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About Brunolem

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  • Birthday 05/21/1957

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  1. I guess it is neither. It is not a lack of confidence in their country, but rather in their capacity to contradict their interlocutor...in other words they lack the necessary skills for debate, hence the usual shortcut "take it or leave it". Even between Thais, there are no contradictory discussions, any disagreement immediately turns to name calling, if not worse. The farangs who parrot the locals (go back blah blah blah) are just part of the usual bunch of foreigners gone native for lack of a strong personality...this is not specific to Thailand, one can meet them all over the third world. As for those who criticize their country of adoption, it all depends of what they are talking about...for example, criticizing the Thai electricity network seems pretty reasonable since people are regularly dying because of its poor quality, or their poor skills to improve it (see the guys who regularly get electrocuted and fried while "fixing" a transformer or something else)...now criticizing the Thai food because it is not as good as the food back home is ridiculous and deserves a "take it or leave it".
  2. You get there from highway 24 which crosses all Southern Isaan provinces...
  3. I have never heard of that. I know the immigration staff quite well at Sisaket Office...most of the time I am alone with them, talking about this and that, and this 30 + 60 days never came up. Actually, it is one of the officers who informed me about the 60 days, at a time when I thought it was 30 days for everybody. I will certainly ask next time I will visit them...
  4. I usually get a non-O visa, but since I was in pain because of cervical arthrosis, and because of the flooding situation in Isaan, I decided to go for a border run to Phu Sing, the closest checkpoint from my home in Sisaket. Phu Sing is as remote as can be, some 40 km away from the main local highway, on a road to nowhere but the border, with not even one gas station and minimart on the way. Yet, things are changing. What used to be a small crossborder market in a wooded area up the mountain, is slowly becoming a smaller version of Poipet, yet without the farangs. First, a few years ago, a casino-hotel was built, and the forest was replaced with concrete. More recently, it appears that the local sponsors have added (year round?) bang fai festivals (read semi-legal betting) in order to attract bigger Thai crowds. And it seems to work, judging by the buses, minibuses and cars that fill up a place that used to be empty. Luckily, this doesn't affect farangs since the locals don't have to go through the same thorough border crossing process as we do. Exiting Thailand was a one minute formality. Then on to go to the Cambodian immigration, about...25 meters away! There, the (small) problem remains the same, farangs need to get a visa (no e-visa) and because there are no farangs, the guy in charge is never sitting at his desk. Someone has to go look for him. Once, years ago, he was found busy taking a shower and went to see me bare-chested! This time, it appears that he was at home enjoying lunch! After about 20 minutes, he finally arrived and stamped a nice full page visa in exchange of 1,200 baht. I then proceeded to the next window in order to get the entry and exit stamps, after sliding a 100 baht bill inside my passport. This is "standard" procedure to leave something when one only stays for a few minutes, before going back to the other side of the border. Yet, better put the money directly and show that you know, instead of waiting for them to ask for 200 or 300 baht. After that, another 20 meters to the Thai immigration where I got a 30 days stamp in a couple of minutes. Back to the car (don't even think about getting there without your own car), I drove to Sisaket City, about 120 km away, and went directly to the immigration for a 60 days extension (Thai child). And there I was with my 90 days at a total cost of 3,200 baht...never mind the gas...
  5. And keep in mind that we are still in July and that the rain season still has at least 3 more months to go!
  6. how to dress to impress Thai ladies in Pattaya ?

    That should do the trick...
  7. Here is an article that confirms what I was writing above: driverless cars require a huge amount of data to be safe, and the technology for that is not ready yet and won't be for many years to come. Note that the article is not only about driverless cars, but about automation in general...and written by scientists, not by publicists... http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/dont-believe-hype-ai-driven-world-still-long-way-off/
  8. Ants are becoming a major nuisance, not only for coffee trees...they are everywhere this year! Never seen anything like that. Not a square inch of ground is free of them, and of course they colonize the trees, especially the mango trees. Red ants prefer mango trees and are very aggressive, but it is nothing compared to these very very small ants that are everywhere on the ground and in the coffee trees. They bite long before one can see them and it hurts like hell. It has reached such a point that I can go work in the garden only after wearing socks and keeping with me at all times a pack of white powdered ant poison which I use with abandon. I have never seen anything like that in the past. My guess is this ant infestation has to do both with climate change and with the mass extinction of species, including thos which used to keep the ant population under control.
  9. Thanks for all this information. After doing some reasearch on internet, I can confirm that it is a mealy bug infestation. I followed the advice given by different posters and went on spraying the buggers and their eggs with water, with the sprayer very close to the target so as to give maximum power to the water. It went on quite well. As you say, I have a small number of trees, so I was able to treat them branch by branch, from above and from below...bugs are mostly concentrated below the joints and the leaves (seem like they don't like sun). I will follow up every week to make sure they don't come back, at least in too large quantities. Right now there are coffee cherries growing, so I don't think it is the right time for pruning.
  10. Talk about putting the cart before the horse, or in this case the passengers before the train. Yesterday, on one of the Thai TV networks, there was an animated discussion between three talking heads. The subject: travelling in Thailand in the "new" high speed train. They seemed to know a lot about it...they knew precisely how much time it would take to go from Bangkok to Korat, and how much it would cost...have they already printed the tickets? They were excited as if they were ready to embark! Only the suitcases were missing...and, well, the train... But the construction of the railway was not the issue...after all, why bother with details? Having said that and even if still very far away in the future, while this high speed train, part of the One Belt chinese project, may serve the interests of China, it is unlikely to serve those of Thailand. China has such an overcapacity in steel production that it could cover the Earth with railroads, and still have a lot left. On the other hand, Thailand doesn't have a thriving middle class who can afford to travel in such luxury. Thus, it is likely that in 2117, when the first high speed trains will roll, they will be almost empty...
  11. Think global, act local, sell crumbs

    There is that (Bangkok first), and also I don't remember seing 5 baht packs of chips on the shelves of either Lotus, Big C or Tops, the main supermarkets chains in the country. Small 5 baht packs are available mostly at mom and pops shops, and being blown full of air like balloons, it is indeed difficult to break the 5 chips tucked inside...I know since my wife runs one of those mom and pops shops... For those who have not experienced the crumbs, just try and buy a family pack at Lotus...
  12. Think global, act local, sell crumbs

    I can't see any sell-by date on chips, at least on Lays...these things are quasi-immortal, even though there are not unbreakable.. Discounts are generally a clever way to increase the price while keeping us smiling. Here is how it goes: a pack of Lays that retailed for 25 baht is now offered at 27 baht, but...if one buys 2 packs, then one pays 48 baht! This goes on for a couple of weeks, after which the new price of 27 baht becomes the norm. Meanwhile, the ratio of full size chips/crumbs remains unchanged at around 20%.
  13. Always eager to accomodate their customers, international supermarkets chains conduct surveys in order to satisfy their needs. While doing so in Thailand, they apparently came to the conclusion that the local customers don't like to chew, especially when it comes to dry food such as chips or cookies, for example. They have thus instructed their staff accordingly: "while handling packs of chips, cookies and the likes, do not handle with care...if the shelf provides space for 10 packs, try to make space for 12 or more by applying enough pressure, with both hands if necessary...at the cashier, once you have managed to fill one of our super resistant plastic bags with 4 supersized bottles of Coke, try to insert a pack of chips in the middle, it will cushion the shocks... refrain from playing football with packs of cookies, since it might tear the packaging open and let some crumbs escape...remember, we do our best to sell our customers what they want, and in the Land of Smiles what they want are crumbs, lots of it...let' em eat crumbs!"
  14. While I am all for clean energy, the facts remain that the world has never extracted so much oil, that carbon emissions are still at record levels, that renewables such as wind and solar still represent, worldwide, a very very small fraction of our energy sources, and that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere keeps on rising. China is now cited as an example (!) as if it hadn't opened a couple of coal powered stations every week for years! The fact is that the same nations that talk a lot about fighting climate change keep on celebrating every time their carmakers or their plane manufacturers beat their sales records: 16 million cars sold in the US only last year, a very tiny number of them electric, celebrations! Airbus just sold more than 100 planes to just one airline, celebrations! Too many people, who consume too much energy...there lies the real problem...at least for the planet...
  15. Yes, I do know quite a number of them...actually they are my neighbors...the village chief, one of his aide, a policeman, a few who work for the tambon administration and so on... As Greenchair writes above, it is true that they get some extras and perks, on top of their meager salaries...yet his 20,000 baht example, after 20 years of service, is much more realistic than the amonts he was talking about before. Among the perks is the fact that they can borrow money at very low cost. Yet, when it is all said and done, one doesn't become wealthy by working as a civil servant...working honestly of course...