Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Red Ant Eggs or Kai Moot Daeng

Its that time of year where red ant eggs are available in Issan.  No, you didn't hear me wrong, these are eggs and larvae of red ants...those mean, pesky, little not so little critters that bite like heck.  

Yesterday, B went to the market and found some for sale.  During the peak season, they are fairly reasonable and are very fresh.  Considered a delicacy up in these parts, 300-450 baht will get you around 500-600 grams of eggs.  Over the years that I have been living in Issan, I've come to enjoy them as well, especially when cooked with egg omelets. B knew this and so she purchased some and made omelets for us this morning and a spicy salad version for her mom and dad (laub moot daeng).
Mix with some fresh eggs and spice to taste

I know the idea of eating ant eggs sounds repulsive, but if I didn't tell you what the little white things that look like barley were, you would likely enjoy it as much as I do.  The eggs have very little taste except a bit of tartness and are almost buttery and squishy when broken.  Add that to the flavor of eggs with a bit of onion and you are in gourmet heaven.  The tinge of tartness is from the leaves of mango trees which the ants like to feed on.

Red ant egg dishes can be found in Bangkok at restaurant and stalls that feature Issan food, but expect to pay a hefty price for the dish and only a tiny sprinkling of eggs.

Oh, yes.  Marina did have her first taste and loved it.  Its a tradition up here in these parts that young girls get their first taste of red ant eggs when they are young.  

Here is a funny video of a farang guy trying to get his own eggs.  Because of the flooding we have upcountry, red ants build their nests in the trees, making them accessible for harvesting.  Beware, don't try this at home....just pay for them at the market!

Back up and Kicking

We are back up and kicking on the resort computer system.  Found a couple of Zircon UPS units at Makro to replace the fried UPS.  I am hoping that two units will be a bit safer as I split the load between the various computer components.

The lighting strike damaged the wall outlet, the surge protector, and the UPS unit.  Scary stuff.  Good thing I wasn't here.  We've experienced everything up here this year.  A month or so ago, we had a brown out - a situation where we didn't lose power, but the power was at some strange voltage other than normal. The fans would run like at 1/2 speed and the aircon units will go into error mode.  The lights would go dimmer or out  completely depending on the type of light.  

A resort wide power generator wouldn't be practical as the service is generally pretty decent.  What would make sense is an emergency generator for those situations where we needed power during an extended outage.  Small generators are plentiful and cheap in the LOS so maybe a trip to Global House is in order this week.

I am using another plug on the other side of the room until our electrician is available.  

More later in the week.

Monday, March 30, 2015

French Fried UPS

Posting from the resort, but only briefly as I am unprotected from lightning and power surges at the moment.  We had some trouble up here during the recent storms that have hit Thailand.  About a week ago, the resort and Bangkok even, was hit pretty hard with high winds, heavy rains, and huge thunder storms.  

Well, the good and bad news is that the UPS that I bought for the computer, printer,  and router at the resort did its job.  It protected the systems, and the printer from damage.  The bad news is that it is totally fried.  Never saw anything like it...the entire circuit board was burnt from one end to the other.  Looks like the power surge was so strong that it not only took out the initial contact point in the board, but traveled along the entire board.  We may have even been struck by lightning. 

Initial point from wall outlet is fried big time
Looks like power ran down the entire board.

According to B's mother, smoke was coming out of the unit and it shows on the outside of the box.

Smoke stains from the fried circuit board

Anyhow, I managed to salvage the three batteries inside for use in our motorcycles or other UPS units, but a trip into town is an urgent matter.  I don't want to take a chance of this happening to the motherboard of my computer.

This should be a lesson and warning to those coming to the land of smiles.  Bring some protection for your system, even if its just a surge protector.  You need protection from a variety of activities, but don't forget the use of your computer too.

More tomorrow when I go into town for a replacement.  I will feel better about using this system.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Passing Through

Back in the Mango for the night and then off to the Resort tomorrow morning.  Had a very nice weekend in ChaAm with Marina and B.  We visited the kite festival and then spent some time at the hotel.  We also visited our favorite beach spot in Hua Hin for some lunch before taking a stroll and swim at one of the hotel's swimming pools.

One of three swimming pools

I will do something usual for this blog in that I will recommend a hotel for those that are going to visit Cha Am or the Hua Hin area - but only if you have a car or other personal transportation.  We stayed at the Grand Pacific Sovereign  Resort and Spa.  The hotel is an excellent value if you get their promotional bookings via the internet.  Since it was for only one night, we didn't mind paying 2700 baht  ($85 USD)  for their promotional room (mountain view).  Breakfast is extra but I recommend booking it with the room rate as the walk-in rate is 500 baht per person.  So what do you get?  Lavish grounds, 3 swimming pools, beach access and large comfortable rooms.  The breakfast was very good.  Here is their website:  http://www.sovereignresortandspa.com/.  The best test of a good rating is the answer to this question:  Would you go there again?...my answer is an unqualified "yes" but I would book a couple of days just to hang out at the pools.  I recommend this hotel to those with private transport because its on the far north end of the beach, away from the main part of town.  Its very quiet and peaceful, but you need a car to get there easily.

Our room with B lounging by the bay windows
Each time I go to Hua Hin/Cha Am, I am surprised by the amount of development underway.  There are both small and mega projects that have transformed the cozy little beach town to a major tourist destination for those visiting the Bangkok Area, looking for a close by beach resort.  With Pattaya having a seedy reputation, the more upscale and family oriented tourists have flocked to the other side of the gulf.  The road from Bangkok has been greatly improved and vans, buses, and trains provide a convenient way of getting there.

Because of the crowds and development, I will not be buying anything there.  Hotels are both reasonable and offer a variety of accommodations.  For a quick getaway, its great...long term residency...no thanks.

Giant kites adorn the beach over ChaAm
Lastly, the kite festival seemed to be going quite well.  However, when we left this afternoon, the wind had not come up and all the kites were sitting on the beach.  Met up with some friends from different parts of the world that come to these festivals and who I only see once a year or so.  Took a few photos and then went on with our own agenda....no politics and thus a very enjoyable weekend.

This kite team from Malaysia is totally immersed in their routine

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quiet couple of days....

Been quite uneventful the last couple of days, thus no posting.  Kind of settled into a routine with regular chores, and kind of taking time to enjoy being with my daughter.  Both B and I don't want her to grow up as she is so cute and innocent right now.  But we know that she will and the days we have with her at this age are priceless.

Some kite flying friends are coming into town this week in preparation for the Cha Am International kite festival on Saturday and Sunday.  Plan to take a few out to dinner and then meet some others down in Cha Am this weekend.  I've not been involved in organizing or helping at either kite festival this year because of the logistics of traveling with Marina to these events and also because of politics.  These two festival are organized by two different groups and there is a bit of animosity between them and frankly I don't want to take sides.  So I declined both of them this year, opting to visit on my own time and expense as a spectator and fan.

Thus is the fate of mankind I guess.  Anytime you have three or more people you can potentially have a ton of politics with someone in the middle.  Best to keep clear and stay out of trouble.

Will be trying to go out the archery range again today. Want to get into a regular schedule so that I can improve on both my compound bow skills as well as my instinctive shooting with my traditional bare bow. I can now place all my arrows within the rings at 30 yards with my bare bow, which surprises me, as I can't really tell you how my body does it.  Shooting a basket ball, throwing a baseball, or tossing a wad of paper into the garbage...how do you describe how you do it?  You just do it.

While a compound or Olympic re-curve bows are great for stationary target shooting, having a traditional bow to shoot quickly and at any distance is surely the way to go for survival or hunting.  Here is a video showing what is possible without all the fancy stabilizers, sights, releases, and $500 sets of arrows.  Jeff Kavanagh is my favorite and one of the best instinctive shooters/instructors in the world.

More later in the week before heading down to Cha Am for the kite festival.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Great Easter Egg hunt

Spent a big portion of the day doing the "Easter Egg hunt" for those elusive Kinder Surprise eggs.  Went to a couple of the larger Big Cs and Lotus Tesco Extras and even visited the local Toys R Us with no success.  Was going to go out to Siam Paragon and Central World, but it was just too hot and muggy so I decided to stay in last night.  I even missed the free buffet as I took a long nap and didn't wake up in time.  Finally went to a couple of Thai Toy forums and found a website that was selling them.  

With the magic of Google translate, many of these websites are no longer a mystery or taboo to deal with.  In fact, they are a very valuable source of information from the locals that are tech savvy and use all the social media tools just like any place else.  

Anyway, found this site:  http://toys2mail.tarad.com/product_598179_en.  They cost about $8 USD for three eggs so they are not cheap.  I think that's about double the price of them elsewhere.  But the value to my little girl is priceless as they say. As you can see on the site, they have them in a variety of choices from Disney to Spiderman.  Now I will just have to wait for them to arrive.  Thankfully there are two more weeks before Easter.

Plane to work on the resort website again today and maybe venture out later if the weather isn't too bad.  But for now, all is well in the big mango.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Looking for some Kinder Surprise Eggs.......

I've been trying to find some Kinder Surprise Eggs in Bangkok with no success.  Maybe one of the readers of this blog might have a tip or some insight on how I can buy some of these.  With Easter approaching and the Easter Bunny wanting to give my daughter a little surprise....I tried to find them at Big C and Tesco with no luck.

What are Kinder Surprise Eggs?  Having lived in the USA for all these years, I never heard about them.  For one thing, they are banned.  And secondly, having possession of these eggs (like bringing them back), can land you in jail.   Kinder Surprise Eggs are Chocolate eggs made by Ferrero Candies, the same people that make those round gold foiled covered candies (Roche) you see everywhere, especially at the airports.  Inside the foil wrapped eggs is a toy surprise that can range from Disney Toys, to stickers, etc.

My understanding is that they are from Italy.  The reason why they are banned in the USA here. Here is an article of why bringing them back can land you in jail, just like Cuban Cigars.

Why the big deal for me?  Well I found out that my daughter loves to see them being opened.  She likes the following video more than cartoons or Little Baby Bum, or Sesame Street.  She will watch every one of the eggs being opened and ask for other videos just like this one.  So how can I not take the effort to find them for her?

What little info I found on the internet about their availability here has not panned out so far.  Today, I am planning to visit Toys R Us and maybe have some luck there.

No trip to Dreamworld today...forgot about B's meetings on Fridays.  She is in a marketing focus team that test baby products from various companies.  Its a paid position plus we get all kinds of free samples to test and try out.  Dream World will likely be  rescheduled to next week sometime before the Kite Festival comes to  Cha Am.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dead Battery...no problem

Got into Vanna this morning, turned the key and got that familiar click click sound.  Dead battery...no warning, just worked fine yesterday. 

Anyway a call to B for a jump start and I'm at B-Quik getting a new battery.  As I posted before, batteries don't last too long here.  Don't know if its the quality or heat, but I go through them every 18 months or so.  Most batteries here are only guaranteed for a year, so getting 18-24 months is a bonus.
They are almost done...30 minutes and an aircon lounge with beverages.  Great service...made a frustrating morning much better.

********* Update************

My battery was purchase and replaced on March 3rd, 2013. The battery had a two year warranty.  So it lasted two years and two weeks.   What a joke...but TIT as they say.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Home working on Resort Website

Been home mostly working on revising the resort website.  I had been using the Wordpress blogging facility for the most part because it was free to use from my hosting site.  But it has been limiting and very slow to work with so I am re-doing the entire site with another package called Joomla.  Never used it before, but its available in Open Source with lots of free templates, etc. Its widely downloaded (50 million), and is used by the biggies like eBay, UN, IKEA, etc.  The next few days will be interesting as I put my web developer and programmer hat back on.

Open source programs are the only way to go.  With the high cost of software and the crack down on pirated and illegal copies, it makes sense to look at alternatives.  Open source software is what the name implies.  The source code is open to all to see and contribute.  Usually, a core group is in charge of developing and managing the software and its widely shared.  Contributors enhance the software and work on maintenance and bug fixes.  Users are encourage to contribute to the effort, but are not required to do so.  Here is a complete definition of OSI

If you are thinking that you are getting second rate software...think again as these are examples of Open Source programs:

Open Office  (full featured office program similar to Microsoft Office); Mozilla Firefox (Browser and add-on, like Firebug); Filezilla (FTP file transfer); VLC Media Player (Great player for all kinds of media files); XBMC (Media streaming over the internet or local network); Google Chrome (browser)

As you can see from just a sample above, its quite a huge resource (hundreds of programs) available to everyone.  For a more comprehensive list by category, look at this link:  http://www.datamation.com/open-source/open-source-software-list-2015-ultimate-list-1.html.  I've include numerous links in this post for all the software I have mentioned to save you time.  These should be the official sources as sometimes other sites try to hi-jack users with similar site names only to introduce unwanted software into the downloads.  

Open source, along with other freebies from Google, etc. can save one a lot of money on PC platforms whether it be laptop or desktop.  Its especially useful for those that are retired and on a budget and do not have to comply with 'corporate standards' when building their systems.

The plan is to work on the website the next couple of days between trips to the archery range and a planned outing to DreamWorld.  Little Marina is getting antsy again and it time to let her get some sun and fun.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Depressed about Khlong Thom Market

As some of you have heard, Khong Thom is one of the latest victims of the crack down on street sales in the big mango.  The BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration), backed by hundreds of 'green police' or inspectors,  has been targeting street vendors throughout the city in an effort to clean-up access roads and walkways, etc.  It started on streets like Silom and Sukhumvit and has now gone to many other areas in the city.  Even in my neighborhood, many areas where I once bought food are now cleared and the vendors have disappeared.  

I went to Khlong Thom to look for a drill and drill bits and found about 2/3 of the street stalls were gone and  hundreds of 'green police" milling around.  Inside the market, there were many more undercover police trying to look like shoppers as back-up.  How do I know they were undercover?  Lets just say they had some apparel that is very odd and not typical of the shoppers who go there regularly.  I didn't get what I needed so I left after taking a few photos.  All I can say was that there were a lot of angry people yesterday.

'Inspectors' surround a couple of protesters at Khlong Tom yesterday when I visited

I am not sure who is behind the clean-up effort, but if its an attempt to make Bangkok more sterile and look like Singapore (as its rumored), its not a well thought out idea.  Bangkok is unique in its atmosphere where street markets, 24 hour sidewalk food stalls, wide open nightlife, and smiling faces make it one of the world's most desirable places to visit.  Taking away some of these elements to make the city a look alike for Singapore is a stupid idea.  If people want to visit Singapore, they will go to Singapore - not a wannabe look alike.  Singapore is a great city and one of my favorite places to visit but it has its own special character and governing style.  People live and come to Bangkok because of what it is.

Another tragedy of this effort are the thousands of people who have lost their livelihood.  For many, these little stalls are their only source of income.  There is no welfare, unemployment, or social security in Thailand and these little businesses provide thousands with an opportunity in an environment of free enterprise enviable by many western countries.  In America, a young boy can some day be president by being well connected with the system -- here in Thailand, the boy of a street vendor can also someday grow up to be rich and the Prime Minister of the country.  Would BMA prefer to have people in the streets making a living or in the streets rioting over living conditions?

Another issue I have with eliminating food vendors is that many in Bangkok live in small rental units that do not have any kitchen facilities.  If they are lucky, they might have a hot plate or hot pot for some water, but in most cases they depend on what they buy  or eat from cheap food vendors in the neighborhoods to survive.  Little 'villages' are all over the city, with their center being micro markets and food vendors forming a place where people can meet. 

Lastly, I don't have any issue with illegal vendor clogging up streets like Silom being moved out, nor do I have problems with them getting rid of the portable bars that once lined the Sukhumvit after hours being shut down.  However, 3000 people and an entire neighborhood market that has been operating for over a decade is wrong.  

I am not a rabble rouser or trouble maker and have supported nearly all the changes that the current junta has implemented and proposed.  I love this country and city so much that I have made it my primary home and have chosen to bring my daughter up here.  But should this post be viewed by the powers that be, just consider this post a suggestion for a better way for making the country better but keeping the people happy as was promised.  Don't fix things that are not broken!  Bring happiness to the people again.

BMA....Bangkok's tagline is "The City of Life"...don't kill it by making it another Singapore.  One Singapore in enough in this region.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Found out more info on our new trees

On my last post, I mentioned that we picked up a Sathorn Tree for the resort.  It seems like there was very little information about it and its not very widely known.  Turns out that its a native tree of the Loei region, just north of us in Chaiyaphum province.  Its only found here in Thailand and in that specific region, although it has been successfully planted in other parts of the country.   This tree has the scientific name of    Millettia utilis Dunn

According to the info that I found, this tree is harvested for its roots and leaves.  The roots are supposed to have medicinal properties and the leaves are fermented and made into a sauce that is unique to the area and is used in place of fish sauce.  In any case, its good to at least find out what kind of tree is growing in our front yard and a bit of its origin and use.  A great study of its local uses in detailed in this study by the Agriculture University of Norway.  Link to the study here.

The other interesting plant we picked up is called a Miracle Berry or Miracle fruit Tree (Synsepalum dulcificum).

Why such a weird name?  Its turns out that the fruit/berries from this tree have a strange property.  If you eat the flesh of this berry, and then taste something sour, like a lemon, it will taste sweet!  The effect can last up to 30 minutes so for that time period, many foods that are tasteless or sour will have a sweet taste to them.  It was such a find that at one time, it was considered an alternative to sugar and sweeteners.  But people believed that the FDA killed it along with other sweeteners like stevia under tremendous pressure from the sugar and corn syrup lobby.

Once our plants are full grown, we can all have a tasting party at one of the Friday night free buffets!

Our new plant had a few berries on them and we all gave it a try.  It does work.  But the word of warning is that it has unpredictable effects on other flavors as well.  Makes some things taste strange and for some, spicy food taste normal.  In B's case, it made spicy food taste even more spicy....brought tears to her eyes...555

Anyway, that's excitement up in the country.  Growing strange plants and trees.  A lot more fun than watching grass grow...

Time to go to the buffet in a bit.  Hopefully have a quiet and take that overdue trip to the beach early next week.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back in the Mango

Left this morning and got back around 3PM.  Pleasant few days in the country and before I left, they were planting a couple of trees that B bought for me yesterday.  She has an appointment for tomorrow morning and I have the free buffet tomorrow so it was good timing to come back.

Bought me a Sathorn tree for shade near our bungalow.  Don't know much about the tree except that one of the local universities picked it as their official symbolic tree.  Supposed to be 'soft and strong' at the same time.  Is that a hint from B about me...especially the soft part ?????

While its a bit of a drive, I like to spend time in both places as they are so different.  Our resort is quiet and peaceful and the Mango is energetic, noisy, and full of activity day and night.  Just like the contrast between California and Thailand, the country offers a cleansing of the palate for the next bite of the big mango.  

Nothing to report.  Just busy working at the resort and looking forward to getting back to the archery range or golf driving range.  

Maybe even visit the golf club for some putting practice...choices, choices, choices.......

The big mango....life is good!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The heat is on.....

93F at 8:30PM.  Its warm up country today and into next week.  In fact, the temps are predicted to hit 105F next Monday.

For the Land of Smiles, plus 100F weather is extremely hot, especially with the higher humidity.  March and April are traditionally the hottest times of the year here, but the dry season has come early and the temperatures are increasing very fast.  It peaks around Songkran and that's more than a month away.

Time to break out the kiddie pools, sprinklers and water guns.

If you're coming to visit...bring lots of warm weather clothes and tanning lotion.


Up in the country this week.  Hopefully will be back on Thursday or Friday at the latest.  Going to look at an offer from one of the neighbors next to our resort.  He wants to sell his property, saying he is too old to work the land anymore.  Unfortunately he is asking too much right now and the property, while it has potential is a potential money pit for more money.

For one, the property is in the flood zone.  We are too, but our property is built up over 20 feet higher than our neighbors and is even higher than the road.  That means lots of gravel and dirt has to be hauled in if we are going to build on it.  

Secondly, there is little use for it at its present state except as a farm.  Do we want to get back into farming again after all that we went through before?....a big question.  Money to be made, but a lot of back breaking work.

But the advantage is that if we buy these parcels, we will have a contiguous 16 Rai parcel with double the lake frontage.  Something that is pretty hard to find in this area. We can turn it into our own personal farm and grow organic veggies and extra fancy rice as a possibility. Can even lease the property and take a  percentage or a flat rental rate per year.  Lots of decisions.  Going to at least walk the property tomorrow before making any kind of decision.  Keeping in mind my belief that money is fiat and that converting money to real assets is the only way to preserve value.  

Anyway, decisions, decisions, decisions.

Lastly, our resort is finally on Google Maps.  The latest version of maps has the resort in its satellite view as well as the street view.  Here are the GPS coordinates if you are interested in taking a peek!
15.653823, 101.936486.  <--Click on link to go to google maps - then drag the little person to location desired for a street view.

Even the streets in B's little village has been mapped and street views created - and her whole village is pretty small so my guess is that in the near future, many guys can now check up on their teerak's little house in the village.   Just need an address or GPS coordinate and you are good to go!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Quiet week so far in the Mango

Its been a fairly quiet week in the Mango.  Kinda refreshing in a way, with not too much to do or worry about.  We didn't make it to the beach on Thursday because B had a bad toothache and had to go the dentist.  Several cavities later and an appointment for a root canal kind of filled up the last few days.  At least she will be feeling better shortly.  

Women lose a lot of calcium when they have a baby and some even continue to do so after the baby has been born.  This was the case for B, and her teeth suffered quite a bit.  She needs to also have her bone density checked as well to make sure that she doesn't have more problems when she gets older and takes a fall.  Lucky for us, medical treatment and expenses in the land of smiles are both very convenient and reasonably priced.  

B also developed a minor case of diabetes during her pregnancy due to the weight gain.  With her weight loss and some dietary changes, her blood sugar is now under control.  Its tough to have a baby, and I am glad I can't have one, but it doesn't preclude me feeling badly about all the stuff B is going through.  On the other hand, B and I both would do it all over again for have Marina.

I had a chance to go to the archery range on Thursday.  Brought my traditional bow only and practiced 'instinctive' shooting, a technique where no sights or reference points are used on the bow.  One only looks at the target and then uses one's instinctive ability to shoot the arrow to that target.  Similar to throwing a ball, tossing a piece of paper to a wastebasket, or shooting a basketball - one does it through feel and instinct.   Its not as precise as using a sight and scope, but its faster and much more rewarding and practical in the field.  

Got all but a couple of arrows on the paper up to 20 yards and many into the bullseye's area so it does work!  Going to add it regularly to our sessions at the range.   In fact, I'm heading out there in a few minutes and will likely take my traditional bow with me today.

Meanwhile a trip upcountry is planned for tomorrow morning.  They are also going to doing some work on my condo while I am away.  Evidently, the unit about me developed a leak in one of their pipes (which is in my ceiling) and they need to repair it.  I wouldn't let them do it last week because it would leave a hole in my roof for a day or so, and it was best that I not be there for the dust and mess.  
More later or from the country.  Time to get ready for Archery!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Couple of busy days

The last couple days have been hectic, thus no blog posts.  Got all my 'chores' done except the unpacking of the boxes after the tile job.  The unpacking and sorting out the old stuff I want to throw away is going to take a bit longer.  Its a difficult process to throw away old things.  I know that for most of the stuff, its just junk or outdated stuff, but to me, each one has its own little history or story.  Moments of your past life, memories of when you bought it, how you used it, and the sentiment that maybe, maybe, someday you might find a way to use it again.

Old tee shirts are especially hard.  Many of them were 'event' shirts given out to participants or purchased when I attended.  They are worn and some date back over 10  years, but I don't want to throw them out.  I have some in the states that are over 25 years old and will likely never throw them out.

Same goes for hats and baseball caps.  I have some dating back over 15 years.  They're worn, dirty, and faded but each has its own memory and story which comes to life when you pick it up again to look at them.  I have two big bags of hats, some for golf and some from my kite events and travels around the planet.

Maybe the solution is to just take pictures of each of them before I toss them, but I'll have to think about that.  Besides, I'm in no rush to unpack anyway....maybe  I should just keep them in the bins and bring them up to the resort.  Plenty of space up there...555

Notary Services in the big mango.

To change the subject matter a bit, I had to get some documents notarized yesterday for one of my business deals in California.  I didn't want to fly back to just sign and notarized a document so I had to find a solution that would be acceptable to the legal folks and save me a trip back.  It turns out that the US Embassy offers notary services.  There are only two legal ways to get documents notarized outside the country.  The first is through the embassy, and the other is via a military officer if you are in the military.  Foreign notaries are usually not acceptable and 'traveling' or mobile notaries cannot legally notarize a document outside the geographical boundary of the state that they are authorized to do business.

Anyway, the notary service is not cheap at the Embassy.  Its $50 per signature or document.  You need to make an appointment is advance with the American Citizen Services section of the embassy and bring the proper ID, including your passport.

Lastly, FEDEX and DHL service is easily available for quickly and safely sending the documents back to the States  (Click on the highlighted names for locations in Thailand).  I went to the main distribution office on Rama III Road, near the Fish Head Restaurant and got my business done in less than 20 minutes.  Cost for documents to be sent back via International Express is around one thousand baht (actually 999 baht).

With that deal done, its time to kick back a bit.  Maybe some more beach time later in the week with Marina.

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