhere (Edith)

SIR: I fear I have to warn the general public about some shoddy workmanship that is being brought into Thailand from a third world country.
Last week I purchased a birthday present for my maid Khun Hazel. Her green thongs had seen their day and I bought some fashionable plastic ones with lovely pink roses on top. They lasted a week and the roses fell off. Hazel was devastated. The name on the side of the striped plastic strip was Femme Fatale but the country of origin was not clearly visible.
I held the questionable thongs to the light and read Maid in China but at another angle it looked like Maid in France. I think both countries need to investigate immediately and report back to the readers in Post Bag about this matter.
And who suffers? Not the manufacturer, not me, but dear Khun Hazel who has to wear old green thongs until next birthday – it just isn’t fair.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Shoddy Footwear Maid Somewhere (reader’s response)

SIR: I was appalled to read the latter from Mrs Clampton in which she complained that a pair of rather dubious flower-bedecked plastic thongs she had purchased for her maid as a birthday gift fell apart within a week.
I wasn’t appalled by the faulty merchandise as you get what you pay. I was appalled by Mrs Clampton’s meanness. She states that the sufferer of the shoddy merchandise will be the maid, “who has to wear her old green thongs until next birthday – it just isn’t fair”.
Surely if Mrs Clampton can afford to have a maid, she can afford to replace a pair of green thongs. If she had purchased more durable footwear in the first place, the maid wouldn’t be forced to wear the deteriorating green thongs.
I think Mrs Clampton should release the tight grasp she has on her pursestrings and purchase durable footwear for her maid. If Mrs Clampton cannot afford to purchase such footwear, perhaps she should do her own housework.

Alan Breten
(A Shocked Tourist)

Jungle Flight – twice in a lifetime adventure!

It was a year ago now that I first visited the tranquil little village of Baan Nam Khong and enjoyed gliding from tree to tree with the amazing Jungle Flight adventure. I got a chance to fly again last weekend and try out the longest, fastest and highest cables around Chiang Mai, a new adventure package amongst serene giant trees and bright green jungle.

The new section of Jungle Flight has northern Thailand’s longest zipline (at 300 metres), three more lines measuring 130 to 180 metres, one of them over 40 metres high, with a stunning view of the mountains. You can take it all in if you choose Package B. The weather was just right, sunny and clear, but not too hot, with brilliant lights for taking photos in the trees. Our group spent almost 4 hours on the platforms and ropes. Absolutely mindblowing and thrilling and …. I will need to get a dictionary to find more adjectives. Last year, I was left desperately wanting more, for the second time now, it was complete and well wrapped up. Just my idea of the perfect day.

Jungle Flight has made some welcome improvements. There is now a new “headquarters” in the village, a traditional wooden house, with adequate facilities for getting changed and lockers for storing backpacks. Locally grown coffee is available in the small restaurant. Otherwise, Baan Nam Khong still a simple sleepy village from the olden days, not spoilt by all the people coming and going.

We had four guides with us to take care of all the ropes, pulleys and carabiners, secure our take-offs and landings, point out interesting trees and wildlife, and tease us endlessly. It also meant that we all had plenty of opportunities for tandem flights with a guide, being able to assume some interesting acrobatic positions like the “superman”.

They are great at reading how scared or thrilled people are, engage in small talk to make guests more comfortable, and keep a careful eye on every little detail. They are also super crazy and love to glide around upside down, enjoying another day at work.

All the equipment used for the flights is imported and top grade. However, passengers rely on simple wooden twigs as brakes. I enjoyed watching the newbies’ faces when they learn about the technique for slowing down: listen to the guide yell BRAKE and pull down hard with the twig behind the pulley. If unsuccessful…. get ready to hit the treeee! On the longest zipline, I managed to accelerate to such blinding speed that no braking was strong enough and I smashed into the tree…. crushing the helpless guide (half my size) who was trying to slow me down. But experience helps, hardly any bruises this time.

Just joking. The trees where you are likely to have problems are padded.

Here are some of the highlights. A picture says a thousand words – sorry if it is sensory or technical overload for some of you.

The platforms and many of the ziplines offer a unique bird’s eye view perspective of the jungle. Sign up for Package B to get the most amazing vistas. Good news: you do NOT have to approach the first platform on one of these ladders you see! The villagers climb these to collect honey from the treetops.

The guides think it is hilarious to bounce up and down the skybridges while people are trying to cross from one tree to another.

This is a photo of the bridge taken from the treetop staircase.

Ancient trees – just the way they are. Don’t forget to look up and take in as much as you can absorb, with all your senses.

The abseils…. there are now 4 if you go for Package B. Luckily, you don’t absolutely need to go upside down…. but you can have the rope attached to your back and then ask for a fast descent. Get your vocal chords ready if you pick this option. As close as you will get to bungee jumping without actually doing it.

A couple is getting ready to fly the 130-metre cable, the longest if you pick Package A.

This one was my absolute favourite! Note the abseil down to the lower platform…. that’s the second highest abseil. Sigh.

The longest cable at the moment is 300 metres long, and it takes almost 25 seconds to glide it. Calculate the average speed for maximum jawdrop effect. There are some very nice views to the right, but you also get a different experience in the dense canopy.

This is the highest cable of all (also in package B). This one has the best views of half the province, probably. I took a video here, as a guide was alongside me and taking care of my flight and my landing so I could enjoy the view. I almost got a heart attack when I saw the movie for the first time. Check it out at the forum. The real thing was nowhere near that scary in that moment, your senses work differently, they don’t take all that space and depth in.

On a few lines, you are offered the option to be attached to the cable using the carabiner on your back. Being Superman is actually not totally straight-forward, as you may start spinning around. Approaching a platform head first is also quite scary but of course
the guides help you and the rope rises sharply in the very last moment. Don’t miss it.

There is a 580-metre stretch of suspended walkway. It is steep uphill, and gives you yet another nice perspective of the forest without having to cut through dense foliage at ground level. It is manageable for reasonably fit people, and you don’t need climbing shoes.

Can you spot the crazy guide in this picture? This is the last platform – “happy ending“. I was one of the first to descend, and I loved collecting the soundbites from people once they had solid ground under their feet. “I will never do this again!” topped the list. That was when I remembered that this is exactly what I said the last time…. but my memory had deleted it, fortunately. You could try asking for a parachute, they didn’t give me one, so I guess this is the way down!

“I am scared of heights – should I go for it?”

I am definitely more of an armchair adventurer myself. You should have seen me the first time I was hanging on a rope. Even though I had been dreaming vividly about flying for decades, I thought cranes and heavy equipment will be needed to get me down the second tree. Then it got better. It is definitely acquired taste. Just relax and let it happen, spread your arms and fly, holding on the rope makes it worse. Screaming definitely does help. If it is only a yelp initially, then set your mind to it and scream intentionally. And, most importantly, don’t listen to the guides suggesting you need to look down to overcome the fear – that is a set-up 🙂 Look in the distance, admire the trees and the mountains and the amazing jungle.

Told you not to!!

Currently, Jungle Flight offers two flights:

Package A with 22 platforms, 14 flights, 3 abseils, 2 bridges, 1 staircase, longest line 130 metres. This is the original adventure as it was a year ago.

Package B with 33 platforms, 21 flights, 4 abseils, 3 bridges, 1 staircase, longest line 300 metres, suspended walkway, more views of the mountains, truly amazing.

There are promotional prices at the moment, which you can check out at the Jungle Flight website. Both packages include snack, drinking water, lunch, round-trip transport, a visit to the hot springs on the way back, and a visit to a small waterfall in the rainy season. It is possible to change your mind halfway through and switch to Package B – quite a few people do so.

Some practical advice:

You can take along your camera easily if you wear a small shoulder bag. Carrying it around in a hand or pocket is quite clumsy.

The adventure takes four hours or longer – especially if it is the rainy season and there is enough water in the waterfall to deserve a little side trip from the ziplines. A snack and plenty of drinking water is provided at rest stops, and guides take good care of anyone who needs help. However, make sure you eat and drink enough for breakfast because it is a long day before lunch, and it may not be a bad idea to carry a bar of chocolate or some glucose candies. I guess dehydration could be a real problem in the hot season if you don’t take care of yourself, even though the altitude helps and it does not get as fiercely hot in the real jungle as down in the concrete jungle.

I would like to thank the owner of Jungle Flight Mr Songsai Mangklad for inviting me again, and our guides for taking care of me (and all of us!) so considerately.

The Legendary Edith Clampton (Mrs)

On reading the title, most of you are probably wondering “Who the heck is she?” Well, she was one of Thailand’s most well-known farang names during the early to mid 1990’s; a name that was highly controversial, but in the stupidest way possible (She even has her very own Wikipedia entry).

So, who was Edith Clampton (Mrs)? She was simply a regular ‘letters to the editor’ (Post Bag) writer at the Bangkok Post. No-one quite knows her nationality, but we do know that she was married to Mr Clampton and had a personal driver called Khun Parker and a servant named Khun Hazel. We also know that she was extremely wealthy, fervently disliked the Philippines and held scruffy smelly backpackers in much contempt (but she did have a little sympathy for them, however). Edith is a legend for two reasons 1. There has been no-one else like it in the English language papers 2. She never existed.

From 1993 – 96, the editing bosses of the Bangkok Post allowed Edith to submit some of the most hilariously daft comments for publication in their Post Bag. She was highly ‘controversial’ because a large minority of the Post Bag readers actually took her letters seriously, including embassy officials and big coperation heads. At the end of the day, what made Edith’s letters so classic were probably the incredibly serious replies which often bombarded the sub-editors desk in batches. After Edith’s demise in 1996, after too many readers complained about what had to be the pen-name of a joker, it wasn’t until years later that the editorial bosses finally admitted that Edith Clampton (Mrs) really was a nom de plume and her letters were made up fiction, by an outsider they eventually got to know personally. The Post has never revealed the true identity of Edith and the writer remains a secret.

In 1996, a compilation of these nonsensical letters were published in a book called Edith Clampton’s Letters and Readers’ Responses to Post Bag, but unfortunately the book went out of print years and years ago. I had always known of the book but was never able to find a copy anywhere – that was until a couple of months or so back when I came across a copy in a tiny English language section of a second-hand bookstore in northern Bangkok. Since the book has been out of print for going on ten years, it seems more than ok to share with the readers here some of the ‘delights’ of Edith Clampton (Mrs).
I’d love to post some of the pathetic replies too, but this blog is long enough as it is.

The first letter here is a classic example of the ignorance of Edith, an upper-class snob who thinks she is riding a brand-new Bangkok micro-bus when instead she’s taking a normal green bus. In 1996, the fare for a micro-bus was 15 Baht, and for an old green bus, 3.50 baht. The last letter, arguably the stupidest of all (the only one not Thailand-related here) caused the Filipino community in Bangkok to throw a complete frenzy and start mayhem at Post Bag.

Not Up to Scratch

SIR: I put the new micro-bus service to the test and have decided it is not the answer to our traffic problems. To say the least I am disappointed. First I was lead to believe the micro-bus had daily papers on board but when I asked the young conductor for a Bangkok Post he looked at me as if I was an idiot. Eventually he became tired of my nagging and snatched me a Thai Rath (Steve’s notes: a Thai language newspaper) from a fellow passenger. The overall service needs to be improved and I would like to suggest the following:

1. Make the drivers slow down and not keep changing lanes.
2. Don’t let people stand in the bus.
3. Insist that the drivers stop at designated bus stops (luckily I had my personal driver, Khun Parker, following in The Car)
4. Make the buses air-conditioned.
5. Forbid the conductor from hanging out the backdoor and waving his money tin around like a mad-man.
6. Change the colour of the buses from green to something more attractive.

The trip was very uncomfortable and I strongly suggest the micro-bus people seriously look at this service if they want Bangkok’s upper echelons to use this service.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Pizza Men on Bikes Prove Too Elusive

SIR: I’m afraid Pizza (Steve’s notes: Pizza Hut) and Dominos need a dressing down. From time to time their sales people ride motorcycles up and down my soi. And I have great difficulty trying to get them to stop. Other vendors like the lady who rides a bicycle and sells yogurt – she always stops. The ice-cream man, the fruit man and the rag and bone man, the pork-on-the-stick man and the somtam man – they never fail to stop. But the pizza men – I have to stand in the middle of the road and wave my arms about like an idiot before they even acknowledge me. And then they speed off when I try to open their box and buy a pizza. It’s high time somebody stepped in and taught these young hooligans a thing or two about salesman-ship – you don’t make money by swerving around your customers.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)


Nowhere on the Phonecard does it say you can’t withdraw the card’s balance from ATM machines. Last week I held up many people while bank officials had to come and gouge my poor Phonecard out of the haemorrhaging Automatic Teller. I’m sure many other wealthy people have suffered this embarrassment and I hope TOT officials make it clear on the Phonecard that ATM’s cannot be used.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

No Help for Backpackers

SIR: I recently sheltered some German backpackers who through no fault of their own had run out of money and were stranded in Thailand for a few days. I helped them with some rice and let them sleep in the garage – and I’m not even German!
They told me they asked some German residents of Bangkok for shelter but were refused. They said the Bangkok Germans made them feel like second class citizens. Admittedly they were scruffy but I found them very friendly and each night I would venture into my garage and entertain them with some of my travel stories. Surely it is the responsibility of each nation to care for their own. Embassies should have a list of their citizens living in Bangkok and when travellers are stranded they could be given the list of names and addresses. This way travellers in trouble could go direct to their fellow countrymen for assistance.
We shouldn’t forget that Mary and Joseph were once stranded.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Surprise the Maid with a Cuppa

SIR: Every year (in Thailand) we have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Children’s Day, but never a mention of Maid’s Day. And it’s about time attitudes changed. Many people accustomed to living in pigsty conditions in their own country now enjoy a clean and happy home here in Thailand. Thanks to the maid. But do they appreciate the niceties the maid performs?
In the Clampton household one day is set aside each year for my dear maid, Khun Hazel. It is her special day. On that day housework is forbidden. I also perm and cut her hair and let her use my make-up and perfume. She has full use of the car and driver Khun Parker, for an hour. She is also allowed to sit on my Italian Settee and watch whatever she wants on television. And at the end of her favourite day I treat her to dinner at S&P.
Relationship building with domestic servants is important and Maid’s Day will help strengthen the employer/employee bond. It can start with a little knock on the maid’s bedroom door 15 minutes before she normally wakes up and surprise her with a hot cup of tea.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Who Has the Right to Elephant Dung?

SIR: Elephant droppings have become increasingly popular as garden fertiliser but collecting is risky business. Last week an elephant went to the toilet in our soi and a public spectacle erupted. It involved my maid, Khun Hazel, shovelling the ordure into a bucket, a drunken foreign woman screaming she had fed the animal previously and was claiming a return on her investment, and the mahout, seeing the manure as a possible gold mine, trying to sell it. The elephant remained calm.
I fear incidents like this will happen again and again unless some legal expert can inform the public who is the rightful owner of the dung once it hits the streets.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Teething Troubles

SIR: My teeth have turned a grotty shade of green and I have enough sediment between them to grow potatoes and all because of the Philippines.
For the last two months I have been visiting that country and the power blackouts, from three to seven hours everyday, are beyond a joke. Each time I went to clean my teeth there would be no electricity and I was unable to use my electric toothbrush.
I would suggest wealthy people with electric toothbrush not visit the Philippines or if they do take a generator.

Edith Clampton (Mrs)

Part two has now been posted: More Edith Clampton and Readers’ Responses