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The best currency exchange rates in Bangkok

Holidaymakers set on visiting Thailand regularly ask me where they can get the best exchange rates, converting their Euro’s into Thai Baht. In my experience (so far) the best deals are had by bringing cash over and converting them the old-school way at an exchange office. Let me explain where the best exchange rates are offered. Update (23/05/2017): Added an extra exchange agency.

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Siam in-between: Livin’ la vida local

Over the last few weeks the frequency of the updates on this blog has diminished, I am well aware. Getting a visa that allows my (Thai) fiancée and I to get married in Belgium has proven to be a daunting task. So much so, that I decided to fly to Thailand a few weeks ago to help get things sorted, locally. One Blue Monday, we found ourselves standing on the side walk outside of the Belgian Embassy, administrative challenges handled, red tape cut … and both of us with two weeks of holiday ahead, wide-open. Why not take the opportunity to experience vintage country-side living before this options disappears?

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Taking care of business in Bangkok

On Friday, I hopped on the red-eye to Bangkok, as some of you have noticed on social media. A little while ago, I started writing about the process of getting married to my Thai fiancée in Belgium. After battling through the red tape at my local city hall and the Belgian Ministry of Foreign affairs, the very last part of the administrative journey takes place at the Belgian embassy in Bangkok. As we want to manage the process ourselves and in person, I decided to fly over. As a bonus, I’ll have more adventures and discoveries to tell you about. Updates coming soon. Sawasdee khrab.

Sunset at Ploenchit Skytrain station
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Mobile wallets: skewed market research

Kind of a tech geek, my attention was drawn to this article in Business Insider today. Yes, I know, your wallet has been mobile all along. Mine too, but I was kind of hoping it was about hardware wallets. Turns out that mobile wallets are apps that store payment card information in your smartphone, allowing you to make in-store payments. Mastercard, heavily invested into the phenomenon with its Masterpass, did some market research about mobile wallets and came up with a conclusion that seems rather biassed. Mobile Wallets were mentioned In 75% (!) of 3.5 million social media conversations about new payment methods. Yet these apps are used in just 1% of retail sales. Their conclusion: mainstream breakthrough is hindered by too many available mobile wallet apps, lack of support for store loyalty cards and consumers waiting for wearable wallets. My two cents: with 75% awareness and 1% penetration, could it be that the public just isn’t interested? 🙂 My wallet contains all cards I need, is finished in premium leather and I do wear it … in my back pocket.

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Playlist: Mash-ups

Mash-ups are made by combining two separate songs, thereby creating a completely new track. They typically combine the vocals of one song with the instrumental version of another, but other approaches exist and more than two songs can be involved. Views on the history of mash-up vary. Personally, I consider the megamixes of the 70s and 80s (Stars on 45, Mirage, Patrick Cowley, etc) as a precursor, with the practice being implicitly present in mixing culture for decades and brought to the surface by 2manyDJs around the turn of the century. The phenomenon has resulted in very popular tracks, some hugely popular as bootleg records, some re-released (or re-recorded) officially, a dedicated MTV show and mainstream artists even collaborating and doing live bootlegs. This playlist contains my favorite ones, including one by yours truly. Pretty sure that you’ll be surprised to find out that some are in fact mash-ups, as they are more popular than the originals. Full track listing if you continue reading.

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Foodtruck market in Vilvoorde

Today (06/04/2017) my hometown of Vilvoorde (Belgium) hosted the first edition of a monthly foodtruck market, behind city hall. From April to October, the event will take place on the first Thursday of each month (17.00 – 21.00). Even though I visited quite early in the evening (17.30) the square behind city hall was already buzzing. Very commendable initiative that will only improve while summer warms up. Let’s hope that it is moved to the town square to include the bars with open-air seating, once renovations are completed. Along with Hipster Vilvoorde, this is just another sign that the future is colorful for our city. More pictures are available here.

 

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Review: Felix Pizza, Vilvoorde (Belgium)

‘The best pizza of Vilvoorde and surrounding area’. Felix Pizza in Vilvoorde has chosen quite the audacious tag line. I do like the implied confidence, but it does sound like a challenge. With a growing number of pizza parlors in my hometown, there are a lot of contenders for the title. Off the top of my head, there’s Testa Rossi, Barino, Pizza Vera, Pizza Talia, Domino’s and Pizza Hut. Main rival in the region is Il Casale in Grimbergen, in my opinion. Does Felix Pizza measure up? Let’s have a look.

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Old school gearhead

The sight of an impeccably clean German straight-6 engine gives me joy. I’ll confess: I’m a gearhead. This is my 17-year old jewel. Rebuilt, tuned, but inconspicuous and unassuming.  One of my favorite things in the world.

 

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Playlist: Silky smooth R&B – Volume 2

My favorite era for R&B and Hip-hop spans from the late nineties till halfway the next decade. R&B came out of the age of Slow Jam and evolved into a relaxed and layered sound that propelled it into the mainstream, gradually shedding its African-American bias. The spotlight was on producers like Timbaland, The Neptunes and Missy Elliott and directors like Hype Williams. Music videos were colorful, showcased plenty of swag and required either a convertible car or a helicopter. Seriously, do pay attention how many of the videos in the following playlist feature a Bell Huey chopper 🙂 Anyway, I know you enjoyed volume 1 so here is the next one in my series of R&B playlists. Enjoy. Full track listing if you continue reading. A more contemporary selection is available as well. For different genres have a peek here.

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