Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My $2 buck lunch today

Why it is so great to live in the land of smiles...good, cheap, and delicious food.

Total cost was 65 baht at 33+ baht per dollar.

Its always been about the debt.....

The Greek crisis is about debt.  Its always been about debt and money that controls the governing powers and even the people themselves.  The expression "I owe my soul to the company store" came about in the days when mining companies also had a store where people living and working near the mine could buy things.  They also extended script credit so that workers could buy against future wages and earnings.  Well it didn't take too long for miners to get over their heads and had to work just to pay off their debts to the company store.  The mining companies were enslaving the workers through debt and that is exactly how the various institutions have enslaved today's people and government institutions.

History tends to repeat itself for those who are not informed

Greece is like that poor guy who is so far in debt that he could only make payments on the interest. Meanwhile his situation is so dire that he can't get more work or income and cutting his expenses means still suffering for who knows how long because he can't make enough to pay for both the principle reduction and interest.  But suddenly he is faced with the choice of walking away from the whole thing in shame and starting over with nothing or faces years of suffering only to come to the same place again.

I think the choice is simple.  Take the medicine now.  Walk away and take a default and get out of the European Union and the banks that control it.  It will be painful and lots of people will suffer and some may die, but in the long run this may be what Greece needs in terms of incentive to start over with new money, new monetary governance, and a new financial structure.  Greece may never get money from some lenders again, but maybe that will be good and force them to live within their means in a cash only society for a while.

In a way, to walk away from the Euro is to reclaim the country's soul by having to live through hell to get it back again.   But in the end, would you rather be free or enslaved like others in the chains of the company store?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Will this be the week?

Back in the mango.  Had a very pleasant drive with a stopover at Farm Chokchai for some ice cream and fun watching the animals with Marina.  If you are not familiar with Farm Chokchai, you might be familiar with the many kiosks in the mango with the name "mmm...Milk", which sells a lot of ice cream and yogurt in the malls.

Anyway its always a great place to stop if you have kids because there  are pony rides, petting pens, and lots of goodies in the shops.  They also just opened a new museum, which we haven't visited yet, of the farm and its history.  Pardon the pun, but this company has the horsepower to make this a tourist destination just like Knotts Berry Farm of the old days. 

Marina enjoying her ice cream
Now that I am back in the mango, I am asking myself as are others, is this the week that the dominoes begin their fall?  With Greece likely to vote against the offer by the creditors and today's action by the ECB to cut off funds to the banks, is this the start of the demise of the Euro and thus the chain reaction of other defaults by countries like Spain, Portugal, etc?  Things are surely shaping up for some kind of upheaval.  Imagine if all the banks in the US closed their ATMs, closed their branches for mandatory holidays, and then restricted your ability to withdraw/transfer any large sums of money.  How upset would you get?  That is exactly what is happening to the Greeks now, who a few years back would have never imagined that this could be happening to them.  

never thought it could happen to me!!!

The stock market is likely to drop big time on Monday across the globe and if there is panic, then that might set off the derivatives bomb.  If the derivatives go up in smoke, then the entire global financial system is insolvent.  So keep an eye on this week's events as they unfold - we might be seeing history in the making...

Have you got your cash and other hard goods in your hot little hands yet?  Did you know that there is a shortage of physical cash and many banks already limit how much you can take out on any given day.  The banks can create all the virtual digital money they want, but there is only a limited amount of paper money. Also having physical cash prevents them from charging you to hold your own money, thus providing for a negative return.  Greek banks quickly found out when people began taking out money that they didn't have the means to pay more.  If the ATMs and Banks close and the credit cards are not honored...what is your plan B?  If you don't have one, look at Greece.  They don't have a plan B either.


Heading back to the Mango

We're headed back to the mango this morning.  I have to get my visa extension taken care of and the US Embassy won't have a slot available until the first of July.  A real bummer because I wanted to be here at the resort for my birthday.  But I can't complain because the process has been smooth every year except the US Embassy part because my visa comes so close to the 4th of July holiday.  In addition to that, the embassy usually closes on Fridays and that limits the options even more.

Anyway, I will enjoy a week in the Mango and maybe make it over to the Friday night buffet this week.  Will be nice to see the guys and hang out a bit at the reservation.  Don't get to do that so much anymore with my present situation and miss it, but only a tiny little bit.  I am very happy now and enjoy the company and conversation with friends more than the P4P scene of the past.

B just came in, its time to go...more later maybe...from the mango.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The amazing Duckweed plant

Wolffia - smallest duckweed - one we are looking for

(common duckweed) Lemna minor - what we found at a local pond
 One of the key strategies to our self sustaining farm and fish pond is the use of Duckweed.  There are many varieties, but the predominate ones in SE Asia is Wolffia and Lemna.  Under the right circumstances, the plants are prolific breeders, often creating huge masses in only a few days.  With a protein content level of up to 40% plus tons of other vitamins and nutrients, it has more food value than soybeans.  In other words, its a Superfood.  Duckweed can be grown is large quantities from nitrogen rich waters such as from fish ponds.  In turn, it cleans the water of the nitrites and other toxic elements and makes the water pure again.  

Only found Lemna, but that might be the one that\grows best in our area

So our plan is to revise the original specs to include a smaller pond for duckweed cultivation and biomass and nitrite filtering.   We will pump fish pond water up to a slightly elevated and shallower pond where we will grow duckweed for fish food.  The water is then released back down into the fish pond after being purified by the duckweed growth or released to the khlong for crop irrigation.  Depending on the number of fish, we can technically grow all the fish with little or no commercial fish food, using only duckweed.  In order to keep the water circulating, a few small, solar powered water pumps is all that is necessary.  In theory, we will have totally green, self sustaining fish ponds and a source of alternative protein for livestock feed and even human consumption (but I prefer the fish instead).

can be harvested by the bucketfull

The environmental conditions for growing duckweed in Thailand are ideal.  In fact, it grows too well and is a pest for some people who want to keep their ponds and fountains clear.  In our case, I will see $$$ instead of pests and hope to make this one of our advantages.  Vegetarian grown Tilapia will be mercury free, animal byproduct free, and hormone free.  Yes, it can also carry the label of being 'organically grown" (more $$$).  We are lucky to have an abundance of sunshine and a source of water so this is something that can be economically viable.

B's father found an initial source of them after I told him about duckweed.  They were from his friend's pond.  We now have some buckets full of them for testing and starter plants.  Its a pest for him and he says we can have all we want.

Common sight, never knew it was good stuff  until recently

The guys really did show up for work yesterday afternoon

Big dump truck moving dirt around

Backhoe busy digging away and loading the truck

To their word, the evacuation guys showed up for work yesterday afternoon and were tearing away and moving dirt all over the place.  I've been doing some research and calculations for a comparison of costs between a commercial fish pond in Florida VS Thailand.  For example, in Florida fish farming guides, its estimated that one should allocate $1 per cubic foot for dirt evacuation.  Each cubic foot of water can accommodate 2-5 pounds of fish such as Tilapia in intensive conditions, but a conservative value for us will be 1 pound per cubic feet of water or less.

Ponds run from the corner at bottom  center to the clump of bamboo in the distance

Clearing the land before evacuation
Our fish pond/irrigation ponds will be 370,800 cubic feet in capacity (more than 3 million gallons).  If we were to stock fish at a conservative rate of 50% stocking density, we could expect to harvest around 370,000 lbs of fish per growing period.  More if we are really good and let the fish get very fat.  Talapia retail for 60 baht a kilo at Makro so I expect that we will get no more than 10-20 baht per kilo to brokers and wholesalers.  So if the typical harvest is 170,000 kilos of fish at 20 baht per kilo, that would mean a gross of 3.4 million baht per season.  Less expenses of about 1.0 million (if that, but we plan to use premium fish food as we plan on eating the fish too), that would leave an optimistic profit of around 2.4 million baht per year.  Not too shabby for just feeding fish and a $5,000 dollar investment.  But since this is all theory and not practice, only time will tell.  At least we will have water for the resort, our crops, and fish on the table in the event stuff hits the fan.

I want us to start a duckweed pond or perhaps grow duckweed in the Khlong for fish food as that is a cheap and very environmentally friendly way to raise fish without any commercial products.  That way, we can be fully self sufficient.  

A new elevated road is going to go along the edge of the resort.
Khong will be on the left of the road and extent to the dirt piles in the distance

Total dirt moved is around 410,000 cubic feet for the ponds and khlong.  The roads are a bit more and so I am figuring our cost is around 4-5 cubic feet per baht - about 100 times cheaper than Florida. With these economics, this is a real case study on  why so much fish production is done abroad. While our fish will never make it back to the states, other fish farmers who produce even cheaper than we can have already grabbed a large share of the market.  This is especially true of fish from China, where labor is even cheaper than here in the land of smiles.  Time to pause and rethink our situation and how we can somehow gain back our self sufficiency and not let the politicians trade away our kid's futures.  

Plans are to go back to the mango tomorrow and get ready for my retirement visa renewal.  Can you believe that all dates for service this month at the US Embassy was already booked?  Worse than the California DMV....

Friday, June 26, 2015

Moving Dirt........

About a month ago we completed the purchase of some land around the resort from a local rice farmer.  We kind of hesitated because of a number of issues, but especially because there is a drought underway in the land of smiles.  Rice farmers were told not to start their second rice crop this year as the government would not help them if they were not able to bring their harvest to market.  The farmer, who was already in hock to the bank, decided to sell the land cheap...so it was to our advantage that it was available and we had the cash to buy it.

Now with the low water levels and the availability of cheap farm labor and equipment, we are starting our efforts to make the land more usable.   First, we've decided not to pursue the use of the land as only a rice growing farm.  That model has failed and the bankrupt farmer is proof that its not economically feasible if the weather doesn't cooperate.  Second, we plan to address the main weakness of the land, which is the lack of water on a year around basis.  Finally, we want to use the strategic location of the land relative to our resort to get additional income (i.e. renting out space near the front of the land for vendors, etc.)

To that extent, we started sending out feelers to our farmer friends and yesterday, one of our distant relatives came in to discuss the project.  He did work for us previously when we constructed the resort and he has access to all the necessary equipment.  In short, we talked, walked the land, and discussed the project on the diagram I created with Google maps, and we agreed on a price.  For a bit over $5K USD, we will have a new access road built, a new 5 meter wide khlong dug out, and two fish ponds/irrigation ponds dug out (almost 4 rai of water).  Once built we will be able to store almost an entire year worth of water in our ponds and use the pond to raise fish during that period. We will use the pond and khlong water for crops and to irrigate the resort.   We will flush and drain the pond each year  prior to flood season and wait for it to fill up during rainy season.  Water is also available from a stream which is adjacent to the land and we are going to tap into that for the khlong year around.

Current configuration during high water.  During rest of year, land is dry

New configuration.  During dry season, water stored in ponds and khlong,
New access road  (in brown) for vehicles to harvest fish and tend farm.

With the new changes, we can also offer our guests the opportunity to go fishing in our very own stocked ponds.  Plans are to either stock with Talapia in one pond and the other with game fish (i.e large mouth bass), or have them both as harvest only fish ponds.  Still deciding on which is best.

Well, up here its really easy to get things started.  The guy wants to start TODAY.  We just shook hands last evening, and I sent him a deposit to seal the deal last night.  Our deal is balance due on job completion and if no satisfaction = no payment.   Supposed to take between 10-20 days and is weather dependent.  Around $250-$500 a day for all equipment and labor.  In California, the rental rate is around $150-$200 per HOUR for each piece of equipment alone, without labor.   Wow, what a deal and no wonder the California farmers are asking so much for their produce.

Most pictures as things get rolling.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Little Marina turned two yesterday

Two years old today!

Two years ago......
My little girl turned two yesterday.  Can't believe that she was so tiny two years ago when I first laid eyes on her.  It was just like yesterday when I got off the plane and rushed to the hospital to see her and B.  Marina was born while I was in the air between SFO and Taipei.  She was a month early as I had planned my trip in advance to be around to help B to the hospital and be around the moment she would be delivered.  But fate had its little tricks and thus I was a few hours late instead.

One really happy baby

I was hesitant having another baby at my age, but in retrospect, its been one of the best if not the best things that have happened to me.  The joy and fun she brings to my life and our extended family is priceless.  I know that she will be a special girl with tons of love from her parents and her family.  I am doing all I can to set up her financial future and schooling and hope that I can be with her a long time.  Its my incentive for staying in shape and working out at the gym regularly.

Lot of fresh Crabs on the Barbie

T-Bone Steaks on the big Barbie

Birthday Cake ready to go....

So we had a little party for her yesterday.  Just family and close friends at the resort.  On the menu was steak and crabs and of course, birthday cake.

We had a great time and today, B and her family wanted to celebrate their good fortune with Marina so we took a trip to a special Wat to make merit.  I will do a special on this remote Wat in another blog post because I think this is one really special place that has been neglected and is in need of help.

In the meantime, we have officially entered into the "terrible twos" period of her life and expect things to be a bit - no - a lot more challenging!

Marina enjoying her cake

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Greetings from the family compound......

Sunset across the pond at the resort

Greetings from the resort. Its about 9PM.   Came up today after being delayed yesterday waiting for some merchandise B ordered did not arrive on time.  Its good to be back upcountry and be able to celebrate Marina's 2nd birthday tomorrow with the extended family.  Was a bit tired so I took a three hour nap before getting on to the system and doing emails and this blog post.

On the way up,  I was both shocked and overjoyed at the construction work being done to expand Hwy 201 from National highway 2 to Wat Rawiang.  That portion of the Hwy is just two lanes, one each way, and is the slowest and most dangerous part of our commute from Bangkok to Chaiyaphum.  Once that portion is expanded, we will have a divided road with two lanes each way from the main highway all the way into Chaiyaphum.  It will cut the driving time by at least 30 minutes each way and likely save a few lives in the process.

What is most shocking is how fast its happening.  The road is nearly 2/3 cleared of trees and rough grading started.  This is in a period of just 7 weeks.  B thinks the road will be completed in six months maximum and it stretches over 60 KM.  A similar project would likely take 10 years in California and would likely never get built due to cost, environmental issues, and regulatory challenges.  

Things are going well at the resort.  We are 1/2 full tonight and its the slow season.  Will have a good walk around tomorrow morning and in the meantime, we are waiting for the rain that was supposed to come because of a tropical storm off the coast.  Thailand, like California, is in desperate need of water.  Looks fairly bleak as the government has asked farmers not to even try to grow their second crops of rice and veggies.  With all the idle farmers and equipment in the area, it may be a good time to start construction of our fish pond.  Labor and equipment can be hard to come by this time of year and we can help some of the farmer friends in the area by offering them some employment.  

Lastly, Marina's birthday is tomorrow.  My little girl is growing up so fast that I wake up each day amazed at her progress.  She is speaking 2-3 word expressions now, counts on her fingers, and is a joy to be around.  She can run like the wind and is strong enough to beat up the boys a lot order than she is.  A big cake is in order and a big party is planned.  We bought a ton of crab and seafood for a big barbecue tomorrow night and will definitely post some pictures.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

An early warning for those that think it could never happen...

Remember a few months back when I said that the US was one big computer crash away from social upheaval and societal breakdown?  One would think that things like that would not be possible with today's technology and our country's computer expertise.  A computer crash of a major system such as the EBT or Social Security system, especially if its extended, could cause riots and looting in the cities across the nation.

One would think that a system that issues US visas for 50,000 people a day around the world would be one of those systems with lots of redundancy and support.  But as events have revealed, that isn't the case.  You would assume that the system that provides visas to all types of workers and visitors should be bullet proof, especially if its used by embassies all over the world.  Not so, the system has been down since June 9th.  http://rt.com/usa/267937-downed-us-visa-thousands-stranded/  Maybe another week, the team of over 100 systems experts say....

Ten days and still counting.  A hardware problem, or ???.  This time we were lucky, it only hurts people visiting the US legally.

If the EBT card system crashes and is down for 10 days, most stores would be looted clean and most Americans have less than 3 days of food in storage.  On day 3, roaming looters will be on the streets.  On day 5 and 6, 44 million  people will be out looking for food and by day 10, I think the US of A will be a war zone with thousands dead from starvation and fighting.  As a nation, we are woefully ill prepared for these types of outages, which as a former computer specialist, I know will inevitably happen.

 Ever see a McDonald's counter when the computer crashes?  Or a department store when the scanners don't work?  There is no way we could handle anything like a system crash that impact 44 million people.  So be warned...be like Bangkok Buddy and stock up a boat load of food and drink...you are just one computer crash away from possible starvation.

This guy is right on....

First day back....

and it feels wonderful.  Can't describe family re-unions, especially those between father and daughter, but they are special moments without much equal and impossible to describe in words...only emotions.  Marina has grown up so much in the seven weeks that I have been away.  She is a lot more verbal now, with many more words in her vocabulary.  She can also make 2-3 word sentences now..and for those interested, she speaks Thai.  She can understand us when we speak English, but her vocabulary is primarily Thai with simple 'yes', 'no', 'Wow', etc English words mixed in.  With still another week to go until she is two, her development is amazing to me.

We went out to dinner last night and was in bed by 10 PM.

Woke up early this morning because of jet lag and began to unpack my bags.  Around 8AM. I went downstairs to the gym to work out and its likely that I will get really sleepy this afternoon.  But that is always the case the first week or so on both sides of the bookends.

My chores today include making a trip to the salon to deliver some merchandise as well as a trip to the TRUE service center.  If you haven't officially registered your phone's simcard yet, do so right away as one of my numbers was blocked while I was away.  To remove the block, you have to take the simcard and your passport/ID to your Mobile Phone Provider's service center to get it registered.
Diagonal Configuration for completely flat seats

Anyway, as promised here are some pictures from yesterday flight from Taipei to the mango.

Notice my feet all stretched out and still more room to spare

Chinese style breakfast - unlimited joke refills too!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Back home in the Mango

 And its not even 1PM.  In fact, I've already taken my shower fired up my internet and gotten my mail before getting on to the internet.  Had to reboot the modem, but everything else seems to be doing fine.  We landed at 10:40AM, about 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

It was a very special day for me as I had indicated in Taipei.  The ride over was exceptionally smooth and as I was boarding, I was told I was upgraded Royal Laurel Class, which is business class with the totally flat lie down chair and pods.  The seats are huge!  Too bad its for only the 3 hours segment as I would have liked to try them out on a longer flight.  Took some pictures of the seats and the meal (breakfast) and will post them some other day.

Also got a "premium line" pass so that I could get through immigration faster too  That privilege along with the priority baggage, got me out of the airport in less than a half hour, including the long walk from the plane to immigration.  It was like the old days when arriving in Thailand.

Taxis were also fast and great today, no funny business so I guess the government crackdown on the abusers have taken effect.  Nice driver and I tipped him well for doing a nice job.

A nap is in order as I am waiting for Marina to come back from her Great Aunt's  place.  Ah....its really good to be home..

You're so smooth..


Almost home and savoring the food at the EVA lounge.  The flight over was exceptionally smooth today.  Except for 5 minutes over northern Japan, the flight felt like it never left the ground.  No bumps, sways, or any turbulence at all.  Most usual trip over in decades.

Should get into the mango just past 11 AM, so I am expecting to be in my condo before 1pm with a whole afternoon to rest up.  Being Friday, the free buffet is calling, but I think I will pass this week.

For basketball fans, the Warriors made the front page of the China Post.  Guess there are lots of Golden State fans here in Taipei.

More later when I get into the mango.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The day is finally here.......

Its finally time to head on home.  

Tonight, or early in the wee morning of tomorrow, I will board that silver bird for the jump over to the other bookend.  Its been almost two months, and so much has happened.  From working at a golf tournament, to finishing my legal paperwork, to spending almost two weeks in Italy, its been one thing or another.  Now, its time to get home to family, friends, and hot weather.  B says its been hot and humid in the Mango recently, and its been raining almost everyday.  Its consistent with this time of the year - the start of rainy season.

I will finalize my packing today and do one last round of shopping.  My bags are full with goodies for family and friends and I'm close to my weight limit, but I am still a few items short.  Some stuff will just have to stay behind until the next time over.

Was really glad to witness the Warriors win the NBA title last night.  It may show my age a bit, but I saw the Warriors win their last championship 40 years ago.  I was just a young buck back then, fresh out of college and Richard Nixon was the president.  Long dry spell indeed, but the new owner, like the Eddie Debartolo of the 49ers of the past, is intent on bringing championship basketball to the bay area again.  Suddenly, the bay area has become a championship powerhouse - with nearly every team winning something except the Sharks.

All this sports stuff is a distraction however, to the greater problems that we face as a nation.  Fresh from my trip to Rome, it reminds me of how the Roman Emperors distracted the people with sports and games at the Colosseum and Forum, while Rome was rotting from the inside.  With our attention diverted to sports, reality TV, and movies its distorts our view of reality and sedates our painful economic spiral downwards.

So, its time to head home, go to the country and get ready to celebrate Marina's birthday next week.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Above it all.........

Some photos from the kite expo...creations from some of the most famous kite makers in the Nation.  All the kites (not banners or flags) do really fly quite well!  
Click on any photo to expand to full size!

Our Team Logos...first time seen together in over 10 years...they were retired and were part of our personal collections.
Six sets were made and took over 1,500 man hours to complete

What a beautiful Rev Collection...

If you missed it...don't worry, it will be back next year...........

Posted without comments

Anyway, had a lot of fun at the kite festival yesterday. Lousy wind, didn't get to do any kite performances, but still had a great time meeting up with old friends.

Just three more days.....

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Last weekend in the Bay Area

This is my last weekend here in California for a while.  Its been a significant stay for me, nearly two months and I am really missing home and my daughter, Marina.  While I get to talk to her daily (or several times a day) via Line, its not quite the same as being there.  

Today, I will be participating in a kite event in San Francisco's Presidio.  Kite makers from around the area will be displaying their works of arts in fabulous displays and aerial exhibitions.  It should be a lot of fun.  Will take some pictures and post tomorrow or the next day.
Smart Stage 'Sis' for Marina

Also started packing my stuff to bring back to the LOS.  I now have three bags full of stuff and have to decide what to take this time and what to leave for next time.  Can't believe I have so much stuff to bring back.  Bought four recurve bows, arrows, and even a new motorbike helmet on this trip.  Then there is the large assortment of bears and toys for Marina and the goodies for buddies in the big mango.  I feel like Santa Claus of the Summer season with all the stuff I am bringing back.  Good thing I am allowed three bags with my frequent flyer privileges.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Powers that be...

Many think the G7 summit and conferences that the world's elected leaders attend are significant events worth a lot of press coverage.  After all, these are leaders of the most powerful and economically robust countries on the planet right?  Unfortunately, what is little known is that these politicians and leaders are likely just figureheads of the people who really control the power...through their monetary interests.

This week, the Bilderberg "policy" conference starts in Telfs-Buchen, Austria.  Never heard of them?  Not surprising as most people haven't either, and they don't like a lot of exposure and probing into their private little party to discuss the future of the world.  A quick glance of the member list is like looking at a roster of all the financial power brokers and central bankers that control all the money and financial systems of the entire planet -- correction--western planet.  Noticeably absent (except for some token members) are the Russians, Chinese, and other 'BRIC' players that might make their 'policies' awkward.  Topics include Greece and yep...Russia.

Many people do not believe that a small group of people can control the entire planet.  It sounds like something out of a movie or the ranting of conspiracy theorists, but this is closer to reality than most realize.  It makes a lot of sense that the people that control the money and the monetary system can control the world -- and if the same people meet regularly to 'discuss policy' then the question begs asking is "who is supposed to use these policies against whom? and who will enforce it?"  When the IMF and World Bank is telling the Greek government what it must do to get out of debt...we know who controls the power in Greece..and its likely the case in every other Bilderberg Group controlled country.

Then there begs the other question, who controls the Bilderberg Group?....that's discussion for another time and blog post.

In the meantime, hold on to your money and hard assets.  Something big is due to happen soon.  We all feel it in our bones.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ten More Days......

and it will be back to the land of smiles.  Sorry for the sparse postings, but its been a bit of a hectic schedule for me.  During the week, I've had to do some legal things associated with our property and take care of some personal and family things.  I also have a house guest as Bangkok buddy is visiting until next week.  I did have a chance to go to both the archery and shooting ranges yesterday during one of my totally free days.  It was good to do some shooting again as I have been negligent in my practice sessions which are necessary for all gun owners to stay sharp.  Having a gun for self defense does one no good if it can't be used properly and accurately.  It was also prompted by the incident described below in this blog post.

The renovation and redevelopment project continues at a furious pace.  Fortunately, that is something we are not responsible for, having given that right and responsibility to our joint venture partner.  This trip back to California was to ensure all the legal documents were in order and in place for a longer stay in the LOS.  When completed, this old piece of property will hopefully have another lease in life for the next few decades.

On a more serious note, B's car was attacked by a crazed man wielding a machete yesterday in front of a 7Eleven store on Rama IV.  She and the baby were not injured, but her car door and passenger side window was smashed.  Glass and perhaps part of the blade injured her younger brother's leg.  The man ran off before the police arrived, but they have an idea of who the individual was as he has been terrorizing the neighborhood with his recent bizarre behavior. They will also be reviewing the CCTV video from the 7Eleven for details. The car was full of  passengers, with her aunt and uncle and Marina in the back seat.  She was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time.   I am just thankful no one was seriously hurt - damage to a car can be repaired.

Slashing at the exterior of the car

While the LOS seems likes paradise, it too, has it share of crazy people who likely have been burned out on drugs, society, or whatever.  Be cautious and always be alert as if you are likely to be at home.

To that end, I have ordered a couple of self defense items to bring back.  It may not have helped in this situation, but I know from now on,  I will have something in the car should I need it since I cannot carry a firearm in the LOS at the moment.  I will make sure B has one in the car from now on too.  Both are available on Amazon.
Cold Steel Shorty

Road Pro 

Its also time for us to initiate the proper legal process to acquire a handgun.  From our trips upcountry to the resort to the needs of self defense in the mango, having something 'just in case' makes a lot of sense.  This incident has unfortunately set back my perception of Bangkok being safe.  I realize now that its just like any other big city, with its share of social issues and dangers.

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