Virtually every time we are in Thailand together, Khwantippa and I spend a night at a Tawan Daeng club with her friends. Always heaps of fun, it made me curious about the style of music that is played there, which is Luk Thung. Extremely popular throughout Thai society, why is this considered as country music and what is its history? Turns out it is a very interesting story. Let me tell you all about it.
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 (25/05/2017): Added additional exchange agencies.
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?
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
Getting married to a Thai national (or any foreign national, for that matter) in Belgium isn’t a straight-forward process. Official sources contradict each other in tiny (but crucial) details, different cities (or even contacts) interpret requirements differently and some government officials can’t be bothered to assist properly. My goal is to write our experiences down, to help others maneuver these murky waters. Part 1 will teach you how to successfully jump the first hurdle: the wedding registration at City Hall in Belgium.
Whenever I return to Europe after a longer period in the Land of Smiles, I always take a selection of products with me. Let’s skip the ones that are to be expected and let me tell you about the more unlikely apparel, cosmetics and seasoning.
A few weeks ago Bangkok expats burst into spontaneous cries of joy on social media: Sriracha spicy sauce would be available in Thailand, finally. The story got picked up be several online media, explaining that Sriracha isn’t originally Thai and interviewing locals who where just as surprised as myself. While I have come to know several extremely pleasant Bangkok residents with foreign roots, some of them have picked up a few peculiarities while living in the BKK Bubble. Nothing major, just little quirks like their yearning for British Indian food, or the American Chinese kitchen. Early on, I’ve learned not to question them and just keep them unaddressed. But wasn’t the Sriracha sauce invented in the city of Si Racha in Thailand’s Chonburi province and isn’t it still in production in that very same province? My mind kept wondering and I decided to check. Both the labels of my spicy red sauce bottles (pictures below) and Wikipedia confirm my suspicion. The truth of the matter: internationally, the biggest producer of Sriracha (Huy Fong, with the famous red rooster logo) is based in California, just started exporting to Thailand and seems to have an excellent PR department.
Central World in Bangkok upheld its yearly tradition of putting on a holiday light show in the plaza in front of the mall. This year’s theme is Winter White, the Garden of Happiness. Completed by a Christmas market, one almost feels the temperature drop below freezing while walking around the attractions. If you’re into the festive season, it is worth the visit. Some smartphone snapshots are available in this gallery. Sadly, once again I left the DSLR home. I guess we know what my New Year’s resolution is. Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you can spend them with your loved ones.