Curiouser and Curiouser

FBF has two ISPs, one is the TT&T/CAT combo and the other a fallback Hutch CDMA dongle. The latter tends to go out when there are two many folks down from Bkk using theirs and the system is apt to get overloaded. The former goes down whenever someone at either organization takes a coffee break.

They seldom are down at the same time.

This afternoon, they both shut down at exactly the same time, around 1530. Both were not allowing traffic but there was a signal from both.

Was sure that TETCBM had occurred. Paces for a bit and then called a buddy using TT&T. No problems at his end so paced a bit more.

About 1615, all was back to normal…

Who’s paranoid?

You Are Being Monitored by MICT

FBF uses a utility that allows JavaScript, Java, Flash, and other plugins and scripted content to be selectively executed. In other words, activities other than just cookies can be monitored before they have access to the browser or the computer while surfing the web. For example, whenever a web site tries to inject HTML or JavaScript code inside a different site, this utility filters the malicious request, neutralizing its dangerous load.

Yesterday, when accessing the Bo Fai Blog, a flag went up saying that our friends at mict.go.th were watching that website. This obviously was a bit of a surprise as had always assumed they were watching the bad guys like Youtube and welovetaksin.com and had better things to do than monitor nonpolitical sites like this one. It was quite a jolt to see that the Bo Fai Blog was now on their radar.

A little later, the same flag came up when going to Yahoo so will now assume that some engineer over at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology isn’t putting enough cream in his coffee or that they are even more paranoid than we thought they were.

You might want to check your cookie folder to see how many cookies you have from mict.go.th.

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t watching.  The question now is, why?

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.

The Hua Hin Pages: Now 13 Years Young

The Hua Hin Pages arrived on the scene on this day in 1996. FBF thought it might be interesting to view some of the changes that have occurred in Hua Hin since that time and the present.

First, there weren’t too many sites on the Web that mentioned Hua Hin in those days. In fact, if you Googled (whoops, Google didn’t come along until a couple of years later) Yahoo’d or Alta Vista’d Hua Hin back then, there was only The Hua Hin Pages.

But then you couldn’t surf in Hua Hin in 1996, unless you called a dial-up account long distance in Bangkok. Dial-up INET didn’t arrive until a couple of years later and some say we’re still waiting for what could truly be called broadband.

Villa runs may be a thing of the past today but in 1996, the closest thing to a supermarket was the Hua Hin Shopping Mall and, although larger, had about the same selection of goods as your normal 7-11 today. There weren’t any 7-11’s here then either. The first to arrive with their stale doughnuts was the one located behind the market at Sra Song and Dechanuchit Rd (or Soi 72–the numbered Sois didn’t come until much later also).

The Chinese fishing tackle shop on Chomsin Rd near Kiwi Corner carried cheese and olive oil for the Italian restaurants but their other goods were so covered in dust that the use-by dates were long obliterated.

Local veggies, fish, and unknown cuts of animal carcasses were available in the wet market but, for anything as exotic as iceberg lettuce, Earl Gray tea, or a croissant, a trip to Bangkok and Villa, Foodland, or Central were necessary.

We now tend to take the hypermarts for granted but Petchburi didn’t get their Big C until 1998 and Tesco Lotus Ratchburi was the nearest of that breed long before Market Village even became a glimmer in Home Pro’s eye.

On the other hand, there was a quite reasonable amount of international restaurants in Hua Hin then. 1996 happens to be the year that the longest running international restaurant, Friendship, closed. Located where Satukarn Square came and went, Friendship played host to backpackers and hi-so alike for almost 20 years.

While Gino (simply the best) has moved on, many of the Italian restaurants in Hua Hin in 1996 are still going strong. Enrico is as flamboyant as ever and while some have played musical chairs with their locations, others are still where they were before and will probably remain for many more years and many are joining them.

While Willy sold out to Heidi and opened a new place, Mat closed down Sweden House and became a trekker. Don’t know where he ended up trekking to…

Wolfgang and Monta moved their Garden all around town and finally retired last year though the word is that Monta is preparing something new next door to Billy.

Ah, Billy, Billy, Billy. Billy took over the lease to Joy Guesthouse in 1996 and in those days, Terrible Tommy was the occasional cook, if he was in the mood or not asleep under one of the tables. But more about Billy tomorrow.

Walking down Memory Lane is tiring…

Paradise North and South of The Paradise We Call Home

It’s strange when you live in one of the best beach resorts in Thailand and you never go to the beach. That is, the beach in Hua Hin. We’ve been to the beach at least a half dozen times in the past couple of weeks but I can’t remember the last time I went to a beach in Hua Hin.

It’s not that there aren’t nice beaches in Hua Hin. There are, in spots, but unless you’re staying in an expensive hotel and can walk from your room, you’re lucky to find a parking place within several hundred meters and that can get messy if you’ve got kids, beach toys, bags for dry clothes, bags for wet clothes, etc.

We’ve been to Dolphin Bay twice this month which I really like, and Cha Am more often than that, which the in-laws like. I like Pu Noi Beach at Dolphin Bay because there’s no one there. It’s a beautiful bay that I was first introduced to a few years ago for a bike ride. It’s great for biking as there’s little traffic the entire length of the four or five km bay and there are islands and fishing boats on the water side and an arc of small hills off in the distance on the beach side.

We had been to Dolphin Bay a few times over the years, mainly for biking, but had never stayed overnight. Decided it was time to get out of Dodge for more than just a few hours a couple of weeks ago and saw an interesting place to stay on the net that looked like it was worth a try.

There are places down there that charge 80,000 Baht a night for a 2 bedroom suite during the high season and those that would probably sell you 50% of their joint for that kind of money. We stayed in one closer to the lower end and it was quite nice. Fifty meters from the beach, hot water, air, Wi-Fi, breakfast, all the essential Thai channels on TV and free use of their sea kayaks.

I was pretty much in heaven. I appreciated the internet access and the quiet beach and available seafood. FBF Jr. loved the sand, the mud, the hermit crabs and just about everything but the puppies hanging out at the bungalows. The other half actually liked the sea kayaks. We did a little spin the first afternoon and then went out to one of the islands the next morning. There are no banana boats, jet skis, or even that many swimmers so you just paddle along with no fear of getting hit or hitting anything. The water is so shallow that only Ira Hayes or one of his Bintabaht counterparts would have to worry about drowning.

Took the in-laws down this past weekend and they were bored silly. When you live in Nakhon Nowhere, I guess a beach in Nakhon Nowhere is just too much like home, albeit with water.

They like Cha Am. Noise, beach chairs, umbrellas, banana boats, lots of people, more noise, food–heaven in spades. You want Somtom, got it; you want fresh crab, got it; gai yang, got it; and you don’t even have to get up. Even better that Pizza Hut ‘cuz you don’t even have to make a phone call, just wave your hand and someone’s there to take your order.

FBF even likes Cha Am on week days. You park where you sit. You can take the kitchen sink with you and it’s there in the car if you need it. No humping gear all over creation and no worries about some itinerant taxi driver keying your car because you had the nerve to take his parking place.

So, if you need to get out of town (the Jazz Festival is only a couple of weeks away) for a few hours or a couple of days, there are nice places within a short drive. Cha Am won’t change that much in the near future but Pranburi will. There are already pale face real estate agents working the bungalows offering deals. Really bizarre, there are no ladies offering massages on the beach, no ponies to ride but we ran into two different Farang real estate agents. Go there while you can but please don’t go where I go.