A Good Start to November

Reading-quotes-3November is shaping up to be a much better reading month than either October or September, or even August for that matter.  No, I haven’t finished a single book yet but I have started several that are all gripping in their own ways.  I’m averaging around 60 pages a day and am confident that I would read more if I wasn’t working so much (and trying to get caught up on other things in the limited amount of free time that I do have).

I did hit a milestone of sorts recently, surpassing 100,000 pages read since I started tracking my daily reading totals at the beginning of January 2010.  More than 24,000 pages have been in 2014, my best showing yet and there are still two months left!  In that same amount of time, I’ve finished 404 books.  Thus, my reading goal for 2015 will be to finish my 500th book.

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Residency Registration in Thailand

SAM_4415-blurAs I wrote last week, Phuket Immigration Office (and perhaps one or two other locations in Thailand) now requires foreigners to verify their address prior to applying for one-year visa extensions.

I completed this process yesterday after some difficulty.  Indeed, the easiest part was the processing at the immigration office!

Documents Needed:

  • “Registration Form for the Owner of Residence”
  • Copy of Rental Agreement between Landlord/Owner and Resident
  • Copy of Landlord/Owner’s House Registration (tambian ban), Signed
  • Copy of Landlord/Owner’s Personal Identification Card, Signed
  • Photograph showing exterior of house/apartment building showing address
  • Photograph showing door (with number) of actual apartment/condo
  • One or more photographs showing interior of house/apartment/condo
  • Hand-drawn map of the neighborhood pinpointing exact location of home

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New Hoops To Jump Through

in00432Following in the wake of this year’s military coup in Thailand, there came a general tightening-up of immigration rules.  The rules governing tourist visas and the so-called visas-on arrival seemed to change every few days during the summer with rampant rumors.  Then the focus turned on those on the longer-stay visas – retired, working, and studying expats.  It’s long been the requirement that if you work, you must have a work permit tied to your visa (either Non-Immigrant B or O varieties).  However, there were many expats in the Kingdom who worked on tourist visas and never bothered with work permits or other formalities.

With the increased scrutiny have come new rules and regulations.  The result is that even those who strived to maintain their legality are finding it difficult to remain abreast of them.  Here in Phuket, we often have to follow “rules” that don’t exist elsewhere in Thailand.  Each immigration office seems to have their own interpretation of what is required so it can be quite confusing when trying to track down the latest information.

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Six Months

six monthsSix months.  It’s been six months since I’ve written anything for this blog.

What happened?

I don’t really know.  I’ve alternated between periods of extreme busyness and extreme laziness.  Nothing new there.

But for some reason I haven’t felt compelled to write in quite some time.  And that time really got away from me.

Six months passed in the blink of an eye.  Half a year gone in an instant.

What did I do?

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Pulled Pork In Phuket [Burger King!]

Two types of BBQ pulled pork sandwiches now at Burger King in Phuket

Most days, I stick with Thai food for my meals.  Not only is it much less expensive and generally healthier than the farang food that I enjoy but I actually find it much more satisfying.  Yes, I still crave proper Mexican food but as that is so rare in my part of Phuket the Thai fare fulfills my need for spices.

Once or twice a week, however, I splurge a bit and hit Western food eateries.  Usually that involves walking to the Indy Market held in my neighborhood on Thursday and Friday evenings where I can count on chile cheeseburgers from the less-than-one-year-old Tuk Tuk Diner cart.

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Another Thai Christmas (and Pii Mai)

SAM_1340This was my ninth Christmas in Phuket and Tuesday will see my eighth New Year’s Eve (the ‘Western’ New Year is the first of three celebrated each year in Thailand, the others being Chinese New Year at the end of next month and Songkran in mid-April).  Let me take the opportunity now to wish one and all a very happy Year of the Horse, 2014.  On the Thai calendar, it will be the year 2557.

I have been blessed in that I have only worked two Christmases while living in Thailand. Christmas 2006 was significant as that was when my wife of six months chose to have her nine-year-old son return from the dead (she’d told me that he’d died in the tsunami) and come to live with us.  In retrospect, that little event was the beginning of the end of my marriage.  All of the succeeding Christmases have been increasingly merrier.

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Expect the Unexpected!

20120810-101049-Piboon Mother's DayI work for a teaching agency which operates the largest private language and computer school in Thailand with over 50 branches.  They contract me out to a Thai school run by the municipal government.  I work there during the daytime hours and also do some in-house  work at the agency’s Phuket branch, located in the basement of a large shopping mall.  I’ve been at both for a little over a year.  Before that, I taught at a large privately-operated school in the center of the island for more than three-and-a-half years.

All three of my Thailand-based teaching jobs have been completely different from each other and all differ greatly from teaching in America and elsewhere.  I’ve enjoyed each of these jobs and the varied experiences.  True, there have been difficulties and annoyances along the way but I’ve learned from them and truly love what I do.

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Checking In

I am still alive and well in Thailand, believe it or not.  It has become rather difficult for me to maintain much of an online presence without having my own computer; the majority or local internet cafes are either too expensive or their computers’ USB drives are disabled.  I like to use portable apps on my thumb drives for a variety of reasons and no longer attempt to do any work if those aren’t working.  The further I get behind on emails, etc., the more I dread even making the attempt to catch up.  My current budget prevents me from spending hours online doing so at this time…

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Happy Mother’s Day

Today, 12 August, is the birthday of HRH Queen Sirikit of Thailand and thus a national holiday during which all loyal and devoted subjects of the Kingdom wish Her Majesty a long life of good health and happiness.  As the Thai people regard the Queen as mother of the entire nation the day is also celebrated as National Mother’s Day.  Prior to 1976, Mother’s Day was celebrated on 15 April.  Throughout Thailand, the occasion is marked by the Queen’s flag — powder blue with her Royal cipher emblazoned in the center — flying from buildings and along roadsides.  White jasmine flowers are also much in evidence, symbolizing a mother’s love for her children as being white and pure.

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