Category Archives: Thailand (General)

It’s a dog’s life

Shelter Manager’s office at Soi Dog, Phuket

I recently visited Soi Dog in the north of Phuket, Thailand. I wanted to find out more about the non-profit organisation that alleviates the suffering of animals by sterilising and vaccinating dogs and cats. Soi Dog treats sick, injured and abused animals. It also fights the cruel and illegal dog meat trade and shelters and re-homes street dogs and cats.

Can you spot me?

Natasha was my teacher and is a volunteer from Oregon in the USA. She has been travelling with her husband through India, Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam. Now she is in Thailand and she found her way to Soi Dog two and a half months ago where she volunteers walking the dogs and conducting visitor tours.

Reception for visitors. Coffee and water. Where you meet the volunteers and start a tour.

I was one of Natasha’s pupils for an hour or so as she took us through the labyrinth of dog runs, very eloquently and knowledgeably explaining the workings of the foundation which was started by John Dalley and his wife Gill in 2003.

How do I look?

The centre currently houses 650 dogs and more than 100 cats. Since it began 135,000 dogs have been sterilised and the target is to do 80% of all the dogs in Phuket. Soi Dog has mobile facilities which are currently operating in Phangna province north of Koh Phuket. The Foundation works closely with the local towns who are responsible for informing the locals when they will be in town.

State of the art dog and cat hospital at Soi Dog, Phuket

If you get the opportunity to visit Soi Dog don’t miss it. The level of commitment to the project and the warm welcome will surprise you.

Soi Dog cat isolation unit, Phuket

The staff of approximately 150 which includes many volunteers is dedicated to Soi Dog and its aims. Its success is reliant on charitable donations and whether you visit in person or online you will feel compelled to help in whatever way you can. Even if you only pass on the news about Soi Dog you will have made a valuable contribution towards solving a worldwide problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why coconuts are a health hazard?

When I try to put my life into perspective I am always cognisant of the many strange experiences I have had, some fortunate and others not so. One such experience occurred on a visit to one of the many outdoor temporary markets which are to be found all over Thailand and indeed most countries of the East. I made a suggestion, or more likely a throw-away remark, that ‘air raid sirens’ should be installed there. On the face of it, I am sure you will think it to be a strange request, as Thailand has never been at war with any country capable of launching an air raid. But, if you permit me to continue, or read further, you may reconsider. Continue reading Why coconuts are a health hazard?

Cool Breeze in Hua Hin

If you feel like taking a two hour drive South from Bangkok and chilling out by the sea there’s a Cool Breeze in Hua Hin. Drive down Soi 55, take a right at the end past the small Chinese temple and 150 metres later along the narrow road you will find the charming Cool Breeze tapas restaurant. It is not the typical tapas bar you will find in the bodegas of the Andalucian region of Southern Spain where the dishes are laid out under glass counter tops but it makes a welcome change from the cheap and cheerful daily plethora of Thai street food.

Roadside terrace
Roadside terrace

Continue reading Cool Breeze in Hua Hin

How I survived a jungle trek in Thailand

Rohun Bevan, is an ex-English tennis player, amateur jungle trekker, swims like a shark and until yesterday was a friend of mine. Over a glass of wine a week or so ago he suggested that I may like to enjoy a leisurely Saturday followed by a couple of beers and join him on the ‘Hash House Harriers’ Saturday run, which he quickly changed to walk as I choked on my drink. I hesitantly agreed and at 3.15pm on the following Saturday we assembled, along with 100+ others, at a clearing in the forest behind Tesco supermarket in the Chalong area of Phuket. Continue reading How I survived a jungle trek in Thailand

I’m back – But not yet fully functional!

It seems like a lifetime but it is only five months since I posted ‘Taking a break’ on October 17.

Only now do I realise that post was inaptly titled. The five months have been anything but a break; more a physical and mental ordeal I promise myself never to undertake again.

House warming
House warming

I have now built two houses in Thailand which, for an amateur developer, is quite a daunting challenge. Both have been vastly different experiences and I could easily write two books; novels even!!

Forgetting the novels for a moment, my first book would be entitled ‘How NOT to build a house in Thailand’, which would be the ‘go to’ bible for any unsuspecting ex-pat attempting the feat for the first time.

The sequel ‘Second time lucky’ would be a definitive guide on how to learn from your mistakes, proof that miracles do happen and the impossible is not.

From the back garden and Lam Yai farm
From the back garden and Lam Yai farm

I can chuckle now when I recall an American gentleman, a few years younger than me, saying “You are only managing the project, I take it.” Experience has taught me that if you want the house to be built to a reasonable standard you have to roll your sleeves up.

Fortunately I have always benefited from physical activity and am a great believer in the importance of maintaining fitness throughout life. So undertaking the strain, even at the ripe old age of 73, was not actually a consideration. Perhaps it should have been; but I feel fine although 5 kgs lighter and a little weary. No doubt it will pass.

Builders finishing up party. (They had more than one!!)
Builders finishing up party. (They had more than one!!)

For now it’s time to return to a more sedate life, not forsaking daily exercise – walking and swimming – of course. I’m not surprised that the lack of stimulation I get from writing and photography has left me a little flat. Now that my focus is shifting back to my passions I’m sure my creative juices will flow again.

I am ready for action on the writing front; mentally that is. I say that because my PC, despite hours of coaxing, debugging and frustration, has decided to ‘go slow’. It is now about as fast as a one-legged tortoise on Valium! The fix is in the mix and will be done by early May when everything will be up to F1 standard.

After that, I promise that I will be doing my utmost to publish more works of interest for the small but loyal number of readers who seem to enjoy my writing and photography. I’m not sure but maybe I’ll seriously consider those house books!

However, my first job is to complete the publication of Volume Three of ‘Thailand Diaries’. In the meantime I plan to post some poems, some written, some in process, plus some short stuff which my dysfunctional PC may just be able to handle.

For now I’ll leave you with this thought;

“Life is like climbing a mountain. You spend the whole time trying to reach the summit. When you eventually do it’s time to come down and die.”