Jaki was up early this morning checking to see whether Santa had been but I’m afraid he missed us this year.
Its the first time in 22 years that we haven’t spent Christmas Day & Boxing Day with Jaki’s family.
Last year we had Christmas at Cary’s house as we were in the middle of the renovations at the Bungalow But everyone came there and as it’s a big house we had space for everyone to sleep.
Its strange the need for routine at Christmas.
In the past Georgia has insisted on certain routines like:-
We had to trim the tree together whilst drinking Sherry and listening to ‘Slade’.
She had to have her hessian sack (not a stocking) full to the brim with ‘odd’s and end’s’ on the bottom of her bed so she could have some thing to open early and it had to include chocolate money!
Christmas morning was always ‘Bucks Fizz’ whilst opening pressies and then we would set off for Niki and Jeff’s or they would come to us, drinking lots, eat loads, play party games and watch East Enders Xmas edition.
But no longer.
George is in Sydney, we are in Thailand and Niki and Jeff, their two kids and Jaki’s Mum are in our house!
They are having a new kitchen fitted and it’s not finished so they are having their Christmas dinner at our place.
So after Jaki had taken her morning stroll along the Beach we set about taking our Christmas Day pictures, wearing Santa Hats and Antlers.
We went down for breakfast, then found two sun beds, plonked ourselves down and agreed we would spend the rest of the day there.
Lunch time we prised ourselves off the beds for long enough to consume chicken and beef Kebabs and BBQ sweet corn before the need for a further lie down overtook us.
We had organised a face time session with friends and family for later in the afternoon as we are some 7 hours ahead of the UK but for a variety of reasons that didn’t happen.
The internet here at the Thai Beach House Hotel is at best sporadic, at worst non existent. Even the desk top computers on reception keep loosing the internet. So eventually we had a stop start session with my sister which primarily consisted of her shouting “hello, can you hear me”? and ended with a semaphore session where we raised our arms if we could!
We also had a stunted session with Jakis family who were all squashed onto the settee so we could see them but we could hardly get a sentence out without it freezing.Given that we’ve paid extra for unlimited WiFi this is a bit galling, it’s one thing being away from family and friends at Christmas but you do want to at least wish them a Merry Christmas.
Not to worry, we had bought a SIM card for the phone so we would call instead, old fashioned but reliable.
No such luck.
The instructions for international calls required us to enter 00600 then the country code, 44. Then the area code minus a zero, then the number.
However no matter what combination we entered we were told this number wasn’t in service. We then spent another frustrating hour trying to get through to anyone at home before loosing the will to live.
(It was some time on Boxing Day morning whilst we were sat in a bar having a drink that I suddenly remembered our area code was 01454 and not 0454 as we had been entering. It would appear we’ve been away so long we’ve forgotten our own telephone number).
So, fed up with the uselessness of modern technology we decided to come down to the Hotel restaurant and have a drink and eat in.
Heres the part where those of you who consider a ‘Good Rant’ is In fact ‘moaning’ should look away now.
The Hotel were doing a Christmas Day special of Lobster and king prawns on the beach. So we agreed to go with that, chose our lobster and 2 rather fat prawns, set the iPad to playing Michael Buble Christmas Hits and ordered a drink.
“Would we like some wine”? we were asked and they gave us the wine list.
Now, Thailand has a lot of things going for it but they don’t make a lot of good wine, so it imported and expensive or local and crap. We went for crap.
“A bottle of House white please”.
Now the Hotel is great but it’s not 5 star, at best it’s a reasonable 3 star, but the staff are friendly and helpful and it is beach front, clean and in the main, a reasonable place to stay.
However, there are a few things they could do better, which I may regale you with later or I’ll save my comments for trip advisor. Christmas night they had 7 waiters on duty and maybe three groups of customers, so they were well over staffed, which becomes a problem as they aren’t allocated a table or a task.
So, the first waiter comes and takes your drinks order and whilst he’s at the bar the second waiter comes and asks the same, this is repeated 7 times often with disastrous results, three of the same drink will arrive as the order has been duplicated by each waiter and it’s even worse during happy hour when it’s two for one. This morning at breakfast I had three pots of Tea arrive.
Then the same procedure is followed for food, resulting in chaos.
Why not organise the staff so each person has a specific role?
Anyway, the bottle of wine went before the food arrived so we ordered another then we realised this wasn’t going to be straight forward!
As none of the waiters speaks very good English (just enough to know what you’ve ordered and how many beers you want) we attracted a group of waiters all trying to explain variations on a theme. It would appear they only had one bottle of house white left, and we’d drunk it. (Xmas Eve they had a Gala Dinner and each group got a free bottle of wine.I suspect they used up their supply of house white, all bar one). So instead of offering us another bottle at the same price, they told us we couldn’t have any more wine.
This being our Special Christmas Dinner, we didn’t fancy eating it without a glass or two so we got up and started walking out onto the street where there’s a shop that sells booze. This caused pandemonium as they had now cooked a ferkin great big lobster and two fat prawns at a cost of 4000 baht and the customers were walking out. We found waiting staff baring our way and ordering us to return to the restaurant. We felt like Bonnie and Clyde.
There was some renegotiation, the night manager arrived and another bottle of wine was sourced from some where, though it was far worse than the first one, it must have been lying around some where forgotten with the top unscrewed and our food was now placed in front of us stone cold and tough as old boots. So much for our ‘slap up tuck eh Winker’.
(Only those old enough to remember the Dandy will get this reference).
This was the first and last time we’ll eat in the Hotel restaurant as it’s very expensive in comparison, it wasn’t very good and it was too much like hard work. It’s the streets for us in future.
After all this fuss we made our way to our favourite Girlie bar, got talking to a great German couple, got pissed as hand carts and came home to bed.
Not a sprout passed my lips, though there was a lot of swearing!