I thought perhaps I should give you guys a general update on what we are doing and what is going on it the country.
Chris is still working with a client from hell - he finally managed to get the face-to-face meeting he had requested (only took two months) where he discovered that the people he has been dealing with had not actually done anything (Despite being given weekly reports outlining what actions they needed to take). Things have improved since then - the big wigs are now involved and the project is finally progressing forward....there is not quiet light at the end of the tunnel as yet but at least there is now a fighting chance of getting there. He's still working silly hours (which, to be honest, I am finding a bit difficult - although probably not as difficult as he is) but that just seems to be the way it is over here. On the plus side - he is getting on well with his colleagues (we all knew he would), has been on a staff night out, and now feels like part of the team instead of the newbie (probably helped by the fact that a new guy has joined the team so he really is no longer the newbie).
I am really busy - I have recently re-discovered my creative side (have been making jewellery, doing drawings (See picture on the left) and making various things for the house) and have now lost count of the number of people who have told me that i should go into business and sell them (I'm actually working on two drawing commissions at the moment - one is for a dentist's surgery and is to feature teeth and the other is to have flowers and a dog in it!! Chris actually told someone that I was an artist the other day which really freaked me out!!). I'm also about to enter into a joint venture with my friend Jenny - we have the idea (and some offers of help already) but we need to have a proper meeting as to how we are going to progress it and it looks like I am going to be doing some welfare work which will involve a lot of co-ordination with charities and various projects across the city (and possibly slightly further afield). No rest for the wicked (and to think I was worried about being bored!!)
Life in Thailand is as bonkers as ever!! I don't know how much information you get about what like is like here so I'll give you a few general examples:
Newspaper reporting: the genuine cutting edge! On the day we flew up to Chiang Mai with Tom, the Bangkok Post ran a story announcing that on that very day, the Police would be searching the homes of 19 people suspected of being involved in the bombings at New Year. You may be interested to know that it has more recently been reported that all the suspects were released due to lack of evidence. Once has to wonder why...
News paper reporting (2): On the same day as the announcement of the
raids, there was a letter of complaint in the Bangkok Post (guess which paper we get delivered free from Chris's work...). A volunteer in an emergency rescue service outside Bangkok was explaining that, following a complaint from a member of the public about the loud noise of the siren and the upsetting flashing lights, local Police had warned the emergency services not to use their sirens or lights or they would face arrest and had subsequently enforced this ruling. The writer made the fair and valid point that this would push volunteers away - who wants to be arrested whilst racing to potentially put your life in jeopardy whilst saving others. Another only in Thailand moment!
Decisions Decisions: The Thai baht is strengthening too fast (Which to be fair it is and it's having a detrimental effect on exporters not to mention the fact that foreigners are not bringing in as much money as they were because the exchange rate has fallen). The powers that be decided to create a rule that any foreign company, or foreigner, who invests in Thailand has to keep 30% of their money in Thailand for at least a year (without getting any interest on it and with severe penalties if they touch it). Not one of them had the sense to look at what % of the economy is foreign investment - the baht began to fall.......as did the stock market (Bloomberg TV stated that it lost 23 billion dollars in less than 24 hours) so they have now announced that they are 'reversing the decision' and, surprise surprise, the stock market is going up again.
Equal Rights (Well it is equal but in a very strange way): In a bid to improve equality it was recently announced that, since it is legal for a husband to rape his wife, it is now legal for a wife to rape her husband!!
Sunspots: There was a CNN interview the other day with deposed Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, which we were unable to watch in Thailand. The screen went red and it was announced that UBC were having problems because of sunspot activity (Very handy sunspot activity that lasted 4 minutes - exactly the same length of time as the Thaksin interview.....hmmmm!!!)
Pavements: Ahh the joy of walking down the pavement - it truly is a little adventure. They have laid pipes near Emporium Shopping Centre - big blue ones. 'How do you know they are blue?' I hear you ask.....well....because I can see them!! The pipes have been put on top of the pavement and then covered with a huge pile of concrete......they now look like they have been attacked by a very large mole.
Newspaper deliveries: The Bangkok Post wasn't delivered on Monday. It did however turn up on Tuesday along with Tuesday's paper - cutting edge of information delivery! When they start delivering Tuesday's paper on Monday I'll be impressed...
Equal rights (2): Under the headline 'Ministry Promotes Women in Politics' the Bangkok Post announced the setting up of a five million baht campaign to improve womens opportunities in politics. It was to be targeted at women already involved in the community - very commendable. Although part of the money was to be spent on 'improving their personalities'.
We love Thailand!! It's completely nuts.....but we love it!!