Tag Archives: Bangkok

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 First Impressions

You all know I have a long history with motorcycles, of which I have owned quite a few over the years. This post is about my latest one, the Royal Enfield Meteor 350. I didn’t really like the last motorcycle I had or the one before it so I was hesitant to buy another one. But I hated waiting for Grab Bikes and ashamed of riding bitch. So I decided to buy one.

I did have my eyes set on this one, but after a test ride, I didn’t find its riding stance suitable for long highway rides. Coming from a long history with the RE Thunderbird, the natural progression would have been to buy an RE Meteor 350, but at first, I didn’t like the Meteor 350 I saw on Royal Enfield’s website (I found it too modern, especially the allow wheels and the powered coated engine) and I found the Super Meteor 650 too busy, so initially decided to buy the Classic 350.

Royal Enfield Classic 350
Royal Enfield Classic 350

However, when I went to the showroom, I saw the new Aurora Blue variant of the Meteor 350 and fell in love immediately and decided to buy that one.

Royal Enfield Meteor 350 in Aurora Blue
Royal Enfield Meteor 350 in Aurora Blue

Anyways, these are my views after 10 days/200km, specifically, comparing it to my previous motorcycles.

The Good

  1. The engine is so refined, I can hardly believe it is a Royal Enfield engine. There’re hardly any vibrations and absolutely no clanking. I am so glad they removed the pushrods and replaced them with a chain and overhead cam system. Even with a reduced stroke, the bike pulls quite well at low RPMs.
  2. There’s still the trademark thumping. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the exhaust actually sounds good/better than the completely muted Thunderbird Twinspark. The exhaust-to-engine noise ratio is vastly improved. When cruising at constant speed, you can hardly hear the engine, only the soft, bass-rich exhaust.
  3. I really like the dual-tone design, the chrome parts and the overall retro look compared to the regular Meteor 350. I love the spoke wheels, although that does mean giving up on having tubeless tyres.
  4. The new rider seat is quite comfortable with a subtle but useful back-rest.
  5. The LED headlamp is quite nice and illuminating at night.
  6. The Tripper is useful, but a bit limited. I will dedicate a separate section for the Tripper.
  7. Overall switchgear feels refined and comfortable to use.
  8. The USB port for charging is very useful.
  9. I didn’t like how the windshield looks, but I found it immensely helpful at moderate-high speeds. Allows me to keep my helmet visor open.

The Neutral

  1. I am not entirely sure I prefer the new digital cluster as compared to analog dials. I don’t really like or hate it.
  2. I don’t care for the ECO indicator or the gear indicator.
  3. Because of the refinement, the engine feels the same every time I ride, which is different from the carburettor Thunderbirds I was used to, which felt different based on temperature, humidity etc.
  4. This is my first motorcycle with a rear disc brake. The Dual-channel ABS is nice to have. The brakes do feel a bit mushy compared to what I am used to, though.

The Bad

  1. I really-really miss the tachometer. I won’t forgive Royal Enfield for removing it.
  2. They removed the kick starter to simplify the engine design. This means if the battery dies, you are screwed.
  3. The engine does get hot during start-stop traffic in the city and could have benefitted from liquid cooling. However, unlike the carburettor motorcycles, it does not cause the Idle RPM to runaway or cause knocking during acceleration, thanks to the ECU.
  4. The fuel level indication is wonky.
Meteor 350 at Bangchak Bang Na
Meteor 350 at Bangchak Bang Na

The Tripper

Tripper on the Royal Enfield Meteor 350

The Tripper is a pseudo-navigation system developed by Royal Enfield. Here are my thoughts on it:

  1. The tripper connects to the Royal Enfield app on your phone and receives instructions from your phone, hence is dependant on it. However, unlike doing navigation directly on the phone, using the tripper uses much less battery on the phone itself (I measured 6-7% drain per hour on my phone, all inclusive).
  2. It uses Google maps data, so navigation is quite accurate. Supports live re-routing and previewing multiple routes before starting the trip. Has the regular Google Maps options to exclude things like tolls, ferries, highways etc.
  3. At first, I struggled to understand tripper’s instructions and found myself stopping and reaching for my phone. However, once you make an effort to understand the symbols, it feels quite useful. I am now forcing myself not to look at my phone.
  4. This has also increased my directional awareness of and I find myself paying more attention to the road and signs instead of my phone.
Meteor 350 at a pit-stop at Nonthaburi
Meteor 350 at a pit-stop at Nonthaburi

Technical comparison with Previous Motorcycles

Here’s a comparison of specifications of different motorcycles I have had over the years (All single cylinder):

SpecificationRE ThunderbirdRE Thunderbird TSStallions CT400RE Meteor 350
Displacement346cc346cc397cc349cc
BorexStroke70x90mm70x90mm85x70mm75×85.8mm
Max Power18bhp
5500rpm
19.8bhp
5250rpm
29bhp
7000rpm
20.2bhp
6100rpm
Max Torque26.97Nm
3500rpm
28Nm
4000rpm
30Nm
5500rpm
27Nm
4000rpm
Compression Ratio8.5:18.5:18.8:19.5:1
Engine NameAVLUCEJ series
Wheelbase1370mm1370mm1410mm1400mm
Kerb Weight175kg175kg160kg191kg
Fuel Tank14.3l14.3l13l15l
Fuel injectionCarburettorCarburettorEFIEFI
Valve OperationPushrodsSelf-adjusting PushrodsDOHCSOHC
Motorcycle Spec comparison

Looking forward to many long rides!

Bangkok 21K Park Run 2024

Recently, I participated in a running event called Bangkok 21K Park Run 2024. Even though the name says 21K, I participated in the 10k event, which was my third, ever.

Even though, in my last race, I had decided I would try to break the 1 hour barrier for the 10k, because of travel, excessive heat and medical issues preceding the run I was not able to prepare well. On top of that, monsoons started in Bangkok just a few days ago, so I was not sure whether the event would even take place. So, overall, I decided I would just enjoy the run without worrying about the performance.

Anyways, luck shone on us and there was no rain on the morning of the run.

Bangkok 21k Park Run 2024 starting line
Bangkok Park Run 2024 starting line

The run was in one of the most beautiful parks in Bangkok. If it wasn’t so far from here I live, I would got here regularly to run.

Bangkok 21k Park Run 2024 starting line
Bangkok Park Run 2024 starting line

The run itself was uneventful and enjoyable with great views of the park during sunrise.

Bangkok 21k Park Run 2024
Bangkok Park Run 2024

Considering I hadn’t prepared that well, I didn’t do too bad.

Bangkok 21k Park Run 2024 statistics
Bangkok 21k Park Run 2024 statistics

Will definitely do this run again next year.

Horrible Benders

I wrote about how I went sober (But eventually failed to maintain it), I wanted to reflect back on some of the worst benders I have been through. Why? Maybe just to remind myself why I shouldn’t drink like that anymore.

Below are some of my worst benders over the years:

Nagpur

man in white long sleeved shirt on red window
Photo by abhishek goel on Pexels.com

Most of my engineering days were about booze. And since I was young, the benders were not that bad. However, there are some incidents I remember.

  • This was when I was living with my senior roommates. For some reason, one day we decided to drink whiskey at 9 AM in the morning. I have never had a good relationship with whiskey, so after many pegs, while I was at Sandeep Kalia’s house, I puked in the toilet. His kindly grandmother (We called her aaji) was very concerned what was happening, but the others told her I had eaten something bad.
  • One time we went drinking at PP’s garage pub and drank too much vodka. While others were puking, I was puzzled why I was lying awake in bed and not able to sleep. This was one of the first times I realised that alcohol affects my sleep so negatively.
  • One time we were returning from a drinking session at one of the dhabas and my motorcycle got tangled in a high tension electricity cable hanging on the road and launched into the air. I remember passing out, but luckily I was back to normal next day.

Delhi & Gurgaon

grayscale photography of bottles on top of table
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Our time in Gurgaon was the first time we had freedom to do what we wanted and we had money to spend because we were earning. Sood sahib was my roommate and very frustrated with his job. So, almost every evening, he and his degenerate colleague would come over and get drunk. It didn’t help me that I worked night shifts and went to work drunk many times. However, this was not the worst part.

  • I remember we gathered together with Chatur after a long time and started pub hopping at Saket. He came all sophisticated in a car, dressed in a suit, which we found funny, but probably helped getting us into fancy places. So we got drunk on cocktails and not being satisfied enough, drank at 2 more thekas over the night. Eventually, Chatur passed out and we somehow got home. Again, I couldn’t sleep all night while Chatur was puking in a pizza box.
  • While working night shifts, it was very common for us to go drinking after our shifts. One morning, after our shift, we went drinking with Amar sir, who was famous for making “lauly (Lovely) pegs”. We were standing on the road outside DLF Phase II Central Arcade (Less than 100m from where my parents were sleeping). Since it was peak winters, we all got drunk on dark rum. My body doesn’t react well to dark rum & I don’t remember getting back home. Next afternoon, I woke up with my knees bruised and vomit all over my bathroom. Somehow, I cleaned everything up before my parents saw but felt terrible. All afternoon I drank water and Gatorade, but there was hardly any pee and it burnt when I tried.
  • We once went on an office party and Karkose (who incidentally doesn’t drink himself) suggested I drink beer buster, which is beer mixed with tabasco sauce. It felt fun drinking it then, but I couldn’t sleep all night because my chest and stomach were burning. Horrible experience.

Xiamen

Baijiu at Zhongshan Road, Xiamen
Baijiu at Zhongshan Road, Xiamen

I was drinking Baijiu at Zhongshan road with my office colleagues. It was very cold, so instead of sipping it like the others, I did shots non-stop. Big mistake! I couldn’t sleep because my chest and stomach were burning all night. I puked many times and next day the pain in my stomach was so bad, I had to see a doctor at the airport (I was travelling back to India). The doctor told me the 60% alcohol volume Baijiu had stripped my stomach of its lining and likely made ulcers. I couldn’t eat anything other than simple rice for at least a week afterwards.

I am just glad I didn’t puke in front of my colleagues.

São Paulo

happy diverse friends clinking bottles on terrace
Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

I was at São Paulo for the second time and me and my colleague went drinking Caipirinhas at Eu Tu Eles. Now, Caipirinhas are one of the most deceptive drinks I have ever had. They are sweet and tasty, so it is very easy to have too many too fast without realising it. Anyway, I don’t remember how I got back to my hotel and what happened later. But next morning I woke up to find my hotel room smelling of vomit and my brain feeling like it was in a vice. I used many of the hotel towels o clean up the vomit and then hid the towels behind the AC unit on the balcony. One of the most shameful things I have ever done.

Bangkok

Once we moved to Bangkok, I discovered how cheap and easily accessible booze is. But since I have absolutely no friends here, there have not been many social occasions for me to go on benders. There have been just 3 incidents, all with office colleagues. Unlike the other incidents, I drank too much not because I was having fun, but because of peer pressure.

  • I was just visiting Bangkok and it was my farewell party. 6 of us finished many crates of beers within a few hours. I don’t remember how I got back to the hotel.
Stacks of beer bottles
Stacks of beer bottles
  • We (the wife, the kid and the dog) went to the kid’s friend’s house, whose parents are north indian. He doubted from the beginning, if me, as a Bengali would be able to drink much. To prove him wrong, I got shit-faced. Soon, I proved him correct by missing my step in the dark, losing my balance and falling into their building fountain. Again, I don’t remember how I got back home. Next day I cursed myself and promised I will never get into such a situation while out with the kid or the dog.
  • The last and most recent incident was when I went out to drink with my colleagues. 3 of us went through 8 bottles of wine in 6 hours. I came to, next day covered in bruises and my room smelling of vomit and me still drunk and stumbling about. Unfortunately, soon, the AC servicing guys came and saw the state the bathroom was in. I have never felt worse in my life than that day. My nails, my room etc all smelt of booze and I felt sick. It was truly the worst day of my life & the day I decided to give up alcohol for good.

I am still not at a stage where I can look back at all this and laugh about it. But just the act of typing all this out has strengthened my resolve to not get drunk ever again.

SWU Run Together ‘24

Recently, I participated in a 10k running event organised by Srinakarinwirot University called SWU Run Together ‘24. It was my second 10k in Bangkok.

My last 10k didn’t go too well because my knees started seizing up around the 5km mark. Which was strange, because I regularly run more than that on Sundays without issues. So for this race, I re-evaluated my tactic. Instead of matching pace with everyone else and running slow, but consistent, I decided to run faster at my natural pace but slow myself to a walk for 50 metres every 500 metres.

Luckily, this tactic paid off and I finished the race with much better numbers than last time.

Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok 2023 statsSWU Run Together 2024 stats
Amazing Thailand vs SWU Run Together 2024 statistics
Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok 2023 splitsSWU Run Together 2024 splits
Amazing Thailand vs SWU Run Together ‘24 splits
Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok 2023 HR ZonesSWU Run Together 2024 HR Zones
Amazing Thailand vs SWU Run Together 2024 HR Zones

Overall, this run wasn’t as well organised as the last one (They couldn’t completely block traffic and we had to dodge between cars), but was more fun, because it included climbing up (and down) some flyovers and bridges over khlongs.

As you can see above, I finished the 10k almost 20 minutes before the last one. My heart rate also stayed consistently at the higher zones.

My only regret? Missing a sub 1 hour 10k by 48 seconds (As per the official race results; my watch started tracking early).

Maybe next time?

The shoes performed pretty well, too.

Cities

I think at this point in my life, I can safely call myself well travelled. Although I have never been to the quintessential western cities (Like New York, London or Paris), I have been to some pretty off-beat places.

raised building frame
Photo by Peng LIU on Pexels.com

I have a job where it is quite easy to shift my base to different places. I had a few offers to move again recently, and I was conflicted about it. So recently I started making a list of ratings for various cities I have been to, based on different parameters. These parameters are only based on things that are important to me.

Below are the cities, I have been to, rated on various parameters between 1 to 10.

Some things to remember

  1. I am only including major or metropolitan cities
  2. These ratings are purely based on my preferences and observations. Does not take into account other metrics I don’ deem important to me
  3. I do not take into account finances like income or cost of living. I assume proportional income everywhere
CityInfraFoodWeatherWalkabilityHistoryFriendlyDogTotal
Istanbul81069107555
São Paulo879958955
Bangkok6910679653
Melbourne10681042950
Budapest855896950
Vienna865894949
San Francisco757857948
Prague855894948
Helsinki9521043942
Kuala Lumpur655665336
Shanghai752852231
Bengaluru178364231
New Delhi281277027
Kolkata183165226
City Ratings

Infrastructure

This is probably the first thing one notices about a city, when you enter the airport and then when you leave it.

No doubt, Melbourne is the best city in this regard I have been to. Everything is clean and perfect. The roads, buildings etc. are all as should be in a utopian society.

Although I didn’t spend too much time in Helsinki, I found its infrastructure to be top-notch, too. The heated pavements were something I had never seen or imagined.

Budapest/Vienna/Prague all rank pretty high in this regard, too and São Paulo feels just like a quintessential European city.

San Francisco is beautiful, too, but I couldn’t un-see the mounds of human feces on every street corner and the sheer amount of homeless people.

Indian cities rank lowest. Although Delhi has a pretty good metro system, that is it. Everything is filthy and unkempt. Kolkata is even worse. Bengaluru, which has a huge potential has horrible roads and no water.

Food

Food is subjective, so the ratings are purely based on my own personal preferences.

Truly, I have never had food as good as Istanbul, ever.

Bangkok comes second, because of the sheer variety of the food available here. You have cheap (but hygienic) street food vendors as well as many Michelin starred restaurants within a block of each other.

Delhi and Kolkata come next, followed by São Paulo & Bengaluru.

view of a beyti kebab dish on a white plate
Photo by Mustafa Erdağ on Pexels.com

Weather and Air Quality

Weather is subjective and since I prefer warmer weather, I have rated Bangkok the highest.

Delhi and Kolkata are lowest because of the filthy air quality year round. Delhi is even lower than Kolkata because of the extreme heat during summers and unbearable (because there’s no heating anywhere) winters.

Walkability

I love walking (and street running), so walkability is important to me in a city. Perhaps it is not too surprising that these ratings mirror the ones for infrastructure as both these things are closely related.

Most cities in my list are extremely walkable, except the Indian cities, where walking on the streets is like gambling with your life. Maybe a few important ares in the cities have proper pavements, but certainly not throughout the city. To top it off, most motorcycle drivers feel free to ride on the pavements and cars try to run you down even at zebra crossings.

Historical Artifacts

Istanbul again wins hands down in this regard, being one of the oldest cities in the list and having been shaped by multiple empires.

European cities rank next, I love the thousands of years old architecture.

Most of the monuments in Delhi are a few hundred years old, but it is not difficult to find ones which are thousands of years old.

European colonised cities rank lowest, simply because they are not old enough to have significant historical artefacts, especially with the propensity of these colonisers to erase ethnic history.

brown and black mosque under white and blue cloudy sky
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

Friendliness towards outsiders

These ratings are purely about how the locals treat foreigners and expats.

Bangkok rates pretty high, because Thais, with some exceptions are very friendly and welcoming people. Although, if your appearance is very different from what they’re used to seeing, expect stares. Brazilians in São Paulo are also very friendly and welcoming. Because of their multi-cultural make up, there’s no one in the world who looks “weird” enough not to fit in there.

I have already written about the Chinese here.

I found most Europeans if not outright racist, at least pretty cold towards outsiders.

Australians are the worst. Although I did meet a few friendly Australians, most of them are racist pricks.

Dog Friendliness

I admit, some of the cities in the list above I visited before I had a dog and didn’t really notice how dog friendly they were, so the rating for those cities is from internet research.

Most cities in developed countries and São Paulo are as dog friendly as can be. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere – in malls, restaurants, cafés, bars, public transport, hotels. There are very little restrictions on what the dogs can do and where they can go, because their parents have enough common sense. These cities also have public dog parks.

India is not at all dog friendly. While pets are tolerated in Bengaluru and Kolkata, there are very few places where pets can go, limited to designated pet-specific businesses. Taxis won’t agree to take you if you have a pet. The public transport is not even human friendly, so I won’t even talk about dogs.

Delhi is the worst of all. People there actually hate dogs. There are severe restrictions on having dogs even in your own homes. Dogs need to take a separate lift when going out and they can’t be walked within the society grounds.

Bangkok is somewhere in the middle. Most people love dogs. Dogs are allowed in taxis and Tuktuks , but not in metros and buses. Most restaurants/cafes and malls allow dogs in the outdoor areas on leash and indoors in a pet buggy. Some malls and restaurants allow pets freely.

Living in Bangkok: 3-year report card

I moved to Bangkok 3 years ago. After living here all this time, it is time to do a report card of things I like and things I don’t like.

Things I like (love) about living in Bangkok

  1. The weather is awesome.
    • In summers it never crosses above 35C and in winters it never goes below 25C. I simply love the weather.
    • I love the sudden & heavy nature of the rains especially that it almost never happens during commute times.
    • There’s ample sunshine all year round, something I really need and appreciate. UV is quite high but can be managed with sunscreen.
  2. There are many beautiful places to visit and stay at, within a few hours drive. Hotels and AirBnBs are cheaper than in India. The nearest beach is 70 minutes drive from my place.
  3. Bangkok (And even Thailand) is multi-cultural. People from all over the world live here, with Europeans and Japanese being most common.
  4. Salaries are higher than India for the same level of work.
  5. Tax rates are lower than India. It makes me feel sick to think how much I paid as taxes in India and how little we all got back.
  6. Gadgets are cheaper not only in absolute value but also accompanied with higher purchasing power because of higher salaries.
  7. Healthcare is cheaper than India and insurance plans cover yearly tests and OPD visits.
  8. Fuel is cheaper than India. Consequently,
    • Taxis are cheaper than India and better, too
    • Airfare for travelling within Thailand is much cheaper than airfare for travelling within India.
    • Electricity is cheaper than India.
  9. The rivers are well maintained and have great river-view dining and entertainment options. I also love the Khlongs that branch off the rivers into the cities. I love travelling the city by boats.
  10. Much better air quality than North India.
  11. People are very considerate & conscious of passing infectious diseases to others and self-isolate even for minor things like colds and wear masks.
  12. Food and beverages are abundant, varied and cheap.
    • Thai food in Thailand is better and cheaper than Indian food in India. No one (except Indian expats) brings food from home to office. Everyone eats outside.
    • International food in Thailand is about the same price as in India, but the quality of food and restaurants is much better. Even the high-end restaurants here are not more expensive than mid-range restaurants in India.
    • Indian food is more expensive than in India, but that is to be expected.
    • As of 2024, there are 35 Michelin starred restaurants in Bangkok alone. Many of them in the vicinity of where we stay.
  13. Rents are about the same as Delhi for comparable locations, but places are much better. But income is higher, so we can afford to stay at a much better location compared to what we did in India.
  14. Better infrastructure, any day.
  15. Thais are religiously tolerant. Keep their religious views private and don’t force it on others.
  16. Relatively safe at night. Relatively safe for women.
  17. More pet friendly, although not the same level as the west.
    • Most restaurants allow you to bring pets. Most of them also serve the dog water and are kind to them.
    • Most malls allow you to bring pets if they are in a pram. Some allow them on the floor on a leash even.
    • Most AirBnBs and many hotel chains are dog friendly.
    • Pet-friendly transportation exists, although at a slightly higher cost.
  18. Most Thais are very polite and friendly.

Things I dislike about living in Bangkok

  1. Very few microbreweries, because of laws designed to maintain the duopoly of ThaiBev and Singha.
  2. No hill-stations that compare to Indian hill-stations.
  3. Thais are obsessed with ice. Most drinks and even water served at restaurants are 80-90% ice unless you beg them not to.
  4. No Amazon. Local e-commerce options are not as good.
  5. Metros are more expensive than India. In most cases, cabs are cheaper than metros if 2 or more people are travelling, but traffic is horrible, so people prefer paying extra for the convenience.
  6. International schooling is much more expensive than India. It is because International schools here hire only native English speaking teachers and they don’t come cheap. Even at higher rates, school infrastructure are not as expansive.
  7. Thais, especially Thai women are extremely vain. They care too much about how they look. Although, this doesn’t affect me directly.
    • It is common for them to body-shame each other for putting on a single kg of weight. Plus sized shops are named Fatty-Fatgirl plus size, Fat girls and Chubbers. Consequently, cloth sizes are different, too. I wear M sized shirts and pants in India. In Thailand, same shirts are L or XL and pants are XXL.
    • Cosmetic procedures are incredibly common here. Many malls have entire floors with “clinics” dedicated to such procedures. Most women above 30 take monthly Botox injections.
    • Obsessed with fairness, much like India.
  8. Obsessed with social media. Are always on their phones even when out for meals with others and even dates. I saw the same thing in China.
  9. Have a strange relationship with ambient temperature.
    • Like to keep indoor temperature very chilly. But then wear jackets and coats. What a waste of energy unnecessarily cooling a place.
    • Cannot handle temperatures above 30C.
    • Cannot handle temperatures below 20C.
  10. Treat pets very strangely, is irritating.
    • Don’t sterilise their pet.
    • Many Thais keep part-time pets. Basically this means that the pet stays on the streets, but comes home to feed. Such people won’t let the “pets” be taken away and sheltered, neither will take responsibility when the “pet” harms someone.
    • Don’t let their dogs meet other dogs on the street even though the dog is begging for it.
    • They also try to project their desire to have a baby on the dog. Come on just let them be dogs
      • Keep wiping the saliva from their dog’s mouths.
      • Scold their dog if it sniffs another dog’s butt.
      • Don’t do anything when their unsterilised horny dog mounts another one at the dog park.
  11. Too non-confrontational. Will take abuse and insults without any retaliation.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives not only in quantity but also in intensity. Looking forward to many more years staying here.

Sleep Deprivation Log

A few weeks ago, I had an epic sleep deprivation experience that I felt worth logging. Owing to a combination of some personal issues and the iPad conundrum, I just couldn’t fall asleep. I have been sleep deprived many times, but this is perhaps the first time I didn’t sleep a minute all night.

Here’s an hour-by-hour log of what happened

The Experience

Time RangeLog
22:00-00:00Tossing and turning without being able to fall asleep.
00:00-01:00Walked around, did some laundry folding.
01:00-03:00Tossing and turning without being able to fall asleep.
03:00-04:00Doomscrolled Reddit, Artifact.
04:00-05:30Gave up trying to sleep, got up and had the first coffee of the day.
05:30-06:30Had the most amazing run ever. It felt as if the kms were flying by in a blur and my pace throughout was the best it has ever been in recent years.
06:30-07:00Cool down and shower
07:00-08:00Second coffee of the day
08:00-09:30No recollection of what I did. Completely wiped from memory
09:30-10:30Went grocery shopping with the wife, had my third coffee of the day.
10:30-11:00Came back home and had lunch. Around this time, I started feeling the shakes in my hands. From too much caffeine, rather than from sleep deprivation, I reckon. Also started feeling bouts of irritability.
11:00-14:30Watched Munich. Again, I only remember this part in bits and pieces. Not sure why it took so long to finish the movie or what I did in between.
14:30-15:30No recollection of what I did. Completely wiped from memory
15:30-16:30Sudden feeling of euphoria. Became very happy and wanted to enjoy life. Started writing this post.
16:30-19:00Went out with my family to an open mall for dinner. Had a beer, but didn’t feel anything. Was unusually happy throughout. My memory from this trip has lapses.
19:00-20:00No recollection of what I did. Completely wiped from memory
20:00-09:00Slept for 13 hours, took 2 coffees to get rid of the grogginess. Still felt sleepy all day.
Sleep Deprivation Log

Overall, the experience was quite similar to one of my marijuana benders, which is to say, not pleasant. Next time I can’t sleep, I will bite the bullet and swallow a pill.

iPad Debacle : 2023 edition

I couldn’t end 2023 without another iPad debacle. I already went through how I bought an iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Pro 11 back in 2022. After the 2022 debacle, I ended up without an iPad, but reasonably satisfied. Then 2023 came around and things went wrong.

As part of my New Years’ resolution, I started reading again. The only problem was, English books are very expensive in Thailand. On top of that, English Indian books are very hard to find. To solve this problem, I bought a Kindle. All was good for a few months, till I felt like I wanted to read comic books & magazines. Of course you cannot do that on a kindle. So what does one do?

iPad Air (5th Gen) 64Gb

One day while walking through the mall, I saw a good deal on an iPad Air (5th Gen) & bought it. Things were OK for a while, I read both books and magazines on it, no problem. However, the poorly storage space (64Gb) and the 60Hz screen started nagging me. Especially when I switched from using my iPhone to the iPad, it felt really bad. I decided that it won’t do. My daughter’s 4 year old iPad was acting up, so I gave her my Air and started looking around.

iPad Pro 11 (4th Gen) 512Gb

The iPad Pro 11 was seemingly perfect. It addressed the storage and display refresh rate limitations of the Air. Weeks went by, with me oblivious to what’s coming next. And then I made a mistake of checking out iPads at the mall. Once I compared the iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9 displays, it was game over for this iPad, too.

I hadn’t done my homework before buying this iPad. If I had, I would know that the iPad Pro 11 had a regular LCD screen which goes up to 600 nits. The iPad Pro 12.9 on the other hand, has a Mini LED display and the difference is mind blowing. The contrast and brightness were incomparable. And once I saw this, I couldn’t go back to the iPad Pro 11. It was outside the return window, so I sold it on Facebook Marketplace at a slight loss. I was lucky I got such a good deal.

iPad Pro 12.9 (6th Gen) 512Gb

The next logical step was to buy the iPad Pro 12.9. I chose to forget what happened last time and bought one from the Apple Store. The good news was, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. I even went a long way towards getting used to its huge size and weight. Then I saw a deal on Studio 7 and I returned the iPad to Apple (The process took less than 10 mins).

iPad Pro 12.9 (5th Gen) 512Gb

The deal I saw was for an iPad Pro 12.9 (5th Gen) for less than what I paid for the last one. The kicker is, this was a 2Tb model. I couldn’t ever use the 2Tb, but the 1Tb/2Tb models do come with 16Gb RAM, too and appealed to me no end. I ended up saving money with the last transition, but didn’t lose much because the 5th Gen to 6th Gen upgrade was minor at best. I had second thoughts after buying this one, too and even contacted customer care to return it, but eventually slapped myself hard twice and stopped it. But after the holidays came and went and it didn’t even ship, I cancelled the order.

iPad Pro 12.9 (6th Gen) 512Gb

Eventually, I gave up and went back to the Apple Store and bought the same iPad I bought before the last one, but this time in Silver colour.

Analysis

After the dust settled, I tried to think about why this happens to me and why specifically only with iPads. Why did I go through 7 iPads in a span of 10 months? My iPhone is more than a year old and I felt no yearning to upgrade when the iPhone 15 Pro came out. My AirPods Pro lasted 4 years before I had to change them because they died. My Apple Watch is 2 generations old and the last one lasted 4 generations. I have never wanted a Mac or a MacBook. This literally doesn’t happen to me for anything except the iPad.

Eventually, I realised it is because I am looking for a single device to do all of the below

  1. Read books
  2. Read comics, magazines & newspapers
  3. Use as a PC for blogging & budgeting on Buxfer
  4. Making FaceTime calls
  5. Watching TV shows when the TV is occupied or when I am out

The fact is, there’s no one device which fulfils all the above criteria perfectly.

  • The Kindle is good for 1 but not any of the others.
  • The iPad Air and Pro 11 are good for 1 & 4 but not for 2, 3 or 5.
  • The iPad Pro 12.9 is good for 2, 3, 4 & 5, but too big and heavy for 1.
  • A MacBook is good for 3 & 4, but not 1, 2 or 5.

Eventually, I decided to compromise and use a Kindle to read books and an iPad Pro 12.9 to do everything else.

Running Part-3

This is Part 3 in continuation to my last post about running. The good news is, I have been able to follow my running schedule religiously over more than a year now. The only time I took a break was for a few days when I had the flu.

I have been able to increase my distance a bit since I started and am running around 18km a week.

My VO2 max has continued its upward trend, but still not reached 2021 levels and probably never will, because of age.

VO2 max from running
1 year VO2 max trend

I recently ran my first formal 10k in Bangkok, which was an exhilarating experience.

The only problem with participating in marathons in Bangkok is that they start very early (approx 2 AM for full, 4 AM for half and 5 AM for 10k). However, the atmosphere is electric, even early in the morning. There are mascots dancing, drones buzzing overhead and a live band playing.

Running among hundreds of people is a completely different experience compared to running alone. The distance goes by very fast and before you know it, the race is over.

Bangkok Rains & Onam

May to September is the season when it rains in Bangkok. I love the rains. Reduces my stress levels so much. I love it so much, can’t stop gushing about it.

Bangkok Rains

The best part about rains here are the fact that 99% of the times, it happens at convenient times. It almost never rains

  1. 7:00 to 08:00 – When it’s time to go to school and office
  2. 12:00 to 13:00 – When it’s time to go for lunch
  3. 16:30 to 17:30 – When it’s time to go back home from office

Last year I remember getting stuck at office without transportation only a couple of times. This time, luckily it has happened only once, and I just walked home with an umbrella.

This is also the time to celebrate Onam. Looking around on Facebook, I found a restaurant (Jhol) which was serving Onam Sadya. We ordered some to eat home and it was so delicious, I still cannot believe it.

Onam Sadya
Onam Sadya

The quality of the food was incredible and the taste was amazing. There were total 32 dishes and even though the quantity was much more than I could normally eat, the taste more than made up for it.

Onam Sadya at Jhol
Onam Sadya at Jhol