Tag Archives: Bangkok

An Ode to Coffee

I love coffee. In fact I love it as much as I love beer. However, unlike beer, I need coffee. I need it desperately to start my day and function as a human.

Part 1: Cheap disgusting Coffee

The earliest I can remember drinking coffee is during college, to stay up at night to pretend to study. Since we were poor, it was Nescafé Instant coffee that we had. It was disgusting, but it was stimulating enough to keep one awake. The cold coffee at Anna’s was slightly better, although he didn’t put enough of the powder in, unless you nagged him. Anna also used the same Nescafé instant shit, so there was a theoretical limit to how good it could be.

Now, I would rather have an injection of caffeine directly into my veins than drink this cheap shit.

Disgusting Coffee
Disgusting filth, PC: gtPlaza

For the real brewed version, we went to Café Coffee Day or Barista. My favourite drink at Café Coffee Day was Iced Eskimo, a kind of slushy which took a long time to melt and finish. At Barista, I almost always had a Vanilla Frappe. Needless to say, we couldn’t afford this regularly.

During the first few years of work, I alternated between Nescafé instant at home and the office coffee machine. Around this time I also went lactose intolerant so started having my coffee black (Americano).

Part 2: Switch to Brewed Coffee

Eventually, I bought my own cheap brewing machine. I used to buy beans from Barista and used a grinder to grind the beans. I remember once I got coffee beans from Brazil and they were amazing and strong. After I switched back to my regular beans, I had caffeine withdrawal for a week.

Soon, I started suffering from acidity from the strong black coffee.

I read about cold brewing and how it is easier on the stomach, so started doing that. The results were great, but the prep was too troublesome and messy.

I also stopped having coffee after noons, as it didn’t let me sleep at night. I also discovered that the Chinese don’t really drink much coffee and view it as an unhealthy drink; preferring tea instead.

Eventually, we almost stopped going to Cafe Coffee Day and almost always preferred Barista.

Part 3: Sleepy Owl Cold Brew

I came across an advertisement for Sleepy Owl cold brew on Facebook one day. I read that they supplied cold brew concentrate in boxes and immediately ordered some. Soon, I was hooked. It was everything I always wanted:

  1. It was delicious.
  2. No prep required, all one had to do was mix and drink.
  3. It was easy on the stomach, while still packing a punch.
The best coffee I ever had, PC: Simpl

For the next few years, Sleepy Owl poured over ice was all I had at home. I remember during the COVID lockdowns, I was once almost out of it and had to ration till I could get another box delivered.

My Sleepy Owl recipe (after a lot of trial-and-error) was:

  • 225ml water
  • 2 cubes of sugar
  • 75ml Sleepy Owl Cold Brew

I carried Sleepy Owl’s brew bags when I travelled, too.

During this time, I also developed a morning coffee ritual. I wouldn’t look at my phone after waking up. Instead, I would make myself some cold brew and then sit next to the window with my coffee, looking out. I would do nothing else during this time, except sip slowly on my cold brew and savour each sip. I would do this for up to an hour before I would check my phone and start my day. It was beautiful.

Alas, it was not to last forever.

Eventually I moved to Thailand, along with the last 2 boxes of my Sleepy Owl cold brew. They lasted over a month, but eventually I had to look for alternatives.

Part 4: Thailand and Nespresso

I looked for Cold Brew in Thailand, but it was rare and not easy to get as concentrate. A fiend of mine suggested Nespresso; so I got a Nespresso machine. It combined the advantages of freshly ground coffee (pods are sealed) and convenience (just pop a pod in and press a button). To keep my acidity in control, I stick to pods with strength levels of 5 and below.

Nespresso, better than nothing, PC: Nespresso

It is no sleepy owl, but at least it tastes good and I can have different flavours every day. My favourite pods are Tokyo Lungo and Shanghai Lungo. My recipe is:

  • 320ml water
  • 2 cubes of sugar
  • A shot of Nespresso Lungo

There’s no Cafe Coffee Day or Barista here, but I love Cafe Amazon, a Thai coffee chain. I love their Iced Espresso.

My morning coffee is still the best part of my day. I can’t wait to return to India once again and get myself some Sleepy Owl & Barista.

What is my Hometown?

When I was making a Facebook account recently, it asked me what my Hometown was. I thought about it for a while, but didn’t have an answer. Looks like I have had such a nomadic life, I don’t have a Hometown.

Here’s a list:

YearsCityDuration
1985-1985Bhubaneshwar, Odisha<1 year
1985-1985Kolkata, West Bengal <1 year
1986-1989Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh~3 years
1989-1990Dhani, Madhya Pradesh~1 year
1990-1990Dewas, Madhya Pradesh <1 year
1990-1994Indore, Madhya Pradesh~4 years
1994-1997New Delhi, Delhi~3 years
1997-1998Durgapur, West Bengal~1 year
1998-2002Panchkula, Haryana~4 years
2002-2007Nagpur, Maharashtra~5 years
2007-2008Kolkata, West Bengal~1 year
2008-2021Gurgaon, Haryana~13 years
2021-CurrentBangkok, Thailand
Nomadic Lifestyle
Not my hometown
Sucks, indeed

This list just covers the cities I have lived in. Even within these cities, I have sometimes lived in up to 3 different places. What is my Hometown, then?

Bhubaneshwar, because I was born there, but lived only a few months?

Kolkata, because that’s where my parents are from, but lived only a year?

Gurgaon, where I lived the longest and have my own place but don’t ever plan to return to?

Thankfully, I am off Facebook, so don’t have to answer this question anymore.

Weird Birthday-2

This year, I had another weird birthday. My last birthday was spent in Bangkok, alone at a hotel. After that, I thought I might never travel to Bangkok again, but coincidentally, not only am I back in Bangkok, I even spent my birthday in the exact same hotel.

The difference was, this time I wasn’t alone, but with family.

Spent the day at IconSiam & bought the Apple Watch braided solo loop as a birthday gift. Overall, a nice upgrade from my last birthday.

Quarantine Life

Since I left Gurgaon & moved to Bangkok, I have been in quarantine with my family. Almost 1 week in, it has been a bit difficult, but not torturous.

We are not allowed to leave our hotel rooms, except to pick up the food which is placed outside our rooms 3 times a day. Apart from this, our only window into the outside world are the windows with the same constant view.

Day View

The only difference in the view is how it changes between day and night & during different hours of the day depending on the angle of the sun.

Night View

Looking forward to getting out of quarantine in 9 more days and exploring the city (again).

Crazy Sofa at Bang Saen

During my last trip to Bangkok, I had a yearning to go visit a beach. Me and my Indian friend decided to head to Bang Saen, which is a beach in Chonburi province, a little more than an hour’s drive from Bangkok. He also brought along his Indian roommate. His name, translated to English literally means Snake 🐍, so that’s how we’ll refer to him for the rest of the story. 

Bang Saen Beach

The Snake is your typical Indian tourist who doesn’t want to part with any of his money & is always on his guard thinking that everyone is out to cheat him. He cribbed about paying 10 Baht to use the changing rooms (why can’t we just change behind that tree?), paying 50 Baht to use the beach chairs (we should have brought our own chairs). He cribbed about paying for food (so overpriced). When we decided to ride the crazy sofa, he immediately began to haggle with the operator. Note that, he paid for none of the above things; he is just a habitual haggler.

Unlike a Banana boat, which is streamlined and cuts through the water gracefully, a crazy sofa is inherently unstable and would bounce and flop around even in the most stable waters. So when the snake haggled with the operator and the operator agreed to reduce his rate, but with a nefarious smile slowly spreading across his face, I knew something was wrong.

So started our crazy sofa ride, with me and my friend on each edge and the snake in the middle. It soon became clear that the operator’s main agenda was to punish us for haggling like every other Indian that had crossed his path in the past. The ride was simultaneously the most thrilling and the scariest experience of my life. The operator was going much faster than usual, the sofa was bouncing like crazy and we were holding on to the plastic handles for dear life and screaming for the guy to stop (he conveniently forgot how to understand even the most basic English words).

A Crazy Sofa ride, not our Crazy Sofa Ride

Now would be a good time to mention that the snake easily weighed >100kg and was bobbing around both sides and hitting me and my friend (who were already bouncing hard) and only sheer terror made us hold on and prevented us from being thrown off the sofa. Multiple times, the sofa was airborne for more than 5 seconds at a time and more than a couple times, it almost overturned.

When the operator finally stopped the Jet ski and let us off, we literally toppled into the water from sheer exhaustion and took a long time to wade back to the beach.

Next day, woke up with soreness in unusual parts of the body, like the joints of fingers etc. This was one adventure, though, that I am unlikely to forget soon.

Weirdest Birthday Ever

This year, I had the weirdest birthday ever. Normally, my birthday is spent with a close family lunch and a wider family dinner. This year, however, I had to travel to Bangkok for work & since this was my last week in this particular company, I didn’t say no.

I went on the company trip and planned my family to visit me on the weekend before my birthday and stay till the day after my birthday, but because of the Covid-19 situation, their trip had to be cancelled. On top of that, my birthday was a Thai holiday, so I was staring at spending my birthday alone.

I started the day waking up late and having a leisurely breakfast at the hotel.

I saw a couple of movies, and then was surprised by the Hotel staff with a birthday cake. The cake was delicious and heavy, so I skipped lunch.

Weirdest Birthday
Cake!

In the evening, I took a long walk to Benjakiti Park, took the Skytrain From Asok to Phrom Phong station and spent some time at the Emquartier mall. After roaming round the Glass Quartier, the Waterfall Quartier, I headed for dinner at the Helix Quartier.

The Helix Quartier is a beautifully designed section of the mall. As the name says, it has a gently sloping walkway in the shape of a Helix without a clear distinction between different floors, with restaurants lining both sides of the walkway. I found a nice Korean Organic Chicken and Rice place and had a hearty meal.

Organic Korean Chicken and Rice

After dinner, I went back to the hotel, alone, watched some TV and fell asleep, thus bringing to end, the weirdest birthday ever.