Sunday, 25 December 2011

Bi-icicle

Seen in Siem Reap: Transporting blocks of ice with a bicycle:

Cambodian Santa Claus

Seen in Siem Reap: Cambodian Santa Claus.
Not really very convincing to be honest..

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Big fat Buddha

Seen at Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap:
This Buddha is so fat that even the ox pulling him appears to have a hard time

Animal carving

Seen at Siem Reap, Cambodia:

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cambodian fish spa

Seen in Siem Reap: a fish massage with a no piranha guarantee.
Price for a 15 min. try is $1,- including a free coke or beer.
The fish called Garra rufa and fish spa's originate from Turkey but are now popular all over the world.
Personally I wouldn't recommend Cambodia's fish spa's; the basins look dirty with possible health risks involved and the fish are quite big, probably because the're imported '2nd hand' from Thailand.
Also most of the time the're not very active like the small ones in Thailand.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Tsunami ghosts of Khao Lak

During the Tsunami in 2004 Khao Lak, Phang Nga was hit the hardest in Thailand. According to Wikipedia,  the final death toll was over 4000, with local unofficial estimates topping 10,000 due to the lack of accurate government censuses and the mere fact that the Burmese population were not documented or recognized as legal residents. Bhumi Jensen, grandson of King Bhumipol also died here while jet-skiing.
When we stayed in the newly built small touristic area, the memories of the Tsunami were clearly more present than in any other place in Thailand we had been. We heard several stories from the Tsunami as if it happened last year. Also there were an high amount of ghost stories going around.
We heard from the nightguard that last year a guest standing in the night on the balcony had seen and heard lots of people enjoying in the bamboo restaurant near the beach. The place is always very quiet and closed at night and the guard confirmed there had been no special party or such.
On the first day we had been there once and somehow we didn't feel very comfortable, but rather a bit eerie, eventhough I didn't have the Tsunami in mind and am not superstitious. Later I talked with a Swedish woman and she felt the same, so like us she didn't go there anymore. Polly as a Thai is very superstious and claims to have seen a ghost at our balcony. (While I was away ofcourse.) As a result she didn't want to be alone in the room anymore.
Below are some offerings in our room for the spirits:

The Fanta and Chuba Chup are intended as a gift to the children who died here

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Hotel California (alternative lyrics)

Hotel California (alternative lyrics)

In a dark downtown sidestreet, warm wind in my hair
The sickly smell of sewage, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I heard a vague sound
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for a round
There she stood in the opening;
I heard the ringing of the bell
And I was thinking to myself,
"This could be heaven but goin' to cost me a hell.."
Then she said: "take a seat first" and poured me a beer
There were voices down the place,
I thought I heard them cheer...

Why we have to keep lis'ning to Hotel California
It's a lovely song (such a lovely song)
But this much is wrong (this much is wrong)
Plenty of playtime for Hotel California
Any time of year, you can hear it here

Her mind is tiffany-twisted, she got the mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty girls, who pretend to be friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
Some dance for you to remember, but I want to forget

So I yelled to the bargirl,
"Please choose a song of mine"
She said, "We didn't play another record here since nineteen seventy nine"
And at night I heard the same music from far away,
Waking up in the middle of the night
Just to hear myself say...

Why I have to keep lis'ning to Hotel California
It's a lovely song (such a lovely song)
But this much is wrong (this much is wrong)
Now my life revolves around Hotel California
It's of no surprise (no surprise)
I believed in paradise

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink shots with ice
And she said: "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And upstairs in her chamber,
We gathered for the feast
Once you're hit by her fire
You're caught by the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax," said the night man,
We are programmed to receive
You can checkout any time you like,
But the song will never leave!


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The averse effects on expats after long exposure to the Siam sun


Pic thnx to Androidzoom
When moving to Thailand, in the beginning everything looks exotic, interesting and fun, just like it was on your holidays before.
You have fallen in love with your new home; the land of smiles.
Like with real love the novelty and mystery wears off over time. Gradually you start to change.
Following is a inventory of various behavioural types of long term expats I came accross in Thailand. Of course people can develop different behaviours mentioned below simultaneously.
1. The Grumpy Expat
The grumpy expat, usually a man, gradually becomes acidified about everything which doesn't make sense or in his/her words 'is wrong' with the Thai culture, people and government.
They often had a bad previous experience with a cheating Thai partner or just have an unhappy relation with the current one.
These people are often entrepeneurs with their wife/girlfriend controlling personnel. Their situation is such that they cannot separate due to children and/or losing the bussines to their Thai partner.
The grumpy expat will stereotype Thai (usually women) as 'lazy', 'careless', 'unreliable' and 'lacking initiative'.

2. The Orientalist
These people will feel Western superiority towards the Thai population and culture right from the start.
After time they find it hard to live without this ego-boosting feeling they would lack back home.
Although they will not openly admit, their secret motto is: 'In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.'

The groups below suffer from a cognitive dissonance syndrome:
For those unfamiliar, an example:
A man wants to buy a new car, he already made a choice but hesitates between two colors, red and metallic blue. The metallic blue can be supplied but not the red. He likes red the best, but also likes metallic paint, but not blue. After long hesitation, he lets the blue metallic finally prevail, also because the garage owner advises him to take the one which is on stock. After a few weeks driving in the new car he notices a red car from the same brand, he likes it less than he first thought. Unconsciously, he changed his mind. There is no longer a conflict between the desire for a red car and the fact that he chose blue.

Expats often like to justify their new habitat, while they tend to portray the situation at home in a more negative way. Probably I have to include myself suffering from this syndrome, although I'm technically not an expat nor am I able (after two year) to categorise myself :).

3. The Conservative Cultural Defender
These are mostly older retired people who live in the countryside where they have a small farm or at least grow some own fruit and vegetables.
They will defend old Thai cultural values tooth and nail.
Most of them can get more upset about declining moral values of the Thai new generation than some of the most conservative natives.
The 2011 Silom Songkran bare breast incident and the increasing extravagant little to reveal fashion of some Thai girls and ladyboys irritates them to maximum levels.

4. The Spiritual One
These people are actively following Buddhism, either the incomprehensible Thai Buddhism which includes Hindu and Chinese gods as a backup, but more often the orthodox form of Buddhism. They practice yoga and often will not turn down a joint for more intense experiences.
Most believe the West is wicked and evil prevails.
A number of these people live from social welfare back home which becomes increasingly more difficult due to spending cuts and increased Thai prices.
Some are wondering to move to Cambodia, Vietnam or Laos and as a new option the opened up Myanmar.

5. The Fanatic
These kind of people were also mentioned in a talk with Lani of Tell Thai Heart.
It seems that many people have an urge to establish their identity.
The fanatic gradually starts to exaggerate parts of his/her identity as a means to compensate for all things alien abroad.
This can be in the form of the food one would take for granted back home, but is now willing to die for.
For example longing for McDonald's food.
Their perfect day is started with a breakfast exactly like back home.
Exaggeration also can apply to the following: Practising or being over-fanatic about national sports from home, celebrating national fests, political views, religion and as Lani claims; accent.

6. The Racist
This group is a sub-group of the above fanatic group. Unfortunately I met a lot of these, so I name them seperately. Although not exclusively, similar to group 1 these are often entrepeneurs.
They complain mainly about the situation back home, where foreigners, usually Muslim, 'fail' to integrate and spoil it for the rest.
The arguments that:
1. They themselves chose to opt out and don't experience these 'problems' anymore, so don't need to complain.
2. They do not differ from foreigners back home, since they now have become the foreigner who has problems integrating.
will not help to change their mind. Believe me I tried.

7. The Overachiever
Often these are women, but there's a considerable group of expat men too.
Right from the start this person jumps in the deep. They will eat any food including spicy som tam which would burn the untrained. Rarely uses cutlery. Will learn the language, including Isan, in no time, fluently.
If you meet them they will spends much more time talking to your Thai partner than to you. Will make your partner laugh out loud by telling jokes and funny stories in Thai, which is irritating, because you don't have a clue.

8. The Dude
These people are most commonly spotted in bars. They don't say much.
Usually they will default to staring at the soundless sport channel.
When being enquired by tourists (especially female) what they like about Thailand, the answer will be something like:
"Well, the beer is cold and the women are pretty.."

Update:
9. The National Community Person
These people prefer to live in an area amongst compatriates. They like to hang out with their neighbours, talking in their mother tongue. They share national newspapers, magazines and if possible also share resources like workout equipment and if possible a common swimming pool. They will help eachother out in case of problems. They also organise social events like BBQ's and festivities during national events back home.
Even though it seems they like to rearrange everything like the in country they came from, they feel more happy in their new coherent community than at home. Cost of living, climate, Thai marriage and conservatism plays an important role too.

Expat in Nakhon Rachasima produces snus

Necessity is the mother of all invention.
Or so Monk an expat Swede, must have thought when he started Svenskt Snus Co., Ltd in 2008.
Snus Co., Ltd is located in Pak Chong, Nakhon Rachasima, 175km North East from Bangkok

Snus is a moist powder tobacco product which is consumed by placing it under the upper lip for extended periods of time.
Whereas cigarettes became popular less than 100 years ago, snus was discovered in the 16th century by Frenchman Jean Nicot, a man who became immortal when he discovered nicotin.
Use of snus is a very popular (and addictive) pastime for Swedish and Norwegian men. To a lesser extend it is also being used in Finland and Denmark.
Snus is banned in the rest of Europe due to improper research results, stating that it could cause cancer.
When Sweden and Norway joined the European Community exemptions for legal production and use in these countries were made.
Research has shown that thanks to snus Sweden and Norway have considerable less male smokers, whereas smoking amongst the female population seems to equal European averages.
Yes, snus is a real male Viking thing.
Europe is now considering to lift bans, since by any means snus is a healthier alternative than smoking.
Although some people claim it is more addictive than cigarettes, in the rest of the world snus is fully legal and healthier tabacco alternative for adults.

As advertised Svenskt Snus is made from 100% Thai tabacco.
One box costs about ฿250 ($ 8 / € 6) and depending on consumption reportedly it lasts for about 6 days or so. A wholesaler for the South is located in Chalong, Phuket.
The Southern provinces Phuket, Phang-Nga and Krabi appeal to many Scandinavian visitors and expats.
In other araes in Thailand the product can be mail-ordered by individuals as well.
For more information about Svenskt Snus, click here.

Note:
Monk is not alone, roughly at the same time, compatriot Karl started producing snus in Sihanoukville for the local market in Cambodia and there's even a Swedish snus manufacterer in Vientiane, Laos too.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Do I need to turn off my cell phone during lightning?


In case of lightning, lots of people disconnect their TV and other home equipment from the mains and other outlets like cable,  to safeguard them from breaking down. Since many homes don't have surge protectors everywhere, it's the right thing to do, since if the lightning hits a power line nearby a high voltage spike will get in the mains and do it's destructive work. In Thailand lot's of people turn their cell phone off too, since it's an electric/electronic device. Is their any need to do so? I have had some arguments with Polly, who insisted on doing this. Since I don't like false feelings of safety, here are some more details I came across.
Lightning is the discharge of static electricity from highly charged clouds in comparison to the neutrally charged earth.
If the difference in charge becomes too high, air, preferable humid air will become a conductor which guides the discharge. Since many objects near the ground have a higher conductivity than air, lightning will find its the way of least resistance.
Cell phones are usually located in your pocket, handbag or near your face when calling..
Devices which run on batteries have a neutral charge regardless of turning them on or off, but are not connected to the earth like TV's via the electric plug.
Cell phones however do contain metal parts which could be dangerous, since if held nearby these parts form a conductor which could guide electricity to your body, if this would happen it would leave in the best case nasty burn wounds.
Although I'm not sure this custom still exists, interestingly enough in Isan, North-East Thailand, casualties of lightning used to be burried standing up with a metal pan on the head, instead of being cremated. Only older people who died from natural causes were cremated, but this custom has changed over time.

Back to the main topic, the advice is:
- No, there's no need to turn off your cell phone during lightning. If needed, use your time for other safety precautions
- In the safety of your home or (closed!) car, use of your cell phone would be a low risk issue.
- When outdoors don't keep your cell-phone near your body, regardless whether it's on or off.
- More importantly, don't call outdoors!
- Half an hour after the last strike, use of your phone is generally considered safe.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Depressive?

Seen on Facebook:

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Children of Patong

Seen in Patong, Phuket:
A girl using a laptop in her outdoor 'study room',
In the background one of her foreign peers is still sitting in a buggy
An orchid flower neckless sales girl takes a break playing video games.
A neckless costs ฿50 ($1.63) (for Thai)
One video game costs ฿10 ($ 0.33) 
This girl seems very happy with her electric car.
A big garbage truck is coming, but doesnt keep left.
What to do? OK pass him on the right.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dangerous pitfalls by keeping the money out of Soi Kebsap, Patong

Nowadays w're used to companies applying signs such as "Attention: wet floor" or "Danger: construction area" and so on.
Besides warning the public another main concern is to prevent liability for possible injury claims.
Patong's Soi Kebsap also transliterated as Soi Kebsup, which ironically means street of keeping money, is a popular shortcut  for beachgoers from one of the many hotels in the town center of the most popular tourist destination of Phuket.
Besides the fact that the street is in a bad condition as a whole, a 40 by 50cm open drainage pit which has been there for at least three months now (although some locals claim five months), has meanwhile become a new landmark of negligence.
It would seem obvious to blame the department of publics works, was it not that the whole street is owned by a single company. And since they constructed it, they are responsible for parts of the infrastructure and maintenance such as the street as well.
Repair works for the pit are estimated to be ฿4500 (€106 /$146), not a great deal one would say, however the owner of Soi Kebsap has so far remained reluctant to take any action.
Renters and mostly shop owners of the buildings nearby are fed up with the resulting accidents and frequent near-accidents. The poor condition of the street has a negative impact on the neighbourhood. Recently a few individuals atttempted to take matters into own hands and proposed to jointly pay for repairing the pit.
They proposed to share costs, paying  ฿500 each. Problem is that some people refuse to cooperate, since they feel the street is not their property. Also paying for road damage would possibly create a precedent for more neglection by the owner in the future. As a result the initiators couldn't come up with the required minimum of nine participants, so now the deal is over and once again nothing is being done.
Whereas in the last month the spot has been marked by some individuals in a rather poor way, making it more or less visible in the day-time only, several accidents both in day- and night-time have occured.
Although the real number of accidents is much higher, ie. a local resident claims to have witnessed 17 accidents, seven of which involved injuries. Personally I witnessed at least two cases where cars got one of their wheels stuck in the hole both resulting in visual damage to the vehicle.
More serious accidents occured when at least two people recently got injured.
Today I saw how an older tourist fell in. A few minutes later with the help of some bystanders he was able to walk away with a cut wound in his leg.
Reportedly in another case a German tourist recently walking at the spot at night, fell in the pit resulting in leg and head injury which needed medical care.
By law the owner of Soi Kebsap can be held fully liable for any damage and injuries caused by severe neglectance of common sense safety standards.
At the entrances of Soi Kebsap there are no "Danger: private street, enter at own risk" warning signs, so
unsuspecting non-residents and tourists do not know whether they are entering one of the public streets
which are being inspected and maintained by the city or a private street where in this case  the owner seems to lack any common sense regarding a potential hazard which could easily be solved for a mere ฿4500.
In my opinion the owner can succesfully be prosecuted should more severe accident happen in the future, a thing which is almost unavoidable in the current situation.
One could also argue that Patong city council is indirectly responsible for not demanding the company to comply with general public safety standards by enforcing the company to do the nescesarry repair work needed to make Soi Kebsap and Patong a safer place.

Knickers and bananas

Seen in Ao Nang, Krabi at the appartment of some nice bar ladies who offered us a bye, bye barbeque yesterday.
This photo was taken with permission of the respective owners

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Child exploitation in Thailand

Seen in Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand, 30-10-2011 at 23:15

In the mean time I got used to seeing young children or even babies being exploited for begging, selling roses or orchid necklesses at a time they should be well asleep. Often the mother is waiting around the street corner.
Usually I don't want to encourage their business by paying money, but since I didn't came across this strategy before, I made an exception:

Friday, 28 October 2011

More English sign fails

Fight ticket
 

Tank (Thank)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Thai flood crisis hit non-affected areas as well

A Bangkok beggar donates to the flood crisis.
.





Surely not one of the worst examples: An almost empty cigarette shelf in a 7-Eleven outlet in one of the dry areas, Ao Nang, Krabi.
The severe Thai flood crisis shown in the news all over the world, let many people assume all of Thailand is under water. Truth is that altough the South and mid-South had to deal with a major flood in the end of March and begin of April this year, in the last half year big part of the country especially in the North-East and South of Bangkok largely have remained unaffected. Besides the historic city of Ayutthaya and parts of Bangkok, only one major tourist destination, namely Chiang Mai, got flooded nearly one month ago, but has in the mean time been declared safe. Still, those travelers planning to visit one of the dry areas this season, have to take the aftermath of the crisis into consideration as well. The closing of Don Muang airport today has severely delayed or stopped people flying to tourist destinations like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Krabi. At the same time the flood and the current insecure situation in Bangkok is having major effects on Bangkok as a logistic center. Shops and outlets in other areas are forced to pre-order scarce products in quantities as much as they can get hold of. Despite the fact that the majority of Thai people seem to be unanimous to help eachother in these times of despair and are not willing to unselfishly profit from the situation, the unbalanced supply and demand mechanism has already started to get it's grasp on retail prices. The situation is worsened by the fact that understandably an increasing number of people have turned into hoarding. Besides huge damages of the flood to industry and agriculture, tourism is bound to get a severe blow as well. Relying on official figures this segment is good for 6% of the gross domestic product, but it's real impact is thought by some experts to be considerably higher. The Thai high season runs from November to April. Many entrepeneurs in the segment regard this period as a time when the profit for the rest of the year has to be made. A considerable decline in visitors in the coming half year could have a large additional negative impact on the  economy of the Kingdom, which has already seen so much devastation this year.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Happy birthday Thai version

Here's the happy birthday song in Thai/Isan Morlam style.
Surprise your Thai friends on their birthday by posting this vid on their facebook:

Friday, 21 October 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Weird travel magazine

Seen in a local magazine called Passport:
15.000 copies are issued of this free tourist magazine distributed in Krabi province.
Obviously quite some advertising space has not been sold and is filled up with nonsense, however some funny ads are real.
Crappy service?
The Chatchada House really exist in Ao Nang and no matter what they say, reviews are very positive.

Warm beer, Crap food, Rubbish service, Useless staff.
It's always nice when people are honest
Also this place called Ling Uan or Fat Monkey really exist on Koh Lanta.
All you can eat: Boys 295฿, Ladyboys 280฿, Girls 260฿
Assuming it's not a restaurant for cannibals,
prices are fair considering average size.
Matt's Joint Grill can be found on Koh Phi Phi.
Another version they use is: Boys 295฿, Girls 265฿, Kids and Rabbits 150฿
A filler: Surgical Palmistry: Extend your lifeline..
This image comes from thepoke.co.uk




Magazine cover




A bit of a blasphemous filler page towards Christians and Muslim. An almost identical version can be found on thaiforum.dk. Considering 42% of the population in Krabi is Muslim, this kind of content doesn't look like a wise promotional proposition for advertisers.
Another filler.
Partly or mostly faked 'funny' letters from readers.
Some of them pretty racist.
Click to enlarge.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dubious items for sale at Thai fair

Seen at a fair in Ao Nang, Krabi:
Looks like an old model phone.
Hey, what's that at the top, not the antenna..
ZAP!!
Push a button on the side and it functions as a 100,000 Volt taser.
A pocket size scale for weighing ?gold?

Obviously not, and these items are not for junior chemistry experiments.
Seems they are useful for  users of cocaine, heroin, ice and marijuana. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Online Thai flood map

For an up to date nation wide view of the Thai flood crisis click here.
Another useful site is Google Thai floods crisis map.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Where are you from?

When abroad, the most popular opening line is: "Where are you from?"
After answering the question, provided you're not from the same country, conversation often continues about what one knows about the other's country.
Below is a list of clichés experienced travelers from various countries have to deal with and are actually fed up with.
Australia: "Put another shrimp on the barbie mate!", "Steve Irwin" 
Australians usually don't appreciate it when you try imitate their accent, especially the above sentence.
Another taboo is to tell that you like Steve Irwin, let alone try to imitate him.
Even after his death lot's of Australians feel shy about how he managed to become the 'prototype' Australian in the eyes of the world.
Generally Australians do appreciate it if you know something about their country e.g. cities and states, prime-minister etc.

USA: Simplified judgements about the US
Lots of Americans who traveled abroad found out that overseas USA or America doesn't have that good ring anymore, consequently many suffer from a slight inferiority complex about their origins.
Discussions with foreigners about the US often lead to oversimplified statements and consequent arguments.
Questions about where the're from will usually be answered by just naming their city (and state).
Besides more or less concealing the country of origin this can have several other motives:
1. Emphasizing that the US is a huge place and obviously not all Americans are the same.
2. Pointing out the fact that the're proud of their city and/or state.
3. Mentioning a city or state which you probably don't know, which will usually silence the topic all together.
I even read a story from an American blogger that people couldn't believe she was from the US and assumed she was from Canada, because she was so nice. Once I met an American expat and business man in Vietnam who was so negative about his home country, that I felt I had to remind him about the good things.
Be very specific if you talk about America. Distinguish between the government and the people since like with so many countries there's a huge difference.

Germany: "The war"
"Don't mention the war" has become a cliché ever since the episode "The Germans" from Fawlty Towers was broadcasted.
Germans are really fed up talking or being reminded of the war. Germans who actively participated in the second world war are well over 80 now, so it would be hard to talk with any wrongdoers nowadays.
Unlike for example the Japanese, Germans learn at school in every detail how bad their (great)(grand)parents were at that time.
As a result a certain number of people are so fed up with it, that some of the sickest jokes about this period are being told amongst Germans, just to compensate for the trauma.
Personally if I like to, I am able talk with most older Germans about the war. Stating that my grandfather was one of the 100,000 members of the Dutch colaborating fascist party, will usually break the ice.
If I add the conveniently forgotten fact that the Netherlands had the highest percentage of jews deported in West Europe nl. 71.4% vs. 25% in Germany, I got myself a free beer.
In general however it's not the best topic of conversation. Talks about the people, their rich culture and food score much better.

Italy: "I love Italian food", "I love Italy"
To say both of the above to an Italian is quite okay, but when being asked what food you exactly like; just mentioning spaghetti and pizza will almost be an insult to every patriotic Italian.
- The rich Italian kitchen has numerous delicacies which will need years of study just to discover.
Although habits are changing, for most spaghetti is just a starter, not a meal.
The word spaghetti is not used that often, most Italians will simply refer to it as pasta.
- Although this habit is changing as well, pizza is still widely regarded as a poor man's snack, commonly eaten by groups e.g. students, who don't have enough money to visit a 'decent' restaurant.
Some Italians show little emotion when being told you love their country.
- There's still a big difference between the 'rich' North and the 'poorer' South.
Some Italians even regret Garibaldi, unifier of modern Italy, ever existed and some North-Italians contemptuously refer to the Southeners as 'Africans'.
Having been in Milano wouldn't impress a Southener, similar to North Italians who wouldn't be much impressed about your trip to Napoli.

Netherlands: "Do you live in Amsterdam?", "Windmills, wooden shoes and tulips", "Marijuana"
-Really, I hear this question being asked 8 out of 10 times. Not only by Asians but by anybody.
No, not all Dutch people are from Amsterdam, in fact more than 95% of the population does not live there.
- Talks about windmills, wooden shoes and tulips will make one look even more naive.
Many Dutch children probably have never seen a windmill or wooden shoes and the tulip is an export product.
- Talks about the cliché of legally smoking marijuana are usually considered okay, but tend to get boring.
- Except with me, football will be a good topic of conversation for most Dutch men and some women too.
Personally, I only watch the world championships and I don't really care that much if Holland lost, they do each time anyway. Also I didn't come to S-E Asia to smoke marijuana.
Note: As of june 2011, foreigners can be banned from purchasing soft-drugs in the Netherlands.

Probably every foreigner abroad has to deal with tiresome clichés one way or another, unless you come from Palau or something.
I'm very interested to hear your stories, so feel free to comment.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Kanhu - My "ear" is itching

Last summer a YouTube video became an overnight hit in Thailand.
In the video singer Jah performs an old luk thung song named Kanhu, which mean as much as; [my] ear [is] itching.
Although the old song was indended to be unambiguous and innocent, scarcely dressed Jah managed to give a whole new meaning to the title in her show. When the video went viral, similar to the bare breasted songkran scandal in Silom earlier this year, the conservative part of Thailand was upset and questions were being raised by government officials.

As of now a warning to all foreigners learning/speaking Thai is in it's place. When you're referring to an itchy ear, saying kanhu can lead to embarrassement.

Sniff Kissing

Read in the Thai for Lovers guide:
A "sniff kiss" is the traditional Thai romantic kiss. You plant your nose on your loved one's cheek (or other part of the body) and gently sniff in.
Thai people consider this very sweet and romantic. It is also used by parents to show affection for their children.
In general, men tend to "sniff kiss" their lovers more than women do.
Lips on lips western style kissing is a relatively recent introduction, but is increasingly popular between lovers.
Nevertheless, if you learn to "sniff kiss", your Thai lover will certainly appreciate it and be very pleased!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Multifunctional urinal

Seen in Ao Nang at Amy's bar.
Now men can comb their hair or wash hands and pee at the same time.
While doing so, make sure you keep aiming in the right direction though.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The poor woman with the blind singing husband


Now that the poor man with the elephant or the man with the poor elephant is more or less being banned from Thai streetviews, another profitable franchise concept has emerged.
The poor woman with the blind singing husband.
For those unaware: A woman with a collection cup is being followed by her blind husband holding her shoulder while he's singing through a little portable karaoke portable set.
They will stop at every bar or restaurant to cash in on their effort.
Actually I first thought it was the same couple stalking us on our journeys through Thailand, since the act looks so alike, but they are simply all over the place. So, similarily to the many South American Pan flutist groups in Europe playing the same tunes, I had to drop that idea.
Actually the husband is not only blind, he must be deaf too, since without exception he will utter false and unmelodious sounds, invariably with the volume wide open.
This sound which cannot be called music by any standard causes a feeling of misplaced embarrassment to the unfortunate onlookers. In fact the couple hijacks your heart, since non-cooperation, let alone protest would look pitiless. The woman will continue to look pathetic while her husband taunts the ears untill a compromise is reached. If not enough people are willing to pay the ransom, the owner of the establishment will finally handover the remainder of the f*ck off money out of own pocket. Apart that it looks good to Buddha, the're used to overcome these moments of despair by boldy paying as if it was paying protection fee to the police. So next time if you recognise the sound, which is a no-brainer, just duck and cover.
Similarly to begging women on the streets of Bangkok who rent baby's to get larger turnovers, I wonder if there's a place for women to rent blind men who cannot sing. Or are the men just acting?
If not, wouldn't they not be better off with a guide-dog, since at the same time the wife could collect extra money in other ways, but the drill to stop at every crowded place and to continue after extorting enough cash would require months of expensive training for the dog, so it's probably not worthwhile.
From the looks, I'm pretty sure the couples must at least have had a basic training course and a starters-kit from somewhere.
Anyway, it's probably just another effective money making scheme from a Thai exploitation through despair syndicate.
On to the poor man and his blind singing wife.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Shared Planet™

Seen at Starbucks:
First you start a program for fair trade and fair sharing of resources called Shared Planet.
Then you trademark it to prevent others to do the same. How fair is that?

UFO's or Unexplainable Flourishing Outlets in Thailand

Compared to Phuket city and Patong, Ao Nang in Krabi is quite provincial. According to GeoNames it has a population of 8000, but wether this figure is correct or not it still managed to maintain a bit of a village atmosphere.
Ao Nang sometimes reminds me of a miniature Patong; there's a multitude of tourists of different nationalities.
With the Swedish coming en mass to Krabi in the 80's, Scandinavian probably represent the largest group of expats here. The town has more than enough accomodations of all levels, international restaurants and even one McDonald, a Burger King, a Subway, no not undergound, a Starbucks, Swensen and Häagen Dazs ice cream parlour and nightlife activities at various locations.
Besides a bus load of people touring through Thailand who stopped for a treat of bitter balls, in the two weeks we have been staying here, I haven't been able to spot a single Dutch tourist. Fine with me, I'm not dying to meet one. Suprisingly, Dutch or Thai-Dutch businesses seems to be disproportionally represented here.
As many of us will know, Dutch food is like English food, nothing to write to home about. Am I making enemies now?
Still, Ao Nang boasts two Thai-Dutch restaurants, one Dutch snackbar, one hotel, two (partly) Dutch owned foreign restaurants with some Dutch food on the menu as well and one Dutch owned bar. Together this is actually more than can be found on the whole of Phuket island.
In comparison there seem to be just one Thai-German restaurant, but in contrast we met a fair share of Germans.

A Dutch snack bar in Ao Nang


The menu with exotic things like a bami-ball or a mexicano, a mixture of horse, pig, beef and chicken.

To me Dutch restaurants are like Nepalese tailors here; plenty of shops, hardly any demand.
I wonder how many P's of marketing were considered before getting into business? How on earth do they survive or is it just a hobby to keep busy?
Well, I guess at least the guy below would rather sleep at home.

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