Wednesday, 31 December 2008
It's just a few more hours to go before the kick off of the new year and a good time to have a short look back.
The year started really good for us with a nice trip to Isaan. Our first stop was in Prachuap Kirikhan followed by stops in Bangkok, with must visits to the Erawan Museum and the Ancient City, Udon Thani and Sakhon Nakhon amongst others. Vientaine in Laos was also in the mix! Nicest thing of all, we bought a new car on the road!
The only other trips we had were to the neighbouring mainland with an excellent and fun trip in April to Nakhon Si Thammarat and various trips to Surat Thani city and province.
The weather in general was very good this year, even the rainy season during November was rather mild, although we saw plenty of rain at times, the drainage systems put in place worked fine.
My work year has been well documented in my dive blog.
Thanks for visiting my blog and contributing with comments. Keep coming back and keep the comments flowing, they are highly appreciated and keep the blog' alive'!
Leaves me with plenty of good wishes for the New Year for all my readers!
Was held in front of the local Plai Laem temple grounds and is for Plai Laem team only, although conveniently Choengmon and Bang Rak were counted in as well since otherwise there would've been only one team I'm afraid.
A beautiful background, with the temple rising behind the field.
The local Puu Yai Baan or Village Head, Plawit, was also participating, but he only waited in front of the opponents goal and once he got the ball, he did anything but get the ball nearer to goal. His qualities seem to be obviously somewhere else!
December 2008 was a good month concerning the weather, similar to last year. There was plenty of sunshine and not a lot of rain, except as it seems, the last day of the year, right now! Last year we also had a bit of rain on the last day of the year!
Samui is absolutely packed right now, it's very busy and it's actually been a while since I've seen it that busy, I hope that when the real acid test comes around March/April next year, it will be busy again.
We had some fantastic food over December, with a definite highlight of Sabeinglae in Lamai, Prego and Il Duomo in Chaweng, both Italian ristorante's and Il Molino an Italian bakery in Chaweng. Dcheed 2 in Chaweng also never seems to disappoint when it comes to Moo Sateh.
Other than that, I think it's good that Thailand got back on track politically, although PM Abhisit's cabinet looks rather shaky and full of compromises.
All the best for 2009 and I hope I will see you again next year.
The last weather update for 2008! There's plenty of overcast and not much sunshine right now with a current temp at 7 am of 25.2C. It actually just started to rain right now!
Tonight around midnight, there's plenty of rain predicted but all other rain seems to have more or less evaporated!
Yesterday saw a merely all day long overcast day with a max temp of 29.7C.
We went to eat at the Italian restaurant Il Duomo in Chaweng last night, by invitation of a friend and we all had good time accompanied by some excellent food.
See you all back in 2009!
A Happy New year and all the best wishes.
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
It's dry but very cloudy with a current temp at 7 am of 23.5C, so relatively chilly for our shores.
Yesterday it was slightly wet in the morning from that nights rain but after that it remained dry all day and the sun came through on more than one occasion and it actually turned out to be a nice day. The predicted rain percentages have diminished although there's a plenty of strong wind about to hit. Max temp reached 29.8C.
In Bangkok the roles are now reversed. After the PAD occupation of Government House, now the pro Thaksin group is blocking the entry to said Government House; Red shirts prevent House from sitting.
Monday, 29 December 2008
Sunday, 28 December 2008
Usually my blog posts are about fun things to do and see around Samui, but this post won't fit into that mould. It's addressing a problem that I see happening all over Thailand; illegal waste and garbage dumping.
The pictures in this post were taken on the short cut road from Plai Laem to Choengmon, the very north eastern part of Samui, near Bongoes Restaurant (they're got nothing to do with this garbage dump, afaik!).
Part of the problem is that there's no educational base, in schools for instance, that address environmental issues. It's very common to drive behind Thai people on a motorbike or a car and you see that their finished soda cans, empty plastic junk food bags and you name it are just straight thrown into mother nature without blinking an eyelid!
Coming from Europe, where there's a fairly big environmental awareness, it's shocking to see how the Thais seem to have a total disrespect for their own nature and soil, their own country which fills them with so much pride!
A simple example is that you'll be hard pressed to find any garbage can in Chaweng or any other location on Samui, something that could be drastically improved upon.
In my daily work as a PADI Course Director I'm actively involved in Beach Clean Ups and other related events and I teach about environmental issues during my IDC's but as already mentioned, the Thai school system doesn't cater to these issues and the majority of Thai people probable don't know better, although this doesn't justify their behaviour.
The garbage dumped at this site, where the pictures are taken, are clearly used by somebody who wanted to get rid of his construction garbage, even without environmental knowledge, common sense and the persons knowledge of local law should tell him that what he did is wrong!
It was good to see Greenpeace in Tesco Lotus yesterday, getting attention for a project they're conducting in Lamai, there's light at the end of the tunnel after all!
The shine is peeking through the blue patches but there are plenty of big clouds lingering around. Current temp at 7 am is 26.2C.
Yesterday started out very wet but gradually it dried up during the day. A total of almost 40 mm of rain fell yesterday. Max temp only reached 26.8C.
The next day or two look rather dry but than there's a few days with lots of rain predicted.
The New Year travel stream will start up soon in Thailand and here's a rather scary article on stats of road accidents in Thailand; Road accidents have disabled more than 5,000 people a year, killing one person every 20 minutes and injuring one every two minutes, especially during the New Year holiday break, according to a Thai Health Promotion Foundation (THPF) report released yesterday.
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Yes, you're reading right, the Thai word for dentist sounds similar to 'more fun'! 'Fun' is the Thai word for tooth and 'Moh' is the word for doctor, so I went to see a Moh Fun over the last three days, a Christmas well spend!
It was actually not that bad at all, just had some tartar removed one day and 5 holes fixed over two more days. That's what you get for not visiting your dentist on a regular base.
My Moh Fun of choice is Dr. Jimmy in Chaweng, I've been visiting him since the first time I needed a dentist on the island and have been going back ever since. I've had a short flinch with another dentist over a crown, but when I showed up at the appointment I was first made to wait almost an hour and secondly the moment I sat down, the arranged fee was raised with 500,-THB, out of nowhere. I just walked out and have been with Dr. Jimmy again and to my full satisfaction I must say ever since.
He runs outlets at two different locations, one in Nathon where he serves the teeth in need from Monday through Wednesday from 7.30 - 17.00, even throwing in half of a Sunday from 8.00 - 12.00 and from Thursday to Saturday he's in Chaweng from 9.30 - 20.00. His shop in Chaweng looks a lot like the picture above and is located opposite Focus supermarket in Chaweng or next to Travel Line Service or if that doesn't help, two or three houses down from The Wave, a backpacker guesthouse! If you know the sandy short cut road to the Lake Road from the one way system, it's also opposite there!
It's raining cats and dogs this morning, since 7 am! Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C.
Yesterday started out really nice, with sunshine until about noon. It started to rain and drizzle after that on a regular base. Max temp reached 30.5C.
Friday, 26 December 2008
There's no other way I can describe her place. It is a hole in the wall kinda place and it doesn't has a name as Mickey, the owner/cook, told me, so this is it! After yesterday's visit to Prego quite a change of scenery but a good one nonetheless!
Kuaitiao is a noodle soup, one of the dishes Mickey dishes out, besides plenty of 'a la carte' dishes! No curries or coconut based dishes though!
It's a lovely place for some good, simple and cheap Thai food, no chance for a menu, so you better know what you want when you step inside! Mickey is friendly though and speaks a limited amount of English, enough to help you out.
This is how it looks from the front, it's located near Pee Soon. Where the one way system starts in Chaweng (downtown), hand a right instead of going straight. After about a good kilometer, there's Pee Soon's square on the left and a road that leads to the airport departure area goes off to the left, another 100 meters further down on your left hand is where Mickey's place is at.
It's 4 years ago now that the Indian ocean earthquake occurred that triggered the Tsunami which hit the shores of Thailand and many other countries in the region, taking many lives.
In remembrance to all the victims and also for the survivors who had the hard task to pick up the pieces and continue live without loved ones.
This picture may give an idea about the devastation that rocked Khao Lak in Phang Nga province back in 2004. The front area, near to the beach was completely wiped out and the more in land you went, the more of buildings structures evolved until you actually found complete houses again, some 100 meters away from the beach.
I visited Khao Lak in March 2005, just 3 months after the Tsunami and people were already starting to rebuild Khao Lak, despite the wide spread devastation.
A few blue spots stick out amongst the clouds but it's dry right now and looks rather nice. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.
Yesterday saw a lot of rain, in the morning it was just a short drizzle but in the afternoon it started was the same small drizzle but it was persistent and kept going on all afternoon with an occasional short shower thrown in as well. A total of 10.4mm fell yesterday and max temp reached 28C.
The forecasts aren't looking that great and predict a rather unusual amount of rain in my experience over the next couple of days.
A very good friend of mine arrived yesterday on Samui for one of his yearly visits and we had a Christmas dinner with a large party at the Italian restaurant Prego in Chaweng where we enjoyed some lovely food!
My wife had this platter of 'Grigliata mista di mare servita con verdure al vapore e olio al rosmarino' or in English 'grilled prawns, rock lobster, white snapper, salmon and squid with steamed vegetables and rosemary oil'. A delicious platter! As a starter she had one of the many bruschietta's on offer.
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Merry Christmas to all my readers, that you may have a peaceful holiday season.
There's overcast this morning and right now there's not so much sun to be seen. It's dry though with a current temp at 7 am of 27C.
Yesterday was once more a nice and warm day although we had a 3 minute shower yesterday morning! Max temp reached 30.3C.
The forecasts are still wobbly, although the tendency seems to be that next couple of days will see a bit of rain.
In Bangkok it seems that the Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya is waking up to his own words about the airport siege and is apologising. A foreign minister can't just shoot his mouth off.
In the meantime the opposition party seems to have a problem; Why are they all so scared of being opposition leader?
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
It's cloudier than previous days, with little bits of drizzle although there are still blue patches around. Current temp at 7 am is 23.3C.
The predictions for the 26th and 27th aren't looking too good, lots of rain and strong winds are predicted.
Yesterday however saw once more a nice and warm day with a max temp of 30.4C.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
As reported a few days ago on my blogpost of 21st December, the current Democratic PM Abhisit Vejjajiva visited Samui to attend a Democratic meeting at the Imperial Boathouse in Choengmon on Koh Samui.
I managed to get some exclusive pictures of this visit. Khun Abhisit stayed only 4 hours in total on Samui and was rushed in and out. Being a PM must take it's toll! Here he is in a group picture with fellow Democrats, including Nattaya Daengboonga, a movie star (world famous in Thailand) from about 20 years ago, in this picture on the far left.
This is one of the older restaurants on the island and was my first introduction to Kao Man Gai, years ago!
The name of the place is Dae Ngiab, Ngiab being the name of the owner and Dea a Chinese name for Pa.
A blue sky with big clouds shaping up over the water is ruling over Samui this morning with a current temp of 24.9C.
Today, Samui born Scorpion Queen Kanchana Ketkaew is trying to break her record of staying in a confined space with scorpions. She's trying to stay for 33 days and 33 nights in a confined space with 5.500 adult scorpions in Pattaya. Good luck to her!
Yesterday saw another blue sky with loads of sunshine and a max temp of 29.5C.
Monday, 22 December 2008
An almost perfect blue sky rules over Samui with a current temp of 25.5C at 7am.
Yesterday saw once again a nice day with plenty of sunshine. max temp reached 29.8C.
Here's an interesting article on the new coalition that forms the current Democrat lead Government in Thailand; When the beauty of democracy is not so beautiful.
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Today's it's cloudy with blue patches, a slight variation on the same theme this last week. Current theme at 7 am is 24.6C.
Samui and Phuket have now prolonged periods of good weather with plenty of sunshine and the political situation has quieted down. It's time to have confidence in Thailand as a holiday destination and book your next trip into the Land of Smiles again!
Yesterday was nice and warm with a max temp of 29.8C.
PM Abhisit arrived yesterday on Samui to attend a Democrat Party meeting at the Imperial Boathouse in Choengmon.
We had another lovely meal at the Sabeinglae Restaurant in Lamai with a fantastic giant King Prawns in Tamarind sauce.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
Friday, 19 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
It's a repeat from the previous days it seems. A blue sky laced with clouds. The current temp at 7 am is 24.6C.
Yesterday was sunny but with a clouded sky. Still nice enough to get a tan! Max temp reached 30C.
Abhisit receives royal command and is now officially Thailands 27th PM.
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
During the recent EFRI training as part of my last IDC, we had our lunch break at the newly renamed Khao Hom restaurant, formerly known as 'One Dollar Cafe'.
This picture shows a chicken sweet and sour dish. It's all good and decent food, worthwhile a visit if you're in the neighbourhood.
The nice weather is holding on, the sky has a nice mix of blue and white clouds. Current temp at 7 am is 25.4C.
Yesterday was nice again although it was partly a clouded sky, there were also sunny parts during the day and no rain. Max temp reached 30C.
Although there's a new PM, that doesn't mean it's quiet in Bangkok, Red shirts are being mobilised for a siege.
In the meantime, the Govt is to announce policies soon.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
A blue sky seems to be shaping up with some clouds looming in the background. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C.
Yesterday was a lovely day with plenty of sunshine and a max temp of 29.7C.
Thailand's 27th PM is Abhisit Vejjajiva, born and raised in the UK where he has attended various uni's and had some excellent education as well.
Former PM Thaksin's party, Pheu Thai is stating that the Govt won't last long.
Although there have been protests against Abhisit and the Democrats, my general feeling is that people are happy with a new Government that isn't Thaksin infested. It may be that slowly the ground is taken away under his feet which in my humble opinion is a good thing. He has been damaging Thailand over the last 10 years too much as it is. I'm not saying I'm too pleased with the PAD but for the average person this was a great outlet for showing that you had enough of him.
Monday, 15 December 2008
Many times we drove by this fairly new Isaan food style restaurant on the ring road in Chaweng, and at last we managed to stop here today, which both of our kids at a respective set of parents!
The restaurant's menu had their name translated as Tam Zaap, which to me, doesn't make much sense, my own Tam Saeb translation makes more sense to me. Saeb in the Isaan language meaning the same as 'arroy' in the Thai language, or something like 'tasteful' or saying that the food tastes good!
The outside road sign, near the traffic lights at the Tesco Lotus junction, travelling towards Lamai. This restaurant is open during the day time but it seems to be the only real Isaan style restaurant that is open during the evening/night.
The menu does contain lots of Isaan style food, but has also a huge 'Thai' and Western section, to keep the husbands/boyfriends of the Isaan lasses happy!
This dish is a variation of the classic Som Tam dish, probably Isaan's most favorite dish! Som Tam is usually made with green papaya but a variation with Isaan style Pla Ra (fermented fish)or puu (crab) is very common.
A blue sky with plenty of clouds is shaping up. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.
Yesterday saw a nice blue sky over Samui but around Koh Tao, where I was diving a cloudy sky formed. Max temp reached 31C.
We had a lovely dinner at Sabeinglea restuarant in Lamai with my parents and some friends! Highly recommendable.
In Bangkok MPs are set for showdown in Parliament as D-day arrives as elections for a new PM will happen today. The Democrats are wary that MPs will be lured by Bt50m "sick leave".
Sunday, 14 December 2008
It's a straight blue sky reigning over Samui today with a current temp of 25.3C at 7 am.
Yesterday saw a lot of sunshine and in general a nice day. Max temp reached around 30C.
Tomorrow may be an imported day, since a new PM will be elected and chances are it will be the Democrat Abhisit.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
An almost perfect blue sky is shaping up this lovely morning with a current temp at 7 am of 23.4C, which feels rather chilly!
Yesterday saw a sunny day with a max temp of 28.6C. This December so far is turning out to be a nice one.
Friday, 12 December 2008
Thursday, 11 December 2008
The last day on Koh Tao this morning, later today we head back to Koh Samui and there's a nice blue sky shaping up with an occasional cloud in it. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C. The PADI IE finishes today and you can see the result on my dive blog.
Yesterday was not as sunny as expected although it stayed dry all day. Max temp reached 29C.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Today coming from Koh Tao since I'm here for a another PADI IE, the last one of this year for me, for more updates, keep an eye on my dive blog. Today is Constitution Day in Thailand, a bank holiday which each year is celebrated on 10th December.
On the weather front, there are clouds over Koh Tao but also plenty of blue patches and it seems that a nice day is brewing up.Current temp at 7 am is 24C.
Yesterday was once more a nice and dry day with a max temp of 29.5C although the ride over from Samui was rather choppy due to the strong wind which causes plenty of waves.
In Bangkok the political scene has slowed a bit although Abhisit is still in the hot seat to become Thailand's 27th PM.
The key 'defector' Newin embraces Abhisit, but rejecting Thaksin "was tough".
The Cabinet has lifted the state of emergency in Bangkok and the Cabinet approves Bt1.9 billion to pay compensations to stranded tourists.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Clouds are over Samui this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 26C.
Yesterday saw sunshine and no rain. The strong wind prevails though. Max temp reached around 30C.
In Bangkok it seems more and more likely that the Democrat Abhisit could be the next PM, he also offers a glimmer of hope.
Follow the race to world's hottest political seat _ Thailand's PM post _ as it happens; Saving Private Abhisit
Monday, 8 December 2008
The sky broke open and there are plenty of blue patches. The wind still seems to be strong though. Current temp at 7 am is 25.8C.
Yesterday was cloudy but dry. Max temp reached 29C.
In Bangkok the political ball is in full swing for who's going to take the PM seat. At the moment Abhisit is poised to be pm as democrats seek house vote with former PM's Thaksin new party Pheu Thai in a desperate bid for power.
In the meantime, the closing of the airport seems to have been a massive blow to the tourism industry in Thailand. Many people cancelled their plans for their holiday in Thailand and hotels, restaurants etc are empty.
Sunday, 7 December 2008
It's cloudy and the recent, usual wind again. Current temp at 7 am is 26.6C.
Yesterday was cloudy and saw rain in the morning. The afternoon was dry again and a bleak sun even popped through the clouds during the late afternoon. Max temp reached 28.8C.
In Bangkok in a surprise move the Democrats may be forming a new government after they formed a coalition with former government parties and the new PM may be Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Khun Abhisit may be controversial for a complete different reason, he may be considered not being Thai enough, being born and raised mainly outside of Thailand and having completed his studies abroad.
Thaksin ex wife Pojaman is doubted te be here to see her mother. It's amazing that a fugitive (she's convicted and out on bail which she skipped) isn't arrested on arrival!
Saturday, 6 December 2008
It's cloudy and dry but a lot warmer than yesterday, 27.3C at 7am.
Yesterday saw a beautiful sunny day with a max temp of 30.2C.
In Bangkok Suvarnabhumi operates at nearly full capacity.
Efforts to form a new government remained stalled yesterday as rival factions from the disbanded People Power Party failed to agree with the smaller coalition parties on who should be next prime minister.
Pojaman back in the country she arrives ahead of Pheu Thai Partymeet tomorrow to choose leader.
Friday, 5 December 2008
Today is the birthday of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej who turns 81. All over Thailand, in front of all government buildings, hotels, shopping malls etc, you'll find similar pictures of the King in order to honor him, just like this one in front of World Resort in Bophud.
Unfortunately His Majesty is mildly sick and I can only extend my best wishes for a speedy recovery.
In the meantime, today's weather looks fantastic, a blue sky is shaping up! Current temp at 7 am is 24.5C.
If you live here, it gets 'chilly' during the night! If you're visiting, it will still be warm to your system, after 9 years here, I can feel the difference in night temperature!
Yesterday was a lovely day, a blue sky and no rain! We went diving with the current IDC group around Koh Tao and had surprisingly good visibility! Max temp reached 30C.
In Bangkok the search for new PM will be prolonged.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
A blue sky is out and about, although cloud formations can be seen. It looks like it's going to be a lovely day. Current temp is 23.2C.
Yesterday saw most of the day with a blue sky and the sun shining away. In the afternoon some dark clouds appeared but they didn't cause any rain and the sun returned. A very lovely day indeed. Max temp reached around 30C.
In Bangkok key leaders are wary over decision. Industry heads call for new style govt and another question raised in the Thai press is; Who will be next to face the fire?
Back at the airports some airlines resume Suvarnabhumi operations.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
It's cloudy but there are some faint blue patches in the sky as well. I'm ready to enjoy my day off during this current IDC! Temp at 7am is 25.5C.
Yesterday was once more dry although there were heavy clouds and it felt like the rain could start any moment, all day long. Max temp reached 28.8C.
In Bangkok the big news is that first the three coalition parties bite the dust and consequently PM Somchai has to step down and second the Suvarnabhumi siege ends although it won't be until 15th December at the earliest before the airport can welcome passengers again.
Questions arise as dissolutions put electoral system in a vacuum.
Let's hope that this ends the demonstrations for PAD, since it looks that for the time being they achieved their seemingly most important goal, the current government has been more or less dissolved and the PM, Somchai, has to step down. Although the airports opened up again today, I have my doubts about PAD, even if they returned the Govt House today.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
A month of celebration. The Thais kick off with HM King Bhumibol's birthday on 5th December.
Than there's obviously Christmas and than the New Year Eve's party!
The weather in December in general is on the up, compared to November, it may still rain but generally speaking not all day or various consecutive days as during November.
Let's hope that things cool down in Bangkok soon and that Thailand will get back to 'business as usual' very soon.
It's cloudy but dry. Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.
Yesterday was a dry day and in the afternoon the sun even broke through and we had a real blue sky again, see the picture above, taken at World Resort, where I'm conducting an IDC.
Max temp reached 28.5C.
In Bangkok it's same ol' same ol' and it grew a bit more violent; One died and about over 20 injured by a bomb explosion at Don Mueng, this morning Thai TV reported that a second victim succumbed to her injuries. Very sad.
PAD to quit Government House after three months of occupation, the protesters are urged to move to the two airports.
Battle moves to Court; All eyes will today focus on the annual military parade at the Royal Plaza and on the Constitution Court, which would be hearing closing statements of the three political parties accused of having committed electoral fraud.
In the meantime, 240,000 tourists are stranded in Thailand: tourism minister and more and more planes are send to Thailand to relieve the amount of stranded tourists by taking them home.
Monday, 1 December 2008
On the first day of the last month of 2008, it's very cloudy and a very strong wind is blowing but it's dry! Max temp at 7 am is 26.5C.
Yesterday saw a fairly dry day, there was a shower or two in the morning but for the rest of the day it remained dry. Max temp reached 28.7C.
In Bangkok the stalemate continues however stranded air crafts are allowed to leave from the two Bangkok airports so they can help get to people to their final destination in Thailand.
In the meantime several nations race to repatriate nationals stranded in Thailand.
A very long but interesting read; Yellow, red camps bring country closer to the brink.
Maybe tomorrow's court case against PM Somchia's PPP political party over corruption charges may get a breakthrough in this stand off although a verdict isn't expected until the 14th or 15 th December.
The coming National Thai holidays won't speed up the process neither, 5th December is the King's Birthday and the 10th December sees Constitution day.