Stormy Times

It's Saturday morning and the rain is pouring outside, April heavy showers after an enormous electrical storm last night.
There's no internet here this morning, and there was no internet last night, the Wifi has failed in this apartment building, but perhaps by the time I finish writing this webpage it'll be up and operating again.
In this update I have used many more pictures off my Samsung Galaxy G4 phone...

Travelling to Ayutthaya by train again.

Recent months have been a stressful time, and I am worried about what it may be doing to my health. It's been month after month of adverse times, poor luck, and I wonder what I must have done to bring this upon myself.

So here I am on the train to Ayutthaya again, off to rent and ride a bicycle with a plan to head to a restaurant (The Summer House) which is not far south of the city, and on the bank of the Chao Phraya River.
I needed to reaffirm that all is well with my body again, and exercise is the best way.

Thais are usually very friendly including the guard here who checked my ticket

The train was on time, and I walked to the bicycle rental place, 100 Baht this side of the river... No, I will take the 5 Baht boat ride and rent a bicycle for 50 Baht on the other side, then ride it back across the bridge... A longer bike ride, but what am I here for? To go the distance of course.
This time I would skip the temples Ayutthaya is famous for and instead ride south, and have some lunch by the river.

Muubaan yiipun

The existence of a Japanese Village did not escape my notice when I was planning my bicycle ride.

I turned at the sign for the Japan(n)ese Village and followed the river. On the far shore, this would have been the Portuguese Settlement with the Chinese Settlement just north of it.
During the Ayutthaya age of Siam, foreigners were allowed to set up their own communities outside the walls of the capital city to trade with the Siamese (Thai). The trading sites were also called 'factories', and the Dutch as well as the English had factories as well.
The Japanese Village has an entrance fee of 50 Baht for foreigners, and 20 Baht for Thai people. There's a Japanese Garden, an exhibition room, and a museum

Thai history is very interesting, I have read about it in a couple of history books. I have seen films such as Suriyothai, and King Naresuan, and I read "A Falcon at the Court of Siam" where a Greek adventurer rose to prominence in King Narai's government. Constantine Phaulkon (Falcon) was born in the Greek Islands, he joined the Royal Navy (British), and sailed the seas.
Like many farangs today he could not find the desire to leave Siam, and so he stayed, and learned the language (unlike many farangs today!).
He became prominent in trade affairs, including dealing with the French Court.
The French were interested in Siam. The French King exchanged emissaries between Paris and Ayutthaya, and the French even set up a military outpost at a place downstream called Bangkok. But the French were mostly interested in converting the King and as many locals as possible to Roman Catholicism... They had to compete with the Indian and Persian traders who were likewise into converting the nation to Islam.
Buddhism prevailed, and in my opinion Siam was protected from the troubles the other religions have brought to peoples in other lands.
To this day there are troubles in the south of Thailand in the name of Islam...
As for Roman Catholicism, my ancestors were likely to be murdered in France for being Protestant, and likewise, later in Southern Ireland there was trouble for them.
(They settled in Ireland as Huguenots over 300 years ago).

With the end of King Narai's rule Siam closed its borders and became exclusionary as Japan and China did in those times, and perhaps as the USA seems to be doing now!

Thao Thong Kip Ma in the museum at the Japanese Village
Here she is in the dessert kitchen. Many Thai desserts have Portuguese origins

A video representation of the times the Japanese traders lived here
Some of the Japanese had become Christians in their homeland, and were therefore religious refugees from an intolerant land

I spent a hour or so in the Japanese Village, and then got on the bicycle again to ride to the Summer House where I had spaghetti with northern Thai sausage followed by fruit crumble topped with vanilla ice cream, and washed down with iced lemon tea, and with ice water.
They had deck chairs at the Summer House, and so Thais spent some time photographing each other on the lawn.

On the boat across the river in the morning I met two Japanese girls who likewise rented bicycles to ride around the ruins.
They arrived back when I did and we took the trip across the river.
At the station I met an Italian in the queue for the ticket window... Our train back would be an hour and forty minutes later...
I suggested we all go for a beer across the road, but instead they decided to go to the air-conditioned place on the platform to which a hard-sell promoter had invited them... 'Been there, done that, but you get beer for half the price across the road at the (Italian) guesthouse. I went alone, I am social, but not forcefully so.

Back at the railway station I walked to the end of the platform to get on one of the rear carriages. The train arrived on time, and the same guard was clipping the tickets for the return trip. We exchanged a familiar "sawasdee krup".

At work 'Safety' was moved to a remote office at the far end of Terminal 1, on the third floor, and so in the mornings I would take the Sorng Taew (two benches) to the Amari Hotel and walk across the footbridge.
My daily exercise was to walk 1.5 kilometres each way to the main office, often three or four times a day. I would walk home rather than take a Sorng Taew back. I easily get the 10,000 steps done that the Samsung health app asks me to do every day!

One last journey in the little car to Pattaya - Jomtien and back

This will be the last time I drive down for the foreseeable future and so I dropped in to Bang Phra to see how the Thai Flying Club is doing.
They recently had one of their long serving instructors die of old age.
There is no-one to teach flying or to do check outs at TFC at the moment and it was very quiet.
If I stay in Thailand I will join the club and do a little flying as a renter here.

The next enroute stop was at Nong Khor where the new Turbo Porter is close to being ready for business, it looks good, and has an interesting registration.

There was a Cumulo Nimbus cloud just north of Nong Khor with heavy rain and shifting winds. Not good for a Bleriot or a Quicksilver.

I stayed at Alasdair and Gill's place in Jomtien, above is the scene in the car park.

One of the problems with the paperwork taking a long time to be processed is the fact that beyond 6 months you can lose the registration for not having a CxA because the paperwork for it hasn't been processed yet!
Another is that you then end up having to test fly the aircraft again, and they give you two weeks to do this in a document signed a week ago.

We landed just as a Cumulo Nimbus arrived at the field, it's that time of the year

Bees have taken up residence at Jims kitchen on the airfield

My work permit expired on the 24th and so I went to Immigration with an agent to first get a one month extension to my current 30 day visa, and then a 90 day Non Immigrant B visa. The agent told me it would take a week or two... I planned to drive the car to Chiang Mai the day after my work permit expired (I can't work after all).
The car should have a new timing belt, it has 152,000 km on the odometer now, and the brakes need attention as I can hear them squeek occasionally and the brake light is on all the time.
As it was the visa arrived on the 24th and I was told in the evening that I should go to the hospital to have a blood check for syphilis!
But I had already packed the car. I have emptied this apartment of everything but two suitcases worth of stuff, and my refrigerator. I am not certain of my position at the moment!
So I decided to drive as planned, and sort the medical for work permit out later.

I had my porridge around 04:30 in the morning, and was out as planned at 05:00 only to find my car blocked in... Inch by inch I carefully pushed three cars forward to make just enough gap for my little car to squeeze out.
I eased the car through the gap, and then moved the three cars back into their original positions.
It was 05:28 as I drove out of the parking lot.

It's a long drive but the roads are good.

Chiang Mai is much more social for me, and in the two nights I was there I had a good time with some of my friends in that area.

On Friday I flew back early on Thai Lion Air; the flight arrived ahead of time but parked out on the maintenance ramp with a subsequent bus ride to the terminal. I was still through the exit at 08:50 which was the scheduled landing time.

I had a ride over to the other side of the airport where there are King Airs

I am told that Airports of Thailand may be selling one or two of their well maintained King Airs

Last night there was a massive thunderstorm (27th April).

May Day (1st May)

The internet was restored last night and so I am now able to post this update, and will add a few more items while I am at it.

Yesterday I left the company and so I am now out of work for a while. It's always emotive leaving a job.
It will save the company the cost of obtaining a new work permit for me. This past year has been difficult as I have had to go from an original three month B Visa to thirty day after thirty day, and even twenty eight day visas, and this has been costly for me.

I was fortunate in finding a good replacement for me in the position of SMS manager before my work permit expired. Now I must find another job.

On my way home yesterday afternoon. My room is on the top floor, second gap, third window from left

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