Thursday, 31 December 2009

Street Lamps

Courtesy of the goverment the village has been given a dozen streetlamps.....

New Car

Picked the new car up last week.  It's great not having to borrow mama's pick up to go anywhere.  Please I settled on the City rather than the Jazz as well having lived with it.  The boot seems cavernous and easily accommodates the weekly shop, including cases of beer.

It's also equipped with a USB socket on the stereo so at last I can have non-Thai music.  The pick up only has a tape player.

And of course it's much quieter, and even though it's petrol i am getting about 50MPG.

Now just waiting for the plates to arrive in the new year then we'll do a long trip

A Coat Of Paint For New Year


Well it was decided, not by me, that the upper floor of the house needed a coat of paint.  I was of course expecting the same as now or green like the lower floor, but no it was decided to make it pink!!!

As 2009 draws to a close...

... and i remember where I started the century, on the banks of the Thames

I'd just like to remember the following who departed this year.  The order is random.  I am sure you can suggest others...

Edward Woodward

Farrah Fawcett

David Carradine

Ted Kennedy

Patrick Swayze

Stephen Gately






I do not mean to exclude anyone, but some stuck in my memory...

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Driving Licence in Nong Han

Finally got round to getting my Thai license as I needed a residency letter to buy the car anyway.  Went to the Transport Office to check what was needed.  We were told to bring copies of the following by the 'boss'

  • Driving License
  • International Driving Permit
  • Passport main page plus visa and entry stamp and TM6
  • Copy of the house book
  • Medical certificate
  • Residency letter

Went to the local clinic and paid 50Baht for the medical letter.  Of course I never saw a nurse, never mind a doctor just the receptionist who filled out the form and gave it to me.

Then we went home and we copied everything and returned to the Transport Office about 3.  The boss checked the copies (never asked for originals) and looked at his watch.

It's too late I'll prepare it all later.  Come back tomorrow and we'll issue it. 

Read 'I want to go home early'

Anyway went back today at 12.30.  He asked for 500 baht, printed off the necessary paper for me to sign, bumped the guy of the camera and took over to produce the Driving License and 5 minutes later that was it, we were out of there.

Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok

Another of last weeks trips was to Phra Phutthabat Bua Bo.  Previously there had always been some ceremony going on when we were there, but this time we had the place to ourselves.  Having viewed the Buddha print we spent time just wandering around the compound.  A nice end to our day at Phu Phra Bat.


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Thai Air And Udon

I emailed Royal Orchid yesterday asking about the 'rumours' as I need to fly to the UK in April, saying if they were stopping their flights I'll book Thai Air Asia quickly as I don't want to have to get a bus across Bangkok.

My query has been referred to 'Customer Relations' who they hope will reply soon!

I'll let you know!

Phu Tok

One of our trips last week was to Phu Tok in Nong Khai Province.  It was a three hour drive across country, but well worth the trip.  A steep wooden stairway leads from the base of the outcrop to 'level 5' which has a Buddha shrine.  The path and for the most part the trestleway which somehow clings to the side on the hill is not for the fainthearted. but does allow you to circumnavigate the hill and gives amazing views.


Monday, 28 December 2009

The World Is Coming To Udon

Happy Birthday Udon!
The 1st Udon World Musiq Festival
January 15th-18th, 2010

Udonthani Celebrates Birthday #117 with a phenomenal borderless celebration of musiq, culture, food & fun! Supported by the Province of Udonthani, the Provincial Administrative Council, the Municipality of Udon & the Singha Corporation, "UDONWORLD" is what the locals are raving about-Isan's biggest ever world musiq festival. 4 days, 4 nights, from the 4 corners of Udon, Thailand & Planet Earth come borderless celebrations of humanity & life.

Africa's Yunasi, India's Dhoad Gypsies, China's Zhongua Legacy & the Irish Ditties of the Heatons are joined by 3 international shows from the USA-the Zydeco Musiq of Eddie Baynos, Ted Lewand's Gas Giant & the Ameri-Thai Performance of Himmapan.

Udon's native sons & daughters return to the "city of the North" with concerts by renowned "UDONBORN" artists like Maew Jirasak (rock), Sin Jaroen Brothers (acoustic world) R the Star (pop) & musiq virtuosos Stone-Metal-Fire. Reggae superstars Kai-Jo Brothers bring full regalia to the museum.

The festival's highlight is the January 18th UDONWORLD celebration featuring the brand new world musiq anthem, "UDONWORLD". There are art booths, the HIMMAPAN Social Forest, 2nd World environmental booths & bi-lingual histories of the heritage and culture that makes Udon the "World province".

Add to the mix, the best of Udon, history, youth performance & local & international food & you got "Muan Loke" "World Fun" & it's FREE!!


Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas In The Village

The day started slow with bro and I on kitchen duty.  Of course Thais started drinking before we'd even surfaced from Bed.  With heroic efforts we managed to cook and served Turkey with vegetables and side dishes, and with the two Thai dishes just in case.

Along with copious wine, beer and whiskey the contents of the table were consumed and people quietly fell asleep!


Saturday, 26 December 2009

It's been a busy week.....

which I'll write about over the coming days.  Still recovering from Christmas in the village with the whole extended family.

It's true - Thai to stop flights to Udon in April

Even if Nok add three flights to replace them it's not a lot of ucse as most time I fly south I am getting an international flight, and Nok flies to Don Muang.  So that leaves a twice daily Air Asia flight, which as a result will be full and I would guess average fares will be higher.

As for them closing the flights because they are making losses, almost everytime I've flown the flight has been well above 90% full.  I guess it's more about getting a return on their investment in Nok

Friday, 25 December 2009

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Fun at immigration

got my residence certificates at Udon Immigration the other day for buying the car and driving license.  Have to say what a helpful nice group of officials they are.  I think maybe the open area they use makes it less formal than elsewhere.  And the support staff are learning the trade... My residence certificate was sent back as they had made a mistake.  The officer took the time to explain to the clerk the mistake. 

When I told them I needed two, he said no problem.  I had 2 photos ready for each application.  He gave two back, once the letters were ready, he made photocopies and certified them as true copies.

They seemed to enjoy having fun at Nong Khai where we all had to go until they opened.

For those that have not been, and reside in Udon, they are in the old terminal building.  You can park right outside. Just drive as if you are going to departures and keep going.....

Saturday, 19 December 2009

More travels

Off to Bangkok for the night to meet my Brother.  Then flying back tomorrow.... Oh to be a jet setter again!

Thai to stop Udon Flights?

Rumours are flying that Thai is to stop Bangkok - Udon flights to be taken over by Nok Air...

Fine except Nok Air fly to Don Muang.  And are they really going to go from their current three flights to six?  Or are we going to see reduced service. 

Friday, 18 December 2009

Busy Day

Got the a/c on the pick up cleaned and serviced today.  Now it's gone from OK on full blast to chilling on lowest settings.... progress I guess.  Thankfully as it was a 4 hour job we dropped the pick up off and came back on the motorbike so we could relax at home.  Then went to town to get everything required for Christmas lunch except fresh veg.

Nage Fireballs - Nong Khai

The Naga fireballs (Thai: บั้งไฟพญานาค, bangfai payanak) are a phenomenon seen in the Mekong river — in Thailand (Nong Khai province and Isan) and in Laos — in which glowing balls rise from depths. The balls are reddish in colour and about the size of an egg; they rise a couple of hundred metres before disappearing. The number of fireballs is variable, being reported at between tens and thousands per night.

The fireballs have been seen for centuries and are most often reported around the night of Wan Awk Pansa — the end of the Buddhist rains retreat

The cause of the phenomenon is unclear: it has been proposed that the balls are produced by the fermentation of sediment in the river, which can combust in the particular river and atmospheric conditions of the nights in question. A programme on Thai television in 2002 suggested that they were produced by tracer fire from soldiers on the Lao side of the river. This provoked furious protests from local villagers, who believe that the balls are produced by a snake, the Naga or Phaya Naga, living in the river. Popular Thai language newspapers also supported the Naga theory. The phenomenon has gained much prominence since the furor over the TV programme, as well as the 2002 film by director Jira Maligool, Mekhong Full Moon Party. Previously known as the ghost fireballs, the event has now had its name changed and is being promoted as a festival to attract tourists.

Source wikipedia

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Busy day yesterday

Off first thing yesterday, OK 10am to put a deposit down on some land with the bank.  They expect to have the papers ready early in the new year blaming the Christmas and New Year breaks... Funny I didn't know Christmas was a holiday.  Did manage to get 20k off the price though.

Then off to Honda to put a deposit down on the car.  Went leaning towards a white Jazz or red City and ended up going for a white City.  Oh well.  Delivery promised this year.

I see the next few weeks being busy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Louang Prabang 8 - Return To Udon

I woke early, had breakfast and checked out aiming to get to the airport about 75 minutes before departure time, which we did.  Checked in and had a coffee.  Then went through immigration to the departure gate.  Boarding time came and went and still no plane had arrived.  I wandered back out past through immigration.... yes you could freely wander out, even back out of the terminal and back in without any checks.... to try and find out what was happening.  A Lao Air official said that the incoming plane was delayed by bad weather and would arrive at 10:50 but they did not know when it would leave.

It did arrive and we eventually boarded at 11.25.

The flight gave a wonderful view of the Laos countryside as we flew south. 


And after the short flight we soon landed back in Udon where I've already written about immigration woes.