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StoneSoup

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Posts posted by StoneSoup

  1. For the past seven years, I have traveled continually between my company's head office at the BB Building on Soi Asoke, and my home on Sukhumvit Soi 79. For all that time - and up until about six months ago - there were six petrol filling stations between my office and my home:

     

    One on east side of Soi Asoke, just south of the GMM Grammy Building

    One on north side of Sukhumvit Road, near the corner of Soi 23

    Two stations almost side-by side on south side of Sukhumvit Road, in-between Soi 36 and the Thonglor BTS Station

    One on north side of Sukhumvit Road, at the corner of Soi 59

    One on north side of Sukhumvit Road, in-between Soi 77/1 and Soi 79

     

    As of January 2012, only two of those stations remain - those being the stations along Sukhumvit Road, at Soi 23 and Soi 59.

     

    What has happened is that the value of the land has grown to the point where it makes no sense to try to sell price-controlled gasoline using that frontage. There is simply no way to generate enough income from selling low-priced products along that corridor. My guess is that one or both of the remaining stations will also be driven from the marketplace, sooner or later.

     

    That leaves just two other stations along Sukhumvit - the one at Soi 4, and the one underneath the Ploenchit BTS Station, north side of Sukhumvit.

     

    All through the years, I never saw tremendously heavy patronage of any of the six stations along my route, but they all served a steady stream of customers all day long. I wonder how the remaining two stations are doing, now that two thirds of their competitors have vanished?

     

    If the trend continues, there will be no petrol anywhere along Sukhumvit, or its direct feed side-sois. Motorists in search of fuel will have to divert to Petchaburi, or Rama IV Roads.

     

    Or - could a mobile tanker-style filling station emerge, "Mad-Max" style?

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  2. Well, my Thai lady friend surprised me last night by insisting that we go back to Mansion 7 last night, to explore further. So - I can now add a few more details.

     

    The whole complex is non-smoking - but they have two smoking "rooms" - one at either end of the mall. There is seating in these rooms, which are partly open to the outside of the building. Last night, interestingly, at least one of those smoking rooms had a fairly lively crowd occupying it, and laughing and joking among themselves.

     

    We went back to the Beer Mansion. This time, I looked at their beer menu. They have 50 bottled beers, plus five draft beers, and then three other "beers" that I could not figure out (maybe blends, similar to a "black and tan"?). The signature beer that they stock must be their "Fucking Hell Original" - you can Google that name to obtain the pedigree.

     

    The middle of the complex - "the playground" - is basically full of midway "test of skill" carnival games, at which you can win various stuffed toys. Around the perimeter are various high-end video dame consoles - in all sorts of categories. There are also three or four pool tables - but some with a bit of a unique nature - see http://t.co/Yk1GExMX.

     

    We the went on down to a second bar called "Cocktail" at the opposite end of the complex. This was also an interesting place. As per its name, it specializes in high-end cocktails, which you select from an iPad tablet menu - when you click on a selection, it gives you an enlarged view of the drink, the price, plus lists the ingredients off to the side. Apparently (although we did not pursue this), if you want a specific brand for one or more of the ingredients, they will try to accommodate you. We chose a Mojito, and a Mai Tai - at 240 baht each. They both came in fairly large cocktail glasses, with full-up garnishes. The prices seemed a bit steep, but I was OK with it. Then - my Thai girl advised me that since we had ordered our initial drinks just before 9:00 pm, we were entitled to "buy one, get one free." At around 9:30 pm, we finished our drinks - and - sure enough, they brought us a second round. Final bill: 480 baht, for four high-end cocktails.

     

    The walls of this place were occupied by row upon row of "gnomes" - plaster castings of a "snow white" type dwarf - see : http://t.co/Hp4mL3WZ and http://t.co/CKNdtrft

     

    Last night, sadly, the whole complex was almost empty. When we left around 9:50 pm, there were probably fewer than 100 customers, total, throughout the whole complex.

     

    There are about five bars in the complex, plus about a dozen restaurants, and maybe 15 clothing and accessory shops. There are maybe 20 different "carnival midway" style activities out on the "playground."

     

    Most of bars either have a live DJ, or a live band on Fridays and Saturdays, according to signs.

     

    Service was pretty good everywhere - easy because there were few customers, but noteworthy in that no one appeared discouraged to the point of apathy by the low customer count.

     

    My Thai girl's departing comments - "We gotta' come back, and bring more people with us".

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  3. The cans and bottles on shelves behind the bar were just for show. One can was Pabst Blue Ribbon beer!

     

    If you go to the photo gallery at http://www.themansion7.com/shop_gallery.asp?id=27&cid=6, you can see a shot of the bar and display wall.

     

    I forgot to mention that this place has two levels, and there is stairway at the back that leads up to the second level.

     

    The website is a Flash website, so I can't reference that particular photo - just the gallery page.

     

    One thing for certain - if you get close, you cannot miss this place. It is right back from the sidewalk/footpath (with parking lot in-between) and its frontage is at least 100 meters wide, and extremely"noticeable" - as in http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zpO_lup_3m8/TaOZnNG94yI/AAAAAAAABpE/iou1VuiKNwE/s1600/SAM_1161.JPG

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  4. The Form Bor Or Jor 2 is the Memorandum of Association form that includes signatures of the initial company "promoters". It applies only to the initial incorporation process. Once the company is incorporated, those promoters become the initial shareholders - as listed on the Form Bor Or Jor 5. Over the life of the company, the Form Bor Or Jor 5 may change - as shareholders change, or additional shares are issued.

     

    The two company registration documents that must constantly be provided for all sorts of permits are the Company Affidavit, and the Form Bor Or Jor 5.

     

    The Form Bor Or Jor 2 is just a historical document that never changes. It only tells you what was going on at the time the company was created - it does not reflect the current company status.

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  5. I've never seen this place mentioned on any discussion boards, but I paid a visit last night to a venue called The Mansion 7 in Huay Khwang district, on the east side of Ratchadapisek Road, a couple of hundred meters north of the Huay Khwang MRT Station. Google maps coordinates are 13.781418,100.574125

     

    This place is sort of like a big enclosed mall, but themed as a cross between eternal Halloween, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Literally, it has adopted a dark and eerie motif. The place is huge - the main open floor is probably 70 meters by 90 meters, and is ringed by shops, bars, restaurants and some sort of "haunted house" attraction at the rear - for which you must buy an admission ticket.

     

    In the big open space in the middle are various oddball kiosks - some of which are carnival games, along with a couple of small pool tables, and one octagonal pool table.

     

    In front of the Mansion is very expansive parking lot - which stretches out north of the venue as well - probably room for about 300 cars.

     

    I visited on Friday night, with a recent new lady friend in tow. We got there about 8:00 pm, and we left around 10:00 pm. The place appeared to be just "waking up" with significant customer arrivals as we were leaving, so this place probably hits its peak around midnight.

     

    We spent most of our time at a pub at the left rear of the "mall" - called the "Beer Mansion". To my surprise, this place had about 50 or 60 different beers in stock, including about ten Belgian beers (including three different fruit lambics), all three Coopers ales from Australia, and various German and other European beers. On draft, I saw Singha, and Hoegaarden/Stella/Leffe. The wall behind the bar contains shelves with about 150 different beer bottles and cans.

     

    To their credit, the service staff knew what they were doing - they had all the different glasses for each different Belgian ale, and they chilled the glasses before pouring. They even knew their selection - so that when I asked for Trippel Karmaliet, there was no blank look - they just went and got it.

     

    Prices were reasonable - in the 150 to 200 baht range for the various foreign beers.

     

    Service was good - servers were friendly, but did not appear to be used to seeing many farangs. I was the only foreigner in the Beer Mansion bar, although I did see what appeared to be a 20-something foreign lad, his Thai girl, and his visiting parents sitting at a small "beer garden" next to the Beer Mansion.

     

    There are quite clean toilets at both ends of the mall. One oddity was that outside the regular men's and women's toilets was a "Dog Toilet" - a two meter square section of Astroturf (presumably over a drain), witha low fence around it. So - evidently - dogs are welcome to visit this mall.

     

    This "mall" is good for a night out - and it would probably take about ten visits to exhaust all the possibilities. I recommend this place, for a change of pace. My Thai girl enjoyed the place. They have a website - but almost completely in Thai: http://www.themansion7.com/index.html

     

    The Beer Mansion section is at: http://www.themansion7.com/shop_gallery.asp?id=27&cid=6 I shall return there.

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  6. The primary document is called the "Nang-sue Rap-rhong" (หนังสืรับรอง) - usually translated into English as the "Company Affidavit" - I do not believe that it has a form number. It has the company registration details on the first page, and then lists the declared company business objectives on the following pages.

     

    The list of company shareholders, with share allocations, is an entirely separate document, called the "Form Bor Or Jor 5" - บอจ.5

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  7. Typically 1,500 baht. Interestingly - at least at Tulip Massage - the girls get part of the basic massage fee (as in 2000 baht out of 800 baht) - but they also have to pay the shop 400 baht out of whatever tip they receive.

  8. Just remember the old adage: "Things always get darkest right before ............. everything goes pitch black."

     

    No - on second thought - forget that old adage......

     

    Look on the bright side: You are in a great place to find some "rent-a-girlfriend" to cheer you up.

  9. As a fellow alumni of General Grant's alma mater, I will add the postscript (quoted from Wikipedia):

     

    Following protests from Jewish community leaders and an outcry by members of Congress and the press, it was revoked a few weeks later by order of President Abraham Lincoln. Grant later claimed it had been drafted by a subordinate and that he had signed it without reading.

     

    Grant drank so heavily, that I would find his claim credible.

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  10. For Health Insurance, one reasonably good plan is BUPA - Platinum Plan - http://www.bupa.co.th/bupa_cms/en/product_comprehensive_detail.aspx

     

    Depending on your age, it will probably cost you about 60,000 baht per year.

     

    Others on the board may have direct experience with BUPA Thailand - I do not have any direct experience.

     

    As far as broad band goes, it depends a lot on exactly where you will be living. There are several base telephone providers, and when you select a phone carrier, that tends to define which ADSL service alternatives are open to you. I.e. if you get a True telephone line, then you can get True ADSL. That is what I use - living in Prakhanong - and also at my business, on Soi Asok. But - there are places in Bangkok where no additional True telephone lines are available.

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  11. I walk from Sukhumvit to the Soi 23 back entrance to GMM Grammy Building almost every work day - and I have yet to see any evidence of water coming up from any drains. There is frequently (always?) a puddle in the gutter in front of the 7-Eleven store closest to Sukhumvit - I assume that there is a leaking underground water pipe or drainage pipe somewhere near there. But - this puddle never gets deeper than about 1 cm, and extends no more than 25 cm into the street - and it seems static.

     

    I chuckled when I saw a frantic request a few days ago on another discussion board, requesting information on a reported sighting of water bubbling up from the drains on Sukhumvit Soi 13, near the Ambassador Hotel. That basically describes the daily situation when the laundry plant of the Ambassador discharges a load of wash or rinse water into the street drains - I suppose via an underground pipe. This involves dumping a very large volume of water from a very large industrial washing "machine" - think the size of a huge cement mixer. This massive water dump sometimes overwhelms the drainage pipes, and causes some water to overflow out of the street drains for a couple of minutes.

     

    Quick - run away - the sky is falling ..........

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  12. To me, one endearing trait of the Thais is their sheer resilience - as symbolized by the Thai baht, which never seems to falter, come hell or high water (forgive meh)

     

    http://thai-flood-hacks.tumblr.com/

     

    In passing, I have seen several interesting videos of "amphibious" motorcycles and cars, but I lost track of the web-links.

     

    I'm sure that others can add some links showcasing some of the best innovative thinking to emerge from the flood-waters of Thailand.

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  13. Composer and conductor S.P. Somtow produces a blog at his own website: http://www.somtow.org/

     

    Presently, the lead entry outlines his take on a perception that he suggests is growing among the Thais:

     

    "Here is the conventional wisdom amongst a growing segment of Bangkok's population. The emblem of the democratic party, which is, despite defections by radicals, the main bastion of those with yellow-shirted leanings in this country, is the earth goddess Mae Thorani (Sanskrit Dharani, cognate with the Latin word terra.) In Buddhist mythology, it is believed that when Prince Siddhartha sat beneath the bodhi tree to seek enlightenment, the evil god Mara appeared to tempt him. But the earth goddess appeared and, squeezing a fountain of purifying water from her hair, drove away the forces of darkness.

     

    Now, it just so happens that, during the troubles last year, there was a nasty incident in which blood was spattered by red shirts at the democrat party's headquarters, in effect, polluting the sacred icon. There were a number of things about the incident that could be considered sacrilegious when viewed by those who want to see sacrilege. From that moment on, there were those who whispered that the goddess would exact some kind of vengeance.

     

    Well, the red shirts are now running the country, and guess what? Here's the patron goddess of the democrat party, squeezing the cosmic waters to purify the country and dispel Mara's temptations and put Thailand back on the path of righteousness.

     

    What seems to be as "fringe" as Sarah Palin exorcizing democrats in church becomes almost logical after you hear one of the true believers enumerate the evidence. The flooding, they will tell you, has hit red shirt-leaning parts of the country more than the almost completely democrat leaning south of Thailand — which isn't usually spared the annual inundation. They'll cite all sorts of facts to prove this hypothesis, facts one cannot argue with because one has never thought it might be necessary to disprove such a notion.

     

    Okay, my friends in the west may laugh. But guys, check out that beam in your own eye ... think of the local governments in the U.S. seriously trying to legislate the teaching of mythology in science class ... I refer of course to "scientific creationism" ... a horse of the precisely the same color. Credulity knows no boundaries of race, gender, age, or technological advancement.

     

    Here in Thailand we live in a society where the supernatural does not lurk in the shadows. It is mainstream. The theory I have just expounded above is unlikely to be true. But that it will seriously be believed, and acted on, is fact. And mythology has a way of becoming truth when enough people reiterate it. That is how religions happen, after all. And in Buddhism (which, strictly speaking, isn't a religion) we believe that reality and truth do not necessarily coincide. Buddha's philosophy teaches us that reality is in fact illusion ... that reality and truth are indeed in some sense opposites. And if reality is illusion, it follows that the better illusionist wins."

  14. I read elsewhere that the locals WELDED the Khlong 9 sluice gate open, to prevent it being closed.

     

    Mob rule & law of the jungle.

     

    The Yellow Shirt and Red Shirt anarchy of recent years has proven that mob tactics are an effective way to influence government policy in Thailand. Little wonder that dog-eat-dog practices are flourishing.

  15. I had a journalist friend recently stop into Thailand to observe the flood event. He evidently purchased a SIM card on arrival, and gave me a call. That call showed up on my phone as 090xxxxxx.

     

    This is a new one to me. Since when have SIM cards been issued with a 090 prefix? What carrier is that?

     

    'Never a dull moment in the LOP (Land of Puzzles).

     

    Cheers!

    SS

  16. OK, gents. So - the "mother of all floods" that was supposed to inundate all 50 districts of Bangkok with 1.5 meters of water did not materialize - at least for 20-30 districts.

     

    Those "dry" districts have hundreds of thousands of sandbags - and many square km worth of hasty brick-works walls erected - all soon to become discards.

     

    So - what happens next to that immense volume of debris??????

     

    The unfortunate answer that first leaps to mind is: all the simpleton Thais will simply haul their sandbags and brickwork debris to the nearest khlong - and do a pathetic "loy khratong" simulation.

     

    I say that comically - but - unfortunately - unless the BMA gets its ass in gear and starts vigorously developing an alternate solution - it is VERY likely to unfold that way.

     

    The quantity of soon-to-become-useless sandbags in Bangkok is staggering - it must approach at least 500,000 - and maybe several times that number.

     

    "Civic responsibility" not being a strong-point for many Thais - I foresee a minor nightmare developing in this direction.

     

    Does anyone have a more favorable view of the likely outcome?

     

    Cheers!

    SS

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