Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hot Sticky days in the mango but it all goes down well..........

Its one of those days in the mango when you want to stay inside, but we have a show to go to later in the day.  Its 80% humidity outside and 83F so it feels like  95F and its only 8:30AM.  Steam room conditions with a threat of rain.  It will be good to be inside a venue with a frozen ice ring later in the afternoon.

Spent part of yesterday clearing our toilet as it was flushing very slow and sometimes backed up.  Tried to use detergent and soap and a plunger the last day or so, but the thought finally came to us that Marina had likely thrown something down the toilet and it was stuck inside.

After a trip to Home Pro in the morning for some supplies, I took the toilet off the floor and checked the floor drain.  It was OK.  When I checked the toilet itself, there was obviously something stuck inside the plumbing of the fixture.  After about 30 minutes of unsuccessful coaxing with a coat hanger, I finally figured I had to turn the darned thing upside down to jiggle the obstruction out.  Its not that easy to take a tanked toilet and turn it upside down without breaking something.

This was the nasty obstruction that Marina threw in
I guess I could have had a local handyman do it for a few hundred baht, but I was curious as to the problem and wanted to see if I still had the DIY skills to take care of this kind of problem when there was no one around.  Aside from a slightly broken toilet seat from turning the toilet upside down, all is well now and going down smoothly....5555  One thing I discovered is that the wax seals one uses in the States between the toilet fixture and the drain don't seem to be available here.  So plan on using some flexible putty instead or bring a few over from aboard on the next trip.

Planning to leave around noon for today's Disney on Ice performance.  We have to pick up our tickets at the will call windows as they couldn't deliver my tickets by courier.  I was in California at the time they were ordered so getting them before the show was necessary.  Ordered my tickets in January and still didn't get the seats I wanted.


Marina will be in costume as will most of the other kids so it will be a lot of fun.  More tomorrow with some pictures.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Some Fun at Fantasia Lagoon

This is the largest pool, but only 1.6m deep

As previously posted, we had plans for a trip to Fantasia Lagoon at the Mall Bangkae this week.  The weather has been very warm up to the last couple of days so going to a water park is a fun way to cool off and spend some family time together.  Fantasia Lagoon is located on the roof of the Mall Bangkae, which is at the intersection of Outer Ring Hwy 9 and Hwy 4 (Phetkasem Road).  It took about 30 minutes from the central business district via Hwy 35 and then going north on Hwy 9.  I don't recommend taking Phetkasem Road as its always crowded and it really isn't a tollway or highway, but just a multi-laned city street.

As with the other 'Mall Group" developments, the anchor department store tenant is Robinsons and its quite large in size.  Parking is free for the first 4 hours and is very crowded.  Fantasia Lagoon is located on the roof of the mall with access from the 4th floor.  Also on the 4th floor are rides and the theaters, making a wonderful place for kids to hang out.  We decided to come on a weekday as I've heard its very crowded during weekends and holidays.

Admission to Fantasia Lagoon is free for kids under 90cm (Marina was only 85 without her hair bun).  Adults are 200 baht and seniors are 100 baht (with ID card over age 60) so the prices are quite reasonable.  Once inside, there is also food and beverages for sale at very fair prices.  Since its located in a mall, one could also eat before and after visiting the park so don't worry about packing food or drinks.

Our little corner table under an umbella
As to the attraction itself, we will definitely go back again as it was a lot of fun.  Swim suits are available for rental as well as the mandatory swimming caps.  If you want to purchase your own stuff, there is a swim shop just in front of the entrance on the 4th floor.  Once inside, there are changing rooms and showers for guests and they are kept spotlessly clean.  Tables and  umbrellas are located in little alcoves and provide a bit of privacy and shade for visitors.  


For the younger kids, the fountain spray areas provide a lot of fun in very shallow water and for the older kids, the larger water slides  provide more of a challenge.  One can just float around the lagoon or pick one of the many themed areas and just get wet and wild.  

Marina having a fun time swimming with her inner tube

A bit of warning however.  We couldn't get Marina to stop playing on the kiddie tube and slides even when we knew she was exhausted...555.   And she put us such a fuss when it was time to come home and said she wanted to live there instead of coming home.  So it was a big day for her and something that we both enjoyed as well.  I think we spent about 200 baht on food and drinks inside, making the total day's outing for 3 people at only 500 baht.  No wonder its one of the best kept secrets of the mango.  Worth visiting even if you don't have any kids.  In a way, I wish I grew up here in the mango as I never even experienced a water slide until I was all grown up.

Marina and Dad visiting the waterfall

Marina and B having some time together

The following is a very short but concise video of the park.  No, the people shooting the video are not us, but it shows a lot more of the park than my pictures ever could.  


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

Back in the Mango

Got back around 12:30PM to the mango.  Looks like the weekend traffic started early, but that's to be expected as its Good Friday and Easter is this Sunday.  Traffic was great until we got to the mango and then there was a backup from the cars leaving and going south from the center of the city.  Thailand is a Buddhist country, but there are many western owned businesses that observe the holiday and everyone is always looking for an excuse to be off work right?  Also, many of the kids go to Christian based schools and colleges so its a holiday for them and the parents that work for themselves take time to go on holiday too.

Took a brief nap and did some chores and will be getting ready for the Friday night get together with the local guys.  Super G is in town for a few days and I wanted to catch up with him on things as he has been absent for a bit.


Since we are going to be in town for a few days and the weather is heating up, we are going to take Marina to a couple of exciting venues.  The first is a visit to Fantasia Lagoon at the Mall Bangkae which was recommended by the Priest.   There are a number of other Fantasia Lagoons at many of "The Malls" around Bangkok and even one in Korat, but this is the closest and best for us in the mango.  Thailand is full of water parks and many more are opening down near Pattaya and even up near Khao Yai.  Will likely do a detailed post on them in the future.




Secondly, next week The Disney on Ice show is in town, right after the Motorshow (which I want to go this week also).  We have tickets to see Marina's favorite characters from Frozen:  Queen Elsa and Princess Anna.  B has her little princess dress all ready and I can't wait to see her face when characters like Mickey, Goofy, and Olaf pop out on the stage.  Should be a lot of fun this week!!!!

More later this week and its time to get ready for the free buffet tonight.


Going back to the mango

Leaving this morning for the mango.  Should arrive early afternoon and be able to make the Friday night gathering.

Storm coming in from the north this morning.  Hopefully will be able to get out of the area before it arrives.  Hopefully it will bring us some much needed rain.  At least its cooler.

More from the mango later.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Love the new fiber service

This is where they brought the fiber cable into the building
The new fiber service is really great.  I didn't have a chance to post more detail regarding the service, but it was quite painless (for me anyway as the TOT guys had to work really hard to pull cable through the ceiling).  When it was all done, I just had to do some basic configuration for the WiFi, plug in my computer and that was it.  Then I tried to run my old network router as a slave unit off the TOT router.  That is where I ran into some problems with the old router as it was originally an ADSL modem router combo and it didn't like operating like a stand alone router.  Ultimately, I think the answer is to buy a stand alone high powered wireless router and bring two repeaters from the States and I will have coverage on every square inch of our resort.

I experimented with a download yesterday (I won't say what it was in this public forum) and it was extremely fast.  Fast meaning as it was in minutes instead of hours so it will be a great service to our resort guests who have to do business or just upload files of their vacation, etc.

Drop point and termination in corner of our resort office
The last task before I head back to the mango tomorrow is to set up my CCTV interface to the new router.  The old interface was on the other router and I just need to duplicate the settings.  Hopefully that won't be too big a chore and I plan to do that later in the afternoon.  The connection allows me to view the resort CCTV system from anywhere in the world via a browser or smartphone.

We opted to get only the 45 mps service with ipTV as it seemed like the best deal.  TOT is offering a promotion (see below) for their fiber service.  But its supposed to be where there is fiber installed already, and not pulling cables for two miles just to get fiber to you.  We were lucky to know the right people and get moved up in the installation schedule.  Promo for our service is going to be around $54 USD.





This morning, I am going to the local Isuzu dealer to get Vanna's 100,000 KM service.  Can't believe its already that much as it was like yesterday when we picked her up.  In retrospect, it was a great choice and has been a very valuable and dependable resource in the building of the resort and as a comfortable everyday transport vehicle.  She is a big car, but I get nearly 35 mpg from her very efficient diesel engine.  Cost less to run per mile than B's Honda City, which is a lot smaller and runs on 95 Gasoline!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

We're back!!!

The fiber optic guys got done about noon and we are now on the new network.  I've been working on trying to preserve the old network router's WiFi configuration but have decided it wasn't going to work to my liking.  So instead, I've set up a segmented WiFi for our internal use and one for the guests on the standard TOT router.  So far, the signal has been good enough to make to the bungalows without a repeater but I still have a couple on order when I return to California.

Here are the results after the installation:

We ordered the 45 Mbps service with 20 upload so its pretty close - cost less than 2K baht per month
and includes free ipTV.
Going to take a nap now as I've been playing with this alternate router for the last four hours.  Think I will just bring it back to the mango as a backup.  More details later.


The cut-over is supposed to be today....

Cable has been pulled outside of the main room ready to go into the ceiling
The TOT techs came by yesterday and told me that the cabling from the node to the resort is done and that they will do customer premises equipment installation today.  That means they are going to take the cable from outside our main building into the resort office and set up the CPE equipment and router.  I have to admit that once they got started, the work progressed really fast and efficiently and to have fiber optic cable directly into our office is something I would never have expected for many more years.  As I mentioned, I will have better connectivity and bandwidth than many homes and businesses in California - and I'm in a remote province (the least visited) in Northeast Thailand.  


The Router should terminate in this corner from the ceiling downfeed

Its likely that they will take over the office this morning and maybe take down the internet so I'm making this early post before the techs arrive and hopefully they will be finished later today so I can post from the new feed.  As of this morning, the speed tests results show I have about a 8.8 MB download speed and 420K upload.  I will run the test again after the installation and compare the difference. 

Copper wire and ADSL technology speed test


The equipment supplied will include WiFi and four Ethernet ports.  I am thinking that I will set up two separate WiFi networks.  One will be the one directly from the Fiber Optic router and the other using our existing network.  That way, we can save the higher speed for our personal use only.  There should be an improvement in the existing network also, but this configuration allows me more control over the resort users and options.  

My little corner of the office at the resort

More later and hopefully not too much later unless complications come up.


Monday, March 21, 2016

The Fiber Optics guys came today.....

Six big trucks rolled up to our surprise
When it rains, it pours.  Aside from the work on the market pad, the fiber optic installers from TOT came by today and began their work. Six big trucks rolled up this morning full of workers. We negotiated a deal last week for the new service and while they were a few days late, they are here to put in our very own fiber feed.  See previous post on "some help from our friends" regarding details.  

This installer had to deal with some tree issues
Our fiber will be directly fed from a central office node to our office distribution point.  Cost us a bit more because of the cabling, which is several miles down the road.  But once done, we will have the fastest service in this area and it will be able to position us for gigabit bandwidth technology when it becomes available in the future and should be the last cable we should ever need to run. I'm excited that we worked out a deal but it will still cost us $38K (with a big discount) baht for the work and customer premise equipment.  For a bit over a thousand USD to get fiber optic cable and feed to our remote end of the planet is a bargain in any currency.  

Spools of fiber optic cable run from several miles down the road
They've stopped for the day, but I have to now think about upgrading all of our wireless equipment to higher speeds, especially those that use video.  More money, but I have more bandwidth and technology than I have at my condo in the states, and even the mango.  The fact that we will be able to watch ipTV and get fast feeds from all around the planet is worth it.  Its our gateway to the world from our remote location and that gateway is going to get a lot bigger and faster.

A crew of more than 10 guys for the job in 100F weather
Just to think that a few years back, I had to beg for basic ADSL service and was even asked to pay a bribe to the local management by another service provider in the area to move us up the queue (we won't say their name here to shame them, but it rhymes with blue.)  Needless to say, we didn't pay and found TOT and now we have bandwidth up to our ears.  

Tomorrow will bring more surprises, but what is life without them?  It would be like eating a meat dish without spices, or plain rice without side dishes.  Boring, bland, and tasteless..........

The went over 1000 truckloads yesterday

In fact, they're at 1,004 truckloads and the pad is finally beginning to look pretty good.  I went out this morning and took some photos to compare them to the start of the project.  Its always fun and informative to see the actual transformation.  We will keep it in our history book and on our blog so that hopefully, years from now we can look back and laugh or cry depending on the outcome...

How it looked before we started less than 3 weeks ago

After around 250 truckloads


After 1000 truckloads
From a side perspective, here are the before and after photos.


view before we started - note the trees in background


As of yesterday and 1000 truckloads later
When we are finished, we will hopefully have about a 2 rai sized building pad.  If left as rice paddies, we could expect to yield only 24 bags of rice ( 50kilos each) on a average year - a peanut return on the investment and the amount of work required.  Now the land is more valuable as a commercial strip and rental property.  I put on my developer hat, and made a small investment to make it that way, but its something that will pay off and return benefits for a long time.

Another 250 truckloads are planned until we reach a checkpoint.  We may stop if there is enough space and  may order more, but it will depend on what it looks like at that point.  

Once done, we will wait until rainy season to start planting.  The 100F degree heat will kill anything planted at this point and we aren't in any rush to start planting either in this heat.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Up in the country.......

Our soon to be local market (note the big building in the background) - currently flea market only opens on Sunday.

Left early this morning for the country.  Didn't realize that today was holiday of sorts so we encountered a lot of traffic getting out of the mango.  We did make up the time by skipping our breakfast break and so by around 12:30 PM we were rolling into the resort.  I wanted to come up today because the flea market down the road is open on Sundays only.  Since we have made all this time and effort to build a market, I wanted to gather intelligence on the layout and operation so as to not directly compete as we don't have the land to do so, but to supplement the area's shopping.  In Thailand, markets are often close to each other as are shopping centers, similar stores, etc thus building a 'magnet location' where people come.  This is in stark contrast to western thinking where 'territory' to the exclusion of competition is the business model.  I am hoping that we can add to the magnet value of the area by offering more space for vendors.

Vendors selling  everything, even bras, off back of their vehicles

Tables, signs, and merchandise of a typical food vendor
It will be busy until after dark as the market opens around 4PM due to the heat

There are even portable inflatable slide rides for the kids 
The market is well attended, rain or shine, every Sunday afternoon/evening.  Our market would be a lot smaller, but I hope the heavily landscaped 'jungle' theme will give us some distinction and attract some of the overflow vendors and customers who come by to this market.    We are just 500 meters from this market on the same side of the road.  Additionally, we may open three days a week in the evenings (Fri, Sat, Sun) and feature more of the farm and jungle fare.  

Here is the tentative layout of our market/food court.  Black squares are vehicles and the while squares are tables.  An open area with tables is located in the front for eating on site and there will be an exclusive beverage vendor for the market.  The market has only one access point via the brown road off the main highway.

Our market will be heavily landscaped with a food court area up front with a lake view
Accommodates 30 booths and one drink vendor
At this point, things are still fluid and we are going to review our plans and ideas with the local government authorities (and likely the police) tomorrow.  I don't think there is going to be an issue, but as with all things here and elsewhere, expect the unexpected and things will be fine.

More later in the week.



Friday, March 18, 2016

The Heat is on......

Yep, its that time of the year in the land of smiles when the temperature goes up another notch.  With the national weather service warning of extremely high heat during the weekend and the week after, its time to be careful and make sure one doesn't get heat stroke.  The temperature coupled with the higher humidity gives a heat index much higher than normal.  Just glanced at my weather station and its 85F with 79% humidity right at this moment ( 9:30AM), which is like a steamy shower room.  


The very first time I came to Thailand was in March and we stayed two weeks with temperatures above 95F and even 100F and I wondered how it was possible for people to live in conditions like this.  In fact, two of my kite team mates fainted and passed out after a performance due to the heat and had to be treated for minor heat stroke.  They woke up to a couple of beautiful Thai nurses each, giving them cold water compresses and water and fell in love with the country forever, heat or no heat...555  Since then, I've found that the Thais don't like the heat any better than we from cooler climates.  When it gets to the extremes on both ends (cold or hot), their bodies are less adept in handling the variance and their homes in the poor countryside are usually not air conditioned nor heated.  Thus you hear of many deaths related to the heat or cold in the rural areas.

For the poor in Bangkok, there are the malls and other common places for a bit or relief.  I've even seen students riding the Skytrain back and forth until their allocated time is expired in order to find a cool place to study.  People here are very good at adapting to the situation and luckily, its only for a short period.  Needless to say, this is low season for another couple of weeks as Songkran is just around the corner.  This year, the water play will be limited due to the drought so keep that in mind as you plan your trip over.

Bangkok buddy and I met up for some archery yesterday.  After about 90 minutes, we decided to call it quits and went to lunch instead at one of malls to cool off.  Going to the free buffet tonight after a nice massage, but then it up to the resort next week and 105F temps for the whole week.  Heat or no heat, still a great place to be living.

For those that are here, a little song  that is so appropriate as they enjoy their vacation or looking for that someone special,  in the mango or elsewhere in the land of smiles.




One final note for today.  Starting this weekend, if you overstay your visa for more than 90 days you are in big trouble and can be banned from coming back into Thailand for up to 10 years on the most serious cases.  Not that anyone reading this blog would do such a thing, but in case you know someone who is in this category......



They say good guys in, bad guys out.....but what about these guys... are they going to reform???....not

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Life in the big city..

Having a fun week here in the mango.  Went to the archery range on Monday for a couple of hours and then went out for some shopping at Makro.  Yesterday, I had to wait for the aircon guys from Samsung and then out to the post office to claim some merchandise for my kite business.  Today, I'm going out to Fortune Town to buy one or two more WiFi repeaters or extenders.

With the demise of Pantip Plaza (see previous blog post), Fortune town seems like the next best alternative for me in terms of accessibility.  It was inevitable that Pantip would be shut down due to the restrictions against pirated software, hardware, etc.  The owner had too much at stake to keep it open as he is a major player of one of the top family controlled enterprises here in the land of smiles.


I have an area of approximately two square city blocks to cover with WiFi so getting the right equipment is important if we manage to work out the financial details to get our fiber optic feed into the resort.  Today's visit is more of an exploratory trip to see what brands are available and their cost as I have the option of bringing back better stuff on my next trip over.  Hopefully I can find an Amped SR10000 as they are rated very highly and selling for only $72 on Amazon.  
Amped WiFi repeater SR10000

Not much else happening here - life goes on, people are smiling, and everyone is happy.  Its quiet, calm, and free of the hysteria of the primary elections back in the states. US style Democracy..Bah-humbug! ...give me a Thai military junta any day. I like it that way and will likely live longer in this kind of stress free environment...555

Monday, March 14, 2016

Slime.....

I have a new admiration for slime.  Its now too good a word to use for the likes of Hillary or other lowlifes that make up our political landscape.

Stir and mix...555

You see, during the weekend we made some slime for Marina to play with.  Actually, she helped..555  B got the idea from watching YouTube videos and you know what?  Its lots of fun.  The version we made has the consistency of a huge ball of silly puddy.  You can stretch it forever, and its dry to the touch and doesn't leave a messy residue on the floor.  Where was this stuff when I was a kid????

Wow, bright orange slime!!!

B and I got just as much fun out of this as Marina did.  The best thing is that its made from fairly common items.  While glue, soap, water, and some glycerin.  There are many recipes, some include borax and starch, but it all depends on what ingredients you can get in your location.  Borax is not easy to find in Thailand so we used one of the non borax formulas.   I bought little buckets from Makro for each of the colors and now she has a whole collection of colors to keep her busy


This wasn't the exact formulas we used but  you get the idea.  

Anyway, will be here in the mango for most of the week as they are still working on the market back upcountry.  They supposedly started on the 600th truck yesterday.  Only 650 trucks left and by my calculation, that should take at least 5 more days so we won't leave  until this weekend.

In the meantime, I want to go out to the archery range and shoot some arrows.  Gotta enjoy life sometimes...but as for now, slime is a good word and a good thing...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Its starting to get ugly


As some of you may have heard, there was another disruption at a Trump rally yesterday.  It seems like violence is the next extreme tactic that is being used to slow the Trump train down.  Backed by George Soros and other financial powerbrokers, puppet organizations like moveon.org and radical groups crashed the rally in Chicago, forcing its postponement.  The protests were put together by paid organizers and had professionally produced signs.  In effect, it was a typical 'rent-a-mob' that one finds in Banana Republics and developing corrupt countries.  Even ACORN got into the act in Ferguson, so its really happening in America even having been exposed by the main stream media.

As the onion peals away,  one can see that there really isn't a right or a left wing, a Democratic or Republican party, just those who are the puppet masters, the puppet politicians,  and all of us other pinons.  You don't really have free speech rights unless you are saying the right things from the viewpoint of those in power.  Plus your vote really doesn't count if its not for who the puppet masters want to win.  America is finally waking up to that reality after a long drunken slumber and the hangover is going to pretty bad.  

No, this election is getting ugly and it will get worse now that all gentlemanly, political, non violent means have shown its ineffectiveness against Trump.  Trump's freedom of speech was violently violated but nothing will come of it due to politics.

I supported a candidate like Trump once when I was younger and more naive. I went out and worked the precincts to 'get out the vote'.  He had all the same intentions of cleaning up government, like he did when he worked as Attorney General.  The powers that be didn't like him as they wouldn't have been able to control him.  When he finally cinched the nomination after a win in California, they shot him in the head after giving a speech at the victory rally.  Bobby Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a middle eastern Palestinian of Jordanian decent.  That killing shattered the dreams of a generation and brought many to the reality that "freedom is not always free" and things are not always what they seem.

The cycle of history is coming around again.  Will we be able to learn from it past or be doomed to repeating it again.  



Please be safe Mr. Trump, and watch your back as there are some really, really bad people out there who will resort to anything to cling to power.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Some fiber optic cable guys showed up last night

Some mid level TOT managers showed up at the resort last night to discuss the fiber optic service into the resort.  Talk about fast, our friend just left a day or so ago and these guys are falling all over themselves to bring in the service.  A premise tech is supposed to show up today and from what the management guys told me, the fiber optic service should be working next week.


They are going to have to bring cable from a couple of miles down the road too as we are not close to any kind of town infrastructure or close to any of their central offices.  Our friend has some kind of pull to get all this done so quickly.  We will definitely have to give him big discounts when he comes up to visit his parents in the future....555   That's how it works sometimes, you scratch my back and I will do the same for you.  Relationships...as I posted before, are the key to success and a much happier experience living in the land of smiles.

It also looks like 200MB is not available up here yet, so they suggested 45 or 50MB service with Free ipTV included.  In any rate, its faster than what we have now by a longshot.  Wow, 45-50 MPS download speeds...I can't wait.

I will have to meet the premise tech today, hopefully in the morning, before going back to the mango. Hopefully I can get back in time to make the free buffet tonight, but if not, there is always next week. Will know more in a few hours.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jungle fare


Want to know some stuff considered "Jungle Food"?  Actually, its a very loose term we use up here to say food harvested from the wilds of the land.  When you live in an extremely poor area, people have to go around the brush, fields, and jungles to look for any kind of food for sustenance.  Its kind of like the survival shows on the History or National Geographical channels except its for real to the poor people who live in the area.

Some field rats and frogs off the barbie
Red Ant Egg Omelets 

Red Ant eggs sold by the gram






















You've seen some of the results in the mango as vendors display trays offering a variety of bugs, beetles, and crickets.  You hear about delicacies like red ant eggs.  I've also posted pictures of field rats on the barbie.  For sweets, how about bee hives just harvested off the trees in the wild?

A tray of freshly harvested bee hives

Actually, B found these last night at one of the local markets.  They are eaten by just taking a small section and chewing the wax and extracting out the honey.  This gives a blend of both royal jelly and honey directly from the nest.  Be careful however before putting a piece of wax into your mouth as sometimes there are still a few live bees hiding in or roaming around the cells.  When you are done, just spit our the wax and pop in another piece!

B out back harvesting some fruit from our trees

So if any of you are wondering about what can be bought and sold at 'jungle markets' or pretty much most markets upcountry, this will give you an idea.  Of course, there is all that usual stuff like fish, eels, chickens, pork, veggies and fruits galore.  In our area, we are lucky to have enough water this year for most crops and so our concept of the Jungle Market should do well in the short term.   In fact, if you note the rice fields in our market project, they are still wet from the rains.  

Anyway, the dirt moving guys just got here and have a question about something so I have to go.

Plan to go back to the mango tomorrow for a week or so  until they get the next 500 trucks finished before coming back up.  In the meantime, its hunting for plants and old stuff that will go into the jungle as props.  





Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The hot weather has started

Last week, I was saying how great the weather was up here in the country.  Well that was last week and yesterday and today were scorchers.  Its supposed to hit 105F tomorrow before a little bit of cooling on Friday.  The rest of next week will all be over 100F during the day.   Its that time of year when the weather is the hottest and the best thing to do during the day is to take long naps.  There is no rest for the wicked but there is aircon!  So I just took a quick trip into town with the aircon turned up and ran into the aircon stores and all is OK.  Back at the resort and I'm sitting pretty in my aircon office and will likely go over and take a nap in a few minutes in my aircon bungalow.  

What would I do if we didn't have aircon?  Likely take a trip back to Kalifornia for a couple of months as I hear the Bay Area is a bit chilly now at 51F.  But we do have aircon and all is well in the land of smiles.

A little bit of help from our friends:

While I was away in the mango, our internet service went down and B's mother was having a hard time getting someone to fix the problem.  Then by chance, one of the neighbor's  was returning to the country to see his mom and decided to stay with us.  When he tried to use our internet service it was down and he asked what the problem was.  It turned out that he is a now a big manager at TOT and is responsible for customer services to businesses in the lower region of Issan.  We did not know he had that as a job and a quick call from him to the maintenance center and the guys shows up in 15 minutes and are apologizing profusely about the delay.  B's mother had waited days with no results and one call from this guy and these no good techs were hoping around like crazy rabbits.  The found the problem and fixed it in less than a hour.  A grass or brush fire had burned the wires about a mile down the road and it was very quickly replaced.

Anyway, he turns out to be a good family friend and has known B's parents since he was young.  Last night, we had drinks and dinner and he tells us that if we want fiber to our resort, he can put us in the priority queue and there is already hardware in the area.  I immediately said yes and so B's mother will be initiating the paperwork this week.  We will have to buy our own commercial grade fiber hardware on the customer side for around 30K baht, but he says with that setup we will be good to go for gigabit service if we wanted.  In any case he recommended we get at least the 200MB service which is a vast improvement over what we have now.  

Now I have his card and a personal phone number.  If we get any hassles from the local office, a call to him will help us get our issues resolved.  Relationships...the key to success in the land of smiles.

Market Project:

Lastly, the guys are at the site again to  build out the pad.  They arrived at 9AM and its a bit slower now and the weather is getting hot and they are working outdoors.  We try to keep them hydrated too as they work very hard outdoors at this time of year.  That's the culture here, we take care of each other even if its just a working relationship.