Wednesday 30 April 2008

Goodbye to April

Goodbye to April 2008

It's been a slightly strange April, this year. It started out very good. It was hot and it got hotter and than it got so hot that it was getting to be become uncomfortable.

That's when it all of a sudden turned upside down, we had rain, not just a bit, but similar rains as during the rainy season in October/November. Thunderstorms and lots of heavy wind were raging all over Thailand, which is for most parts of Thailand very unusual during this time of the year.
Right now it has quieted down again but next week, early May, shows some potential thunderstorms again.

Is it part of the Global Warning possibly?

Let's look forward to the up and coming month, May and to some good weather.

Hope you enjoyed my reports during this month and to see you back again on a regular base.


30th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A fairly blue sky rules this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 26.1C.

Yesterday was hot but it rained during the morning as well, just a bit but nonetheless. Max temp reached 31.8C.


Tuesday 29 April 2008

29th April, 2008

Today's weather;

Right now, at 7.40 am it's a mixed bag, some parts are nice and blue but other parts of the sky are covered in dark clouds. Current temp at 7 am is 25C.

Yesterday was a nice day, which was nice since I went diving around Koh Tao. When we left Koh Tao at 3 pm, it started to rain very hard and when we reached Samui, it started to drip a bit here as well. Max temp reached 31.5C.


Monday 28 April 2008

28th April, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 26C.

Yesterday was a lovely sunny and warm day with a max temp in the lower thirties.


Sunday 27 April 2008

27th April, 2008

Today's weather;

There's plenty of blue this morning although white clouds are fighting for supremacy. It looks like a very nice day though and current temp at 7am was 28.7C.

Yesterday was a lovely day, it remained dry and there was plenty of sunshine. Max temp reached 30.5C.


Saturday 26 April 2008

26th April, 2008

Today's weather;

There's blue in the sky again although it's still partly cloudy. It looks like a much nicer day today with a current temp at 7 am of 25.8C.

Yesterday was another very strange day for April. I went diving around Koh Tao and once we were at Koh Tao the wind and rain raged like there was no tomorrow, the October/November monsoon would've envied the force displayed!

Pretty much all day between 10 am and 3 pm it was raining on Koh Tao and also on Samui.

The weekend should be nice but there's more strong wind and rain predicted for next week including some thunderstorms!


Friday 25 April 2008

25th April, 2008Current temp at 7 am is 28.1C.

Today's weather;

It looks a lot nice this morning compared to yesterday, there's still heavy cloud coverage, but the clouds are white today and the storm like winds have disappeared.

Yesterday was a nasty day, extremely strong wind bursts accompanied with lots of rain were raging at times. It felt like a rainy season day in October or November. Nothing near what it should be like during April, extremely unusual. Max temp was still in the lower thirties.


Thursday 24 April 2008

24th April, 2008

Today's weather;

Well, today's weather sees everything upside down. There's some serious grey overcast and this early morning, before 6 am saw lots of hard rain. At 7 am it was only 24.5C, which is nice and cool but very untypical for this time of the year. The forecast for the upcoming week isn't that great neither, a nice weekend and than full on rain and wind again for a couple of days.

During the night and in the early there where power cuts, hence my blog being so late!

Yesterday started out with lots of rain in the morning which ceased during the the afternoon. Max temp reached 30.2C. A total of 59.2mm of rain fell!


Wednesday 23 April 2008

23rd April, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy this morning but already very warm at 7 am with a 29.5C reading of the quicksilver.

Yesterday was warm, again! Max temp reached 31.1C.


Tuesday 22 April 2008

22nd April, 2008

Today's weather;

A bit of a haze this morning but very warm at 7 am already,;29.2C.

Yesterday was sunny and warm with a max temp reaching 31.8C.


Monday 21 April 2008

21st April, 2008

Today's weather;

There's a lot more blue in the sky than the previous days although there seems to be plenty of clouds over the ocean. Current temp at 7 am is 26.5C. Looks like we're gearing up for another very hot day!

Yesterday saw a lot of overcast and even a tiny bit of rain in the afternoon. Max temp reached 32.5C.


Sunday 20 April 2008

Olympic Torch Relay in Bangkok, trouble free

Olympic Torch Relay in Bangkok, trouble free

Yesterday's Olympic Torch relay through Bangkok's streets went off almost without a hitch.

There was a small, peaceful protest along the road by pro Tibet supporters.

The Nation newspaper has two slide shows of the event of a trouble-free relay and torch relay greeted with protest.

20th April, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning and it even rained a little bit just before 7 am. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday saw some heavy clouds and it rained a tiny bit after noon, which made for a more bearable day without the previous heavy hotness. Max temp reached 31.3C.


Saturday 19 April 2008

Passing the torch

An update on the Olympic flame relay today in Bangkok, as posted today in the Bangkok Post, a nationwide English newspaper based in Bangkok.

Interesting to see that the Chinese don't trust the Thai authorities to protect the flame.
My respect to M.R. Narisa Chakrabongse, since she's a Thai citizen, they can't revoke her visa, which makes me wonder if there will be any other repercussions for her;

The Beijing Olympics torch arrived in Bangkok on Friday morning after a tumultuous run in India. Police are warning would-be protesters not to try to disrupt the Saturday afternoon procession in Bangkok.

The torch along with its stern-faced Chinese security agents arrived on a Chinese charter flight that was the only flight to land at the the military side of Don Muang airport, well away from the general public.

It landed at 2.40am Thailand time, and the Chinese embassy scared up around 30 Thai-Chinese to wave Chinese and Olympics flags (no Thai flags) as the plane landed, according to the news agency AFP.

The plane arrived from India, where at least 180 Tibetan activists were arrested during the relay in New Delhi.

The torch will be kept at a downtown hotel on Friday, but guarded entirely by Chinese, who apparently do not trust Thai police enough to let them too close to the torch.

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama denied foreigners protesting at the Olympic torch relay on Saturday will be deported, but said they could fact legal problems.

Police have warned all would-be protesters against any attempt to disrupt the Bejing Olympics torch relay on Saturday afternoon.

"Action will be taken" against anyone who tries to spoil the 10.5-km run through the inner city, police spokesman Watcharapol Prasanratchakij said on Thursday.
"We are prepared to deal with ill-intentioned groups," he said.

A coalition of Thai human rights groups plan a small demonstration on Saturday, but have not announced their final plans.

Mr Noppadon said activists have the right to protest as long as they refrain from violence.

The Foreign Ministry will not revoke visas of foreign protesters if they do not break the law, "but if they cause trouble the government hast the right to take legal action against them," he said.

Pol Lt-Gen Watcharapol said city police will ensure security for the relay and direct traffic. The Special Branch will work with the Chinese embassy to investigate any possible threat.

The relay starts at the Chinatown Gate about 3 p.m. Thailand time and ends at the Royal Plaza.

One of the designated Thai torch-bearers, M.R. Narisa Chakrabongse, founder and chairwoman of the Green World Foundation, earlier withdrew in protest.

19th April, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks like another steaming hot day although there's a thin haze. Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.

Yesterday was hot, to a degree that it becomes uncomfortable to even move around. The heat seems to take all year energy from you! Max temp reached 32.3C.


Friday 18 April 2008

The Olympic Torch is coming to Bangkok this Saterday, protesters, you have been warned!

The Olympic Torch is coming to Bangkok this Saterday, protesters, you have been warned!

Protest are expected but intypical Thai way, any foreigner caught protesting or rather disrupting the relay is punished in a complete over the top way, whilst in the meantime much worse things happening in Thailand go un-monitered or un-regulated.

Here are a few articles by The Nation, an English language nationwide paper;

Olympic Torch relay run in Bangkok to face protests

Several networks and organisations are planning to stage pro-Tibet activities on Thai soil Saturday to coincide with the day Beijing Olympic Torch will be carried through Thailand. The organisers include: Network for the Liberation of Tibet, Thai Labour Campaign Group, social critics from Chulalongkorn University, Activists for Social Changes, Young People for Democracy Movement and Workers Democracy Group.

The Nation 18/04/08

Police threaten to arrest Olympic protesters

Those who disrupt the Olympic torch run in Bangkok Saturday will be unconditionally arrested and charged with causing public disturbance, police spokesman Pol Lt General Watcharaphol Prasarnratchakij said Thursday.Foreign protestors will have their rights for immediate residence and their future entry in Thailand revoked, and those with also Thai nationality will have it revoked permanently.

The Nation 18/04/08


You'll be playing with fire

Any foreigner who takes part in protests during the run will be kicked out for good, police warn
Published on April 18, 2008 by The Nation

Daily xpress

Protesters disrupting tomorrow's Olympic-torch relay will be arrested immediately and prosecuted for public disturbance, police say.

Foreigners will be expelled and banned from returning. Those with residency will have it revoked permanently, spokesman Lt-General Watcharaphol Prasarnratchakij says.
"If they come here and engage in unlawful acts, they must be prosecuted ... if they engage in illegal activity, we will proceed according to the law by revoking their visa," he says.
"We have prepared everything to ensure the smoothness of the ceremony."

A Government House source says there are groups in this country motivated to disrupt the relay, including human-rights groups and the local Falun Gong.

Additional police have been deployed to the Plaza Athenee Hotel, where the torch and Olympic flame are housed ahead of tomorrow's 3pm run.

There will be as many as 2,000 policemen on duty along the route, according to the Olympic Committee of Thailand.

Four police vehicles and six officers will accompany the relay at all times. A bomb squad and a canine crew are on standby as is a special weapons and tactics outfit.

The heavy security highlights concerns here and the government's desire to avoid similar chaos to that which occurred overseas.

Free Tibet Network member Pokpong Lawansiri disagrees with the stance against pro-Tibet protests.

"Under the Constitution, an individual - local or foreigner - has the right to rally for a cause," he says. "Peaceful rally should be allowed".
He expects about 100 members to protests.

Prime ministerial aide Akhaphol Sorrasuchart says protests can continue as long as there's no run disruption and they do not break other laws, including traffic, or damage property.

A number of locations have been prepared for protests, although he will not say where.

The relay route through normally crowded Bangkok has been cordoned off with barricades to deter protests.

Rallying point
Networks and organisations planning pro-Tibet activities tomorrow include:

>> Free Tibet Network, Thai Labour Campaign Group, Chulalongkorn University social critics, Activists for Social Change, Young People for Democracy Movement and Workers Democracy.
>> Others include Reporters Without Borders and China pro-democracy and pro-Taiwan groups.


18th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A hazy overcast is around this morning over Samui but it looks like it's gonna heat up again with a current temp of 27.3C at 7 am.
Am back home again after the PADI IE was completed yesterday on Koh Tao, see my dive blog.

Yesterday was very hot, so hot it was almost uncomfortable outside. Max temp reached 33C.


Thursday 17 April 2008

17th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A slightly cloudy sky with lots of sunshine and very warm early in the day with a 28.8C temp at 7 am on Koh Tao.
Today I'll be back on my way to Koh Samui.

Yesterday was just hot and sunny with a max temp 33.8C, I stayed almost all day inside my aircon room!


Wednesday 16 April 2008

Road toll soars

Road toll soars

One of the unfortunate side effects of the Songkran festivities in Thailand is the big death toll and injuries that occur each year. People from all over the country go back home during the New Year and many accidents happen during this trek but the majority of accidents happen when driving motorbikes at night whilst drunk. A lot of times by young boys.

When we stayed at Chaweng Police station a few days ago during Songkran day to help out with a family member of my wife having a car/bike collision with a tourist, a story was told to me which happened the previous night and is exemplary, unfortunately, for this time of the year.

A young boy, younger than 20, had his bike taken away by the Police, the night before Songkran, because he was speeding. Two hours later, the same boy was involved in an accident during which he crashed into a car's window. His throat got cut open by the glass and he died because of that.

He's one of the statistics that happen each year in Thailand during Songkran.

Please have a read in the article below from today's Bangkok Post;

The roads have been even more deadly this year, with the death toll at the halfway period of the Songkran festival above last year's figure.

Justice permanent secretary Jarun Pukditanakul said there were 1,018 accidents on Songkran day, Sunday, the third day of the seven-day most dangerous period. This was 5.5 per cent up on last year.

He said 76 people were killed (7 per cent up) and 1,103 people injured (3.9 per cent up).
About 45 per cent of the road accidents involved drink driving and 84 per cent involved motorcycles.

The highest number of accidents (39 per cent) occurred on village roads. Most accidents (57 per cent) happened at night, with 30 per cent between 4pm and 8pm.

Chiang Rai province recorded the highest number of accidents, 50, followed by Phetchabun province with 42.

Chon Buri had the highest road death toll yesterday with five fatalities, and Chiang Mai saw the highest number of people injured in road accidents - 51.

In the first three days, since April 11, there were 2,238 road accidents, 180 deaths and 2,514 injuries.

All the stated figures are higher than last year at the same stage.

Mr Jarun, who heads the government's road safety centre, said most road accidents involved teenage motorcyclists in villages after dark and mainly resulted from drunk driving.

He suggested that parents who let their children violate traffic laws should be punished as well.
Anucha Mokhawet, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said since the figures showed that most deaths occurred in the North, he had ordered the governors of the northern provinces to increase the number of road checkpoints.

He said the state should impose a ban on alcohol sales during Songkran because drink driving was the main cause of road accidents during this period.

Earlier, Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung suggested that if such a ban is introduced it should only cover two days, the first and the last, of the Songkran holiday since most of the driving is done on these two days.

But Mr Jarun has suggested that the ban be enforced on April 13 and 14 as the casualty toll seem to peak on these two days.

Dr Thaejing Siripanit, secretary-general of the Don't Drive Drunk Foundation, said the ban should cover the entire week.

The Thai Red Cross Society yesterday reported that it was running out of blood supplies.
The society needs 1,500 units of blood daily during the Songkran festival, but received only 973 units on April 12 and 950 units on April 13. Its blood bank distributes daily to hospitals nationwide.

Read the story here, with a link to the Bangkok Post's original article.

16th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A straight blue sky reigns over Koh Tao, where I'll be today and tomorrow for a PADI IE with two of my IDC candidates. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday seemed to be very hot, Koh Tao almost felt hotter than Samui, max temp reached 31.8C.


Tuesday 15 April 2008

15th April, 2008

Today's weather;

It's slightly hazy at 7 am with a current temp of 25.5C. Which is cold compared to yesterday.
Am off to Koh Tao for two nights for a PADI IE with my candidates.

Yesterday was another nice and warm day with a max temp in the lower thirties.


Monday 14 April 2008

Songkran 2008

Songkran 2008 was fun!

In my post there will be some pictures so you can get an idea what's it all about.

Songkran is the Thai New Year and is celebrated throughout Thailand.

We planned to go to the Pagoda overlooking Chaweng, of which I posted in February. There was a ceremony scheduled early mornings and it would also be a good moment to give an update. However, the moment we planned to leave the house my father in law called and asked us to get to the Chaweng Police station, since a relatives car was involved in an accident with a foreigner on a motorbike.

Law in Thailand works slightly different on some levels than in the rest of the world. In Europe, when you get caught whilst drinking and driving, you're in trouble, same as in Thailand. If you get involved in an accident whilst drunk and driving, problems only get bigger and that's where Thailand differs. The police or the 'not guilty' party accepts payment of the damage done and everybody goes home, home free so to speak, even the drunk motorbike driver. In this case there was damage of around 1.000,- Euros and it took about 8 hours for the foreigner to arrange for the money, meaning that I spent 5 hours at the Police station, before I left to bring the children and Mother in law home. It almost took me an hour to get from Chaweng to our house, and almost an hour and a half after I left, the money was on the table, I was just about to return to take up my translation duties again.

The young bloke who caused the accident was free to leave, instead of facing Thai jail and paying a lot more after he went through the justice system.

This meant that after spending all morning at the police station, I was at last free to go and enjoy the party!

My first stop was in Ban Rak, where friends and staff from the dive shop I work for was having a good time. Above shows what the effects of water and talcum powder has on you

One of the many pick up trucks driving around the island with a trigger happy crowd in the back of the pick up!

Next stop was Chaweng beach road and it was a mad house! A big party was going on in front of Soi Green Mango, and if you look carefully, a new use for melons has been put effectively in use.

The party in full swing!

Hope to see you next year!


14th April, 2008

Today's weather;

It's really warm already at 7 am with 29.2C on the books with a light overcast/haze.

Yesterday was very sunny and warm with lots of fun during Songkran, a report with pictures will follow later. Max temp reached 31.5C.


Sunday 13 April 2008

13th April, 2008

Today's weather;

Happy Thai New Year to you all or Songkran as the Thais call it; Sabai dee pee mai, krab!

Today's starting out with a near perfect blue sky with a slight haze in it which I expect to disappear soon when the sun heats up. The Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was another sunny and hot day with a current temp of 31.3C.


Saturday 12 April 2008

12th April, 2008

Today's weather;

Having had a bit of a sleep in today, after completing the April 2008 IDC yesterday, there's a bit of overcast and the sun is darting around the clouds like there's no tomorrow, giving us a temp at 7 am of 27C.

Yesterday was once more hot, although hazy for most of the day with a max temp of 31.8C.


Friday 11 April 2008

11th April, 2008

Today's weather;

The sun's out and blazing trying to dissolve the thin cloud layer that is out this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 26.3C.

Yesterday was nice and sunny with a max temp of 31.5C.


Thursday 10 April 2008

10th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A perfect blue sky reigns this morning over our little part of Samui with a current temp of 25.6C at 7 am.

Yesterday was more of the same, sunny and hot with the temperatures creeping up slowly and steadily, coming to stop at 32.s3C.


Wednesday 9 April 2008

Lucky Charms in Thailand are out of Luck

Lucky Charms in Thailand are out of Luck

Last year in June we had a nice and relaxed trip to Nakhon Si Thammarat in which I talked and had pictures about the Thai Lucky Charms or Buddhist Amulets.

The recent Wall Street Journal of 7th April had a very interesting story about the Jatukam Ramathep amulets which were the absolute craze around Thailand last year, see this article in The Nation of last year.

Have a read in the Wall Street Journal article, it's interesting and explains the addition to the list of speculative market bubbles popping around the world, where you can add this: Thai religious talismans.

It's interesting to see how influential these talismans can be and how Thais believe in the protective powers that amulets or tattoo's can have.


9th April, 2008

Today's weather;

There's an almost perfect blue sky this morning with a current temp of 27.2C. It looks like it's definitely heating up again just in time before Songkran, the Thai New Year.

Yesterday was sunny and hot with a max temp of 31.3C.


Tuesday 8 April 2008

Who wants a new airport on Samui?

Who wants a new airport on Samui?

There's currently, once more so to say, a discussion going on about Samui needing a 2nd airport.

The Bangkok Post has published an excellent article today and especially the summary is well written with very good insight;

Surely, slowing development to resolve existing problems before they completely get out of control would be the wisest choice.

Conclusion: It appears there will be no problem raising funds (to the tune of 2 billion baht) to build a new airport. A concerted effort to address and deal with many of the problems plaguing Samui today would cost a lot less. The present dispute over the new airport should be seen as an opportunity to re-examine Samui's present state of development. Instead of more indiscriminate development and building, the island urgently needs visionary planning based on sustainable tourism concepts.

We should not allow this beautiful island to become another victim of short-sighted and destructive, big-money politics. Efficient solutions to the island's present problems, the long-term effect on limited natural resources and ultimate sustainability should be carefully considered before any more development takes place.

For a link to the complete article please click here.


8th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A fairly blue sky with some cloud formations over the ocean and a current temp of 26C at 7 am.

Yesterday was once more warm and sunny, after an initial cloudy cover in the morning. Max temp reached 30.5C.


Monday 7 April 2008

7th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A blue sky littered with some clouds and a current temp of 8.5C.

Yesterday saw a nice and sunny morning with more clouds after noon and eventually a bit of unusual April rain in the late afternoon. Max temp reached 30.6C.


Sunday 6 April 2008

6th April, 2008

Today's weather;

It's fairly cloudy this morning but still plenty of sunshine coming though as well. Current temp at 7 am was 26.7C.
Today I'm enjoying a day off from the busy April IDC schedule.

Yesterday was a nice and warm day, as usual this time of the year, with a max temp that reached 30.5C.


Saturday 5 April 2008

5th April, 2008

Today's weather;

A bit of wind and a cloudy sky are up this morning and it's already warm so early since at 7 am it's 28.7C.

Yesterday was once more warm and sunny with a max temp of 30.7C. The early morning clouds evaporated quickly and the sun broke through for the rest of the day.


Friday 4 April 2008

4th April, 2008

Today's weather;

This morning there's a bit of overcast and no sunshine yet. Current temp at 7 am was already 27C.

Yesterday was hot and sunny with a max temp of 31.3C.


Thursday 3 April 2008

3rd April, 2008

Today's weather;

A blue sky, lots of sun and a remote cloud. Its nice! Current temp at 7 am is 25.8C.

Yesterday was another hot and sunny day with a max temp of 31.1C.


Wednesday 2 April 2008

2nd April, 2008

Today's weather;

The sky is blue as usual recently although there's a white glow in the sky of a very thin layer of clouds. It's 26C at 7 am.

Yesterday was really warm and hot and during the Confined water dive of the the IDC we got really sun burnt!
The temperature reached the lower thirties as a max temp yesterday.


Tuesday 1 April 2008

Welcome to April 2008

Welcome to April 2008

April is generally the warmest month of the year on Samui, by far!

It just becomes steaming hot, so hot that you just sit outside and the sweat runs off you! Time for a nice cold one!!

The diving is also excellent in April, great vis and plenty of big fishes, including Whaleshark sightings during this months. For more info, see my dive website or my dive blog.

One real good and nice thing during April is, that each year the Songkran festival or the Thai New Year is celebrated between 13 and 15 April. Last year there was very unusual rain during Songkran!

A great time to visit Thailand and Samui, so I hope to see you around soon!


1st April, 2008

Today's weather;

A blue sky with shades of clouds is about and about this 1st April morning with a current temp of 25.5C at 7 am.

Yesterday started out very nice but to my big surprise their were a couple of serious heavy showers before noon. From noon onwards it was business as usual, hot and sunny with a max temp of 31.2C.