How I was scammed of 500 Baht!!!

Update!

We have recently received an email from Fozia, a person who is claiming to be this girls mother. Even though we have not been able to confirm her identity, she claims that her daughter was mentally ill and somehow did those things due to depression.

When we asked for compensation for the money her daughter scammed from us, she has replied with a threatening email stating that we will be sued. It doesn’t faze me, I can see why this girl would run away from home and act out against her parents. Besides, what kind of parents would leave such a “vulnerable” and “mentally ill” person all alone in a place like Thailand?

We urge anyone who has been scammed by this girl to come forward and demand compensation from her mother. It is not fair that kind and generous people like us are taken advantage of by rude and uncaring people like Maya and her mother Fazia.

Here is the IP address and email of Fazia, if anyone has any further information about either of them, please forward us a message in writing at the comment section below. Thank you.

IP: 92.110.175.238

Email: foz6aa@gmail.com

Scammers come in all shapes and sizes these days. It’s not the average looking guys that are chilling in their Tuk Tuks that you have to worry about. Have a look at the images/videos below, see if you can see a scammer anywhere!?

What’s that? You don’t see a scammer anywhere? Well be warned! This is what the average pro scammer looks like these days. Cute little things that will make up some story about how they have “lost their friends” and that they don’t “have enough money to stay at a hotel tonight”. She promises you that she’ll pay the next day through Facebook somehow.

Guess what happened when we frequented the same club a couple days later? Hmm… surely she’s not gutsy enough to come back to the same ol’ club to pull of the same scam? Is that what you think? Well you think wrong my friend. This devil in disguise has a good little scam going. We bumped into her again, and guess what? Yes… ah huh… indeed, she was pulling the scam on another couple of young girls, pretending to be lost and drunk. But, she sobered up and disappeared fairly quickly when she saw us.

She’s figured out a pretty smart scheme. You see, Zoe’s in Yellow (a club in Chiang Mai) is frequented by young tourists all the time. The thing is, she knows who the regulars are (since she’s a regular herself) and targets people she sees for the first time in the club (or atleast people who look like it’s their first time). Even if the people she has “borrowed” money from try to harrass her on her facebook page. She knows that most people will either be too drunk/lazy to follow up or they will move on to another city/country before they can collect.

I have to say, I didn’t see it coming. Like WOW! It’s pretty damn smart of her to come up with a scheme like this. I mean, she looks so innocent, don’t you guys think so?

Her name is: Maya Umnia Van Elk (from what I could investigate)

Her age is: 19, since her D.O.B is: May 25, 1997

Link to her Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010932362408

Three unbeatable reasons to “get lost”.

unnamedAny experienced backpacker or explorer will tell you that abandoning The Plan and simply getting into a place and getting lost is spice of traveling. The unique challenges and rewards really help people find themselves, as ironic as that sounds. Here I’ll give you the three most exciting reasons to “get lost”.

1. Adventure

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Central Festival; finding it was a bittersweet relief after a long journey through exciting backstreets.

You can’t beat finding a road that is fresh and unexplored by too many people, or a discovering a different path that leads to the destination you’re (eventually) getting to. A good example is when Mustafa and I took a “shortcut” to the Central Festival mall here in Chiang Mai and ended up stumbling upon a few interesting places that weren’t on TripAdvisor, like a board games center/shop and a new restaurant with some great guava juice. The magic of the road is that you truly don’t know what to expect.

2.  People.

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The famous Golconda fort where Mustafa, with no plan nor intention, was invited over for the night by a perfect stranger who saw that Mustafa was a little lost with nowhere to stay. Kindness can be found everywhere.

Granted that no matter where you go you’ll run in to interesting people, there’s no better way to experience the true culture of a place than to just get lost and head into places and communities that aren’t perfectly mapped out on your maps app. Mustafa did this (quite bravely) in India. He’d gotten lost, found Golconda fort and after exploring it, met some lovely people that hosted him for free at their place.

3. Food!

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“Could you add some more peanuts, please?” We’d found this lovely pad thai stall whilst we were searching (and getting quite lost) for our bank branch. It was a tremendously tasty find!

All the greatest, tastiest tales have been about discovered food finds whilst meandering down an unknown quarter of a town or village. We discovered what might be the most amazing pad thai in Chiang Mai on a street we had no intention of going down (we’d only gone down it to look for a bank). Also, lots of deserts and snacks that are indigenous to the local culture we’ve only been able to find through getting lost and happening upon them.

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Bonus pic…The most amazing grilled bananas stuffed with shredded coconut and smothered in coconut milk…..best lost find, ever!!!

 

Violence in Pattaya, unacceptable behavior in Thailand.

Before you start reading about violence in Pattaya, have a quick look at this video:

As tourists, we travel from all around the world to visit Thailand. Now, there’s an unspoken common courtesy when you visit a new country (especially when it’s your first time). You need to show respect to the culture to whichever country you are visiting, you can’t just behave the same way you do back home. This French guy thinks he’s still in France, attacking / insulting / aggravating the motorbike taxi. From what I have gathered from the video and the blog that posted it, it’s a French guy using violence in Pattaya to solve his problems.

Be a smart tourist!

First of all, the first rule of using any services and/or product in a new place is to negotiate and agree to the cost. Heck, we even find out the cost and pre-pay sometimes (that’s only because we’ve become accustomed to this area). Never ever, use a service that you don’t the cost of. The very first few words that should be coming out of your mouth is “How much?”.

Violence in Pattaya

I personally feel like this French guy was in the wrong doing in this video. If you truly feel like someone is trying to scam you, you just walk away. Let them call the police and chase you up. The fact is, no scammer is going to call the police and most likely, they won’t get physical with you unless you get physical with them.

Violence in Pattaya (Thailand), it should not exist!

Thailand and Thai people treat their tourists really well, they don’t want to cause drama as we are such a big part of their economy. Having said that, they will do their best to take advantage of your situation. They do this but you can easily circumvent it. You just need to have some level of intelligence and you will be alright. On the other hand, being a brute is not welcome here. If you are a person that solves problems through violence, I repeat, violence in Pattaya or anywhere in Thailand is unacceptable and you are better off staying in your home country!

Five Chiang Mai Food Specialties

This one’s for the foodie in us all.

Chiang Mai Food
Best noodles in Chiang Mai, right here on Rattanakosin road!

In my previous post about the wonderful, sumptuous delights of Thailand I mentioned that I would be doing a part two to focus on the mouthwatering masterpieces of Chiang Mai. Well, the wait is over. Allow me to introduce you to some of the most amazing foods I’ve ever eaten.

1. Khao soi gai

Slow cooked meat in a spicy yet decadent coconut curry. Delicious!!
Slow cooked chicken in a coconut curry noodle soup, topped with crispy fried noodles and lots of green onions. My personal favourite!

This dish is a Nothern Thailand bestseller. Khao Soi is renowned all over Thailand as Chiang Mai’s biggest culinary export. This particular location has, in my opinion, the best Khao Soi in Chiang Mai. The owner has very good English, the ordering system is so easy – you just sit at a table and tick off what you want from the ordering menu, which is in English. Or, why bother when the staff all know the names of the dishes anyway?

2. Noodle soup with chicken

Slow cooked chicken in a tasty, light broth. Served with thin rice noodles. Yummy!!
Slow cooked chicken in a tasty, light broth. Served with thin rice noodles. Yummy!!

Now, I know everyone loves a good chicken noodle soup…. well you ain’t ever tasted anything quite as good as this chicken noodle soup from the same restaurant that serves the best Khao Soi this side of Thailand!

I kid you not, some of the best noodle dishes I’ve tasted in Thailand were right here at this homely little corner restaurant.

3. Pot stewed duck noodles

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Here we have another winner of slow cooked meats!

This treasure is found right by the famous McCormick hospital in Chiang Mai. The duck is slow cooked and the soup is savory, a little on the sweet side and is a great meal, especially for lunch. You get a large drumstick and two wings plus a heaping portion of noodles and fresh, delicious bean sprouts.

4. Salt-grilled red snapper

Delicious, healthy and leaves you licking your fingers!
Delicious, healthy and leaves you licking your fingers!

Ok. I know I talked about salt-grilled fish before….but I didn’t have this beauty to compare it to!! The fish are sold by an old couple on the sidewalk, grilled fresh every afternoon right outside the Inspire Hotel. It would be a crime to miss out on this fish. Served with fresh greens and a super spicy green sauce, you can’t go wrong.

5. Crispy basil with chicken on rice.

Basil, basil, basil. I just can't get enough!!!
Basil, basil, basil. I just can’t get enough!!!

Served with a clear black pepper and spring onion chicken broth, this amazing rice dish comprises fried crispy basil and minced chicken on rice. By far one of the best dishes I’ve ever had in Thailand. I don’t even have the words to express how much I adore this dish. You’ve just got to try it for yourself!

Cookbooks for your enjoyment:

Pok PokThai Street Food

Young nerdy boys of the world, COME OUT OF YOUR SHELLS!!!


bromanceOriginally, I was going to call this post something like “10 reasons why it sucks to be a single guy in Sydney”, dedicating it to a couple of young boys I know and deeply love like my own younger brothers that I never had. Then I realised that the other is in another country and in the same situation.

So, what’s this rant about you say?

I will try to not bore you with too much details. The thing is, it sucks to be that guy who is technologically savvy but has no / little clue when it comes to interacting with girls his age. The fact is, while the boys are playing their “Scrap Mechanic”s and watching their “One Piece”s, girls their age are constantly going out to clubs learning the ropes of becoming masterful manipulators (in a positive way). Finally, when these boys come out of their shells, walking into these clubs for the first couple of times, they soon realise they are out of their league. It’s too harsh of an environment. It seems like every other guy is cheating by doing Roids and gyming 24/7. Soon, they realise they’re too behind in “night club” race. They decide, “if a girl truly likes me for who I am, then appearances don’t matter” or something along those lines.

The wake-up call!

The reality is, both these boys are at a disadvantage at their home cities. Just like I once was. Everyone these days wants to be special, they want to be “unique”. Whereas these boys are as common as stock roms that come with your brand new phones (nerd terminologies, hehe). This is why I push the message to them, “get out”, “get as far as your home as possible”, because only then you will arrive at a place where no one knows who you are. The people around you are different, YOU ARE DIFFERENT to them. Different is good, different makes you special and interesting. It won’t be long before the girls you considered to be an 8 (or, in other words, out of your reach) who considered you to be a 5 (or treated you like you weren’t in their league) appear to act differently. At this new location, a magic trick happens, all of a sudden, this girl you see who you think looks like an 8 thinks she looks like a 5, at the same time she thinks you look like a 7 OMG!!! (note that the numbers here don’t relate to girls’ self confidence, but to the novelty of you being different in their location)

This exact scenario happened to me multiple times as I was traveling (before I met you ofcourse Leshanta… please don’t kill me *shivers with fear in the corner* ). It’s so sad that this sort of thing is happening all around the world. Boys and girls are setting such high expectations (appearance wise) of their future potential partners that they are spending more time alone than with someone special.

As I have mentioned this You Only Live Once idea in other posts. But, truly boys, I know you’re both young and everything – please, please, I’m begging you – don’t waste a single moment of your lives. Life is way too short and there are so many girls out there who would be lucky to have you. They just don’t exist where you currently residing. I know you all have your issues to deal with. But solve them as soon as humanely possible and get out there. This world is yours for the taking!

Australian Singles! Who are they? Where are they?

So you’ve fantasized about going to this beautiful island / country called Australia.

australian singles

The place with sexy young Australian singles just waiting for your international coolness to touch down in the land of the “down under”. But, you did a quick google search or two. Counted the coins in your piggy bank. Soon, you realized that traveling to Australia is a distant dream. It’s unfortunate that you will never meet all the single Australians, to you heart’s content. It’s like the gods are taking a piss at you, this paradise of single beautiful people is inaccessible to you.

Australian Singles: Where are they?

Well here’s the good news!

We will come to you, no need for you to travel to one of the most expensive countries in the world. (“Sydney and its southern cousin, Melbourne, have ranked seventh and eighth most expensive cities to live in out of 140 cities in 93 countries worldwide“, Allianz)

Australian Singles: Who are they?

And here’s the bad news!

We don’t look like any of these pictures on this post! *sadface*. You probably bumped into us without even knowing that we were australian singlesAustralian. (“A new report has found Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world“, ABC). Well well well… did I just ruin your dreams even further? Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that there aren’t any really attractive Australian individuals out there. I am just saying, whether they’re attractive or not, you can’t really tell who’s from where these days solely based on someones looks.

So, what do Australian singles look like you say?

Well, you’re on the right path of questioning (not exactly though, explained later). We (Australians) look like everyday people really. Just because mainstream media in your home country has painted the image that Australians have blonde hair and blue eyes, doesn’t make us all look that way. In my personal opinion (coming from a person who literally grew up in Sydney), that image is actually the minority, I would even go as far as saying its a fraction of Sydney’s population.

Look at me and Leshanta for example. I look like I’m from the middle east (I have actually been called a few different things like: Indian, Italian, Thai, Filipino, etc.). Whereas a lot of strangers we bump into through our travels quickly conclude that Leshanta is from India. Long story short, stereotypical appearances that mainstream media portray no longer hold true.

The Silver Lining! Ah… The Silver Lining!

Let me try to recover your shattered fantasy/dreams from the ground with a taste of reality. You’re BETTER OFF! Australia is probably one of the hardest and most expensive places for you to be dating. You buy a girl drink or two, she’ll have her fun and move on to the next guy. You see attractive buff guys, but they’re sitting at a corner having a beer with their mates. (Later in the next article I will describe “Why it sucks to be a single male in Sydney” based on my views and experiences).

ARGGHHH!!! You’ve ruined my dreams!

Not quite! I have dosed you with a hint of reality. The thing with stereotypical ideas is that, there’s always a hint of truth in there. If you really want to be dating Australian singles, then don’t give up on your dreams. Maybe one day you’ll have enough money in the bank for a vacation to Australia. Even better, maybe an Australian hottie will bump into you, asking you directions to a touristic landmark. So my advice is, be alert and don’t judge someone too quickly by their appearance.

Sources:

https://www.allianz.com.au/home-insurance/news/most-expensive-areas-live-australia

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-11-17/australia-second-most-multicultural-country/2339884

Investing in Australia’s property market.

Having been to a place like China, I was amazed at the number of empty buildings and “ghost cities”. My amazement was further climaxed with the news from one of our local Chinese friends who informed us that anyone who buys property in China can only lease the property for 75 years. Afterwards, the land and property goes back to the government.

Initially, that was quite confusing for me as I grew up in a place like Australia. Australia, a beautiful country, a place where you can buy land and it will be forever yours. See, it’s not just the idea of keeping land forever in your name, but in Australia we have the general notion that the value of Real Estate, whether it is land or property that it should “double in value every 10 years”. This is what Australians consider solid “Capital Growth” where we are enjoying both the increase in value of the property and we can also be enjoying higher returns by renting out the property.

If you’re a smart investor, you know where to look, what to buy and when to buy it. Growing your wealth anywhere from 10-20% per year is a common experience.

Now, you might start thinking “well that’s great news if you’re Australian!”. Actually, I would say that Australia is quite “open” to people wanting to invest in the property market in Australia.

In fact, investing in Australia has other benefits like the potential of becoming an Australian citizen. You heard me right, at this moment in time the Australian government is offering an investment visa to people willing to invest $1.5 million Australian dollars (or 7.25 million RMB at this point in time) over four years. It is my understanding that people under this visa  would be eligible to become an Australian citizen after 4 years, having this kind of arrangement can be ideal especially for Chinese parents and families who want to send their kids to prestigious schools and universities in Australia. Even though this opportunity is out there for everyone, I see this as an extra convenient arrangement for Chinese parents who want to invest their money for their kids and grand kids allowing them to have a bright future.

Sources:

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/891-

http://emergingmarkets.me/guest-article-chinas-aggressive-hunt-overseas-property-yuan-goes/

Conveniences of Thailand! (What is Thailand like?)

Let’s get straight to the point.

Are you 18+ and you can’t do your bed / cook your own food / wash your own clothes without your mother holding your hand? No Worries! Are you looking for a place to travel to but have little to very little money? No Worries! The answer is here and it’s called “Thailand”!!!

What is Thailand like?

I might be exaggerating a tad, but the reality is, Thailand is so darn cheap to live anyone can potentially come here, start working at a job (most jobs are for teaching English but there are other jobs out there) and before you know it, you’re eating like a local, you’re dressed like a local and you become a local. There are so many people from all around the world here in Thailand (especially in Chiang Mai) that sometimes I wonder if I bump into more foreigners than Thai locals while walking along the street.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking “I’m not a tourist, I don’t want to be a tourist, I can’t afford to be a tourist”. Again, let me emphasize, there’s a very big population here in Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand) where expats from all over the world have come here, fell in love with this place and decided to make this place their new home.

So my advice to you is, do some research (shameless plug of our YouTube channel here: A Pair of Nomads (APoN)) and don’t get discouraged. Find the resources to get over here and before you know it, you’ll be living independently and having a very chill lifestyle.

The cost of living.

As I said earlier, Thailand makes living independently SUPER EASY! As I am writing this post, me and Leshanta have rented a serviced apartment close to our school. We paid 6000 Baht for our room for the month (electricity is extra, and it can vary 0-1500 baht per month depending on usage). Now, if you came here and decided to live here on a long term basis, it wouldn’t be difficult to find a long term lease that would be cheaper and of better quality at the same time. Meanwhile, we do enjoy getting our room serviced for 100 Baht, getting our clothes washed and ironed for 5 Baht a piece (why bother washing your own clothes when it’s so cheap). So what’s left? You can’t cook? Oh well… such is life, you’ll have to starve to death. 555555!!! (Thai joke, you’ll get it once you get here) The fact is, there’s so much access to delicious food no matter where you are in Thailand, you’ll need strict self-discipline if you don’t want your waistline multiplying. For those of you who love your fresh fruits and veggies have a look at this!
This is what Thailand is like!Now some of you might be thinking, it’s just avocados (just like Leshanta), but none of you get it. I grew up in Australia, where avocados are so expensive that they are sold individually. So, as much as I loved eating them when I had the chance to, the chances were few and far in between due to their cost. But now, here in Chiang Mai I found them at 50 Baht per Kilo!!! That’s a little less than 1.5 USD a kilo (the lady who sold it to me gave me more than a kilo, more like 1.5 kilos for the same price) and there’s so much more of the fruits and veggies that would cost an arm and a leg back home.

Anywhos… Chiang Mai is a cool, laid back place that doesn’t make me want to go anywhere else. But, we must travel as much of the world as possible so that you and our friends can find out about all these different awesome places to live and travel to.

Final words of advice, don’t be afraid to take small risks. Pack yourself a bag and hit the road. Life is so much better when you are making your own decisions and stepping up to the consequences and feeling the pride of your achievements. You only live once, so go out there and LIVE!

How to find a job in China

how to find a job in china

China

A country, an idea, a dream come true, an exercise in patience. People who visit China for a short term rarely have the opportunities to really experience the incredible and many times, unbelievable, things that will happen to you while living here. Those that want to come live here very rarely have any clue as to what to expect or how to navigate their way to better jobs, apartments and places to buy the things they need. In this post I’ll look at how a person wishing to come to China to find work as a teacher can secure a decent job via the worldwide web.

How to find a job in China:

Step 1. Sign up to a few major job search websites.

Websites like the famous Dave’s Esl cafe, Serious Teachers and (my personal favorite) EChinacities are the starting place for all teachers who want to work as foreign teachers in China. Ensure that your CV is up to date and well formatted, and documents such as your degree certificate and/or any other relevant certificates are scanned and clearly visible when you open them on your device. Go to the above websites and create accounts, upload your documents and begin sending applications to all the jobs you want. They are free to register with and use and their databases are huge as schools in China are very well aware of them and use them as a main source of finding their foreign teachers. Cover letters are a nice touch so if you see a job that looks like the right one for you be sure to write one going into some detail as to why you’d be the best teacher for the job.

Step 2. Ask all the questions.

Seriously. Ask the person that contacts you about doing an interview everything you can. Questions like what salary range is being offered for the position, if the figures quoted are before or after tax (that actually makes a huge difference in numbers, I’m talking thousands of RMB worth of difference here), if there’ll be any extra duties or if you’ll be required to work on weekends or evenings. Things like how many sick days you’ll be getting and whether your insurance is paid for or not. Also, most importantly, ask about their disciplinary policies for teachers – deductions from your salary for punctuality/behavior/not turning in lesson plans on time? Ask about airfare reimbursement and housing allowance. Be extremely careful if they make a salary offer at the beginning of your talks and change it after a few days because you don’t have some special qualification or the other – that’s just untrustworthy and a real red flag that the school can actually afford to pay you way more than what they’re offering but being stingy to funnel the money meant for foreign teachers elsewhere (yes, that is a personal experience I witnessed and went through myself!).

3. Read and re-read the contract they send to you.

And do not agree to sign until you confirm that they can fully provide you with a Z working visa and something called an FEC (Foreign Expert Certificate) or an Alien Employment Certificate. Schools that are registered as such in China will provide teachers with FECs but places like language training centers and places designed for after-school lessons can’t hire ‘teachers’, only employ ‘trainers’ so their documentation requirements are slightly different. Furthermore, after you sign a contract no changes should be made to it. no adjustment of any pages, policies – nothing. I have heard stories of contracts being altered in front of the people who signed them. That is illegal, do not let anyone tamper with your contract.

Notes on recruiters

Once you sign up on one of the websites and keep applying for jobs, it won’t be long until you have recruiters calling you every minute to set up interviews. Always stand your ground and insist on what you want – they need you more than you need them. Teachers are much more in demand and much less available in China than other Asian countries. My partner Mustafa highlights some of the struggles he faces with recruiters on our current job hunt for positions in China in the video below.

When you are hired

Remember that you will not have your passport for a couple of weeks after you arrive, that’s how long it takes for the PSB in China to get your FEC. So, don’t book anything too far in advance or anything that you can’t cancel easily! Also, there will be an adjustment period that could be potentially difficult – give yourself at least two months before making any decisions as to whether you want to stay at that job or find another. With that in mind, don’t stop searching and applying to jobs until those initial two months are over. Most likely those two months will be a probationary period as stated in your contract and you could leave (or be fired!) with very little to no negative consequences for both yourself and the school.

In all, that’s a little bit from me and Mustafa on finding jobs in China. More posts on this topic will grace this website soon, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you, pronto! Good luck!

i-Sanook hotel, tucked away and beautiful.

Our stay at this hotel was so comfortable that I had to do a mini-post about it.

i-Sanook Hotel

Located close to the Silom area, i-Sanook Hotel is a visually appealing, modern hotel. The rooms are moderately large by Thai standards and include en suite toilet and showers, a mini fridge, safe, tv with cable channels, desk and chair and a sofa with a table.

The rooms also have large glass windows with black out drapes. Lots of light but only when you want it.

iSanook Room

There is a nice pool which isn’t very deep and to be honest we were so busy exploring the alleyways around the hotel we didn’t even go swimming. There’s also a jacuzzi, which we also didn’t go to but we did hear from other guests that it was a great, relaxing experience.

We had one meal at the rooftop restaurant, which was lovely for the experience but because of all the great, cheap street food and small restaurants all around the hotel we didn’t have a second meal there.

The staff were all very nice and it was, overall, one of the best places we stayed at in Bangkok.

i-Sanook Hotel Map: