The Ice Cream Chronicles Vol. 11 No. 01

One of the best things about writing Thailand, Land of Smiles over the years has been the people I have met. From other bloggers to backpackers and holiday goers I have really been lucky to get to know one helluva lot of people. There have also been quite a few people I have come to know that read TLoS regularly and drop me a line here and there to let me know what they think.

One such person I have met and become friends with is Gordo. He wrote me a long email one night from Phuket that not only made me laugh but also made me think. Over time we continued our correspondence and Gordo introduced me to what he called “The Ice Cream Chronicles”. The Ice Cream Chronicles are published whenever he gets the urge and is then sent out via e-mail to his friends.

One thing I can tell you about Gordo is that there is no bullshit about him and he pulls no punches in his writings which I admire. Another thing I can tell you about Gordo is that he’s been there and done that several times and has the pictures, stories and scars to prove it. I asked Gordo if I could re-publish his Ice Cream Chronicles here from time to time as I think many people will enjoy his work and he graciously agreed.  So, without any further ado I’ll let Gordo tell you a bit about himself and kick off the first addition of the Ice Cream Chronicles on TLoS.

Name: Gordo aka Colonel Sandals

Age: by the time you get anything published other than TLOS I’ll be 60 so use that.

Marital Status: Attached but Not Married.

Actual Profession: Photojournalist (TV, Film & Print)
Trained Profession: Electrical Engineer & Physicist…MScEE/Phys.
2nd Alternate Profession: Solver of Numerous Problems and Creator of Many More.
3rd Alternate Profession: Sloop Sailor (owner of 88′ classic Alden sloop named Moonshine) & Beach Bum.

Hobbies: The finer things in life and beer…any beer as long as it’s cold. 25 year old Isley (pronounced Eye-Lah) Single Malt is nice too. Never call that stuff a Scotch…never…tis an insult. Kick ass one toke ganja is nice too.

Who I know, Where I been etc….

I know many people from from Royalty (that’s right) to beggars and many more in between. Many people claim to know me however I don’t know many of them. I have been in Asia for 50 years (father was a Navy Man) and in Southeast Asia for 40 years. Came in second place at the Great Southeast Asian War Games when I played there from 1971 to 1975. For places I have been look at a map of Asia that also includes central Asia and place a pin in each country.Look at a map of present day Europe and put a pin in every country except Lithuania.

Take a map of the Middle East and put a pin in every country except Syria. A map of Africa can be pinned to omit Algeria, Niger & Nigeria. The Trans Siberia railway is an experience everybody should do in their life at least once…I’ve done it 6 times. The Japanese have a saying: A man who climbs Mt Fuji once is a real man, anything more than that he’s a fool. I’ve climbed Fuji 4 times. I like Nepal especially Baktapur (checksp). India sucks. Bhutan is excellent. The “South Pacific” I will keep to myself because once the word gets out more than it already has…the place will become another Ban Dong Kam (Patong Beach).

Favourite Pastimes:
None of your Goddamned Business! Although a good romp with my lady and my 4 dogs is nice but not all together at the same time in the same location. I have been known to fancy a good 7.62x51mm(.308cal) rifle…like my Armalite AR10. Sailing Moonshine into places we’ve never been to together. Face to face socializing down at the pub with a cold beer in my hand & cell phone turned off. I’m easily found if you know where to look.

The Ice Cream Chronicles

Vol. 11                                          No.01

Bringing You The Finest Bullshit From All Over The World

Little girl, Puppy and ice cream

Akin to that herbal stuff…Best served in the shade and shed.

World Stopping Events

Next month I turn 60. In the past 59 years and 11.6 months I have witnessed three events that literally stopped the world in its tracks. Perhaps you witnessed more and that’s ok with me too…then again, have those events made damn near everybody on this planet stop in their tracks and either gaze at a television, listen with intent to the radio or hurry out to buy the special edition of the local newspaper? If the event didn’t grab every person on this planet’s attention for the majority of the events duration then it wasn’t World Stopping for the purposes of this issue.

Man on the Moon

The above photo of “Buzz” Aldrin was taken by Neil Armstrong on the Moon at Tranquility Base sometime after 21 July 1969 which is the day they landed and became the first humans to explore our nearest cosmic body. Thanks go to NASA for the photo…A very big thanks.

I remember that day very well…I was 18 years old and it was all over the TV and radio and in every newspaper I had access to…plus just about every newspaper in the world I didn’t have access to. I remember watching Walter Cronkite heaving a sigh of relief to millions of American viewers when Eagle landed. I remember looking at every TV station I could get on my TV…all 4 of em…and each channel showed the same vision & audio with commentary by anchors at the networks headquarters.

What I didn’t know until about a month later was that the whole world was watching the same vision and listening to the same audio…albeit translated into their local language. Damn near everybody from America to Zimbabwe and all parts in between was tuned in somehow and if they didn’t have access to a TV they listened to the radio and if they didn’t have radio they waited for the newspaper. If they didn’t have a newspaper they got the info by word of mouth and were still gobsmacked. I was more amazed at the amount of people who witnessed the event by proxy than the actual event itself!

Princess Di and Prince Charles Royal wedding

The above photo of HRH Prince Charles and Princess Diana was most assuredly taken not long after their wedding which happened on 29 July 1981. I was working in Saudi Arabia then and the single Saudi TV channel of the time carried the event live…for the whole damn duration of it. Back then I had no idea that everybody from America to Zimbabwe and all parts in between watched it too. Personally I could care less about Chuck & Di getting married however it appears that there were other co-conspirators in the broadcast & print media who cared a lot about their wedding and made a lotta innocent people care too via clever marketing.

We all know what happened to Lady Diana. We all have our own ideas about that event. I will not even scrape the surface of a single conspiracy theory…she’s dead and that’s that. However her demise and the media coverage of it was not world stopping even though many people would argue with me on that. There were other broadcasters on this planet that also ran other programmes along with giving sitreps (situation reports) about Diana’s demise…so it doesn’t count. Chuck & Di had two kids…Willy & Harry.

9/11 World Trade Center attack

The above photo was taken by a photographer in New York City on the morning of 11 September, 2001…or simply 9/11…and I nabbed it from the 9/11 Truth Commission website…thanks be to them.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when it happened?

Were you in NYC at the time? What was the first thought to run through your mind when you saw it on TV, heard it on the radio, read about it in the paper or witnessed it live?

I was at my favourite bar located on Phuket, Thailand (Patong Beach…bars name: El Dorado) and my lady & I were loosely paying attention to an episode of the West Wing TV show that starred Martin Sheen as the POTUS (President Of The United States…acronym used in official USG communiqué’s). There was some crisis happening in some fictitious nation and some Americans were in trouble and off to the Situation Room the POTUS went.

As soon as Martin Sheen exited the screen there was a cut to the Twin Towers showing one of the Towers in flames and what looked like a small aircraft about to impact the Tower not in flames. I, being a cameraman in the TV news biz, thought…what a neat cut. Then I saw the CBS networks “bug” on the TV screens lower right corner and thought…”Wow! Series TV has come a long ways”.

Then the small aircraft (which wasn’t actually that small) slammed into the unstruck tower and within a moment exploded. I thought…”What neat effects!”

However…TV effects don’t usually last very long because the viewer, more than likely, has an attention span about a microsecond long and I began to wonder how the scene was gonna fit into the POTUS in the Situation Room.

The El Dorado was packed that night…other people who were paying attention to the show began to ask questions. The bars owner handed me the remote and I rapidly scanned all 250 satellite TV channels his receiver and dish could get and the same scene was being played out on all of them…even on the “God” channels.

By that time everybody in the bar was talking about what we all were seeing on the TV so I asked the bars owner to turn on a radio, he did, and on every radio station either in English or Thai or whatever there was commentary about the scenes we were watching on the TV. I muted the volume on the TV and the owner muted the radio’s volume….Every establishment on Patong Beach that night was hearing and viewing the same thing. The owner & I did a walk around and the few establishments that had only a stereo system had their stereo turned off and folks were listening to or watching the event on an adjacent bars TV or radio.

We return to the El Dorado and my lady asks me “What does this mean Gordo?”

All I could reply was…” Hopefully not World War Three”.

A Russian feller at the bar that night, after seeing me use my handphone, asked me

if he could make a call on it & he’d pay me for the call…whatever I wanted to charge.

Mentioning to him to keep it under 5 minutes I handed him the phone and he called

his parents in St. Petersburg…they were watching the exact same thing. He handed me the phone and asked me to talk to his parents “They speak good English” he said. They did……his father, a retired Russian Navy feller, said that it “wasn’t us” in reference to the Russians having something to do with what we were seeing on TV. I believed him and handed back my phone to their kid and told him he could talk as long as he liked. About a minute later, phone call finished, he & I were seriously into some single malt Scotch.

About 3 weeks later I was in Dushanbe, Tajikistan waiting to get into Afghanistan for the Rolling Thunder bombings which preceded the invasion. A couple days before heading out to no-man’s land I run into the same Russian guy who borrowed my handphone back at the bar…he was/is a still photographer…a very good one too.

Ok Gordo…we’ve heard most of this banter before so what’s the deal? Wrap it up please…we do have other things to do you know…

Actually no, I don’t know, so you can piss off here & now…or bear with me, it makes no difference.

Apollo Eleven and 9/11 truly were World Stopping events on a grand scale. Apollo 11 was a stepping stone for mans achievements in a positive direction and as of this very day we are all reaping the rewards. Just think about it…things’ getting smaller is a fine example. 9/11 is another milestone in mans achievements if for no other reason than or by preventing WWIII from happening with a moronic POTUS in charge of a very powerful nation with every person in it Hell bent for blood.

Prince Charles & Lady Diana’s wedding only qualifies as a World Stopping event because there were a lotta people who were fond of or fantasized about a dream wedding they could never possibly have let alone afford and through the magic of satellite TV (fairly new to the masses back then) the BBC made it so.

On the 29th of April 2011…99 days away at this writing (hacking if you prefer) there will be another “Royal Wedding” when young Prince William marries Kate Middleton. The BBC in their infinite wisdom is having a 100 day count down to the event and on the day itself, especially with today’s communications technology, it is sure to become another World Stopping Event. Mind you, I find it odd that the BBC’s correspondent at the do has a Muslim surname….then again…who cares.

I ask you this….Why? Reference World Stopping that is vice the Muslim correspondent.

Why are so many people so Goddamned interested in a “Royal Wedding” as if it’s gonna make a difference in their lives (happy or miserable)? I’m not and that’s for damned sure…however I reckon even if I prodded NASA to send me on a one way journey to the outer reaches of our solar system and beyond I still wouldn’t be able to escape the event…communications technology has come a long way.

I am not a “Royalist” in any manner. Just take HRH Queen Elizabeth and her family for example…

How much money is this wedding gonna cost? A million or so Pounds Sterling?

A few tens of millions of Pounds Sterling? Are the Royal family really gonna adhere to tradition and stick Kate Middleton’s family with the bill? How much is the BBC gonna spend to get the vision & audio of the event out to every millimeter of dirt on this planet when the BBC is hurting for money like everybody else is? That costs a lotta money folks.

It is said that Oprah Winfrey is the richest woman in the world and perhaps that’s true because she must declare all her earnings and assets for tax purposes under US law or else she’ll end up in prison. The Queen of England doesn’t have to declare shit and she can’t ever go to prison for anything.

If the British Royal family is so benevolent & compassionate towards their subjects then why didn’t Queenie bail out the UK’s banks with her own money when the banks collapsed? The Commonwealth…yeah…a group of nations whose sole purpose is to give the British Royal Family money…and give very often too…so they can remain the richest family on Earth. If you can’t pay your dues to the club you’re out…that’s it. The masses of loyal British followers of the Royal family are going broke day by day…does the Queen or her family care? No they don’t.

I mean look…not even her eldest son Charles cares. Then again he talks to trees and old buildings and married a lady for the second time about as old as his mother so in a way he can be forgiven I guess. He’s as daft as a condom with a hole at both ends.

So if you don’t believe me when I say that the British Royal Family is perhaps the richest family on Earth if not THE richest then start your own investigation by using Google or your favourite search engine…you may be surprised what you find.

Here’s a tip too…have a look at “Crown Land”…where it all is and how much land there actually is that still belongs to the “Crown” which is HRH Queen Elizabeth.

A clue is given here too…this “Crown Land” is located all over this damned planet.

Royal Family demotivational

If you’re gonna watch or listen or read about the wedding of Willy & Kate on the 29th of April I won’t hold it against you however I may think differently of you and that’s my choice ain’t it? Remember this; Justin Beiber is gonna sing at the do…HAH!

Hey…It’s your choice what you do…Hell everybody needs to have fantasies…if for no other reason just to help ease the day’s passing. I even have mine…and they usually involve a gallon of Wesson Oil, a water bed, a beautiful Asian lady, a nicely tanned beautiful blonde woman, a fit & foxy black chick, some good ganja, a crate of Shiraz and a box of Viagra for emergency purposes…and some fine food, let’s not forget the fine food. And for desert…Ice Cream! But a Royal Wedding? I’ll pass thank you.

Then again…perhaps you may do what I will most likely do. Leave the ladies in front of the TV, go to the pub, tell (don’t ask) the pubs owner to turn off the TV & crank up the stereo and get into some serious male bonding. Have such a righteous time at the pub that when you do go home & finally recover Willy & Kate will be expecting their first child. Then you can return to the pub and start all over again. If your lady

asks why you don’t like to watch the Royal Wedding or the birth of a new Royal Brat don’t give her a speech…just say…”Baaahhh…Friggin Royals” with severe scorn and head to the pub. She’ll understand….somehow…sometime.

It wasn’t easy hacking out this World Stopping Events ditty. Some folks asked me why I didn’t include the Boxing Day Waves (Asian Tsunami) or the earthquake that caused the tsunami…others asked why I haven’t mentioned the global financial meltdown or Obama becoming the first black president in US history. More asked about the US invasion of Iraq or the death of Michael Jackson, while some people inquired why the fall of the Berlin Wall was omitted. Some even asked me why I didn’t include Lady Diana’s demise. It was a very close call to leave out the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy but omitted they were.

Yes all the events listed in the previous paragraph were major news events of their time and world history makers in their own right, however, if you go back to the beginning of this ramble you will be reminded of my definition of what constitutes a World Stopping Event. Perhaps the best way to describe the other events I have listed as omissions is to call them hiccups along the ways of the world and its inhabitants…or freeze frames if you like.

Now I can hear plenty of you folks out there yelling: “Gordo…you fool…What about WWII or WWI” Yes they were World Stopping Events but not in the terms of immediacy and availability to the masses. Fact…Pearl Harbor was attacked and nearly destroyed by the Japanese on December 7th 1941. Only a small handful of people outside of Hawaii, mainly in top positions within the US Government knew about the attack. It wasn’t until FDR gave his infamous “Day Of Infamy” speech that the rest of America and the world knew about it. Prior to that America was pretty much out of the war in Europe…save for some volunteers. WWI was mainly a newspaper war in terms of coverage so immediacy was delayed by a few days while some people in some nations never knew it was happening until they were invaded.

For the sake of argument I listed only the 3 main items in my present lifetime that stopped the world’s population in its tracks for at least 85% of the events duration.

Some of you may debate there is only two events outta the three I listed and that’s ok with me….just remember what I used to qualify the events and you surely will arrive at three yourselves…even if you have to dig a bit…

So will Willy & Kate’s wedding be a World Stopping Event? That’s a tough call right now. You decide. But here are some hard facts that may predetermine the outcome. The BBC and other world broadcasters have already begun programmes relating to their wedding. The date and location has already been set and preparations are well underway to make the wedding the largest media event of this early 21st century. All that must count for something….

A digression about a Royal Wedding that never made the news…

A French cameraman I have known for many years was in deepest darkest Congo a few years back doing a Royal Wedding piece that told the story of two tribes of people that have been at war with each other ever since spears,  bows & arrows were the most lethal tools of the trade. These two “tribes” were warring for so long they completely forgot what started the actual belligerence.  So after all the years of war the two “kings” got together and agreed that one Prince would marry one Princess and if this all gelled then the warring would cease immediately.

Preparations were happening, my French cameraman friend was with these people from the very start and stayed until the wedding was over and the warring ceased. He captured the entire event on video, did a rough cut and would cut the final piece back in Brazzaville at a hotel where electrics were more dependable than batteries in the jungle. Three days after leaving the “upcountry” he arrives in Brazzaville, gets a hotel, cuts his piece and makes the all important phone call to the French TV network who said they would put the programme to air and pay him for his efforts.

He makes the call…is informed that Airbus Industry is about to go broke due to problems with the new 380 super huge plane and the story he did which otherwise

would have eagerly been put to air had just become immediately redundant in light of Airbus’s massive problems & the local news that Airbus Industry generated.

Four months of work in deepest darkest Congo gone like a fart in a tornado because a company was having money problems.

Yes, my French friend did go back to the area where the two now friendly tribes lived and gave them a DVD of the peacemaking event plus a DVD player & TV so they all could relax & watch it & perhaps cherish the event for posterity. He never got paid a cent for the job.

A similar event happened to me in Cambodia in the late 90’s when I had just put together a nice colour piece about the silk weavers in the villages where I have some rural, on the banks of the Mekong River property. Lady Diana was in Cambodia earlier to have a look at her Land Mine charity and Diana was an immediate hit in the entire nation….I know I had to dog her around for Brit TV.

She found it interesting that an American cameraman was working with a major British broadcaster. Some humor was exchanged and in the end I got the footage that was needed. However all that was way before I came up with the idea of a piece about the silk weavers and due to the wonders of the internet and the person who brought the internet to these weavers making it easier for them to directly take overseas orders…which would make a very nice “colour piece” for any technology programme on TV or at least a great human interest story about a nation that, for the most part always ended up getting everything negative and nasty told about it.

On the night of 30 August 1997 I arrived in Bangkok, got a hotel, went to Soi Cowboy to find a “friend” and after some small business matters took place we returned to my hotel. In the morning I was to go to a Fed Ex office and ship my tape of the village weavers and their new found  fortune to London where it would be broadcast within a couple of days if not sooner. When I woke up my “friend” asked me to shower and pass her the remote control for the TV which I did. Whilst taking the shower I heard something about Diana and an accident in Paris. When my shower finished my “friend” was nearly in tears… I had just found out that she was a huge fan of Diana. We watched the news and within a short time it was announced Diana was dead. I made the first of many calls to London and finally I got through to the foreign desk after about 30 minutes of trying and was politely told my colour piece would just have to wait. I made inquiries about doing after the fact scenes here in Southeast Asia and was told to keep that idea on the back burner for a while.

My colour piece never went to air anywhere on this planet however I did manage to do a local version for Cambodia’s fledgling tourism people for free using the original footage shot for the show that never happened.

That’s the end of the digression and hopefully it can help you understand how certain things can rapidly change other events and also not truly be classified as World Stopping Events. How this actually fits into this issue isn’t quite clear to me either but what the hell.

I really hope you enjoyed this read as much as I enjoyed adding the pictures and the words. This is a new year so there’s a change in the ICC (Ice Cream Chronicles not that fucking Cricket Commission). I have decided to put the cute photo of the little girl and the puppy sharing an ice cream cone at the top of every page. In further issues there will be more photos to view along with my babble…sorry about the quality but to save bandwidth on your end I will be necking em down considerably.

Kiwi Bill, a friend of mine here on the island asked why I didn’t use a photo of me and my dogs sharing ice cream instead of the little girl & puppy. Well Bill…here’s the answer you seek…

You know Buster…the big male (155lbs) who is half Mastiff, a quarter Lab and the rest…who fuckin knows. You also know Sunshine…the talkative, energetic, very curious & extremely friendly midsized greyhound looking blonde dog (40 lbs) I have. You know Gladys…the part Lab, part God hasn’t even a clue, pure feral but very loving & protective dog (50 lbs or so) I have. And you know Sally…the purebred Golden Retriever I was given a few months back, with all the Golden’s great traits, who has now just turned 4 years old & weighs in at about 60+ lbs.

What you don’t know is that whenever and no matter how stealthy I remove a tub of Romanian Emmanuel’s homemade ice cream  from my freezer…making zero noise in doing so…these mutts are onto me like stink on fresh shit. It has to be their cumulative noses all ganged together for the common goal of liberating me from my ice cream…or vice versa…it just has to be. Even if they’re all outside…they know.

Bill you will never know how hard it is trying to get a nice cutie pie shot of me and a single dog sharing ice cream let alone 4 dogs & me sharing ice cream. Besides…I’m no longer cute. Matured sexy as Rin says is nice but cute…no. Buster will try to be gentle and take only the ice cream sticking on top of the cone but this usually involves inhaling the rest of my hand & all of my head along with the ice cream. It does me no harm whatsoever but I’m left with a head dripping in slobber plus what resembles 4 hour old ice cream on a hot day. I’m usually flat on my back by that time which gives rise to the fact that the other 3 dogs still want their share and commence to rather not so gently lick my head & face with fervor. All tails wagging & making very happy dog noises mind you.

The aforementioned action leads to intense play time for the 5 of us (perhaps 6 if Rin’s at home and not busting a gut laughing) where more ice cream is brought out and the entire scenario is repeated again. Remember Bill…I’m soon to be 60 & very glad I’m fit.

Rin & I have tried, with me laying on the grass and licking an ice cream cone while Rin tries to take a picture. This also doesn’t work. We’ve tried putting 3 dogs inside the house with one outside and me with an ice cream cone and the animal rights people have come around investigating why we may be cruel to our animals since their barks & yelps will usually be heard all the way into Phuket Town proper.

We’ve tried the same with two dogs in the house…dunna work very well either.

So…after numerous attempts and immense fun throughout the process of trying to capture that elusive tender moment between man & dog…and failing miserably…I have unilaterally decided the photo of the girl & puppy is what I’m gonna use as the opening header for this new series of Ice Cream Chronicles. I have no idea who took the photo as I scarfed it off the internet but will gladly give credit where credit is due by saying thanks here and now. Who wants to look at my mug anyway?

Cheers Friends,

“Matured Sexy” Gordo


Ahhh…I see you have some ice cream… ya wanna share?


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7 Responses to The Ice Cream Chronicles Vol. 11 No. 01
  1. Paul Garrigan
    January 24, 2011 | 6:22 pm

    Gordo has an ineresting way of looking at the world; it was a fun read for me.
    Paul Garrigan recently posted..Even More Ways to Enjoy PaulgarrigancomMy Profile

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Garrigan, Talen. Talen said: The Ice Cream Chronicles Vol. 11 No. 01 [...]

  3. Martyn
    January 26, 2011 | 12:26 am

    Gordo and Talen – I’m a huge fan of cricket but believe me the Ice Cream Chronicles definitely take the prize in the name stakes.

    A very interesting and amusing read, I liked the two warring tribes story. I wonder if they’re still at peace now.

    I’ll look forward to the next edition from the ICC with as much relish as the other’s up and coming one day World Cup.
    Martyn recently posted..On the Trail Of Thai Ladies Quarter to Three FeetMy Profile

    • Talen
      January 26, 2011 | 12:37 am

      Martyn, Gordo definitely has a way with words and I always find myself looking forward to the next addition of the ICC hitting my email. Luckily he’s letting me re-publish them here as I think a lot of people will love what he has to say…

  4. Gordo
    January 26, 2011 | 12:39 pm

    The two tribes in Congo are still at peace according to my French friend

    • Martyn
      January 28, 2011 | 5:52 am

      The tribes may be at peace but I wonder if the Prince and Princess are. The boy must have developed a wandering eye by now.
      Martyn recently posted..Does Thailand Ever Get ColdMy Profile

  5. Gordo
    January 30, 2011 | 9:50 am


    I’ll have to contact Frankie (French Cameraman mate) and see what he says about wandering eyes, Princes & Princessesssssss. He’s in Sudan at the moment so coms may be a tad bit slow. Thailand does get cold…a couple weeks ago in Chiang Rai, the day we got up here it was 11C in the morning. When we left Patong Beach it was 39C….guess that’s why I got the “Rai” flu….g