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About Brunolem

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  • Birthday 05/21/1957

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  1. Touring Thailand

    You don't answer the question, and you dismiss serious potential problems without much thinking! Have you been around Thailand with a group of 16 or not? Then, it is a serious mistake to consider that family and friends are the same as paying customers. The latter are certainly not as forgiving as family or friends...just one nasty customer can get you in a heap of trouble. Customers pay and thus expect to be served accordingly, and often more than that...and the first person they blame is the one they paid. All kinds of troubles can occur with such a large group. Imagine that one customer goes missing or sick...so what? The organizer is going to leave his 15 other customers in order to try to deal with a problem that could take days to be solved?
  2. Touring Thailand

    I would agree with the posters above who mention the work permit and other administrative issues. On top of that, 16 people is a rather large group and thus the opportunities for troubles, of any kind, are many: lost person, medical problem, accident, misunderstanding with a local, you name it... The constant presence of a reliable Thai, not a simple driver, would be mandatory, someone able to deal with the police, the hotel staff, the doctors... Since you are planning to do many tours, I would advise you to recruit such a person for a whole year, or more, depending on your bookings. Doing this all by yourself, repeatedly, would most certainly lead to trouble at some point. One last thing: You would obviously need to have some serious insurance coverage for all these people, at your company level, since you cannot trust each customer to buy the appropriate insurance...but I imagine you know that already...
  3. The Only Farang

    Same here. No farang around, as far as the eye can see...and the bicycle can go... The first time I came to this village, almost 20 years ago, I arrived in the night, and the next morning all the villagers were waiting in front of the house...to see me, and more especially to touch my white skin! Obviously, I was the first farang ever visiting...and since then there has only been one other, for only a few days...
  4. may/june vs sept/oct

    In theory, September and October are part of the rain season (July to October) whereas May and June are part of the summer season (March to June). As stated by other posters above, showers and storms are likely during the latter, but not as intense as in September - October...yet with the climate going haywire, everything is possible, and last year in parts of Isaan it was wetter in the summer season than in the rain season!
  5. It is NOT a "Thai system" or a "culture thing" for the simple reason that this practice is very new! The parents who now receive money from their children didn't send money to their own parents when they were younger. On top of that, there is one important thing that posters above forget to mention: the grandchildren. Many young Thais, especially in Isaan, go work in and around Bangkok, while leaving their children behind and asking their parents to take care of them. This is the case of 90% of the houses in my village. Thus, the 3,000 baht are not for the grandfather to drink, but for the children to eat...and that isn't much! Yet, it is true that many grandfathers do not hesitate to use that money to satisfy their vices, leaving the children eating white rice...I have seen it again and again...
  6. The drought no one talks about

    The trees were cut by those who "colonized" Isaan some decades ago, to replace the rainforest with rice paddies! The same has happened unfortunately to most rainforests over the world.
  7. The drought no one talks about

    As Carlyai explains in the post following yours, what really matters in the long run is the aquifer, or natural water reservoir. Flooding is not a good thing, since most of the water simply runs to the nearest river instead of slowly penetrating the soil. Last year rain season was really wet indeed, but here is what has happened since the actual government took charge. First, as is well known, they abruptly cancelled the rice subsidies, effectively cutting its selling price from the farm by 50%. Following this (financially) disastrous decision, they encouraged the farmers to grow other crops, such as vegetables, during the dry season...which they have done, with the results we now see for the aquifer. As a matter of fact, these new crops require huge quantities of water to grow under the sun for months. This is the source of the problem, and it is not going to be solved anytime soon, since the locals have yet to figure out that this source is their unsustainable actions, and not bad luck.
  8. The drought no one talks about

    This unfortunately confirms what I have heard regarding the near past in Isaan. As for the experts and the help, I wouldn't count on it...and anyway the villagers wouldn't listen. They can't make the difference between good and bad advice, and generally follow the latter, or the one that involves the less work. In my area, for example, they consider that it is not good to prune the trees...so we have to try to get the mangoes hanging 10 meters above ground, and everytime there is a bit of wind the electricty is cut for hours because a tree, or a branch, has fallen on a cable! They don't even know that to keep the soil from running away with the rain, something, even basic grass, must grow on it...so every year they order trucks of earth in order to replace the one gone during the previous rain season!
  9. The drought no one talks about

    Believe it or not, when my wife's grandfather was young, around 1950, it was difficult to move around in Isaan because of the...tigers! Destruction was swift...
  10. The drought no one talks about

    Not all of Thailand is turning into a desert, but large parts of Isaan probably will. It is well known that the rainforest, which covered Isaan not so long ago, creates its own rainfalls, and that once cut down the rain becomes more and more unfrequent, and when it falls it tends to quickly evaporate instead of being kept by the vegetation. It's a feedback loop, a bit similar to what is happening in Arctic, yet at the opposite extreme...
  11. The drought no one talks about

    Eastern Isaan is flat as far as the eye can see. So there are no natural collection of water running along slopes and no khlong and irrigation systems at all. There are a few reservoirs which, as far as I know, collect water from rivers during the high rain season. I don't know how this water is used, but we certainly don't see any of it around here. More generally, this is now our second drought in 3 years and I have been thinking for a long time that, sooner or later, large parts of Isaan will become semi-desert, because this is what often happens after major deforestation in tropical areas.
  12. How to keep the beach clean?

    While we are at it, why not keep the country clean, and not only its beaches? Littering is everywhere since many Thais believe that garbage is to be dumped on the ground, wherever one stands, including on one's own property (garden, farm...). The funny thing is that in school they talk about Singapore and its reputation for being super clean, as if it was on another planet! In my village, both children and adults throw their garbage on the ground, and sometime they make a pile with some of it and burn it, hoping that the chicken will deal with the remainder. Learning to be clean should be part of the gigantic education reform needed in the country, but it is likely that it will snow over Bangkok before that happens...
  13. The drought no one talks about

    There is water delivered, but it is not the same as having water on site. Reservoirs are here for security, to help so that people don't run out of water, but they cannot be used by farmers to grow crops, for example, otherwise they would quickly dry out.
  14. The drought no one talks about

    What help do these reservoirs bring to villagers and farmers located far away from them?
  15. I imagine that my amphoe in Sisaket province is not the only place in the country in the grip of a severe drought. Water pumps stop working one after the other and people have to buy their water from tank trucks. Water reservoirs are at very low level, if not already empty. Meanwhile the sun is burning the vegetation and everyone unconscious enough to move out of the shade. And there is no sign that weather patterns are going to change anytime soon. More pain may be in store for the farmers who don't really need it. How is the water situation in your area?