November 2005


Cuisine: Italian
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 31, 150 m from Sukhumvit Road on the left hand side
BTS Station: Phrom Phong
Rating: ***/5


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Our good friend, Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, finally has found a good reason not to talk to the media… (from USA Today):

Planets block press access

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says he won’t answer questions from reporters until next year because the alignment of the planets is not in his favor.

“Right now Mercury … is in a corner perfectly aligned with my star. Mercury is no good, so if it’s not good, I am going to request not to speak,” Thaksin told reporters Sunday.

Mercury moves slowly and will not steer clear of his star until next year, he said.

Thaksin has shown hostility toward the media since taking office in 2001, and critics accuse him of trying to restrict press freedoms by manipulating coverage, canceling TV and radio shows, and using media takeovers by his political and business allies.

This evasion tactics surely won’t have anything to do with the recent allegations by ally-turned-archrival Sondhi Limthongkul, the CEO of Manager Media Group… right? 😉

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TV Smith’s Dua Sen has some funny revelations about Malaysian taxi drivers. Bangkok may not be as neat as Kuala Lumpur, but it’s good to know their taxi drivers are just as annoying as ours… in that sense Malaysian taxi drivers are Truly Thailay.

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Another impressive example of Tinglish (they mean “check your belongings”):
baluaelef
Seen on a longtail boat in Krabi, Thailand

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The beauty of good Tinglish amazes me all the time. Amazing Thailand – Truly Thaiway…
Don't Be Closed!!!
Seen on Phu Kradueng, Loei province, Thailand

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The plan: travel to Loei province in Isaan and hike onto Phu Kradeung, a mountain which is also a National Park. So we met at 19:15 h at BTS station Ploenchit and took the Skytrain to Saphan Kwai station, where we wanted to catch a taxi to take us to Mor Chit, Bangkok’s Northern and Northeastern bus terminal, from where our bus to Loei would depart at 20:10 h. We, that’s my girlfriend Noom, my friends Marc, Mario and Clive, and I.

The problem was:
» Read more about Conquering Phu Kradeung

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Last week I bought a book at a local bookstore which explains most of the things foreigner find hard to understand here. According to the author, even most Thai people have no idea about some details of their cultural background. The book is well written and made me understand some of the things which are – Truly Thaiway…
The title is “Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture”, it is written by Philip Cornwell-Smith and John Goss.

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ChinaRant.com has found 301 reasons that tell you you’re in China too long. Many of these apply to life in Thailand…

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Thailand has a pretty, uhm, graphic way of warning consumers that smoking causes cancer… as also pointed out by boingboing, this is what cigarette packs look like in Thailand:
Thailand Cancer Warning
Actually, it is also illegal to display cigarettes visibly in the stores. Apart from this, it is illegal to smoke in air-conditioned areas (even bars or restaurants) unless a high-capacity ventilation system is installed.

Thailand’s not exactly a fun place for smokers.

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Loy Krathong (or Loi Kratong) is one of the most important Thai festivals. You could call it the festival of lights. The festival falls on the full moon of the 12th lunar month, which is usually in November. This festival is performed to reduce bad luck and to apologize to the river goddess. More on the backgrounds of the festival tomorrow.
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It’s a (small) disaster constantly waiting to happen. Bangkok’s roads are mostly very good, but certain areas are just dreadful, and the sidewalks are even worse.

What am I talking about?

Well, the sidewalks are very uneven. Their foundation is usually nothing more but sand, which tends to get washed away gradually when it rains. Motorcycles and sometimes even cars using these unstable sidewalks doesn’t help either. As a result, the sidewalks get really bumpy, so you’ll trip all the time. Even worse, they sometimes collapse, so you’ll have a gaping hole in the middle of the sidewalk which can get up to a foot deep. Not too nice when it’s dark.

A Hole in the GroundThis can even happen on the roads. As I mentioned on the way to Ko Kret, my friend stepped into hole in the road which she couldn’t see because it was filled with murky water from the heavy rain. It looked like a simple puddle, but it was more than a foot deep.

On the way to her house, I saw a motorcycle leaving a gas station. On the exit from the gas station to the street there was a large puddle the motorcycle had to pass through. Turns out there was a hole hidden below the surface of the water and the driver found it. His front wheel got stuck in the hole and he had to get off the bike and pull it out again.

A friend told me a story about how he passed a soi one day where he spotted a taxi which was stuck. The front part of the car was completely submerged in the water, so that must’ve been a hell of a hole.

My lesson: try never to walk or drive through puddles, even if they look harmless…

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Last Sunday we’ve been to Ko Kret (some spell it Ko Kred), an island in Chao Phraya River, just a few kilometers North of Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province. I had heard about it in a Google Earth forum, but it is actually also mentioned in Lonely Planet’s Guide book about Bangkok, as I found out later. Actually, the island looks as if it was created by the construction of a canal to shortcut the river, but I’m not sure if this is the case.

An island in the middle of Chao Phraya River? That sounded interesting, so I wanted to know more.
» Read more about Trip to Ko Kret (a.k.a Ko Kred)

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Found in Guru Magazine yet again:

The less people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they’ll sleep at night.

By Otto von Bismarck

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Found in Guru Magazine:

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.

By Erica Jong

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R-U-GOA nice little piece of “Tinglish” (Thai English) I found in R-U-GO magazine (which calls itself “The first in-flight and ground service magazine). You can find it in some of Bangkok’s Taxis. Enjoy…

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Wellwellwell… here we go again…

Today in the early evening we had the first heavy rain in about a week or so. And what happens: UBC, the satellite TV, loses its signal again. I’m starting to question why I subscribe that garbage. When do I want to watch TV? Right, it’s when I can’t go out, for example because of rain. And that’s exactly when their great service fails to work. Reliably and consistently fails to work. I wish their reliability was a fraction more positive…

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This morning we’ve been at Bob’s wedding ceremony, the Anand Karaj. The starting time of the event was a bit confusing. According to the invitation card, the start of the ceremony was 10:30 h, with lunch being served at 11:30 h. During the Sehra Bandi, Bob had told me the Anand Karaj was going to begin at 9:30 h. His brother, Roger, had asked me to be there at 10:00 h.
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Bob and meTonight my girlfriend and I have been at the Sehra Bandi of my friend and business partner Bob.

Bob – his real name is Chanan Singh – is a Punjabi Sikh whose parents moved to Thailand during the civil unrest in their home after Punjab was split into an Indian and Pakistani part after Britain’s occupation of India had ended. Sikhs nowadays live in many countries of the world.
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