Sunday 30 September 2007

Goodbye to September

It's time to say goodbye to September.

Unfortunately, September 2007 won't be remembered for it's great weather. There was a lot more rain than usual and more than once I thought that the rainy season had already started.
Despite some really nice days, in general the weather in September was below average.

In my 8 years on Samui, I can't remember having witnessed that much rain in September but it seems that the whole region is struggling with bad weather patterns, since two months in a row already.
I do hope that people understand that Global Warming is a real and serious threat and take action accordingly, especially those in Government positions where they can make a difference.

In the meantime however, let's hope the rainy season stays away for a while and October will be nice and sunny.

Thanks for visiting my blog this month and please feel free to post your thoughts on my articles.


30th September, 2007

Today's weather;

Cloudy and grayish with a current temp of 25.4C

Yesterday turned out to be a nice day with sunshine and dry, although last night there must've been some rain, since it was wet outside this morning.


Saturday 29 September 2007

29th September, 2007

Today's weather;

There's a cloud layer ruling this morning and the sun is nowhere to be seen. Current temp is 25C

Yesterday was a dry and sunny day, although in the evening there was some rain and drizzle. Max temp reached 33.3C


Friday 28 September 2007

In support of the Burmese population

This SMS message is making it's rounds on Samui;

In support of our incredibly brave friends in Burma: May all people around the world wear a red shirt on Friday, September 28.

This message gets my full support and I'm in red today!


Monkey business with coconuts

Monkey business with coconuts?

I beg to pardon? Well, in Samui a pretty normal sight, although getting rarer and rarer by the day.

Koh Samui used to be the coconut provider for pretty much all of Thailand, before it was discovered by tourism.
A story that keeps amusing me, is that in the 'old' days, the black sheep of the family were given the useless beach land and the good or favorite sons and daughters got the worthwhile coconut fields, sometimes in the middle of nowhere. Well, things have changed and all the black sheep are laughing all the way to the bank in the meantime. In Chaweng beach land prices are closing in on multi million deals since a couple of years already.

Back on track though, all these coconuts had to get out of the trees somehow. Since not all men are that well practiced to climb at times very high coconut trees, monkeys were trained to go up in the trees, rotate the coconuts and drop them to the ground, where they were collected.
This picture shows a current day pick up truck loaded with coconuts and two monkeys that are trained for the job at hand.

A picture that always does it, a baby monkey and a cute one as well.

Nowadays once every couple or months or so, my parents in law have some guys come over to get the couple of coconuts that our trees in the garden produce. The price of the coconuts has since the 'good old' days drastically dropped, from 6 to 10 Baht per coconut to maybe 2 Baht per nut if lucky.

Another local Samui tradition that is about to run it's course, unfortunately. In the coconut business there's not as much to be made anymore as it used to do. There's much more money in various tourist related activities, funnily enough, amongst them are a couple of Monkey Training schools.

From, a sunny Samui,


28th September, 2007

Today's weather;

The sun is working hard to break up the thin white layer, probably in an hour or so, it'll be a clear blue sky again. Current temp is 26.3C

Yesterday it was warm and dry all day long. Max temp reached 34C

Since all my diving work has been completed for the time being, I should have some more time to post a couple of Samui related articles.


Thursday 27 September 2007

Thaa Yai

Today the yearly "Thaa Yai" occurred.

Thaa Yai is a Thai tradition which is celebrated throughout Thailand, but under different names and sometimes also on different dates.

What it is, is that the deceased people are welcomed back again to share time with the living. This is done by offering plenty of food to the deceased.

It's usually an occasion where the whole village participates in, so Wat Plai Laem is packed to the rafters with locals, offering loads of food to the deceased.

Since it's starts really early, like 4 or 5 am, I don't go out each year to participate and especially since my wife had to work today, it was a good excuse for me for not having to attend. However, here are some pix from 2 years ago.

Offerings are also made to the Monks, as each celebration or event in the Temple involves the Monks. They play a vital role in all day live in Thais communities and in general in the whole region, as can be witnessed in Burma (Myanmar) right now.

This picture gives you an idea of the copious amounts of food that are being offered to the deceased, this picture only shows about a third of the total amount of food being offered. Luckily for the living, they get to eat it after all ceremonies are completed.

More food being offered, displayed on long rows of tables with loads of locals visiting and participating.

This picture gives an idea how many people participate, young and old gather together to celebrate Thaa Yai each year. It's full moon today as well, the best day to celebrate these kind of ceremonies. A month from now, next full moon, the deceased are being waved off again, until next year.

Picture of food samples, being offered during Thaa Yai.

Picture of food samples, being offered during Thaa Yai.

Thaa Yai is a tradition within my wife's family and everybody participates in either buying or cooking food for Thaa Yai.

Until next year, for another Thaa Yai,


PS Shouts to Guano Island, who mentioned my blog a few times. Hope you'll be able to visit Thailand soon!

27th September, 2007

Today's weather;

One more time the sky looks great, blue and blasting with sunshine.

Yesterday was a nice and warm day with the rain to arrive at 18.00, nice to cool things off.


Wednesday 26 September 2007

26th September, 2007

Today's weather;

Another blue sky is shaping up, with clouds over the Gulf, where I'll be today at Sail Rock, for two dives. Current temp is 26C

Yesterday was a lovely day with lots of sun and nice and warm, until 6 pm when it started to rain, which actually is not too bad since it cools things down a bit, there was however 14.1 mm rain measured yesterday! Max temp reached 33.8C


Tuesday 25 September 2007

25th September, 2007

Today's weather;

Another blue sky is shaping up this morning, promising another nice day. Current temp is 27C

Yesterday it was a dry and warm day, a very nice welcome to the previous rainy season alike weather pattern. Max temp reached 32.3C


Monday 24 September 2007

24th September, 2007

Today's weather;

A clear blue sky this morning with cloud formations only over the Gulf and a current temp of 27C

Yesterday was cloudy in the morning but sunny in the afternoon.

The current weather pattern has all the makings and signs of the rainy season and if that turns out to be right, it'll be the earliest start of the rainy season that I've witnessed in my 8 years on Samui.


Sunday 23 September 2007

23rd September, 2007

Today's weather;

A thick layer of clouds dominates the sky and at 6 in the morning there was a big storm with lots of rain. Current temp is 25C

Yesterday was a nice day with some rain around 6 pm. Max temp reached 33.5C

Happy Birthday to my Dad today!


Friday 21 September 2007

22nd September, 2007

Today's weather;

It's beautiful this morning, nice sunshine with the clouds evaporating and a current temp of 25.3C

Yesterday had a lot of rain in the morning, the afternoon was clouded but dry. Max temp reached 31.7C

The Meteorological Department gave out a warning for possible flash floods in 5 Southern provinces, including Surat Thani the province that Koh Samui belongs to.


21st September, 2007

Today's weather;

Light overcast with strong wind gusts and a current temp of already 31.4C

Yesterday was a lovely day in the morning. My face got completely sunburned sitting and waiting next to the pool at Koh Tao for my candidates to complete their Confined Water presentations during their IE.
However, came 3 pm, when the ferry for Samui arrived, it started to rain and a small storm roared it's head and at 7 pm it was raining cats and dogs on Samui with an almost constant drizzle for the rest of the night.


Thursday 20 September 2007

20th September, 2007

Today's weather from Koh Tao;

It's sunny and blue today although the wind is till there, it looks like it's going to be a nice day. Current temp is 27C

Yesterday was cloudy but dry with a max temp of 30C

Tomorrow morning I'll be back on Samui again with a Samui weather forecast.


Wednesday 19 September 2007

One year after the coup in Thailand

Today marks the 1st anniversary of the coup.

It's today exactly a year ago the coup was staged in Thailand and a lot of water has passed down the Chao Praya river in Bangkok since.

What has the coup brought Thailand, are we, Thais and expats living in Thailand, better off than before the coup?

I'm looking forward to hear any comments on this.

19th September, 2007

Today's weather on Koh Tao;

Very strong winds and grey clouds dominate Koh Tao this morning with a current temp of 24.5C
The reason for me being on Koh Tao is to support my IDC candidates during their PADI Instructor Exams, you can follow their progress on my dive blog.

Yesterday was grey and cloudy all day long with around midnight a real storm developing with very strong wind and rain which must've lasted almost all night long.
Mae Haad harbour, Koh Tao this morning, under a grey sky. The strong winds don't show that well on the picture, but it's out there! This picture is taken from one of the rooms at the Sea Lodge.

Tuesday 18 September 2007

18th September, 2007

Today's weather;

Just before heading off to Koh Tao for two nights, here's Samui's weather situation;
A grey and dark sky is looming over Samui with a constant drizzle. Last night there was a big storm around 4 am. Current temp is 24.4C

Yesterday was a good day if you live here, it was raining and drizzling all morning which stopped around noon but the overcast stayed. It's nice temperatures though but not if you're on a holiday here, which was 28C

If I didn't know any better, I would think the rainy season has found it's way to Samui, however, that'd be about a month early, at least! The weather forecast for the coming week doesn't look too promising though.


Monday 17 September 2007

17th September, 2007

Today's weather;

It's clouded this morning and the sun is not really making it through. Current temp is 25.4C

Yesterday it was a lovely day up till about 3 pm when it started to rain heavily and it kind of kept drizzling into the early evening. Below is a picture of Chaweng Beach in yesterday's rain and empty beach, during our Open Water dives of my current IDC. Max temp only reached 31.3C and there was 6.9mm rainfall.

Yesterday saw also a very unfortunate plane crash on Phuket where 88 people died but also 44 people survived.

Tomorrow we're off to Koh Tao for the PADI IE, so the next couple of days I'll be reporting from Koh Tao.


Sunday 16 September 2007

16th September, 2007

Today's weather;

There's a cloud cover forming this morning but there's still blue patches around. Current temp is 26.6C

Yesterday it was a nice day with lots of sun and it remained dry with a max temp of 33.6C. There were strong wind gusts though.


Saturday 15 September 2007

15th September, 2007

Today's weather;

Sunny with heavy cloud formations, especially looming over the Gulf. Current temp is 28.3C

Yesterday was a nice and lovely day, warm and sunny as it usually is recently but by 3 pm it become clouded and a strong wind came up. By 6.30 pm it was raining a bit but eventually it remained dry for the rest of the evening.


Friday 14 September 2007

14th September, 2007

Today's weather;

A blazing blue sky is forming up with the usual cloud formations over the Gulf. Current temp is 27.3C

Yesterday was another nice and warm day with lots of sun. Max temp reached 34.3C


Thursday 13 September 2007

World Resort, Bophud, Koh Samui

World Resort in between Bophud and Maenam,

This is where I conduct my PADI Dive Instructor courses, aka IDC's. However, that's not the reason I'm writing this blog entry. Due to myself spending a lot of time at World Resort, during these courses, I got to know the resort really well, since more than 4 years I'm there almost every month for about 2 weeks.

The resort is very nicely located at Bophud beach and can be reached from the ring road, it's half way between the traffic lights in Bophud and downtown Maenam.

The resort has bot a beach and a swimming pool, including a children bath so you can choose between lounging around beach side or having fun with the kids at the pool.

On the resorts beach, you can enjoy beautiful sunsets, like this one.

What I like a lot about the resort, is that it's family owned. The parents who manage the resort together with their daughter, where originally local teachers and they started the resort on it's current location just with a couple of beach huts. This must've been some 20 years ago.

In all the years that I've been coming to World Resort, it changed a lot, in a very positive way. The family keeps up with modern times and in low season they are steadily working and constructing in and around the resort to keep everything up to high standards. This is what I like about this resort, it's family run, they put a real effort into making you feel welcome and to make sure that you enjoy your stay there. The staff in general stays on a long time as well, which helps to make your stay more enjoyable.

Here's an impression of the resort. The bungalows are placed along lots of green and flowers and all bungalows just had a revamp.

The restaurant is beautifully located at the beach and the view there is awesome. See the picture below. Besides that, the food they serve is really awesome and their menu has a splendid mix between Thai and Western food.

The beach at World Resort allows for a direct view over Koh Phangan, which is located almost opposite the resort. This picture merely shows the beach, Koh Phangan is off to the left, only slightly visible.

This is me during on of my IDC courses at lunch time at the beach restaurant, enjoying the wonderful food that is served each time.

All in all, if you want to get away from the busy streets of Chaweng and enjoy a quiet and relaxing holiday, than I can highly recommend World Resort.


13th September, 2007

Today's weather;

It looks like it's going to be a warm and sunny day, a blue sky is shaping up with currently still some scattered clouds out and about. Current temp is 26.2C

Yesterday was a lovely day, warm, sunny, blue skies, until 5 pm when, whilst shopping at the new Big C complex it started to rain cats and dogs in Chaweng with strong wind gusts. Upon returning home at Plai Laem, it turned out to be completely dry there, until 8 pm, when it let loose there as well for a couple of hours.


Wednesday 12 September 2007

12th September, 2007

Today's weather;

There's still a light haze in the sky which most likely will vaporize once the sun is blasting full on.
Current temp is 27C.

Yesterday was once more a sunny and warm day.


Tuesday 11 September 2007

11th September, 2007

Today's weather;

The sun is trying to break through some hazy cloud layers with bigger clouds looming over the Gulf.

Yesterday was a lovely day with sunshine all day long and it was warm.

Last night I woke up at around 3.30am due to a massive storm raging over Samui. This storm caused havoc in the North and North-Eastern part of Thailand, killing 4 people so far and destroying loads of houses.

Today is the last day of the Assistant Instructor part of the current IDC and we have an Open Water dive scheduled, which I hope we can enjoy despite the potential of low visibility due to last nights storm. Tomorrow we have a day off from the IDC although my day will be filled with sorting out my yearly visa requirements and renewal at immigration.


Monday 10 September 2007

10th September, 2007

Today's weather;

An almost straight blue sky promises a lovely day today, with a current temp of 27.6C

Yesterday it was a nice and warm day with lots of blue skies.


Sunday 9 September 2007

9th September, 2007

Today's weather;

The sun shines away but there are clouds and big ones are looming directly at the coast. Current temp is 27.6C

Yesterday it was a nice day, warm and sunny.


Saturday 8 September 2007

8th September, 2007

Today's weather;

It's a white haze with lots of potential for the sun to break through once it starts heating up. The sun is actually breaking through right now with a current temp of 27C

Yesterday it was very sunny and warm all day long. Max temp reached 31.3C

On the 6th, Thursday, Big C, a big shopping mall chain, opened it's doors on Samui and the opening day was a madhouse. Yesterday we went to have a look with the family and it turned out to be a very nice affair. Lots of new restaurants in the mall, Zen, S&P and a few older ones, that we know already, KFC, MK.
In my opinion, Big C is a good thing for Samui and after Tesco Lotus and Makro, shopping on Samui has been beautifully upgraded.


Friday 7 September 2007

7th September, 2007

Today's weather;

Lots of blue sky with some cloud formations, mainly over the ocean. It looks like it's going to be a nice day. Current temp is 26C

Yesterday was a good day, overcast with a tiny bit if rain around 4 pm. Max temp was 31.4C


Thursday 6 September 2007

6th September, 2007

Today's weather;

Big cloud formations with some blue patches and a current temp of already 28.6C

Yesterday was warm and dry with a max temp of only 31.5C although it felt a lot warmer.


Wednesday 5 September 2007

Mook's old kitchen or Samui tradition, part 2

Mook's old kitchen or Samui tradition, part 2

It's about time to followup on Mook's old kitchen or Samui tradition, part 1 story, which I posted about two weeks ago, before our trip to Sao's wedding and our visit to Phuket. Since I'm also starting a new IDC tomorrow, which you can follow on my dive blog, time will be restricted to post much, so today's a good day for the final part about Mook's kitchen.

There'll be a few exciting pictures of some very old old utensils, almost with museum value, in my opinion, so let's have a look.

First picture is straight away bingo, it shows a very ancient grinder, used to grind rice etc. It works similar as grinding stones in Dutch windmills, in case you're familiar with their function!

On top right of the grinder, previous picture, is also this tiny light, here proudly shown by Jaay, Mook's Mum. These kind of lights were used back in the days when one went outside the house during the night or darkness, like a visit to the bathroom. Toilets were (and sometimes still are) separated from the main house.

At my wife's parental house, in the middle of the night, the bathroom is; out the main door (passing through the living/sleeping room), down the stairs, under the house, walk a good 5 to 10 meters away from the house, enter toilet and reverse your tracks, 'luckily' nowadays with electrical lights).

A slightly more 'modern' cooking set up. These kind of coal burners are still widely used in today's normal live throughout Thailand. When my wife cooks fish, she uses one of these, outside of the house, for the smell! Note the separated wooden bars, for all trash and garbage to drop as chicken food.

In the living room, on the wall, is this lovely gun. Still in working order, if cleaned properly.

A stuffed deer. They used to live in the hills on Samui and my wife and all of her family heard them for the last time when Mook got married, about 8 years ago. They used to come really close to the houses. Mook's house has 4 stuffed deer heads, all originating from Samui. Nowadays, with all the construction going on around Samui, I doubt that there's that many deer left. Most certainly not in Plai Laem. Unfortunately.

Jaay posing on the veranda of her 100 year old house. Most of the daily family life takes place outside, in the cooler, fresh air, either like here, on the veranda's or under the houses. Most old style houses, are build on stilts, high enough to allow for a sitting/hanging out area below the house, sometimes even with TV's etc.

Jaay in front of her house.

A side view of the house, the window on the left is on the veranda and the window on the right is in the kitchen.

A frontal view of the house.

Last but not least, a view on the new house. It's gonna be a lovely new house and they will be happy to live in it, but still it's a bit of a shame that old tradition like the old house will have to go.

Hope you enjoy the pix, leave some comments if you like!


Welcome to September

September is normally a nice month.

Usually it follows up on the weather pattern of August, which should be nice. However, this year we noticed a different August weather pattern, so I'm curious to see where September leads to this year.

It's normally also the last month before the rainy season or monsoon can start. Last year we hardly had a monsoon but the year before that we had a severe one. The monsoon is unpredictable for when it's starts, sometimes as early as October and most of the times not until November.

The start of September so far has been good so let's keep our fingers crossed.

Feel free during this upcoming month to post your comments on my articles.


5th September, 2007

Today's weather;

It's dry and sunny with a milky layer. Current temp is 26C

Yesterday was a good day, dry and warm with a max temp of 33.3C

Today I'm starting a new IDC which progress you can follow on my diving blog.


Tuesday 4 September 2007

4th September, 2007

Today's weather;

There's a light overcast and the wind seems to have come back. Current temp is 26C

Yesterday was a nice day, warm and dry with a max temp of 33.7C


Monday 3 September 2007

3rd September, 2007

Today's weather;

It's mainly blue with watery clouds all over. Current temp is 27C

Yesterday was a nice and hot day with a very welcome cooling off shower around 6 pm. Max temp reached 34.4C


Sunday 2 September 2007

2nd September, 2007

Today's weather;

A blue sky with some clouds on the horizon, over the Gulf of Thailand with a current temp of 26C.

Yesterday was a lovely day, warm and hot and it was good to be back home again. Max temp was 34.6C


Saturday 1 September 2007

1st September, 2007

Today's weather;

Back on Samui and it's warm and sunny here!

Had a real early wake up call so we could catch an early ferry and been straight to work, so didn't really have time to update until now.

It's currently 31C

More tomorrow.