customers can't find a seat because there's freeloaders sitting around studying without buying. I will admit, Starbucks food is crap. The Chicken Ceasar salad, one of few items they sold that was nutritious, was taken off the menu leaving us with everything in food that's wrong; cookies, cakes, muffins, fatty sandwiches. Their coffee is average, although I do like that unlike many places in Thailand, they serve Espresso as it should be served, in small cups. Nothing worse than ordering an Espresso and getting it in a huge cup.
Hector Camacho Jr. got knocked out in Mexico this past weekend. There was a noticeable roll of flab around his midsection so this doesn't surprise me. When the fight was first announced, I remember thinking, why is he going to Mexico to fight? His career must really be in the toilet and he must really need the money if he's going down south to fight.
Seeing his father fight on CBS in the early 80s, I thought he would have been the next big superstar. He turned out to be a huge waste of talent. Junior never had the same talent as his pops but nowadays he's fighting for a paycheck and not to be the best fighter he can be.
Many things irk me about the sport of boxing but if there's one thing that bothers me about fighters, it's when they come in out of shape. If you're going to come in out of shape, why not find another profession?
Next subject and one for those living in or visiting Thailand. A few weeks ago, at the request of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, senior policeman and Phuket business leaders met to discuss how to end rip-offs and scams in Phuket and other Thai tourist destinations. Scams on tourists have continued unabated for years, however violent crimes have been rare and the country is considered safe for travelers.
However, the recent killing of 60-year-old Michelle Smith of Australia has finally prompted the Thai government to act. I live here and don't want to be bothered by touts, ripped off, or killed. The Thai government has a long, long way to go to clean up their image but eliminating the majority of scammers and catching tourist killers is a start. And by the way, the Thai police did catch Michelle Smith's killers.
I haven't yet watched the Olympics, I almost feel guilty. But the two videos below have motivated me to do so.
In 1996, on one of my first trips to Thailand, I traveled to Ko Samet, a small island approximately 70 kilometers south of Pattaya. At the time, the island was relatively undeveloped and unknown to the masses. It made an ideal getaway. One of my dreams had always been to live in a bungalow on a secluded beach and Ko Samet fit the bill. Peaceful and unobtrusive, a gentle, ocean breeze continuously ran through the palm trees lining the beach. There were no in your face touts or irritating pushiness, only bits of occasional laughter and the sounds of the sea.
Each morning after waking, I enjoyed a morning swim, followed by a fresh fruit and yogurt breakfast. For the next week, I did very little; I read, sat on the porch staring at the ocean, slept in a hammock strung between two Palm trees, and went for long walks contemplating the meaning of life. I even calculated the cost to live on the island. When the feeling of isolation grew too strong, I walked down to a nearby restaurant where small groups of travelers congregated; eating, drinking, and talking about their wonderful time on the island. Each evening, I ate fresh seafood and drank whiskey – a lot of it. At first, it was perfect.
"I’m on an exotic beach in Thailand, having fun without a worry in the world. This is living!" I thought. Life on the island was as stress-free as it gets. After three or four days though, the giddiness and wonder of island life melted in to boredom and by the time I left, I was almost happy to be heading home. My dream of living on the beach in a bungalow is one I am sure many share and while Ko Samet gave me a taste of this dream, it taught me that a dream without purpose is shallow and unfulfilling. It was a beautiful place, but life as a beach bum has its limits.
Have you ever asked yourself, "What is my idea of a perfect life? What is my dream lifestyle?"
Before I began working for Top Rated Boxing Promotions a little more than four years ago, my writing and photographic career was steadily progressing. I had built a small but loyal client base and had weekly boxing columns in The Phuket Gazette and The Sweet Science. For a year and a half, I was the editor of the now defunct Asian Boxing News. I even managed to finagle credentials to the Beijing Olympics. HBO Sports purchased a half a dozen of my photos on two occasions and I was actually beginning to make a decent living.
I was planning to write two or three books (at least) on boxing, and then several on Thailand and the expatriate lifestyle but boxing left me very little free time. The sport has a way of taking over your life. What little time I did have remaining I spent with my family. Six days a week, I took a two-hour taxi ride to and from the gym. Normally I spent four or five hours at the gym before returning home. It was draining, especially if I was holding the pads or putting the fighters threw conditioning drills. People often asked why I did not purchase a car but Bangkok traffic is excruciating and driving was the last thing I wanted to do after a hard day at the gym. Instead of driving myself, I just hopped in a taxi, put on my headphones, turned on some music, and left the driving to my chauffeur.
Looking back, I should have forced myself to continue writing even if it meant waking up an hour or two earlier every day. I also should have continued to carry my camera with me everywhere I went. Hindsight is 20-20 though.
The internet and technology makes it possible to work virtually anywhere in the world. Living on the beach in a bungalow while earning a living from photography and writing, my own dream lifestyle, is entirely possible.
Even with a wife and two children.
In October, I will hit the ripe old age of fifty. While some may cringe at hitting the half-century mark, I am simply happy to be above ground and in reasonable condition. For all I have been through that in itself is a miracle. If life’s a journey, not a destination, then I’m somewhere in the middle of the journey and curious to know what’s around the corner.
One thing that has become clearer as the years pass is that information and technology have completely permeated and engulfed human life. Information overload. How can you possibly keep up with the news and all the changes in the world? Is this information and junk cluttering our mind and our space necessary? How can we progress if we are so busy processing the information we have no time to use it?