Friday, 31 October 2008

31st October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy with sunshine this early in the morning! it looks really lovely! Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C.

Yesterday saw a nice and dry day with occasional bursts of sunshine, max temp reached 31.6C.

The situation in Bangkok is heating up a little bit, with Thaksin's speech scheduled for tomorrow, to be broad casted throughout Thailand, however, doubts about the speech come up;
Amid fears that the political situation may spin out of control, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra might opt for a tactical retreat from his planned live speech tomorrow in the "Today's Truth" mobile talk show.

PAD guard succumbs to injuries.

Violence grows as confrontation looms; Wednesday night's outbreak of violence reflects a deepening social division as pro- and anti-government groups heap blame on one another for worsening the fractious political situation.

Camille

Chamlong sees govt hand behind violence; Thursday morning's outbreak of violence reflects a deepening social division as pro- and anti-government groups heap blame on one another for worsening the fractious political situation.

Goodbye to October 2008

It's that time of the month again and time to make place for a new month!

This years October has been fantastic and nothing like the rain soaked version from last year. How things can change!

The weather has been mild and there was plenty of sunshine throughout the month. There was rain but in a way one expect during a typical rainy season and not day long rain with no break. A very nice month all around.

During October we went to visit various restaurants and a lot of them are very simple but delicious Thai eateries with nothing more than a couple of simple tables and chairs but the food is just great here; Clock Lana in Plai Laem for outstanding Isaan food, Dcheed 2 on the ring road of Chaweng for satay, Gai in Maenam for all round good and cheap Thai food and or Kao Man Gai in Lamai!

Yamato the Japanese restaurant in Chaweng is always a treat and I will never get tired of eating at Il Mulino for lunch!

Hope you enjoyed reading my blog this month and that I will see you back on a regular base!

Camille

Thursday, 30 October 2008

30th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning but dry and there was no rain last night, and I'm about to start another IDC, today, these are coming thick and fast now! Check out my dive blog for updates. Current temp at 7 am is 25.7C.

Yesterday turned out as a lovely day with partial blue skies and sunshine! Around 8 pm yesterday evening there was an half hour hose but other than that no rain! Max temp reached 31.6C.

In Bangkok it's relatively quiet, although six volunteer security guards were injured from a bomb thrown at People's Alliance for Democracy rally site at the Makawan Rangsan Bridge.

It's all about anti-corruption Article 100, stupid!; THERE is hardly any doubt that former premier Thaksin Shinawatra is an intelligent person. So, when he said in his note to "dear friends in the international media" on October 22 that he was "confused" by the Supreme Court's verdict a day earlier to jail him for two years, he was only being humble.

Will making merit save them?; As photographs of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family attending a Buddhist ceremony showed up in people's e-mails last week, many desperately wanted to know what they were up to, where and when.

Warring parties need to love, be understanding; A recent public opinion survey has discovered that more than 93 per cent of Thais want unity between feuding groups and individuals.

Camille

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Ocean Eleven Restaurant, Bang Rak

Ocean Eleven Restaurant, Bang Rak

The official beach restaurant, as they have dubbed themselves.

Ocean 11 is indeed beautifully located on the beach in Bang Rak Bay. The restaurant can be found almost opposite the Ghost Road.


Inside is a small car parking lot and the entrance leads into what seems to be the reception for Ocean residence.

The restaurant area is rather small and intimate and very nicely designed with a nice sala and even a small green area. All tables have a lovely view over the bay.
The food was good but not as good as some of my friends made me believe before hand. As a starter I ordered this goat cheese on bread, but in my opinion there could've been a bit more goat cheese dished out. My wife ordered a Ceasar salad, it was laced with lovely sliced pieces of cheese (Parmesan) but the bacon was very salty.
As a main I ordered a pork rib with wild mushrooms, pictured above, on top of potato chunklets. The accompanying sauce was fine.

My wife ordered two pieces of Red Snapper with a very nice creamy sauce and for our children we ordered a Tagliatelle creamy dish which tasted good, although the salty bacon showed up again.

As a dessert we shared a coconut crème brulée, which turned out to be a very large portion but could've done with a more distinct coconut taste.

All in all a nice place but the quality to price differential was not as good as expected. Still recommendable though.

For reservations (recommended) call 077 245 134.

Camille

29th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy but a bright aura is in the air. There was some drizzle earlier this morning and some rain last night, but it looks like it may clear up. Current temp at 7 am is 25.9C.

Yesterday turned out to be a lovely day after the initial morning drizzle and the rest of the morning and the afternoon were warm(ish) and sunny! A nice surprise. Max temp reached 31.7C.
The forecast shows very heavy rain for tomorrow with the rest of the week getting better.

Not that much news from Bangkok today; Pro and anti-government protesters clashed near Nang Lern intersection in Bangkok, causing injuries of both groups and PAD round up 5 old DAAD supporters.

The Cabinet Tuesday approved Bt56million budget to compensate victims in recent political violence.

Please keep Thaksin there. We don't want him here.

Camille

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Peanuts

Another thing learned today!

Most nuts grow on trees, for me peanuts file under nuts! To my big surprise, today I discovered that peanuts don't grow on trees or above the ground! Big city guy I am!

Lucky for me, my wife treats our garden very well and today they, my wife and the garden, surprised me!

These fairly non-descript flowers are the actual peanut 'trees'!



Once they're literally ripped out of the ground, this is what comes out; peanuts!


The 'finished' product, drying in the sun, ready to be put in the ground again, so more peanuts will end up on our table!

Camille

28th October, 2008

Today's weather;

Heavy overcast rule over Samui this morning and it drizzles continuously. Current temp at 7 am is 24.7C.

Yesterday saw overcast all day long with drizzle during various parts of the morning, during the afternoon it stayed dry. Max temp reached 30C, nonetheless.
The forecast for the next couple of days is plenty of rain.

In Bangkok more and more voices stand up against Thaksin and his planned televised speech on 1st November; A traitor who wants to drag everyone down with him.

One man's fate should not overshadow entire society; The buzz of anticipation about his phone-in from London may prove more exciting than the actual message of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, scheduled for Saturday.

The military will not tolerate any attempts to smear the monarchy for political gain, Army chief General Anupong Paochinda said yesterday in a stern warning against messages deemed offensive found on websites and flyers.

Red danger, yellow peril; Everything is political in these divided times - even the colours you wear can get you in trouble

Camille

Monday, 27 October 2008

27th October, 2008

Today's weather;

Plenty of clouds today but it stayed dry last night and it's dry right now. Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.

Yesterday it remained dry all day and there was even sunshine during the afternoon! Max temp reached 29.8C.

In Bangkok, Peace groups call for "Don't provoke violence" and diplomatic, political and legal factors will wrangle hard and long before a final decision is reached on whether former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will ever be extradited from England to Thailand, according to views from the West.

In the meantime, to its credit, the Democrat Party is pushing for a dissolution of Parliament and new election as a way forward from the current deadlock. What do the 2007 election results tell us about their prospects? The Democrats are very popular in the South, where I live.

Camille

Sunday, 26 October 2008

26th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's grey and wet this morning with a current temp of 24.7C.

Yesterday was a nice day with not too much rain, there was some in the evening only. Max temp reached 28.3C.

Big waves damaged a costal road in Surat Thani Saturday morning, the province Samui belongs to, officials said.The waves battered the Ban Pod - Don Sak road and damaged it for over 1 kilometre, making it impassable.Officials warned people living on the coastal lines of the province's Don Sak district to brace themselves for possible more big waves as the sea was rising and rough.
The Thai Metereological Department issued a warning but it seems that Samui is fine for the time being.

In Bangkok fears of political violence and a possible coup d'etat were somewhat reduced yesterday after the supposed plan to surround and dislodge the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters were denied by its architect, former deputy national police chief General Salang Bunnag. Also, there was an assurance from the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces General Songkitti Jakkabat that there will be no coup.

The People's Alliance for Democracy will evaluate the situation on Monday before deciding whether to besiege the Parliament on Tuesday when the two chambers are scheduled to amend the charter.

People Power Party MP Jatuporn Promphan said former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra would be allowed to talk longer than 20 minutes during a talk show programme on NBT on November 1.

Korn Chatikavanij, a Bangkok MP of the Democrat Party, has written an open letter to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It was in response to Thaksin's letter from London, which tried to side-step the guilty verdict over the Ratchadaphisek land deal and blamed the 'elite' for his political downfall.

Camille

Saturday, 25 October 2008

25th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy and wet, although it isn't raining right now, it looks wet outside! Current temp at 7 am is just 24.2C. It looks like the rainy season has started at last.

Yesterday was dry during the morning but in the afternoon there was plenty of rain, varying from hard rain to drizzle to dry periods. During the night there was a lot of rain again. Max temp reached 29.5C.

In Bangkok a government=appointed committee is planning to pay compensation of between Bt100,000 and Bt500,000 to the families of victims killed in recent political violence.

In the meantime fears of bloodshed have risen as a pro-government grouping is mapping out an offensive to retake the Government House compound.
The Metropolitan Police are poised to keep the peace today if former deputy police chief General Salang Bunnag leads government supporters to besiege Government House.

Camille

Friday, 24 October 2008

24th October, 2008

Today's weather;

There's a cloudy sky this morning but it's bright. It must have rained last night since everything is pretty wet as well. Current temp at 7 am is 25.6C.

Yesterday it remained dry during the day time and it was sunny with a max temp of 29.3C.

Bangkok remains quiet on the surface but there's a lot of undercurrent going on, court leaves questions unanswered in Thaksin verdict.

The result of a very interesting poll; Corrupt govts acceptable. Only in Thailand!

Thaksin call would prove divisive; If convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is allowed to make a phone-in speech from London to a gathering of his supporters in Bangkok on November 1, it will drive a deeper wedge into the political divide, critics said yesterday.

Thaksin willing to return decorations; Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will likely agree to return all of his royal decorations if required to by law, Government Spokesman Natthawut Saikua said yesterday.

Camille

Thursday, 23 October 2008

23rd October, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks fabulous today, a blue sky with loads of sunshine. Current temp at 7 am is 24.6C, a serious drop in morning temperature!

Yesterday didn't start out that good, it looked like a perfect rainy season day, rain all morning long varying from a drizzle to hard rain and a grey sky. In the afternoon it changed however and the sun peeked through one in awhile and it dried up.
Max temp reached 29.3C.

In Bangkok the prospect of a confrontation between anti-government protesters and government supporters loomed large even after the landmark court ruling on Tuesday against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

In the meantime Thaksin rejects 'political' court verdict and the Expremier is confident he can stay on in Britain.

Camille

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Temple Party at Wat Plai Laem

Temple Party at Wat Plai Laem


From the 22nd to the 30th October, Wat Plai Laem has a temple party with each night a different band performing.

Tonight there was a beautiful fireworks display which we could enjoy at the balcony of our house.

The Temple it self is beautifully decorated with lights and just looks fantastic.



The brand new Bot, fantastically lit up.

If you're around this week, try to check it out early in the evening.

Camille

22nd October, 2008

Today's weather;

There's plenty of overcast and thunder rumbles in the background. It sure looks like rain today! Current temp at 7 am is 26.1C.

Yesterday was a nice and dry day with a max temp of 31.5C.

On the political play field, the big news yesterday was that the fugitive PM has been found guilty and sentenced 2 years in jail.
Obviously joyful PAD protesters hail a victory and the verdict is a warning to self-serving politicians, says Udom.

Is it curtails forever for Thaksin?
Thaksin says he expected guilty verdict and convicted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said he would write a letter to respond to the Supreme Court's ruling which sentenced him to two years in jail for abusing of power for his wife to purchase a land from the state.

Thaksin declined to comment on the ruling, saying he will write a letter in his handwriting about the matters, Matichon online reported.

Camille

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Thaksin guilty in land case, gets 2-year imprisonment

Thaksin guilty in land case, gets 2-year imprisonment

Just in, fresh off the press;

The Supreme Court Tuesday found former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra guilty in the Ratchada land case.

He was sentenced to 2 years in jail.

Pojaman Shinawatra, his wife, was found not guilty and the court revoked arrest warrant against her.

The court found that Thaksin had violated Article 100 and Article 102 of the National Counter Corruption Act, which states that government officials, including prime ministers, and their spouses are prohibited from entering into or having interests in contracts with state agencies under their supervision.

The Nation

The Bangkok Post shows a graphical chronology following the whole land deal

Supreme Court rules 5:4 that Thaksin knew of land purchase by wife

Supreme Court rules 6:3 to say Thaksin had authority over FIDF

It's going to be very interesting what the reactions to all this will be, will the UK grant Thaksin political asylum? How long will the current PM Somchai be able to stay on.

Although PAD is very happy right now, they're actually going mental right now, as we can follow live on TV, how will their long term reaction be?

Camille

21st October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy but bright outside. Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday it remained dry and there was a bit of sunshine here and there. Max temp reached 31.3C.

In Bangkok the political scene is awaiting judgement day for Thaksin, it keeps everybody on his toes, including some 300 policemen to keep order at Supreme Court Tuesday. This may not be the right place to protect, since a bomb attack happened at residence of Supreme Administrative court president.

In the meantime PAD summons protesters to Govt House.

Thanks to the current political turmoil, 111 banned members of the defunct Thai Rak Thai (TRT) have found an opportunity to return to the political stage. A few weeks ago they set up their war room in Shinawatra 3 Building. However, Newin is missed in war room.

Today could give a better insight on how the political situation will progress in Thailand.

Camille

Monday, 20 October 2008

Samui Seafood Restaurant, Chaweng

Samui Seafood Restaurant, Chaweng

There aren't too many restaurants that I visit in Chaweng, since in my opinion they're over priced and low on quality. Over the years I've visited the Samui Seafood restaurant on a regular base, maybe once or twice per year and the food is good and reasonably priced.


Samui Seafood is located at the right hand side, at very beginning where the one way system starts in Chaweng. The 'lighthouse' is a landmark that's not easily missed.


The inside of the restaurant is massive but very well set up, so you don't have the idea that you eat with so many other people similtaneously. The big ship frame at one side of the restuarant with the big screen is a very nice feature.


The fish display, is part of this stranded fishing boat, which makes for a nice visual presentation.



For parents this is a very nice place since they have a small playground, not many places cater to the younger ones like this!

No pictures of food unfortunately, since the lightning wasn't good enough, with a flash I got an overexposed picture and without lights an underexposed picture, any ideas out there how to counter this problem?

The food itself was ok, we had a crab meat with curry powder which was a bit watery and rather tasteless, all other dishes were good, like squid with garlic, pineaple with fried rice and seafood (the fish was rather dry), broccoli with seafood, tom ka kai served in a coconut and two shrimp dishes.

If in Chaweng and looking for decent Thai food I can recommend Samui Seafood, the menu is extensive and also lists plenty of Western dishes.

Camille

20th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's blue and sunny right now with beautiful massive white clouds at the horizon. Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.

Yesterday started nice but early in the morning there was rain and strong winds, the afternoon had warm and sunny weather but during the evening and night there was rain again. It seems the amount of rain is slowly increasing and the rainy season is knocking on the Samui door. Max temp reached 31C.

Tomorrow is the big day, politically. The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Holders is scheduled to deliver its verdict on the Ratchadaphisek land case against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khunying Pojaman and more political confrontation after Ratchadaphisek case is likely: academics. The situation is explained very well in the article mentioned.

On a day to day base, there was a peaceful public confrontation between embattled Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat yesterday who had an awkward moment with General Anupong Paochinda, the powerful army chief, who publicly called for the premier's resignation last Thursday.

For the first time in a long while, the Democrats seem to be heading the popularity polls; Gan in support for Democrats. In my opinion, this could be a move that could end the stalemate, the Democrats in power.

Camille

Sunday, 19 October 2008

19th October, 2008

Today's weather;

The sky is blue(ish) again this morning although there are still some clouds in it. Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C.

Yesterday was dark and wet in the morning but around noon the sun broke through again and it turned out to be a very nice and warm afternoon. Max temp reached 31.5C.

In Bangkok ex-deputy police chief to 'retake Govt House' after religious service on Wednesday which would cause a guaranteed bloodbath!

The Battle of clappers could make matters worse, please read the article for an explanation!

Fact-finding committee will complete its task in 15 days: Somchai.

That's it folks for this early Sunday morning, enjoy the day!

Camille

Saturday, 18 October 2008

18th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy this morning without any blue spots. Current temp at 7 am is 25.8C.

Yesterday was nice in the afternoon with sunshine but in the morning we experienced some rain with some dark clouds. Max temp reached 32.2C.

PM Somchai is summoned to step down but he refuses. Somchai insists to stay on to carry out three important missions.
The prime minister should dissolve the House in order to dissipate the growing discontent arising from the violent October 7 crackdown, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.

Rights panel blames govt for violent crackdown and a rehabilitation committee wants to provide compensations for 612 injuries, 3 deaths.

Court approves arrest warrant against DAAD leader and once more the good old lese majeste laws are pulled out of the drawer.

Camille

Friday, 17 October 2008

17th October, 2008

Today's weather;

There's light overcast with plenty of sunshine peeking through. All the promises of a lovely and warm day are at hand. Current temp at 7 am is 27.7C.

Yesterday was steaming hot! Max temp reached 32.4C but it felt a lot warmer! We also had the IE party which I organise after completion of each PADI IE for which we went to Bongoes in Choengmon and they served a lovely buffet.

The political scene keeps dripping along and Army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda has stated flatly for the first time that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat should resign to take responsibility for the Oct 7 clashes between police and People's Alliance for Democracy demonstrators.

It may not even get that far since if the National Counter Corruption Commission rules against him in an eight-year-old case, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat may have to resign immediately.

All other front page news in Thailand is dominated by the border clash with Cambodia.

Camille

Thursday, 16 October 2008

16th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's a gorgeous day with plenty of blue and a few clouds in it, see the picture below. Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C.
After a nice breakfast at Zest bakery , I'm ready for today during which the current PADI IE will be completed, so keep an eye out for my dive blog.


Part of Koh Tao harbour this morning taken from the Sea Lodge's balcony

Yesterday turned out to be fine, after the short but intense hose in the morning, it turned for the better. All day long it stayed dry and the sun kept peeking out of clouds which led to a max temp of 32.7C.

There's no real updates on the political situation since all attention has shifted to the Thai - Cambodian border clashes although I did stumble over this rather interesting (but long) article in the Asia Times Online.
As soon as there's relevant news, I'll update you accordingly.

Camille

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Zest Bakery and Coffee House, Mae Haad, Koh Tao

Zest Bakery and Coffe House, Mae Haad, Koh Tao


Whilst on Koh Tao almost every month to give moral support to my IDC candidates during their PADI Instructor Exams or IE, Zest is one of favorite eateries on the rock, as Koh Tao is also known.



It's located on Mae Haad's main road, leading off the harbour/pier on the left hand side, walking up from said harbour and this is how it looks like of you're standing across the road from Zest.

The inside is very cosy with a wooden interior and their menu rocks with various sandwiches all home made. They also have a nice breakfast menu with a few other bits and pieces thrown in and the assortment of coffee's and teas is outstanding. Plenty of vegetarian choices are available and you can also buy home made bread.

They've been around for more than 6 or 7 years already, they were the or one of the first bakeries on Koh Tao. Now there are plenty of other bakeries spread out over the island, but this is the original!


This is their version of a full breakfast, for 150,-THB, a guaranteed filler and very tasty.

If you find yourself on Koh Tao, definitely a place worthwhile checking out.

Camille

15th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It' sunny on Koh Tao, a blue sky with some clouds in it. Current temp at 7 am is 27.3C, warm already! Funnily enough, that blue sky turned into a black cloud with rain, the moment I left the room and currently it's drizzling.

Yesterday was another nice day, with a max temp of 32C.

The English written newspaper the Nation had this article yesterday 10 provinces warned of big waves, storms before yearend which included Surat Thani province to which Koh Samui belongs.

Politically, a lot of attention of the demonstration attention and front news was taken away by a border dispute with Cambodia, but according to a former Thai PM Thaksin holds the key : Anand and before the riots started there supposedly was a chaotic meeting before the bloodshed with drunk ministers!

PM Somchai is now also possibly questioned for his past role for alleged dereliction of duty.

Camille

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

14th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's looking very promising again. A blue sky is shaping up with big white clouds over the ocean. Current temp at 7 am is 25C.
Today's I'm off to Koh Tao for two nights for another PADI IE.

Yesterday was very hot! Max temp reached 31.4C.

The political weather in Bangkok remains unstable, PM Somchai was summoned to an audience with HM the King and house dissolution rumours are rife.
The Royal household has made it very clear where their sympathies lie, HM the Queen attends slain protester's cremation. The family won't get their daughter back but it must've meant some consolement for them and it's of course a massively big political statement.

The row over the tear canisters continues as well; Orders came from above, says Dr Pornthip. Dr. Thorntip may be remembered for her outstanding work during the Tsunami work she did.
Chinese canisters to be recalled, destroyed.

Here's also some news about the person who has caused a lot of the current Thai problems; Thaksin: The man with perfect timing.

Camille

Monday, 13 October 2008

Big Buddha revisited

Big Buddha revisited

Last night and early this morning I picked up some friends from the airport who took today's afternoon Seatran ferry to Koh Tao and after lunch at Dcheed 2 in Chaweng, we stopped at Big Buddha to enjoy the scenery, since both of our friends had never visited Big Buddha or Wat Plai Laem where we also stopped briefly before we sent them packing to Koh Tao or better known as the Rock.

A lot of reconstruction and preservation has been and is currently going on around Big Buddha, or Phra Yai as the Thais say and here's a repainted Buddhist scene next to the entrance of Big Buddha. Big Buddha's head just peaks through on the top right corner of this picture.



The entrance gate to Big Buddha, closely guarded by two Yak who guard Buddha and frighten the spirits away.


The view of Big Buddha with in the background the wheel of life remains fantastic and the view from up here is beautiful over the surrounding bay.



Neat the stairs leading up to Big Buddha, there are various Buddhist artifacts, amongst others these 'lucky number' machines. You spin a dial inside the machines, the dial stops over a number and you get the corresponding piece of paper in front of the machines and you can read your 'luck'.

Outside the Buddhist area there are plenty of shops selling the usual touristy things and a shop with a bit more unusual Thai souvenirs; Double Dutch. Enjoy your visit, it's worthwhile.

Camille

13th October, 2008

Today's weather;

This morning around 6 am I woke up from a storm and hard wind and rain. However, by 7 am when I was picking somebody up at the airport, it was sunny again and there was a beautiful rainbow over the airport! Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.

Yesterday was sunny and hot with a max temp of 30.8C.

The situation in Bangkok remains unstable but I found some interesting sites with good articles, one is by a long term Bangkok resident Nick Nostitz, who's also renowned photographer, his observations are mentioned in this article, please read also all comments made on the article.

Here's a link to a PAD website in English which some interesting links to photos and Youtube.

In the meantime, PM Somchai was on TV last night with a speech; Resignation, House dissolution not solution.

There are also new developments regarding the use of the teargas during the demonstrations; Explosives residue on protesters' clothes.

PAD delays rally in front of police head office.

Camille

Sunday, 12 October 2008

12th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's blue once more with plenty of white cloud traces. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C.

Yesterday was a nice sunny day and it was warm again with a max temp of 31.7C. It seem that the rainy day two days ago was a one off for the time being.

On the political side of Thai life, pressure on PM Somchai to step down keep mounting; PM ready to quit or dissolve House. I'm not too sure if that will solve a lot, in the short term it will solve the immediate connection to form PM Thaksin since current PM Somchai is Thaksin's brother in law. In the long term, Thailand's democracy most likely won't be able to solve the solution since elections are too corrupt and any government to follow up the current PM will most likely be comprised of the current political party of PM Somchai. Both options that the protesting PAD rejects.
The PAD however offers nothing great neither, since they want to get rid of a democracy and install a cabinet that's not voted for by the general Thai population but is voted for by internal political parties.
In my humble opinion this is not right and PAD should focus on weeding out the old tradition of vote buying and the general corruption in Thailand. This is of course just my opinion and as a non Thai national it won't have much affect on the current state of affairs.

In the meantime however, PAD opposers had a violent plan to solve the occupation of Government House by PAD; Salang's assault plan rejected. It's good to see that some cool heads prevail.

Another important force to beckon with, the army came with a statement as well; Coup not solution: Supreme commander.

In the meantime the poll keeps running for another 4 days and 19 out of 20 current votes like me to continue with political updates. Thanks for voting folks!

Camille

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Yamato, Japanese Restaurant, Chaweng

Yamato, Japanese Restaurant, Chaweng

Unfortunately Yamato has closed it's doors

It's been a while since I've been doing some restaurant reviews, I wish I could do a few per week, but oh my, my weight would go through the roof, or rather the opposite way?

Today however was a great occasion to visit one of our favorite restaurants on Samui since years; Yamato an outstanding Japanese restaurant in Soi Colibri in Chaweng.


The cosy outside of Yamato in Soi Colibri, which is located almost opposite Centara Chaweng on the beach road, coming from the one way system, a bit further down the road than Zico's Brazilian restaurant on the right hand side. On the corner with beach road is a fairly big Kodak shop.


One of the reasons we, my wife and me, like it so much is that the kitchen is run by two Japanese chefs, which results in the excellent taste of the meals!

Don't get me wrong, I do like the Japanese chains like Oishi and Fuji et all but there has to be a difference and that difference is amongst others by having two Japanese chefs preparing your food!

A view at the interior of Yamato, the back room is air conditioned! Makes a nice difference on a warm and sunny day like today. The other nice thing is that Yamato's location in Soi Colibri makes for a quiet street environment, in contrast to their previous location directly on beach road.

Amongst others we had this lovely seaweed salad. Other things on today's table included a mixed Sushi plate, Agedashi tofu, Gyoza and other bits and pieces.


This Salmon Don dish was also part of our meal, salmon sashimi over vinegared rice.

If you're in to Japanese food, this among the best Samui has to offer or if you want to experience Japanese food at a good price (compared to Europe), stop by and enjoy!

For my Japanese readers (as if there are that many) or for you folks that can read Japanese, the owners of Yamato seem to have a Japanese website which you can visit here.

Camille

11th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It's nice and dry again with a sky that looks like a mixed bag, blue but with clouds and no wind! Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was windy, rainy and relatively cold at 29 C. It looks a lot better again today!

The political front is trotting on and my poll keeps plodding away, 17 votes so far, 16 are for political updates and one vote for Samui related posts so far. Thanks for voting!

A rights panel calls for probe into quality of teargas and no explosive residue: Pornthip.

An interesting read is this Nation article in which both sides seem to ask the army to stage a coup, only in Thailand; Army chief enrages PAD with "no-coup" remark.

One more article calls for; Let's forgive and admit fault.

In general the main question is how to proceed from here, since there seems to be a deadlock with both sides not wanting to move an inch.
The sad thing or fact is that all of this is caused by former PM Thaksin who 'completely innocently' sits and waits in the UK waiting for his asylum approval, allegedly still trying to influence things and events in Thailand.

Camille

Friday, 10 October 2008

10th October, 2008

Today's weather

It was a busy day and the start wasn't good to begin with. At 6 am I woke up because a storm was raging outside and we had a power cut, that lasted until I left home, hence the reason I couldn't post this morning.
Current temp at 4 pm is 28.7C.



This is how it looked around 7 am, already calmed down a bit but wet and grey, the strong wind had subsided by then. I'm about to complete the current IDC with an Open Water dive at Chaweng beach, but overnight the wind direction changed, so the wind was blowing in on almost emptied out Chaweng Beach. It very good for surfing today, but not for diving! We had to cancel the Chaweng beach dive and go back to a different beach at World Resort where I conduct the IDC's. Check my dive blog for updates.

All morning it was dark and grey with constant rain varying from hard to drizzle strength. During the afternoon the sun actually came out and it dried up. A typical monsoon day and it looks like the monsoon may have started, let's hope it was a false alarm!


This picture of a Lotus flower in full bloom was taken yesterday morning in our garden when the sun was still out and it was hot and dry all day. Max temp reached 31.7C yesterday.



This little fellar was visiting our garden as well somewhere last week, doesn't he look like he belongs in an age some 2000 years ago?

The political scene has been interesting as well, 7 PAD surrendered to police to face charges of leading street protests and the illegal occupation of Government House. They all got released on bail.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday cast doubt on whether the government could form a truly-independent committee to investigate the police crackdown on protesters and the turmoil will not end by PM's resignation or House dissolution: Somsak.

The above story and plenty of other stories like this one; Somchai government holds responsibility on police's use of violence : Army chief bring PM Somchai under heavy attack and PM Somchai suddenly cancels oversea trips.

The controversy regarding the heavy wounds inflicted on Tuesday carries on and according to this Nation article crackdown victims wounded by 'hot and hard objects' so the PAD plans major march against police. It is and probably will remain for a while an interesting situation and it looks like PM Somchai may not last much longer.

The problem with that is, what's up next?

My poll is working fine, 12 people voted and all would like me to continue with the political updates so far. Thanks for voting and if you haven't so far, you got another 5 days to vote!

Camille

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Update on the political situation and a poll!

Update on the political situation and a poll!

Here's an update about the political situation with some very interesting views and news!

I also added a poll, in which you can vote if you want me to continue with the political information or just post about Samui and non political topics and issues. The poll is located in the left side panel, pretty much at the top, just under my profile. You can vote untill the 16th October!

Some very interesting news is that the two PAD leaders that were arrested last week, have been released on bail after the Appeal Court dropped the treason charges ; Chamlong and Chaiwat released on bail.

Upon learning the court's decision, Sondhi Limthongkul, a PAD leader, said he and other leaders were ready to surrender to police on the remaining charges. They are willing to fight the other charges, but not that of treason, which they deem unjustified. They will then ask to be freed on bail, Sonthi said.

The news reporting on the riots has been very open and there seems to be no or not as many (possibly?) restrictions or censorship for the press like there was during the Thaksin regime. This is a very good development.

Another interesting ruling of of a Thai court; Administrative Court issues junction on crowd control measures.

Here's a very interesting article on the role of the new and current PM; As crisis manager, Somchai proves totally disastrous by Suthichai Yoon and I also like this article in the Nation by by Pornpimol Kanchanalak; When winning is the only thing, the country is casualty.

there's also a new view on the injured demonstrators; Chinese tear-gas may be culprits: forensic expert, providing this is true, it seems that almost nothing that comes out of China is safe!

Hope you enjoy the update and I'm looking forward to your votes!

Camille

9th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks good outside, a blue sky laced with some light traces of clouds. Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday was a warm day although it was fairly cloudy most of the day with the sun peeping through on plenty of occasions though. Max temp reached 31.8C. Somewhere during last night there was a strong downpour which woke me up.

Regarding the situation in Bangkok, I received a few mails from friends who are concerned about the situation and about travelling to Bangkok or Thailand.
Right now, the riots were at one small part of Bangkok and in all the rest of Bangkok and all of Thailand you wouldn't even know something had happened. Most likely various countries will hand out negative travel advice to Thailand but in my honest and modest opinion there's no problem in travelling to and visiting Thailand. Very important to understand is also that the protest are not directed at foreigners or tourists but are purely an internal political situation.
On Samui live moves on like every day.

On that note, the police came with an interesting theory about the woman that was killed during the riots; Angkana killed by bomb she carried, say police and they claim that only tear gas was used to disperse crowds. The PAD will tell the world its side of story.

The good thing is that cooler heads prevail and that the violence has stopped at both sides.

Camille

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

8th October, 2008

Today's weather;

Once more it's a beautiful morning with a blue sky which is laced with white, fluffy clouds. Current temp at 7 am is 25.8C.

Yesterday was hot, the max temp reached 33.2C.

Last night remained calm in Bangkok. Initially the violence continued during the early evening but it was good to find out this morning that it remained calm and quiet in Bangkok overnight. Yesterday 2 people died and around 400 people had to be hospitalised; Policy reading creates a bloody mess and a vigilant PAD is ready to fight on. The latest article mentions that hundreds of protesters from the South arrived and filled the ranks, yesterday three buses left from Samui to join the demonstrators.

Let's hope that cooler heads will prevail now and this can be solved by talking rather than violence, by either side.

Camille

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Bangkok demonstrations turn violent

Today the Bangkok demonstrations turned violent for a second time.

During the morning Police cracked down on protesters to prevent from storming into Parliament: PM which later was followed by Police fire teargases to make way for MPs, senators to leave Parliament

Wounds are not caused by tear gas, but powerful explosives : doctors one person lost a leg and one person lost a foot.

Later on today a bomb attack in front of Chart Thai Party kills man.

Here's a photo gallery of the Nation newspaper in Bangkok with some very graphic images of today's riots in Bangkok and a link to the Bangkok Post photo gallery with (censored) photos of the man who lost both his legs.

HM the Queen worried over police's use of tear gas on protesters.

Deputy PM Chavalit resigns to take responsibility on police's use of forces and tear gas on anti-government protesters, Gen Chavalit is deputy prime minister in charge of security.

It's now up to the new PM Somchai to try to get this to a peaceful situation again, but it seems that the gentle person as he is portrayed may actually be a wolf in disguise. PM confirms to carry on his job: his visit to Cambodia on track

Unconfirmed messages talk about a lot firing arms, starting about half an hour ago!

Let's hope that reason gets the better and this doesn't escalate.

Camille

7th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks nice this morning but the sky is covered in a cloudy layer. Current temp is 25.5C at 7 am.

Yesterday saw another lovely and warm day with sunshine all day long. Max temp reached 32.5C.

The political situation changed drastically this morning I'm afraid. Outside of Parliament at Ratchawithi Road, near the Bangkok Zoo, the police has fired tear gas, rubber bullets and supposedly also real live bullets into the crowds. On the PAD TV channel of ASTV one could hear the shooting sounds. Supposedly one person lost a leg and the PAD leaders who are continuing their speeches are using mouth clothes against the tear gas.
All this started at 6.20 am. It's happening right now as I write this. I'm sure there's more news to follow later today. First online reports are here and here; Police break up Parliament's blockade with tear gases. Supporters of PAD are coming out of the wood works right now and have free transport on the city's transport system to go and support the demonstration. The supporters can be recognised because of their yellow shirts.
Also people from outside of Bangkok are moving down to the demonstration area, as ASTV reports.

Last night the siege started; the PAD besiege Parliament to prevent govt's policy address.
In the background plays Thaksin's political asylum in the UK.

Camille

Monday, 6 October 2008

6th October, 2008

Today's weather;

Another blue sky with cumulus clouds in it. It looks lovely. Current temp at 7 am 25.5C.

Yesterday saw no rain and plenty of sunshine with a max temp of 34.1C. We completed an Open Water dive on an almost empty Chaweng Beach as part of my current IDC, have a look at my dive blog for an update.

Camille

Sunday, 5 October 2008

5th October, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks gorgeous this morning, a blue sky with some dramatic looking cumulus clouds in the distance. Current temp at 7 am is 26.8C.

Yesterday was once more a sunny day with a max temp of 31.5C. There was a bit of rain around noon at Bophud but my wife who was doing a tour around the island didn't encounter any rain at all, all day long.

Camille

Saturday, 4 October 2008

4th October, 2008

Today's weather;

Once more a blue sky is shaping up but it seems that each day more and bigger clouds are hanging out in the distance. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was another warm and sunny day although there was a shower around noon. Max temp reached 33C.

The warm weather seems to feel different, rather than being searing hot as it can be, like last month, it feels now a lot more like autumn hot at the end of the day and also the sun light seems to have changed, not as bright as during the other months.

Camille

Friday, 3 October 2008

3rd October, 2008

Today's weather;

Another blue sky is shaping although there are some cloud formations in the distance. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday saw a blue sky and it was warm with a max temp of 32.8C.

Camille

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Welcome to October 2008

Welcome to October 2008

And an interesting October it will be!

It's starting nice enough with plenty of sunshine, that's for sure and that's also very good!

During October, at any time really, the rainy season or the monsoon can start. Last year saw a really bad October, starting from mid October, I can only hope it's going to be better this year around. During 2007 October and November hardly saw any rain at all but if you visit during October, expect some rain.

The rain can vary from a hard downpour for half an hour or so with sunshine at either side of the rain but it can also rain for longer periods and no sunshine in sight. The forecast for the first week look good however and with a bit of luck we get a nice and dry October.

Thanks for checking in on my blog and if you enjoy it, please subscribe to my RSS Feed so you're always notified when there are updates.

Camille

2nd October, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks lovely with a blue sky shaping up nicely. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was sunny and hot with a max temp of 33.7C.
Around midnight we had a serious downpour for about 20 minutes.

Camille

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

1st October, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks nice outside, a blue sky with a white fluffy layer seems to get ready for another hot and sunny day. Current temp at 7 am is 25.8C. A nice way for October to get on it's way.

Yesterday was sunny with partial thin cloud layers and it was hot with a max temp reaching 33C.

Camille