Daily Archives: May 17, 2005

Last day at Koh Chang

Koh Chang is south-east of Bangkok. Most people just go to Pattaya along the eastern seaboard for a beach holiday. However, if you keep driving you reach better beaches. First Rayong and Koh Samet. And then towards the Cambodian border you will find Koh Chang. That is where we went for our holiday last week. Things didn’t really go to plan because there were storms and then the power went out. We almost checked out in the morning but we decided to wait until noon.

The power finally came back on at 10 a.m. It was also a lot brighter by this time though no-one was swimming. We decided to stay for one more night so that we could do a bit of exploring. As I told you yesterday, we were staying on Gai Bae Beach on the West coast of Koh Chang. As we walked along the beach we soon discovered some more bungalows that were even better situated than our own. They were literally on the beach. I am not sure how much they were, but I will guess if it was fan only, they would be 500 baht upwards. The back of the bungalow had concrete to the ground so it looked like even these had toilets and showers despite being right on the beach.

In the distance we could see some people walking over some rocks and others doing some fishing. Obviously fish is a big item on the menu. We decided to go and take a closer look. However, a few more steps and we reached an open sewer – this was rather smelly and was staining the beach black. Yuck. I was going to give this beach three stars out of five, but I was now tempted to downgrade it. Obviously paradise comes at a cost to the environment. Here we are insisting that we get a bungalow right on the beach, but we don’t realize that in doing so we are encouraging the resort owners to pollute the water. If the bungalows were only built further back then they could build proper sewage pipes.

We made a big diversion around this environmental disaster and carefully washed our feet in the sea. As we got closer we could see that the people clambering over the rocks were using hammers. I guessed straight away that they were looking for shellfish – possible mussels. I had seen them doing something like this when I visited the beach in Bangkok the other week. On closer inspection I could see it wasn’t really rock. On the outskirts I could see a lot of broken coral on the sand. It looks like this used to be a coral reef. The locals hammering away were wearing thick rubber boots. We decided not to join them as we were barefoot.

Instead we walked back to the bungalow and rested up. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and sleeping! Well, it was a holiday and we deserved a break. We had decided by this time that we would leave in the morning. The weather hadn’t really cleared up that much. What I was interested in doing now was heading back to the mainland and then driving up the coast towards Rayong. This province is famous for the resort island of Koh Samet. However, this wasn’t our intended destination. What I wanted to do was explore the beaches on the mainland as I had heard that they were quite good. Lonely Planet doesn’t give them much of a mention though they have been popular with Thai tourists for a number of years.

The next morning we checked out and caught the car ferry back to the mainland. [Continued…. ]

Are You Being Serious??

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (C) visits Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi International Airport. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

Every four years or so here in the ‘Land of the Lottery & Ladyboys’ the Thais have the very tricky task of having to fork their brains and select the best there is on offer to rule and govern this blessed country for the next government term.

Should you yourself feel fit to apply for such a position, here below is a list of the criteria of which you will have to fulfill:

Holder of at least a Bachelors degree in any field (Or a piece of paper that looks like one)


Be a retired Police or Army officer (Connections are a plus) OR

Been a very successful businessman ( If you can run a business you can darned-well run the country MBA-style) OR

Have a close relative who is already a politician ( What you expect to get the job on your own??) OR

Have been a shockingly good-looking TV star before (The uneducated masses believe ‘Looks = Brains’, just like every where else in the world)

So, as you could have imagined we have only the finest quality to choose from. With all the troubles that Thailand has had over the past decade or so it has taken the elite politician to think up the best policies possible to combat such ‘hassles’ and for those readers out there who have missed out on some of the hilarious-quackwack ideas over the years from those in power, digest some of these.

Heavy rains in Bangkok always cause traffic jams

Everyone knows just how many awards Thailand has won over the years. On top of the award-winning feats must be the one for ‘the infamous Bangkok traffic jam’. On just arriving in Bangkok and before even setting foot in the hotel the ‘tourist’ can be seen spotted on a footbridge staring in awe and taking fotos of the world famous ‘Silom Traffic Jam’.

Embarrassed by this daily scenario, it has been the politicians who have had to scramble their brains and think of ways to solve this irritating problem.

Just last year in parliament one of the politicians came out with this for an idea “Since the motorbikes are a darned nuisance just let them drive down the road any side this wish!” only for another politician to argue that it was us pedestrians that were the reason behind so many jams and questioned “How about we just do away with so many useless sidewalks?” As he went on to argue that most sidewalks were just stalked with vendors and most pedestrians enjoyed walking in the road anyway!” well, I suppose that makes a bitta sense.

Then, how many times over the past decade have we been advised in a ‘Mega Capital Campaign’ to ‘Get on Yer Bike and Ride!’ That was until one of the promoting politicians on waving to the camera rode his bicycle straight over an open manhole while another was hospitalized cause of the ‘excessive fumes’ he had inhaled that day!

Talking about ‘Get Fit’, just a couple of years ago the new Minister of Education told the media that ‘A New System of Education is Needed!’ ‘The Kids Must Play More Sports!’ were the headlines the next day. He proposed that every school in Thailand would with this new policy of his, everyday ‘Teach 3 hours of lessons in the morning and in the afternoon play sport for 3 hours!’ What a great idea until the capital’s schools were up-in-arms complaining to the likes of ‘Where are 2,000 students going to play sport every afternoon??’ as the not-so-mindful- Minister hadn’t the brains to realize that 99% of Bangkok’s schools have a mini parking lot as a sports ground. Then that famous girl only school on Ratchadamnoern Avenue named something like ‘GirlieWitthaya’ started their demonstrations up and down the street protesting that their 3000 girls would have to jog up and down Ratchadamnoern Avenue every afternoon for 3 hours as they had no kind of sportsfield whatsoever. As you could have imagined the idea was never implemented!

Talking about the education system. After our beloved PM’s son was escorted out of his university finals a few years back for ‘supposedly’ taking in a few answers with him, he wasn’t cheating of course, it was conceded by the PM himself that ‘Thai kids cheat too much!’. After a few weeks of ministry deliberation on ‘how to deal with this cheating problem’ came finally to this conclusion “Cheating in school exams is ingrained within Thai society and has become part of the culture. We must therefore accept this and hope in the future to do our best to reduce the amount of cheating involved”.

Having to listen to such dribble in parliament you may well have heard that one of the major problems concerning debates over the years has been ‘lack of attendance’. Of course all the politicians had an important business client to see or was in Burma having to play a couple of rounds of golf on ‘personal business’ with one of the leading generals. The PM on being tired on having to tolerate such ‘excuses’ decided therefore that on top of their monthly politician salaries that an incentive bonus of 2,000 baht a day was to be given to all the MPs who just showed up to work!! In fact that idea was actually passed!

A few years back the female members of parliament were up in arms furious about a report in a popular European Magazine with the nauseating headlines which read ‘Pattaya, Thailand and Girls for Sale!’. So, Mrs Paweeda, head of Thailand’s club for ‘Women and Kids Rights’, disgusted and angered at such slanderous reporting went for herself to see if such goings-on actually happened in Pattaya. So, then a couple of nights later on the evening news Mrs Paweeda reported for the local and international press “After my undercover visit to Pattaya I can promise and declare to yous all that NO sinful extra-curricular girlie services are on offer in Pattaya!”

Then, talking about Pattaya it was debated (once again) to develop Pattaya into ‘The cultural hub of Thailand’ after it was accessed that all the foreign tourists in Pattaya were most in love with visiting temples, riding elephants and passing the nights away listening to Thai traditional music being played on a Thai-style xylophone. When the idea was passed on to the Pattaya Board for Tourism, it was quoted to the press “A very fine, well-thought over proposal, we shall look into this fantastic idea with intent”. Perhaps they are still looking at it now, four years later!

Of course Thailand’s politicians have been called ‘rather randy’ themselves over time and so just last year our dear PM called up a press conference and quoted “From this day onwards I want only family-loving folks in my cabinet and for all those politicians of mine who have a ‘mia noi’ (mistress) I need to see your ‘letter of resignation’ on my desk by this Friday afternoon!’ All sounded good until one of the Ministers informed the press “It is unfortunate that should the PM’s new policy be implemented we would have to dismiss 95% of the cabinet. As you could of imagined the PM spent the next couple of weeks saying to the likes of “Did I really say that? Oh come on you must have mis-understood me!”

One very serious problem that the PM did have to face a few years back before all the dealers were shot dead, was ‘drugs’. Of course the problem was a serious one, but according to one politician “They are darned hard to find!. So, one of the opposition MPs from Chumphorn province on hearing this was disgusted and went out to prove just how wrong such a quote was and on the evening news that night was seen holding out a handful of Methamphetamine pills he had just bought for himself quoting “What a crock of rubbish, drugs are easy to be found!” only to be seen a few minutes, live on TV, being escorted down to the local police station on the charge of ‘possession’!

Well, some wacky ideas have been heard on how to solve this problem and the stevesuphan award for ‘Curbing the drug problem idea’ goes to one big politician with this: “Since the market price is an expensive 100 baht for one pill I advise therefore that the government produce and sell our own pills at 10 baht a shot, that way we will know exactly who the junkies are and be able to afford them doctorly advice on ‘how to quit the habit’. At the same time a politician friend of his was raving on about ‘such a fine idea’ that he went on to advise “Yes, and on top of that the junkies be allowed to purchase from a government hospital ‘ganja’ free of charge. As of course we would much prefer our youth, if they need to take drugs, to be stoned on ‘ganja’ instead!’. Well…. I suppose his meaning was meant to be a helpful one.

Finally, let me say that the above are just ‘some’ of the quack-wack ideas heard in parliament before and I can assure you that there have been lots more.

Traditional Thai Dress

Thai Traditional Dress

Hi everyone! So many great blogs lately that I really had a writers block for my blogs. Anyway, on our last trip to Thailand my daughter and I came across a photo studio inside MBK shopping center. For the bargain price of only $66 or B3000(probably less at some other places), we were transformed into traditional Thai royalty. It took us more than an hour to get dressed, so much attention to detail, from the hair, make-up, dress, and jewelry. The photographer would not allow the typical posing for a picture smile, he told us we had to have a “smirky” smile. Everyone at the studio was so friendly, they even bought us lunch! We waited 20 minutes for our photos. We got at least 10-15 assorted print sizes, in color, black/white, sephia, many different poses,and a CD to print more. Our hair even lasted two whole days!!This was ultimately our most cherished souvenir!!