Saturday, 31 October 2009

Goodbye to October 2009

Goodbye to October 2009

It's time to say goodbye to another month in 2009 and this time it's October. Christmas and the holiday season is closing in rapidly!

This year saw an excellent version of October, a lot of sunshine, not too much rain, you could almost say not enough rain and when it rained it was at very convenient times, mainly at night. The majority of Samui water wells are well dry by now and the water trucks make a good living right now. We are in the lucky position that we seem to have a very good well that so far hasn't run dry yet.

Besides the excellent weather conditions, I had a good month with a great IDC finishing and a nice trip for some wreck diving in Pattaya and a short visit to Bangkok where I managed to dive with the sharks at Siam Ocean World in Siam Paragon.

Back to the weather though, the October version of 2007 was not good at all but the 2008 version was similar to this years version.

A good month to look back to and it's about time to get the rain coats out again since it looks like some serious rain is starting early next month.

Camille

31st October, 2009

Today's weather;

A blue sky is roaring over Samui. Better enjoy it since early next week it looks like rain every day! Current temp at 7am is 25.2C.

Yesterday started out very nice but during the day it rained/drizzled a few times although the sun came back on various occasions. Max temp reached 30C.

Camille

Friday, 30 October 2009

30th October, 2009

Today's weather;

An almost pure blue sky is rising high and dry above our house with a current temp at 7am of 26.5C.

Yesterday was sunny and warm and no rain in sight! This may change next week though, a lot of rain is predicted after the weekend. Max temp reached 30.5C.

Camille

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Bangkok Subway system or the MRTA

Bangkok Subway system or the MRTA

After my write up of the Bangkok Skytrain system in February this year, it's now time for the MRTA or subway system to receive some exposure on my blog.
During my recent visit to Bangkok, I used the subway system each day and it's a very convenient way of getting around. It's a lot less crowded than the skytrain for starters, it only seems to get really busy during rush hour and the rest of the day you seem to have the stations almost to yourselves!

The skytrain and the subway system meet a few times, one station is Sukhumvit/Asoke and it's a convenient and easy way to get around downtown Bangkok. The only downside is that each transportation system uses its own tokens and if you switch transportation system, you need to buy a new ticket. There seem to be some talks under way though, to combine all various current tickets under one new ticket system for all public transportation modes in Bangkok.


Spacious cars are part of the system and the existing network is only 43.7 Km long but there are plans of extending the network with another 247.3 Km. Can't wait for the extension of both systems, it'll be fantastic and just what the traffic congested road in Bangkok really needs!


As you can see for yourselves, empty platforms during almost all the day and cool on top of that, in contrast to the typical hot day times of Bangkok.

Camille

29th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Back home on Samui again and it's good to be here again. The sky is partly cloudy but laced with blue patches and some sunbeams. During my absence there was some rain but still nothing as compared to when the rainy season starts. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C

Yesterday was a nice and dry day in Bangkok, lots of overcast with the occasional sun bursts and a max temp of 34C.
The shopping was nice and succesful and I visited amongst Fortune Tower again for some electronic bits and pieces. Truly an IT wet dream.

Camille

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Nassir El Massri restaurant & shishah, Bangkok

Nassir El Massri restaurant & shishah, Bangkok

Is in my opinion the best Egyptian/Arabian restaurant in Bangkok. Almost every time that I find myself in Bangkok, I try to make it at least once to this amazing place which is located in Sukhumvit Soi 3/1. Today, after my dive with the sharks experience I found myself back at this fantastic and rather exotic place in Bangkok.

I've been told by people that have been to Egypt, that the place looks absolutely like restaurants in Egypt and everybody I talked to is impressed by their food.

They also offer hookah's or shishas, the big smoking devices that are so typical for the Middle east and Arab world.

The menu is very authentic and very big, but a great way to start is with the tea, ideally with loads of sugar and mint leaves. Be aware that there's no alcohol served in this restaurant.

I love hummus and I tried the hummus with lamb, pictured bottom right together with an okra tomato based soup and some bread. Ready to dig in but I'm still waiting for some meat.

The meat dishes in this restaurant are fantastic, usually very juicy and fresh and lots of lamb dishes are on the menu. There was however one particular dish that caught my eye, something I hadn't seen before and since I like to try new things, I had to go for it. It took me a while to convince the waiter that this was really what I wanted and he tried to point out about every other dish on the menu, including a very tasty looking dish of the day with chicken. My mind was set however and I went for the lamb testicles. Once he understood that I really wanted to order this he was cool with it and probably thought what a funny infidel I am. He enjoyed my choice though and it was really good, I had the kidney / lamb testicle dish but it comes in various options. If this choice is a bit too wild for you, don't worry, there's plenty of more traditional food available, including chicken, fish and other lamb options.
This place comes highly recommend by me and the prices are very reasonable to cheap. if in Bangkok, try it!
Camille




28th October, 2009

Today's weather;

It's partly sunny, smoggy and cloudy over Bangkok this morning with a current temp of 25.2C at 7am. Later tonight I'll be flying back to Samui again and tomorrow's update will be coming from home soil again. First some shopping needs to be done though.

Yesterday was a dry and sunny day in Bangkok except that around 10pm it rained cats and dogs for a good hour. Max temp reached 35C.
I also dived with Sharks at Siam Ocean World, a great experience and highly recommended! Have a look at my dive blog for some pictures and I went to one of my favorite restaurants in town, Nasir El Masri an Egyptian place on Sukhumvit soi 3/1.

Camille

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

27th October, 2009

Today's weather;

There's sunshine over Bangkok combined with some cloud layers and a current temp at 7 am of 27.1C.
Yesterday I put up a blog post about the wreck dive trip in Pattaya, well worth checking out and having a look at the pictures. Tomorrow evening it's back home to Samui again.

Yesterday saw a sunny day in both Pattaya and Bangkok and the max temp in Bangkok reached 35.3C.

Camille

Monday, 26 October 2009

26th October, 2009

Today's weather;

It's cloudy in Pattaya but dry. Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday was a nice sunny and warm day with a max temp of 31.2C.
Later today I'll be off to Bangkok for two more days and on Wednesday evening it's back to Samui.

Camille

Sunday, 25 October 2009

25th October, 2009

Today's weather;

The sun is out, shining brightly over Pattaya this early in the morning. Current temp is 26.2C at 7am. Today is our last day of wreck diving in Pattaya.
Yesterday saw some threatening dark clouds in the morning as shown on the picture above but it stayed dry all day long and the sun joined in as well occasionally. Max temp reached 30.6C.
Camille

Saturday, 24 October 2009

24th October, 2008

Today's weather;

Pattaya has plenty of overcast with a current temp of 26C.

Yesterday saw once more a lovely and sunny Samui but Pattaya was overcast and it had rained just before we landed. Once in Pattaya it stayed dry all day and there even was an occasional sunbeam. Max temp reached just below 30C,

Camille

Friday, 23 October 2009

23rd October, 2009

Today's weather;


More blue skies are shaping up for another lovely day with a current temp of 26.8C.

In a few hours I'm off to Pattaya for some wreck diving over the weekend in Pattaya.

Yesterday we had a very hot day. It wasn't until midnight when we had a very short but strong rain shower. Max temp reached 32C.

Camille

Thursday, 22 October 2009

22nd October, 2009

Today's weather;

A lovely blue sky is shaping is shaping up for another beautiful October day, the wells are drying up but the people holidaying right now are really having a fantastic weather patch. Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.
Tomorrow around noon I'm off to Pattaya for a weekend of wreck diving in Pattaya waters followed by a few days in Bangkok for some business meetings, I'll keep you updated through my blog here.

Yesterday was once more a lovely day with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures, with a max temp of 31.6C.

Camille

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A day in Nathon

A day in Nathon

As the title of this post already mentioned, we spent some time in Nathon today. This is where the Municipality is located and all other important government offices, including Immigration.

It's also the town on Samui that reminds me the most of mainland Thailand, since it's the least touristic town, compared to Chaweng and Lamai, to name the other two bigger towns. Interestingly enough, it hasn't changed that much since 10 years ago when I arrived on Samui. Sure, there's a new Seatran pier and a small Tesco Lotus, but the main structure and infrastructure hasn't changed that much at all.
Interestingly enough, the only supermarket or what you could call a supermarket was Samui Market, located on the main road. It had the only moving stairs on the island and 29 days out of 30 they seemed not to work! On a quick visit today they were holding to tradition and we had to walk them up rather than being moved up!

Nathon has 3 roads, the main road you enter Nathon in, coming from Maenam, a seaside road and a road in between these two bigger roads. This inbetween road and the seaside road I like best, since it they have a lot of small restaurants and shops that give some interesting views. Above is one of the original Hainan style build houses of which Nathon has plenty. Some shops that are located between the main road or seaside road and the in between road have doors facing each road and in between the whole family life seems to be displayed. I've seen shops that have a restaurant at one side that kind of leads into a living area and an assembly of all kinds of things towards the other side (towards the in between road).

This part of Nathon has a whole stretch of old style Hainan style houses, fairly unique on Samui nowadays although Hua Thanon also hosts a few. Some of these houses are not very well maintained and some of the wood on the second floors looks fairly rotten and not in very good shape. I like seeing these houses since they represent Samui's history and I most certainly hope that these houses can be maintained.

A view inside one of these Hainan style houses, what we would call a living room, with the obligatory pictures of the Mom and Dad and some other relatives that can be found in almost all Samui houses.

Here's a sample of a very well maintained and beautifully shining Hainan style house on the in between road. In typical fashion, some kind of food is sold outside the house or sometimes straight from the living room.

Here's also another side of Nathon, the one where progress can't keep up with quality and demand (did I hear the word corruption??). The quality of this seaside mini pier to launch boats into the water or get them out isn't up to standards.
It seems that the new local government (the Tessabaan) is actually putting a lot of effort into Samui's infrastructure, a lot more and seemingly more serious and with better quality than any previous Tessabaan, but that's a completely different story for a another time.
Hope you enjoy this little mini trip through Nathon, I can easily walk around here for a few hours and get some great pictures! Enjoy your stay at Nathon in case you make it here.
Camille




21st October, 2009

Today's weather;

Back on a more regular schedule since this morning I have no problems connecting to Google. A nice blue sky is shaping up and the current temp at 7 am is 25.5C

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine all day long and it was warm and dry up where we live but it rained at some other parts of the island. Max temp reached 33.8C. October keeps on rocking!

Camille

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Juzza Pizza, Bophud

Juzza Pizza, Bophud

It's been a while since I had a restaurant review up and running, but this is a special one to me. Juzza Pizza, which nowadays is located in Bophud, coming from under the Fisherman's Village sign, take a right at the T-crossing at the end of the road and after about 300 meters it's on your left side.

However, some 9 to 10 years ago, when I was courting the women who's now my wife, we spend quite a few meals in Juzza Pizza when they were still located in Soi Green Mango in Chaweng, where nowadays Henry's Africa is located. For those who still remember, they were next to Fawlty Towers!

The entrance to the restaurant
This week I ended up twice in Juzza Pizza and the food is still as good as I remember it from back in the days. Their menu alone is worthwhile checking out, plenty of vegetarian dishes, very Italian including a good Thai selection but the menu is also written in a very humorous way in English and German.


In typical Bophud style, there's a romantic terrace at the ocean side. If you would like a table here, it's worth while making a reservation under 077 245 662-3. A great view over Bophud bay and on to Koh Phangang is yours!



Although I do eat plenty of meat, most of the times I end up ordering the vegetarian dishes in Juzza Pizza, like a Creamy spinach spaghetti dish or as a starter a cheese baked spinach dish or sauteed mushrooms, all real yummy!


Give it a go, it's worthwhile a trip down to Bophud!

Camille


20th October, 2009

Today's weather;

This is a very late one, this morning I couldn't connect to Google at all (Blogger is part of Google) and hence couldn't update in the morning. It was a blue sky and lovely!

Yesterday saw blue skies and another warm and dry day, although the wind has picked up again. Max temp reached 32.7C

Camille

Monday, 19 October 2009

19th October, 2009

Today's weather;

A cloud cover is reigning over us this morning with a few tiny and weak blue spots in it but it doesn't look like rain, once more. The wells all over the island are seriously drying out! Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C

Yesterday saw bits and pieces of sunshine and cloud cover but it stayed dry all day long with a max temp of 33.5C

Camille

Sunday, 18 October 2009

18th October, 2009

Today's weather;

For a change it's cloudy today although it doesn't look like rain, something Samui actually really needs since the wells are drying up. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and it was hot with a max temp of 33.8C.

Camille

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Tod Kathin

Tod Kathin

Today my wife and a large part of her family went to Wat Kirimat in Phang Ka on Samui, South of Lamai near Baan Namuang waterfalls.


The Tod Khatin event she was attending is something I wrote about already, about two years ago involving a lady from Plai Laem, this time around one of her aunties, a sister of her Mother, donated money to Wat Kirikam, since my wife's Grand pa comes from that area.
Above is part of Wat Kirikat with a statue of Luang Por Pum.

Here's a picture of part of the money that's being donated, in typical style looking like a money tree.

The procession (of many relatives) to the monks of the temple where the money is handed over.

The moment where the money is handed over. For some reason yet unknown to me this is a ceremony or event only held during October and November after the monks stop feasting.
Camille































The Tod Khatin event she was attending is something I wrote about already, about two years ago involving a lady from Plai Laem, this time around one of her aunties, a sister of her Mother, donated money to Wat Kirikam, since Grand pa comes from that area.




17th October, 2009

Today's weather;

More blue skies are lining up for another nice October day on Koh Samui. Current temp at 7 am is 26.4C.

Yesterday was sunny, hot and dry. Max temp reached the lower thirties Celsius.

Camille

Friday, 16 October 2009

16th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Another blue sky is shaping up nicely this morning, October keeps on rocking so far! Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.

Sunset over Bang Rak two days ago.
Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and only a bit of rain during the night. Max temp reached 32C.
Camille

Thursday, 15 October 2009

15th October, 2009

Today's weather;

A mixed bag of blue skies and big cumulus clouds fight for sky supremacy this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday saw a lovely and sunny day, just around 1pm there was a shower but before and after lovely blue skies. Max temp reached the lower Thirties Celsius.

Camille

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Our spirit house moved

Our spirit house moved

It's just over 2 years now that our own spirit house was installed in front of our house.
Due to my wife not feeling too well over a long period of time this year, one of the recent visitors, obviously an expert in those matters, noted that the spirit house was in the wrong location.

The reason given as that because our sleeping room was above them and we slept above the spirits and also because all dirty laundry water went passed them, the spirits weren't happy! Well you can't beat or defy that logic, so the spirit house had to be moved. Above is a picture of it being dismantled before a move to the back of our house, higher than our sleeping room and away from the dirty water.

That gives this new location, nicely in the morning shade in the back garden and now facing the East rather than the North.
In the process of moving we had to clean the complete houses and were also told not to glue any attributes of the spirit house to the actual spirit house. Well, never too old to learn indeed.
Looking forward to happier spirits from now on!
Camille

14th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Blue skies with fluffy clouds seem to rule over Samui and the forecast for all of next week is the same. Current temp at 7am is 26.1C.

Yesterday was hot ans sunny with some rain in the late evening, around 22.30pm. Max temp reached 30.5C. So far October has really been rocking!

Camille

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

13th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Blue skies prevail over Samui with some white fluffy clouds scattered around. Current temp at 7am is 26.5C

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine and blue skies but around 4 pm there was a short but powerful little mini thunderstorm with lots of rain and hard wind. It must've rained during the night since this morning everything was still wet outside. Max temp reached 33.5C.

Camille

Monday, 12 October 2009

Island life

Island life

A day in the life of an islander it almost seems like in this post. This morning I was well on my way to Nathon to visit the local Immigration office to pick up the stamp for my yearly visa extension when we firstly encountered a massive black smoke plume over Maenam, similar to the one there was a bit over a year ago when a car crashed into the 7-11 in Bang Rak.

This time a fire was raging next to or almost in/on a new construction site next to the Maenam river and all the construction junk and wood was ablaze in a massive fire, blackening the whole side of the construction site/building. Interestingly enough, immediately next to the fire was this row of machines which didn't look like they would take a fire on their paint too well, so after a quick picture or two it was time to move on to Nathon again.

Once we arrived in Nathon and were about to drop off passenger in our car who was taking the ferry to the mainland, all the cars that paraded over the island since the end of Buddhist Lent day were gathered in Nathon to select a winner for the year. We didn't wait around for the final result since we had plenty to do but funnily enough the girl in the right bottom corner of this picture managed to pull off a typical Thai thing; posing in a picture. She saw me with the camera and in a kind of Pavlovian reflex she immediately went into posing mode and had a giggle about it when she figured that she had managed ending up posing on this Farang's picture. I've never seen the girl before!Nice car though, isn't it?

More action around the Seatran pier in Nathon for the car parade.
We planned to visit an eye doctor in Nathon for my wife but couldn't do this in the morning because there was no parking space available, all was taken up by visitors to the parade so we decided to come back in the afternoon after I found out that I went to immigration without my passport (a fine D'oh moment) only to find out that they were closed/had a break for another hour when we showed up in the afternoon again. A third visit to Nathon for the eye doctor is in the making! Stay glued to this blog for updates.
We also had the 30.000km check by Ford taken care of for our car after we left Nathon in the morning.
In between trips to Nathon we also visited the brand new Tesco Lotus branch in Lamai and had lunch in our favorite Kao Man Gai place which is now directly located next to entrance to Tesco Lotus in Lamai.
A typical day in the life of an islander? Well maybe, at least we got some things sorted and taken care of, slowly but surely, in a nice slow way being not very efficient. yeah, that sounds like island life ;-)
Camille




12th October, 2009

Today's weather;

A bit later than usual which is due to the party we had yesterday in honour of the completed IDC and PADI IE yesterday. Weather wise it's looking really nice, a few clouds, more like a thin layer with plenty of sunshine and a current temp at 7 am of 25.8C.

Yesterday saw a trace of rain and around that plenty of sunshine with a max temp of 31.4C. Lovely October weather with another week of sunshine coming up.

Camille

Sunday, 11 October 2009

11th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Cloudy and right no grey but later today it should lighten up and the sun should come out and all of next week is being predicted as cloudless and beautiful sunny weather. Current temp at 7 am in the meantime is 26.4C.

Yesterday saw sunshine in the morning and afternoon but towards the evening where some rain showers however nothing serious. Max temp reached a whooping 32.6C. Not bad for October.

Camille

Saturday, 10 October 2009

10th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Cloudy with blue streaks which open up the possibility of sunshine. Current temp at 7am is 26.6C.

Yesterday saw sunshine, some very nice blue skies even at some points and max temp reached 32C.
Samui visitors won't like this but right now Samui does need rain! The wells are drying up due to the lack of rain. There's some serious rain predicted tomorrow morning but after that next week should be really nice.

Camille

Friday, 9 October 2009

9th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Cloudy with some blue patches and a chance for sunshine today wit a current temp of 25.8C this morning.
Today the current October IDC I'm running will be completed and during the afternoon the PADI IE will start.

Yesterday saw a nice day with sunshine here and there and no rain. Max temp reached 30.8C

Camille

Thursday, 8 October 2009

8th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Cloudy again although the forecast for after the weekend looks fantastic right now with plenty of sunshine. Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C

Yesterday saw plenty of overcast with an occasional sun ray. Max temp reached 29C

Camille

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

7th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Overcast seems to rule again and there's a current temp at 7 am of 25.7C

Yesterday was dry but without sunshine until the afternoon, than we had a relatively short rainy period. Max temp reached nonetheless 31C.

Camille

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

6th October, 2009

Today's weather;

Cloud cover is secured for this morning with no sun in sight right now. Current temp at 7 am is 26.8C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine with a max temp of 31.9C.

Camille

Monday, 5 October 2009

The end of Buddhist Lent Day

The end of Buddhist Lent Day

Today saw the end of Buddhist Lent Day which started this year 3rd July (Khao Phunsa) and finished today 5th October (Awk Phunsa).
Buddhist Lent Day or the end of it, is a big deal and plenty of different festivals are held all over the country and a few are very exclusive to a city or a region, like the Naga Fireball Phenomenon

On Samui there's no real festival but people gather in the Temples early in the morning and throughout the day, cars decorated like this one drive around the island.

People approach the car, which stops at very regular intervals, sometimes just after a couple of meters and they give money and receive a arm band in return from a monk who sits inside the car.
The end of the Buddhist Lent also means that now it's ok again to drink alcohol for the believers!
Camille

5th October, 2009

Today's weather;

A very light cloud layer is hopefully to be blown away by the sun once it heats up. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C.

Yesterday saw a lovely sunny day with near perfect blue skies and warm temperatures; max temp reached 32.8C.

Camille

Sunday, 4 October 2009

4th October, 2009

Today's weather;

A cloudy sky with plenty of blue spots has welcomed this new day over Samui with a current temp at 7 am of 26.8C.

Yesterday saw dry but not that much sun. Max temp reached 30.5C. Today it's full moon, for some here that means party time at the Full Moon party.

After typhoon Ketsana has left the building, the Philippines are now undergoing the power of Parma. Good luck to them.

Camille

Saturday, 3 October 2009

3rd October, 2009

Today's weather;

Very cloudy with a hint of sunshine, if the sun manages to break through the cloud cover, it may turn into a nice day. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C.

Yesterday saw plenty of sun breaks and blue patches in the sky. It wasn't until the late afternoon, around 5 pm that we had some rain. Max temp reached immediately 33C due to the sunshine during the daytime.

Camille

Friday, 2 October 2009

Welcome to October 2009

Welcome to October 2009

October can be like a box of chocolates, as Tom Hanks would say. 2 years ago a nice start and full on rain season start mid month onwards, this was an exceptionally bad version of an October in Thailand since I've been here. A year ago it was a lovely month with plenty of sunshine.

Let's hope for the latter although I expect some rain but overall it will be nice to have plenty of sunshine before the rainy season starts next month.

Stay tuned and hope to see you around here.

Camille

2nd October, 2009

Today's weather;

There's heavy overcast over the ocean but for the first time in a while the sky over land is laced with plenty of blue spots. Current temp at 7 am is 25.7C.

Yesterday saw a lot of overcast all day long with during the afternoon some scattered rain drops and some heavy rainfall during the evening. Max temp reached 29.5C.

We're still on the outskirts of Ketsana, that by now has reached Thailand but has been downgraded to a tropical storm.
My thoughts go out to the people in Samoa and Padang, Indonesia who endured a tsunami and a serious earthquake.

Camille

Thursday, 1 October 2009

1st October, 2009

Today's weather;

Welcome to October and once more there's heavy overcast in the morning with a current temp of 25C. Today should be the last day of strong wind.

Yesterday saw overcast all day long and bits and pieces of rain during the night. Max temp reached 30C.

Camille