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, 17 November 2016

Ban Muang

Finally left Vanuatu.  Wonderful place and caught up with some old friends etc.  Will have good memories of the place thats for sure.

However life moves on.  I needed to get my eye checked and a new prosthetic one installed!!!! Done.  As of yesterday I now have two eyes again.  Not much help but it does noticeably cut down on the "double takes" I used to get when walking around!  That was apparent almost immediately.

So after a few days in Bangkok visiting Hospitals etc we also caught up with Owen and friends. Late last night eventually got up to Ban Muang. Needless to say not much has changed. First job was ot unload the car and second was to set up the bread maker for fresh Loaf tomorrow. (Thats today !). And well worth the effort too.

I've promised myself this trip I am going to relax.  Even to the extend of thissi posting.  I only walked round the house to take a few shots!!! Beautiful day. Just to lazy to move anywhere.....

Looking forward to a few bike trips and general messing about. Buts thats all later on.

When in Vanuatu we dried out some PawPaw seeds and brought them back to Thailand. Planted them about a month ago. Of 50+ only about 18 look OK. I think this trip we will plant them out and see what happens.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Vanuatu Part 6 Remembrance to the King of Thailand

On 27th October the local Thai community was invited to the "Exotic Thai" Restaurant for a memorial service in memory and to show respect to the late King of Thailand 
His Majesty, Bhumibol Adulyadej.  

Very emotional experience with about 30 Thai people turning up. All dressed in Black and looking decidedly despondent and very sad to the extent there were quite a few tears....

There were prayers and a short service followed by a few eats and chit chat. It was really more like a wake than anything else I can describe.

Wanna and I attended. We were not in black as we were out for dinner when the late notification came through via a friend.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Vanuatu Part 5 Visit to Santo

What a weekend. Flew up to Santo Esprito Island obstentiously to look at a future wharf construction but really a good excuse to have a long weekend away.

Santo is about 45 minutes flight north of Port Vila. We left Sunday Morning and had time for work inspections then a trip up the east coast.

We travelled up from the bottom right hand corner up to the yellow star shown above.

Has a swim and for lunch coconut crab cooked in a mild curry sauce. Fantastic.  I cannot begin to describe the taste except to say writing this I could eat another one!!!

The beach. Well I thought I had seen them all. But this was a s good as it gets.  Possibly one of the best beached I have ever seen.  Had a swim and relaxed.

On the way back we looked as some coconut drying houses and native plants. The kilns were not operating as it was a public holiday.

In particular we were shown the native Kava plant famous for its root drink.  If you've never heard of Kava now is the time to learn  10 things you need to know about Kava.  And it works.  I've tried it a few times. You just relax.  Funny thing is your lips go numb and the legs seem ot have a mind of their own. But very different to Alcohol or dope. And it does not leave any headache or after effects except to reduce appetite and make you a bit lazy.  Both good results don't you agree ?

 Plenty more to write about but I'm off got a bowl of Kava and relax. When I find some energy I'll pen a few more words......

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Vanuatu Part 4

Lovely Saturday.  Horse racing Island style. Annual Charity event. Everyone was out having a great day. Just seemed the whole Island had turned up. Complete families and just a great atmosphere. 6 races with 4-6 horses per race. But for the racing we have no idea who to bet on!

Don't suppose it matters that much. It was all for charity. Even the car park attendants, security etc were all working for free. So great atmosphere.

So a few racing photos and tried out some local foods. Kebaks and grilled fish and various root crops.   Live music.  Excellent day.

Vanuatu Part 3

Been a good week. Time does fly here, faster than anywhere I've been.  Work is OK and then evenings seems to disappear as fast as switching a light off.

However yesterday while driving along I saw small bus stop.  Talk about laid back ! If it moved over a bit more it would fall into the sea. I think is sums up island life here. Cool, relaxed and in no rush to go anywhere !!!!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Vanuatu Part 2

Weekend starts here today.  Will pop into the office this morning for a couple of hours to catch up on a few things. Then later this evening off for a Sri Lankan curry dinner feast. Then tomorrow heading for Mount McDonnald the highest point (647 meters) on Efate Island. By pickup truck of course, no walking or anything silly like that.  But first off this morning a bit of work. Got some design reviews and a visit to a quarry planned for this afternoon. I know hardly retirement BUT I DON"T CARE !!!  It's all good.

The curry dinner is at Club Hippique, which is owned by an Australian couple, She being of Sri Lankan extraction hence the style of dinner.

The place itself is a resort offering horse riding along beaches and up and down mountain tracks etc and various other  activities. Check it out. Club Hippique  Looks a lot of fun.

Fun evening getting underway

The jagged lines on the left are palms.....
Well we did not see the top of the mountain. But we did go up a step hill and got some amazing views.

Check out the slope on this road......

Next weekend we go to the horse racing on Saturday and Sunday/Monday  the island os Santo. So lots to see and do.

There is also a turtle breeding farm to visit.  not sure when we will manage that...

Friday, 5 August 2016

Vanuatu Part 1

Another blog post saying I’ve been lazy.  Well this time not so true! 

But time has flown by literally.  We retired on 31st May.  After 2 weeks I had a call from an old friend. “Do you fancy a job in Vanuatu? “. That’s New Hebrides to you older readers….!
“Sure” was the reply. “Where, When and for how long ?”.  The “Where" was simple, the “When” was ASAP and the “How long” was up to you. !!

Retirement had not really been so exciting sitting around strumming the guitar, motor bike trip and playing with bits and pieces etc and of course a few beers and good food on the Bar B Q. That was in first two weeks.  So perhaps to early to judge. But always one for a trip.
So what to loose? Pack up the house and jump on a plane.  The project is to build some small wharfs for inter-island shipping. These are spread over the islands so really a lot of fun travelling around. Each island is different.  All fully decked out for tourists and so good hotels etc etc.  And I get paid !!!  Real simple and fun engineering. And Vanuatu.  Not a bad stop at all.  I’ve been to plenty of worse place believe you me…..
People are lovely.  Everyone happy and seem to find it so easy to break into a big smile. Foods good, beers good, climate perfect. What to loose in deed.

View from our Condo

Going round the island the main road. No cars. 

Golf Club for Owen....

Port Vila Market


Quick web facts
Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometers. The islands offer scuba diving at coral reefs, underwater caverns and wrecks such as the WWII-era troopship SS President Coolidge. Hiking trails ascend active volcanoes such as Mt. Yasur. Other popular activities include rainforest ecotours, kayaking and deep-sea fishing, plus relaxing at resorts and spas.
    • Capital:Port Vila
    • Currency:Vanuatu vatu
    • Population:252,763 (2013)
So there you have it.  Surprisingly few sandy beached in Efate due in part to the volcanic activity.  We got woken up one night with the apartment shaking.  Only a couple of bumps but a very very strange feeling….
I’m told the some of the other islands have fantastic diving, in fact some of the best in the world, and am looking forward to a trip in a couple of weeks time. Might take in a dive. Relax and instead of working tell myself this is paid retirement !!  There is one beach called “Champagne beach” due to the bubbling from air esca[ing from the ground.  A must see next weekend

Short History of Vanuatu... Very interesting

More starting tomorrow....

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Retirement Part 1

Just renamed this post.  Seem to be getting all numerical these days. Hope thats not a bad sign.....

Quite amazing I retired on 31st May.  Went back to office on 2nd June to meet a few guys.  Then on the Friday moved from Rayong up to Ban Muang. Played a little music, had a lot of visitors and before I know it the 16th of June has arrived... Not a special day but the first when I have had time to sit down and write anything.. Retired so should have no excuse!

Everybody and I mean everybody told me "When you retire you will wonder how you had time to go to work..." (Charlie, Owen take note as you both told me this thousands of times...!)

It seems to be true but not in the way I had expected. I do not seem to have managed to sit and relax.  I, when I was still working had visions of a structured retirement with the days starting early with coffee while reading and following up with emails and the world news etc. Then an hour or two with aquaponic gardening, guitar practice, get into a routing as it were. So 16 days into this I have done next to nothing in these areas, let alone establish any routine.  I still need to get the old equipment out of storage for the aquaponics, and we have a music "jam" scheduled for 9th July in a local studio where I need to be up to speed with a couple of songs.... So much to do and so little time.

Eating, drinking and socialising have taken up 99% of my time and the remaining 1% I've wasted !!!
Is this how retirement works ?

Any comments, useful advice or suggestions very much appreciated :)

Will update in a few days when (if.....) I have time to post.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Had a very lazy Sunday afternoon.  Stayed home only to "pop" out for lunch. Actually the reason we  went out was to buy a new tank for our  Crayfish.

But in any event we stopped of at a local restaurant.  Usual good choices and service. Some food was already cooked and you could just choose by pointing.  Others were made up while you wait.
Actually this place is quite famous in the area and have a coffee shop, snackbar for takeways, biscuits etc and excellent food.  A But as I've been slow in posting so to have I been slow in taking enough photos. In this case I have nearly finished  my meal before I snapped a couple of shots. But trust me it was good.  I think you can even feel the chilies heat through the computer...!!!

I had rice with two dishes. One Panang curry and the other a pork in sauce.  Wanna had grilled fish. Very like a mackerel and rice and various salads. Also complimentary there were an assortment of veggies and sauces and even some purple flowers.  Ice and water provided.  As you can see all in a very clear open environment.  All up cost Baht 105.  That's 2 pounds !!!!!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Boats and Bikes

I was sorting out a few old photos on my phone and its amazing how you take pictures and forget about them all. Brings back some memories of recent trips etc. I found a couple of snaps of a fishing boat.  Looking at it coming in to port the other day I was glad I had not been on it.

Sailing yachts is one thing, but to be stuck on a Thai fishing boat for days/weeks/months at a time would be a night mare.  They do not look comfortable bouncing around, also look dirty and unkempt. Certainly lack any TLC !!

As an aside they seem to produce enough fumes to keep CO2 levels high for a long time into the future.

I can't speak with 1st hand knowledge on these boats having only observed from afar. So shut me up of you want !  Well I've been near enough!  I suspect the living quarters are also cramped.  I remember years ago going on a long liner in Seychelles I think it was an old Korean boat.  The bunks were about 5 foot 6 inches long so as a Westerner your could not stretch out in full.  Everything seems a little small !

But the contrast here on land.  Having dismissed the fishing boats as a non preferred mode of transport, I spotted a few choppers parked up on the main beach road. Some guys out for a ride.  All seemed to be old modified 4 cylinder Honda engines strapped onto home made frames. Now they looked like fun for a ride ! But like the fishing boats not for days/weeks/months.  Get a very sore backside after only a few hours !

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Rayong House The Beach Part I

Now we have a ground floor view including our truck !!!!!  Must move it.

Nicely cleaned up. Later put in some coconut trees.

When we bought our Rayong House back in mid 2015 our view at ground level was onto the main road and opposite to beach shacks and small shops blocking the view to the sea. We are literally 25 meters from the sea and could not see it from our ground floor. Frustrating indeed !

From our roof top the view was lovely.  Straight over the tops of these shacks, and having to look down to spot the road. We could "watching the ships roll in and I watch them roll away again" (Marvyn Gaye  !! ). Lovely seeing the small fishing boats go by. Sitting up on the roof top is great both in the day time and evenings when the sun was  going down. Always something to see.

Our next door neightbours mention last July that all these huts would be gone by end of Jan 2016. Yeah, yeah, I thought  This is Thailand. Nothing will change  and certainly now moving people on from free dwellings to "nowhere".  So "dream on" was my silent reply to him.

Then yesterday Wanna sent me some photos showing me the army telling the hut dwellers, all to move. The army were equipped with trucks and front end loaded.  They demolish one house, which in fairness to my reporting had been stripped bear a few days earlier.  Gone. Left it looking a bit scruffy but maybe thats a good thing. Should stop more people moving in to the new cleared space.... Now we wait till we seen the rest go.

It s sad for them, but great for us to have a sea view from the ground floor window.  Better breeze through the place as well.  Will let you know when the rest are going.....