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Natural sun cure

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Natural Sun Cure

ROYSTON’S REPORT, Number 267

Sunday, 9 August 2015.

Welcome to this week’s newsletter with a report on overdoing it in Bangkok as well as natural beauty aids in Sri Lanka.

 

Cheap Charlie’s

I popped over to Bangkok last weekend for a change of scene and, apart from the shabby looking European men of a certain age trussed up in shorts and sagging T-shirts patrolling the neon lit gloom, I was fascinated by the street action. I stayed near Nana skytrain station, in Sukumvit, at the pompously named Grand Presidential Hotel.

Standard room Grand Presidential Hotel, Bangkok

Standard room Grand Presidential Hotel, Bangkok

While many Trip Advisor critics don’t think much of it, I was happy with the standard bedroom in Block 3 (across the road from reception) with kitchenette, lots of mirrors and cupboards, a bathtub and fierce shower, which cost US$ 161.07 (Rs 21,565; £ 103.50) for three nights for my double room – much less than a colleague and his wife paid for one night in a room (without kitchenette) in a charmless five-star hotel.

The first evening we re-visited Cheap Charlie’s, a street side bar that’s a 30 year-old Bangkok institution popular with diplomats, resident and visiting expats and occasional young Thais. Standing room only and all drinks, including my favourite Brokers gin, with ice & mixer, for 80 baht (Rs304; $ 2.27; £ 1.45) each.

Cheap Charlie's bar, Bangkok

Cheap Charlie’s bar, Bangkok

We topped that off with a snack of grilled squid from a street vendor.

Bangkok street food

Bangkok street food

Then we dived into a dive for a delicious pomelo (grapefruit) salad, red curry with roasted duck, Tom Yum Goong and rice for 860 Baht ( Rs3,268; $ 24.40; £ 15.67).

Typically Thai

Typically Thai

That’s part of the appeal of Thailand – not just the low prices for good accommodation and food, but also because you can choose whatever budget you want and get the good value you want too. Two of us enjoyed an extravagant Sunday buffet lunch of oysters, tempura prawns, foie gras, lobster, roast lamb, cheese and crepe suzette with unlimited quantity of six different wines by the glass for 6,700 baht (Rs 25,455; $ 190; £ 122) at Lord Jim’s restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Afterwards, of course, I couldn’t resist a cigar.

Cigar Bar Oriental Hotel, Bangkok 2015

Cigar Bar Oriental Hotel, Bangkok 2015

 

Natural sun cure

Sri Lanka is renowned for its Ayurveda therapy – natural healing using herbal teas, a vegetarian diet, oil massage, flower baths and other rituals as a way to heal or detox. (Useful after my Thai indulgence?) Here are some simple remedies that aren’t ayuvedic, but are effective, using locally sourced ingredients.

To clean the skin, mix crushed garlic cloves with water and apply to the face with cotton wool.

Why spend on fashionable sun cream when an avocado will do the trick. Slice one open and rub it over the affected area. This oil and nutrient rich fruit offers rapid skin penetration and quickly protects, softens and soothes.  Avocados can also be used as a skin moisturiser, cleansing cream, makeup base, bath oil, and hair conditioner. It’s good to eat too.

Sun relief

Sun relief

Possibly the best use for tea bags (I abhor them for making tea) is to float them in a bowl of water and plunge your tired feet into the solution. Revitalisation in a minute. For an instant warmer add a spoonful of mustard powder. Slices of onion, lemon or garlic rubbed onto the feet also help alleviate aching tiredness.

 

A British Centenary

This year is important for British residents of Sri Lanka as it marks the Centenary of the Association of British Residents (ABR) of this country. When I decided to settle here I registered at the British High Commission and was given a form to apply for membership of the ABR, as if it were obligatory. I joined and attended serious meetings discussing our expat problems and enjoying the occasional newsletter. However, since I live out of Colombo, where most of the ABR activities take place, I let my membership lapse.

www.abrsrilanka.com

www.abrsrilanka.com

The ABR seems to have become much more dynamic since I left, no doubt helped by the advent of emails by which all members (I re-joined this year) can feel they are part of the Association. The ABR was until recently open only to British passport holders but has since extended associate membership to Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians. There are plenty of Sri Lankan born members too who have resided in Britain and are British passport holders.

A super dinner, at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, to commemorate the Centenary is being held on Saturday 19 September 2015 from 7pm. It’s only Rs3000 per head (a bit cheaper than my splurge in Bangkok) so surely worth attending, but you have to join the ABR to do so (www.abrsrilanka.com) or go as a non-member for Rs5,000.

Card slot

(From 50 years ago. Issued by British grocers Seymour Mead & Co Ltd)

Number 20. HOW CEYLON TEA REACHES US

“Nearly all Ceylon’s tea is shipped through the busy ports of Trincomalee, Colombo and Galle. The chests are transferred from the warehouses where they have been stored, to lighters, and taken out to the big liners or cargo boats. Then they are swung by derrick up and over into the holds of ships. A single cargo may bring as much as over a million lb. of tea to London. If you stand on Tower Bridge and look either up or down stream you can see some of the huge warehouses where tea has been landed for some 300 years. That is why the H/Q of the tea trade is close by, in Mincing Lane.”

 

Days of Innocence?

For this week’s choice of one of my books, go to amazon for my latest Kicks Books (USA) publication: Big Time, the fictitious autobiography of a 1960s pop star.

Now available

Now available

I apologise for the late distribution of last week’s newsletter. Somehow my website got hacked and it took my web wizard, Andrew, and my old friend Champike, a few days to unhack it.

Beat regards

Royston