Thursday, January 31, 2013

Song Bird Competitions

On our way back from the Phuket Butterfly Release, a great number of people were collected in the shade pointing at something we couldn’t see. 

Our driver was very keen to stop, and asked whether we wanted to have a look, to which we agreed. We were suddenly bombarded with a plethora of sound from about 20 birds, each in a hanging cage. There were two male judges listening to the birds sing, and awarding points, according to pitch, melody, and volume. 

There was also a timing judge with a whistle, and a pot of water having a tiny bowl with a hole in it, through which the water ran out, which measured the length of time for which a bird sang. I continued to watch carefully and saw someone else also watching the judges. This was only a local competition but apparently tens of thousands of Baht can be won.

This spectacle has to be seen to be believed. There are regular competitions in Phuket Town opposite Satree School and also next to the Esso Petrol Station. I might ask Uncle John (a local bar and bird owner) to take me another time to gain further understanding. 


Monday, January 28, 2013

Panwa Promenade

It was a beautiful afternoon and I chose to eat my gelato from Café Kantary on the promenade opposite.

It was also quiet so there were only a handful of vendors waiting to sell their food to the local passerby.

One car was parked by the side of the road – the driver asleep and oblivious to any one walking by.

Screams, splashes and shouts shattered my tranquility.  The local children had decided to have an afternoon dip. Memories of my personal childhood swinging in a tyre over a river came flooding back.

Beautiful, I only hope that I can give my son some of the joys of childhood that I remember having, and that he does not get completely lost in technology as the present generation is seeming too.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Social Media or Conversation

Yesterday morning, whilst I was waiting for my guide to the Phuket Old Town, a guest asked me, “Do you think all this internet is stopping people from talking to each other?”  

I smiled politely and said that nothing would take away the pleasure of a simple conversation as my Android vibrated in my pocket, indicating that I had received a message on Facebook.

I retreated quietly to the Café Kantary, ordered a Café Latte and some White Chocolate flavoured gelato and pondered a bit. My phone vibrated a couple of times more but I did not answer – technology does not control me! 

As I watched the sun go down, the tables got busier and I watched their occupants behaviour – 71% of the guests were using an electronic communication device with social media and 45% of them, sitting as couples, were both using a device. I was surprised. 

Shouldn’t  there be places that ban these devices making it necessary
 for people to talk to one another?


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thailand and Hollywood

photograph used with permission - JamieinPhuket
If you choose to visit Phuket you could investigate the ever more popular Phuket Old Town, which was posted here previously, or you could choose to go a little further away. 

The most common destinations are Phang Nga Bay to visit the former ‘set’ of “The Man with the Golden Gun,” which is that enormous rock with the gun on it which could obliterate the world. 

Then there is the beach of Maya Bay in Phi Phi that was made famous by Leonard DiCaprio when he filmed “The Beach.” He also stayed at Cape Panwa during the filming. 

A pirate movie, which nobody saw, “Cutthroat Island” was filmed in Krabi. The cast for the movie also stayed at Cape Panwa during its filming.

The jungle rafts in the “Deer Hunter” were not actually in Cambodia but were on the River Kwai in Thailand.

The Softel in Hua Hin doubled as the French Embassy in the “Killing Fields.”

Even with the growth in the use of computer technology in films Thailand was still used: look carefully at the Wookie Islands in “Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith” as they are limestone mountains in Krabi which were later destroyed by the Tsunami in 2004.  

Other films include: “Good Morning Vietnam,” “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “Casualties of War,” and a great many more.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Energy in Phuket

Throughout some parts of the world there are claims that there are assaults on the environment which can be reduced if people change their behaviour only a little bit.

The common things learnt in some places in the West were related to conserving energy as a way to protect the environment AND save money. I also believe that in the United Kingdom (Ed: because Tim told me) that instruction in conserving energy was a recognised part of the National Curriculum.

In Phuket, some are beginning to recognise how saving energy can be beneficial to both the individual AND for the greater good of the environment.

Some look forward to the use of Solar Energy in Phuket: meanwhile I would like to see coaches that are parked by the side of the road, with their air conditioning on and only one person inside, turned off!  


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Phuket’s Local Gastronomy

After sampling the delights of Cape Panwa Hotel's restaurants it is always worth exploring some of Phuket’s Local dishes. (Ed – these are NOT for everybody).

The most famous is Mee Hokkien noodles, these are thick round yellow wheat noodles similar to the Japanese soba noodle. The dish, however is of Chinese origin and my restaurant of choice for Mee Hokkien is Mee Ton Poe Restaurant in Phuket Town.

Another common dish that can be found in the local markets is a grilled salt–crusted fish or Pla Pow Kluea. I like to visit Sapan Hin and have this whilst watching the sunset over the sea.

A favourite of the Cape Panwa Hotel staff is the Tom Yam Hua Pla  or spicy fish head soup. You must visit Mor Mudong Restaurant, a local restaurant next to a klong,  to taste this dish. In fact, I have never met a tourist there whenever I have visited.

A popular place for the locals in Phuket Town for their Som Tum or spicy Thai papaya salad is Nong Sow – a roadside café which is always busy for lunch; I have never seen a tourist there either..

Then a favourite of my friend’s is the Giant Sea Snails that are sometimes available at Laem Hin floating seafood restaurant on the West coast of Phuket Island.

If you decide to try any of these delicacies on your next visit, send Tim a photo ( and he will post it here for you.