Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who's Been Sleeping in Thaksin's Bed?

FBF wondered the other day if Cambodian PM Hun Sen would be taking advantage of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's Cha Am - Hua Hin retreat during the ASEAN Summit after offering Thaksin a home in Cambodia.

Now, The Nation (no, not Not The Nation, the real one) quotes Pheu Thai MP Surapong Towijakchaikul as saying yesterday that Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, chose to be a guest at Thaksin's seaside home, close to the summit venue, during the meeting. Bolkiah did not attend the opening ceremonies on Friday either.

The government has had no comment.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 10:01 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday: ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin Traffic Report

Didn't fancy fighting the Summit's first day of traffic so stayed at the house.

This morning did a little drive and it was pretty much smooth sailing. It looks like most folks that would have come from Bangkok have stayed home, which is probably what the authorities wanted.

Was going to try going down the Klong road to Chomsin and come back up Petchkasem but traffic was really backed up, as it usually is so turned around and took the road from the Klong Rd. to Hua Hin Tansamai and headed north on Petchkasem.

The road between the Klong Rd and Petchkasem is now one way heading west--you can't turn off Petchkasem onto Soi 56 so that very narrow road was unusually clear of traffic.

Once we got on Petchkasem, it was like a ghost town. Very little traffic in any of the lanes and the No Parking is strictly enforced. Any shops without parking are suffering.

As we headed north noticed the usual crowds at the Rust Stop so either the ASEAN folks are there or some folks from Bangkok did make it down.

Noticed lots of places to make U-turns along Petchkasem so it seems they've loosened up a bit on that.

Decided to keep heading north just to see how it was and noticed lots of troops and police. Many, many troops on the airport runway, around and above the tunnel.

Cars parked everywhere at the Dusit, even the Polo field.

Few customers at the Essan places near Saep Eli.

Got almost to the Regent/Holiday Inn and decided we'd seen enough police and troops so headed back to Hua Hin.

Never saw a check point and no one gave our vehicle a second look.

Very quiet so expect just the opposite next week.

It will take some time to remove all the traffic cones however, as they are ALL nailed to the road. If they merely rip the cones off the nails and don't either drive down the nail or remove them, there will be many punctures.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 3:54 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Me Casa Su Casa

The local main stream press is making much of Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's claim that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen informed him during Chavalit's recent trip to Cambodia that Hua Sen had presented former Thai Prime Minister (and, not forgetting, current fugitive) Thaksin Shinawatra with a beautiful home if Thaksin decided he wanted to stay in Cambodia.

Both the Post and Nation have had several stories on this issue and now report that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has said Thailand would seek Thaksin's extradition under a treaty between the two countries should the former prime minister take Hun Sen up on his offer.

With all this huff and puff over the purported gift, it makes one wonder if Thaksin has responded in kind and offered Hun Sen the use of his Cha Am - Hua Hin summer home during the current ASEAN Summit. The fugitive's former prime minister's not-so-humble summer retreat is conveniently adjacent to the Dusit Polo Club and just a few hundred meters south of the Sheraton, the venue of the ASEAN Summit.

Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Hun Sen will not be attending the opening of the Asean summit on Friday as he will be enjoying the privacy not possible at either the Dusit or Sheraton...

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 6:23 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

UPDATE On ASEAN Traffic in Hua Hin

An UPDATE for this Update:

Was just out at 1600 and at the hospital and a couple of selected intersections north of the hospital, U-turns are now allowed with men in brown watching the ASEAN lane in case it needs to be kept clear. This will make things better.

Reports from around Market Village say that traffic is light and U-turns are still very limited. The placement of the cones, nailed down as they are all the way to the Sheraton, makes 2 lanes very difficult, especially with all the heavy equipment for the construction going on.

More and more locals using the klong road.

First off, folks in Hua Hin aren't getting out much these days. Just too much trouble but FBF sees that there are an increasing number of hits from folks in Bangkok and abroad looking for everything from traffic reports to the status of the Pranburi bypass.

So, FBF has his ASEAN sticker for the car but hasn't seen a check point. The check points must be way out of town,  either north of Cha Am or between Cha Am and the Sheraton.

Once you're inside the check points, it seems you're safe from further stops.

The Pranburi bypass should be clear. One thinks the powers that be would prefer everyone go that route rather than through town. There's probably a check point on the Pa La-u Rd between the bypass and town but can see no reason for any on the bypass itself.

Crossing Petchkasem is allowed at Palm Hills but not again until the hospital. One can now cross Petchkasem to enter the Hua Hin Hospital and to make a U-turn. Not planning on venturing south of there to see where the next crossing is allowed.

Was out Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning and the ASEAN lane is being well used but didn't see any processions. Saw lots of individual limos and hotel shuttle buses but no Range Rovers.

The ambulances and cherry pickers w/water canons are still parked at Bo Fai School and am told that tanks are at Wat Bo Fai but upon clarification it seems the tanks don't have large bore barrels so sound more like APCs than tanks.

If anyone has more detailed news than this, please leave a comment so sent a note and we'll put it up.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 4:43 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No U-Turns In Hua HIn

Now it's getting interesting.  The ASEAN lane is in full force and that means no U-turns.

Should one happen to be at the driving range just north of Soi 10 and wants to go to the Hua Hin Hospital, just a few hundred meters to the south, one needs to drive north to Palm Hills before a U-turn can be made. Once heading south, one cannot turn right across the ASEAN lane in to the hospital but needs to go further south to Soi 35 and negotiate the left turn to the school, a U-turn, and then a right turn at the light at Soi 35 before one can continue back north to the hospital.

There are several men in brown with radios at every intersection but rather than facilitate or assist those trying to save driving several extra kilometers, are strictly enforcing the ASEAN lane and waving people away who try to cross the closed center lanes.

FBF has no idea what it's like south of town and doesn't plan on venturing that way for several days.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 9:08 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hats Off To The People of Hua Hin

It's well known how the people of Thailand are able to tolerate irritations and brush things off with a smile and a Mai Ben Rai. The residents of Hua Hin are taking this to a new level.

It's coming down to the stretch before the ASEAN Summiteers arrive. The traffic cones are in place, the streets swept and Men in Green already in attendance, posted every 50-100 meters along ASEAN Rd.

The No Parking signs are still being ignored but it's pretty much a single lane each way through town but traffic was slow but steady on Tuesday morning. It wasn't even stop and go, just go, though slow. It actually took less time to get from Soi 6 to Soi 88 and back than it does on an average weekend day. The authorities have taken down the ASEAN lanes between the two traffic lights and that helps folks making their last minute purchases at the market.

Bo Fai is doing its part by hosting a Disaster Prevention and Mitigation - Plan Exercise at Bo Fai School with dozens of fire trucks, ambulances and cherry pickers parked in the football field. It appears they will be there for the duration.

Life continues on and even Plearnwan still has its crowds of the lost from Bangkok.

Let's hope that the ASEANs and the powers that be in Bangkok appreciate what Hua Hin has done for them.

Now if they can just figure out how to turn all those orange traffic cones into hand clappers...

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 12:35 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin Traffic Report

Your intrepid reporter braved the rain storms, Bangkok traffic returning home, and the ASEAN lane this evening just to see how bad it was, or is going to be.

Actually he was delivering Khao Soi to the needy south of Bo Fai but that's another story.

The ASEAN lane now runs south from at least Narasuan Fort, about halfway between Cha Am and Hua Hin all the way through to Khao Takiap. The ASEAN lane is the inside lane, and while the No Parking signs are up for parking on the shoulder, they don't go into effect until the 21st so are ignored, as they probably will be to a certain extent after the 21st.

On the highway, it's not that big a deal--3 lanes are reduced to 2 but making right turns can prove interesting as then one is intruding in the ASEAN lane.

Once in Hua Hin town, 3 at-the-VERY-best lanes are turned into 1 and it really gets interesting at places like Hua Hin Tansamai.

Going north, the ASEAN lane doesn't start (as of Sunday evening) until just north of the Chomsin Rd (Soi 70/55) intersection so it's pretty much good sailing past the market.

This is just Sunday and the festivities don't get started for a few more days.

FBF witnessed at least 60 identical ASEAN vehicles backed up at the PTT station at Soi 6 on Friday evening. The queue extended south past the Honda dealership. This is the last PTT station leaving Hua Hin so if you need gas, smokes or munchies, this is the station to avoid as it's the closest gas station to the meeting site.

FBF makes a TESCO/Villa run tomorrow and will hunker down with his Khao Soi for the duration. Bullshit, we all know he's a keen observer so expect further posts but if you're heading this way, think again and again.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 8:31 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, October 15, 2009

SNAFU: Vehicle Stickers for ASEAN Summit Redux

For those who've already given their vehicle information for the sticker used during the ASEAN Summit, there's been a slight change.

Much of the information given last week was either recorded incorrectly or was misplaced so those who do not yet have their sticker are instructed to take your housing and vehicle information to Hua Hin Vitthayalai School AKA Salesian School, just north of the Market Village Mall. Or, in the case of Bo Fai, there are officials at Klai Kangwon Temple.

This can be done through 16 October and you will get your sticker immediately.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 8:36 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vehicle Stickers for ASEAN Summit

For those living in Hua Hin, your local sub-district has begun passing out the vehicle stickers to be used during the ASEAN Summit though many will not be completed before Thursday, the 15th.

The stickers may be picked up at the same place you supplied your vehicle registration and residence information.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 3:27 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Broadband for ASEANs In Hua Hin In October

When the ASEAN Summit was held in Hua Hin last spring, FBF's Internet went down for a week and no one could be spared to do anything about it as they were all busy making sure the ASEANs had a good connection.

This time it's a little different. Either the recent storms and power outages have reset something that was set incorrectly or they've really opened the pipe for the big boys, but FBF is actually getting the throughput he's been paying for. Very nice.

A shout out to the power of influential people.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 8:32 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Thailand Has Returned To Normal" For Hua Hin ASEAN summit in October

We've got 10,000, do we hear 20,000? A 20,000 bid from the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) in Bangkok. But wait, it was only 10,000 troops last week and this week we're already at 20,000 security personnel. No telling how many there will be by the time the 23rd arrives.

The Earthtimes writes:
Thailand has assigned 18,298 security personnel to keep the peace at this month's summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), news reports said Saturday. The decision to deploy the army and police personnel was made Friday at a meeting of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), chaired by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the state-run Thai News Agency said.

Thailand is to host the 15th ASEAN summit October 23-25 in Prachuab Khiri Khan province, 130 kilometres south-west of Bangkok.
Most sources tell us that Hua Hin has a population of around 50,000 inhabitants though during a long weekend it may seem like three or four times that. While that may not be the coastal village described on The Hua Hin Pages, FBF isn't sure how the addition of 20,000 troops security personnel is going to prove Thailand has returned to normal.
Much of the province, including its two main beach resorts of Hua Hin and Cha-am, is to be placed under the Internal Security Act October 12-27, which allows authorities to crack down on any protests or any signs of violent intent with impunity.

"The prime minister reiterated that the upcoming summit would prove to other nations that the situation in Thailand has returned to normal," government spokesman Panitan Watanayagorn told the agency.
Dr Panitan, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, goes on to tell the Mass Communications Organization of Thailand (MCOT) here:
the meeting approved the "Cha-am-Hua Hin 521" operational plan and the establishment of a joint security operations centre for the 15th ASEAN Summit under the supervision by Defence Minister.

(and) that combined forces of 18,298 security personnel, including 4,000 police and 5,000 military, will be deployed to maintain order during the ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

The ISOC meeting has evaluated that there will likely be movement from three groups; political activists in Phetchaburi and Prachuab Khiri Khan provinces, environmental activists and academic groups as well as some groups from other provinces, " said Dr Panitan.

We have already coodinated with them to gather in specific areas designated for demonstration, said Dr Panitan.

The acting government spokesman however affirmed that intelligence agencies have so far not found any suspicious movements linked to international terrorist groups, but it would continue keeping a close watch  saying that the Royal Thai Navy will also monitor the sea area of 12 nautical miles adjacent to the three nautical miles (5.6 kilometre) zone declared off-limits, while security personnel will monitor important spots in the Thai capital.
Xinhua adds this tidbit:
The cabinet also approved a budget of about 296 million baht (8.85 million U.S. dollars) to finance security measures to ensure security at the Summit's venues, Thai language news agency INN reported.
Perhaps it's time to visit the folks or take another long tour of Esan. At least school's out.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 5:04 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spiffy Rides For The ASEANs At The Summit

The Bangkok Post writes here that:
The government has bought 20 bullet-proof vehicles at a cost of eight million baht each to ensure the safety of government leaders attending the Asean Summit to be held late this month at Hua Hin, in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, and nearby Cha-am, in Phetchaburi, a Government House source said.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is in charge of security affairs, travelled in one of the Range Rovers in a test run to Government House on Tuesday morning.
Not sure if they're talking about the Vogue pictured above but while the price of each is more than the value of 99% of the homes in Hua Hin, an off-the-rack pladonggo-proof Vogue lists for about four million in the UK (w/o rear seat DVD and cruise control) and there are folks much more knowledgeable on these matters than FBF who say that it costs a bit more than another four million to bring a luxury SUV up to European B6 ballistic protection standard. Who cares knows?

Hua Hin's authorized Rover dealer is in India this week for a sales conference so we'll ask for specifics when he returns...

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 11:15 AM   0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October Odds & Ends

Plearnwan is now open again and it looks like the back 40 is complete. Haven't been in so don't know if any of the new shops have occupants but now the folks from Bangkok have a new place to bump into each other again.

Just talked to Fred and it looks like the Baja TacoMobile is a go for the first week in November. He wants to wait until the ASEAN Summit mobs have gone and Hua Hin is back to normal before powering up. He promised to call and give us an update as the time approaches.

BKS, the transport people, are the folks with the new minivans between Victory Monument in Bangkok and Hua Hin. They've also started the same service for Pranburi. The stop in Pranburi is just outside the entrance to Tesco Lotus and they have trips in each direction at least once an hour from O Dark 30 until late evening. With this new service, folks wanting to go direct from Bangkok to Pranburi will not have to pass through Hua Hin and the length of the trip should be about the same as the minivans take the bypass rather than the coastal road.

FBF has also noticed that the BKS minivans coming to Hua Hin drop off passengers well south of their office downtown so apparently one can go almost as far as Khao Takiab in one of their vans.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 2:44 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hua Hin Goes Green for ASEAN Summit in October

The Bernama News Agency posts here that some ten thousand military and police will be deployed to ensure there is no disruption in Hua Hin during the summit.

They go on to quote Anupong:
Meanwhile, Army Chief Gen Anupong Paochinda said the Internal Security Act will be enforced between October 12 and 27 in nine sub-districts of Phetchaburi's Cha-am district and four sub-districts of Prachuab Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district.

The army chief however says he is confident there will be no untoward incident during the regional pact meeting.
In addition:
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban affirmed enforcing the ISA will not disrupt the daily life of local residents.

Regarding traffic during the ASEAN meetings, Suthep said that local residents can travel normally, but a special "ASEAN lane" will be preserved for motorcades of country leaders, senior delegations, as well as media, as they have to travel from their hotels to the meeting venues.
That sounds like a couple of exciting weeks. Ten thousand troops and a few thousand delegates, hangers-on, and press and one less lane for traffic.

Another lane will obviously have to be reserved to check that the local residents have the proper sticker attached to their vehicle, proving that they are indeed local residents.

Stock up on provisions early as this could be as bad as Songkran.  NO reference intended to the activities in Bangkok during the last Songkran.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 1:41 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin

In a post last week FBF mentioned that the ASEAN Summit was going to happen in a matter of days. Well, time flies when you're having fun and even more so when you're so old that keeping up with the years is difficult and the months are downright impossible and the days just get lost... But, no matter, the Mrs. is never sure what season it is and she comes from a family of agriculturists.

So, we'll try again and state that the ASEAN Summit will be in Hua Hin in October and the powers that be are getting ready. There was an announcement on the Bo Fai loudspeaker today that all motorists should report to the village office with their ID card and car registration number so that during the ASEAN meeting they can sail through any check points...

FBF is sure that this will be as effective as the recording of cell phone numbers led to the dramatic decrease in bombings in Southern Thailand and the smooth crossing of the US borders when special ID cards were issued to those who live along that border.

OK, they're just doing their job in the best way they know how. If the best laid plans just worked once in a while the world would be a better place, once in a while.  In the meantime, they lay plans and we poke fun.

Be a good scout, register your cell phone and car and be careful out there, the ASEANs are coming.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 7:36 PM   0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Odds and Ends

Just a few notes that haven't been added to the Hua Hin Pages yet:

Plearnwan, the box of corrugated tin near Soi 40 seems to be closed temporarily for expansion. This is probably why we see more Bkk cars wandering around aimlessly.

I've heard no more news about the ferry between Hua Hin and Pattaya. That really doesn't surprise me but if anyone hears anything new, please let us know.

Transport: The VIP bus between Korat and Hua Hin now has 5 trips each day, starting at 0830 through 2200.

The new minivan service between Hua Hin and Victory Monument in Bangkok is run by BKS and has at least one trip each hour between 0400 and 1900.

Moving the location for the music festival proved to be as big a headache as having it near the railway station. Why they don't do these things at 19 Rai is beyond me.

The ASEAN Summit is coming up in just over a week so make sure you've got the correct color shirt on.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 6:33 PM   1 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, August 15, 2009

ASEAN Summit Venue Is Thailand's Hua Hin

It's deju vu all over again. FBF figured it must be a misprint or a bug in someone's press release but double checking sees that Hua Hin is hosting yet another ASEAN Summit.

MCOT says here:
BANGKOK, Aug 14 (TNA) – The venue of 15th ASEAN Summit has been changed from the Andaman Sea coastal resort island of Phuket to the seaside resort towns of Cha-am and Hua Hin in the Upper South, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya announced on Friday.

The 15th ASEAN Summit and related Summits with dialogue partners was previously scheduled to be held in Phuket. The summit will take place October 23-25 as was originally planned.

The new venue is considered appropriate in terms of both accommodations and transportation, Mr Kasit said.

Cha-am is located about 178 kilometres southwest of Bangkok, while Hua Hin is about 100 kilometres further south.
Don't believe everything Channel 9 tells you though putting Hua Hin 100 kilometers south of Cha Am could very well put us in the Upper South. goes on to add that:
[The date] coincides with a religious Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, where devotees pierce their bodies with skewers.

The original summit (April 11) at the beach resort of Pattaya was canceled after anti-government demonstrators stormed the summit's hotel venue, where 16 leaders had assembled.

Rescheduled for June 13, it was postponed once again, citing inconvenience of some ASEAN leaders to attend it.

The summit involves 10 ASEAN countries and their allies-- Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
So, it'll soon be time to move the push carts off the streets and hide the stalls selling Man U shirts and Ferrari jackets for a couple of weeks. Don't know if we'll be getting another coat of paint or not but the NO PARKING signs will be out for sure.

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posted by Falang Bo Fai @ 9:21 PM   0 Comments Links to this post