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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.