Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An American in Bangkok

Other than a trip to the Dentist or an IRS Audit, few things in life conjure up as much dread as having to deal with a large Government Bureaucracy.

Recently, I found my self faced with fact I only had one empty page left in my passport! As a International travelling entertainer, that can put a crimp in my career. Many countries won't allow you entrance if you don't have several blank pages.

After putting of the inevitable, I decided to go into Bangkok and face the music at the American Embassy. Having dealt with several foreign Embassies in Thailand in the past, I was expecting the worst.

My first stop was the BKK Embassy website. There I found details on the process of adding passport pages, PDF forms needed to be filled out and the ability to make an online appointment.

After about 15 minutes I was good to go! Remarkably easy for a government site!

My Driver arrived on time and took me from Pattaya into Bangkok where I simply showed by paperwork at the Embassy security gate and was processed in less than five minutes.

Upon arrival into the waiting room, I took a number and waited about five minutes before being called to the window. The Embassy worker took my forms and passport and told me to have a seat.

To my amazement, in just 45 minutes my name was called and my passport was returned to me with 24 extra pages stitched in! And no charge!!!

As if I wasn't stunned enough, the Embassy Workers were friendly, helpful & smiling ( yeah, I know... I didn't think that was possible either!).

In by 1pm and out by 2pm. Amazing!

Monday, July 21, 2008

BKK Voted Worlds Best City

Bangkok was voted the world's best city for 2008 in an online poll by Travel & Leisure Magazine, trumping last year's winners Florence, Italy.

It was the first time that Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, topped that category, said Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief of Travel & Leisure.

Last year, Bangkok was ranked number 3 - the 2007 winners of best city, Florence fell to number 5.

The results were complied from votes by magazine subscribers in an Internet poll which went live between January and March. Travel & Leisure will honor winners on July 24 in New York City.

The complete "World's Best Awards" is available on Following are some

Best city: Bangkok, Thailand
Best island: Galapagos, Ecuador
Best cruise line (large ships): Crystal Cruises
Best cruise line (small ships): Silversea Cruises
Best international airline: Singapore Airlines
Best domestic airline: Virgin America

Breakfast at The Baronoff

If you are ever in Alaska from mid May to late September, take a walk up Franklin Street about 10am in the morning and take peek in the lobby of The Baronoff Hotel.

If it's quiet, turn left into the restaurant and scan the tables and booths.

Why you might ask?

On any given day you might see a well known (or not so well known) celebrity. The Baronoff Hotel is the usual layover for entertainers joining or leaving cruise ships in Alaska.

On a recent week day, I popped in to the restaurant and found Willie Tyler (sans Lester) sitting at the Counter. Willie was joining the Dawn Princess for two cruises.

If the name seems familiar but you can't quite place it, Willie Tyler & Lester was one of the Top Ventriloquist Acts in the 1970's having appeared in What's Happening Now!!, ABC Weekend Specials, The White Shadow and The Jeffersons. He also made multiple appearances on Rowan & Martin's Laugh In.

He also appeared in the 1978 movie, Coming Home. He appeared as himself in the 2004 BET Comedy Awards, Motown Returns to the Apollo, Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, American Bandstand, The Flip Wilson Show, and The Hollywood Palace.

On September 18, 2006, Tyler was the first ventriloquist to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman's Ventriloquist Week.

Now in his late 60's, Willie lives in Los Angeles and still works constantly.