No killer, all filler in this update as I have been in Bangkok for a while and since I got back to Koh Chang the weather has been pretty damp. The island even made it onto the Thai news as there is a danger of flooding and landslides. In reality, I saw far more flooding in the outskirts of Bangkok last week than here on Koh Chang. Here any flood waters quickly drain away, but for people living on housing estates north of the new airport the streets around their homes often remain under 6 inches of water for a 2-3 weeks at this time of year. A result of all the rain that falls on the airport having to be diverted somewhere.
:- ) Good News. There is now a police box in the centre of White Sand beach near Kacha Resort.
:- ( Bad News. There are now no public toilets on White Sand beach as they have just been converted into a new police box.
There was supposed to have been a ‘ Koh Chang Green Activity Race’ on 10 & 11 September. No idea if this took place or not as a) the weather was too bad for me to go to Salakphet to find out and b) getting any information about it was next to impossible. Here’s a quick run down of how to organise an event Koh Chang style . . . .
1) The Big Announcement. A month or so prior put out a press release announcing the event. Contact the TAT and get them to give it a mention too. Thus ensuring a translated version will make it into the English language papers. The announcements of the event even included an email address and two phone numbers – a mobile and office number – to call for more information. So far so good. A webpage in Thai or English with more details would be a helpful addition, but if there isn’t one, then never mind.
2) Signage. 10 days or so prior to the event it is time to make sure people on the island know about it and so why not erect a large billboard. (Notice the use of the singular) One billboard was put up by the roadside in Klong Son. This was strategically placed sideways onto the main road, meaning that passengers in any passing vehicles – i.e. virtually everyone visiting the island, could only read it if they stopped in front of it and turned their heads 90 degrees.
3) Advance Info. Any foreign visitors who may have picked up on the news will most likely email for information. I did too, sending three emails over the space of 10 days to the email address given out. I am still waiting for a reply. But, I have been here long enough to know that receiving a reply to an email in English is a bit of a long shot at the best of times. I should have called instead. My bad.
4) Manning the phones. With just a few days to go, you can be sure that the people answering hotline numbers will have all the info about the event at their finger tips. So a quick call was made, in Thai, to ensure getting the correct info. Actually two calls were made, as the mobile number that was listed in the original press release had been turned off. The conversation went a lot like this:
Hi, can you give me some more information about the kayaking in Koh Chang this weekend?
Yes, what would you like to know?
Where is it being held?
Whereabouts in Salakphet?
I don’t know.
What time does it start?
I don’t know.
What type of activities are there?
I think kayaking around some islands.
Koh Sai Khao?
I don’t know.
Do you have the number for someone who knows more about it?
No. You should ask someone on Koh Chang when you go there.
I don’t know.
No doubt the organisers and their friends turned up and had a opening ceremony, received a free commemorative t-shirt and took some photos. But it would be nice if events for tourists weren’t held in secret or in eco-friendly marketing speak weren’t ‘over optimised for low carbon emissions’.
Leaving Koh Chang . . .
At last it seems as though landowners are trying to encourage buyers. Recently I have added two small plots of land, both under 100m from the sea on the east coast, both with Chanote title deeds. One is now just 1,000,000 Baht for 800sqm, reduced from 2.5 Million and the other is smaller, 464sqm for 700,000 Baht but includes use of communal swimming pool. Both have easy access to the main road, water, electricity etc already in place. Both also have expat neighbours nearby.
9-11. As everyone is reminiscing about where they were 10 years ago . . . prior to being Mr Iamkohchang.com, I was Mr Ajarn.com and was tutoring two high school girls at their house in the city centre. Everything was normal, then one started to get messages on their pager and the other got SMS on her phone. Something big had happened, there had been an explosion and large fire at the World Trade Centre. So we all went outside onto the upstairs terrace to see if we could see flames, smoke or hear sirens. But nothing. A bit strange seeing as how their friends seemed convinced something major had occurred.
At this point I probably should mention that in 2001, the shopping mall now known as Central World in Bangkok city centre was then called the World Trade Centre.
After a few quick phone calls the girls quickly discovered that their favourite shopping mall was still intact and it was some place with the same name, thousands of kilometres away, that was burning. The relief was palpable with the realisation that their weekend wouldn’t be ruined after all. We then went back to gossiping about what the then PM’s daughter, best friend of one of the girl’s, was up to and it was only an hour or so later that I got home, switched on BBC news and saw that the situation was a bit more serious than a fire in a department store.
Finally, yet more rain . . .