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Bangkok, notes from the author: Jazz happens

Jazz in Bangkok

Just beyond the tourist enclave of Kao San Road, lies a small bar called ‘Jazz Happens’  little more in space than the size of a single decker bus. It reminded me of Sin’e, a tiny bar in New York I used to visit in the 1990’s where, taken by my New York girlfriend at the time, I first saw Jeff Buckley play. Artists received no payment, instead a beer glass was handed around.

In Jazz happens it is the same; a base player plays, happily and easily, a young man on a Roland keyboard, in dreamatic concentration, two saxophonists and a chap, so gently dextrous on drums, it is little more than a purr. The lead singer is a transgender girl ‘Sal,’ who, albeit with a deeper voice, sings with feminine superiority, touching upper notes like a feather, delicate, romantically precise, yet whimsical, the audience is transfixed.

Outside this theatre traffic passes, yellow cabs and buses, and beyond this the river and golden temples along its edge. And in this small place, Jazz does actually ‘happen.’  Jazz Happens is a recommended bar in Bangkok.


Change Black Friday to White

Shopping sensibly

Black Friday: and with dates set for ‘Black Friday’ sales on the 24th Nov in the UK, in Nepal they have a different perspective, entitled white Friday. Here you set aside all consumerism for the day, and don’t buy anything except for essentials. The day is used to consider carefully your spending habits not just for the day, but for the year ahead. You look at ways to avoid buying things you don’t really need, to express affection through action not purchases and build a better spending habits.  If you might like to enjoy a white Friday alternative on the 24th, pass this on.


Udaipur, Holiday to India

A place where dreams are made

The lake city of Udaipur in India, occupies a special place on our tour of India. It was the location of Roger Moore’s James Bond movie  ‘Octopussy’ and it’s also a place of exclusive weddings due to its opulent palaces. It was also the location where the cast stayed for the Exotic Marigold Hotel movies.

A wedding day here is $23,000 which includes food, and a palace location for around 50 guests – which compares quite well with the ‘golf club in Essex.’ Angel Holidays has been tasked with arranging a celebrity wedding here on a luxurious budget – complete with elephants and carriages, and boats around the lake at midnight. Travellers on our tour next spring will also get to enjoy this unique and romantic location.


The Hippy Trail

Up here in the Himalaya the ‘Hippie Trailers’ are a diminishing breed. These men and women, who embarked on what was known as ‘the Hippie trail’ in the sixties or seventies, arrived in Kathmandu. A small

‘Hippies’ came over in buses to Kathmandu

number – known as the ‘Hippie Trailers’ – never left. And now they’re in their 70’s or 80s.

How they financially survived to stay here is varied. Many came from wealthy families, whose bursaries still support them. Others have maintained simple work, such as making singing bowls or jewelry.

They meet once a year, and have a party. A band plays, made up of members of the Hippy Trailers – a unique ensemble of sitars, flutes, fiddles and electric guitars – they play great, but these days the dancing is a little tired. Sadly, the hippy trail no longer survives. Travel through Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or Iran, is of a bygone era. Yet the nirvana of their journey – Kathmandu with its ‘Freak Street’ where they all lived still survives – as does their spirit.


Can farts predict your future?

The Future

Kathmandu: and the Ministry of Unusual Studies in the Tibetan enclave of Boudhanath has several clinics. One of which is looking into whether the breaking of wind can predict your future.

The following is translated from a Tibetan publication – the results of their studies – a kind of lexicon of farts. The study, conducted in an opened windowed clinic, gives a description of each expellation, followed by its significance.

A deep, baritone, often released whilst lying down, signifies contentment. Now is a good time to consider investments or start a new venture. Bullish.

The SBD, Silent But Deadly. A secretive fart with pungent aroma often followed by a slight pip. Signifying great sorrow, a time of contemplation. A time to reconsider your options.

Long mid to high pitcher, sometimes intermittent, some specialists refer to it as the ‘staccato’. A moment of indecision, and often a playful fart. A good time to embark in new relationships.

Prolonged mid toned, fair aroma, resplendent. Often released when at ease, suggests you’re in a good place right now. Blissful. Now is the time to forge new pursuits.

The Geyser. Sometimes referred to as the raspberry and mimicked in the 70’s. Often released through a vegetarian diet. Symbolising a dilemma or turning point.

The high pitcher or Mosquito. This is a time of great timultitude often associated with unwanted change.
Extended mid toned, petering out, sometimes whimsical. A happy go lucky fart presenting a degree of optimism. Joyful.

The study suggested further evidence by adding that babies less than one year old, with more future ahead of them than anyone else, broke wind 10 times more than average per day.

They also concluded that trying to read your future astronomically, through the movement of the planets a billion miles away, was ridiculous.


The Lost City of Angkor – the ‘Angel’ way

Travelling Angel Style

Whilst other tour operators and backpackers visit the lost jungle city of Angkor by air conditioned bus, with Angel, you’re out in the open, with a fleet of tuk tuks, known locally as remorks, touring the jungle. This allows you to be out all day amongst some magnificent terrain to see Angkor as it really is, rather than through a bus window. It will be hot, and our fleet of remork drivers are given instructions to take you into unusual corners of this vast, forgotton, jungle city. We hope you enjoy it. Remorks are very comfortable too! Forget the touristy way…..



Retired? Why not come to the Exotic Marigold Hotel?

Angel Holidays & the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Much like the BBC series ‘The Real Exotic Marigold Hotel’ Angel Holidays is creating its own Exotic Marigold Hotel experience, where you’ll have the chance to discover what it’s like to retire in India. For 3 weeks you’ll live in this fascinating country exploring retired life with 12 others. The trip cost is just £2,395 plus flights from around £400.

You’ll be given access to take part in local pastimes, as well as visit surrounding areas, and the Taj Mahal by train. This is no holiday. You’ll be expected to go out and explore local culture, using local transport and immerse yourself in Indian culture.  If interested, contact us for an information sheet. The trip may be covered by UK media.


Angelina with her daughters

Angelina with her children

Actress Angelina Jolie posed with her daughters today Shiloh (11) and Zahara (12) — to the premiere of her film. To the far right, is also Indian child actress Saara Chaudry. Angelina will also visit Cambodia soon where she has adopted children. There have been reports of her new ‘mysterious’ British partner to whom it’s rumoured she’s about to marry. It’s likely this will take place in one of India’s most romantic cities Udaipur. The city has several palaces, including one in the centre of the lake that has hosted several exclusive marriages. Udaipur is also a place we spend two nights on our tour.


When is the best time to visit India?

The best time to visit India varies depending on location but generally the following applies. In the north, mid Oct until mid December followed by early February until the middle of March (January is too cool in Delhi). At these times temperatures are pleasant and warm but not too hot. In the south of India it is quite similar, but not quite the same, Generally the best times here are Nov through to the end of March.  If you travel to for example Kerala after March it can be sticky and humid with too many mosquitoes.  Our tour of Rajasthan has been created with the best weather in mind. It will be nice and warm by day and even in the evenings you can dine outside with just a t shirt or blouse. Dining alfresco in some stunning locations is part of the enjoyment


Guide to India, free



Our first group to India is arriving soon and we’ll camp under the stars in the desert, visit the Exotic Marigold Hotel, stay in unusual places, ride camels and take a train across the desert amongst other things. If you would like a free copy of our 17 page guide on the tour, perhaps to consider coming next year, let us know and we’ll email it to you. In the meantime, here is a video of Udaipur where we stay 3 nights.