October 2006 Archives

In addition to getting the condo renovations started, I have also been working on my visa issues. And I am happy to announce that I have finally have a plan that I am ready to put in motion to solve my problems.

(And yes, that was a lame attempt to explain why I haven't posted much to this site lately! :)

Anyway, I have finally decided to jump in and form my own company here in Thailand. I spoke to a lawyer yesterday and it looks like the actual process of starting a company and getting a work permit and business visa is not terribly difficult. It also helps that I am from the U.S. and the U.S.-Thai Treaty of Amity is still under effect.

The Treaty of Amity gives U.S. owned businesses a lot of special treatment here in Thailand, but it expires on December 5, 2006. So, I am moving ahead today to get all of the paper work done and the company founded before that expiration date. (And if you are an American living in Thailand and have ever even considered starting a business, I recommend you get it up and running ASAP to take advantage of the treaty's benefits!)

Many foreigners who live in Thailand set up "paper" companies, but I think I will do this for real. I am not ready to share all of the details yet, as I am working on the business plan now. But I'll just throw it out there that my company will be "creating educational software". I am sure I will share more details soon, or at least once after I make my way through the bureaucracy of several Thai government ministries.

Phase 2 Condo Renovations Started

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After taking a break from the condo renovations after the Home Pro debacle, we are back at it again, with much better results this time. It all started a month or so ago when a friend recommended that we use Boontavorn for all of our material and contractors.

Sure enough, working with them has been great so far. They have a huge showroom that takes up two large buildings on each side of Ratchadapiskek Road (between the Ratchadapiskek and Suthisan subway stations). Their prices were good, the selection was extensive, and the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable.

And the best part about it is that the contractor that they recommended has been great so far. We had three contractors give us quotes. The one we selected was the middle quote, but he won out because he was the only one to give us a full line item list of all of the changes we requested, as well as very professional floor plans and even a couple of different designs that we could choose from. We could tell that he had an eye for detail, which seems to be so hard to find here in Thailand.

Work started last Wednesday, and is progressing very nicely. Most of the new tile is up and it looks great. I can hardly wait to see the new tub and toilet in as well. Of course, pictures will be coming as soon as it is all finished.

Brushes with Nature in Bangkok

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bird_nest.jpgFor one of the first times after moving to Bangkok, I have a growing feeling that I am a part of nature. On my small balcony I have a bunch of potted plants, and now, I have not one but two bird nests in the plants. I don't know what kind of birds they are, other than being small and brown. And they fly. Fast.

The nests are located in the top branches of some dead bamboo stalks that have been covered in vines. The nests are quite amazing structures: they are not just the normal bowl shape, but an actual sphere with a small hole in the front. I don't even know if I could build something as intricate as that, and I have opposable thumbs!

new_flower.jpgSpeaking of the vines, they are supposed to be covered in colorful blooms, but they have been here for months and I have yet to see anything but leaves. Until today, that is. And the first bloom is an impressive one, with several other buds on the way. Why they decided to come out now I have no idea.

In other nature news, here in Bangkok we are waiting for the floods to arrive. They are saying that the Chao Phraya River is flowing fuller and faster than it has in years. Most of the provinces upstream are submerged, which means that there's a good chance that the Chao Phraya will overflow its banks in a couple of days as well. It has been raining hard almost every evening, and so every night we wonder if tomorrow will be the day we can't leave the house.

I am loving the birds and the flowers outside my window. And although the floods might not be much fun (if and when they do arrive) at least my brushes with nature are not quite like having snakes in my bed.

Silence and Shanghai

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I suppose that I picked a bad time to take a two and a half week break from posting anything to this site. But don't worry, everything is fine here, regardless of the coup and visa situations that we have been dealing with lately.

Part of the reason for my silence is that Piyawat and I went to Shanghai, China for a six day holiday. But unlike most trips that I take, I haven't yet found the motivation to write much about it. To be honest, my main take-away from the trip was that Shanghai is way over-hyped. It was "nice", but not terribly interesting. Unfortunately the government decided to destroy most of the interesting sites (like temples) and, as I have noticed with other communist countries, history started when the current ruling party took over. Everything that happened before that has been bulldozed, erased, or just forgotten. (Or so it would seem.)

It was also a bit difficult to get around, as not many people spoke English. And the food wasn't terribly exciting either. Chinese food in Shanghai is very bland, at least when it's compared to the Thai food that I adore. Prices were a bit expensive too, again at least compared to Thailand.

On the good side, I secured a visa at the Thai consulate that will cover me through the rest of the year. And the weather was nice and cool, which was definitely a welcome break from the Bangkok heat.

Perhaps I will find some time to talk about some of the things we did see. I'll be sure to at least post some pictures at some point. But I just wanted to give a little update for now.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2006 is the previous archive.

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