Saturday, 31 July 2010

Protest demo against oil drilling in the Gulf of Thailand

Protest demo against oil drilling in the Gulf of Thailand

As already reported earlier this week with a text message and a photo post, today was the big day for the demonstration around Samui's ring road.


Due to various reasons I couldn't have a look until shortly after 10am, the demo being scheduled to be held between 10am and noon. I only covered a short distance, between Tesco Lotus in Chaweng and the post office in Maenam.


Some places were really crowded, especially in front of hotels or resorts but in-between there were plenty of long and empty stretches. The kids in the picture above even had custom made t-shirts!


It was nice to see many people involved though and being rather enthusiastic, both Thai and Western. Above shows school kids from the Bophud government school.


It seemed to be well organised and cars with loud speakers were making the rounds, keeping everyone involved. There were also thousands of little flags distributed in two languages (Thai and English) asking to stop the drilling.

All in all it seemed to be a rather successful event with many participants, which is always good to see. Although my expectations of being able to stop the drill are not that positive, this was a well organised event.

Camille

Goodbye to July 2010

Goodbye to July 2010

It's that time of the month again, July 2010 is about to leave us, welcome to August 2010.
Before we completely wrap up this July however, a few remarks;

The weather was good this month, for a July. We had the usual July rain showers but they were mainly during the evenings or nights and Koh Samui was and is in dire needs for rain. There was also some strong wind again but this is also pretty standard for a July and we even had a mini storm. All in all, if you were on Samui for a holiday during this 2010 version of July, you should've had plenty of sunshine. The 2009 and 2008 versions were slightly wetter, it seems when I'm looking back at the archives.

It was also a busy month on a personal note with my sister and her family and a very good friend visiting during this month. There are also a few blog readers that visited the island during this month, a big thanks goes out to all of you who regularly visit my blog, it's appreciated.

My sister stayed at the Chaweng Cove Resotel for a second year in a row with the second year in a row being satisfied with the price/waht's on offer ratio. The food is unfortunately nothing to write home about but that left us with plenty of choices to eat outdoors and this month saw visits to plenty of my fave restaurants on the island; Le Café des Arts, Il Duomo and Prego for some great pizza and Italian food, Catcantoo for it's famous spare ribs, SITCA after their cooking attempts, MK Suki in Chaweng (oops, Catcantoo is in Bang Rak!), Sabeinglae in Lamai, Angela's in Maenam and plenty of other places where I go each month, the small Thai eateries like the Dcheed 2 with it's great Saté muu, Clock Lana and the Kao Man Gai place in Lamai.
Lots of outdoors eating this month and good times were had by all of us.

This month saw also two highly popular posts, one with pictures of one of the speedboats involved in last months Full Moon Party collision, I must admit, the pix do look intimidating and interestingly enough, two people who were on the boats involved found my blog and commented and spoke about their experiences.
The other popular post was about pictures of the damage done after we had a real storm roaring over our island for a couple of hours, although the damage was rather marginal.

On to another topic, posts from bloggers around Thailand that I found worth reading this month and who I can highly recommend to you, have a read through their respective posts and visit their blogs, there's some interesting stuff out there;

For starters Rick's blog about Thailand and a post in which he sees the countries tourism on the mend again.

Martyn always looks beyond the Mango juice and is a regular in Isaarn, this time with a post of Udon Thani's night market, well worth checking out, first of all I love (night) markets in the LOS and Udon is a great city on top of that as well.

Boonsong, the new kid on the bloggers block likes screamers and thinks that males make the most noise.

Andy has two great blogs, one about all provincial and legal news, a most interesting blog and he writes about a frustrating mission impossible of finding museum brochures and his other blog is about a lesser or unseen Thailand and he really knows how to find those unseen spots, like this museum in Yannawa.

Jamie in Phuket has the real inside info on Thailand's biggest island (is it still really an island if it's connected by a bridge to the mainland?) where he just did a photo walk with his daughter and he also has one of the other few weather blogs in Thailand, the Phuket version! A true brother in weather crime ;-)

Monique is a Limburger, just like me and is residing on Samui just like me, she's a great photographer however, unlike me. Here's a cool shot of a monk taking care of a dog.

Jungle Girl on Koh Phangan has a touching story about a small and young Burmese girl trying to make a living on Phangan's beaches.

Malcolm is retired in Thailand and claims to love it! Can you believe that! Here's a great post how their little home transformed into their castle in the boonies near Kanchanaburi and the lessons he learned about the local customs. The boonies are called Whang Pho by the way.

Talen has a fantastic blog about Thailand and in this post he talks about the news over one week with interesting stuff about a Thai good looking violinist turning Olympic athlete to the shooting of a new movie in Thailand; the Hangover part 2.

Lawrence lives in the Isaarn metropole of Phana and gives us a recipe of the most important Nam Prik Thai relish, something each Thai should know how to make and now you can try it as well.

Mike of formerly My Thai Friend now blogs under the name of Thailand blogs and has a great post about a fascinating aspect of Thai culture, Thailand's obsession with uniforms; everybody who's got a job probably has a uniform to go with it!

Steve of Thailand Musings fame has an interesting read about Songthaews, the red pick up cabs with the open but covered (DUH?) rears you see all over Thailand. Click on the link to see a picture so it all makes sense again. My father in law on Samui used to have one of these Songthaews.

Ben, our own Thai pirate talks about the harsh realities in Thailand of owning pets and how they can get bitten by poisonous snakes.

Well, I wonder if you made it all the way down here, usually my posts are not so big or long but thanks for dropping by and I hope to be seeing you all again next month.

Camille



31st July, 2010

Today's weather;

There's a cloud layer hanging over Samui but it looks like the sun may break through later today. Current temp at 7am is 26.7C

Don't forget about the protest against the oil drilling today, between 10am and noon on the ring road.

Yesterday saw a warm day with plenty of sunshine, it wasn't until the evening that we had some rain. Max temp reached 32.8C

Camille

Friday, 30 July 2010

Stop Oil Drilling around Samui

Stop Oil Drilling around Samui

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow between 10am and 12 or noon the effort will be made to make a human chain by a minimum number of 35,000 local residents (including those from Koh Pha-Ngan, Koh Tao and Suratthani) and visitors (including foreigners who are sympathetic to the cause) by linking hands forming a continuous human chain along Koh Samui’s 52-kilometre long ring-road. Read here to see my previous post on this topic.


Signs are at various locations around the island

Camille

30th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's slightly cloudy with some blue spots out and about over Samui. Current temp at 7am is 26C

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine but around 5pm there was a serious shower for about an hour. Max temp reached 30.9C

Camille

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Coffee shop in Lamai

Coffee shop in Lamai

The coffee is unfortunately closed


Imagine just a small shop that serves basic coffee and lots of different teas and all kind of variations of Thai tea. Well, it's there, in Lamai and to be exactly next to Lamai's Tesco Lotus and one of my favorite Lamai restaurants, the Kao Man Gai Hai Lam restaurant, which is run by relatives of Puu, the Samui born owner of the coffee shop.


After yesterday's start of my Food on Wheels series with a shot of a coffee vendor, I'm back to coffee again today, considering I'm not a big coffee drinker, rather coincidental.



Puu, the owner of the shop is a very nice person and easy to talk with. He worked for a long time as NGO in Trang with marine ecology issues. If you're interested in his place, it's available for rent if you're looking for a shop.


Coffee and all tea is only 20,-THB per cup and is made on the spot in these interesting little boiler machines. Just don't expect any fancy coffee, it's straightforward coffee and comes in one make, tasty and strong however!


The shop has a good atmosphere and feel to it and if you're in Lamai or go shopping in Lotus there, top by and have some Kao Man Gai and a cup of coffee from Puu.


Go there as long as it lasts, before you know it Puu has found somebody who wants to rent his place.

Camille

29th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy and slightly grey right now over Samui but dry with a current temp at 7am of 25.3C.

Yesterday saw a great and hot day with plenty of sunshine. Around 7pm though it started to rain with some thunder and flashes thrown in and the rain stayed around for a few hours. Max temp reached 34.2C

Camille

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Food on Wheels; Coffee on the road

Food on Wheels; Coffee on the road

Here's the start of a new series that I would like to introduce; Food on Wheels.

As all regular visitors to Thailand or if you live here, you know that food is never really far away in Thailand. Even in remote areas, somebody will drive by on a bike or sam lor (three wheeler) selling something to eat. Samui is no exception to this and just like the rest of Thailand will present itself with plenty of photo opportunities. Each week I'll try to put a picture up of some kind of food or food related item and they will all have one thing in common, they come on wheels!

Today's entry is near my son's school in Chaweng and is a cute little mini motorbike attached to a sidecar on which coffee is sold and various other drinks, like Thai tea. Amazing from my Western point of view and I love it!

Hope you will enjoy the pictures of this new series.

Camille

28th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy again on Samui but dry. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was a dry day to my surprise and the last two days were actually rather nice, nothing like how they were predicted. Max temp reached 31.1C

Camille

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

27th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning over Samui and rain is in the air although it's still dry at the moment but with relative strong winds. Current temp at 7am is 26C.

Today, the day following Asarnha Bucha Day is the Buddhist Lent Day, which is known in Thailand as Wan Kao Pansa. Tonight the Wientian ritual where you walk around the temple with a candle is about to happen but the forecasts predict rain around that time.

Yesterday lots of rain were predicted but only a trace materialised. It was overcast all day long though and the max temp went up to the thirties Celsius again, to be precise; 30.3C

Camille


Monday, 26 July 2010

Asarnha Bucha Day

Asarnha Bucha Day

Todays is Asarnha Bucha day, one of the most sacred days in Buddhism;

"Asarnha Bucha" means paying homage and worshiping on the day identified according to the Lunar calendar during the eighth month. In the Pali language, ‘Asanha’ is the name of the eighth month.

In Thailand, Asarnha Bucha Day (Asanha Puja Day) is one of the government holidays or the public holidays. This day is particularly one of the most sacred days in Buddhism. It is a Buddhist festival which typically takes place in July, on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eighth lunar month.

It commemorates the day on which Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon called “the Dhammachakapavattana Sutta” to his first five chief disciples at the Deer Park in Benares more than two thousand five hundred years ago.

In the Buddha’s first sermon, there are mainly four great truths which lead to Nirvana and are the foundation doctrines of Buddhism:

1. Sorrow- All things are a source of suffering from the constant cycle of birth, disease, old age and death.

2. Cause of sorrow- Desire or the inability to obtain what one desires is the cause of suffering resulting from cause and effect.

3. Cessation of sorrow- Freedom from suffering can be obtained after the complete cessation of desire.

4. Paths to the cessation of sorrow- The last of the Four Noble Truths is the Middle Way or the path between extremes of asceticism and indulgence leading to the eliminating of desire. The Eight-Fold Path consists of possessing the correct:
Views, Resolve, Speech, Conduct, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Meditation or (Concentration).

One of the Buddha’s first five disciples asked for being a monk. Therefore, the day also marks the beginning of the worship of the Triple Gems. That is, this day is sacred because it deals with the Lord Buddha (Buddha), His Teachings (Dharma), and His Disciples (Sangha).

Normally, Asarnha Bucha Day happens one day just before the Buddhist Lent Day; that is, the day following Asarnha Bucha Day is the Buddhist Lent Day, which is known in Thailand as Wan Kao Pansa.

In this holy day, Buddhists all over the country observe the day by presenting offerings to the monks (to make merit), listening to the sermons, and performing ritual prayers. In addition, there are many activities in the family during this holiday such as cleaning the house and setting up an altar for religious ceremonies. Family members sometimes discuss problems in the family by taking the middle way as a guiding principle to abstain from sin and reduce the way of ruin. Also, they practice the Dharma in the temple, observe the precepts, pray to the triple gem, listen to the sermons and join a candle procession around the temple.

For the candle procession, several institutions like schools and universities, including public and private organizations organize a colorful candle procession leading to a temple where the offering of the candles will be made. In the evening, the Wientian ritual ceremony takes place in Buddhist temples around the country. Many people go to nearby temples bringing candles, flowers, and joss sticks completing three trips walking around the temple area sacred grounds.

Thailand is considered to be the first country of all the Buddhist countries which establishes the observance of Asarnha Bucha Day. The religious day is declared to be a Buddhist public holiday in Thailand up to the present time.

26th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy but dry on Samui at the moment although the forecasts predict lots of rain today. Current temp at 7am is 26.2C

Yesterday saw two storms, a big one in the morning and one around 3pm. Although there were fierce winds, the amount of rain that came down wasn't that much. There was however a massive temperature drop, max temp reached 'only' 28.7C, the first time since a while that the temperature during the day didn't go over 30C. This may also be good news for the coral bleaching that's going on all over South East Asia, but particular here in Thailand, since the water temperature might drop, high water temperatures being the cause of the bleaching.

Camille

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Aftermath of today's storm over Samui

Aftermath of today's storm over Samui

As already reported in my daily weather update earlier today, with a picture of a coconut tree in full wind, today we had a bit of a storm sweeping over Samui.
Yesterday we had a bit of a prelude with a 10 minute freak storm, today the storm lasted well over an hour, closing in on two hours.


Many roads had all kind of debris on the surface, mainly coconut leaves that fell of the trees. A lot of cleaning up on the various was in progress or had already finished.



A couple of up rooted trees were to be admired as well. Too bad this one managed to miss the jet skis in the back ground.


Here's an older but still or there for up rooted tree. Plenty of ugly commercial road signs were blown over here as well.


In Bang Rak this boat has sunk and it's a fairly big one. Most boats took shelter in a different bay, guess some never learn. No boats were beached this time around though, like last year when La Fortune and a few speedboats stranded, almost to the day!


This small boat was sitting just in the middle of the surf and was popping up and down like mad, it just needed a few meters to go in front of the surf to be fine. Phone calls were being made when I took the picture to sort it out.

All in all, Choengmon and Bang Rak seemed to be doing just fine and most people just carried on as usual or were cleaning up. I wonder if there's a lot of damage on the rest of the island.

The weather forecast predicts even stronger winds later today and tomorrow, after Tuesday it eases up again.

Camille

25th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy on Samui and the forecast predicts lots of rain tonight and tomorrow after which it will clear up a lot. Current temp at 7am is 27.7C
Right now, around 8am there's once more a very strong storm raging with very high wind speeds.

Today's storm raging, the coconut tree's leaves are all in one direction due to the wind.

Yesterday it looked like rain but more than a trace never materialized. Around noon there was a 10 minute freak storm that blew everything around that wasn't connected to the house or earth and in the evening it actually turned out really nice with bits of sunshine. Max temp reached 31.8C

Camille

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Major Cineplex in Tesco Lotus in Chaweng

Major Cineplex in Tesco Lotus in Chaweng

Going to the movies on Samui, Major Cineplex in Tesco Lotus in Chaweng is the place to go. I must admit that I completely overlooked this option for having something to do during the day or early evening time. Major Cineplex has outlets all over Thailand.


The Major Cineplex in Tesco Lotus in Chaweng is located directly next to the Bowling alley at Lotus, near the food court. It's only the second time I visit the movie theaters here, mainly due to not having time due the kids. Now, at last, I remembered the movies and realized we can visit them during school time!

It's also a great place to bring the kids in the weekends!


Going to movies is really cheap, the most expensive ticket is around 160,-THB and for that you sit in a reclining seat with adjustable arm rests with cup holders! A bargain, really.
A nice touch is that you need to stand up when a special song for His Majesty the King is played.

No kidding, don't forget to do this, the whole theatre will stand up and you can get arrested for Lèse majesté if you don't follow suit. This has happened before in Thailand and is considered a grave offense to the King and has severe penalties. Thailand is one of the few countries in the world that actively uses the Lèse majesté laws, but is a topic for a different post.


There are three theaters in Samui so plenty of movies to choose from. For a rainy day or just to cool off on a hot day, the Major Cineplex is a great place to visit. Be sure to wear long trousers and a warm shirt since sitting in a very cold air conditioned room for over two hours in shirts and Tee shirt will be an unpleasant experience!

All movies will have subtitles, Thai movies will most likely have English sub titles, but check before you buy a ticket and all English movies will have Thai subtitles.
If you're in the boonies or non tourist cities, it's quite possible that the English movies are dubbed in Thai without subtitles, not very likely to happen on Samui though.

Camille

24th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy this morning over Samui but dry and the sun is peeking through although I wouldn't expect a clear sky today. The current temp at 7am is 27C

Yesterday saw cloud cover all day but no rain. Max temp reached 30.3C

The next three days or so could see a bit of rain.

Camille

Friday, 23 July 2010

Kill the Drill

Kill The Drill!
Koh Samui leads the protest against the oil exploration and drilling project off-shore of the Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao Region in the Gulf of Thailand.
Khun Ramamanate Jaikwang, President of the Siam Gulf Preservation Network Group, recently presided over the steering committee meeting for setting up a movement against any government grant to petroleum companies for oil exploration and drilling concessions in the territory of Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao.
The committee revealed that the direction of the movement shall be determined by representatives from official organizations, active communities, leading network groups and clubs on the islands, including: the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, the Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter, East Coast - Samui), the Tourism Association of Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao, the Green Island foundation and various other local community groups on Koh Samui and neighbouring islands.
The committee also announced that there shall be an initial mass demonstration, to be made on 31st July, 2010, of full public support against any oil exploration concessions. A minimum number of 35,000 local residents (including those from Koh Pha-Ngan, Koh Tao and Suratthani) and visitors (including foreigners who are sympathetic to the cause) will link hands forming a continuous human chain along Koh Samui’s 52-kilometre long ring-road.
The purpose of this huge collective expression of solidarity is to inform the Thai government, fellow citizens of Thailand and other nations of the world that the overwhelming public opinion in the Southern Region is fully against the Department of Petroleum granting permission for oil exploration and drilling in the territory of Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao which could have a disastrously negative impact on the entire region’s tourism and fishing industries, with possible knock-on effects being experienced in Suratthani, Nakorn Sri Thammarat and Chumporn, and even places as far a field as Phuket, Krabi and Phang-Nga.
The committee is calling for the government’s grant to the project to be withdrawn forthwith and requests an official meeting with the Department of Petroleum in order to discuss possible energy production alternatives which wouldn’t potentially threaten the region’s thriving tourism industry.

Rak Aao Thai Group

23rd July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy over Samui and it looks like it will stay that way for a few days. Current temp at 7am is 27.5C

Yesterday saw plenty of overcast all day long and I was surprised that it didn't rain. Later in the afternoon there were even some sun moments. Max temp reached 32.5C

Camille

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Le Café des Arts, Chaweng

Le Café des Arts, Chaweng

This Thai/French (with emphasis on French!) restaurant is part of the Papillon Resort on Koh Samui in North Chaweng. It's down the road that leads to Chaba Cabana and you just need to follow the road, about two times you probably feel or think that nothing else is coming any more but you need to keep going and all of a sudden, at the end of the road the Papillon Resort and Le Café des Arts show up at your right hand.

Most nights we went out of dinner together with my sisters family but a few nights they went their own way and during one of these nights they visited the Le Café des Arts and for their last night on Samui during this years trip they decided to go back here.

The setting is really nice, a great and unusual view over Chaweng Beach is yours from their beach side Le Café des Arts restaurant.

The menu has an extensive choice but the staff must've had a fairly off day, especially compared to the first night when my sister came here, yesterday we had to wait a relatively long time for simple things like two bottles of beer! With thirsty guys around your place that's not a good service!

Once the food came around, everybody enjoyed his meal, I had the above pictured Grilled Lamb cotellets.

My sisters sons both had the T-Bone steak, as pictured above, one of the reasons they came back actually!

A pleasant night was had by all and if you're in for a nice relaxed evening in a lovely open air restaurant with a great view over Chaweng, Le Café des Arts with it's French cuisine may be your choice.

Camille

22nd July, 2010

Today's weather;

Well, internet is back on at last in my little part of Samui and sister's gone home early this morning. It has been cloudy all day but dry and with a current temp of 31C at 1pm.

Yesterday saw a lovely warm and sunny day with a max temp of 34C.

The prediction for the next 7 days is lots of strong wind and plenty of rain!

Camille

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

21st July, 2010

Today's weather;

Samui has a blue sky to show for this morning but there are clouds out there today. Current temp at 7am is 26.5C

Yesterday saw a lovely day with sunshine all day long, followed by rain during most parts of the night. Max temp reached 34.5C

Camille


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts or SITCA

Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts or SITCA

Loyal readers of my blog might remember that my sister is visiting Samui right now and yesterday she and her family went to the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts or SITCA. An institution when it comes down to Thai cooking classes on Samui and one of the very first to offer this on our lovely island. A success story now copied by many hotels, if you want the original, this is the place to go and make sure you make a reservation well in time!

SITCA is located in Soi Colibri, very near to the entrance for Centara Grand Beach Resort in Chaweng. Within walking distance of the Chaweng Cove Resotel where they are staying. It's in the very beginning of the Soi at your right hand.
A little bit further down the Soi you will find the excellent Japanese Yamato Restaurant.

I must admit that the frontal view of SITCA is very inviting and makes me nosy to see what's going on inside.

They offer two cooking classes per day and my sister and family went to the class that starts at 4pm. The nice thing is that you can invite somebody to share your cooked dishes with once you're finished with the cooking. Since they're 4 and my family is 4, that was bit of a no brainer so around 6.30pm we arrived, a tad bit early but after a short wait we all went upstairs to enjoy a nice meal.

The photo above shows the preparation table where all the food is chopped and rolled together and who knows what you do with the food before it's going to be cooked.

After that it's off to the kitchen where on 10 stoves all the ingredients are mixed together and some wonderful dishes see day light. Yesterday a Massaman curry was on the menu with spring rolls and a sourish but lovely prawn salad. It was interesting to see how all 4 of them produced different curries!

After the cooking was completed, everybody goes upstairs, including possible guests and your meal starts. It's nice to meet other people who participated in the cooking class and enjoy everybody's effort.
The actual portions are very luscious and SITCA claims that nothing goes to waste, either the staff will finish the food or it's given away to the needy!

If this course wetted your appetite, contact SITCA well in time, yesterday there was a group of 10 and a group of 5 people, so a reservation may not be a luxury.

They also offer various dishes on each weekday so you can choose what day you prefer food wise and afterwards you will receive a book and a cd with instructions on it, o you can repeat your efforts at home once more.

Inside the store they also sell loads of cooking accessories and ingredients.

Well worth a visit and an afternoon spend with fun!

Camille

20th July, 2010

Today's weather;

Finally a blue sky rules over Samui again. My sister will enjoy her last two days here since blue skies should be the norm for today and tomorrow. Current temp at 7am is 25.9C

Yesterday was a nice day, mainly overcast but dry, until 10pm, that's when it started to rain and this continued all night long. To the extend that we had a 'fai dab' or power cut during most of the night. Max temp reached 32.4C

Camille


Monday, 19 July 2010

19th July, 2010

Today's weather;

Samui's sky is cloudy this morning and no sun to be seen for the time being. Current temp at 7am is 28C

Yesterday saw a nice and dry day for a change again but with just a little sunshine. Max temp reached 31C

Camille

Sunday, 18 July 2010

18th July, 2010

Today's weather;

Samui is covered under a cloudy blanket, with just a few spots that look blueish. Current temp at 7am is 27C

Yesterday the Open Water diver course with my two cousins has been completed and they just loved it!
As for yesterdays weather, it was cloudy all day long and around 3.30pm the daily shower came along, a short but hard downpour but than it dried up rather quickly. Max temp reached 32.4C

Camille

Saturday, 17 July 2010

17th July, 2010

Today's weather;

A clear sky with a few clouds in it is shaping up over Samui this morning. Current temp is just above the mid twenties Celsius.

Currently I'm teaching a PADI Open Water diver course to my sisters kids, today we're on the boat for the last dives of this course and above is Bang Rak bay pictured as it looked like yesterday morning, with Koh Phangan in the background.

Yesterday was a fantastic and lovely day with plenty of sunshine, up until around 4pm when it started to seriously hose down for a good hour and kept drizzling on for a while. Around 20mm of water came down in a short time span and flash flooding happened all over the place. The good news is that the flash flooding only lasts for an hour or so with the new drainage system in place instead of a couple of days before this drainage system was in place.
The picture above shows Bang Rak beach road, totally flooded during the height of the downpour..
Max temp reached reached the mid thirties Celsius.

Camille

Friday, 16 July 2010

16th July, 2010

Today's weather;

The sky is opening up over Samui this morning and the few clouds are being put aside by the sun. Current temp is in the high twenties Celsius.

Yesterday was a nice and sunny day until about 6pm when some heavy rain started for about a good hour and it kept drizzling for a while as well. Max temp reached around 33C

Camille

Thursday, 15 July 2010

15th July, 2010

Today's weather;

There's some dark and grey overcast over Samui this early morning but there are also blue spots on the fringes and during the day time it will most likely clear up and become very hot!
Current temp at 7am is 28C

Yesterday saw the sky covered by clouds almost all day long with the sun sometimes trying to break through though not very successfully. Last night it looked like there was some rain. Max temp reached 33.8C

Camille

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

14July, 2010

Today's weather;

A cloudy and grey sky welcomed Samui this morning. Current temp at 7am is 27.9C

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine all day long, although on our way to the Kila Amphur, we encountered some rain in Lamai. Besides this little bit of drizzle, the rest of the day was dry, sunny and hot. Max temp reached 34.8C

Camille

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Kila Amphur Koh Samui 2010

Kila Amphur Koh Samui 2010

Today was a busy day, starting out with this years version of the Kila Amphur in Baan Namuang. Remember last years version? No worries if you didn't, my wife thought I wasn't there, but I got the pictures to proof it!
After visiting here, I went home for some work on my website and after that we visited my sister and her family in their hotel, the Chaweng Cove Resotel and enjoyed some relaxing time at the pool and the ocean.

The Kila Amphur is a gathering of the school tribes and is held throughout the country, at different days in various provinces.

This years edition was a hot variation and I was very glad to know that my sons school was number 4 in the picking order and it was over and done with a lot earlier compared to the other schools and and kids and parents, who had to wait a lot longer before their tour around the track field could start. We were out of there in a flash today! It was uncomfortably hot, that early in the morning at 8am!

The place was packed with kids, teachers and parents however, just like each year. The interesting variation for me was to see a lot more Westerners out there today, compared to 4 or 5 years ago when I went for the first time and I was about the only Westerner out there!

The mayor and his compatriots are sitting high and dry in the shade, can't blame them! They have another two days to go of this gathering! I do pity them in this case.

Up to next year, when we probably have to be there for two days, one day for my son and one day for my daughter, maybe I need to coordinate this next year better and plan some dive courses around this time.

Camille

13th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's partly cloudy over Samui but there are blue spots around in the sky. Current temp is is in the high twenties Celsius.

Yesterday saw besides my sister and her families arrival for a holiday on Samui, a sunny day. Max temp was 32.7C.
Camille

Monday, 12 July 2010

12th July, 2010

Today's weather;

Samui has woken up under a blue sky and it looks like it's going to be a hot day. Current temp at 7am is 27.7C

Yesterday saw a lot of overcast but it was dry and hot with a max temp of 33.4C

Unfortunately the Dutch team didn't win last night, which they didn't deserve anyway with the rather unsportsmanlike attitude they displayed on the pitch. Spain is a well deserved World Champion.

Camille




Sunday, 11 July 2010

11th July, 2010

Today's weather;

Koh Tao is cloudy but still has plenty of blue sky to show for. Current temp at 7am is 27.8C

Today or rather tonight is also the big night and game for all Dutch and Spanish football fans when both teams meet in the finals in Johannesburg. Hup Holland Hup, let's get that cup!

Yesterday saw another sunny day over Samui and Koh Tao with a max temp of 35.3C

Camille

Saturday, 10 July 2010

10th July, 2010

Today's weather;

Samui woke up this morning finding itself covered under a thin white layer of clouds that most likely will be blown apart once the sun starts heating up. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C

Yesterday was once more a very hot day with a blue sky all day long and a max temp of 34.6C

Today I'm off to Koh Tao for a night, reaching an EFRI course, back tomorrow, well in time to watch the World Championship finals!

Camille

Friday, 9 July 2010

New Tessabaan in Nathon on Koh Samui

New Tessabaan in Nathon

My fellow blogger Andres who amongst others has this magnificent blog named; Changwat, Amphoe, Tambon which covers everything about the administrative subdivisions of Thailand - history, current news, facts hardly found in English, reviews of corresponding books, the Wikipedia coverage of these entities... etc emailed me the other day asking for pictures of the new Tessabaan. These are the are the municipalities in Thailand. There are three levels of municipalities - city, town and subdistrict municipality. Both Bangkok and Pattaya are special municipal entities outside the thesaban system.

Front view of the new Tessabaan building in Nathon

Despite having been at the Tessabaan a day before I received his mail, I didn't notice the new building at all, since it has been build way inside the Tessabaan compound. Today I had to go to Nathon again and I went to take some pictures of the new building.

The right wing of the new Tessabaan

This right wing building is where all the new administrative and day to day work seems to be taken care of.

Left wing of the new Tessabaan

The new building is massive and rather impressive in size but also very straight forward in a no nonsense kind of style.

At the Tessabaan grounds are various fire work cars as well as plenty of rubbish collector trucks etc around.
If you want a free garbage bin for instance, this is the place to go to, not that they have any available however!

This picture shows the old style main building and can't compete with the size of the new building.

Some of the old buildings of the former Tessabaan building, which is located right next to the new building. The fire workers on duty were raising the Thai flag when I took the picture, so yes, it was early, around 8am!

Soon Andreas will have his post up on his blog and I will link to his blog from here.

Camille

9th July, 2010

Today's weather;

Samui has a blue sky with a thin white layer which will dissolve soon under the sun's influence. Current temp at 7am is 27.6C

Bang Rak bay baking in the sun

Yesterday saw a sunny day all day long with a max temp of 35C, the heat is back!

Camille

Thursday, 8 July 2010

8th July, 2010

Today's weather;

A very nice blue sky has started the day over Samui. There are just a few thin white layers visible and I expect them to completely disappear when the day progresses and the sun has it's wicked ways! Current temp at 7am is 26.9C but it looks like it's going to be a hot one.

Last night Spain won the second semi final game at the current World Championship in South Africa, setting the final game to a meeting between the Netherlands and Spain this coming Sunday, 11th July.

Yesterday saw a partly sunny day with a max temp of 31.6C

Camille

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

7th July, 2010

Today's weather;

It's cloudy over Samui this orange day! Current temp at 7am is 26.8C

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine all day long after a slow start in the morning. Max temp reached 32.5C

Camille

The Netherlands are in the finals of the World Championship football!

The Netherlands are in the finals of the World Championship football!

The Dutch team did it, they managed to win over Uruguay and progress to the finals of the 2010 World Championships.


It wasn't the best of games and they missed too many chances to kill the game off early but it doesn't matter for this game any more!

Now they need to stay focused and step it up one or two more notches when they meet either Germany or Spain on Sunday, 11th July!

Well done guys!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Corruption and history of the Thai ID cards

Corruption and history of the Thai ID cards

Here's an interesting article from today's The Nation which covers the current corruption in developing a new Thai ID card and it's history.

After eight years of delay and the outlay of billions of baht, the "Smart Card" project to provide all Thais with a modern ID card has become bogged down in a corruption-plagued scandal.
The project was started by the Thaksin Shinawatra government in 2004, but no investigation has ever been ordered into why Bt7.91 billion was approved for 64 million identity cards for all Thais, which were wracked with problems and divided into three lots over the past five to six years.

Only the first 12 million cards were issued completely in the first lot in 2004, after Bt888 million out of a total Bt1.67 billion was approved. These cards cost Bt74 apiece after two other bid lots were abolished following allegations of corruption.

No details are immediately available as to where the remaining half of this initial government outlay has gone.

Of a total of 26 million cards sought in the second lot at a bidding price of Bt962 million, half were awarded to IRC HST Joint Venture for Bt486.8 million, or Bt37.45 apiece. However, a complaint was lodged with the ICT Ministry, which later aborted the bid, and reopened it in 2007.

The 2007 auction sought a full 26 million cards, and ended in a Bt920-million deal awarded to VSK Joint Venture in July that year, which priced the cards at Bt35 apiece.


Of these Thai ID cards, I know the last 3 versions, not including the smart card

Bidding for a third lot - 26 million cards -was opened in June 2009. VK Joint Venture won the Bt902-million contract, which required new conditions set up by the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA). These included new designs and harder-to-crack anti-forgery features.

The third-lot cards, called IE model, were embedded with IC Chip NXP (Model P5CD080), which offers 80kb of memory. That was greater than that issued in first and second lots. This version also featured a Card Operating System - Model JCOP V 2.4.1, which complied with Global Platform version 2.1.1 requirements.

Five days after Cabinet approved the deal, on December 11 last year, then DOPA director-general Wongsak Sawasdiphanich received an Interior Ministry document asking DOPA to reconsider the contract it had just awarded.

Wongsak set up two panels to study the ministry directive. They concluded that the project should proceed further with the IE model - or for the current "partly-smart" version to be dusted off. But the vote by both panels to use a "non-smart" version was not unanimous.

On March 9 this year, the ICT ministry questioned the DOPA decision and asked for it to re-approve the IE model.

DOPA later backtracked and approved the IE model. But all agencies never explained their decisions or the reasons for their about-turns.

The inaction of all agencies involved over the issue means that anyone applying for ID cards is given a "yellow paper" permit as a temporary substitute for actual cards, like in the old days when the normal procedure for issuing an ID card took 15 days.

People seeking to obtain ID cards are not even issued the third-generation "non-smart" cards, because district officers are not sure what cards they should issue if people apply for a new card or seek to renew one that has expired.

After DOPA approved the IE model, the ICT Ministry handed 600,000 cards to the department. But days after receiving the first million cards from the ministry, DOPA rejected them all on June 14. It said the IE model violated two conditions - the front of the cards has red microtext laid across it, and the back of the card does not feature the map of Thailand.

This type of technical problem occurred previously when DOPA rejected the first six million cards many years ago - because they could not be used by the department's computer. The problem ended when Thaksin ordered DOPA to accept all cards.

It remains to be seen how the problem will be tackled this time. It may eventually be dealt with by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who needs to resolve problems between the Interior Ministry and the ICT Ministry.


6th July, 2010

Today's weather;

This morning is starting out with plenty of overcast but Samui's sky is supposed to clear late in the afternoon, so sun worshippers, there's hope for you. Current temp at 7am is 27.4C

Tonight, at 1.30am the first semi finals game of the current World Championship football in South Africa will be played between Uruguay and the Dutch team better known as Oranje.

Yesterday saw a day with sunshine and hot with a max temp of 31.5C

Camille

Monday, 5 July 2010

Community Protest Against drilling in the Gulf of Siam Please come and join us on Wednesday 7th July at 9:30 in front of the Tetsabahn's office to pr

Community Protest Against drilling in the Gulf of Siam
Please come and join us on Wednesday 7th July at 9:30 in front of the Tetsabahn's office in Nathon to protest drilling in the Bay of Siam!
This is the final call to stand up and make your voice heard. Can we make a difference? How do we know if we don't try?

We have seen the results of the BP spill recently and know about the promises that oil companies give – even with the best of intentions, accidents can and will happen! What are the other implications of rigs near our tourist islands? Noise? Pollution? Lights? Disturbance to the already fragile marine ecosystem? Come and find out more....

Here is a link to a video which is being aired on Samui Channel this week in Thai. It is a call to arms to everyone who loves Samui and who cares about our future to protect our island from potential disaster.


Below is a summary of the contents:

On Thursday at 9:30am there will be a second and FINAL hearing regarding oil exploration in the bay of Siam only 42 km from Koh Samui, and affecting our neighboring islands of Koh Phangan and of course Koh Tao.
By law, if there is no opposition the company can go ahead and drill.
Chevron has been coming back and forth to our bay to do oil exploration. They have followed pro forma announcements about public meetings, but the fact is that not many people know about the details.

Now is the last preparation before they actually start the drilling and the last time that the people of the island have to stand up and be counted!.

It is necessary for each person who loves Koh Samui to come to show their concern by attending the protest at 9:30 at the Tetsabahn on Wednesday, July 7th.

Everyone needs to attend! Bring your friends...

We all know what a major oil spill can cause. It is devastating to the environment, the health of each and every person, animal and every person's livelihood. Our island environments of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and the Ang Thong Marine National Park would be devastated. And it isn't a remote nightmare, it is happening right here.

PS The word for protest in thai is KAT KAHN both high tones.