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I'll write more (and post photos) this weekend but I wanted to let everyone know that we've (finally) found our new house — a three-storey shophouse in Na Kok (นากก) village (moo 5) of Tambon Chalong.  It's in a very nice area with nothing but trees in the view across the street (I can visualize sitting on the balcony outside of the third-floor master bedroom sipping my favorite Tiger Beer while writing on the laptop.  Plenty of space on the ground floor for my wife's restaurant...

The price was right, too — 8000 baht per month; we paid a 10,000-baht deposit today and were given the keys and a hand-written receipt.  On April 1st, we pay the regular rent and receive the 10,000 baht back so it's like getting three weeks rent for free.  The building itself is just three months old but has accumulated a lot of dust in the time it's sat empty so I'm anxious to get in there and do some cleaning before we start moving stuff.  This afternoon, I also paid our last month's rent at Ananda Garden Hills and asked our landlord if we could buy the furniture from him but he said we had to leave our current house furnished as the day we moved in.

I'll post a selection of photos in the next day or so...

I'm very happy we found this house when we did as I was about to give up.  We'd spent A LOT of time looking and coming up rather empty.  We'd even begun to consider renting some rooms in a guesthouse on Nanai Road in Patong as a stopgap until we found something better.

Also, we were involved in an accident on the motorbike yesterday afternoon.  My wife was driving west on Prachanukhro Road in Patong with me sitting behind her on the bike rather than in the sidecar.  She turned left onto Thaweewong (the beach road) towards the Amari Resort going a bit too fast (it's a rather sharp turn made worse by the cones in the middle of the road placed there when Patong went to it's poorly-thought-out one-way routing system).  The sidecar wheel came off the ground and I could feel us going over.  Tim served back into the middle of the road smashing into the rear quarter-panel of a minibus (my right arm and knee as well as the handlebar of the bike took the brunt of the collision).

Of course the collision took place right in front of a grouping of the motorbike taxi-mafia guys so I knew immediately I'd be paying out a wad of cash as any accident is always the fault of the farang even when he's just the passenger.  The minibus driver actually knew Tim so we could have gotten off easy if it wasn't for the mafia guys who insisted that the police (whom these particular motorbike taxi's pay bribes to for their primo spot on the beach).  The taxi driver needed to save face so he suggested that he call his insurance agent and I agreed we needed to keep the insurance people happy.  Smiles all around until Tim took off to look for her friend who was babysitting Alex on the beach.  I started to walk up after her and the motorbike guys thought I was trying to sneak away and started making a big fuss and wouldn't let me walk too far.

Anwyay, eventually the insurance man showed up with a camera.  Tim was still off looking for her friend and son and suddenly the minibus driver didn't seem to understand English anymore.  The insurance man had a digital camera and began taking photos of the front of the minibus (the license plate was slightly bent but NOT from this accident as we only hit the rear of the vehicle) and small dents on the LEFT side rather than the RIGHT side.  At least the driver respected his friendship with Tim (he's somehow related to Jum) enough that he figured out a potential scam and directed the agent to the damage we actually caused (a three-inch dent and some scraped paint).  I tried to point out my spraped and bruised elbow and knee but he didn't seem too interested.

Tim arrived just in time for me to be presented with a bill for 4,500 baht which was a lot less than I'd expected (Tim's last accident had cost me ten times this amount!).  My wife tried to argue (in times like these, I question that she's really a Thai person as she can argue with the best of them — a totally un-Thai-like quality) but I soon quieted her down.  I did make the insurance man (not to mention everybody else) a bit nervous when I asked for a receipt and his card; I settled for a hand-written receipt and the minibus driver's cellular number.  Through it all I just kept smiling.

It just figures that this happened on the one day that I didn't bring my camera along...

I soothed Tim on the drive along the beach road; she was more worried about the money than anything else (why do these accidents always happen right after I transfer cash to put into our local accounts?).  She was very impressed with how cool I was during the entire situation particularly when the motorbike taxi guys began raising a fuss.  We've all heard about other farangs who don't stay calm in similar situations and really bad things end up happening to them (like death in a few cases).  You just have to understand the "system" and accept it when confronted with it; you don't have to agree with how certain things "work" but you must remember that we are still the "foreigners" and a minority of people will always try to take advantage of that...