27 March – Been very hot here recently, around 36C, which is 3-4 degrees higher than usual. But spare a thought for people living in the north-east of Thailand. I’ve had a few phone calls from expats looking to head somewhere cooler as it’s up to 42C on the Buriram rice plains.
A Tale of Two Coffeeshops
What with it being hot and also with the rainy season on the way, I thought I’d go and try a couple of places that people would head to in the event of very hot or very wet weather – the two new coffeeshops on White Sand beach.
At the far north of the beach, at KC Grande Resort is ‘Bodiwork Cafe’ and in the centre of the beach, at Koh Chang Lagoon Resort, is the grandly titled ‘Cafe de Koh Chang’. Other than first thing in the morning, in order to kick-start my heart, I only drink iced coffee. So the benchmark would be iced coffee that is strong but not bitter; cold, not still slightly lukewarm, not too sweet for my unrefined western palate – something that is very common; and not watery – should have a thicker consistency. Basically, the type of iced coffee you can get at good coffeeshop in any gasoline station in Thailand for about 40 baht. And even in Kai Bae Hut Noodle Shop for 45 baht.
For decor, Bodiwork would win – nicer design with dark wood & white walls and most seating outdoors whereas Cafe de Koh Chang is a sea of red-brown panelling with indoor seating in strange small booths. For staff, nothing wrong with Bodiwork but at Cafe de Koh Chang they were more smiley and gave me a free glass of iced water while I waited. Price – the same, 80 baht. And finally the coffee, Bodiwork was sweet and not so strong. Cafe de Koh Chang had more of a kick to it and was more to my liking but a bit watery.
So both are pleasant air-conditioned places to hang out in and both sell coffee and variety of fancy teas and cakes but I’m still waiting for a coffeeshop that sells really good coffee and not just a lifestyle.
How do you decorate your garden wall if you are wealthy? Simple, you use hundreds of glass bottles, but you keep the labels on so passers by know you drink ‘Phuket Lager’ and not the mass produced Chang or Singha beers.
The roadside viewpoint overlooking White Sand beach was cleared recently. Much easier to park and take photos like this. It does look very nice, until you get down to road level. But the actual beach, whilst getting more like Benidorm by the year, is still very good.
I had a guy forward me a load of emails that he had traded with someone selling land here. Basically, if you are offered any land on a 99 or 999 year lease it’s bullshit. You’ll even be told that because the ‘sales’ contract is witnessed by the local headman this makes it legal – regardless of the fact the actual Thai law says it isn’t. (The signature of an old local farmer over-rules the Thai Civil & Commercial Code round these parts.)
It wouldn’t be so bad if the land was dirt cheap or well located, but it isn’t, it’s just remote farmland being marketed to suckers who will buy it but then never be able to sell it – unless they can find someone even more gullible than they were.
On March 28th Bangkokians are being asked to turn their lights off for an hour in order to save the earth. On Koh Chang a similar thing will be tried only in order to increase the savings motorists are being asked to follow suit.
This ties in with the many eco-friendly initiatives already being applied on Koh Chang. For example, landlords here were some of the first to adopt paperless contracts. After being told repeatedly that rental contracts weren’t worth the paper they were written on, landlords did away with them entirely and opted for tree saving verbal agreements.
And in preparation for an influx in Thai visitors to the island over the upcoming Songkran holiday, signs are being erected advising how to dispose of garbage. Plastic, glass, empty food containers, bags, packets etc are to be separated and left as designated points.
Plastic bottles and bags bearing a ‘7-eleven’ logo can be left by the roadside anywhere on the west coast of the island. Glass bottles and cans should be piled under palm trees on beaches where someone, should they feel the urge, can pick them up and recycle them later. Other waste such as styrofoam boxes, crisp packets etc can just be dumped out at sea during a snorkelling trip as it’ll all be removed during the annual underwater cleanup.
This week’s major sporting event . . .
The prestigious Klong Son Cup football tournament is currently underway. With teams from as far and wide as the north and south sides of Klong Son village taking part, this is sure to be a football tournament Klong Son residents will be talking about for days to come.
But bad news for tennis fans. The umpires chairs have been delivered but the tennis courts themselves are still a few years from completion.