Showing posts with label Coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coffee. Show all posts

Rethinking The Blog for 2013 ...

So there are plenty of people blogging about tourism, sex, dating, politics, the weird and whacky, retirement, and of course how cheep, cheep, cheep, living in Thailand is.  None of those topics are of any real interest to me and as I have stated before there is no desire on my part to write a how to guide on anything.

From the feedback on this year’s opener, I am thinking of revisiting something I did more of early on.  Instead of looking outward for big events and big pictures perhaps it is time to focus once again on the little things, a bit closer to home.  While searching the horizon for a new direction, I was reminded that my readers might be looking for something a little more intimate.  Perhaps a simple look into the daily pulse of a life in Thailand, far removed from Bangkok and the well traveled tourist areas, is something I could devote more time to this year.

Take today for example, I awoke to an internet that simply would not stay connected.  In a matter of seconds, my router would dropout and start trying to connect again.  Sometimes these things self correct but not on this occasion.  I have found over time, that when calling the TOT service center it is easier to select the Thai assistant over the English speaking one, and that is what I did this morning.  Within half and hour things were back to normal, which is far from spectacular, but at least things work again.

While waiting I drank coffee, the last of the beans a visiting New Zealand friend who owns a coffee shop and roasts and blends his own coffee, gave me.  As I enjoyed his unique blend, I played around with setting up my new hand-me-down iPhone 4, after resetting it to clean out all my wife’s settings and content.  You see, yesterday I got my wife a new iPhone 5 while we were in town.  Since she uses her phone a lot more than I do, it only makes sense that she have the latest model, besides even the 4 is a step up from what I have been using.

Today was also time for Cookie’s weekly swim with the fish, followed by a thorough shampoo and blow-dry.  Later, after we got Cookie all cleaned up and smelling great again, I though a little about going for a ride but got caught up in searching out new Mt. Bike routes on Google Maps.  It took much longer than I planned but think I have a doable route to tryout tomorrow.

We take Cookie to a vet in town for her shots but there are five other dogs, not all ours, and a two cats that we take care of by having a couple of local vets drop by the house to administer shots.  They have now come and gone.  It is not always easy to round them up but still it is much easier than taking them somewhere in the car.  Cookie is used to cars but the others aren’t.

The sprinkler system has been acting up lately so the guy who installed it finally showed up to have a look and take the sprinkler heads home to work on.  My wife and I walked Cookie after feeding her and as usual our three outdoor dogs accompanied us on most of our walk.  They often stop and wait for us at home, after the first round.  As we walk the 400 meters to the end of the soi with Cookie on a leash, the others roam free as usual, making for interesting viewing as we cross the territorial boundaries of the other dogs who live in the connecting sois and houses along the way.

All the posturing, bluffing and barking that goes on is quite entertaining to me.  Then again, I like dogs and don’t expect them to act like people.  I find it necessary to watch what signals I send out as our three males can become emboldened by the wrong tone or gesture on my part.  By now all the personalities are well known and all I need to do is encourage them to move along after they have done their doggy thing. 

Even with Cookie on a leash, the grownups are afraid of her but unlike their parents the little children in the soi often run up to Cookie and give her a big hug.  Big, being the operative word since she is much bigger than they are.  Come to think of it that is something I don’t have a picture of, but the fading light at that time of day is not conducive to action shots, at least not with my camera.

With the sun having set, perhaps it is time to put this to bed and think about that ride I am planning for tomorrow.

Where to enjoy Coffee in the Rai ...

I am a coffee lover, and though indulging in coffee is relatively harmless, I do consider it a vice.  Being short of vices, one has to make do.  Making my own pot of coffee, in a rather large French press, left me drinking rather too much in the past.  In an effort to reduce my intake, coffee consumption is now restricted to public venues.  That means a minimum fifty kilometer drive, oneway.

I have by no means sampled every coffee venue in the Rai, nor do I intend to.  The cheapest place for anything, including coffee, is beyond my area of interest or expertise.  Flavor, presentation, ambiance and of course convenience are highest on my list.

Since shopping usually means a stop at BigC, among other places, my coffee fix is more conveniently found there.  S & P's, Blue Cup Coffee, is my favorite and just happens to be located there, but I can make do with Black Canyon Coffee, if perchance the wife would prefer eating lunch there.  A Blue Cup cappuccino is served in a signature white ceramic coffee cup, a bit larger than most and holds its foamy head well.  That is important if one wants to enjoy that unique cappuccino experience.  Neither of these two places have any ambiance to speak of, so it is down to flavor, presentation and mainly convenience.

The two main, Thai coffee brands, are Doi Chang and Wa Wee, both with their own coffee shops in Chiang Rai.  Doi Chang is arguable the better tourist or farang location, only a short walk from the Night Bazar area. 

Doi Chang is located on a convenient corner, in an older, slightly rundown building.  The decor wisely uses that to advantage with a rustic, relaxed feel.  The location, tight quarters, mismatched furnishings, a little garden/pond area at the entrance, as well as a couple of antique computers, create a place that seems to attract farangs.

Personally I like the muffins, and the food and pastry selection appears appetizing from what I have seen, but the cappuccino is served in a smallish glass cup with a brownish foam that I personally find unattractive and unappetizing.  At least it is not a paper cup, but neither is it a proper ceramic cup.  If you want to be among other farangs you will overlook the coffee presentation and substandard foam.  The cats, that sometimes make a leisurely perusal of the premises, (a Persian and a Siamese if I am not mistaken) add a homey touch for animal lovers.

Wa Wee is also located on a corner, but the parking area out front, can only be accessed by a oneway road not far from the famous Ha Yak intersection.  While convenient for bank and government workers in that area, it is not as convenient for many farangs.  Unlike Doi Chang, this place is very modern with a more Thai clientele.  Kind of a Thai version of Starbucks with clean modern lines, plenty of space and comfy seating options, that seem to appeal to a more upmarket Thai crowd.  Even the computers, Apple iMacs, say modern and trendy. 

The large cappuccino is served in a brown ceramic mug, which again, I prefer to a glass cup.  The food or snack selection did not appeal to me and the (order & pay) first, reminded me of Starbucks in Bangkok.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  The presence of Thais in office attire is in stark contrast to the sometimes colorful farangs one encounters at Doi Chang.  One can be fooled into thinking one is in a much bigger city.

Oddly enough, if a solitary outing on the Phantom leads me into town, the chances are you will find me at Doi Chang.  The reason being that more often than not, I will bump into someone I know or meet someone new.  A brief spontaneous encounter is something that suits me.  More typically I am with my wife when in town and less inclined to strike up a conversation with strangers so will be found in S & P nursing my favorite Blue Cup cappuccino.

The above mentioned locations are all located on my map.

(As an edit to this post we now have Starbucks and a few other coffee options at the new Mall.)

As of 2012 Chivit Thamma Da is my favorite place for coffee in the Rai.