Search This Blog

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Wedding

Drummers and Dancers at the Wedding
A while ago a some friends told us that they were going to have a wedding in November, and they wanted us to be there. It would be a traditional Thai wedding, so we were quite interested to experience this new facet of Thai life as part of our continuing education about the culture we are currently living in.

The invitation arrived and it was primarily in Thai, with some English. Enough for us to know the date and time, and that there would be a western celebration to follow. From what little Thai I can read, it looked like the ceremony started at 0709 AM! The something at 1209 PM and then something at 1700PM. One of our Thai friends was over visiting, so we showed him this invitation and asked him to read it for us, especially the information in Thai about where it was. Now, I should have known better than to ask this. This is the same guy who had us driving all over old Phuket town with the largest concentration of one way streets and 5 road traffic round-abouts, only to find out 45 minutes later that he actually did not know exactly how to get there, but he did know where it was.
Basis Thai 101, always ask specific follow-up questions.
Question :Do you know where Super Cheap is?
Answer: Yes.
Assumption: you know how to drive there and guide me through the shortest possible route to avoid those traffic round-abouts.
Without the follow-up questions, you will find that you may be no further ahead than when you sought an answer in the first place.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thai Driving License

A previous post outlined the steps for getting a Thai driver license. Initially it is good for one year. technically it is good for 1 year and 6 months. The best way to understand it is that the first license is only a temporary license. It must expire and then you apply for your 5 year license. You have 6 months from expiry date to renew for the 5 year license. If you fail to do so, then you have to undergo the whole first year license process again. The strange part of the 5 year license is that you have to renew BEFORE it expires. Or you go back to step one again. The good news is that it expires on your birthday, so in effect because my one year expired, and I waited past my birthday, my new license is actually good for 5 years and 8 months!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Empty Shelves

The flooding has continued and it seems the worst may be coming to an end, but the aftermath will be more long term I suspect. The media report conflicts between the Prime Minister and the Governor of Bangkok on the projections of how soon waters will recede and the clean-up begins. Today they report that the costs appears to be around 300 Billion Baht. But as with all things of this nature, I am sure exact figures will have to wait. The cost impacts are more than the costs of clean-up in the long run.

In Phuket it is reported that an international sporting event has seen 15 teams withdraw, and they attribute it directly to the flooding reports internationally, and the fact that some people are unaware of Thailand geography, assuming that Phuket was flooding. There was an influx this past weekend of Bangkok residents headed here for the proclaimed 5 day holiday to assist in reducing the number of people in Bangkok. The tourists continue to arrive, despite travel advisories from their home governments, only I fear they are in for a bit of a shock.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thailand Flooding Part 2

The flooding in the central and northern parts of Thailand continue. Water levels are peaking as they approach Bangkok. While there has been some reference on the international news scene, the coverage here is more extensive obviously. A satellite image in the Nation newspaper today shows a very wide swath of blue that covers most of the central part of Thailand. Over 1/3 of the country is under water.
The Don Muang airport in Bangkok is the disaster coordination centre, a refugee shelter and the domestic air terminal for three airlines. Today all flights have been cancelled form there as water has begun to cover the runways and there are some reports of affecting buildings on the property.

My heart goes out to those affects and having lost everything, with no relief in sight, and to those 10 million residents of Bangkok, now beginning to feel the effects literally in their own homes. I cannot help but also feel sorry for the Prime Minister who in less than 2 months in office, is having to deal with this huge natural disaster.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thailand Flooding

Back Yard 5 minutes after the rain started

I have been fortunate that so far in Phuket we have not been hit with the devastation they have seen in the north and central regions. I am watching as the flood concerns are approaching Bangkok, with industrial estates flooding. A few hundred dead, devastation to the rice crops and homelessness in the millions. They seriously need help and many international organizations are trying to assist. If you can help from your end, every donation counts. While I have had to deal with sudden deluges (as in the picture) it has receded quickly. Some parts of Thailand are still under a meter or more of water.

The tourism industry is being hit hard, with many countries issuing travel advisories to not come to Thailand because of the flooding. Meanwhile the Tourism Authority here seems to be gearing up for an increase and touting numbers, that my friends in the hotel business seem to not be realizing in reality. Somehow there seems to be a disconnect.

We have had very heavy rainfall, and high winds, and there have been landslides blocking major roadways. All of the media coverage has been of the bypass road and the main east-west connection to Patong. We were out for a drive to the area going to Cape Panwa and were not quite prepared for the number of slides impeding the roadways there, complete with electrical poles and lines crashed and debris covering in some places 2/3 of the roads and no signs of clean-up. A bit nerve racking when you have to navigate a blind corner, with 1/3 of a roadway and no signs or people to direct you. You simply make the drive in blind faith that there is no-one oncoming.

Our household water is a dark shade of beige. It seems cleaner to bathe in the swimming pool, but that is to be expected I am sure with the sediment caused by the run-off's.

Canada, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Manila

I have been very busy with travel since August. First to Canada for 3 weeks, then to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur and now this week to the Philippines. I am hoping it is the end of travel for a while, although I know I have yet one more trip, this time to melbourne before the end of the year. But thankfully that will not involve much adjustment and no more hotel rooms!!

Still Fighting with Google

Sorry for no posts. Again I have spent weeks trying to do password recovery and get back into my blog. The problem continues to be Google defaulting to Thai when I am set for English, and then it locked my account. Thi sproblem is apparently well known to Google, but they are unable to do anything about it. I believe I have not gotten back to my blog account. They also changed the interface and I have difficulty trying to use it. The Flickr link is also not working again. I may drop this blog site and switch to something more user friendly, but will attempt to log back in here and let you know. For my followers I apologize and I have a mountain of material to get posted!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Translation and Google

I have been trying for about three weeks to get into my Blog site. This has been somewhat complicated because even if I set my base language to English, when I try to recover my account, Google insists on sending me everything in Thai. It is a problem commented on a lot, but has not managed to tweak the people at Google.
I will busy myself with getting posts up to date, because much has been happening!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Natural Beauty

I am currently with my family in Saskatchewan Canada. It has been a very rewarding trip on many levels, and tonight my brother calls to tell me that I need to go to the dock at the lake and bring my camera. It is 1130PM, but my brother-in-law drives me to the dock where we were treated a wonderful demonstration of the Northern Lights. Makes me feel grateful for having had the opportunity to see the amazing light display you see in the photo Just sharing with those from other countries who may never have had the experience, thta the local people tend to take for granted. So there I was on the dock with my family, as the moon beamed down on Cowan lake with the light show from the Northern Lights dancing across the sky, in awe.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Canada and Taipei

China Airlines in Hong Kong with Air Canada in the background

Just a note to say that I am on the road, through Taipei, with a stop in both directions, and apparently just at, or after the typhoon hits there, and back to Canada, for the next few weeks. I love China Airlines for this Trip, as they have never let me down and their on-line services are incredible. They also tend to have consistent seat sales from Vancouver to Asia. And it is the one airline I can fly direct from Phuket, with a stop-over and then go to Vancouver, without having to hub through Bangkok, entailing two stop-overs normally!
I have 2 blog posts I am in the process of finalizing, so there will still be posts.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Go Karting

There are two Go Kart tracks here in Phuket. During the Grumpy Old Men car rally (previous post) we used the track in Kathu for our driving skills testing of the participants. Now I will find myself behind the wheel of a Go Kart in about 2 weeks at the track Chalong, closer to my home.

It never started out to be that way. At a meeting of the Tourist Police Volunteers,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Music Made In Phuket - Dark Fiber

Yesterday morning I tuned into one of the local radio stations and they were doing an intro of a song performed by a group named Dark Fiber. Not to be confused with another group, I believe out of America of the same name. This Dark Fiber is a local Phuket based group, who have recorded in the studios of Legend Music at the Boat Lagoon.

The announcer made a great intro explaining the artist and the Legend Music studio as well as our friend Gary Crause who owns the studio and produces the group. The song getting airplay was a remake of the House of the Rising Sun. Gary has been toying with the concept of a disco-rock style of music and this is a great example of how you can take an old song, rework it and find yourself singing along and bopping around, in my case, cleaning floors. The track itself goes for 6 minutes, quite a bit more air time than a standard top 40's radio air play song with an average of 3 minutes, but great for just listening and probably dancing to in a club. And then again, I am not a music industry person, so it is my opinion strictly as a consumer.

Our friends Gary, Deb and their son Blaze were the first friends we made when we moved here. We all met at the Thai Airways cargo offices in Phuket airport, as we awaiting the arrival of our respective dogs who had been shipped seperate from us. Like us they had uprooted everything from their home in South africa, including a productive recording career, to live the life that the land of smiles promised. And together we have lived through each others adjustments and sometimes the conflict of the dream with the reality. And as time has moved along we do nto see each other as much as we used to, but the good news is because the dream of recording and producing in Thailand is finally happeneing for them, it means little socializing time. We also live abut a one hour drive away from each other. when they have not been building the studio, getting business, managing their sons education and travelling to do recording work elsewhere, or keeping up with the name acts that are appearing here, and then trying to match our life schedule, it gets difficult. But we always do manage to find time to get together and it is always good.

We have followed the trials and tribulations as observers on getting the songs together dealing with the issues of studio and recording times and schedules, not to mention the challanges brought by the general infrastructure isses like a building location and lease, electricity and internet access. But in the end they have done it. And yesterday for a few minutes, I thought, hey wait a minute I know this recording, and who made it, and even some of how it got to be where it was on the radio.

I am so happy that this project has made it out of the studio, ready for the world to listen and then for more business to follow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Surviving A Rip Current

In the hope that this message helps just one person, will make me happy.
Every year at this time, monsoon season, and the seasonal tropical storms. The water get very unpredictable and have proven fatal to more than one visitor. Today the local radio stations are telling people that the tropical storm coming in today, having worked it's way from the south China sea, wreaking destruction across Vietnam and caused flooding in northern Thailand while winding down is headed our way and has caused all the beaches to be closed.

The issue is what is locally referred to as a rip current or in some countries a rip tide.

Crackdown of the week

I have debated writing this entry for  a number of reasons. But it is a reflection of my reality or perceived reality. The subject is crackdowns.

Over the past few months we have been having what I refer to as the "crackdown of the week". Police or some government department with jurisdiction (there is no apparent cross-jurisdiction), swarm into an area and cracks down on an activity.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jet Ski's, Guns and Money

Just a quick entry to let you know that further to my posting about some of the seamier business enterprises, especially the Jet Ski rental issues, things have heated up.
This week, Thai TV Channel 3 broadcast footage of a You Tube video shot in Pattaya, a major tourist location 2 hours out of Bangkok. It is a place I have been to once and decided that I would never go to again. As my Thai friend would say "Not my style".
In the video it shows the jet ski scam in action, including the usual one of you get told you caused damage and suddenly the 1200 Baht jet ski adventure costs you 40,000 Baht. In the video they have people being threatened with physical violence, one scene has an operator pull out a rifle to


My apologies, as I notice I have not been posting for a longer period than I had thought! Busy with too many things, but I promise to be back writing soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

So Pretty, So Deadly

It has been just over 6 months since Pancake choose her new home, finding comfort in the creature comforts of a house and not a garbage barrel. It is safe to say that she has stolen Clive's heart, and for someone who was neutral about cats, he has come to quite love her. I on the other hand have always liked cats, and it is me that she tends to unleash her furry. Many times Clive will call out to us to stop our fighting and learn to get along. But her one constant behaviors that tests his affection, is her propensity to kill things.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Riot In Vancouver

It is difficult sometimes to be far away from a place you have called home for so long, and even more difficult when you see that place through the eyes of the world media. This week was difficult because of the post hockey game riot that erupted.

We had been following the Stanley Cup play off series for a few weeks now. And Clive who has not spent much time involved with watching sports on TV, as he tends to do live physical exercise instead of vicariously through the multi million dollar players.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Waving Flags 11

A warm welcome to the newest country readers to the blog from, Croatia, Georgia, Lebanon and Uganda!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thailand Votes 2011

Campaign Motorcade- Thai Style

Well we are in the middle of an election. And today is voting day. If nothing else, Thai politics can be somewhat confusing and outcomes somewhat even more confusing. On July 3rd the people will go to the polls. And this is very different than any other country I have been in when a general election is underway.

You would need a multi paged primer to be able to be up to speed on the history, the current situation, and the intrigue that is involved, and now the soap opera quality to the campaign. The Bangkok Post and the Nation newspapers are must reads to be up to speed.

There are 375 constituencies or electoral ridings/boundaries;
There are 4 main parties, fielding 125 candidates each
There are an additional 29 other parties fielding candidates numbering from 1 -125;
There are 53.5 Million ballots being printed.

Approximately 200 candidates have specifically requested and are getting police protection. There have been killings that are being associated to the elections, with gunning down of candidates or campaign workers. There are 150,000 police on duty today to provide polling station security through-out the country.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waving Flags 10

Welcome to the newest readers from: Bulgaria, Macedonia, Mongolia, and the Ukraine! Now making these countries 59, 60, 61 and 62 where the blog has been read! Thank you very much for your interest!

Becoming A Monk (Part 2)

In my previous writing I gave you an account of a ceremony I attended for a young man to become a monk. I thought that perhaps you might be interested in what this means in more tangible terms. There are rules and expectations that may not be known to people not familiar with the Buddhist faith as it is practiced here in Thailand.

I should start by saying that like many other religions, there are various sects. In Christianity as an example there are different faith practices; Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist etc. In Buddhism there are similar different sects. many people are familiar with the Dali Lama, a man who heads the Buddhist practices of Tibetan Buddhism. There is also Zen Buddhism and Soak Gaki International (SGI) Buddhism that is based in Japan, among many others.

In Thailand it is estimated that 95% of the population, practice the Theravada school of practice, with elements of Hindu and Chinese influence. So in some areas, such as the north where influences from Laos and Cambodia have been strong, the practices will be slightly different in some respects to those practices in the south.

As I said in the previous writing, every young man is expected to go to the temple and spend some time as a monk.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Becoming A Monk (Part 1)

One of the temple buildings at Wat Chalong

I had the honour of being invited to the ceremony of one of my Thai colleagues for the investiture of his son to become a monk. My comments and actual observations are a general guide. Cerremonies and practices will vary from location to location. For the purposes of this writing, I will use the identification for the young man as "B', his father goes by the name "A" in real life.

In Thailand most boys go into the temple and live as a monk for a period of time in their lives. The duration of stay can be from a month or so. Some will return many times in their lives for short periods of time and others will remain there for the rest of their lives. The practice has many purposes, but two of them are for the boy to spend time in reflection and concentration on the Buddhist life principals, and secondly by participating it is a sign of respect for your parents, where your act assist them in a form of merit making. The merit making is for the boy, and family members, both living and dead. There is  a belief that you can make merit for those who have died.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Waving Flags 9

Welcome to the newest readers from Costa Rica, Iceland and Norway (the home of my paternal ancestors!). Countries 56, 57 and 58 where this blog has been read. Thank you all!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Amazing Singapore

Well I am back after a hectic three nights and 4 days in Singapore. This year Thailand tourist authority is using the phrase Amazing Thailand, but I really think that it can really apply to Singapore as well.
Building Corner near Chinatown

We stared the day early, well for me it was early.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Singapore Bound

I am off to Singapore in a few days, for a few days. It will be the first visit there for us, and despite the fact we had hoped Clive could run in the 1/2 marathon, that never came to be. So we will sieze the opportunity and fantastic airfare, to have a weekend away seeing something new. It has been quite a while since the two of us had some time away to play tourist. He is entered into the King of The Road Run series, of 5 cities; 5 countries and this time he IS registered for Singapore. So this trip will give us a bit of an advance idea.

We were quite taken with the Singapore Men's Water Polo swimwear at the last Asian Games, as apparently were many others, judging by the Google search results.. Apparently a sentiment not shared by the government of Singapore.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Trip To The Vet

When we moved here with 4 dogs, we knew that one of the main considerations would be the continued are of the dogs, we had enjoyed with our long time Vet Clinic in Canada. We had Dr. Martin Rebele for over 10 years. He and his staff at Cedar rove Animal Hospital had seen us through many illnesses and accidents; from adoption to eternal rest. They did a fantastic job of getting all of the required exams and documentations and vaccinations.

When we arrived, we had gone about trying to find a vet that we hoped would be consistent and competent; compassionate and caring. The first thing we noticed were the large number of animal clinics around. And so our search began. We knew the dogs were all in excellent health, and so with no particular urgency, we checked out a few places. We had heard that the vet services that Soi Dog Foundation and P.A.W.S. were excellent, but both were located a fair distance from where we lived. One day Clive came back from the pet food store and told me he had met the owner, a young man who was just finishing his veterinary training and that he spoke good English. He would graduate in a few months and over time we got to know him and his staff at the store better, until graduation and one day he is behind the cash register and the next he has his degree up and the lab coat on..

Soi Dog Brunch

This Sunday is a fundraiser for the Soi Dog Foundation, helping the dogs and cats in Thailand. A very worthwhile cause. We'll be going, and hope to see you there!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flickr Link Broken

The Flicker Photo site link for the page is not working. I am attempting to fix this as soon as I figure out how!!

Waving Flags 8

Welcome to the newest country readers to the blog: Belgium, Brazil, Pakistan, and Tinidad and Tobago.
Now a total of 55 countries where readers have accessed and read this blog. Thank you all!!
To see the flags of the newest countries

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Renting A Motorbike

I have previous posts about driving here and the issues around riding a motorbike if you are inexperienced. But the purpose in this posting it to try and help you navigate the issues of renting a motorbike if you are so inclined. Asdie from the taxi and jet ski pitfalls, motorbike (and car for that matter) rental experience can be a costly one for you. But it need not be.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Annie

Five years ago today, Annie was born. She would spend the next three years in a puppy mill, being bred continiously to produce basset hound pups. The continous breeding would eventually lead to herniation and she was sent to a dog auction to be sold off for whatever money could still be wrought from her body, normally for medical research. She was rescued through the good people at the Washington Basset rescue group in Spokane Washington, USA.

I have begun a blog: , dedicated to her and her story of survival, and rehabilitation, as she makes the journey from puppy mill survivor to domesticated human loving hound. I hope the story will provide advise and assistance for people who may rescue puppy mill survivors, as the demands and issues are unique to this group of dogs. For the most part we have researched, talked and generally learned as we went. I am hoping this blog will be a good stopping point for people dealing with the sometimes frustrating issues around rehabilitating a survivor. It is hoped that the blog will also bring yet one more much needed light on the horrible business of puppy mills.

Thanks to my "beta readers" as I began to put the blog together. 

Happy Birthday Annie!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Colour of the Day

I had noticed that some of the hotels here have staff in company shirts (well almost every hotel and retailer has a "uniform" polo shirt of some type). But I was curious of how the coloured shirts changed daily and everyone seemed to be in the same colours, no matter what business I went into.
And so my friend at CC Blooms hotel explained that there are colours associated to the days of the week here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waving Flags 7

Welcome to the newest reader countries to the blog; Indonesia, Mexico and Sudan. Given my previous work in Sudan (Juba) and recognizing there are different views, I am posting the flags of both Sudan and Southern Sudan. Thanks for visiting!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter in Thailand

This will be the second Easter here in Thailand. Last year of course we had just arrived, and with settling in and organizing, Easter sort of came and went un-noticed. Being this is a primarily Buddhist country, Easter is not something you see or hear much, if anything about. Back in Canada it was always a guaranteed 4 days off of work, with Good Friday and Easter Monday. Here it is just another day. The Australians this year have it pretty good, they get the Friday and Monday PLUS Tuesday for ANZAC day, so if you play it right you can actually end up with 10 days off work for taking three days of holidays. I look at Facebook and see the postings about chocolate, eggs, ham and turkey dinners and the one that irritated me the most HOT CROSS buns.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Strolling Basset Style

Dixie,Grace,Annie and Byron

Living with basset hounds, you tend to learn very quickly that their sense of smell is the predominate driving force. It is classed as the second most scent sensitive dog breed in the world, with over 4,000,000 scent receptors. Everything you see or read has one common fact. Once a basset's nose is engaged, the brain and all commands become non-existent. I have become adapt at monitoring this, as they have a series of predictable actions. Normally they wander about, nose to the ground and not much in a hurry at all. Then they will stop dead, if in a halter and on a lead, the sudden stop will jolt you every time. They become immobile. The tail goes up and the nose works overtime. At this point in time, the strength and power of a close to the ground 25kilo's of hunt dog launches into 5th gear and bolts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jet Ski's and Taxi's

This is a bit of advice for people when they visit Phuket. I will keep it short and simple, there are many reference links on the internet to support my advise. The issues presented here are not exclusive to Phuket, and every city in the world has it's share of issues. But for the visitor, it is better to be forewarned about what is known.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Waving Flags 6

For those unfamiliar, as people from a country log on and read the blog, on visits of more than twice, I recognize the country in these little Waving Flags sections. By now this should be up to date and I tend to wait for at least three new countries before I post. If you are viewing the blog and have not seen your flag posted. let me know. In the meantime, I welcome readers from

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Get Wet in Patong

And so Songkran has arrived. Probably the most festive time in Thailand. Traditionally it is the Thai New year, as we enter the year 2555, in accordance with the Buddhist calendar. The festivities are scheduled around April 13-16 every year. Traditionally many people make their way to their family towns and homes. As a result many businesses are closed and many native Phuket people fill that vacuum with their arrival back to be with family and friends. Songkran is probably best known as the water festival. In Malaysia, they celebrate similarly and refer to it as the Thai Water Festival.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suk-San Wan Songkran

Suk-San Wan Songkran is the Thai expression for Happy Songkran. This is the Thai New Year, celebrated the 13-15 of April every year, and marks the start of the year 2455 in the Buddhist calendar. It is also the hottest part of the year, which is probably why most of the activities are centered around water. This is the time of the year where in celebration, people engage in large public gatherings of throwing and spraying water on each other. It is probably the biggest celebration time in Thailand.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pancake Goes To The Vet

Pancake, post-surgery with the TV remote

When Pancake picked Clive up on Moo 2 in December, the first concern, well okay one of the concerns I had, was that as a girl cat, there would be the issue of going into heat and then of course new baby kittens. I received some great advise from John of the Soi Dog foundations when I posted about Pancake. One of the points he made was for getting her spayed.

When we moved here to Rawai, the issue of the need to get spayed became more evident, as the new neighbours have a collection of cats. In fact they had kittens shortly before our arrival. And the cats they do have roam the neighbourhood freely. And there is a big nasty looking bob-tailed black Tom cat who makes a neighbourhood patrol with the pleasant tom cat howl at all hours of the night. He had taken to staring me down and then urinating across for my gate, and I caught him at one point all lined up to christen my motorbike.

Waving Flags 5

Welcome to the following countries where the blog has been read; Brunei, China Saudi Arabia and Spain. Now being countries 41,42,43 and 44. Thanks for reading!!


Penang Rickshaw
Prior to leaving for Penang, I had done my usual pre-trip planning and packing. An essential piece of equipment I have come to rely on very much is my cell phone. Unfortunately, we had also upgraded our power bars and gone all upscale and got one where we could turn the power off and on to specific outlets. More than once I had made the mistake of plugging in the phone only to discover, usually as I was about to head out the door that I had not turned the power on to THAT switch. And this day was no exception, so I had headed out with the cell phone power on the red line, but had packed my power supply, so I planned to just charge it once I was checked in. For some reason it had not occurred to me that while the power may be the same, the power outlets would not be.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Google Analytics!!!!

I have noticed that many of my browsing has been slowed considerably because of the launch of a marketing software by Google called: Google Analytics. As I understand it, it is for marketing purposes and employed by some web sites to monitor traffic. The issue is that it slows your connection speed to a crawl and my ability to post here is greatly hampered because it put the blog editing into a loop. I have managed to find a way to shut down this intrusion, and will be fixing the add-on for my web browser this weekend. Frankly the frustration of being able to do anything on the blog while it hogs my bandwidth, even to write draft blogs, is just too much.. Unfortunately I cannot include the link here yet, as it was sent by email through Yahoo's new super-dooper magical mail service, that is crashing as well. I love it when they rush a product onto the market, watch it crash and then try to fix it!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting to Penang Malaysia


Sunday I began my trip to Penang Malaysia. It was a place we had discussed seeing, and at one point even discussed making Malaysia our destination instead of Thailand. Certainly the incentives by the Malaysia government make it much more attractive with their Malaysia My Second Home program.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Singapore 1/2 Marathon is Sold Out

So one of the drawing points for coming to south east Asia was so that Clive could go into the various marathons that happen almost monthly in places that are about one hour away from us by air. The past year as been busy getting things established, so the first real travel run we had planned for was to the run in Singapore. It is scheduled for the end of May, so like most of these events, we thought that we had lots of time to register.  Especially as their web site has lots of "coming soon" disclaimers on various subject areas, including the one for overseas travelers. Well, think again.

Penang Malaysia, Here I Come

I am about to go to Penang Malaysia in the next few days, for a few days. It is the first south east Asia trip to an area I have never been before. One of the great things about being in Phuket is the accessibility to regional travel right for here, without having to go and fly out of Bangkok every time you want to leave Thailand. So I will fly on an airline called Firefly, which has almost daily direct flights of about one hour duration and very low cost. I could have also gotten to Penang from other carriers, but they all involved flights one or two hours south of Penang, a lay-over for a few hours, and then to Penang. You could spend the better part of a day to get to what is a one hour destination. I know it is a low cost, no frills flight, but it is one hour in the air, and I have no idea on the comforts and amenities, but I do know whatever it is or is not, beats sitting around airport terminals waiting for connecting flights.

It is surprising how many airlines actually fly direct to Phuket from many places. You can fly Phuket direct to and from Melbourne, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Seoul, Berlin, Brussels, Taipei, among many others. Something that when you come to visit here, you may well not know about.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waving Flags - 4

Welcome to the newest countries who have readers of this blog. Philippines, Netherlands, Turkey and Ireland. Bringing to 40 the number of countries where the blog is read. Thank you all. Too see these countries flags, click on the "read more" line.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love Aid for Japan

Due to the extreme weather we have been experiencing, the planned Love Aid for Japan set for this Saturday has had to be postponed. The project was ambitious given the time frame and logistics of what had to be put together on such a short time frame. But what was even more remarkable for me was that my friend Gary Crause and his friend Rob, wrote, produced and recorded a song for the event. They managed to pull together a number of musicians and record the song, and shoot this video. I hope you will give it  a listen, and better yet, can attend Love Aid Japan when it does happen after this current monsoons!! In case you don't know who Gary is, look for the guy who is not smiling, looking serious and sitting at the controls!!

Rainy Days In Paradise

The past few days it has rained. Not that I am not used to that. When you live on the west coast of Canada in the province of British Columbia (BC), it has the rightfully earned nickname of the WET coast of Canada. They sell T shirts that proclaim the rainy season to be from January 1st to December 31st. Here the rainy season is typically is May to October. It means that during that time, you are more likely to experience rain. The prime difference between BC rain and Phuket rain, is firstly that it is warm here. I recalled going out to get Annie, as she get freeze fright, that is where she simply freezes in place, when the winds roar and the thunder starts. I was looking for a jacket or something to cover my head, when I realized, that I had probably had showers that were colder than the rain that was falling. And I was right. So out I went, as the rain fell in huge buckets and doused me in seconds, but it was warm.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Follow By Email

I have added a feature to the blog that allows you to follow the blog by email. When I update and post anything new it is sent to you by email. Simply put the email address you want it sent to and submit in the space provided at the bottom of the blog page. Easier than coming back to see what's new!

Welcome Poland

Welcome to the newest country reader from Poland. Thanks for viewing. You join 35 other countries where this blog is read.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crazy Basset Hounds

Molly: If I look at it long enough I am sure I can make it jump into my mouth
Pictures of crazy Basset Hounds doing what they do best...craziness....

Welcome Japan

Welcome to the newest reader from Japan. You join 34 other countries where the blog is read! Thank you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome Jordan

Welcome to the newest country: Jordan.  You join readers in 33 other countries were the blog is read. Thank you!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Green Mango Salad

Without the Coconut

This is one of my favorite dishes to eat and to make because it is so versatile. I have had many requests for the recipie, so I give you my version of Thai Green Mango Salad. I hope you will like it as much as I do!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Site Cleaning and maintenance

Okay, this blog was supposed to be something I would tinker at once in a while. It seems that time has passed me more quickly than I thought and I see we are over 90 posts,  with about 6 more in draft form and 33 countries where it is being read. This can be confusing, so I am in the process over the next 2 weeks of cleaning up, labeling and sorting the blog to hopefully make it easier to navigate and find things on. Please bear with me, as I self-teach myself on how to do this, without hopefully crashing it or confusing you even more!

Welcome Argentina

Welcome to the newest reader from Argentina. Joining 32 other countries where this blog is read. Thank you very much!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Waving Flags - 3

A busy week on the blog with visitors from 4 new countries. Welcome to those readers from Belarus, Israel, Jamaica and Czech republic. This now brings to 33 the number of countries where the blog has been read. Thank you all very much!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Aid Concert For Japan

The people of Phuket, relating so well to the effects of living through a Tsunami, presents a concert Love Aid Japan, to be held April 2nd 2011 at Karon Beach Park. With local, national and international stage performers and musicians.

Tsunami Adverse

I began my volunteer work with the Tourist Police Volunteers last week, and commented to Clive that even for a Wednesday night, it seemed very quiet on Bangla Road. This is the main tourist night life area on the island. Normally it is hopping any night, and more-so on a weekend. But people on vacation tend to not schedule their party time, with the normal concerns about tomorrow being a work day! But even at 10PM, some of the bars were empty, and remained so until I clocked out at midnight. Those that were busy were at about 50% capacity or less. The tuk-tuk drivers were lined up the streets as far as you could see, and even the traffic on the roadways seemed light.

But it is normally a lull time in the holiday visitors to the island, albeit a bit earlier than usual, I thought. I would expect the numbers to soar by mid-April, as we got into Songkran, THE big annual holiday in Thailand. And I am told that the tourist traffic will increase from then until June from the middle east, with people escaping the high 40 degree (c) weather for a more pleasant low to mid 30's degrees.

I have overheard discussions about how suddenly the tourist high season seemed to stop, as if someone pulled a plug on the place. Then today I see the local, new, newspaper announces that 'Tsunami Fears Empty Patong."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tourist Police

Over the many trips I made to Thailand, I was always intrigued by a group called the Royal Thai Tourist Police. The name itself conjures up images of police that deal with tourists and by default tourists who get into trouble in Thailand. There are references to this group everywhere, in magazines, on billboards and most notably their presence on foot in most of the main events and attractions where tourists go. They even have a telephone number speed dial of 1155.


While I have not had the pleasure of welcoming any readers from Japan, I cannot let the week go by without acknowledging the heart breaking tragedies they have had this past week. I have switched my television provider from a satellite service in Malaysia, to a local cable company. I was both pleased and dismayed to find that I now get an English news television station from Japan (NHK). Pleased because I have an avid interest in news and like to have a wide range of news sources to see the world events through different regional eyes. The extent of my time in Japan was limited to a 12 hour lay-over and we took the train into Tokyo and wandered the streets and had the best sushi dishes we had ever eaten. It was an amazing 12 hours and whetted our appetite to go there again sometime when we could spend a few weeks traveling around. My dismay comes from the constant live broadcasting of the struggles and current living existences of so many thousands of people and for the thousands of dead and missing.

I offer my hopes and prayers for the people of Japan on overcoming this horrific series of catastrophes with the strong will and determination they have always shown.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Welcome Switzerland

Welcome to the newest country reader from Switzerland. You now join 25 other countries readers of this blog. Thanks a lot!!

Grumpy Old Men Car Rally 2011

We belong to a social group named the Grumpy Old Men Society (GOMS). It is a group of mostly expats, over the age of 50ish, who get together about twice a month for a beer, a chat and to air our "grumps", but mostly to raise funds for charitable activities on the island. In the past we have installed running water in an orphanage, where they had no drinking water except to buy bottled water; provided musical instruments for a school; helped out an old age home with essentials and will do work in the near future to clear space of debris so they can set up a communal garden; and provide a piece of medical equipment for an animal rescue shelter.

Friday, March 4, 2011

No Have

While from time to time, I am used to hearing "no have" in relation to anything from a menu item to an item I may be looking for, there are some items one does not expect to hear "not have" or to find shelves empty.

I noticed a few months ago that I was having a hard time to find coconut milk. This is a staple in most curry dishes, and we tend to eat a lot of curry dishes. All of the major chain stores like Tesco, Villa Mart and Big C had empty shelves.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Zealand

Welcome to the newest country reader from New Zealand. You join the list of 23 other countries where this blog is read. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It is seldom I get to know who any of my specific readers are or where they are actually from. I usually get a global map listing of somewhere like "UK" but I don't know if they are in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland. So today I saw one of the followers, is from a country named Bhutan. I am presuming thta my map generically lists that as India, given the close ties. So I am pleased to add the country of Bhutan to the list of flag waving, and welcome my reader from that country. I have now been busy studying where it is and what it is all about. Here is their flag.
Flag of Bhutan

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pride Parade 2011

One of the draws to Thailand was the apparent inclusiveness and diversity of people. We see it everyday. A primarily Buddhist country, but the morning calls to prayers echo through our windows from the local mosque, as the sun shines off of Big Buddha. The lady at the pharmacy may in fact not be a lady but no-one cares. So it was with anticipation we took to the road to Patong to see the annual Gay Pride Parade.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Welcome Italy

Welcome to the newest country reader, from Italy. You join readers in 22 other countries of this blog. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday - Thai Style

As I had previously written, not all Thai people celebrate birthdays, in the manner to which we in the west have been accustomed. The day may well go unrecognized and the idea of a party or presents is not as prevalent as we have experienced in our North American culture.  A friend of ours, Noua, came by the house last week and in conversation mentioned that today was his birthday. When we asked what they would be doing to celebrate he responded that they would be maybe having a beach dinner party next week. Another Thai friend, Dul,  had a birthday last week and when we called he said we were the only people to call for his birthday. When we asked what he would be doing, he told us that he would cook a meal for his parents. So it was a rare opportunity when Noua invited us to go to an actual birthday party.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome UAE

Welcome to the newest reader country, the United Arab Emirates. 
You join 21 other countries where this blog is read. Thanks for your interest.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Waving Flags- Part 2

Flags for the readers from, Denmark, Russia, South Africa and Thailand. From now on as I welcome each country reader(s) I will put their flag on that post. As of today this blog has now been read in 21 countries. Thank you all!

South Africa

Waving Flags-Part 1

Well I began to post the flags of the reader countries as they came on-line, and thought that I should in fairness list all of the countries that I had not posted for. so here goes part 1. For readers from Australia, USA, Canada, Taiwan and the UK

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Welcome Malaysia

Welcome to the newest country reader from Malaysia. You join 20 other countries where this blog is read!

Sea Gypsies,Refugee's and Baby Shop Beer

We had just moved into the new house for about a week, when I headed back to Canada to do some business. Having left the wonderful plus 32 degrees(C) I stayed in Mission, where it managed to get to about 10 degrees, albeit in the terminal grey cloudy rain-filled days, and dark by 4PM. I left to go back to Saskatchewan to see my family and managed to bring with me a warm front that had the temperatures soar to neat 0 degrees. The downside was of course that this produced rain and within 24 hours the temperatures had dropped to minus 35 degree's, turning the roadways into virtual frozen skating rinks.

Meanwhile in Rawai, Clive, the dogs and cat were getting their routines established and the house organized. Having gone through the massive downsizing we did to come here from Canada, we have become very materialistic possession averse. Almost to the verge of paranoia, whereby we evaluate every possession purchase to determine if it is a need or a want. The wants seem to loose out, and the needs get assessed and evaluated for the value added factor.

Clive managed to ensure the dogs got their walks and avoided any snake encounters. He did become familiar with the local rubber tree plantation, as he had decided to allow the pups to wander the moo for a sniff around. Annie decided this was a great opportunity to check out the rubber tree's. Normally not an issue, except that at this time of the year the plantation is high with grasses and vegetation, and of course provided excellent ground cover for the snakes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Qstay in Taipei

Qstay Hotel in Taipei

On my recent trip to Taipei, I stayed at a hotel called Qstay. Initially I had planned to be staying with my friend Jeff, who had to make a quick last minute trip to Tokyo, but suddenly found myself having to find a hotel. He had no recommendations and felt there may be problems given the time of the year I was going to be there. Now I have traveled quite a bit and am no stranger to finding a hotel, I wil not profess that my choices have always been the greatest, but it is after-all just a bed for the night. As long as the sheets are clean and the noise level is low, I am pretty content. Any other ammeneties are a bonus in my books.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

They Don't Call It A Zoo For Nothing

As Close as I got to the Taipei Zoo

I am in the process of repacking for my trip back to Phuket from Taipei. It has been a good trip here and I have been glad to have made the stop-over. Unfortunately the last day has not worked out as planned. I had headed out early to go to the Taipei Zoo, to see the Panda's that are housed there as a diplomatic gift from China. Over my morning coffee I had read that the city has been crazy for the past 2 days with gridlock traffic on the freeways, and public attraction sites, including the zoo have been swarmed to capacity.

On my ride on the Metro, a fore teller of events to follow, I found a new definition for snuggling, as I found myself in a very very packed metro rail line car.