Thailand Blogs – August 2010 Review

My monthly blog review is a little bit late this month due to me putting together my fourth blog site. Six Two Four is my new baby and I’m not going to tell you its theme, I’ll just give you a clue. If you say the numbers real quick you should guess its topic. If you can’t, then it probably won’t appeal to you, but if you can guess its content then please click on the above link and have a read.

The photos in this month’s review were all taken in Wonderful Wi’s garden in Udon Thani.

Last month I added a new site to my Thailand Blogroll and it is written by published author Paul Garrigan. Here’s how Paul explains a little about himself,

“I’m an ex-drunk who has found that living sober is better than anything I could have imagined previously. I’m originally from Ireland but now live in Thailand; a wonderful place to be free of addiction. I like to talk about recovery in the hope that it will inspire other people, but mostly because I just like to talk. Join me on this wonderful journey and see where it takes us.”

Paul’s published book Dead Drunk tells the story of his life as a teenager who loses his battle against alcoholism and follows his adventures in Dublin, London, Saudi Arabia and finally to a village in rural Thailand.

Paul’s blog offers excellent advice for those battling alcoholism but also covers many aspects of general life in Thailand. Paul’s writing places a lot of emphasis on Thai culture and the psychological and philosophical side of living in the Land of Smiles. My pick from Paul’s blog for August covers culture and Thai peoples absolute belief in the power of Buddhist charms. The Day the Buddha Tried to Kill My Car is a great introduction to Paul’s writing style.

Talen and Thailand, Land of Smiles have finally made it to the Land of Milk and Honey and the start of a new life in Thailand. Before departing America Talen wrote a post explaining how he first discovered the charms of Thailand and his path to eventual settlement there. Each Journey Begins with One Single Step is a brilliantly constructed piece of script and is my pick as the best Thai blog post I read in August. Make sure you read it too.

Talen may have made his move but Siam Rick has Mountains to climb before I exit stage, Far East. If you are planning to move to Thailand or any other country then there are many loose ends to tie up before you depart. Visit Behind the Noodle Curtain and check out Rick’s anxiety levels as he goes through the motions of renting his apartment, securing his visa, setting up a Thai bank account and much much more.

Mike Rose has been Looking for the Thai Silk King. Jim Thompson was a former OSS (CIA) agent whose operations eventually took him to Bangkok. At the end of World War II, Thompson made Bangkok his permanent home and set up the famous Thai Silk Company, he later became known as the Thai silk king. In 1967 Thompson died whilst visiting modern day Malaysia and there was mystery surrounding his death. Mike and investigate the many theories which have surfaced since Jim Thompson took a jungle walk and was never seen again.

Have you ever been in Thailand and wondered what those small red boxes are for on the outside walls of some homes and businesses. Women Learning Thai…and some men too has the answer, eventually. Most people assume the red boxes are mail boxes, I know I did, but like so many other people I was wrong. The mystery of the red boxes explores the possibilities of their use and eventually their reason is revealed and later confirmed in of all things, the post’s comment box. Catherine should of made it a red one.

Malcolm was less active on Retired in Thailand and Loving It during August because of serious illness. Thankfully the tough talking American expat residing in Wang Pho, Kanchanaburi, has now made a good recovery. I know his wife and best friend Ciejay will have helped him on the road to better health. Acquaintances old and new are the topic of Malcolm’s post Friends “before and after” Retirement as a much fitter Malcolm got back to his computer desk. The Karaoke King from Kanchanaburi best sums up the post’s theme in his opening shot from the bows “There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.”

The Thai Pirate, otherwise known as Ben, recently swapped his gardening tools for a long haul curry. Yes I did spell that right. Ben, his wife and young baby recently took a holiday in England and Ben gives a smashing review of his flight choice in Jet Airways and Thailand. Young Aiden is smothered and mothered by the Jet Airways stewardesses (lucky Aiden), which gives Ben the chance to settle back and enjoy a curry. Ben’s summing up of his first flight with Jet Airways was good price, great curry. Check it out yourself.

Steve has gone numbers crazy. Thailand Musings has statistics galore in Thailand Ranked #58 of World’s Best Countries in a post about data released last month from the online Newsweek. Crunch yourself through the numbers and see how Thailand ranked in Newsweek’s category rankings on Health, Education, Quality of Life, Economic Dynamism and Political Environment. The last one in the list should make interesting reading.

MeMock and Life in rural Thailand once again take us back to olden days long gone by in View from the Ubon Hotel in 1968. MeMock has been sent video footage from one of his regular readers and has been posting clips from time to time of how Ubon Ratchatani was back in the sixties. Swing yourself along to Life in rural Thailand and view Ubon in an era when a steak dinner cost just 30 baht.

If you enjoy eating from the street stalls in Thailand then there’s every chance you’ll find my pick for August from Camille’s Samui info blog right up your street. Camille continues his meals on wheels series by serving up a another tasty treat in Food on Wheels, Soup from a car. Camille’s post includes some great photos of a soup wagon he saw on a recent trip to the Fisherman Village’s popular Walking Street. Don’t forget to take some bread with you.

Jonny Foreigner puts the X Factor into the Thai police force with his post The Thai police as you’ve never seen them before. The boys in brown dance up a storm in a video accompanied by music from Korean Pop band Super Junior. The YouTube video included in Jon’s post received over 250,000 hits shortly after its release onto the popular video sharing website. Make it one more with a left click on your cute mouse.

How would most Thai people react to snow. My guess is they wouldn’t be able to get enough layers of clothing on fast enough, and then they’d still have to make a bonfire afterwards. Thai Life in Phana author Lawrence recalls the time when his family spent a few weeks in Spain and France, and shared a week in the Pyrenees mountains earlier this year. Thai people abroad has photos and commentary of Lawrence’s family’s reaction to the cold crunchy white stuff called snow.

That’s it once again from my Thai blog monthly review. Catch you next time.

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I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

20 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Hi Martyn, thank you for the mention. As I’m sure you know, keeping a blog can sometimes be a bit of a lonely business – I wonder if others have interest in what I have to say. But when somebody like you comes along and says a few nice words it makes it all worthwhile. Cheers mate.

  2. Hoo Don says:

    Paul it’s a pleasure to include your site in my blogroll and monthly review. I like the psychological and philosophical angle you put on things. That’s something Thai blogs don’t normally possess. I’m glad I kind of made your day and like you I enjoy getting a bit of a plug about my posts sometimes. Enjoy your fruit juice.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi Martyn a great review. Thanks for the mention and good luck with the new web site.

  4. Hoo Don says:

    Mike thanks for your view and also an even bigger thank you for looking at my new site yesterday and giving me some good suggestions. I will be keeping the widgets to a minimum and the adverts to a premium. I have also enrolled the site with Technorati as you suggested.

  5. Catherine says:


    Congrats on your new site 🙂

    ‘Thailand’s Mysterious Red Boxes’ is a good choice from my end. Beginning bloggers often make the mistake of answering all the questions when writing about a subject. As I have an anal, controlling nature, I do the same. But I do have plans to improve my stubborn stance…

    I’m chuffed to see that you’ve ushered Talen into Thailand, and prepared for Rick’s entry into the Kingdom as well.

    As for Paul, isn’t he a jewel? I bought his book and read it from cover to cover. Transfixed. Paul has the writer’s knack. No doubt.

    And I absolutely loved Camille’s series on meals on wheels. It’s one of those ‘WHY didn’t I think of doing that as well?’ But now I have someone more experienced to link to when my wild hair is rolling round and round.

    Reading about Malcolm’s illness on twitter (?) had me rushing over right quick. I don’t often comment (I’m forgetful so need gentle reminders on my site) so the news stilled my heart. Hugs to you Malcolm. It was a worry.

    I’ve gotten this far and can go no further as dinner awaits. Martyn, compiling an amazing roundup each month takes perseverance and a good eye. I applaud you.

  6. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine thanks for a lovely comment, I laughed at your quote “when my wild hair is rolling round and round.”

    That actually brings me to a question. Do the end speech marks come before or after the full stop?

    I was hoping you might be able to help me out with the names of the flowers because I’ve tagged the photos as:

    Thai flowers, garden flowers and Thai garden flowers. I’m pretty confident I’ve tagged them right but, well, I could do with their actual names.

    I hope you enjoyed your dinner. Thai or Western?

  7. Malcolm says:

    Martyn, thanks for the review and all the kind words and of course your words of well wishes in my comments also , and yes there were times when during my recent illness that if it had not been for my sweet wife I felt like running and jumping in the river Kwai .Feeling great now and trying to get my mind in gear for some more post . Malcolm

  8. Hoo Don says:

    Malcolm nice to hear you are back to full health, that’s some nurse you have. Give Ciejay my regards.

    If you did jump in the River Kwai you would probably feel pretty ill afterwards. It looked a bit murky when I was at the elephant camp. Mind you four of the people from our tour bus went in the river and they all survived.

    Have fun in the sun and if it does shine on the righteous you’d better slap a lot of sun block on.

  9. Catherine says:

    Good morning Martyn,

    ‘Do the end speech marks come before or after the full stop?’

    If you are British, and quoting within a sentence as you have, the speech marks come inside the full stop. You’ve used American punctuation.

    Your flowers are beautiful and I forgot to mention them. Apologies. Because I did notice them 🙂

    The flower top right graces a Frangipani tree. They come in many colours but my favourite is the white with pale yellow insides as it has a stronger aroma. With others, you need to shove your nose right into the flower to get the smell. The white flower will surround your garden with its scent. On Borneo it’s used to shade Muslim cemeteries and so they say, mask the smell from dead bodies. The Frangipani like full sun, but I have one on my front balcony which gets partial shade to full afternoon sun.

    The beautiful blue flower is a Cape Plumbago. I’ve had it in pale blue as well as a richer, darker blue. I prefer the darker version as it’s quite stunning. The Cape Plumbago is supposed to come in white as well, but I’ve never seen one. I have five pots full of the darker blue on my balcony. They cover the pot with sprays of flowers for months, and then get scraggly and dry. So I cut them way back and start again. Mine are in pots and seem like partial sun/dappled shade. They flower all year around.

    The one on the bottom is the Madagascar Periwinkle. Like the Frangipani, it comes in many colours. It’s a hardy plant. It will take the most severe abuse – no water, not much soil – and will dig its roots down amongst rocks, cement, and asphalt even. What it does not like is being bogged down in water. When I had a garden I’d scatter them the furthest away from the hose where they’d spread out on their own, filling in any dead areas with spots of colour.

    Dinner was a simple affair. Steamed snow fish, stem broccoli, and Japanese white rice. Boring. But filling.

  10. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine thanks for the punctuation tip, I’ll try to remember it when I’m more awake.

    The flowers…great stuff I thought you might know two of them but all three is fantastic, and the background facts to them very interesting. I’ll pass on the over watering bit to Wilai about the Madagascar Periwinkle, she waters the flowers everyday.

    Wilai wants me to bring some Iris bulbs over from England but I’m a bit wary about putting them in my suitcase, laws and all that. I gather you can’t do that sort of thing.

    Where I live the equivalent to your dinner is known as fish and chips. Around my way broccoli is the Italian guy who lives up the road, the one with the ice cream van that sells cheap cigarettes and tobacco.

    Time for a couple of hours more sleep.

  11. Catherine says:

    Martyn, you can do that sort of thing, but you are not supposed to. Plants bring in bugs so unless you take care and spray them well, you are a part of a buggy problem.

    I’m guilty though. But I did spray the heck out of each, or have a nursery spray and pack for me.

    I’ve brought in bulbs and cool climate plants to SE Asia. But bulbs don’t flower unless you take the time to refrigerate (they need a cold snap). So Thailand is just too hot to grow most without pain.

    I was moving to Borneo days after 9-11 and my pockets were full of cuttings that had traveled the world with me. Warm climate cuttings. They were gathered during trips to Cairo, Malaysia, etc, and I’d grow them into full sized plants at each new abode. But the emergency measures meant that suspicious passengers were being body searched so I panicked and dumped them in the rubbish while waiting for my place in line. Pity.

    I’ve tried water lilies from Australia too but the bugs of Borneo made quick work of them. I still have lotus I grew from seeds. Red lotus (they are usually found in white and pink). The seeds were shipped from Florida to Borneo. I grew them to adult in Borneo. Then when coming here, my movers handled the official paperwork to bring them in. They are now on my patio.

    Sleep well… I’ve got Talen’s drat flu. What a pain.

  12. Hoo Don says:

    Catherine it reads like you are a kind of David Bellamy with wings, your wardrobe and suitcases must be full of sprouting vegetation and things.

    I’ll probably take some Iris bulbs over in my suitcase, not too many. I’ll put them hidden away somewhere.

    I hope your flu gets better.

  13. Cheers for the mention Martyn, great reviews as usual – very useful for slackers like meself, chaiyo kub, Ben

  14. Hoo Don says:

    Ben thanks for the read and I hope everyone is okay.

    I’ve heard a few not too good reports about Jet Airways but yours is contrary to that, and if you compare them favourably with Etihad then that’s a big thumbs up with me. I’m sticking with Etihad but after reading your post my thoughts about Jet Airways have gone up one hell of a lot.

  15. Like I say Martyn they were pretty good in my eyes, all long haul flights are pretty nasty at the later stages though (as you know)…. I always usually fly Etihad so maybe the change was welcome. Will report the 2nd leg at Christmas…

  16. Hoo Don says:

    Ben I’ll definitely keep Jet Airways in mind for the future, their lower prices make them a good alternative to Etihad. Thanks again for highlighting them to me. I quite like a good curry.

  17. Lawrence says:

    Hi Martyn, thanks for the mention. It reminds me that I need to do more blogging than I have done recently.
    I’m impressed by the breadth of your reading, too. I haven’t found time to do much of that either, and I’m retired! Maybe I sit around too much thinking of Malcolm’s hammock.

  18. Hoo Don says:

    Lawrence I do spend a lot of time going around the blogs, that’s why I’m so reluctant to add any more to my Blogroll.

    Lazy days, I get a few of those but I spend them slumped on the computer reading away. Best wishes.

  19. Camille says:

    Hi Martyn,

    Thanks for the mention as from Samui! Haven’t had much time reading up on everybody’s blogs, too busy teaching and it was off the island for the first time!

    Take care, will be visiting your blog again frequently, all of you!

  20. Hoo Don says:

    Camille no worries on the plug, it’s nice to include the island angle in my monthly review.

    Thanks for the kind words about the Juice in your monthly look back on Thailand blogs.
    Have fun in the sun.

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