Saturday, 28 June 2014

New room versus old room


New room versus old room

Now, after living in my new room for two months, I can draw some comparisons.

New room rent 8000 Baht per month compared to 3500, but location much better. Before I had to walk 15 min to the nearest bus stop, now it’s only 5 minutes to bus stop and 10 minutes to MRT.

New room is on 3rd floor (ground floor=1st floor), old room was on 5th floor.

Old room had balcony with kitchen. Very useful for eating toast for breakfast and fruit, you keep the breadcrumbs and the food waste on the balcony, out of your room. Now I have everything in my room.

Electricity was 4 Baht per kWh, now it’s 7, combined with higher consumption I now pay 1500 Baht per month, compared to 500 before.

In my old room I had internet 631 Baht per month contract for one year, during the entire time no problems. In my new room, internet is included in the rent. However, there are many problems: it disconnects about once per hour (leaving me a few minutes without internet), much worse when I download films (500 MB to 1 GB), this interruption sometimes stops the download and I have to start again. Already twice in one month, I was without internet on my computer an entire day (but my mobile phone could connect to WiFi). Altogether, I spend several hours per months fiddling with internet problems.

Old room had two shelves in the bathroom, new room has none. I have to store my stuff on the wash basin and on the cover of water reservoir of toilet.

My bathroom is connected to my room via a door. When I switch on the light in the bathroom, the fan goes on and sucks air out of the bathroom. You can feel it when you open the door. This means cold air (aircon) from my room is sucked out of my room and replaced by hot air from somewhere. A waste of energy!

My old room had only cold water, no water heater. That means every stay in a hotel had the added luxury of hot water for showering. My new room has a water heater, but the shower head has a wide opening angle, which means when I just want to wash my body I get water on my head as well. But for my legs, the water is spread over such wide an area that I have to take the shower head to rinse them manually.

My old room was in an area with no thorough traffic, very quiet. Now I live near Sri Bam Pen, which has a lot of traffic and there is no sidewalk! Sometimes when I lie in bed or sit in front of my computer, I have the impression the building is shaking from cars driving past.

My old place had public washing machines for 7, 9 and 11 kg (20, 30, 40 Baht). My new place has only one for 9 kg (30 Baht), but I don’t have that much laundry, I have to collect 2 weeks to fill (to get my money’s worth), which means I am on my last shirt when I do laundry.

Update 26.08.2014
Old room was on top floor, temperature in Summer about 32 C when I came home after work. New room is 2nd of 3 floors, temperature about 29 C when I come home (both cases no aircon during day).

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC

Buriram Phanom Rung and Muang Tam


Buriram Phanom Rung and Muang Tam

Thursday 05.06.2014 Bangkok to Nong Ki

From Sathorn, take MRT to Kamphengphet and from there walk (25 minutes) to Mor Chit 2 bus station. This station is poorly connected to public transport, no MRT (it would have taken just one more station after Bang Sue), railway line is close but only few trains stop (Pahonyothin station, but far away from Pahonyothin road), some bus lines (but no direct line from Sathorn, however line 77 passes Silom and has many buses).

Considerably larger than any other bus station I know. Most signage is in Thai language only. Nong Ki (my friend’s place) is not a major stop, but most buses to Buriram, Surin, Srisaket pass through on highway 24. Don’t buy ticket at the first counter, they will sell you ticket for their bus (might not be the earliest or fastest or most comfortable). The first counter I ask at has a bus in 1 hour, the next counter in 10 minutes.

Trip uneventful (scheduled departure 11:30, real departure 11:43, arrival in Nong Ki 16:31). My friend (an encounter in Sunee Plaza) picks me up on his mocy and takes me to a resort near his family’s home. Rooms are 300 Baht per night.


The dark spot on the wash basin is a frog.


First I thought a previous customer left a used tea bag (that’s what it looked like) but I noticed it moves, and found another frog as well. When I put it down to the floor, it took less than 5 minutes to climb back. Another day, one of them climbed to the upper corner of wall/ceiling. Then one was gone, and I saw the other heading to the drain and being gone later, so they seem to come in through the drain (not covered).

The water tap was leaking, and made some eerie noises due to vibrations caused by flowing water. First I thought a cow is mooing outside, but then I found the sound changed depending on the position of the water lever, and finally found a position that made no sound. 

When you stay in star hotels, you miss all the weird and funny and memorable stuff.

Have dinner, drive around on his mocy, back to my room, do adult stuff.

Unless you know someone in Nong Khi, there is no reason to stay there. The town closest to Phanom Rung is Nang Rong.

Friday 06.06.2014 Phanom Rung and Mueang Tam

My friend convinced me to hire a driver for a day for 1000 Baht. First I had a tentative plan to do the trip (over 50 km each way) on his motorbike, but car was a good decision.

Leave Nong Ki 11:00, pass Nang Rong 11:25. Highway 24 had two lanes until Nang Rong, now just one lane in each direction, making traffic slow (queues behind slow trucks waiting to overtake). 11:44 leave hwy 24 and turn left to local road that leads to Phanom Rung. 12:01 arrive at customer parking. You could to the trip by public transport (even directly from Bangkok Mor Chit 2 on buses that go to Surin or Srisaket, about 5 hours) up to the point on hwy 24 where the local road to Phanom Rung starts. But from there, I saw no signs of public transport. From there it’s about 13 km by road, hitchhiking should work (a lot of traffic from locals who go to Phanom Rung).

A wat on the premises has mural paintings of Buddhist hell on an outside wall:


Albino turtle in a pond at the wat:


(There is a museum as well, didn't take pictures). Wat and museum are free, but for the temple you have to pay entry: Farang 150 Baht, Thai 30 for combined ticket Phanom Rung and Muang Tam. Even speaking Thai and showing my (expired) identity card from my workplace didn't get me in at the Thai price. Water is sold at 15 Baht for 600 ml bottle, better bring your own.






The famous lintel that was stolen, shipped to the US, and then given back to Thailand:







There are minuatures of Phanom Rung at Ancient City in Samut Prakarn (walk-in miniature), and in Mini Siam in Pattaya (look only), I have been to both before.
 
We continue to Muang Tam (13:44 ex Phanom Rung, 13:57 arrive Muang Tam). Similar in size, but completely different style, worth visiting both.





The wall has a pink hue, doesn't show well on picture:


Weirdly shaped tree:


Leave 14:40. Wat Angkarn was on my list, but by friend says it’s closed. But I think he is just lazy, so I insist on going there (don’t forget I pay for the trip). It’s a slight detour (about 10 km) on the return trip, and our driver had to ask locals for directions (but the Wat is a famous one in the province, and there are signs more than 50 km away). My friend was right, there is a military road block just a km before the wat. It’s located on top of a mountain, so I can see it, but cannot go there. The officer tells us something drug related is going on (as far as I understood), and it will be open on 10th (but then I will be back in Bangkok).

Return and spend the rest of the day in Nong Khi (market, park, drive around on mocy, dinner, adult stuff).

Saturday 07.06.2014

Bus to Buriram, from there bus to Roi Et, continued in posts about Buriram below.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Oh my god! (5) stone penis and vagina

Oh my god! (5) stone penis and vagina

Recently in the news (I learned of this incident through a friend's post on facebook):
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It’s a boy! US exchange student rescued from giant stone vagina in Germany
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What was he thinking? U.S. exchange student has to be rescued by firefighters after getting stuck inside giant stone vagina sculpture
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pictures from internet: 




For funny comments read here: http://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/28qkm6/today_an_american_exchange_student_got_stuck_in_a/

This gives me the opportunity to share a picture I have taken in April in Germany (North Sea coast, found this place by chance, statue called "Der Phallus"):

 





On Koh Samui, there is grandfather rock and grandmother rock, grandfather rock in the center of the picture, I couldn't find grandmother stone when I was there 3 years ago.

Picture from internet:

 

These stones in Cappadocia, Turkey look like giant ... asparagus? (pictures from internet)



Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC (except for contents from external resources)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rainy season

Rainy season

Rainy season is here! When I first came to Thailand (2009), I was living in England*, where the rainy season is from July 1st to June 30th. I thought such weather must be as horrible in Thailand as it is in England. I was wrong!

(*I like being pedantic, so to satisfy me readers: I was living in the part of the United Kingdom that is called England.)

Rainy season in Thailand is quite pleasant and completely different from England. It usually rains once per day in the evening, short and heavy. 

I rarely carry an umbrella with me. Either rain is so light I don't need it; or it rains heavily, and I rather seek shelter and wait it out (usually 5 to 10 minutes) than being in the rain with a small umbrella.

Sky is covered during day, which makes the heat bearable. Covered sky is much better for taking pictures, no shadows.

Before it starts raining, you often feel wind picking up, can hear thunder and see lightning on the horizon. Then it rains lightly for some minutes, then torrential rain follows. Overall, you have about 10 minutes to seek shelter.

There is one downside: flip flops on wet floor are slippery, I have to walk carefully. Thai people have the same problem. Afterwards, puddles of water, often ankle deep, remain in some places (flip flops are best footwear, water flows in and out).

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Museum of Siam "Beyond Silk"

Museum of Siam "Beyond Silk"

There is an exhibition "Beyond Silk" on the premises of the Museum of Siam, 14 Feb - 29 Jun 2014. Went there on 03.06.2014. Free entry to the exhibition, and free entry to the museum from 4-6 pm (at the time of writing this article).

There is a small book shop and cafe opposite the entrance of the museum on Maharat road:


The exhibition "beyond silk" is mainly about finished silk products


Musical instruments with silk strings:


There is a garden/park on the premises. 



It has an educational part with information about spices and dyes made from plants:


The domes contain spice samples, you can poke your head in and smell the spice and read information in Thai and English:



Main entrance of museum:




Location: 
In a triangle between Thanon Maharat, Setthakan alley and Sanam Chai Road. Several entrances. About 200 m south of Wat Pho or 500 m west of Saphan Phut bridge/park/market/pier. Closest pier is Rachinee (about 200 m walk). When coming from Saphan Phut, you will walk past the flower market.

http://www.bangkok.com/magazine/museum-siam.htm

http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/26907_info_beyond-silk.html

http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2014/04/11/go-beyond-silk-museum-siam-find-theres-silk-there-too

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Wats in Roi Et town

Wats in Roi Et town

Wat Burapaphiram วัดบูรพาภิราม has Thailand's tallest standing Buddha statue, overall 67.85 m, Buddha statue 58.20 m. Despite it's height, you cannot see it from town center, buildings block the view. Several maps I saw in Roi Et (at bus stations and elsewhere) place it some km east of Roi Et town, but it's right in town. Location

Coming from the main entrance, you get a wrong impression about the height:



You can climb this building (empty) up to the rooftop:









From further away (east), you can appreciate the size of the statue:





Wat Klang Ming Mueang วัดกลางมิงเมือง

interesting building:



mural painting on the outer sided of the wall:



 Sema stones inside the ubosot:


Wat Nuea วัดเหนือ

Buddha statue under construction:



Luuk Nimit not buried under Sema stones:



Brick chedi behind ubosot:


Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC