Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 at
Wherever you look in Ho Chi Minh City, there is always an
overwhelming number of scooters around you
Ho Chi Minh City used to be known as Saigon. Many locals are still using the previous old name which rolls off the tongue much better than the new name. And the one area where I am staying is officially called Saigon, a district within Ho Chi Minh City.
So what brought me to Vietnam? I actually live in Chiang Mai, Thailand. That’s a great city with one BIG exception. During March and April the weather is extremely hot. And at the same time there is lots of agricultural burning going on during that time. The result of this is extremely high air pollution which is dangerous for your health. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, January 3rd, 2014 at
Motorbike parking at the mall in Chiang Mai, Thailand
There are lots of motorcycles in Thailand. Most of them are of the variety which we would call a moped or a scooter. They have small engines, between 100cc and 125cc in general, and they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of US $1000-$1300. They are easy to drive, easy to park and they are very maneuverable. And surprisingly they can carry quite a lot of weight despite their small size.
The Thais have been quite ingenious in coming up with lots of methods to use them. I have identified 8 methods how I have seen them used, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 at
Thai/Burmese border post
Here in Thailand there is a kind of visa which requires that you leave the country once every three months, even if only for 5 minutes. It’s called a non-immigrant visa, and like thousands of other foreigners I have to make a “visa run” to the Burmese border (The country is called Burma or Myanmar) to get my new stamp. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 at
What planet do you live on?
What if I told you that I live in a place where the year is 2557? No, I am not schizophrenic, I did not watch too many science fiction movies, and I do not live on another planet. But I do live in Thailand, and the year is 2557 for the simple reason that they use the Buddhist calendar instead of the Christian one.
The Christian (Gregorian) calendar starts with the birth of Jesus, 2014 years ago. The Buddhist calendar starts with the birth of Buddha, 2557 years ago. Most dates in Thailand are written with the Buddhist year which tends to be very confusing for westerners. The trick is to subtract 543 years and you are right back to 2014. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday, November 10th, 2013 at
The elephant has always been one of the the most important animals in Thailand. They were used for warfare, for doing heavy work like logging, and they were a symbol of power, wealth and prestige. To this day the king of Thailand keeps a stable of white elephants which are very rare and considered highly auspicious. Well, they are not exactly snow white, but they are much more light skinned that the usually very dark skinned animals.
However training elephants to become domesticated work animals can be a traumatic and painful experience for the animals since it takes quite a lot to break the will and the sense of freedom of those giants. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, October 31st, 2013 at
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city. It is also the second most important city with a huge tourism industry. The latest push is to turn it into one of Asia’s main convention centers.
Chiang Mai’s population is exploding since it is one of the most appealing cities not only in Thailand but in all of Southeast Asia. Why? It still has a laid back atmosphere which has fallen by the wayside in Bangkok already. Despite being a major city, people are still friendly, courteous, helpful, and always ready to flash you a friendly smile. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 at
Wat Rong Khun, the white temple near Chiang Rai, Thailand
By contributing author Meghan Pierce
Like most people, I felt a strong urge to flee the nest right after high school and to go and experience life on my own. Going to school at a university wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to just learn about the world, I wanted to experience it. I had my mind set that the only way this was ever going to happen was if I traveled.
I wanted an experience that was unlike anything that would ever happen to me in Western civilization. I had an imaginary globe spinning around in my head and it wasn’t going to stop until I stepped foot on a plane and headed to a faraway land. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at
Recently I purchased some sunblock cream in Thailand. When I checked the ingredients, I saw that they contained a whitening agent. Since I did not want to be whitened or bleached, I checked some other brands – same story – all contained whitening agents.
I went to a couple more drugstores, and finally in the third one I found an imported sun block which did not contain any skin bleach.
I have known since a long time that most Thai women are obsessed with being as white as possible. Read the rest of this entry
Monday, May 13th, 2013 at
Dentist working on a Thai girl
Sometimes people ask me what happens if they have to go to a doctor or dentist in Thailand. They should really ask this question to the thousands of people who fly to Thailand from all over the world every year to get excellent medical treatment for much lower prices than in their home country. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at
The plants might look pretty, but they still block the sidewalk
You would think that sidewalks are meant for walking. At least that’s how it works in western countries. But in Asia this is not necessarily true. Although I have observed this in some other Asian countries as well, let’s talk about Thailand, because that’s where I live.
Sidewalks are often not very pretty affairs in Thailand. However I want to make a few things clear: Read the rest of this entry