Tuesday 30 September 2008

30th September, 2008

Today's weather;

The blue sky is back, there's a bit of a white layer still floating around but that doesn't look like it can resist a heated up sun. Current temp at 7 am is 26.2C.

Yesterday didn't start out that great but during the afternoon the clouds parted and the sun came through a tiny little bit and it got hot again! Max temp reached 32.5C.


Goodbye to September 2008

Goodbye to September 2008

Time flies by and all of a sudden I find myself at the end of September 2008. First of all I've got a new IDC starting today, which will see regular updates on my dive blog, keep your eyes posted!

Back to this September though and it didn't start off that great, plenty of overcast, lots of strong wind and not so much sunshine.

That changed nicely though and the second half of September was a lot nicer, plenty of sunshine and in general it was very hot! There were still strong wind bouts but overall, this September was a lot better than last years September.

Right now I'm looking forward to October and I hope the current stretch of sunny and hot weather keeps on for a while.

Thanks for following my blog, I'm looking forward seeing you next month again!


Monday 29 September 2008

Thaa Yai 2008, saying goodbye, Wat Plai Laem

Thaa Yai 2008, saying goodbye, Wat Plai Laem

Two weeks ago I reported about Thaa Yai in Wat Plai Laem and described how the deceased are welcomed back to 'our earth' for a short while.
Today it was time to say goodbye again to the deceased and 'send' them back. This also meant that we had to get up very early again. The children and me got up at 5.30 am and my wife woke up at 2 am to start cooking.

As with the welcoming Thaa Yai, sending the deceased back is also done with copious amounts of food. Here's the food for the monks, spread out over plenty of plates.

The big plates of food with the little white flags on them. The white flags contain messages for the deceased.

This is what it's all about, the places around the Bot where all the mini urns are kept. There is a short ceremony of each individual family member to commemorate the deceased.


29th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy with a current temp of 25.8C at 7 am.

Yesterday was cloudy and a tiny bit of drizzle. Max temp reached only 28.8C.


Sunday 28 September 2008

28th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 25.5C.

Yesterday saw sunshine and overcast and a few tropical downpours. Max temp reached nonetheless 34.5C.


Saturday 27 September 2008

27th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's a bit cloudy today, compared to the last days. There are still some blue glimpses but at the moment it doesn't look like it's going to be as hot as during last week. The wind has dropped at this very moment. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday was once more hot and sunny. Max temp reached 33.8C. Last night saw a very strong wind!

Here's an interesting article from the Nation, showing Thailand's political dilemma; Cabinet line-up leaves no doubts on PPP's role


Friday 26 September 2008

26th September, 2008

Today's weather;

A blue sky with a white haze is above us this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday was once more hot and sunny, although there was a 5 minute tropical downpour during the afternoon in Chaweng. All was dry half an hour later! Max temp reached 33.5C.


Thursday 25 September 2008

25th September, 2008

Today's weather;

The sunshine holds on, a very nice blue sky reigns above Samui with some white fluffy stuff floating around it. Current temp at 7 am is 27.3C.

Yesterday was another hot day with a beautiful blue sky all day long. Max temp reached 34C.

There's no real news on the political front, whenever that changes, I'll let you know, so I'll let it rest for the time being.


Wednesday 24 September 2008

24th September, 2008

Today's weather;

This morning looks great again, a lovely blue sky above me! Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday was hot! Very hot! Max temp reached 34.6C.

No reports today on the floodings in Thailand, so things look on the up again.

The political weather remains slightly unstable, although there's an unofficial Cabinet line-up there are only few impressed by the likely Cabinet line-up.

PAD is 'being offered graceful exit' but the real clincher today is that the PM's daughter in trouble over assets. The show never seems to stop in LOS (Land of Smiles).


Tuesday 23 September 2008

23rd September, 2008

Today's weather;

An almost complete blue sky rules over Samui this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 27.2C.

Yesterday was sunny and hot! Max temp reached 33.3C.

The floods in Thailand caused damages worth Bt28.56 million so far: Interior Ministry and flood victims forced to sleep rough.

On the political front PM Somchai completes his team with a good view on him in this article; From cronyism to proxies to family politics.

"The public will soon see whether he (Somchai) cares more about the family business than the public interest
Swimming in a sea full of sharks or walking through a minefield would be more comfortable for Somchai. He faces formidable adversity and tough challenges. Thaksin and Samak, both with more influence and longer, rougher years in politics, still ended up the way they are, facing the strong possibility of jail terms.
Even after family nudging and advice, Somchai probably forgot to ask himself: who am I to undertake such an impossible task when the longer fangs have failed miserably?"

Here's also a link to very good article in he Bangkok Post; Fight for democracy


Monday 22 September 2008

22nd September, 2008

Today's weather;

It looks nice and sunny with an almost clear blue sky! Current temp at 7 am is 26.7C.

Yesterday it was warm and sunny with a max temp of 33.5C.

The flooding in Thailand continue to cause problems; Residents of 4 provinces are warned of river overflow and some 123,000 fall sick because of floods: public health top official and here's some creative thinking to fight diseases; Lop Buri public health office to deploy floating toilets to relieve people affected by floods.

On the political front it seems fairly quiet and there's an upbeat feel about the new PM; Most Bangkokians think PM can settle political conflicts : survey or political situation to improve under PM Somchai : NIDA rector and Somchai govt to continue mega projects,

In the meantime PAD brainstorms over "New Politics". It ain't over until it's over!


Sunday 21 September 2008

Road safety on Koh Samui

Road safety on Koh Samui; it's not very good.

Unfortunately I need to conclude that after having lived here for 9 years.

This morning we went to see the doctor for the children, they're both a bit under the weather and on the way back from Nathon, on the hill just outside Nathon, towards Maenam, a truck managed to flip over whilst going on this hill. Luckily nobody got injured or any other traffic participants got involved in this accident.
The picture below tells it all. Now, besides the fact that it completely beats me how you can flip over a truck whilst you go down a hill, I mean, you go down a hill, do you speed? Nope.....

Anyway, there are many reasons for the accidents on Koh Samui, s short list includes;
-the state of the roads on Koh Samui is very bad (maybe a reason voters earlier this month voted for a new Mayor, since the previous didn't accomplish enough?)
-too much traffic on these bad roads
-roads not wide enough, although currently the roads all around the island are being made wider
-speeding of pretty much all trucks
-the non awareness of other road users by most Thai drivers (changing lanes without warning etc)
-Westerners not being used to drive on the 'left' or 'wrong' side of the road
-sand in curves
-drunk driving, especially at night
-stray animals (mainly dogs) hopping in front of cars and motorbikes
-you can bribe your way through the drivers license test, with the right amount of money there's no test, you just need two pictures for your license, oops, almost forgot; and some money................
-not enough police to enforce road rules
-tourists checking their brain in at arrival on the island and driving irresponsible

The list can go on for while but it all makes for a very dangerous mix on Samui roads. Supposedly Samui has one of the highest accident rates of all of Thailand, although I've never seen statistics that proof this statement. Same 'rumour' mentions Pattaya and Phuket to rank high in the same list

Unfortunately I witness more and more accidents myself, the first couple of years that I lived here, I didn't witness any accidents at all, although I heard of many.
Recently that has changed and the last two years I either witness or see the results of many accidents, most of the time involving motorbikes. Motorbike accidents are not a pretty sight to witness, they're messy, especially considering that more than 80% of the bike drivers on Samui don't use helmets.

Over the years a few people that I knew well who got seriously injured or have died due to motorbike related accidents, definitely a higher % than people I know back in Europe getting injured because of or dying of road accidents. Sad but true.

Another flipped over car, this time a 'metered' taxi that flipped over in front of the Lake View party ground, on the hill leading up to Chaweng's Pagoda, couple of months ago.

Anyway, I truly hope that the road conditions will improve because of the new legislation format that Samui now has with more funds available and with a new Mayor.

In the meantime, enough of my rant but if you visit Samui, be careful when you ride a bike, wear a helmet and ideally closed, sturdy shoes. I don't want to scare you with this post but it's definitely worthwhile being aware of the road conditions on Samui before you join the local traffic!

Any kind of road accident that you get involved in might colour your holiday trip to Koh Samui, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, not so bright!


21st September, 2008

Today's weather;

This morning sees clouds with plenty of blue patches. Current temp at 7 am is 25C.

Yesterday saw a lovely sunny and hot morning but around 3 pm there was a strong storm with plenty of rain and wind for a short while and after that small and short storm it remained cloudy although the sun peeked through occasionally. Max temp reached 33C.

Serious floods have now hit 36 provinces in Thailand and the flood death toll rises to 14: official with thousands ill as torrential rain wrecks havoc on 36 provinces.

The political theatre seems to be a bit on the up rise, the Cabinet line-up is almost ready, says PM and the PAD sees a glimmer of talks about talks.

On the other hand, the PPP is to push for charter amendments after new Cabinet formed one of the things the PAD opposes.
Also other side effects of occupying Government house come to light as bureaucrats are chased out of their offices.


Saturday 20 September 2008

Il Duomo, Italian Restaurant, Chaweng

It's time for another restaurant review, today it's; Il Duomo an Italian Restaurant in Chaweng

After today's Beach Clean up, I had lunch at an old favorite of mine in Chaweng, Il Duomo.
Il Duomo has been around for 8 years now and I've been visiting on a regular, irregular base, if you get my drift! Over the years the quality has been very consistent. My favorite is a pizza with 4 different kind of cheeses but they have plenty of other good choices on the menu, including a wide arrangement of fresh pastas, like gnocchi.

Massi, who was in my last IDC and consequently successful in the PADI IE and who's Italian, visited here at least once a week during his two months stay on Koh Samui.

The name Il Duomo refers to the city of Milan's Cathedral!

Il Duomo is located almost opposite the big Starbucks in Chaweng, in a small soi or side street. This is how it looks from outside.

This is inside Il Duomo, just after opening up, so not all the tables have been completed with all they put on there, like serviettes, cutlery etc.

Today I opted for this absolutely lovely 'Gnocchetti neri alla polpa di grancho' or also known as 'Black potato gnocchi in fresh crab meat sauce'. The black gnocchetti made for a nice and 'something different' experience. Il Duomo's menu is riddled with such interesting dishes and it's definitely one of the better Italian Restaurants on Chaweng Beach. Highly recommended by me!


20th September, 2008

Today's weather;

A fairly blue sky is shaping up, there are still plenty of clouds around, but also with lots of sunshine. Current temp at 7 am is 25.2C. A perfect day to start our Project AWARE beach clean up day, more on this later in my dive blog.

Yesterday started out cloudy with bits and pieces of sunshine but later on in the day it turned really nice with lots of sunshine and a max temp of 34C. Last night there was some rain though but that was a good thing.

Floods in Thailand hit 36 provinces so far
Floods have caused damaged worth Bt686 million in 36 provinces, caretaker Agriculture Minister Somsak Prissanananthakul said Friday.He said floods affected 13 northern provinces, 12 northeastern provinces, 4 central provinces, 6 eastern provinces and a southern province.A total of 724,931 rai of farm land were inundated and a 2.7 million of farm animals were affected.

The political situation lingers on; A new cabinet line-up to finish in a few days : PM and Somchai is upbeat after 'good' phone talk with pad leader Sondhi.
There's also more and more criticism coming up against PAD from various groups, here's a University professor from Thammasart Uni speaking up; PAD supporters should dump leaders.

It's not all love, peace and understanding yet; Leaders of pro-government demonstrators threaten to lead provincial people to crush PAD and because of this 14 companies soldiers and police to be deployed to prevent clash between PAD, DAAD.

An interesting small 'snippet' about the recent coup; Coup 'failed to get things back on track'.


Friday 19 September 2008

19th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy although it looks that there are some blue spots in the distance. Max temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday started out with plenty of clouds but during the day we got a good amount of sunshine. Max temp reached 33C.

Thailand's political situation keeps lingering on. His Majesty The King has signed a royal command to appoint new PM.
New Team seeks talks with PAD and there will be no Honeymoon period for the new PM an article that discusses how long Somchai will last and raises some good points.


Thursday 18 September 2008

18th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy this morning with a max temp of 26.5C.

Yesterday it was cloudy as well, although the sun peeked through some watery cloud holes a few times. Max temp reached 31.7C.

On the political front, Somchai Wongsawat, a deputy leader of the People Power Party, was elected the new prime minister Wednesday Thailands 26th PM.

Not surprisingly the PAD says no to new PM, Somsak (a PAD Leader) claimed that Somchai was involved in many irregularities linked to the Thaksin government. This is the main issue, how will Somchai react to all things Thaksin related, like bringing him to justice and revoking his diplomatic passport.

Ending political crisis should top Somchai's agenda and the new PM-elect sees few changes ahead.

Here's a link to an article that fellow Thai blogger Richard Barrow wrote; Bored with Thai politics.


Wednesday 17 September 2008

17th September, 2008

Today's weather;

A thick cloud layer is out there this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 26.5C.

Yesterday saw a cloud cover all day long with no sunshine and also no rain. Max temp reached 30.7C.

On the political front, the PPP party has closed the ranks and all voted for Somchai, former PM Thaksin's brother in law, to be the new PM.

Thaksin is once more in the spotlights, today's Ratchadaphisek case verdict will only widen political divide whatever the outcome although there seems to be no hard evidence against Thaksin which leaves the court in a quandry.

There's also a second arrest warrant against Thaksin.

The PAD is concerned how Somchai will act towards many Thaksin related cases and issues considering that he is Thaksin's brother in law.


Tuesday 16 September 2008

16th September, 2008

Today's weather;

There's overcast this morning although hardly any wind and the current temp at 7 am is 26.6C.

Yesterday saw a good amount of overcast with tiny bits of sunshine. The max temp reached 33.8C making it very warm day.

The political remains fairly shaky, with first seeing Somchai seemingly being the best bet from PPP as new PM. He got opposed by 73 MP's of the own PPP party however and the Newin faction unfurled its banner of revolt.
What they say about Somchai Wongsawat.


Monday 15 September 2008

Thaa Yai 2008, Wat Plai Laem

Thaa Yai 2008, Wat Plai Laem

This involved getting up really early! We were up at 5.30 am with my wife getting up around 2 am in order to prepare all the food! After last year's absence, it was time to visit this years edition.

Under the almost completed view of the new Bot at Wat Plai Laem we gathered with a lot of other local people from Plai Laem to pay our respects to and welcome the deceased for the Thaa Yai event.
During this event the deceased are welcomed back to earth for a few weeks and than after those few weeks send back again.

The welcoming is done with plenty of food. One table is covered with dishes and everybody walks around and piles more food on those dishes, which eventually are being offered to the Monks so they can have breakfast after their seemingly endless chanting.

During any event at the Temple, the guys typically shoot the shit under a big tree while the women attend to the prayers inside of the community room and do all the work.

A great social gathering this is indeed!

On a separate table from the food destined for the Monks, are the dishes for the deceased, beautifully crafted and piled with copious amounts of food. This picture shows a more delicate plate with loads of different foods in various small cups.

A table full of food for the deceased

The small white flags have messages for the deceased written on them.

After the chanting of the Monks is completed, we all go and eat food. Each family picks a spot to sit and food is shared, loads typical local stuff which some can't be found or very rarely in a shop or restaurant. Octopus curry and various dishes I don't even know the name of it or what is in them are amongst them!

As desert there are various sweets that are only prepared and cooked this once a year for Thaa Yai.

After all is eaten and everybody is full, the women complete one more ceremony, the 'Yok Taat Bin, Tamboen Kluat Naam' prayers are being said for the deceased and water is given and than the food is distributed amongst the living. During the prayers everybody holds on to each other, so everybody 'gives' water to the deceased.

In a few weeks time, the deceased are being sent back again and if possible at all, I'll report from this again.


15th September, 2008

Todays weather;

It's cloudy but very dry with a max temp at 7 am of 26.8C.
Today's update is later than usual since we just got back from the Temple in Plai Laem, where we attended this years Thaa Yaaj, a report will be coming up soon.

Yesterday saw a warm and sunny day with a max temp of 33.6C.

On the political front it's good to see that the lifting of the State of Emergency is going smoothly.
A major reshuffle of cabinet is expected this week and here's some insight why the Country must embrace 'New Politics' or implode -by Suriyasai explaining some points of view by the anti government PAD.


Sunday 14 September 2008

Municipal elections on Koh Samui

Today there are Municipal elections on Koh Samui

The need for these municipal elections comes from the fact that Samui gained Tessaban or City Status. Samui is and still will be part of Changwat Surat Thani or the Province of Surat Thani but can now govern over it's own finances among other, rather than Surat Thani taking all of it and hardly giving back anything. It's a similar set up like Pattaya has in the province of Chonburi.

It has been a long fight to get there and Surat Thani officials tried to prevent this from happening with all their power, they didn't want to lose the goose with the golden eggs.

The actual election today is to vote for a new Mayor to govern Samui. There will be a bit of restructure around Samui, for instance the Pu Yai Baan's or village leaders position will become obsolete but in general I think this is a major step forward in Samui's general development and I hope it will bear fruit and Samui will see vast improvements on it's infrastructure.

At the local government school, next to Wat Plai Laem, under a beautiful and sunny blue sky, today's elections take place between 8 am and 3 pm.

One needs to vote for a party and than for a member in that party, as this sign explains.

The school accommodates two voting districts, one on each side of the playing ground and in front of the actual voting locale, there are boards up with the participants and a list with registered voters for that district.

It's interesting to see how versatile the school is by the many functions it has, besides being just a school.

The short time I went there so my wife could vote, it was very busy and there was a steady flow of people coming and going and for a lot of folks it's another great opportunity to hang out and chat with friends and neighbours.

In the background of this picture you can see the actual ballot boxes.
Tomorrow is Thaa Yai and the socialising will continue. more on this event tomorrow, although it will require a very early get up!


14th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's sunny and there's hardly any wind anymore. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was once more a lot overcast, especially during the afternoon with occasional strong winds. Around 10 am we had a real storm, short but powerful accompanied with hard rains, the rest of the day it stayed dry. Max temp reached 30.7C.

In the meantime, 25 provinces are on high alert for danger of flooding, all provinces are located in the North and North East of Thailand.

Today are municipal elections on Samui, more about this later.

On the political front, very good news is that after two weeks of no trains in the South, all trains in Southern Thailand have resumed their services again yesterday.
More good news is that today most likely the State of Emergency is going to be called off. The State of Emergency was only called out in Bangkok.

Ex-TRT executives join PPP talks on next PM and the PPP now backs Somchai as new PM, Somchai is former PM's Thaksin Shinawatra's brother in law.


Saturday 13 September 2008

Once more; an update on Chaweng's Pagoda

Once more; an update on Chaweng's Pagoda

And it's looking good! The work on the Pagoda is seriously progressing.

First of all I thought that a picture from a different angle would be interesting and here's a view at the foot of the stairs leading up to the Pagoda, where the buildings next to the Pagoda can be viewed. The white building on the left is where currently the Buddha statue is kept and is nothing more than an open room. The building on the right is the house where the Monk(s) will be housed once the Pagoda is opened.

The scaffolding has gone, at last. Last month and in previous pictures/updates the scaffolding can still be seen. It's a vast improvement on the overall impression the Pagoda makes.

The Aat has also been completed, in contrast to last month when they where still constructing it.

The Aat is either for displaying Buddha statues or for the Monks to sit on.

Lovely view over Chaweng from the roof.

Details of the roof part of the Pagoda which is almost completed, the outside part is fine, they're completing the inside.

The last two pictures also show yesterday's nice weather!

This place keeps dragging me back, not only to see the ongoing results of the construction , which is interesting enough by itself but also because of the fantastic views it has over Chaweng, Bang Rak and the airport.


13th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy but the sun is shining through occasionally and the wind seem to have dropped a bit for the (current) time being. Current temp at 7 am is 26C.

Yesterday was a great day, all morning saw sunshine although the wind came back rather quickly after a lull in the morning. Up until early afternoon it remained sunny than the clouds took over again but it stayed dry. Max temp reached a nice 33.8C.

The big political news yesterday was that Samak dropped out of the PM race and possibly now also as party leader for the PPP. The Politics pulled back from the brink... for now it was like everybody waited for a Big Bang that wasn't. For the time being things take a seemingly right course, this coming Wednesday the show will continue unless Thailand gets shaken with another surprise before that.

On a local Samui level, tomorrow there will be municipal elections in order to elect a new Mayor for Samui after Samui has received Tessabaan Muay or city status. This means in a nutshell that Samui gets to govern all the moneys it generates without the Changwat or Province of Surat Thani getting their hands on it first. A similar situation like in Pattaya, where Pattaya City is part of the Changwat Chonburi but gets to govern over their own finances.


Friday 12 September 2008

New PM assignment postponed

New PM assignment postponed

In what seems a very late wake up call, the PPP, Samak's political party is now divided about voting Samak back as PM and plenty of MP's boycotted the vote, thus dashing Samak's comeback hopes as House adjourns urgent session.
Samak left Parliament immediately after the PM voting was adjourned.

Is the Thai Parliament finally smelling the coffee? Samak's own party is now divided enough to back him down.

Before the voting began Pro-government crowds started rallying in support of Samak. As it seems, to no avail.

Democrat nominate Abhisit as contender for PM position he may be the neutral person that can consolidate the current crisis and bring reason and peace back to the country.

Interesting developments and I'm sure there's more to come.


Bowling at Tesco Lotus in Chaweng

Bowling at Tesco Lotus in Chaweng

As part of a big group of people, approximately 15, we went for a nights bowling yesterday with the whole family.
It was good fun and on our three lanes (which were reserved in advance) the games lasted long enough with 5 players at each lane to give some time in between turns to talk with other people.

The bowling center, Major Bowl, is located in Tesco Lotus in Chaweng, next to the Major Cineplex, which has numerous outlets throughout Thailand.

The bowling center hosts 8 lanes and two can be accustomed for children by having the sides blocked off of the lanes. There are three price tiers, in the evening it's 100,-THB per game per person, the earlier in the day you visit, the cheaper it is. Bowling shoes are available at 40,-THB per pair and socks are also 40,-THB per pair. You can bring your own socks!

Reception at Major Bowl

Drinks and food are served as well and all together, it's a good night's out.


12th September, 2008

Today's weather;

Despite the weather predictions, it's sunny and there's no wind this morning! Current temp at 7 am is 27.7C.

Yesterday saw overcast once more with traces of rain and very strong winds. Max temp reached

The political forecast is running overtime with a new PM to be announced;

Was the television cooking show a serious constitutional offence? No. Was the Constitution Court right to disqualify Samak Sundaravej from the chief executive post? Yes. Does the People Power Party have the mandate to reinstall him? Yes, technically. Ethically, no.
From an honest mistake to a potentially disastrous one. An interesting article in the Nation explains more.

The Coalition parties ready for People Power-led govt by Samak again? Too much money seems to be changing hands, too much seems to be at stake ofr the former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

The voice of reason; Democrat leader Abhisit most qualified to end protests


Thursday 11 September 2008

11th September, 2008

Today's weather;

More overcast this morning but it seems a lighter, brighter overcast compared to previous days. The wind is still very strong though. Current temp at 7 am is 26.2C.

There's also a Tsunami warning this morning after a 7.6 earthquake in Indonesia. I can only hope that this warning is cancelled asap!

It's also 7 years that the so called 9-11 attacks happened in the US.

Yesterday saw lots of overcast accompanied by occasional showers and drizzle although most of the day it stayed dry since the wind seemed to be too hard for rain. Max temp reached 29.5C.

On the political front things are relatively quiet but that can all change tomorrow when a new PM will be chosen. Don't reinstate Samak, say academics is a plea made by academics. In the meantime the government is planning to use Don Mueang Airport as a temporary workplace because it will take several months to repair Government House after the sit-in protest by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and a very interesting article about the PAD's New Politics raising too many questions.

An anti-government website can be found here with regular updates.


Wednesday 10 September 2008

10th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy again and a drizzle is going on outside with strong winds since a few days. Current temp at 7 am is 26.1C.

Yesterday saw overcast all day long with just a few glimpses of sunshine although it stayed dry. Max temp reached 28.6C.

The political climate is heating up in Thailand however, PM Samak's disqualification makes him the first prime minister to be ejected by court order.
Due a strange loophole in the Thai law it's posible that Samak may be re elected on Friday as the new PM. It's not very ethical and the PAD (the anti government party) is against this as are various business organisations in Thailand.
It'll be a tough one to sell for Thailand if the PM gets disqualified on Tuesday but is back as a PM on Friday!


Tuesday 9 September 2008

Breaking News; PM Samak disqualified by court order

Breaking News; PM Samak disqualified by court order

With an hour and a half delay, since the PM himself didn't show up at the court room in Bangkok for the 2 pm scheduled hearing that was going to determine if the PM violated the charter.

The English newspaper the nation has this article; SAMAK DISQUALIFIED with a live update and this entry; Convicted Samak disqualified.

It will be very interesting to see how this develops and what impact it will have on the current political situation in Thailand.

Here's a bit of explanation on why Samak got disqualified and interestingly enough, his political party is about to vote Samak back as PM. Apparently that will be decided this coming Friday.

9th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy again this morning, with few bright spots. Current temp is 25.5C at 7 am.

Yesterday saw heavy overcast all day long with some rain in the early evening for about half an hour. Max temp reached 29.5C.
The weather forecast for the next couple of days is not looking that great unfortunately.

On the political front things seem to have slowed down a bit, although this may be the silence before the storm, since PM Samak is facing a court ruling today that may see him having to step down and with him the whole cabinet.

The whole cabinet moved to the North East of Thailand, to the city of Udon Thani and it could well that the fuse is lit again here. Earlier this year there were already deadly clashed between pro and anti government demonstrators.

Even if Samak would survive all this, it's going to be interesting towards the end of the month, if he decides to actually join a UN meeting in New York city, an event during which former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted from power in Thailand by a military coup.

It's quiet right now, but it can change very fast. If anything major happens, I will update my blog accordingly.


Monday 8 September 2008

8th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's grayish from overcast this morning but bright spots can be located at the horizon which hopefully bring sunshine. It hasn't rained last night or this morning. Current temp at 7 am is 25.7C.

Yesterday it kept raining until noon after which it slowly turned brighter and eventually some sunshine broke through. Max temp reached 29.4C.


Sunday 7 September 2008

Lady boxing in Lamai

Lady boxing in Lamai
Tonight, tonight, Muay Thai, Chaweng Stadium, Chaweng Stadium, get the seats early, get the seats early.
Who has been to Samui and visited Chaweng, most likely heard this utterly annoying (at least after 9 years although it become annoying fairly quickly!) on a regular base. Noise pollution is an understatement.
Not being a big fan of Muay Thai, I never been to any fights in either of the Chaweng Stadiums, but funnily enough do find myself back at a regular irregular base in Lamai on Saturday evenings.
Every Saturday there's lady boxing in Lamai and it's great fun.
There are fights between two girls, usually girls that work in a beer bar and they really go for it. If they win they get a couple of Thousand Baht, a lot more than they would make during any given night working at their respective bars.
The lady fights are on and off between guys fighting and again, the guys go for it and it's not the first time that someone had to be carried or helped off the stage.

The fighting ring is located upon entering Lamai's one way street system, opposite the 'original' 7-11 is a cluster of beer bars that never seem to be really busy, except each Saturday night when the boxing event is on.

Chairs and tables are arranged around the ring and everybody is welcome, no entrance fee is required (in contrast to Chaweng where the cheapest ticket is around 1.000,-THB).

The jury at work

The fights usually start around 10.30 pm and there's always a mixed crowd, expats, tourists, families and Thais a like enjoy the relaxed atmosphere surrounding the ring, although during some fights the crowd gets excited easily by the fights and yells support along!

A great time to be had on your Saturday evening, surely not to be missed!


7th September, 2008

Today's weather;

A bit later than usual, but here we are; It's grey and wet this morning, since about 6 am it has been drizzling, with a current temp at 7 am of 26C.

Yesterday was a nice day with overcast in the morning and some nice sunshine in the afternoon. Max temp reached 32.7C.

The situation in Bangkok seems to be slowing down a bit, the Democrat party blames a minister of the current government for orchestrating the recent clashes and the PAD still doesn't want to talk with the government.
A survey amongst tourists shows that they are unfazed by the unrest and would come back to Thailand again.


Saturday 6 September 2008

6th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy with a current temp of 25.7C.

Yesterday saw mostly overcast but no rain until the late evening. During the late evening and night there was a fair amount of rain. Max temp reached 29.5C, the first time since August that the max temp falls outside of the 30C region.

Bangkok saw (hail) storms and lots of rain, so thee wasn't a lot of protesting going on. However, PM Samak and the Parliament still try to formulate a referendum, a group of 100 Senators are trying to come up with a solution and the masses hope that their off spring doesn't become a politician since they're seen with increasing disdain.

Let me express my thanks for following my blog in these worrying times for Thailand. If any major developments happen, I'll update my blog accordingly.


Friday 5 September 2008

5th September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's cloudy this morning with a few blue spots trying to spy through the cloud cover. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday was a mixed bag with lots of blue sky at some times and heavy cloud cover at other times. There was however only the occasional shower or drizzle. Max temp reached 32.5C.

The political situation is not improving, the referendum proposed by the Governemnt is under attack, the PM's future is trivial given huge philosophical differences and last night two students got shot and injured during a rally.
Especially the article about the PM's future hits on some good points and explains a bit about the rather strange requests the PAD or anti govnmt demonstrators have.


Thursday 4 September 2008

4th September, 2008

Today's weather;

A nice blue sky is reigning over Plai Laem but there are big cumulus clouds waiting over the ocean. Current temp at 7 am is 27C.

Yesterday was a mixed bag, over Plai Laem there was pretty much a blue sky all day long and it was very hot, however, travelling around the island between Maenam and Chaweng, there were many heavy cloudy parts although I didn't see any rain.

The big political news is PM's Samak's radio speech scheduled ready to start right now. The big speculation is if he will resign or not.

It doesn't sound like PM Samak is about to resign as we can make up from his radio speach. Unfortunately the near future will be more interesting than anticaped.

Pending on the outcome of Samak's speech, international phone and internet connectivity may be affected, according to the Bangkok Post.

If there are any important updates, I'll keep you informed.


Wednesday 3 September 2008

Update on the current political situation

It's time for an update on the current political situation;

The big news/rumour right now is that PM Samak Sundaravej is going to resign tomorrow morning, according to the Nation;

Rumours had it throughout the day that Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was granted an audience with His Majesty the King to inform His Majesty of his intention to resign.The rumours said Samak had booked time slot of Radio Thailand at 7:30 am to announce his resignation.

More interesting news today was that the Foreign Minister, Tej Bunnag resigned, as mentioned in the Nation;

FM Tej quits

Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag has tendered his resignation from Samak government, just 40 days after taking the office.

His reported resignation came a few days after his secretary, Poksak Nilubon, former ambassador to Sweden, resigned, saying he could not serve Samak Government.

The sources said Tej, former permanent secretary for foreign affairs, reasoned his resignation that his wife, Pensri, is sick.

Tej has been appointed to the position on July 27 particularly to handle the Thai-Cambodia dispute on Preah Vihear Temple.It is still unclear why he wished to resign.Tej is scheduled to visit Vietnam on September 10 and Indonesia from September 16 - 18.

Tej, 65, was the second foreign minister, under Samak Government

I'm also receiving a lot of emails from readers of my blog asking about the current situation and if it affects Samui.
In my opinion Samui won't be affected that much, since Samui's airport is privately owned and therefor not a direct 'target' for the PAD (People's Alliance for Democracy).

If the above mentioned rumour is true, it looks like the current situation may ease up quickly. It will be very interesting to see who will follow up Samak.


3rd September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's good to be back home again and with the current political situation and Bangkok's current State of Emergency it's also good to be reunited with the family. A lot of tourists are also cancelling their trips and it's expected that around 700 billion THB will be lost.

On to the weather though, there's a thin white layer and the blue sky is waiting to break through. Current temp at 7 am is 25.3C.

Yesterday was rainy in Pattaya but warm and hot in Samui with a max temp of 31.8C although it felt a lot hotter than at any time of our stay in Pattaya.

Below an impression of Wat Plai Laem on Samui shortly before our plane touched down.


Tuesday 2 September 2008

2nd September, 2008

Today's weather;

It's very cloudy and wet in Pattaya. It just stop raining with a current temp of 27C at 7 am.

Yesterday saw a little bit of rain in the morning but it cleared up after that with sunshine in the afternoon. Max temp reached 29.4V.

Today I'm off to Samui again, providing the political situation remains stable enough and the airports aren't closed down. Although Samui is a privately owned airport and unlikely to be closed down and U-Tapao near Pattaya is a Thai Air Force airport, meaning that this airport is also very likely to remain to open, the current situation is very shaky and that's the main news right now.

During riots between the PAD, the anti government protesters and pro goverment protesters people died last night, at least one but possibly more and a state of emergency has been declared in Bangkok.

Due to being busy with the diving over the last couple of days in Patttaya, I haven't been following the news as close as usual. I can only hope that the situation turns for the better though!


Monday 1 September 2008

Welcome to September 2008

If this coming September follows Augusts weather pattern, it's going to be a good month.

Unless, the social unrest in Thailand keeps growing and the current political situation doesn't stabilise.

Having said that, usually September chills out like August with lots of sun and nice, warm weather but not as hot as August, so actually very agreeable.

Last year September wasn't that great, as was as August last year, things are looking up though.
I sincerely hope that none of my blog readers cancelled his or hers holidays yet and that we can welcome you soon in Thailand and especially on Koh Samui.

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope that you keep coming back here to follow my daily rantings.


1st September, 2008

Today's weather;

A cloudy sky with bits and pieces of sun reigns over Pattaya this morning with a current temp at 7 am of 27.4C.

Yesterday was a sunny day with a max temp of 31.5C.

We also completed our diving yesterday, have a look at my dive blog if you like to read more about this.
Below is a picture of a cleaner shrimp we saw during one of the dives, more pictures are on my dive blog or on Facebook.

Tomorrow it's back home to Samui again.