Kevin McAllion hails from Scotland and he has the humour to prove it. A journalist by trade, he took a sabbatical in Thailand where he spent an unlikely year teaching English before returning to more sensible employment drawing boxes and deleting commas for the Daily Mail. Here Kevin writes about his times in Thailand.
After six months of working harder than the guy employed by the BBC to skillfully insert bleeps into early Eddie Murphy movies, it was time to kick off the shoes and relax as my mum flew into Bangkok for a six-day holiday.
Being able to forgo 5.30am rises for a few days was a welcome consequence of her trip, although because she was landing late afternoon on Friday I managed to squeeze in five early classes before knocking off at midday.
June has grown increasingly frustrated by her failure to instil any fashion sense into my misguided mind and thus deemed a pair of jeans bought by her and my Be The Reds t-shirt from the World Cup the only items worthy of public viewing at the airport.
My attire soon caught the eye of a bloated American and his wife as we waited at the airport, with the lardy couple due to fly back to their home in Gyeongu. A pallid complexion and six foot frame proved insufficient evidence as to my lack of Korean heritage, so the septic was forced to curiously inquire "Say, buddy do you come from Korea?"
Upon hearing I hailed from the land of teenage pregnancies and unrivalled heart disease rates, he quickly seized the chance to jump upon the tartan bandwagon. "Gee, I'm Scottish really, there's a statue of one of my relatives in Ed-ine-burg - you know, the guy called Wallace!"
By now there was no escape, so I was forced to ask "You mean, William Wallace?" A look of contentment suddenly flashed across his substantial visage as he cried out "Yeah, that's the guy. I'm his direct descendant. He was my great, great uncle or something. I loved that Braveheart movie."
Luckily, his flight was called moments later before he had the chance to claim Robert the Bruce used to play dominoes with his great, great grandfather down the pub and that Rabbie Burns sat and composed his poems at the family home in Ayrshire.
An incoming flight from Seoul's Incheon Airport then made me something of a minor celebrity with one Korean toddler who shouted non-stop for two minutes while pointing at my t-shirt as her parents vainly tried to wheel the family luggage away.
Given that my sightseeing in Bangkok was limited to two temples, a crematorium, four jewellers’ shops and five tailors during Hwan's dishonest tuk-tuk tour back in July, I also learned a lot more about the city during my mum's stay.
Temples were the order of the day for most of the week and my favourite character from Buddhist mythology was undoubtedly Hanuman the White Monkey God. This large simian was called upon by the King after an evil spirit nabbed his bird for nefarious purposes and Hanuman finally delivered the goods after an epic battle.
Buddhist story telling is much more entertaining than Christianity's tales of subservience and suffering - the closest we get to a story as good as Hanuman is the Ant Hill Mob's attempts to rescue Penelope Pitstop from Dick Dastardly's grasps in Wacky Races.
After five days in the city we decided to head to the ancient city of Ayutthaya for some peace and quiet, with June arranging for her friend Bob to show us around. Like many others in Thailand, Bob is in the process of “gender reassignment” and needed to work hard for my sympathy after the thieving antics of another lady-boy saw my wallet cruelly disappear last week.
However, he turned out to be a really nice guy although I was still taken aback a little when he greeted us naked from the waist up. A sturdy chap to say the least, it remains unclear whether Bob has started taking oestrogen or if he just needs to do a little more exercise.
A name change also seems necessary to complete the illusion, although "Bob" is certainly an accurate description of what his head must do from time to time. His mum clearly hasn't give up hope of a change in sexual orientation as the walls of their toilet were adorned with pictures of birds in various stages of undress.
Facially he resembled Ice - a young teenage gent from Berlitz' rambunctious Slovakia group, who I'm forced to teach sporadically. The Slovakian football team were recently ordered to play behind closed doors due to the boorish actions of their fans - let's just say the Berlitz Slovakians operate behind a "closed mind" mentality.
Ayutthaya was certainly worth the visit and the former capital contains ancient ruins from a Burmese campaign of terror in Thailand back in the 1300s. The main temple is amazing and the monks live there peacefully with a large array of wildlife including ducks, chickens, turtles and dogs.
Though most of these animals co-habit in peace there seems to be a little tension between the turtles and the dogs, with one canine trying to crack open a startled amphibian for a tasty lunchtime snack.
This devious act soon caught the eye of a monk, who called over the errant mutt to deliver a stern rebuke and teach the importance of peaceful co-existence. After prizing the turtle from the dog's jaws I expected the monk to carefully walk over to the pond, soothingly stroke the wounded amphibian and deliver him safely home.
However, for a man with nothing to do but peacefully sit about all day, this Buddhist was surprisingly economic with his time and decided instead to launch the turtle fully 50 yards into the pond. It was an impressive feat of strength but one couldn't help but be a little bit concerned about the animal's welfare.
An attempt to unsuccessfully blow up a beach ball during my time in Bali had proved that fitness levels had fallen to an all time low after eight months without a game of football, and four hours of clambering over temples left me knackered and longing for my bed.
Bob kindly offered to give us a lift back in his car as both he and his close friend Oh (another accurate moniker) were working in Bangkok that night. We expected to shoehorn into the back of a small family car and thus were more than a little alarmed when upon arrival back at Bob's house another five liberal young men were grooming themselves in front of vanity mirrors.
As it turned out, Bob was the manager of a gay boy band and thus we had the honour of getting a lift home in their tour bus. The vehicle itself was brightly decorated and came as close as any to successfully replicating the Vengabus. There was just about room to cram us all in and I nodded off to the sound of the lads rehearsing their unique brand of asinine Thai camp pop music.
They were on the lookout for a female singer to broaden their musical range but despite gently nudging, my mum couldn't be persuaded to join Joanna Lumley, Kylie Minogue and Mrs Mack from Take the High Road as a bona-fide gay icon.