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Monday, 28 February 2011

Goodbye to February 2011

Goodbye to February 2011

Time keeps just moving on and it's already goodbye to this years February! It doesn't help hat February only has 28 days, which makes it go by even faster.

Weather wise this February on Koh Samui was very nice! Especially after the first week it was really nice almost non stop! This is in line with the last three years, only 2008 had some rain towards the end of February!


Malapascua beach

This was a month of lots of travel for me. I started the month on the small but beautiful island of Malapascua in the Philippines, where I taught a very successful PADI IDC.
Also my visits to Cebu were really enjoyed by me, even though or because of they were just for a day!
Talking about travel, this February recap is coming from Koh Lanta, another beautiful island but this time in the South of Thailand, where my work, teaching PADI IDC's and diving takes me!

In-between these two destinations I spend time on Samui as well and there were some very interesting events happening, first off and the immediately a very big event was the Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, a very impressing event.

Shortly afterwards it was the 100th day commemoration of Grandmother in law's passing away.

Two more Food on Wheel entries were published as well and since the topic is at eating, Ageha Sushi bar in Lamai was visited, enjoyed and described.

Plenty of things happening and I'm already looking forward to March, which is just around the corner and start tomorrow!

Apologies to my fellow Thai bloggers, this was once more a month were I didn't find time to look up your blogs!

Please keep checking in and let me know your thoughts on my posts!

Best regards,
Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 28th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui woke up to an almost blue sky with a current temp at 7am of 24C

Yesterday saw more sunshine on Samui with a max temp of 28.8C

My current IDC candidates during their skill circuit on Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is about to experience another beautiful, blue sky day. Current temp at 7am is 25,1C

Yesterday saw once more a warm day on Lanta with a more or less blue sky and a max temp of 32.8C

Camille

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 27th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is seeing a blue sky with a few clouds in it. Current temp at 7am is 27.5C

Yesterday was a warm and partly sunny day on Samui. Max temp reached 29.8C

Long tail boats around Saladan, Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is gearing up for another warm day with a partly clouded sky this morning which will soon break up and turn blue once the sun heats up. Current temp at 7am is 26.5C

Yesterday Koh Lanta had a blue sky pretty much all day long and it was hot! Max temp reached 34C

Camille

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 26th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is nice and warm this early in the morning and a strong wind is blowing. Current temp at 7am is 27.7C
Yesterday saw another warm day on Samui with a max temp of 29.8C

My drive over to Koh Lanta was swift and uneventful if you don't count the ghost rider on the 44 from Surat Thani to Krabi!

Sunset yesterday on Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is waking up this morning under a blue sky with a current temp at 7am is 25.5C
Yesterday, upon arriving, it was nice and partly cloudy but very warm, max temp reached 33.3C and Saladan where I'm staying is very busy.

I'm ready to start the IDC today!

Camille

Friday, 25 February 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 25th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is enjoying a mixed sky, plenty of blue spots with some clouds in it. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C

Later this morning I'm off to Koh Lanta where I start teaching an IDC tomorrow.

Fishing boats in Bang Rak bay, waiting it out for heavy waves in the Gulf

Yesterday saw a warm and partly sunny day on Samui with a max temp of 28.7C

Camille

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 24th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui has a fairly clouded sky with just a few blue spots currently. I would expect it to clear up more during the day though. Current temp at 7am is 27.5C

My son at his first Tae Kwon Do practice earlier this week, very proudly showing off his new suit

Yesterday saw a warm day over Samui, not that overly sunny but enough to keep the beach goers happy. Max temp reached 29C

Yesterday saw also a PADI Member Forum on Koh Samui at the Kandaburi Resort in Chaweng.

Camille

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 23rd February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is seeing a bit of a mixed bag this morning, some clouds mixed with blue spots. Current temp at 7am is 28.3C

Yesterday saw a nice and warm day on Samui except that shortly after noon there was a short but heavy shower. Max temp reached 29.4C

Camille

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Food on Wheels; Deep fried bananas on Cebu in the Philippines

Food on Wheels; Deep fried bananas on Cebu in the Philippines

Food on Wheels goes international and has it's first contribution outside of Thailand! During my recent trip to the Philippines, I visited Cebu island, Cebu City and the small island of Malapascua, just north of Cebu.

The deep fried banana vendor at the Sto. Thomas de Villanueva Parish (Danao City Church)

On the way from Malapascua to back to Cebu city we passed the Sto. Thomas de Villanueva Parish (Danao City Church) and that's where I spotted this fried banana vendor. During the travel I had seen more food on wheels qualifying vendors but couldn't get any good pictures from the moving van.

The deep frying process

I'm very glad to have caught this on my camera so I can go international with this series! There's more out there and more to come! My archives are still in good shape and everyday can bring new material!

To my fellow bloggers, if anyone of you is still following my blog and output since I don't have the time lately to follow and check in to your blogs, if you feel that you want to contribute to the Food on Wheels series with a guest post, please contact me and I will have you write a blog post as a guest writer on this blog with at least one link to your blog.

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 22nd February, 2011

Today's weather;

This morning I woke up on Koh Tao after having visited two PADI meetings yesterday, a Course Director update and a Member Forum. The turtle island has some cloud formations hovering above it but blue spots are creeping in. Current temp at 7am is 27.7C
Later this morning I will take the ferry back to Samui.

Having breakfast in Zest, looking down the main road in Mae Haad towards the pier

Yesterday saw another warm day on both Samui and Koh Tao with plenty of sunshine. Max temp reached 28.8C

Camille

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ageha Sushi Bar in Lamai

Ageha Sushi Bar in Lamai

Since a month or so there's a new player on the Japanese food market on Samui and it's Ageha sushi in Lamai. They're located just before Tesco Lotus if coming from the direction of Chaweng, at the other side (right hand side) of the road, just opposite one of my fave eateries in Lamai, the Kao Man Gai place.

The front and entrance to Ageha Sushi bar

The restaurant even got recommend by a Japanese friend who never liked a Japanese restaurant on Samui before this place opened!

Seating arrangements in the back of the restaurant, Japanese style

Besides the seating options as pictured, the front part of the restaurant has more traditional tables in Western style which may be more accommodating if you're not Japanese or Asian.

The counter where the sushi and sashimi is made and rolled

The restaurant specializes in sushi and sashimi, so don't go there if you want any other Japanese food, they don't have it and don't offer it! Even a salad, which is on the menu is not a reason to visit! However, on the other hand, if you like fresh sushi made out of local fish, this is the place to be. All local fish is fresh and very tasteful! Tuna and salmon are imported and more expensive!

Sushi rolling and sashimi slicing in progress

The nice thing about the restaurant is that their prices are very good and you get excellent value for excellent food in return. Various sushi and sashimi sets are on the menu and single sushi and sashimi orders are possible.

Interestingly enough the chef of Yamato was there as well, he was on crutches as a result of a motorbike accident over a month ago but he told me that he closed his Yamato restaurant and is moving back to Japan. It was very sad to hear this, since I always liked Yamato and always thought this to be a very good Japanese restaurant as well.

Sashimi dish

I enjoyed the food a lot and also the cup of sake, that comes in a big wooden cup! The Asahi beer was cold and I'm looking forward visiting again! Hope you enjoy your visit as well.

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 21st February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is covered under a grayish cloud layer and it looks like it's not going to be that sunny and hot today! Current temp at 7am is 27.8C

Interesting deity at Wat Plai Laem, this deity warrants it's own post!

Yesterday saw plenty of sunshine once more and it was hot on Samui. Max temp reached 29.7C

In a few moments I'll be off to Koh Tao for a PADI Course Director update, coming back to Samui tomorrow.

Camille

Sunday, 20 February 2011

100 days after passing away of Grand Mother in law

100 days after passing away of Grand Mother in law

That is today and this morning the whole family gathered at Wat Plai Laem to commemorate this event and this is also the moment when part of her ashes are being put to rest in a wall surrounding the Bot in the the Temple.

Pictures of Grandmother in law and her husband whom I never met

The whole family from my wife's father and mother's side came out to pray, commemorate and celebrate the passing away 100 days ago. Everybody is praying in this picture during the Monks chants.

The Monks and tons of food waiting for them

By 6.30am we were at the temple and we brought copious amounts of food, but so did all other family members, curries, fish, meat, fruit and sweets and much more were brought into the Temple to offer to the Monks and since we were the family who this was organised for, we had to wait for the Monks to finish their food before we could start eating.

After the food, part of Grandmother in law's ash was taken in an urn to a wall surrounding the main building on the temple grounds, the Bot, and she was put to rest inside the family space.
The whole family followed by holding on to a white rope that was wrapped around the urn.

One of the monks putting the ash in the small family space near the Bot. Rest in peace Grandmother, she was a good person!

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 20th February, 2011

Today's weather'

The sky is blue, the sun is out and Samui is getting ready for a hot day! Current temp at 7am is 25.7C

Monks enjoying their breakfast at Wat Plai Laem with a cat trying to get some goodies

Today has a late update because it's exactly 100 days ago that my wife's Grand Mum passed away, in Thailand a moment to celebrate and commemorate. An update of this will be shortly on the blog.

Yesterday saw a sunny and warm day over Samui. Max temp reached 29.7C

Camille

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Four Seasons Care for cancer run 13th March 2011 Nathon pier

4 Seasons Care for cancer run 13th March 2011 Nathon pier

The yearly Four Seasons Care for Cancer run is going to be held 13th March 2011 at Nathon pier. Registration starts at 6am and the runs start at 7am or you can call 077 243 000 and sign up.

The Care for Cancer Run 2011 Polo shirt

For 250,-THB you will receive a T-shirt and for 400,-THB registration fee you will receive a polo shirt as pictured above, these prices also include a breakfast box and the chance to win exciting prizes.

Distance that can be run are 10KM for male and female, 5 km for male and female and for boys and girls for 15 years and under there are 5 km runs.

The event hopes to raise funds for cancer research.

This year Four Seasons Samui will hold the event with sister properties Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok in association with the Thai Red Cross Society.

Proceeds from the charity run will be donated to the Genetic Cancer Research Centre at the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.

The fun run, according to Brent Martin, general manager of Four Seasons Samui, has raised more than Bt22 million over the years.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts around the world hold annual charity fun runs to support cancer research. It was inspired by the Terry Fox Run, which marks its 30th anniversary this year.

Hope to see you there, the 5km and 10km routes are perfect for either running, jogging or walking!

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 19th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui has a blue sky hovering above with just some tiny white fluff clouds in it. It looks like it's going to be a hot day! Current temp at 7am is 25.6C


When I found Ekachia Srivichai's video the other day, I also stumbled over this video by Yui Yartyer, "Pok Mia Maa Duai ro", a song I like and hope you enjoy as well.

Yesterday was hot, for the first time in a long while the temperature broke the 30C mark on Samui again. Max temp reached 31.2C

Camille

Friday, 18 February 2011

Makha Bucha Day

Makha Bucha Day

This Buddhist day commemorates two separate events that occurred on the same date 45 years apart, during the Buddha's lifetime 2,500 years ago. The first event was the coming together of 1,250 monks from all locations and directions, to meet and be ordained by the Buddha. This event occurred seven months after the Buddha began his teaching. The second event, which occurred 45 years later, was the Buddha delivering his teachings shortly before his death.

Makha Bucha Day represents a great deal in terms of the development of Buddhism in Thailand. It is a highly ceremonial event and in Thailand it's an event that was only recently revived as part of Thai Buddhist tradition. The Supreme Patriarch of the Marble Temple in Bangkok, Kittsobhana Mahathera, did this in 1957. Before 1957, the full moon day of the third lunar month was celebrated as a Buddhist Holy Day. Because of local ceremonies that occupied this day in different parts of the country, the Makha Bucha ceremonies today take on the different flavors of the various locales.

Makha Bucha day in Pattaya February 2008

At this time in the evolution of Buddhism and Buddhist principles in Thailand, it is important to understand how the majority of Thai people view Buddha and the Buddhist philosophy.

Each year the various Temples all over the country are busy with people making 'Tamboon' or making merit.

It's worthwhile checking out temple in your neighborhood and observe this religious event.

Camille


Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 18th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is enjoying Makha Bucha day (Buddhist observance commemorating the Buddha's teaching of Ovada Patimokkha) under a near blue sky with a current temp of 26C at 7am.

All official institutions like banks and the like will be closed today and all bars will be closed tonight around Thailand, including Samui.

1,250 monks from all locations and directions, to meet and be ordained by the Buddha, one of the two events that are celebrated during Makha Bucha day.

Yesterday saw a nice and warm day again with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. Max temp reached 29C

Camille

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Ekachai Srivichai show in Plai Laem

Ekachai Srivichai show in Plai Laem

Ekachai Srivichai is a well known Luk Thung artist from Southern Thailand, he's actually from Nakhon Si Thammarat.

His show in Plai Laem is part of the temple fair, organized around the Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun at Wat Plai Laem earlier this week.

Early in the evening there were already plenty of people who wanted to make sure they got good seats and the entrance was already bustling with activity before the night broke.

Part of the early crowd may be that Ekachai is also part of the 'Meh Yok' tribe, which basically means that he's the sugar boy of older ladies who happily spend lots of cash and expensive gifts on him and similar artists like him. I strongly suspect however that Ekachai is gay so I wonder how that all fits in the picture? Than again, what do I know as Western outsider ;-)

Tickets aren't going to break an arm and a leg and with 150,-THB you're going to have a night of sanuk! I didn't stay on for the show, since a 4 hour show including support acts and the comedy guys is a bit too much for me.
A fellow blogger called the Cyber Captain describes how the live show is is in his blog.

Having worked in the music industry myself for a good amount of years, especially being on the road a few years, I must say that the stage was very big and looked very professional! Plenty of space for show troupes to dance!

A glimpse backstage with my good old universal back stage pass from my touring days was almost like a trip down memory lane, although none of the bands I worked with had such elaborate dance troupes and costumes.

The dancers in the troupe are almost all gay and when wondering around with my 5 year old son in his Thai school uniform we attracted a lot more attention from the male dancers and not nearly enough attention from the female dancers!

Some of the female troupe practicing their moves. It most certainly looked like a well orginsed and professional show. According to the feedback my wife received from the locals the show was very well received.

Here's one of his early songs, Maa Kud, his breakthrough in the Thai Luk Thung scene. Strangely enough a song I know since a fairly long time and always liked a lot but never knew it was his;


Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 17th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is enjoying a long stretch of nice and sunny weather and today it continues with a blue sky in the making. Right now a thin cloud layer dominates the islands sky but as soon as the sun heats up I expect the cloud layer to evaporate. Current temp at 7am is 27.3C

Big Buddha yesterday morning with a blue sky in the background

Yesterday saw blue skies over Samui pretty much all day long with a max temp of 29C, it was hot!

Camille

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Wat Plai Laem temple fair

Wat Plai Laem temple fair

As always, if there's a ceremony at a temple in Thailand, you can almost bet on it that there will be a temple fair as well.

Thai junk food

As always, food is around in copious amounts and various forms, although most of it is a Thai variation of junk food. This can be delicious as well, mind you!

Besides food, clothing accessories are also very popular, they tend be to be cheap on these fairs although the quality is not always the best. T-shirts, second hand shoes and you name it, it's all available. The picture above is a shop that sells all kind of items for women and girls.

Always a favorite, where ever you are in the Land of Smiles, deep fried critters like bugs, grasshoppers, scorpions etc. A specialty from the Isaan country side, nowadays spread throughout the Kingdom.

Drink are also taken care of and shops like these sell soda's, beers and liquor plus the obvious like M-150 and Red Bull.

Games are also very popular, bingo and gamble games alike are available and one that is popular with young and old is this darts game. 7 darts for 20BHT, if you hit a balloon with each dart you win a big fluffy thing.

Although the temple fairs are all looking alike at some stage, it is fun to visit them once in a while!

Camille


Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 16th February, 2011

Today's weather;

A very thin white layer is hanging over Samui this morning which should be dispersed as soon as the sun starts heating up. There's plenty of blue to see behind the thin white layer. Current temp at 7am is 27.5C


Yesterday saw the Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun and it was warm and hot during the day time with plenty of sunshine, if you weren't at the Temple than you had the option of nice beach day! Max temp reached 28.7C on Samui.

Camille

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, the cremation

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, the cremation

Just before 8pm we walked on to the Wat Plai Laem premises, to avoid endless prayers and speeches, just like this afternoon during the day time ceremony but to witness the actual cremation of Prakru Suntinonthakhun!
After entering from a different Temple gate, it didn't take long before I took up my old afternoon position which granted me a near perfect view of the proceedings.

A different angle to the cremation site.

The cremation sight in full glory. There was still a staccato prayer going on when I took up my position again.

The crematorium

As pictured above, an apparent hand made crematorium that to my big surprise was put on fire by a rocket that screeched a good ten meters through the air before lodging itself exactly in the right position under the bottom of the crematorium, where the wood is located and thus setting it alight. Amazing!

Within moments smoke is in the air

Prakru Suntinonthakhun's body has been embalmed a year ago, when he passed away and his body has also been refrigerated for the whole year, so one can imagine how healthy the smoke coming out of the pipe may be, rather toxic I'm afraid. Nonetheless, local guys were poking in the fire and standing next to the exhaust.

The site in full swing

The fire will keep burning all night long until all of Prakru Suntinonthakhun's body will be cremated.

Here's a video I shot of part of the cremation, all the time during the first 15 minutes of the actual cremation fireworks in various places went off causing a very interesting scene! Beware, the video is only a minute and a half long!

It was a very interesting and impressive experience and event and I appreciate that I could witness this aspect of Thai and Buddhist culture.

Camille

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, the day time ceremony

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, the day time ceremony

Today was the big day for the Royally sponsored cremation of Prakru Suntinonthakhun at Wat Plai Laem and this afternoon saw the day time ceremony for which half the island come to look and participate.

After carefully checking around it turned out that around 14.00 or 2pm the official ceremony was to start and being experienced by now in chanting and praying marathons, I promptly showed up at 13.55 and for once the ceremony followed a strict time schedule, surprise surprise!

The official site in full function

There were plenty of local hi'so's and a big flock of monks plus loads and loads of 'normal' people who didn't want to miss out on this ceremony and obviously had either nothing better to do or weren't working. Like myself ;-) I know of plenty people who almost went every night for prayers for the last couple of nights/week.
It was an impressive display though and the nice thing about these kinds of events is that you're more or less allowed to move freely around as long as you don't interfere with protocol so I could get a nice position to take some good shots.

Setting it alight!

At some stage two important looking guys in a white uniform where starting a ceremonial fire for the cremation, as pictured above.
The real cremation was set at 8pm later in the evening, see a report here.

Rows of monks pay their respect

After the monks the local officials pay their respect

The local people paying their respect

It was really busy and interesting to experience. At some stage there were loud bangs which initially made me think that somehow related to the bangs loads of birds were freed. Turned out that the bangs were day light fireworks and the bangs scared all the birds that are living under the temples various roofs!

One nice thing that happened was that Joe, as it turned out, a long term follower of my blog, recognized me and came by to have a chat about my blog. Thanks for following my blog Joe! It's great to meet some of my readers in real life.

Anyway, it was really interesting and I couldn't wait for the real event later in the evening when Prakru Suntinonthakhun's body would be cremated.

Camille

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 15th February, 2011

Today's weather;

Samui is partially cloudy but still with plenty of blue sky. Current temp at 7am is 27.2C

Updates of Prakru Suntinonthakhun cremation in Wat Plai Laem will follow later today.

Wat Plai Laem getting ready for Prakru Suntinonthakhun cremation later today

Yesterday saw a nice and warm day with plenty of sunshine on Samui and a max temp of 28.7C

Camille

Monday, 14 February 2011

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, 15th February 2011

Wat Plai Laem, Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun, 15th February 2011

Upon returning form the Philippines, there's a big event about to happen on our local Temple or Wat around the corner at Plai Laem.

The Royally sponsored cremation ceremony of Prakru Suntinonthakhun is about to take place tomorrow, 15th February 2011. All local powers that be and wanna be will attend and a few mainlanders will be there as well. Prakru Suntinonthakhun has been around since I can remember back upon arriving on Samui some 12 years ago and he passed away last year. Tradition has it that with many hi so or 'famous' Thai people, their bodies will be burned after a year of passing away, with a form of balsaming the body and keeping it refrigerated.

A complete shrine was erected and it looks well impressive.

Prakru Suntinonthakhun coffin, the same one that was kept in the temple for a year

A side view of the shrine

The shrine at night, impressively decorated with tons of lights

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day at the temple and I will report back about the ongoings of this event. It wouldn't have been a Thai event if there wasn't a temple fair at the same, I will report about this as well in a later post, so stay tuned for some insightful pictures of local Thai Temple life.

Camille