A wise man once said....

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new." Dalai Lama

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Google Blog

Finally got round to us having a work Blog. Well we tried adn tried to no avail. Will try again afer lunch... So site name to follow. Got it


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Sunday, it must be Wat Day....

Yes Sunday and we set off to the Wat to see the Monks. Wanna needed to go and see the Monks at a specific Wat about 15 kilometers outside of Pattaya. The visit was mainly to organise a time to take her friend Lec to visit them. We bought some gifts for the Monks and proceed on in.

Loads of people about all praying and sitting in front of the Monks waiting for blessing. We had our turn and then Wanna discussed the visit for Lec. All set for Monday afternoon.
Lec has been bed bound for almost 12 months following a stroke. She has improved, only slightly and in my view letting herself get into a situation where it is a sort of 'comfort' zone, if you get my drift. She's still improving and that is clear on a day to day basic, but I felt she needed more motivation. And the promise of a trip to the Wat and have the Monks pray for her seems to have been just what was required. It 'perked' her up no end. So that in itself is a result.

Well, I'm happy to tell you that since writing this short note that Lec went on Monday afternoon to the Wat. She thoroughly enjoyed it all, and it was her first time in the car for 12 months except for ambulance rides to the hospital. Lets hope it will help her along her road to recovery.

Monday, 27 April 2009


Even here the lure of a smart car is not far away. In fact Thailand seems to have several good sports car shops but better still, scores of shops for Harley Davidsons. I'll visit those later during the year....then one day when I've won the lottery... Yes I know one day in the very distant future I'll buy one and find out I'm to old to ride,... Never!!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Bar B Q and Snooker


Very good Saturday afternoon. Spend in a lazy fashion sitting round at Keith’s house having a Bar B Q and playing snooker. This had been planned sometime ago so we were ready and organized. Clement had done the chicken wings and pork ribs. Joe organized the pork chops and English sausages. Others sorted out the salads and beers etc. Me, I just turned up and ate, drank and played snooker. Very ease for me…..
In all of this you also need to know that no Bar B Q, and I mean no Bar B Q is complete in Thailand without the mandatory grilled fish and roasted sea shells, bowls of chili and accompaniments. Well we had those as well. The fish arrived fresh from the market and kept in a small bowl awaiting the grill….. The shells. Well no idea what condition they were in. Both tasted good. 5 big fish and 2 kilos of shells…
Putting the fish on the Bar B Q was easy. They get cleaned out and then are covered in salt and just placed directly on the grill. They are of course cleaned and washed, but the first one did go through a few twitches on the grill, as no doubt I would have done…After all it was a one way journey. Not sure he other 4 fish felt any better either!!!! But they were delicious…
Keith got a bit put out about this cooking of live fish, especially when next to their brother fish sitting in the adjacent fish bowl… I did manage this ‘feeling’ on film for later viewing!
I’ve mentioned Bar B Q but in fact we had 3 on the go. Gas, Charcoal and a local ‘concrete’ type which also takes charcoal. That produces a lot of food… Great.
The snooker only got a look in between eating and having a few cold beers. The kids spent their time running around jumping in and out of the pool and playing various party games in which we the adults always seemed to be standing in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time… Constant ‘watch out’ to avoid being bumped or getting tripped over. When the darts and dart board came out there was even more vigilance… Time to grab a beer and head back to the snooker room.

video video

Foot note:- I’ve added a few more videos than usual for Keith. Thanks for a great afternoon.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Ban Muang After Dark

Been spending a few moments clearing up my computer files and came across this short clip which is not that great but... it shows the area around Wanna's parents house in Ban Muang just after dark. Can't see much which I suppose is what it is all about if its dark, duh!! If you listen to the sounds of crickets chirping or whatever you call them, and in the distance the motor bikes on their way home etc. you should get that 'village/countryside', feeling, and hopefully enjoy it.



Comes round once a year in April as the Thai New Year. Everyone goes crazy and really lets off full steam and enjoys to the max. It is a time for spraying water on each other. Long ago it was just that, a sprinkle but now everyone joins in with bucket loads. Even the fire service supplying trucks and makignt he hydrants available for public use, so really lending a hand!!! The police are great. They have made sure traffic flows, well mostly. Just not where I wanted to go! Took me 90 minutyes to travel what is normally a 5 minute journey..... I could even with al this additional time only take a few shots as I did want to get my camera ruined!! Everyone jumps into cars and pick ups and tours round the roads spraying every body, walking, riding bikes and even cars if you leave your window open!!! Police seem to manage to avoided the water in all this mayhem, quite wisely....or luckly or even discression on the part ot the revellers.
In addition you are most likely to get your face painted with a large dab of baby powder. It think really it is an excuse for the boys to get close up with the girls, and who can blame them!
We went last week to a water session in Khon Kaen, but again could not take photos as I was in the back of the truck throwing water at other people. Really great time and looking forward to it again next year. What no one tells you is that often the water is ice cold. Big shock when it hits you all down the back!


Friday, 17 April 2009

Buddha Statues

Just been to the market and being Songkarn season, there still a laid back atmosphere. Even so it was a surprise to come across a sheltered area containing several wooden statues of Lord Buddha . I stood for a few moments to take in the sight and watched a few people making merit and private prayers. They seems oblivious to all the traffic and general activities going on around them.

I could understand it if I was in a church or temple where you expect some quiet, But in a car park which was being transformed into an evening market as I stood there, it seemed strange to a say the least. So a few quick photos. Having reviewed them, and on a totally separate point I realize I’m getting fat!!! That or the Buddha's are getting thinner. And I think I know which it is!!!

Monday, 13 April 2009


A few days ago while driving back to Wanna’s village on the back roads, I came across a small charcoal making kiln. Seemed to be in the middle of nowhere with no one around. It was very well made and stood out all the more because of the way it was all so tidy. It was made of the local red earth and on close inspection it was a well used kiln. The inside walls had hardened and collected some layers of charcoal and become well sealed. The ‘door’ appeared to have been cut from the kiln walling and was clearly just placed back in position when required. Simple and clever.

I’d come across a charcoal making set up last year in Karachi and had taken a few photos. Completely different setting. http://alan-in-karachi.blogspot.com/2008/05/charcoal-and-things-that-pass-you-byb.html

I took a short video which shows the door/cover to the kiln.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Lizards แย้

Came across this beautiful creature yesterday. It has amazing colours which change as it moves. That way it can hide itself in almost any situation. One photo by us and it was gone.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Koh Saket

Koh Saket is a lovely little island just off the Rayong coast. Also about 1 kilometer from my work site. We went over there on Monday to have a look. First time in 6 years and having been so close throughout. Seems silly not to have popped over before. Anyway now we were on the away.

We hired a small fishing boat through a friend and a6 of us went for a few hours. Small boat, and a bit wobbly. When we got there we were given a sort of short tour and brief history lesson. Apparently the island belongs to the Queen and is uninhabited. Not to surprising it’s uninhabited as it is only about 100 meters by 100 meters. Water is supplied from the main land and so presumably is electricity. The mobile phone also works well. We all went over in a local fishing boat and had a look round. All a bit spoilt and dirty. Clearly we were not the first to visit. Too many bottles and plastic bags on view for that. So we walked round and took a few photos and then walked in the shallows and up and over the rocks. Very little beach with poor rough sand. What I complainer I sound. We had such a fantastic opportunity compared to most people so should stop moaning.

Loads of shells including small oysters and various edible mollusks, so good for island survival. But the real purpose of the visit was two fold, one it was there and we had not been and two was to visit as a trial run for a possible camping weekend. But no water (toilet faculties are there?...) and no electricity makes it a no very attractive place. That sounds a bit soft I know but it, coupled with the general dirt and close proximity to the work place with all its smelly fumes made us decide there are better places to spend the weekends.

But if you don’t go and look, you will never know, so now we know…. and maybe, just maybe we'll go back again for a night under the stars.


Sunday, 5 April 2009

Tannon Patthong Lunch Sunday 5th April

Had a great day. Went to work for a few hours and then lunch on the beach. Tawachai suggested we go to this little restaurant on the beach about 6 kilometers from work. It was on Tannon Patthong. Just outside Rayong. I say restaurant. But really it is just a shack set on the beach along with a lot of other shacks. All selling fresh sea foods, shells, mussels, squid etc. They seem well organized with one group doing the selling, one doing the cooking and one supplying the beer and ice. So with us doing the buying then someone else cooking and another delivering the cold beers and ice it's quite an operation!.. But fortunately the end game is simplified in sofaras you only get one bill.


So we chose a variety of shells and some fried squid. Rice is surprisingly another extra. Not sure who supplies than. Maybe there’s a forth party to the business? We could have opted to sit at a table but the mat on the beach seemed a much better idea. Sure sitting out made the food taste even better. We even got a free toilet roll for our hands (serviette substitute!!) and a couple of plastic buckets and trays to drop in the shells once we have eaten the goodies.
It really did seem a remote spot even though we could look across the sea and could see at our work and site office. And knowing that Rayong a major industrial town was only ‘just’ up the road made it all a bit surreal.

So what, the company was fun amongst friends, the place was great and the food unbelievably good. In spite of or because of the number of people involved. Who knows which?
Around us were all the signs of a busy fishing community with ladies fixing nets and wooden boats laid up ready to go back fishing. Atmosphere was truly memorable. Just hope it retained it over the coming years. I’ll be back sooner than that to check.

Surrounding us were the various bits and pieces of fishing life. Nets, floats and of course boats. Several people were working and yet there was a very calm laid back air about the place. There were several women working and few men around. Maybe they do the fishing and leave the women on shore. Also laying around were the traps and bits and pieces. Just made for a really wonderful time relaxing in such surrounding. One girl looked like she had just finished school and was down there to help out. Pretty young thing with a lovely shy smile. One other thing that caught my eye was a small tender boat laying on its side. It had a blue plastic water pipe wrapped round it. The pipe makes for a great floating arrangement and is so simple and cheap. Our little tender boat could have done with that. Next time.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Had a weekend camping up in the mountains. Bit cold but good to be away from all the industrial area and the constant steam of traffic going in each and every way.

We took our tent and cooking gear up to Phu Son Camping ground located right up in the north near Dan Sai. The sign tells us we are 420 kilometers from Bangkok and 18,200 kilometers from New York. That’s a long way, but I’m still no wiser by telling you!!!

There were beautiful waterfalls and trails for walking. You can see from the early morning photo the mist hiding the distant mountains. Great few days.

And of course no trip is complete wihtout visiting a local Wat. Whcih we did. Some spectacular statues and gold ornaments. Very difficult to photograph as the lighting and focusing is so subtle. You know the automatic focus on the camera cannot always distinguish between the smooth shining surfaces. The naked eye is not much better after a few minutes of sitting staring at the gold and emeralds all lit up with flickering candles. However it is so beautiful.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Elephants and things

Been sorting out some old files and camera shots and came across this old cartoon. Seemed appropriate to Blog it and keep it for future.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Holidays - Chakri Dynasty Date

Yep, we've got one more holiday on April 6th. Celebrates the line of succession to the current Thai Royal Family. I looked it up on line and found one source which outlined a brief history of the whole thing. Without the blemishes...but with a more rosy picture.

What's also interesting is the way the country has developed without many of the modern conflicts having the same or deeper influences than we in the west seemed to have endured. I know that in world war II, Thailand played a very clever and indeed difficult balancing act between the Japanese and the Allies and indeed managed to come out of it well. And managed also to keep good relations with both sides. Could have been disastrous had it gone any otherway. Especially when you look at Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. They did not do so well during and after that period. A credit to diplomacy.

I've extracted the text I found and copied some of it below, along with a print of the old Siam flag. I actually prefer this old one with the elephant on it. More fun than the plain striped one they use now. I'll try and get it into my Blog header.

History lesson below!!! (I found it on the "SunSITE Thailand at Assumption University web site. My thanks to them on this day).

April 6 marks the anniversary of the founding of the present Chakri Dynasty of which the present ruling monarch, King Bhumibol the Great, is the ninth king.

The Chakri Dynasty was founded by Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, or Rama I, who was born on March 20, 1737 with the name of Thong Duang and came to the throne on April 6, 1782. He ruled the country for 28 years. During his reign he consolidated the kingdom in such a way that here was no further fear of invasion from enemies.

King Rama I has been praised as an accomplished statesman, a lawmaker, a poet and a devout Buddhist. Thus, his reign has been called a "reconstruction" of the Thai state and Thai culture. He was the monarch who established Bangkok as the capital of Thailand, and this is the most long-lasting creation which gains popularity as the "City of Angels". King Rama I passed away on September 7, 1809 at the age of 72.

King Rama I's son, Phra Buddha Loetla Naphalai, or Rama II, then acceded to the throne. It was during his reign that a renaissance of Thai arts and culture came about, especially in literature. The King himself was a man gifted with artistic talent.

Phra Nang Klao came next. He fortified the country with a strong defence force and commissioned many buildings. It was during his reign that Thai arts reached the highest peak since Ayutthaya period. It is said that the reigns of King Rama II and III constituted a Golden Age of Literature and Arts, similar to King Narai's in Ayutthaya.

King Rama III or Phra Nang klao was succeeded by King Mongkut (Rama IV) who was a bold religious leader. He started the commercial contacts with foreign countries and was responsible for the introduction of western science and modernization into Thailand.

Then came King Chulalongkorn, the benevolent monarch. During his reign of 42 years, many changes and reforms were made in Thailand. Slavery was abolished, modern system of administration was introduced, efficient law courts were established, education was systematically spread, and the financial system was revised.

King Vajiravudh, who succeeded King Chulalongkorn, further consolidated and developed what had been accomplished in the previous 40 years. He contributed much to the national language and literature so much so that he was sometimes called the poet who was a king. The outstanding achievement of his reign is perhaps the number of new treaties concluded between Thailand and other powers as it helped enhancing the prestige of Thailand. The King also introduced the use of the tricolor flag to replace the old red flag with the white elephant.
King Vajiravudh passed away on November 26, 1925 and was succeeded by his younger brother King Prachadhipok, the seventh king of Chakri Dynasty who reigned as the last absolute monarch.

On June 24, 1932 a revolution took place and His Majesty accepted the proposal of a constitutional regime. On March 2, 1934 the King abdicated and later died in exile, leaving the throne to his nephew, King Ananda Mahidol, who after 11 years rule met a sudden death leaving the throne to his younger brother, King Bhumibol Aulyadej, the present monarch.

So on Chakri Day, His Majesty King Bhumibol accompanied by members of royal family will preside over a religious ceremony performed to give merit to the deceased rulers at the Royal Chapel, then he pays his respects to His Majesty's Predecessors at the Royal Pantheon and lays a wreath at the statue of King Rama I at the Memorial Bridge.