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For legal services in Thailand, contact: Korat-Legal

STORMBLAST1953

My friend Henk Landkroon, from Groningen in the Netherlands, has an excellent photoblog: STORMBLAST1953

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yesterday's Bike Ride - Rural Isaan

Isaan (or Isan) is the Thai name for the northeastern part of Thailand which lies on the Korat Plateau. Although I live in the city of Korat, the beauty of rural Isaan is only a few minutes away by bicycle. I took a ride to the northwest of my house.

Old bus stop sign on Mukkamontree Road.

Rice drying on a concrete pad.

Recently harvested rice field.

Green rice almost ready to harvest.

Rice fields ready for planting.

Because irrigation water is readily available in this area, rice farmers can get three or four crops per year. At any time of year you can observe rice fields at every stage of growth.


Typical Isaan home built up on stilts to avoid flooding. Note the garlic drying under the shed roof and the vicious guard dogs.

Old fashioned wooden rice barn.

The rice barn photo was taken at location A on the Google Earth screenshot above. Note the remains of a circular moat at the lower left quadrant of the village. I believe this indicates that this is an ancient village dating from the time (7th century) when the Mon people dominated this part of Thailand. Most Mon settlements, including large cities, were surrounded by roughly circular moats.

Communal ancestor shrine.

Rice drying on the grounds of a wat (Buddhist Temple)

More beautiful rice.

Pond used mainly to store water for irrigation.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fancy Birdcages

On my morning run I pass by an empty lot that appears to have about a half dozen flagpoles. Of course, these are not flagpoles but poles up which a bird fancier hoists his birds.

Look closely to see the birdcages.

Two on one pole.

The cages are handmade out of bamboo. The fancy covers are silk.

These birds are Zebra Doves, common cage birds known for their sweet call.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving In Thailand

I've been in Thailand nearly seven years and for the first time I decided to buy turkey and do up a real Thanksgiving meal. I only have one oven, so the cooking would have to be done in stages over a couple of days. I made everything from scratch, no packaged or prepared foods.

On Wednesday I started out baking a nice loaf of dark brown bread. The bowl contains sourdough starter, bread flour and rolled oats. The pan has beer, molasses, cornmeal and butter. These all get combined to make the dough which takes about six hours to rise.

Here's some cooked pumpkin, all ready to be pureed and made into pie filling.

Pie in the oven looks OK.

Here's the bread ready to bake as soon as the pie is done.

All done!

I started the turkey early Thursday afternoon.


The oven is just big enough. I also made some stuffing (bread cubes, sausage and raisins) which I cooked separately from the turkey. I made gravy from the giblets and pan drippings.

Mam bought a lovely bottle of Cabernet to go with the meal.

Carving the bird.

Ready to eat. (Yes, those are Chocolate Santas on the table!)

Whip up some cream for the pie.

That's about it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Andaman Dive Trip

I really enjoy scuba diving from a liveaboard dive boat. You can really get a lot of diving in at some great dive sites. This past week I flew to Phuket and took a taxi up to Khao Lak. I planned to do one day trip and then board the White Manta for four days of diving in the Andaman Sea including the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and the very fantastic Richelieu Rock.

This is one of the Similan Islands. The islands are mostly granite with a few lovely beaches here and there. This is called Donald Duck Bay by divers and Ao Guerk by the Thais. There are nine islands in the Similan chain. This is number eight.


Before I headed up to the Similans I did a day trip on this boat. We went out to the Boon Sung wreck, an old tin mining dredge that sunk not far offshore. It's a great place to dive as it has become a real creature magnet.

There are lots of these Honeycomb Moray Eels.

Quite a few cuttlefish.

Dozens and dozens of colorful Nudibranchs.

More Lionfish than you could possibly count.

That night I boarded the White Manta. This is a new, purpose-built liveaboard dive boat. One of the nicest I've seen.

The next morning we awoke to this beautiful Andaman sunrise.

Lots more creatures to see, including this Banded Sea Krate, a sea snake that breathes air.

This is Elephant Head Rock. Nice dive site.

This Sun Star, a type of Brittle Star, waved its arms about furiously.

It was wonderful to see this yellow seahorse.

Lots more photos of the trip here: Andaman Dive Trip

video

Here's a short video of some courting cuttlefish.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Loy Krathong

Yesterday was Loy Krathong. Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation of the festival: Loy Krathong Wiki.

Late in the afternoon I road my bike to Wat Suan Prik Thai. They always have a nice Loy Krathong celebration. Also, the have a nice pond with a pier which makes it easy for people to float their Krathong. On the way home I bought some Com Loy (floating paper lanterns) and a krathong to float in our pond.

These decorated floats, called krathong, are for sale just outside the temple walls.


Some are very fancy. Most are made out of slices of banana stalk decorated with banana leaf and flowers. Sometimes coins or food offerings are added. Most have incense and at least one candle.

This seller got a spot inside the temple compound.

Lots of food for sale as well.


More than you can count.

This is the temple pond and pier. This young family is getting ready to float their krathong.

They light the candle and incense and say a short prayer.

Off they go!

This family released some fish and water snails into the pond. People make merit by buying fish and other wildlife and releasing them.

This lady is selling birds for later release.

Fish for sale for releasing into the pond.

Toys and food.

After I took this shot the monk flashed a huge smile.

Our krathong in our pond.

Floating in front of Ganesh.

Mam gets ready to release a floating paper lantern.

Off it goes into the sky. We watched this one for maybe ten minutes as it drifter off to the southwest.