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As well as meeting the ex-pats we thought it would be fun to meet Nang Chentaku of the Bamboo Bar in Bangrak. Nang is an entertaining Thai lady that understands British humour and sarcasm, can give as good as she gets and has many of her customers in fits of laughter with her quick wit and unique character and works alongside her Manchester born husband George.
Where do you come from and what brought you to Koh Samui?
I come from Sakon Nakhon in Issan where I used to live with my four sisters and a son. I first came to Koh Samui for a holiday, to visit a friend of mine that lived here. It was on that trip that I met my husband George who had just returned to the island after a six back in the UK, at the time he had a bike rental business here on the island. At that time I was not used to people from overseas and I could not speak English so I was quite scared to be in the company of Farang but I could tell straight away that George was a really nice guy. We got together and I have been in Samui now for nearly ten years.
Your English is certainly very good now, where did you learn?
I learnt as I went along. If there was something I was not sure of then I asked George. When George and I had been together for three months we opened the Bamboo Bar, which at that time was on the opposite side of the road. As I spent more time with English speaking people I learnt more and more of the language.
Why did you change location and do you enjoy working in your bar?
The lease ran out on the other bar so we decided to move to our current location here at the Ghost Road Junction. I find the hours you have to work when you run a bar to be very long, but I have to work so I get on with it. One thing I love about running the bar is playing in the pool league and playing pool with my customers. I never played pool before I had a bar and a bit like learning English I picked it up as I went along. It is also great to go to other bars that are in the pool league and meet other players and bar owners.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to make clothes and do crochet that I taught myself how to do. In the past I worked in the textile industry, so that experience helped me to master the skill. I have been making clothes for friends and customers. It takes me around two days to make a lady’s top if it doesn’t have sleeves and about three days if it does. I like making unique items for people and I can tell by looking at a person’s shape what size to make it. I really enjoy crochet, it is a great thing to sit and do when you want to take your mind off things.
What do you do when you are not working?
I don’t really get any time off and I don’t really like to go on holiday, I meet so many people from all over the world at the bar so when I do go away I like to go back to my Thai roots in Issan and see my family and take care of my rubber trees.
What do you love most about life in Koh Samui?
I love playing pool, I often challenge my friends to a game and whoever wins buys the drinks! My favorite drink is tequila rose, before I loved B52 but now I love rose and I love to share drinks with friends.
What would you like to change about Koh Samui?
There is nothing very much that I would change about the island but if I had to change anything it would be the price of taxi fares that I think are far too expensive.
Have you been overseas?
The only place I have been outside of Thailand is Laos, I went with two friends, but I didn’t like it at all. I don’t have any great desire to go outside Thailand. I have never been to other countries so I have no idea if I would like them. I am very happy just to stay here.
How do you find being married to a man from the UK?
I don’t think of George as Thai or falang, just a person who I love, share good times with and be happy with.
Do you like Western food?
No, I don’t like it. I quite enjoy cooking it and I know my customers enjoy eating it but I like food from Issan very much I love som tam and frog, not the sort of frog you get here, I have to order the sort of frog I like specially.
Do you get along well with you customers?
Yes, all of them, I love all of them, I think of them more as family. I never have bad customers in the bar, but sometimes Richard makes me angry! He likes to snooker me in pool and his games can take up to an hour, this drives me mad!