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Sunday, 30 November 2008

Goodbye to November 2008

Goodbye to November 2008

This was a November to remember, rite? First the rain and than the Bangkok situation! That, unfortunately out shined everything.

The weather was typically November style though, to start with my main blog theme! The first couple of days was still surprisingly nice weather but than the November rain started in good old fashion with rain all day long and the flash flooding that go hand in hand with all day rain on Samui. The improved and new drainage systems are working very well however and the flooding didn't last long, within a day or two at most but mostly within hours the floods were gone all over the island.
Right now, towards the end of the month it seems that the monsoon rains have subsided and at least the weather situation is easing up.

This month we had some nice meals and my favorite spots most definitely was Sabeinglea in Lamai. Other faves we visited this month were Il Molino Bakery on the ring road in Chaweng, Angelas bakery in Maenam (now with aircon!), Erik's Swedish restaurant in Lamai and Bongoes in Choengmon, just to name a few.

The political situation has the world attention and is a work in progress. We can only hope that it will end soon and peacefully.

Hope to see you next month,

30th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy right now and the rain is (momentarily?) back. It drizzled a moment ago and there's a shower right now. Current temp at 7 am is 24.8C.

Yesterday was once more a dry day, that was three in a row, right? The sun even broke through a few times,although very weak. Max temp reached 29.3C.

In Bangkok it's still a stand off although the tension may worsen with pro-govt rally and after a bomb blast 47 are injured in explosion inside Government House.

Although I'm surprised that nothing has happened so far to stop the airport blockade, it could remain this way until at least Tuesday, when if everything is correct, a court ruling could dissolve the current PM Somchai's political party because of corruption. That would achieve PAD's goal of the current government being dissolved.

The selfishness of PAD leads also to a tourist arrivals drop by 50% next year, according to this article.

It's a sad situation where Thailand will end up as the looser.


Saturday, 29 November 2008

What to do in case of a car accident in Thailand?

What to do in case of a car accident in Thailand?

Well, there are a few things, first stay composed (providing there is no major injury) and smile, that's what the typical Thai reaction would be. Easiest will be to call your insurance and have them battle it out, but sometimes you work out a deal with the other party.
Whatever happens, don't get angry because it won't get you anywhere! Not easy to do sometimes, but it will benefit you.

Now, the concept of a breakdown warning triangle is lost in this country, so what to do? Grab the nearest piece of green vegetation and put it on the road. All of Thailand, except the freshly arrived tourist(s) will know now that an accident happened ahead. Just like in this picture!
Sometimes just a bunch of leaves on the side of the road are (supposedly) sufficient.

Once that is all sorted, sometimes you just got to deal with the strangest accidents. I leave it up to your imagination how this happened.

Drive safely!


29th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It seems that things are turning for the better on the weather front. It's a cloudy sky but with small blue patches in it and it's dry! The rainy season seems to have left us although this doesn't mean the rain has completely gone, it just won't be there in the massive amounts we recently had. There's a very strong wind blowing though and this seems to be holding on for a few days. Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday saw another dry day, the second in a row and the roads are almost back to normal, all the water has almost disappeared. Max temp reached 28.4C.
The other good thing is that my parents arrived save and well on Samui, yesterday, although they were very tired.

Here's a picture of one of the water pumps in action around the island, this one is located in Maenam. Note the car license plate at the left, that somebody lost and can come and collect here again.

In Bangkok the stand off continues; Heavily-armed police block main road to Bangkok airport so the PAD does the only sensible thing and Chamlong alerts protesters to move from Government House to Bangkok airport.

Nearly 100,000 passengers have missed flights since protesters shut down Bangkok's two main airports on Tuesday and the total could hit 300,000 as the shutdown continues, Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said yesterday.

The Office of the Attorney General yesterday sent back a police request to revoke bail for the nine leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy. It said the procedure had not been carried out correctly.

The government should quickly end the occupation of Bangkok's two airports, otherwise red-shirt crowds will take the law into their own hands to deal with the yellow-shirt protesters, organisers of the "Truth Today" talk show said yesterday.

And last but not least the Police chief was removed yesterday.


Friday, 28 November 2008

28th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's dry and cloudy but there's a very strong wind. Current temp at 7 am is 26.8C.

My parents are on the road, I hired a mini van with driver for them and they left Bangkok around 5 am this morning. If all goes well, they should be on Samui later today.

Dear readers, what happened with the subscribers, there were only 8 RSS feed readers yesterday compared to 18 the previous day! Please subscribe to my blog if you want to have updates announced to you. Thanks!

Yesterday was dry all day long and it was a nice feeling to be able to walk around dry! Max temp reached 29.5C.

All roads pictured on my Samui November 2008 rain pictures post got rid of the flash floods within hours after the rain stopped. There's still a lot of water coming down the mountains but the drainage systems can deal with this run off water, as long as it stays dry.

In Bangkok there's a growing unease and the capital is increasingly tense as coup rumours spread and the coup rumours scare office workers.

ASTV office and PAD protesters at Don Muang are attacked.

Many business executives who were only in transit when their plans were disrupted are hoping that Suvarnabhumi Airport will reopen as soon as possible so they can get back to work.


Thursday, 27 November 2008

An update about the situation in Bangkok.

An update about the situation in Bangkok.

It's not looking very good and a lot of whispers go around, announcing yet another coup (if this would happen, it would be the 19th coup since 1932) and PAD is bracing itself for crackdown.

A state of emergency has been declared around two areas in Bangkok, the two airports Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi.
PM: Air Force and Navy to help clear airports and Samut Prakaran authorities on alert over airport's seizure, with 30 emergency medical teams on alert.
If this doesn't look serious I don't know what does, although it must be remarked that the current Government declared a State of Emergency once already over the occupation of the Government House, but the army didn't interfere. It may be different this time around.

In the meantime PAD vows to fight off police crackdowns. Unfortunately everything points to a violent confrontation in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Kind of caught in the middle are my parents who made it yesterday into Bangkok because they were on a Thai Airways flight (most other flights were cancelled or re-called in mid air) but got re-directed to Chiang Mai, where they had to board the plane after a 5 or 6 hour wait before they were brought back to their final destination Bangkok, although at Don Muang, the old airport. It wasn't until 11 pm that they reached a hotel near Don Muang.

Today, after work, I just started another IDC I checked for flights from Pattaya to Samui but these were all booked until Wednesday 3rd December. Plan B was taken into consideration and I rented a mini van with driver for them and now they will be picked from their hotel hotel at 5 am, hopefully before too much political activity will go down (remember, their hotel is in the state of emergency zone!) and they can be safely on their way to Samui.
I'll be relieved to be able to welcome at Samui pier tomorrow!


27th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy and a small drizzle is coming down, really small though, at the moment. Current temp is around 25C.

Yesterday saw torrential rain in the morning until around noon and after that it stopped all day with raining with even some bleak sunshine coming through.

My parents made it eventually to Bangkok after being diverted to Chiang Mai. They had to wait a dew hours there and arrived in a Bangkok hotel around 11 pm. They're waiting now to continue to travel on to Samui.

Not surprisingly Thailand has been put on world travel warning list by many countries.

A Civil Court orders protesters to leave Suvarnabhumi Airport immediately and also not surprisingly PM condemns seizing of airport as illegal and threat to democracy.

When our window to world was shut; PAD supporter gives first-hand account of airport seizure.

Anupong, man in the middle, holds the trump card and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday offered himself as a mediator to broker peace talks between the government and the People's Alliance for Democracy.


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Today's situation in Bangkok

Today's situation in Bangkok

It's not getting much better unfortunately. After the closure of the Suvarnabhumi airport yesterday evening, at least four rounds of bomb attacks rocked Bangkok early Wednesday, injuring at least 12 people. 3 bombs at Suvarnabhumi airport and 1 at the old Don Muang airport.

THAI Air flights are diverted to Don Mueang, U-Tapao airports, my parents are on a shared Thai/Lufthansa flight, due at Bangkok around 1.45pm today, so i wonder where they will end up and how in the world they will get to Samui, since Bangkok Airways, Thai Air Asia cancel flights.
Airport negotiation with PAD fails.

Tourists urge to check with airport, police at these phone numbers

My personal problems aside, this will hurt Thailand. Tourists will consider twice where to go to without having a chance to either not being able to arrive or leave!

PAD being PAD is stating 'We'll be here till PM quits". More and more people seem to lose their faith and patience with PAD and I'm definitely amongst them. Don't get me wrong, whatever the previous governments in the last 10 years achieved under direct or indirect influence of Mr. Thaksin is not good and I don't think an entry of Mr. Thaksin into Thai politics is a good thing..

One reason the situation doesn't diffuse is because said Mr. Thaksin keeps trying to get his grip on power back.
There may be some friction in that camp also; Why Somchai no longer sees eye to eye with Thaksin.

The whole situation is heating up the military, police are urged to act against PAD.

It's going to be an interesting one!


Samui November 2008 rain pictures

Samui November 2008 rain pictures

The last few days has seen some substantial rain in Koh Samui and as per usual, the hot spots on the island are same ol' same ol' with some serious flooding. There are loads of flash floods but in general the various new drainage systems around the island can handle that water within a couple of hours.

The problem that Samui is facing is partly that with all the new construction. nobody really cared about the water running down from the hills in the rainy season with no place to go.

Right now the rain has been going on for so long that the wooden doors are difficult to close, nothing dries up that got wet, shoes, towels, shirts, pants etc and everything turns moldy and smells unpleasant. The 'fresh air in a can' producers must love this time of the year!
Next problem coming up is the sewage tanks filling up with water and not being able to take more in. We have two of them and one is already overflowed and out of action. One bathroom down, one to go!

This is the road just around the corner of my house, at the end of this flooding is a 7-11 convenience store and over the whole 400 or 500 meters length, the average depth is about 1 meter. Once the rain stops, this flood might disappear rather quickly.

This is the same road, now looking from the 7-11 vantage point. This road has a problem every year when there's substantial rain, although, earlier on this month, before the heavy, non stop rain, this road flooded but it drained within a few hours compared to a few weeks previous years.

Another classic hot spot, just before the entrance to Big C on the ring road. This morning it has been raining very hard for around 2 hours and this area turns into a private swimming pool with murky water and heavy traffic!

Somewhere in the Plai Laem area, a river cut through a construction site and the site wasn't accessible but they still needed bricks from the site. This is one way of dealing with the problem, just heave the workers over and have them stick some bricks in the bay.

Best view of the day are a bunch of guys who make the best out of a bad situation and start to fish along muddy rivers. They have nets in their hands and whenever there's the slightest movement that may indicate fish, they throw the net in.

26th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's wet and cloudy again and last night I woke up a few times from the thunder and rain. Current temp at 7 am is just 23.7C.

Yesterday saw less rain than expected with 75.2mm. It pretty much drizzled all day though with various hard showers. Max temp reached 27.2C.

There's a lot of water on the roads and the known 'weak' points have problems with prolonged flooding. Some parts that have been taken care of by the local Samui government have drastically improved and the water is dealt with easily. This gives hope for the future and with the new local government we can only hope that things improve and a good and functioning drainage system will be installed all over the island.

The following was posted yesterday on a site called relief web, with a link to a Thai government site, but I failed to find this message in Thai;

Thailand: Heavy rains in Koh Samui warned

Koh Samui district today issues a warning announcement notifying local people of possible heavy rainfalls and strong wind in the Gulf of Thailand.


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Situation in Bangkok worsening

Situation in Bangkok worsening

First shots have been fired and two people have been injured.

To put the icing on the cake, PAD has closed Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok.
The Suvarnabhumi Airport has been ordered closed after PAD protesters seized key entrance and other areas.

Analysts say Thai protesters trying to provoke violent response from authorities

In the meantime Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has stood firm on his decision not to step down or dissolve the House of Representatives despite the latest rally staged by anti government protesters, government spokesman Nattawut Saikua said Tuesday.

The stalemate continues and a peaceful solution seems to be further away as days or hours pass.

This doesn't look good at all and I wonder where this will bring Thailand. Closing the airport is not sending the right signals to the rest of the world.


25th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's grey and wet! Various times throughout the night I woke up from the heavy and hard rain. Today's supposed to be very rainy again, even more than yesterday but than it's supposed to ease up after tomorrow. Current temp at 7 am is 25.5C.

Yesterday saw lots of rain, there were a few dry gaps during the day but not too many. There was 161.5mm of rain yesterday!
We went to Lamai and there was flash flooding everywhere and in Lamai there was a diversion since the road was that heavily flooded. Max temp reached 26.6C.

In Bangkok the situation keeps dragging on, yesterday's protests were peaceful but in my opinion it's getting nowhere and a stalemate is looming or is it becoming a game of who blinks first or is the final battle about to begin?
The PAD and the govt are holding the common man hostage. Although HM the King and HM the Queen seem to support the PAD, former PM Thaksin is trying all tricks to get back in the saddle again.


Monday, 24 November 2008

Sabeinglae restaurant, Lamai

Sabeinglae restaurant, Lamai

My wife has been telling me about this place for a long time, how good it's supposed to be. Since it's a bit out of the way for us, past Lamai, just past Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandmother and Grandfather stones) on the ring road, I didn't make it there until August this year. I happened to be in the neighbourhood and decided to drop in for lunch. Ordered a simple Pla Meuk Krapow (Fried squid with Chili and hot basil) and wasn't impressed.

Today we were in Lamai again, this time with my wife and we decided to give it another go and was I glad we did! This was easily one of the best Thai meals I had on Samui! Guess the big difference was that my wife came along and ordered some real good stuff!

The place is big and can cater to big groups, it's located with a view over the ocean and it's very popular with many Thais, they come from all over the island to eat here.

Outside are these water tanks with all the fresh sea food. They serve a variety of interesting Southern and/or Samui dishes which is always nice to see.

My wife ordered this salad, creatively named the Yam Sabeinglae, with lots of sea food in it and crispy onions on top, in a sour sauce. Just delicious!

She also ordered this Puu Lon, crab in a coconut/peanut sauce. Never had it before but it was truly awesome! Normally I'm not a big fan of fumbling around with crab and cracking the shells open for tiny bits of meat, but this dish made me dig in big time!
I ordered a Chicken Massaman curry, which was good, but too sweet for my liking. I need to get with the program and have my wife do the ordering!
It's a typical non-descript place but the food is fantastic, especially the fact that you can get local food, Samui style, only adds to the fun. Can't wait to go back and give a couple of other dishes a try!

24th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's overcast but relatively dry and a bit warmer compared to yesterday, it's currently 25.6C at 7am.

Yesterday saw also little bits of rain with long dry stretches during the night and daytime. Max temp reached 29.3C.

The Thai Meteorological dept issued this warning yesterday, warning # 17;

"Heavy Rain Expected South, Strong Winds in Gulf."
No. 17 (430/2551) Time Issued : November 23, 2008

The rather strong northeast monsoon over the South and the Gulf of Thailand will weaken. Decreasing in rainfall are expected over the areas while wave height 1-2 meters is likely over the Gulf.
Besides, the surge of rather intense high pressure system from China will extend its ridge to cover the South China Sea and the eastern portion of Thailand during 25-28 November, 2008. Showers and cooler with morning fog are likely in the first time and drop in temperature to become cool in generally with windy. High wave 2-3 meters occur in the Gulf during 25-28 November, all ship should proceed with caution again.

In Bangkok the heat is turning up again, the demonstration that I thought would happen yesterday has been postponed to today. So far it's quiet;
Anti-government protesters are planning the biggest rally today in a final showdown with the government, this time going for a people's revolution to topple the Somchai administration.
PAD set to launch 'king taksin operation'.

PAD besieges Parliament and DAAD urged to keep away from PAD protesters if they lay siege to Parliament.

Let's hope that it all stays peaceful.


Sunday, 23 November 2008

23rd November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy and it hasn't rained all night and morning, so far but it feels wet outside. Current temp at 7 am is 24.4C, relatively cold!

Yesterday was a wet day, with plenty of rain, especially during the morning. Max temp reached 27.9C.

Warning 'out of order', floods kill two in mid-South; Rescuers searched for a one-year-old boy missing after water runoff hit this southern province, drowning at least two other persons.

Bangkok is going to see an interesting Sunday, which demonstrations at both sides; Peace Advocates made a plea for restraint on both sides as the PAD and UDD geared up for major Bangkok demonstrations on Sunday and tension rises.


Saturday, 22 November 2008

22nd November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy and wet this morning. It's raining right now, not the hard rain we sometimes get, but just constant, non stop rain. It's still 27.2C. though at 7 am!

Yesterday saw lots of rain, also hard rain showers throughout the day but plenty of dry moments and even a very weak and very watery sun tried to peek through at one stage. Max temp reached 28.5C.

In the face of serious flooding, the Surat Thani provincial authority has declared six districts in the southern province as "disasterhit" areas - Chaiya, Tha Chang, Vibhavadi, Khiri Rat Nikhom, Kanchanadit and Don Sak. Don Sak is where the ferry arrives, next to where we went yesterday in Khanom! We did indeed see a lot of flooding and at some stage the road was flooded as well.

In Bangkok 8 were injured in another bomb attack outside Government House.


Friday, 21 November 2008

A daytrip to Khanom, Surat Thani

A daytrip to Khanom, Surat Thani

Today we went to Khanom, for a quick visit. An uncle of my wife's cousin's husband (you still with me?) passed away and we went in a 3 car convoy over to Khanom, where the cousin's husband originates from. We literally rolled off the ferry, hung a left in the first two curves we encountered and than it was just another 20 km's of straight road ahead of us, at the end of the road it was another two right turns and we there!
Khanom is located in the province of Surat Thani, just like Koh Samui. Earlier this year, in June, we stayed overnight at a hotel in Khanom after our trip to Nakhon Si Thammarat at one of the beaches that Khanom is known for.

It has been a while since we had a chance to get off Samui and this was a good enough excuse to get off the island again and every time it's such a relief to drive on a nice road where the car doesn't bump up and down every 10 meters once you reach the mainland!

What may be unusual to the Western eye, is the way Thais conduct funerals. Tents are pitched in front or near the deceased persons house and over a couple of days friends, foes and relatives come to visit and eat, until the day of the cremation, usually within a week after the person in question passed away. This is a sample of those tents, this one being a big and 'luxurious' version. It seems that the uncle was well known and there were messages from various prof. dr.'s from Uni's in Canada; Calgory, Montreal and Toronto were all present, as was Washington.

The monks at work. The daily prayer. After the prayer the monks eat and than get carried off again, back to their temple.
A few items to mention in this picture are the nice seat in the immediate front of the picture, occupied on various occasion by a main monk for chants (they can last for a while, bring a good book!). On the right hand, the whiteboard lists the daily events until the cremation, which happens to be tomorrow.
The Samui posse decided to travel a day early since too many people were expected tomorrow.

The place the monks use for their prayers. Interesting wall decorations, which big 'poster' like things pinned to the wall. At the right, it almost seems a copy of Motorhead's 'Ace of Spades'! Next to it, on the left, a poster with spoons in it, not very visible due to the flash but the 4th poster from the right, has also spoons in a pattern in it! Am still trying to figure out what the spoons means or represent.

After the visit to the deceased persons house, we went to the cousin's husband house which was just down the road but in the sticks so to speak. A couple of hundred of meters of muddy road eventually led to his parental house.
This picture shows how rural life in the rainy season is with an outdoor toilet which is standing on flooded land! Great if you have an urge in the middle of the night!

There were also chickens and a couple of cows running around on the premises, this cow with skinny legs and all was grazing away happily during the rain!
Although we had various bouts of rain during the day, it was a lovely day out and the ocean was surprisingly flat, despite some hard wind, which made the ferry rides smooth and easy.
Looks like we won't get off Samui until January again.

21st November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy and grey over Samui. Last night was almost non stop rain, ranging from a drizzle to very hard with thunder and lightning.

Yesterday was wet but saw surprisingly also some watery sunshine. It rained in bits and pieces, not all day long.


Thursday, 20 November 2008

20th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy and wet, as predicted! Last night it rained very hard around midnight and this morning it varies between drizzle and plain rain. The wind has also picked up. Current temp is still a very nice 27.2C.
Tomorrow we're planning to go to the mainland, to Khanom, so I'm not sure if I will be able to update in the morning.

Yesterday was still very sunny although the clouds crept in and twice I got wet, once in Maenam and once in Chaweng, although they were minor showers. Max temp reached 30.4C.


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

19th November, 2008

Today's weather;

There are a bit more clouds about this morning but still with plenty of blue patches. Later today rain is predicted. Current temp at 7 am is a whooping 27.5C.

Yesterday was just hot with a nice blue sky to top it off. Max temp reached 30.2C.


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

18th November, 2008

Today's weather;

More blue skies. It's shocking! Don't know how much longer they will last though, for tomorrow the rain is predicted again! Right now however, at 7 am it's 25.3C and great!
We'll be enjoying as long as it lasts! The weather changes are taking it's toll and my young daughter has gotten a fever overnight.

Yesterday was a very warm day, especially for this time of the year, max temp reached 30C. Aircons are working overtime on Samui, very unusual for November!
Spend almost all day in a class room though, teaching an Emergency First Responder course to staff members of the Imperial Boathouse in Choengmon. See my dive blog for an article about this.
Last night, around 9.30 pm we had the first rain since a couple of days though! It blacked out the TV satellite signal and I missed the end of a movie because of it..........


Monday, 17 November 2008

17th November, 2008

Today's weather;

We see another lovely, blue sky over Samui this morning. There are clouds scattered all over the place but mainly it's blue! Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday was a great day, blue skies all day long, no rain and hardly any wind at all. Max temp reached 30.5C.

The Thai Meteorological Department had this warning for Tropical storm Noul;

Warning"Tropical Storm Noul" No. 3 (407/2551) Time Issued : November 17, 2008
At 5.30 a.m. today, Tropical Storm “Noul” in the middle South China Seas was centered about 550 km east of Hojimin City or lat 11.0 °N, long 111.9 °E , with sustained winds of 65 km/hr. It is moving westwards with a speed of 18 km/hr. The storm is expected to move inshore to lower Vietnam during 17-18 November. The eastern portion of the Northeast and the Easter of Thailand experiences more rain while the prevailing northeast monsoon over Thailand Gulf will strengthen with wave above 2 meters during 18-21 November. All ships should proceed with caution during this period.

Usually these tropical storms never reach Samui or wind down before they can have any impact.


Sunday, 16 November 2008

16th November, 2008

Today's weather;

There's a beautiful blue sky this morning with some cloud formation looming in the far distance. Current temp at 7 am is relatively chilly with 24.7C.

Yesterday saw a blue sky reign over Samui and it was dry all day long. Max temp reached 30.6C.


Saturday, 15 November 2008

15th November, 2008

Today's weather;

Believe it or not, it's beautifully sunny this morning! There are some cloud formations floating around, but it looks like the next couple of days are going to be nice, before rain hits us again later this week. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was a dry day with some occasional sun beams. Max temp reached 29.5C.

Thailand is since yesterday in mourning for three days because of the Royal Funeral of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana today.

Other breaking news, so far only mentioned on Thai TV and not even in the papers yet, is that supposedly Thaksin's wife has divorced him. The problems seem to be adding up for him.
Update; Here's a link to the Nations article about the divorce; Thaksin and Pojaman end their marriage


Friday, 14 November 2008

14th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy with a very occasional sunbeam coming through this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday was a dry day with plenty of watery sunshine. Max temp reached 29.7C.


Thursday, 13 November 2008

Loy Kratong 2008, Koh Tao

Loy Kratong 2008, Koh Tao

This year I am in Koh Tao during the Loy Kratong festivities, so I had to celebrate and float the Kratong on my own, without my family. They went to the same place as last year, Wat Plai Laem and I went to the harbour in Mae Haad, like the majority of people on Koh Tao.

During the day time, plenty of people around Mae Haad were making Kratongs, to sell later on.
My Kratong came from staff at the Safety Stop who made a whole bunch of them.
This years Kratong!

My Kratong, floating in Mae Haad harbour, in company of dozens of other Kratongs.

It was busy at the harbour, with a constant coming and going of plenty of people who wanted to set their Kratong afloat.

13th November, 2008

Today's weather;

Koh Tao is bright and shining, it's actually slightly sunny this morning and the current temp at 7 am is 27.7C.

Yesterday saw some rain on Koh Tao during the morning but since noon, yesterday, it hasn't rained anymore. Samui saw rain almost all day long, with a few sunny periods during the morning but in the very early afternoon it stopped raining. Max temp reached 27.9C.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

12th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's a big change to yesterday, there's a weak sun breaking through today, both on Koh Tao where I am right now but also on Koh Samui! What a nice break! Current temp at 7 am is 26C.
Today is also Loy Kratong, because of yesterday's rain there was talk of changing the date, but things look on the up side again today and it seems it's a go tonight on Koh Tao.

Yesterday was a fairly calm trip over to Koh Tao by ferry, but on Koh Tao it almost rained non stop all day long. In Samui, in contrast, it was relatively dry yesterday. Max temp reached 28.1C.


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

11th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's wet and grey this morning and last night saw plenty of rain.
A bit earlier than usual since I have to catch an early ferry to Koh Tao, hopefully I can update more once on Koh Tao.

Yesterday saw loads of rain, heavy rain all day long and plenty of flash floods all over the island. The good thing is though that most of the newly installed drainage seems to be working. There's still flooding but a few hours later the flooding has gone in stead of days as before.

In the meantime it's 2.50 pm and I'm on Koh Tao with an update; it's raining cats and dogs here right now! Yesterday's max temp reached 27C.


Monday, 10 November 2008

10th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy and grayish with a constant drizzle this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 25.7C.

Yesterday was a very wet day with lots of rain pretty much all day long, the picture above was taken during the heaviest downpour, around 1 pm. Yesterday saw a total of 140 mm of rain!
Max temp reached 28.5C.
Later this week it eases a bit up. I like Windguru a lot.
Tomorrow I'll be off to Koh Tao once more, to give moral support to my IDC candidates during their PADI IE, you can follow their progress along on my dive blog.
Bangkok sees a lot of controversy regarding Mr. Thaksin; The government's popularity took a hit after former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra made a phone call to the "Truth Today" rally earlier this month, according to a nationwide Abac Poll conducted last week.
A case seeking the seizure of Bt76 billion of ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra's assets for alleged corruption will continue even if the defendant is now out of the country, former members of the Assets Examination Committee said.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

9th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy, dark and wet this morning with a drizzle floating in and out. Current temp at 7 am is 26.4C.

Yesterday was a very wet day with rain in various degrees throughout the day. Max temp reached 'just' 25.7C.

The Southern (east coast) Weather Bureau yesterday issued a warning for residents in risky areas such as Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Songkhla of flooding conditions as torrential rains were expected. All ships in the Gulf of Thailand should also proceed with caution and watch out for 1-2 metre-high waves.

In Bangkok the big question is; Whatever motivated London, it may be big and scary to revoke Thaksin's visa which could put Thaksin's asylum bid in jeopardy.
The Foreign Ministry has been officially informed about Thaksin's revoked visa, the confirmation of the Thai side ends the doubt that the report could have been just a rumour.


Saturday, 8 November 2008

Rip Tides around Samui

Rip Tides around Samui

Rip tides and rip currents are a recurrent, seasonal happening and you should be aware of them and know how to safely get out of them.
Last year I already reported about them, since now is the start of the rainy season and the rip tides and undertows start to pop again, it's a good time for a quick reminder.

These signs are posted all over Chaweng Beach and many resorts have a colour coded flag system to signal if the beach is swimmable or not. A red flag means a no go!

Regarding the rip currents, if you get caught up in one, don't fight it! Instead, swim to the side of the current and the water will quiet down again or let your self be taken out, away from the beach and than swim back again along the side of the rip.
Another problem are undertows. Be aware of them and deal with them in the right way! Undertow (often and incorrectly used for a rip current) is a strong subsurface flow of water returning seaward from the shore resulting usually from wave action.
Victims of undertows typically tend to be the elderly, who just don't have the strength to fight them.
Each year on both sides of Thailand, the Gulf side (roughly from November to February) and the Andaman side (roughly from May to August), too many people die because of these phenomenas and many times it can be avoided by first of all following the warning signs, the red flags (!) and abide to them and secondly, by knowing what to do if caught up in a rip!
Here's a very good link to Tezza's beach blog with tips how not to drown during your holidays!
Nonetheless, enjoy your stay on Samui.

8th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very dark and cloudy and very wet right now. Last night it rained a few times but until next week we're 'promised' rain every day all day long with loads of rain until Monday. Current temp at 7 am is 24.5C.

A deserted and almost emptied out Chaweng beach yesterday afternoon during a dry spell

Yesterday saw lots of rain in the morning, until noon, variations of drizzle and plain rain and a much drier afternoon. Max temp reached 28.2C.

In the meantime, some interesting new development arose in Bangkok and the most important one actually comes from London; The British Embassy has revoked entry visas of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman.
On top of that lawyers see lese majeste in Thaksin speech which could lead to more trouble for him, especially if proven right.

In the meantime it seems that PAD is losing its Bangkok support.


Friday, 7 November 2008

7th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It seems that the rainy season came home! It's overcast this morning and last night there was plenty of rain, one time I woke up around 4.30 am from the rain and thunder hose down. Current temp at 7 am is 25C and it's drizzling.

Yesterday the rainy season knocked on the door, just before noon there was an hour or so of some hard rain, with the remained of the day dry but with overcast. Max temp reached 30.3C.


Thursday, 6 November 2008

6th November, 2008

Today's weather;

Another blue sky is shaping up today, although there seem to be some more clouds in it. Current temp at 7 am is 24.5C.

Yesterday, once more, was warm and sunny. Max temp reached 31.5C.

Although the forecasts predict a couple of rainy and windy days coming up, starting around the weekend, here's a picture of Big Buddha under a glorious blue sky.


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

5th November, 2008

Today's weather;

More blue skies reign over Samui this morning with a current temp of 24.7C at 7 am.

Yesterday was a lovely and sunny day during which we completed the AI part of the current IDC on Chaweng Beach by means of an Open Water dive. Max temp reached 31C.


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

4th November, 2008

Today's weather;

It's still blue this morning but with a lot more cloud formations in the sky. It's very warm though, current temp at 7 am is 28.5C.

Yesterday was once more a lovely, warm and sunny day. Max temp reached 31.7C.

The Angthong Islands National Park will be closed to tourists now until December 23, the chief of the park said Monday.

Chaiyasan Hiransalee, chief of the national park near Koh Samui, said the park would be closed during the period for the safety of tourists as the sear would be rough due to the monsoon and storms.


Monday, 3 November 2008

3rd November, 2008

Today's weather;

Once more we have a nice blue sky reigning over Samui. Current temp at 7 am is 25.9C.

What was there to say about yesterday's weather, but that it was grand! A blue sky all day long and a star studded sky during the night. Max temp reached 31.5C.

All this in sharp contrast to floods that are hitting many lower North and Central provinces following several days of heavy rains in the areas.

Not much news from Bangkok, until something interesting happens I'll refrain from posting about the current political situation.


Sunday, 2 November 2008

Thai Gold

Thai Gold

Gold has a deeper meaning to many Thais than just being a precious metal made for the making of coins, rings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry. Thailand's former name was Siam and this means gold in Sanskrit. The Chinese called the country as Jin Lin, which means "peninsula of gold". Gold is also often mentioned in important Thai Buddhist literature, and Buddha is described as having a "skin of gold". Gold is also often used in the making of Buddha statues and other religious objects and artifacts.

All over Thailand, in every small or big city, you can find Gold shops, just like or similar to the one pictured above. The supposedly best place in Thailand to buy gold is Yaowarat Road in Chinatown in Bangkok.

A typical display in a typical Gold shop in Thailand. In the bigger cities, the amount of gold on display can be astonishing and can be easily worht while a couple of million Baht.

Thai gold jewelry often has a purity of 96,5% gold, which is equivalent to 23 karat. The remaining 3,5% consist of alloys such as silver and bronze. Some shops also provides 22, 20 or 18 karat jewelry.

Lower karat objects has become a little more common in Thailand nowadays, partly inspired by "western" or so called "farang gold". Generally speaking, the higher karat a gold object has, the softer it is. For that reason, a lower karat can be recommended for rings and thin jewelry.

The Thai gold often has an intense "yellow" color due to the high carat.

Thais use a unique unit of measurement for weighing gold, the "baht" which is precisely 15.244 grams before the gold is worked or 15.16 grams after. Most gold shops will display on their windows the current buying and selling price of a "baht" of gold bullion of 96.5% purity.

As displayed here, the current price for one baht of gold is 12.500,-THB, in contrast to one week ago when it was almost 14.000,-THB. Right now, a lot of people buy lots of gold in Thailand due to it's beneficial price. Just to compare, about 10 years ago, one baht of gold was 'just' 6.000,-THB.
Gold can also be measured in "satangs" and "salungs". 100 satangs = 1 baht and 25 satangs = 1 salung.1 baht in approximately half an ounce of gold (1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams) so a rough and ready way to calculate the value is to divide the price of gold in ounces by 2.
The baht is also the Thai currency unit which is somewhat confusing!
With thanks to the and Gold jewelry websites for insightful information.

2nd November, 2008

Today's weather;

This years November weather is an engima; it's a straight blue sky this lovely morning with a current temp at 7 am of 26C.
Last evening around 8 pm we had the first shower of rain since a while and it lasted just for a few minutes.

Yesterday was an all day sunny affair. Max temp reached 33C.

Bangkok remained quiet yesterday, deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told ecstatic but peaceful supporters on Saturday that only royal kindness and people's power would allow him to return home. Thaksin played a perfect victim.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

1st November, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks magnificent this morning, a blue sky with white fluffy stuff in it. Very unusual for a November morning on Koh Samui! Current temp at 7 am is 25.8C.

Yesterday was also a lovely day with plenty of sunshine all day long. Max temp reached 32.9C.

Bangkok is gearing for Thaksins broad casted speech at 8 pm tonight and plans for a live speech are reportedly cancelled.
The Supreme Court will monitor former premier Thaksin Shinawatra's address to his supporters at today's gathering to determine whether there is an act in contempt of court, a source said yesterday.

Police will seek help from soldiers to keep security in Bangkok Saturday night when supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will gather at the Rajamangala Stadium, the national police chief said Friday.

Senators yesterday called on the government to safeguard against possible violence resulting from confrontation between supporters of the feuding political sides.

Last night DAAD supporters disperse at Democracy Monument.


Welcome to November 2008

Welcome to November 2008

This is usually the 'wet' month, the height of the monsoon or rainy season.
Last year we were a couple of hours of rain away from being declared a disaster area on Koh Samui and for a few hours we had this doubtful honour. The amount of hits on my blog went through the roof with 7000 hits during November.
In contrast, two years ago we hardly had any rain at all during the rainy season in November 2006.

This year looks very good so far, although I do expect some rain later during this month but at the moment things look on the upside and the forecast for the coming days is very good, with almost no rain and actually bits and pieces of sunshine are being projected. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Keep visiting my blog this month and hopefully you will either decide to visit Samui soon or are already counting the days before you set foot here!

Thanks for visiting!