Sunday, January 19, 2014

Drone missing....

Times are changing, even in Thailand. Found this poster in Samut Prakan.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bangkok Shutdown: Impressions

Today I went to Asoke to see by myself what the impact of the shutdown actually is. So indeed they did shutdown major intersections by setting up stages and tents. When I came around lunch time it wasn't busy, in contrast to yesterday when the crowd was way bigger. It seems it is loosing momentum. On the positive side the traffic is like on a Sunday, very convenient to walk around.

Watching the protesters I somehow had the impressions many just came for being part of it. It is more a day out then a political event, at least as it looks for me. Yes, people are shouting from the stage with interruption and every few minutes there is the whistle-blowing. But apart from this, people were more busy walking around, taking selfies or using the restroom at Terminal 21.

To their defence I have to say it is similar to the Ostermarsch movement in the 80s in Germany: that was also very peaceful, we had a lot of fun and did not discuss politics all the time. But our goal was to prevent Pershing II rockets in Germany, not to overthrow an elected government.

Find below some pictures from todays protest at Asok intersection.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Double cheese icecream - why not?

There is always this thing about how you know you already quite a while in Asia. Today we had such a moment, when we passed by an ice cream shop inside the Tesco Lotus Plus mall at Srinakarin road. A sign saying "Double Cheese" caught my attention, I stopped immediately and told my wife what I just saw.

No doubt, this was something special and we had to try it. One scoop is 55 Baht, the vendor's name is Hokkaido milk and yoghurt. The ice cream is basically a sweet yoghurt ice cream with frozen cheese pieces. Quite delicious, actually.

Self service checkout at Tesco Lotus plus

Tesco Lotus plus at Srinakarin road now has some  self checkout counters. That means no cashier there,  just a scanner, a display and a system for paying with credit cards or cash.
Tesco launched it at Chamchuri square last year as a test - looks Luke the outcome was good.
Today I saw a few people using it already.
And by the way, these counters are an addition not a replacement for cashiers. You can still queue up and get a smile and a wai if you like. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Miang Kham

Miang Kham is a sweet dish that is freshly prepared, usually at festivals. It is made of chaphlu leaves, but other kind of leaves are used as well. You then mix roasted coconut, shredded ginger, shallots, garlic, lime and chili and put it on the leave. It is then eaten rolled up and dipped in a palm-syrup-ginger sauce. 

Sometimes it is made to eat on the spot, but it is also sold as take away, the ingredients then seperatly packed in plastic bags.

We tried it at a coffee shop at the Bang Nam Phueng floating market. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The friendly face of Thailand...

Thailand promotes itself as the land of smiles, and indeed people smiling here a lot. In particular when you are coming from Germany it is obvious. But after living in Thailand for 9 months and being a regular visitor for quite a while, the smiling thing is so so.

As much as not all German people are unfriendly not all Thai people smiling all day. It is also used as a masquerade, or saving face. You can see this when you look someone in the eyes if a smile is honest or just a play.

So, it is of course a stereotype. But sometimes I am surprised in a positive way to see that proved. Like today at the Thalat Nam Bang Nam Phueng, a floating market at the peninsular the Chao Praya rivers forms down south. This is for sure not a tourist place, although some tourists and falangs are seen there. It is quite local. But then you discover more English descriptions on products then in most local shopping malls. We got an amazing service wherever we stopped and asked what kind of food it is, what the name of the fruit is and so on. I always ask in Thai first, but many sellers are kind of proud to answer in (sometimes broken) English.

Our highlight was a beautiful vintage style coffee shop, when a Thai couple introduced us to Miang Kham: They actually offered us some of it they just bought (it is a Thai snack, made of roasted coconut, lime, ginger, shallots, sweet tamarind sauce wrapped in leaves).

Where ever we go at this place, people smile at us, we get a great service and have a good time. A big contrast to what you experience these days in shopping malls, where people get a salary for just being there and checking stock instead of taking care of customers (Seri market in paradise market is one of this place where you never get ask if you want something, they totally ignore you.)

Thalat Rot Fai at Srinakarin road by the way gives you a similar experience with generally good service.

You will see the very unfriendly face soon in downtown Bangkok when the protesters will shut down Bangkok. I predict they will not play nice with anyone who disagrees with them, and showed this already. Some very ugly things will happen, I am pretty sure.

Good to have my little paradise on the peninsula....