Merry Christmas from Phuket, Thailand!

SAM_4745This is my tenth consecutive Christmas in Thailand and they keep getting better.  While there were a few stray decorated trees to be seen during my first few holidays here, each year seems to bring more and more signs of Yuletide spirit.  The shopping mall where I work has slowly been adding decorations ever since the giant tree went up outside just before Halloween.  As I strolled through the mall following my Christmas Eve classes, I saw plenty of images of Santa Claus and Christmas trees with enough Buddhist symbols to remind one exactly where you are.  My favorite Thai variation is that instead of Mrs. Clause, we have “Santy” who seems to be Santa’s mia noi (mistress).

There are two photo albums after the break – the first illustrates my school’s holiday party this past weekend while the second features photos shot around the mall last night.

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Father’s Day!

December 5 is the birthday of HM Bhumiphol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand.  Known in the West as Rama IX (the ninth king of the Chakri dynasty), he is considered to be the father of all Thai people.  It is because of this that his birthday is celebrated in the kingdom as Father’s Day (similarly, the Queen’s birthday on 12th August is Mother’s Day).  I … Continue reading Happy Father’s Day!

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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