Archive for April, 2007

April 29th, 2007

Unlucky with Prada shoes

I’ve bought three pairs of Prada shoes during my life. First ones I bought from San Francisco six years ago, black leather sneakers. They were just made for me, felt like gloves (for the feet, of course) — but their soles had some issues and they wore off very quickly on tarmac. I have used them less than dozen times outside and then they have served me well as my working shoes.

The next pair was bought in Rome, about five years ago. They were black leather winter boots. For some odd reason, I ended up buying two numbers smaller size than I usually wear. Of course, forgot to the check the size of my previous Prada shoes. The local cobbler stretched them twice, but they were still too small. They looked so excellent, oh man, were I disappoint not to be able to wear them. I visited Prada shop in New York on 2004 just to find out that the right size would not fit, as the shape of the shoe and my foot didn’t match properly — they were too narrow nearby toes or something.

The currently last pair has been bought recently from Milan; this time brown leather sneakers. Again, I didn’t check the size of the first pair (that fits really nicely), so I ended up buying one size bigger. That doesn’t really matter, they fit well still.

However, after wearing them a dozen or so times, the leather is already broken at the tip of the shoe. What the hell is this? I pay more than 250 euros for a pair of shoes, and they don’t last? Not to speak of that I paid over $400 for the previous sneakers that didn’t last either. I’m somehow dumbfounded, as usually bigger price means better quality.

There wouldn’t be any problem, if a) Prada would make ugly shoes or b) they would not fit. Unfortunately, their shoes are just tailored for my feet.

Ride an elephant

There are several elephant farms on the outskirts of Hua Hin city. We visited one, I don’t know which as we booked through our hotel, and it was an interesting and nice small excursion to the world of pachyderms (katso Lonely planet).

Elephant playing basketball in Hua Hin, Thailand
The price was not bad, 800 baht, and it included transportations from the hotel and back, elephant ride, water, refreshments and elephant show. I ended up being a goalkeeper for a football jumbo, and trust me, you have mixed feelings while standing in front of two tons of flesh running towards you to deliver a kick. The ball comes surprisingly fast, and the elephant managed to score despite my best efforts.

These tours are available from all local tour agent and they usually take two hours and can be arranged on any time of the day as long as there is enough light. Remember to have enough sunscreen and camera or two.

Elephant safaris, available — for example — at Hua Hin Hilton travel desk, Hua Hin, Thailand

Good for business

If you have grown tired to the typical London hotels that are a bit run down and sleazy, consider going next time to Radisson Edwardian hotels. One of them is located at the northern end of Tottenham Court Road, just next to Warren Street tube station.

The rooms are well built and decorated, but mine was size of a shoe box. It was enough for one person though and I could easily run my net related errands with their complimentary WLAN. The desk was not huge, but accommodated my laptop and elbows.

The bed was okay — I’ve slept in better ones, also in London. The bathroom was small, too, but at least you could open and close the door without hitting anything, including yourself.

I had completed a speedy check-in in the Internet, but had to queue with everyone else. I’ve experienced much faster check-ins without any self-service involved.

www.radisson.com, 130 Tottenham Court Road (next to Warren Street tube station), London, United Kingdom

April 23rd, 2007

Birthday bash and other stuff

We had a full house yesterday and the day before, as Aapo was celebrating his second birthday. The closest relatives and godparents were present — maybe already next year Aapo will populate the table with his friends.

The preparations for the event started already in the middle of last week, as we shopped some stuff from the local hypermarket — as seen on the image below.

Some stuff in the cart

The amount of groceries is easily explained; there were total seven adults and one toddler staying with us, making the grand total to twelve.

Relaxed hotel and resort

Hilton Hua Hin is the tallest building in the city centre, at least for the time being, and it’s prime location on the beach and in the middle of the tourist area provides magnificent views from the rooms and the corridors.

Hilton at Hua Hin, Thailand
The hotel has several restaurants with serve okay food, a couple of bars, a spa, tennis and squash courts, and a huge outdoor pool with a separated kids’ section and a waterslide.

We were travelling as an extended family — me, my wife and son, and my parents — and instead of two deluxe rooms we had booked, we got a suite with two separate bedrooms and a grande living room. All probably because Thais are so fond of small children.

The room was big, bed and amenities were excellent, but I still got a bit rundown feel of the place. Maybe it was because of our previous Sofitel experience in Bangkok or the beach resorts just tend to be somewhat worn already when they are built.

The breakfast was excellent in both quantity and quality, and it was served in a restaurant with excellent view to the pool and the sea — patio tables are an option, too

www.hilton.com, 33 Naresdamri Road, Hua Hin, Thailand

Inexpensive and good Japanese

Taketei is a smallish Japanese restaurant buried deep inside the busy Silom district. The restaurant is quite easy to go unnoticed, as the facade is not too big. Pay attention, as the place is a gem.

The food is excellent, our sushi was very fresh, and the service is par to none. We had up to five people serving our table (of four + a toddler). One reason was probably the toddler that got full attention from the staff from the moment he woke up.

The bill was not too bad, as usual in South-East Asia.

www.taketei.com, 144/3-4 Soi 10 Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand, +66 2234 2345

April 15th, 2007

Stylish Italian

Peperoni is a stylishly designed and executed Italian restaurant in the busy Silom Area. The large patio and floor to ceiling windows give an excellent views to the street, so you can watch the people (if you are not that much interested in your meal company).

Peperoni in Bangkok, Thailand
The menu is extensive enough for also a bit pickier people, and generally the food is good. Nondescript Italian, but still good. As in all Thai restaurants, the service is quick and friendly, but fortunately not too pushy.

Peperoni, 222 Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Relaxed brasserie

Triple Two Silom is an open brasserie style restaurant and bar in the busy Silom district, at the Triple Two Silom hotel — sometimes people seem to be a bit lazy with naming.

Triple Two Silom Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand
The restaurant opens nicely to the street, so you can savour the dishes while watching people hurrying from place to place. Still, the place is not too hot for spending some time with the dishes.

The food is mainly Thai, but there are some international dishes available as well. The prices are bargains to all Westeners, and the service is once again fast and smiling.

www.tripletwosilom.com, 222 Silom Road (next to Narai Hotel), Bangkok, Thailand, +66 2 627 2222