Problem with Creative People



Panel1 : (notepad) Am I not telling it right? Nobody reads me!
Panel2 : (warning icon) Ahh! We creative folks always follow golden rule of communication : SHOW DONT TELL.
Panel3 : (notepad) How do you show that excel can take only 65536 rows?
(warning icon) : MUST NOT talk to engineers, tech writers, managers..

A good actor never knows when they said 'CUT'



Panel1 : (Actress) I am so busy in Bollywood
Panel2 : (Actress) I am doing four movies in Tamil right now.
(Fish) ??
Panel3 : (Actress) I had to turn down Mani. I am so busy in malayalam
(Fish) you got to be kidding me!

No More Excuses ...

There once was a man who sat at his favorite table enjoying high-tea in a posh hotel lobby, often accompanied by friends.  He would eventually wander upstairs to the health club for a bit of weight training, stretching and drills on the squash court before being joined by others eager to play.  A couple of hours later, both exhausted and exhilarated from the effort, it was time for a sauna, jacuzzi, cold-plunge and a shower before heading out.  Next was a massage, usually followed by sex and a late dinner.  As others were bringing down the curtain on the day, he was gearing up for a night of hotspots and notorious places one did not speak of with your daytime friends.

He was heard to boast that his worst days were often better than most people’s best days and the majority took him to be much younger than his actual years.  I used to know this guy but we have lost touch with the passage of time.  Age, injury, overindulgence, changes in lifestyle and location, laziness of mind and body, have all contributed to him being little more than a memory.  This last year he was particularly indulgent and whether in the mirror or in candid ten megapixel photos from unflattering angles, he is all but unrecognizable.

His last few years have been focused on outward things.  Building things, social networks, exploring the roads and trails, preparing for the future but forgetting something more important.  If you treat life’s achievements like trophies to be displayed upon a shelf, they soon become weathered and tarnished.  Life is not what you dream about or once did but what you do on a daily basis.  No matter what your age, life is to be lived to the best of ones ability and not just talked of or dreamed about.  It must be reaffirmed each day to keep it alive and healthy.  We begin each day on the lower slopes, not on the top of the mountain and only by our struggles to get to the top do we delay the inevitable decline into the valley.

To this end my old friend is trying to make a comeback.  A little over four weeks ago there was a small ripple in the force or perhaps a tiny rift in the fabric of space-time which caused a reboot of his system.  Gone were the memories and expectations of the past that blocked forward progress.  There was just the present and a desire to see what he could do.  With no measure of time or distance he set off down the trail at a slow jog, to find the limits of his new reality.  The pain and suffering that was to follow until this day, have been a test of character.

At four weeks there was the first sign of a breakthrough.  Usually he does two days on and a day off, with the distance being ever increased by the smallest of increments.  Then one day at the top of a hill, only recently added to take in the view before returning home, he instead headed down the other side intent on taking a longer circular route.  Arriving at home covered in sweat as usual, he sat in his chair on the drive surrounded by his canine entourage.

Even with the added distance he felt different, almost good, and less a puddle of melting flesh.  This his favorite time of day seemed even more wonderful than usual.  He was not hunched over in agony and gasping for breath but head up enjoying his favorite time of day.  Here he sat awash with endorphins, feeling also a light breeze caressing and cooling his wet body, with eyes lifted to the heavens drinking in the colors and shapes that adorn the evening sky just after the sun sets and before it becomes too dark to see.  This he could see as a routine that someone could look forward to and not dread.  Exertion and discipline followed by beauty and relaxation.

Hikes and bike rides are all good but are time consuming and best undertaken in the early morning hours.  Even after years of trying, mornings are more of a one-off for me having never been able to make them routine.  I suffer as a slow starter and it is only in the late afternoon, preferably around sunset, that I feel invigorated and pain free enough to exercise.  So instead of fighting my nature or making excuses, I have simply reclaimed the evening as my time of exercise.  Don’t really know why it has taken so long.

I never thought I would end up being this person but sure enough here I am.  So now I am paying the price of trying to find that guy I once was and thought I would always be.  In the short term I will probably have more empathy for the excuse makers and understand the pain involved in starting over but I could become more obnoxious than ever if I am indeed successful in my quest to be reunited with that guy I used to know so well.  Anyway for now there will be no more excuses and my fifty-seventh year will be dedicated to a new me or reclaiming what I can of the old me.

WHAT IS THAT SMELL??????







I walked out back the other day to feed the dogs their lunch when this ,awful smell hit me in the face like a ton of bricks , the wind was blowing just right and the smell was coming from the back deck , I thought for a minute the dogs had dragged up something dead from the woods to roll in , their favorite thing to do of late , they both smell like a couple of skunks. I walked around from where I thought it was coming from and there in the dirt and grass looked like a scene from the ole Beverly Hillbilly's t.v. show (" up from the ground popped a bubbling crude") there was a bubbling , But it was not crude this was bubbling SH-- coming from the buried sewer tank under the poured deck and ground. When we remodeled the house 7 years ago we took a look at the system and (knowing nothing about them ) thought it looked ok to me , the contractor never said anything different, Sooo  we poured a concrete deck over it with a plug left to clean it out when it got full, this is usually about every 3 or 4 months ,I knew it was already old when we moved in but what I didn't know was that when they put it in almost 15 years ago they did not put gravel or rocks around the outside and did not seal the concrete top when they put it on and after all these years when the rainy season came the holes in the lid and between the two culverts  were letting it fill up with water and pushing the sewer water out the top holes , thus the bubbling stinky stuff. Well with nothing left to do but put in a new sewer system ,BUTT the only problem was that all the PVC pipes from the toilets were also encased in the concrete deck.Would you believe I had a dream as to how to fix the problem .  First ,we dug a 5 mete hole beside the deck and put in 2 huge concrete culverts and sealed them and sealed the cover as well , with the hole in the top we we put a 6in. PVC with a elbow and ,then where the old system came to the side if the deck , punched a hole in the side close to the bottom and ran the PVC pipe in there, and sealed around it good ,  sooo when the old system fills to the pipe the water and stuff them flow thru the PVC, from the old , into the new system that is lower than the old one  thus utilizing some of the old and also a new system , we then, back filled around with rocks and gravel and packed the top soil real good, . and  WALA  it works like I hoped and prayed it would , now instead of have the POOP sucker come every 3 or 4 months  and as if late with the problem , more like every 2 months  , hopefully it will be every 6 or 7 months , will cost more , because of pumping two systems  but will be a while in between pumping, that the truck does not have to drive on the grass  , which always takes a week or two to look normal again.Another thing that we did was to put a gas vent in the system to keep the smell and gas from coming back into the toilet when you flushed sometimes  , now nooo smell and gases stay outside and away from the house .I hope you understood all this high tec (dreaming)Thailand ingenuity, anyway life is never boring here in Wang Pho and especially at the Burgess's. Well at least I didn't just run a blue PVC pipe out the back and let it run into a hole in the ground , which most  Thais that live in the country side do , on the plus side of things here on Moo1 , is that since we have moved here and I have talked to all our neighbors about the importance of sanitation and  clean yards and surroundings  they have all installed sewer systems and I can really smell the difference when the wind blows from their way up to ours and I have also noticed that we have almost no flys and the mosquitoes are a lot less in the evenings ,when you are outside working or playing ..
Well that's an up-date on thing here at our house , the new project is a pathway with stepping stones from the carport to the side deck , which I will report and post pictures next time .. Hope you enjoy this post and pictures and are any of you taking on summer projects ??? if so  then what ??

Walking in Old Phuket Town

Officially, Phuket Town was upgraded to "Phuket City" a few years ago, but that was just a bureaucratic way of getting more money from central government. Phuket Town is not a city to me and everybody says Phuket Town. I mean, sure it's a big town and has got more developed and urbanised, especially in the outskirts. Since 1999 when I first arrived in Phuket, there's been a lot of building, lots of housing projects, lots of new roads and shopping centers, lots of money being spent. I remember the first time I drove from Patong Beach to the Tesco Lotus store on the edge of town. A ride through the jungle on a narrow 2 lane road. There was no Central mall, no Jungceylon mall, no Big C, no Index, no Makro, no HomeWorks, no 4 lane roads. The development has come thick and fast. I am not going to argue about whether this is good or bad, whether money is destroying values and culture. I think that the people of Phuket, including myself, are very happy to have all that!

Most of the new development is around the edges of Phuket Town. As you head towards the center, the old world is more obvious. I have always liked exploring the town. Every street has something of interest. People may wonder where Thailand can be found in Phuket... if you're staying in Patong Beach, I can understand the feeling. Phuket Town is where a part of the real Phuket can be found. I could walk around these streets taking photos every day. It's what this blog is about - finding real life among the tourists and beaches.

Old shop on Thalang Road

The heart of Old Phuket Town is Thalang Road, in particular the block between Thepkassatri road and Yaowarat road. Pick up any Phuket map and they all feature a map of town, even if only a small percentage of tourists ever visit. What, no beaches? The old town covers a few blocks in the center of town, kind of everything from the main market to the main bus terminal. Yeh, there are some new buildings in there too, but the old early 20th century shophouse architecture predominates. The shop in the photo above is on Thalang road, the shelves are surely decades old. The shop has been there for about 100 years. A large amount of Phuket Town was built around that time when the tin mining industry was booming.

Thalang Road Phuket

Thalang Road (above) is where we headed last Saturday. The main reason for the walk was to visit a guitar shop. Our daughter is starting some guitar lessons, and our son thinks himself a rock star.. and I used to play a bit myself. Parking a car in the old town can be tricky. We parked at the east end of Thalang road. The guitar shop is just off Thalang Road at the other end, maybe a 400 meter walk, but filled with a wide variety of shops, restaurants and houses.

Printer

Hardware

A printer (currently printing election brochures) and a hardware store on Thalang Road. The old businesses like this have been here since the year "dot". They are all run by old Phuket families. Thalang Road still has this feeling of being in the past. But the past crumbles. The street and other streets nearby look better than they did 10 years ago. There is a very active "old town association". Thalang Road has hidden it's overhead wires, so has Soi Romanee, a side street off Thalang Road. And there are signs up in town announcing that cables on neighbouring streets will also be buried. The old town is having a revival.

Much of the old town, especially Thalang Road still has the old shophouses. A shop at the front, the house in the middle, out of sight. People used to live where they worked. Shop. House. The street outside featured a covered walkway between all the shophouses, with arches between each one. Many of the arches had been blocked off, but the old town association has encouraged people to open up the street again. Now you can walk most of the way along Thalang Road in the shade, or out of the rain. Underneath the arches. So it's an all-weather street!

Arches

A boy and guitars

So we found the guitar shop, bought a guitar, and headed back. Thalang Road now has a small tourist information center. Downstairs you have brochures and displays about Phuket's history and things to see in Phuket Town. Upstairs did not seem to be anything, but my wife had a look and called me up. Looks like a photo opportunity.

Chairs

I need to go there again. Always something new to find. Development is happening on Thalang Road too, but it's low key. New cafes, fresh paint on a crumbly exterior, and regular street fairs and festivals. If you want a bit of history, culture and local life.... Old Phuket Town is where it's at!

After a bit of a walk, we found it was lunch time. We have a few favourite places to eat in town, but decided to try something new. A restaurant called Kopitiam, on Thalang Road, right next door to the amazing scents of the "Oldest Herb Shop in Phuket". There is another restaurant called Wilai on the other side of the herb shop. The Wilai restaurant has a secret passage through the kitchen that leads to the Shrine of the Serene Light. Another hidden treasure, although the main entrance to that shrine on Phang Nga Road is being widened.... Anyway, Kopitiam - nice place, and I was glad to see a table full of locals sitting there already - a sure sign of good food!

Kopitiam locals

Inside there are lots of old Phuket photos, decorations made from "old things", a very tasteful restaurant. All Thai dishes priced at 70 Baht. My chicken with chili and black pepper was very tasty. Kids had chicken with garlic and pepper, also tasty. We'll be back!

Kopitiam restaurant, Thalang Road, Phuket

One more hidden secret before we went home. I had known about this old mansion for some time, had seen photos and heard that it was uninhabited. I found the location using Google Earth. Half a block north of the circle near the market, west side of the road, looked down an alleyway. Found it. Does indeed seem to be abandoned. Except we found 2 rather nasty snarling dogs living there. Not a place to hang around.

Old Mansion

Phuket is of course best known for beaches, nightlife, diving, golf, family holidays in the sun... It's odd that I live here, but I am not a beach person. I can't sit on the beach. Diving - yes, sure! Nightlife? Small Chang beer please. I have a family, and a job. I am not Thai, not a real local, but Phuket is home. Phuket Town is always interesting to me. And to be honest I am happy that "a walk in the old town" does not interest most tourists! More for the rest of us.

More Phuket Town on Jamie's Phuket...

Phuket Street Show 2010
Phuket Heritage Tour in Phuket Town
Phuket Photo Walk 2010
Old Phuket Street Fair
Shrine of the Serene Light
Glastnost Cafe on Soi Romanee
Hotels in Phuket Town

Google vs Facebook

I love google. We all do. It tells me the correct spelling of floccinaucinihilipilification. (Finally, I managed to use that word in a sentence!) When I tried to pull the same stunt in MS Word, the autocorrect choked on its red squiggly lines for a while and then came back with 'Fox nose in hill fiction'.  Fox nose in hill fiction! Way to go Billy boy!

And google is the best to turn to if you ever forget the lyrics of a song.

I: zindagi shitwah gulzaar
Google: Did you mean zindagi shikwah gulzaar?
Google not only gave me the links for the lyrics and the mp3 but also some true insights. Did you know that gulzaar uses the word zindagi a lot in his songs? Awfully lot! He should get a life.
And then then other day, I started hearing this disturbing sound (tung tungg tunggg) in my car. So I called the mechanic.

I: I hear this sound in my car. It is like tung tungg tunggg.
Mechanic: We will do it Sir. You will pay by cash or card Sir?
I: You will do what?
Mechanic: We will see sir. But we will do it sir. you will bring the vehicle tomorrow no Sir?

I started worrying what he was going to do and who he was going to do to - car, card or me? So I did what any man who has an iota of manliness in him will do. I googled "why am I hearing tung tungg tunggg in my car?" The first link was "if you hear a dull thumping noise in your car" from the blog of a British scuba diver. It obviously was a wrong result as tung tungg tunggg can never be described as a thumping noise. But you can never trust those foreigners who have English as their first language. They have a weird way of speaking and writing English. So I clicked on the link. Let me cut short the story here by just saying we found in the boot of the car the stainless steel vessel that we thought we had missed in the picnic a month back.

I am saying all these nice things about Google because I feel very bad that Google is getting his butt kicked by Facebook. I find it strange that Facebook's ascendance should spell doom for Google. After all, one helps you to find the lyrics of the gulzaar song and the other helps you to see your friend's wife's (sorry kid's) photo. So they kinda address different needs and can co exist together. But we know it never works that way. The way it works is the more time you spend on your friend's wall the lesser time you have for searching and lesser opportunities for Google to make money. Well, it is not exactly that way. The truth is bit more complicated. But I do not want to go into it as I become depressed. Why don't you just find out for yourself how facebook is going to beat google. Just Google it.
Yeah! Google knows it. He just can't do anything about it. Ironical isn't it?

From Funny Side Of Life

If you like my comic strip check more posts with comic (or just comics) at comic strips

Saturday is here again

Every Saturday morning, every wife in every household hands out her husband tea (or coffee) and asks "what's the program?" Just like the way every Friday night, every man in every household had asked after switching off the T.V . But unlike the wives who can be snoring or having headache or just tired from the whole day's work when men popped the question, men don't have many alternatives because, let's face it, they just had a whole night of good ...sleep.

So men freeze, unable to think of an answer and the crude-oil goes up five cents in anticipation of the demand and the exporters in mid-east go ballistic shouting, "Inshah allah, it is another Saturday morning in Bangalore!" But the earth is rotating and Allah has something terrible in store for them. In four hours, they are going to be served tea (or coffee). And there is not going to be one but three cups and wives to answer to.

Meanwhile in Bangalore, man's mind weighs all alternatives like Deep Blue and comes out with a move outlined below. (For chess aficionados, I have given the possible alternate moves and the outcomes in the same terse way they see in their favorite news paper  - in the half inch space between the seventh division cricket news and the half page advertisement.)

(Man to play and lose. In three moves)
Woman: so, what's the program?
Man : You tell me. (?!. The alternative is worse 1. I don't' know??? , I have a plan+ Ch !!!! 2. Yeah??? , Yeah+ Ch mate!!! )
Woman: I was cleaning the kitchen!!! (Better than the alternative - 1. ...., I want to buy a jeans 2. You have so many already!!+Ch, But they are tight??, Maybe, you should use the treadmill we bought last month!!+Ch mate)
Man : Yeah.. (Man has been set up by the brilliant kitchen move and is not seeing it yet)
Woman: We need to buy a dozen new plastic containers to put salt, sugar... !!!
Man: Why? Is salt complaining about the old jar ?? (Bad move. But the alternative isn't good either - 1. Let's go buy the containers , On the way let's stop at that Saree shop too!! . Man eventually loses)
Woman: Do you want to come with me for shopping or not !!!+ Ch mate (Man has lost already.)


I had continued the conversation with "Not particularly" variation eventually losing in three more moves. As I am typing this blog my wife has gone shopping. I look around the house with a wistful hope. There is not much damage to be done. We already have the costliest clothesline bought in Stay-fit fitness equipments. We had bought HD ready LCD TV at six times the current price and have been waiting for four years to see three HD Abhishek bachchans sell us a sim card. (Thankfully, it is yet to happen. HD, I mean.) We already have a surround system with that sub woofer speaker which has a big hole (designed no doubt for some stupid acoustic reason) where my kid hides his carrots and peas.

But the noise of the shopkeepers at the mall, "Yippee! It's Saturday again!" is disturbing my thoughts. And in the distance I can hear the CEO of LG television exclaiming to his managers, "Why do we need 3D content to sell our 3D TV? Aren't weekends enough?"

ROOM WITH A VIEW

It's been a while since my last post , But , I have been busy taking care of my girl Ciejay. It seems that the meds they gave her from her last stay at the hospital were to strong for her little stomach, and it ate a small hole in her intestines, and caused her to loose a lot of blood and all her energy just up and left her. It was time for her normal check-up at the hospital , and when the Dr. saw her he said "you aren't going anywhere but here for a few days till we find out whats wrong and get you fixed up" . Well they didn't have a private room available at the time so off to the ward we go . Now a hospital ward in Thailand is not like a ward in any other country , folks are put in a bed if they have one and are rolled into any space they can find to put them sometimes over 100 folks in a small ward and 4 or 5 nurses to take care of them , this is where the Thai family comes in to play, a family member or several members will bring a mat and stay in the space with them (sleeping and sitting where ever they can , sometimes under the sick persons bed ) to take care of all their needs , feeding , washing , trips to bathroom , changing the bed cloths and emptying the bedpans when needed and anything else that is not of an emergency need, the nurses are there to check temp, hook up meds and dispense pills , all the important stuff. SOOO there we were for 3 days and 2 nights and I did my duty as Ciejay's private nurse and family member,the other folks showed me how and where everything was and how to do , they were all sooo gracious and genuine concerned that I could do what was necessary., I will forever remember the time there and the wonderful folks who helped me be a nurse for a day or two.Then a private room opened up and we were off to the 9th floor or the Pent House and VIP rooms ( and the room with a view), I would have stayed in the ward, BUT, the mosquitoes ate me and Ciejay up at night and I could not sleep in the bench that was there and it was soooo hot I almost screamed sometimes ( now I'm complaining ).  So I was glad to pay for the private room and be able to sleep and not be eaten alive at night by the mosquitoes and did I say that it was air- condition , private bath , Cable TV and a frig and a small bed for me to sleep on , and for our 7 day stay there the private room was all we had to pay , all the meds , the blood and all the other IVs they gave her the private nurses and all the wonderful care and the room was $20.oo a day American money  and they gave us the last day for free. And to top it all off the room had a view .
The view from our room
this is the right side view
this is the left side view
extreme left
Ciejay's brother came for a visit and made her happy
Ciejay in her bed in the private room
the door into our room
 the hall-way in the ward where Ciejay was  about 6 beds down
Ciejay in the ward
I am happy to report that they got the hole closed up and with the bags of blood and other stuff they they were pumping into her , Ciejay is home and doing great.She(reluctantly), rested easy for a couple days and now back at her normal pace , Me ,,,,,I have learned how to notice when she needs help and I jump right in and do things that I had not thought of doing before , I guess my nights in the ward taught me a few things and I am sooo glad she is doing good and glad to have her home , after all she's my whole life.                Malcolm

Chumphon Town and Province

Phuket is our home and that's not likely to change, but my wife and I do like other parts of Southern Thailand too. Phang Nga has some great scenery which we like to explore, and we love to go and relax at Khao Sok in the hills. But when there is time we head over to the east coast of Thailand, in particular to Chumphon and Prachuap Khiri Khan. From our house it's just under 400km to Chumphon, driving via Phang Nga and Surat Thani. Normally takes about 5 hours drive at a sensible speed.

Welcome to Chumphon

We've been this way many times. I first went there more than 10 years ago. My wife first saw Chumphon in 1976 on the day she was born - yes, Chumphon (ชุมพร) is her home town. Our daughter was born in Chumphon too - we were living in Phuket at the time but my wife wanted the family around. At that time, 9 years ago, the family lived near the center of town, a short walk from the railway station in a house by the river. When my wife was young they used to swim in the river and the town was less built up. By the time I first went, a small road near the house was being used as a shortcut from town to the main highway.. add in some trains and occasional longtail boats on the river, and I recall some nights staying there with not much sleep!

Chumphon Hotels - Check at Agoda.com




The Family

Family

This post is not meant to be an autobiography, but .. a few lines about my in-laws. Meeting the in-laws is a strange experience at any time. Will they like me? My wife was a little worried about them meeting me. The family is quite traditional. Her dad was a police officer. When I first saw him, he was in uniform... but we broke the ice by drinking a few beers and singing karaoke (I seem to recall CCR and The Scorpions). Later my wife told me he never normally drinks. That was his way of welcoming me, since I drink like a fish! That is the only time I have ever seen him tipsy. I saw him have one glass of beer one other time at a birthday party. I was glad to be welcome. The family is great. The photo above shows old family portraits - that's my father in-law's grandfather and grandmother and his mother.

And here are the in-laws! My wifes Mum and Dad are great, very kind people.

Mum enjoying dinner at Cabana Beach

Dad ready for dinner

Both photos above taken while eating out by the beach. Chumphon town is not on the beach. There is another town nearby called Pak Nam Chumphon which is the fishing port, and there are 2 nice beaches not too far away. About 15km North West is "Cabana Beach", real name Thung Wua Laen Beach, probably the nicer one, has some accommodation, has quite a lot of restaurants and the last 2 times we have visited, we have been to play pool at a very funky little bar run by Pak and Pippa, a Thai/English couple. Pak speaks English like a Cockney. The bar is called "Funky's Beach Bar". And it's for places like this that I like Chumphon - a good break from the far more developed world of Phuket. I am sure Phuket had funky little thatch-roof beach bars 25 years ago. Chumphon has it now. Get it while it's hot. I'll have to take a photo of the place next time!

Thung Wua Laen Beach, Chumphon

The other beach is Sairee Beach, about 20km South East of Town, just south of Pak Nam Chumphon. Sairee is nice too, quite scenic with some small islands offshore, and we spent quite a bit of time here last visit. My wife's sister got married recently and her husband's family has a house here on the beach. Well, I say house, more like a small mansion! Only just completed and not fully furnished yet, but damn nice! There are restaurants here too. The water in the Gulf of Thailand and on the east coast beaches does tend to be a bit less idyllic and blue compared to the west coast, but I can see the area developing over the next 20 years. Chumphon has a small airport, it's on the main road and train line from Bangkok too. The town has developed over the last 10 years. For the better? Is a Tesco Lotus store and a Carrefour a good thing?

Sairee Beach, Chumphon

Kids at Sairee Beach

Also at Sairee Beach is a place of pilgrimage - the shrine to the "Prince of Chumphon", real name Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, whose father was King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). The prince studied naval warfare in England and is known as the "Father of the Royal Thai Navy". Many people come here to say a prayer. The shrine overlooks Sairee Beach and below the shrine is an old Thai Navy boat which can be climbed all over, much to the enjoyment of our kids.

Incoming!

(above) Our daughter on the deck guns of the boat at Sairee beach. And below - my dear wife's eye looking through a gun emplacement on the boat.

Eye

Chumphon has one thing that Phuket does not have - trains! You can get a train from Chumphon to Bangkok or even through to Malaysia. The station is small, close to the center of town and railway buffs will love it :)

Chumphon Station

Outside the station on the road into town are some old locomotives. The photo below could have been taken in 1940. Or 2009.

Old Train at Chumphon, Thailand

The family does not live in town any more. Dad retired from the police a few years ago, and they bought a new house in a new development just out of town. Very quiet but just 10 minutes drive into the center. Chumphon Town is quite a bit smaller than Phuket Town, and (so far) it's not a boom town. We have seen changes in the last few years with new houses and shopping centers, but Chumphon does not have a tourist industry. Chumphon is a lot more traditional and "olde worlde" compared to Phuket, and the cost of living is certainly cheaper. We might end up living there some day.

Chumphon market

(above) in the main market in Chumphon town.

Mostly when we go to Chumphon we just hang around, chill out, we're there for some family time. We have been a bit further North to Prachuap Khiri Khan a few times - my wife has family there too. Also a very nice area. And it's less than 2 hours drive to Ranong - we visited some hot springs there this year. The road between Chumphon and Ranong has some great views. The best is surely the one below - a hill called Khao Fa Chi. Wow.

Khao Fa Chi Viewpoint

Around Chumphon, we like to explore - just as we do in Phuket, take some back roads and see what we find! There are also some more obvious things to see.

Big Buddha

This Big Buddha is right by the main highway about 15km south of Chumphon. It's just on a slight hill, enough to look across to the ocean to the east. Nice place to stop.

One time, we took a longer drive, about 50km south, then another 50km west to a place called Phato, up in the hills where the Langsuan river winds it's way from source towards the Gulf of Thailand. My wife's sister's husband arranged it, I had no idea what to expect - a great day out rafting on the river!

Bamboo Rafting at Phato

Rafting at Phato

And sometimes we just stay home. The new house has something that looks like a canal next to it, though its actually a very long, thin pond. And it does have some fish. Below - our son fishing with my wife's sister's boyfriend (she has 2 sisters).

Quiet Time

I went to Chumphon for Songkran this year, first time I had been there for this festival. It was very nice to be part of the family at this time of year. Songkran is well known for all the water throwing and partying, but there is also the traditional Songkran, and the ceremony called "Rod Nam Dam Hua" - see photo below - is very important, where the younger generation wash the hands of their elders.

Songkran with the family

UPDATE 2013 ... Last year we did quite a bit of exploring around Chumphon, it deserves it's own blog soon! One interesting place we found, and my wife had never been before, nor had any of the family, was Koh Pitak, a small island just offshore, around 60km south of Chumphon town near Pak Nam Langsuan. They do homestays there, though we arrived on a quiet day and there was only 1 small restaurant to get some food, and the classic local shop called 7 Elephant ... get it?

7 Elephant

I liked Koh Pitak a lot ... more photos on Flickr : Koh Pitak Island near Chumphon

My wife's sister and her husband now have a house by the beach, near Pak Nam Chumphon, not far from Sairee Beach. If tourism ever takes off, it might attract early risers .. I do like sunsets, but the quiet beaches of Chumphon just after sunrise are great too. This is the view from what we now call "the beach house" :)

Sunrise

And last visit we drove North to visit a temple called Wat Kaew Prasert, near a fishing village called Bang Boed, not far south of Bang Sapan which is in Prachuap Khiri Khan, the next province to the north. A great view from the temple ...

Wat Kaew Prasert Panoramic View

Much of the coastline in the area is undeveloped, very beautiful, and with minimal facilities for tourism. This might change in the next 10 years, we'll see. Another beautiful place we found about 40km north of Chumphon was Thungsang Bay ...



(above) Family members jumping .. we enjoyed an evening BBQ at Ao Thungsang Bay and will go there again!

Chumphon (or Chumpon, or Chumporn however you wanna spell it) is like my second home in Thailand. I still have a photo in my wallet - my wife and I on Thung Wua Laen Beach, a long time ago on my first visit to Chumphon before we had a family of our own. And who knows.. we might go and live there one day. We love Phuket, but we're also very fond of Chumphon!

More info on Chumphon:

Chumphon Hotels
Songkran 2011 in Chumphon