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Everything posted by Stickman

  1. Many developed countries have governments that have moved strongly to the left....and many of the problems you outline are the consequences of that happening. I don't know much about the government in Germany but I gather it is somewhat left-leaning.
  2. I heard that it's closed and there are banners hanging on the exterior saying space for rent.
  3. The original branch near sois 17 and 19 closed at the start of this month.
  4. This 6-minute video doing the rounds has been viewed by millions and shows what happens when a Thai woman doesn't pay the taxi fare and is followed by the cab driver who curses her and records it all. Speakers of Thai will have a chuckle at this this, I know I sure did! https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=493521561051758
  5. Property prices in New Zealand are way too high for sure, and I think so many of the problems in life here in Kiwiland come back to the fact that most house buyers are going to be in debt from the day they buy through to retirement. The sad thing is that whatever happens, there are going to be people severely hurting. If prices plateau or keep going up, young people are stuffed. If prices drop a small amount, anyone who bought in recent years will have issues. If prices drop a lot, there will be major economic ramifications. Things just went way too far, didn't they?
  6. Auckland house prices are up 120% since 2009. If there is a retreat of even 25% - which seems VERY unlikely - most will still be so far ahead it's not funny. Prices in Auckland might retreat 15% from their highs, then they will plateau and then they're going back up, albeit not as fast as they did the last time. The real worry is for those renting. As more properties go on the market, rental numbers will reduce and the price of renting is going to go up, especially in Auckland. I'd hate to be a renter in Auckland over the coming few years.
  7. When I returned home after my first trip to Thailand in the late '90s of which just 2.5 days were spent in Bangkok at the end of the trip, colleagues thought I had taken up smoking for I was coughing so much, a cough that lasted for a couple of weeks. And when I visited Hanoi for the only time in early 2012, I returned to Bangkok with a cough that lingered on and off and which I did not manage to shake for some months. I do worry a little about the smog in Bangkok these days which is largely due to what's being said in the news, but as you rightly point out, the lack of date and the inability to know whether it really is worse now or not is a major frustration.
  8. Very interesting comment indeed. I have to admit since leaving Bangkok to return to New Zealand I do miss the place a lot and am always looking forward to my next trip back to Bangkok. I also often think whether at some point I might move back to Bangkok. When I return to Bangkok I really enjoy it for about the first 5 days as I catch up with old friends, visit old friends, eat in favourite eateries etc, but then the pollution, the crowds on the trains and hot+sticky weather get to me. There are always people moving on from Bangkok (although I bet they're replaced by newcomers to the city in much greater numbers) but I do wonder if at some people the number of people living becomes a tide because, as you say, Bangkok could at some point become unlivable.
  9. Completely disagree with pretty much everything in this post. Speaking Thai to a high level impresses Thais. It shows respect for Thailand and Thai people that you have made the effort to speak their language where most foreigners barely reach taxi Thai level. The only people who have not liked the fact that I speak Thai well are those who wished to lie to me or cheat me. Government officials are especially impressed when you speak Thai, or at least that has been my experience. Speaking Thai to a high level opens doors and wins people over very quickly. And if you can crack jokes in Thai and understand the language to a level where the person talking to you can speak naturally without the need to grade their language, they will, in most cases, by mighty impressed. Nothing allows you to understand Thai people and Thai culture like speaking the language to a high level. There is an argument that speaking Thai well gives you an insight in to the local culture you might not like but I'd disagree with that and suggest that you're finding that, perhaps it's time to change your friendship group / social circles.
  10. Brits trying to save money before Brexit sends the Pound plunging further in value?
  11. Most people wouldn't like my politics. I'm firmly in the David Seymour camp. Personal responsibility and personal freedom is what I believe in and ACT is the only party in NZ with that philosophy and they less than 1% of the vote.
  12. Yeah, people short of life experience is just what we need.....NOT!
  13. Maybe it's both....the findings are correct AND tingtong at the same time? :)
  14. I always enjoy visiting the Nongkhai / Vientiane area....nice people, relaxed atmosphere and wonderful setting. From Udon Airport, there are minivans that wait until they have enough passengers and then go straight to Nongkhai and they can drop you at a hotel or at the border. The journey is not more than an hour from memory and it was something like 100 or 150 baht. I don't know what the story is with taxis crossing the border as I have never done that myself. Immigration overland entering Laos can be slow if you need to get a visa there....the wait can be 30 - 45 minutes - which is not really that long, but the waiting area is about as basic as it gets and is outdoor - so if raining or very hot, it's not that pleasant. That said, I have not crossed in a couple of years so things might have changed. I hope this helps....
  15. 4 episodes in to Ozark season 2 and really enjoying it! But not as much as I enjoyed the Jack Ryan series....watched it over a few nights - really good for a TV series and better than a lot of cinema-release movies.
  16. I think referring to that 25 baht to the dollar is really not so relevant now. That's a long time ago - and just how long was it at that level? For a long time, yes, but we're going back 21 years to refer to that level, basically a generation ago. Showing your age (and time in / association with Thailand), Mr Mekhong! Gotta agree with this....the baht bounces around so much that I am of the same mindset and always expect to get less baht for my dollars.
  17. May I ask you why you think the baht is over-valued? I too wish it would be a bit weaker because I would benefit from a cheaper baht when I visit Thailand, but at the same time I don't think it is over-valued at all - and I would not be surprised to see it increase in value by another 10% or so over the next 24 months and settle at a level a bit stronger than 30 baht to the dollar, perhaps around 29.5 or so.
  18. Bingo, give that man a medal.
  19. New Zealand has suffered from a seismic shift to the left and the rampant and rabid left-wing dominated media attack anyone who dares speak out. New Zealand used to be a place where you could voice any opinion and no-one would question you for it - so long as it was clearly expressed as an opinion. That has changed markedly in Kiwi society and makes the place feel much, much less free than it did not so long ago. To give you an idea of how crazy it is, I met with a very successful and wealthy businessman in Auckland a few weeks ago who wanted to talk to me about a unique Internet-based marketing idea he had for a few product which he thought my background writing about racey stuff might be suited to. Before I had even sat down he launched in to a tirade about Trump which had me quickly tuning out. I just nodded and didn't say anything, and chose not to reveal that I am in the small minority of New Zealanders who admires a lot of what Trump is doing. This guy is a wealthy, successful businessman and I would assume most likely a centre-right voter. Yet the way he started the conversation off about Trump with some really ridiculous comments really killed our meeting before it got going. I knew I would struggle to work with someone whose views had been formed by the heavily biased and extremely left-leaning Kiwi media. I don't care what anyone says, in mainstream Kiwi society you have to be very careful what you say these days. That's one reason I tend not to venture in to mainstream society because I know my views (which are NOT extreme in any way) would not be appreciated. The Kiwi public have been brainwashed.
  20. Thanks a lot for reviewing this. I'd probably have never otherwise have known about this. I spent WAY too much time on my Commodore 64 when I really should have been out chasing skirt....that is probably a contributing factor of why I ended up in Bangkok! Looking at the list of "stars" in this movie, it really takes me back to the days when we used to hoist the jolly roger!
  21. Pay for flights and hotels with credit card from home. Paying for these with any decent credit card will automatically activate travel insurance. Take currency from your homeland to Thailand and exchange it at Vasu or Super Rich where the rates are excellent. Have a credit card or two as a backup. That's the way I do it and never a problem.
  22. I'm not sure what this is all about and don't really follow many threads closely at all these days. New Zealand is not perfect, far from it in fact. But it's home and it has a lot more going for it than going against it. If you want a quiet, peaceful and largely stress-free existence then New Zealand is a pretty good place. If you want excitement then it's far from the best place on the planet! Like I say, it's home.
  23. 100% with Coss on this. Gangs aren't an issue here for most people. Over in our sister city of Hastings you see plenty of patched gang members around and when you walk past them they will invariably raise their eyebrows at you in a silent greeting. Unless you're a magnet for trouble, no issue with them for Joe Public.
  24. Install the Google Maps app if you have not already, and go from there!
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