Tag Archives: thailand

lots of foreign news happening

15 Oct

london 11.48am saturday 2016 cloudy 14.2C

3.30pm 17.1C sunny/cloudy

things are v quiet in london, though not so in paris, there pictures in today’s online daily mail show migrants sleeping in the streets altering the whole character of how we like to think of paris, the romantic city. before and after pictures taken by someone with a hidden camera shows the aftermath of a police clearance of the area.  it is no wonder the person who took the pictures is not sympathetic. it looks like a post apocalyptic city.  

the dailymail online coverage is much more interesting than its printed newspaper today. it also shows an article about the tribute service for the 86 who died in the bastille day massacre.

and an article about the effect of shutting down of the red light districts in thailand as a result of the death of the king of thailand. it looks very eerie, all shut like that. to those of us used to seeing lights and noise and brashness and vibrant activity associated with the nightlife in bangkok, it looks weird….  it is not a good time to be a tourist there . the moaning mourning will last for a year. for a month no alcohol to be served and no festive making.

the death has affected even london, there was a thai food festival that was supposed to go on friday in spitalfields and it was cancelled.

this guy in thailand on twitter has listed all the festivals that are cancelled because of this death. 

dreaming of holidays

29 Apr

london 9.42am 8.3C sunny , gusts of strong wind makes it feel colder outside. friday 2016

found this book in the library yesterday and borrowed it. it contained all three of the trilogy of durrell’s stay in corfu. such a lovely cover picture. it is blue sky this morning and even though i dont intend to go abroad, i still like to read about it.funny isn’t it? 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

yesterday i read that people were queueing for the £49 return flight tickets to bangkok that was a promotion by a student travel company in victoria. u have to travel between may 1 to 30june. is this time the low season for thailand i wonder?


Off season:

March to May is when Bangkok is unbearably hot for most people, so it’s best to avoid flights to Bangkok at that time of year if you hate the heat. May to October is rainy season, throughout which it is hot and humid, but not uncomfortably so making it an ideal time to find a cheap flights to Bangkok. During the summer in the UK is when you’ll find great deals on flight tickets for Bangkok and you’ll find cheaper accommodation due to less tourists flocking.


i wonder if travel to thailand had dropped off after the publicity of murders in koh samui. and now this report of a family in their 60s, and son 43, being attacked in hua hin. it was captured on film and posted on the internet. that draws attention to it…

violence against tourists  is not something we associate with thailand, but maybe people are beginning to suspect there is a rising trend that not all thais are peaceful nor that it is an unspoken rule amongst thais that you  dont attack foreigners to safeguard  the tourist trade and it is being broken. i wonder what has changed to make the thais even think of it. those guys said they were drunk, but in the old days even drunks know enough that tourists are out of bounds.

perhaps resentment had built up at so many of these tourists flashing their cash and buying their way through the land. i think it is always bad for a country to rely too much on tourism. 

there will be two bank holidays next month,May,  and people will be dreaming of going abroad. they must be wondering where to go that is safe. i think spain will benefit. 

added. i just realised today is the start of the long weekend , the first of the public bank holidays in May. there will be long traffic jams to get out of london this afternoon. funny that no one is queueing the incoming lane to come into london. unless we are not taking into account air traffic into the airporsts carrying long weekenders from abroad coming on a quick trip to london. are there many do u think? somehow i think more will be leaving the country than coming into it. and what about businesses in london, will there be a drop in customers over this long weekend or not?

the supermarkets are all keeping open on monday , usual hours in fact, not even early closing time or keeping sunday hours. so they obviously think there will be customers as usual. many of them are cutting overtime rates when they bring in that higher minimum wage rate… so many of those working on bank holiday monday may be on normal rates. they have lost out in the money game.

somehow being human i would prefer to get the double rate for working on weekends, or holidays. and if i were allready on higher rates of pay and not on minimum wage, i would have lost out. though i dont know why i am saying what i prefer, because when i was working i was self employed and so dont get paid by the hour. haha. 

i guess this is the thing that stuck in the craw of the junior doctors. the new contract says they have to work weekends like a normal day … no overtime. and with no new doctors they will be even more stretched and lose sleep  having to cover weekends like normal days. no wonder they dont like it. 

added. 9.41pm 8.8C looks like the country is divided into two halves, a northern half getting snow and cold, and southern half where it is quite nice. well, that is normal then. haha.

drought in thailand

10 Mar

london 12.18pm

i am reading this times article about thailand drought threat. it is a small article hidden away and consist of only a short paragraph. 

thailand … is facing its worst drought in 20yrs. water levels in the biggest dams are at their lowest since 1994.

none of the other papers mention this drought. and so i searched in google for more news, here in this article in the bangkok post it says

The four dams are releasing altogether 17 million cu/m of water every day.  This means the water in store will be enough for general consumption until the end of July, about 148 more days, he said.

the water will end in 4-5months’ time, and no one is panicking? wow, i know the thais are so stoic, are they hoping the coming songkran in 13 april will bring the rains and break the drought? or will they stop people wasting water on that day. that day everyone throws water about like nobody’s business.

a bridge club got raided in pattaya

4 Feb

london 6.03am 8.2C thursday 2016

you might well ask, what has that got to do with me? haha. you are right of course, but i got british friends living in thailand, and one of them sent me this. its a 50man raid by pattaya police against a bridge club that has  regular meets for 15yrs without any trouble.

they were charged with possessing 120 playing cards, ( at first i thought it was deck of cards, but it seems it is each individual card. there are 52 cards, 54 including jokers, in a deck of cards.)which is an offense it seems in thailand, to prevent gambling.

gambling is illegal. but there are lots of other ways to gamble, like bets made on cock fighting, for eg. thailand must be unique for having this law. so they dont have horse racing then? or casinos?

but this raid is just the police wanting some money now that chinese new year is coming. haha. i wonder also if the thai new year is also round the corner too. everyone knows that in s.e.asia, the police are extra vigilant to enforce any laws around this time, to get kopi money. they are hoping all the players will quietly pay a fine and go away. haha.

i remember reading of  incidents of police in one district in pattaya which was targetting tourists , finding something trivial , like not having id on them, and asking them to pay a fine on the spot. it got so bad, social media got hold of it, and it became well known. so much so that the head of that district was quietly removed and posted elsewhere. this was because the military has tightened up so many things, like imposed a curfew on the bars, etc, that there were fewer things to find that the police can charge the clubs on, and extort bribe money from, so they have to resort to getting the tourists instead. this might be another variant.

not many know that the police and the army are two distinct powers and their interests do conflict. the immediate reaction is to say well thailand is getting very anti tourist now they got military rule, but the more complicated picture is that the police income from fines etc,is drying up with people restricting themselves and being cautious about their activities… the military had signaled very clearly they wont tolerate it anymore, ( things like opening late, or having underage people in the club, or drinking, or drug dealing etc, something that the police in the past can get kopi money and so does not police strictly).  

times must be hard for the police to get cash, if they had to resort to raiding a bridge club.

it is one of the things i dislike about living in s.e.asia. all this under the counter dealings. i mean one ploy is for traffic police to catch motorists speeding, or accuse them of speeding…and when they stop u, they will look for anything else wrong with your car… non working lights, etc many will just pay an on the spot fine… knowing full well it will never get reported officially and will just be pocketed. … so around the time of any big festival, that country’s new year usually, when everyone is looking to increase their income, u get this spate of law enforcement.

these things they never tell u when u are thinking of retiring there.

oh i forgot, in other countries ( i am looking at you malaysia)they raid the gay saunas, clubs, too,(or even straight ones) around this time, easy pickings, all those caught there will be glad to just pay kopi money. this is if that club or sauna do  not pay enough in the first place. many do.

i bet now that india has got a anti gay law back on again, such raids and bribes will be rich pickings for the police. 

added. actually he sent me a link to a thaivisa forum website. it is an interesting place, giving news of what is of interest to expats and where those expats living in thailand can air their views. 

added.5.2.16 7.26am .it has got onto the national press. this morning i saw an article about it in the dailymail.

added. 7.31pm 6.2.16. looks like it is the military that raided the bridge club. someone complained to the anticorruption centre.

“Pattaya police chief Sukthat Pumpunmuang told AFP Thursday the raid was sparked by a member of the public complaining to the government’s anti-corruption centre. It was initiated by district officials, local media said, not by Pattaya police.”


today is saturday

7 Mar


it used to be saturday was a special day as it is the weekend, and that means no work and lots of fun. not anymore to me, as once you stop work, it becomes just another day. but now and then i get reminded that it is a weekend, and people are relaxing and thinking of other things than work.

maybe they are thinking of holidays. john my friend in poole has come back from his month’s stay in south india, on his holiday there. he spent about £1400 for accommodation etc  plus £700 for flight. quite a lot to spend for a month (and it is the shortest month of the year too, february) when u consider india is supposed to be cheap, and the rupee is weak. but i think all indians know every tourist is rich, how else is he able to fly there, pay the visa, unless he has money? so just triple the price of everything to him. haha.

it was his first time there in contrast to the many times he had holidayed in thailand.

talking of thailand, reminds me of that tv program about people who want to leave uk to live in tropical places. last night it was the turn of two gay guys who want to open a B&B in khanom, south thailand. at first i thought they were rice queens and know thailand well, but it seems one of them just got it in his head to go there. both have never been to thailand. it makes me wonder if it is just a made up show for tv. just find a gay couple and give them the brief, one of them was said to earn £65,000 a year living in sussex and commuting to london to work. he is 50. makes u wonder that it is a made up tv program. who in his right mind would leave such a job to go open a B&B in thailand.? hahah.

I know a friend who have gone to live in thailand but to  retire. and only because he is gay and have no ties back in uk. he is divorced, and have kids but we all know that once divorced, the father has little to do with the kids, but pay maintainance. in his case, i think his kids are grown up so no maintainance. i have a feeling they waited till the kids have grown up and he retired before they seek a divorce.

 he got £2000 a month from his pension, and so he lives like a king in thailand on that, and dont have to work. that is more believable. haha.

anyway, after all the difficulties and setbacks, in their one week in thailand, these two in the tv program, decided their final verdict is that they will move to thailand. quite unbelievable really. unless there is something we were not told. it was the last of the series, too.

recently, i got chatting to a indian couple from bangalore, from the gay website, and asked him about his life in india, now that the recent law makes  it illegal to be gay there. he said it is difficult, but he will continue to live a gay life.

even before this law, people in india have been very closetted about being gay. it is not accepted by the majority. perhaps i am wrong, and there are many openly gay guys there, but if there are i did not meet them when i was visiting there. now it just means they have to remain in the closet and live an underground gay life. well, it is not such a bad thing, after all, in uk, before the gay liberation , gays were living a underground life, and many still think those were the best years of their life. haha. now the world is too knowing about gay things.

well when i pointed this out to him, he replied it is a compromise, and like going back to the 90’s… true, but gays in india have to accept reality, and reality is a law that says it is illegal to be gay. so adapt, which we humans are very good at. and life can be just as good. if not better.

oh, i met a german guy from a naturist website. he is visiting london and so we met. he lives in berlin, and is a journalist working from home.

he says berlin is so much cheaper than london. he says he has friends here he can stay with and used to live in london and have friends here which his 1week in london is full with things he is doing with them. he is booked. he was in scotland earlier.

i dont find it expensive to live in london, but maybe it is because i dont like eating out, nor drinking coffee in coffee shops. he was comparing the coffee he bought, in cafe nero, which i suggested we meet at with coffee in berlin.  he said it is cheaper to rent accommodation in berlin.

and he said there are so many naturist places in and around berlin that he can go to ( because he said the east germans are very easy about naturism, not so much the west germans.)and even though winters in berlin can be -20C , though he said for the last two winters it has been very mild, the summers can be 30C.

interestingly he said they tried to do a naked bike ride in berlin, but the police came and broke it up so there is no naked bike ride in berlin. he said it is very strange that, as anywhere else u can be naked. all the beaches on the lakes he said have mixed naked places , there are no segregated naked beaches as such, and everyone mix with naked and clothed people and no one says anything.

added. just remembered the £ is strong now. £1=1.39euros. so that might explain why he finds it expensive in london. 

added.11.3.15 they are going to make it more difficult to apply for a visa to visit india. 

Applications must begin online at in.vfsglobal.co.uk. You must fill in and then print the application, sign it, attach a photo (to some exact specifications – consider investing in professional passport pictures) and hand in the application. You also have to pay a fee of £89.44, even if you are rejected.

At present, an immediate relative can submit a form – which means for a married couple, only one partner need apply. From next Monday everyone who wants to go to India will need to attend an office, as biometric checks of your fingerprints and face begin.

Chiang Mai – 700 Illnesses – More Provinces Declared Cold Disaster Zones « living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

23 Dec

Chiang Mai – 700 Illnesses – More Provinces Declared Cold Disaster Zones « living in the ‘Land of Smiles’.

At first i was amazed that chiangmai can be so cold. if it is true that the temp could be -1.4C that is colder than london.(its a record that happened in 1974)

Granted, it should not surprise anyone that it can get so cold in north thailand, as it is hilly and in fact is a factor in so many foreigners living there rather than in lowland areas. Though i think it is not so much the temperature, but the range, for eg, it can range daily from 13C to 31C all in one day; and the body is not used to such extreme range.

it is one of those paradoxical things about human beings, that having moved to thailand for its warm weather, they decide it is too warm and opt for the highlands instead as it is cooler. haha.

it is all very well to like hot weather when u are there for 2weeks on a holiday, but all year round to live in that hot weather is murder. and they soon realise that and run for the hills. haha.

it is easier to get used to cold weather , esp the weather in london, which seldom goes below 0C, and seldom gets higher than 30C. you soon realise that you can overcome the cold with fleece clothing, and layering, and hot food; but when it is hot, and you have stripped naked, and it is still hot, there is nothing u can do to alleviate it. and u realise you are fucked. haha.

so finding the heat too much after they live there for long, they  head for the hills, and then things like this happen. it gets too cold. haha.

that is why there is no need to envy anyone who have left the uk and  regals u with the their lives overseas in hot countries. you know they will suffer cold, or drought, or insects, or hurricanes, or have to move from hills to beach and back again, or have the air condition ( the cost of it!!) on all day;  constantly trying to escape the heat; that same heat that they have moved thousands of miles from uk to live in.  haha.

like i said, be careful what u wish for, you will get it.

expat in thailand

18 Mar

My friend who lives in Thailand now has gone. He was here for 2nights.

He is here on holiday. Staying with another friend outside London and had been here for 2months , and next week will be going on to Toronto, to meet his relatives.

He has been living in Thailand for 6yrs now.

And now he is rather worried about whether he can come back here to uk if he were to get a serious illness.

It is the perennial worry of all expats. They love to live abroad and are perfectly happy to dish the uk, but when they fall ill, they hasten back here for the nhs.

The older they get the more the health problems loom large.

Anyway, he is here for a holiday, and so not yet forced to come back for his health.

When u consider so many in the world would love to come here to the uk but cannot, it is ironic that we have people here who want to leave and go live elsewhere in the world where they are not going to have free health care and be forever living in strange cultures.

With strange foods, very hot or very cold nights, either way they need heaters and air conditioners. You would think they must love being in the hot climate. And the hotter the better, but not so. They use up a lot of electricity, because they will heat up the place and cool down the place on the same day. Worst than when they are in uk, because at least in uk they need only use the heaters in winter.

(though if u use my experience, they wont even need to do that (heat in winter).

My friend had to tolerate my not having the heaters on, and I have told him about it that was the condition if he wants to stay here.

It has been mild this weekend , but I can see he feels cold. (i have blankets and hot water bottle for him so he is warm enough.

Later he told me he was recently diagnosed with hypothroidism , that would explain why he feels the cold. Though I think it is also because his body has never got to acclimatise itself and get used to cold weather. At the drop of a hat he will turn up the heaters. Instead of putting on more warm clothing.

He does not dress properly for the weather that is for sure. He only got on a denim jacket and a t shirt and sweater. I lent him a wool muffler.

You know old people do this silly thing, not dress properly; but u don’t feel u can tell them off for doing so. They are supposed to be adults , but they have the mind and tantrums of a child.

So many times I have heard old people say, ‘don’t tell me what to do.’

The thing about being old is that you will sooner or later get some illness, it is inevitable. U are lucky if u can delay that day when u are diagnosed with an illness… a failing heart, kidney, liver , and whatever other organs that can go wrong will.

That is the buggery thing about going old.

I know, it is rather a bleak view of ageing. But the more I see old people, the more I come to this conclusion. It is not really very nice to go really old. don’t believe anyone who wants to live long and whose idea of a happy life is to live to a ripe old age. U suffer a lot when u grow old, all the aches and pains of creaky joints and failing organs.

Granted not everyone will experience that. I mean if u look at those old Japanese people living in the mountains, u can see they generally have good health and are active and independent in their society. That is the kind of old age I would like.

It seems most of these old people who live to a ripe old age live in the highlands. I think the thin air makes them breathe more, and more vigorously, and that is something I find old people in other areas don’t do much. Breathe deep and often. And of course, there are all those hills to climb up and down.

I think if u can do that throughout the day. Consciously breathe deep u will have a healthier life.

the experience of travel

14 Mar


12.3.13 Wednesday

These few days have been really wonderful to be in London.
It has been about 2C in the day, and windy, but it has been sunny and blue.

This kind of weather is excellent for walking. I am always wrapped up warm so the cold is not a deterrant. In fact, it can be really nice to walk in this cold weather.

I read in the papers of snow in other parts of uk, but nothing like that in London. We do get the occasional hail, or tiny bits of snow flakes, which melts the instant it hit’s the ground.

As usual, if all you get is information from newspapers u would think we are being snow bound and trapped in traffic. But it is nothing like that in London.

0C is not uncomfortable, when u consider people in Canada, or usa suffering -10C or -20C. That is cold.

Even if the day is not sunny, like that day a few days ago, it is still very pleasant to go out. Then head for an indoor attraction. I went to Westfield in shepherd’s bush. It is the first time I went there, even though they have been opened about 3yrs ago, and it is quite a nice shopping complex.

It has glass ceiling which allows natural light to come in. I like that. And it is a vast space, so u don’t feel cooped up. And there are lots of seating, and not only at the coffee shops. No one hassles u if u just sit and have a rest. U can even have a short nap.

It is a rare shopping complex which provides so many seats for just resting instead of forcing u to keep moving or buy something. I see people on their laptops, so wifi is available. Not sure if it is free but it should be.

A warm shopping complex with its controlled environment is ideal for a cold day with strong winds outside. You would think all the people here would go to these shopping malls. But we have only this one built not long ago. Shopping malls like the big ones in asia don’t seem to catch on here in uk. I wonder why?

In s.e.asia. I know people like to go to the air-conditioned malls just to hang around in the cool. In fact, we have to because it can be really uncomfortable to be outdoors in that heat, but in uk, it is pleasant to be outdoors even if it is cold. So there is no great incentive to hang around these shopping malls.

Sometimes inside department stores, it can get so hot, I am glad to get out.

It is a fact that with the cold u can dress warmly , but when it is hot, there is nothing u can do. Even being naked is no help. In fact it may be better to wear something white and cover yourself all over, rather like the arab men do. White reflects the heat. But their women wear black. It must be really hot under their black covering.

When the sun is shining, even though cold, it is much nicer to be outside. Maybe that is why oxford st is still very popular as a shopping street, even though u can have a long walk between shops. And u can get a snow shower , as happened when I walked there recently.

London is blessed with lots of public open spaces, like the parks, and the squares where u can sit without having to pay for it. In the park, u can see the flowers , though the daffodils in st james are not yet in full bloom. You can watch the public. Leicester square is a good place to sit and watch people. There is that marble seating all round the perimeter of the square, as well as benches inside the square garden. Just chose a spot that the sun shines on. It is a nice spot to eat your packed lunch too.

I went inside one of the cinema complexes in Leicester square and noticed that the cinema tickets cost £14. That is why I have not gone to see a film for ages.

You might ask yourself what can a person do if they don’t want to spend anything?

U can pack a lunch and a thermos, and go window shopping.

It can be fun, I was passing this place in the haymarket, a street that leads off picadilly circus, and saw a group of Japanese going inside and followed them. It was a department store with all the English goods in one roof. All the things that Japanese tourists thing is typically English. All the clothing in small sizes too. Haha. And even shopping bags with the harrods logo and name on them. And all the shop assistants were Japanese looking and speaks Japanese, even to me.

The tourists could have gone to the harrods shop, itself, or Fortnum and mason to buy the tea, and get the full experience of shopping in the real thing. After all didn’t they come all this way to experience that?

But I guess when it is about the serious business of buying the stuff, they much prefer coming here and getting it all in one stop and be able to be served by Japanese speaking shop assistants.

I found out regent street is closed to buses. So if ever your bus route go through there, avoid that bus.

I made a mistake with the bus 88. It goes pass my place so I usually take that bus. But I made the mistake of going to oxford circus to catch the bus rather than go down to haymarket. And so I was stuck in the bus whilst it went along lower oxford st, to Bloomsbury and then swung round back to piccadilly. It took an age. I could have walked quicker. Ah well, I was not thinking.

It was not that awful, because I am in no hurry to get anywhere.

If u are thinking of going the full length of the bus route, it might be better to just get off at both ends of regent st, walk along regent st and catch the bus further up.

Well, that is a bit of local information for you.haha.

13.3.13 Thursday
I read this ‘lovely girls, very cheap’ by decca aitkenhead. It is an except in the new granta book of travel, 2011, which I borrowed from the library.

‘Everyone who came to Thailand to spend foreign earnings on fun was defined by the gap between their wealth and Thailand’s poverty. Despite the backpackers’ belief in their own poverty, what they actually take from Thailand is the experience of being immensely rich. They behave in the same careless, bored and discontented way as rich people anywhere, with no purpose but their own amusement. Guarding their money like their own. It is a cruel irony for those who set off imagining they will find themselves by travelling, and find instead their identities are reduced to the sum of their traveller’s cheques’.

I think that really hit the nail on the head. It encapsulates what the travelling is to many people especially to those who travel to the world’s poor areas.