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Friday, November 26, 2010

Banking Woes

I deposited a check the other day in  my local bank and they said it would take A MONTH to clear! This was a check from a big company from a major US bank and there shouldn't be a problem. It was for only $400. Geez,   I can transfer money in minutes all around the world and this bank (NBAD) insists on holding my money for a full 30 days!!! I have to throw the bullshit card.

They just want to hold my money to get interest from it. The check will clear in a few days but I cannot have access to my money for a month. Its pure theft and things only work the bank's way. What if I told them my car payment was going to be 30 days late, I don't think they would be very understanding.

Banks are nothing but thieves and I suggest all to keep their money under the mattress rather than enrich these bastards. Charging interest is not according to Islamic law but that  fact is conveniently forgotten.

OK. I vented and feel better now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thailand Part 2

So as fascinating as Bangkok was, my friend and his family left for Abu Dhabi and I had itchy feet so I decided to go to Koh Chang, an island in the Gulf of Thailand six hours bus trip south of Bangkok. I eventually got to Trat, the nearest city to the island but the ferries had stopped running so I spent the night there and arranged transport to Koh Chang island the next morning.

After a 30 minute ride through the Thai countryside, we arrived at the ferry terminal. Automobiles on the bottom and people on the top deck of the rusty ship. It was chilly on board but a snack shop had beers so I survived without too much discomfort.

The voyage to the island took about an hour. The weather was hazy and the island revealed itself after about half way there as huge mountains jutting out of the gulf.



I arrived at the small port and waited for the pickup truck to take me to the other side of the island where my hotel was. The trucks have a canvas covering over the bed and the riders sit on makeshift bench seats in the bed aligned longitudinally. I arrived at my hotel and checked in to a very nice room. Thailand is inexpensive and a typical room costs USD$30/ night, breakfast included.

7/11s are everywhere

The next day I hired a guide to show me the island. We drove on the hilly roller-coaster roads to the southern most point of the island called Bang Bao where there was an overwater marketplace. I had a great meal (but the scallop appetizer gave me a rash, I think) and enjoyed the sunset with a couple of beers.


On the way we stopped by an elephant place. I declined a ride on the pachyderms but decided to feed them instead. These guys can eat an entire pineapple whole. Seems that would be rough going down the throat but they didn't seem to care. On one occasion, I almost  got a "trunk job"! 


I loved the elephants and spent a lot of time there. I felt a connection with them.
There were monkeys too.

The weather could have been better. There was a high overcast and it was very windy. Otherwise, I did enjoy myself on the island. Four days there then back to Bangkok and then to Abu Dhabi. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thailand...Part 1

I just spent the last few weeks in Thailand. Its a wonderful place but you have to keep your hands on your wallet, The money flows freely there and everyone is after it.

I got a nice business class seat and slept most of the way of the 6 hour flight after a steak sandwich and other goodies. The plane had this cool forward camera.


A friend of mine was already there and had a room for me. I landed at the airport and got a cab to the hotel and checked into a very nice room at the Grand Business Inn in central Bangkok. This was disturbing in the bathroom though, I had to brush my teeth in the bedroom for fear of bodily harm. This sign was on the bathroom sink.

Anyway, it was a nice room despite the dangerous cabinet. I survived without injury. I had to take a peek and found nothing but some electrical connections way back in the corner of the cabinet. Hardly a fatal situation.

Later, I went to a Buddist temple on the river in Bangkok. I took the very efficient BTS (Bangkok Transit System) overhead train to a dock where I boarded a boat to another dock where I boarded another boat to the temple. The river was very high due to the recent monsoons.





After awhile, I got to the temple. It was an amazing example of art and architecture. The sculpture was incredible and a real treat to these Western eyes.

While there I got blessed by a Buddist monk. He was an old man adorned in the typical orange cloths and he said a prayer, sprinkled water from a brush over me and gave me a wrist band for good luck. After that my debit card wouldn't work and things just seemed to go wrong. I cut the wrist band off and things got better. Maybe I got a curse, bad Karma?

Bangkok is an incredible place. Things I enjoyed was the food and the great smells of the city from the street vendors cooking food.The Thais really know how to eat. Everyone seemed happy. trip to Koh Chang, an island off the coast of mainland Thailand