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We left Thailand
This is it, after 5 years of living and working in Thailand we finally left yesterday. I apologize for not updating our website more often. I guess twitter and facebook mostly replaced it. And there are of course many other websites about Thailand, therefore there is less demand for our website.
We will now move to Vietnam for the next 4 years. I am not sure if the website will get a new Vietnam start. This I have to discuss with Mr. 'Dino'. Please let us now through the comment section or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like a fresh new Vietnam page with probably more updates than the Thailand version. (posted by Jitze, 06/07/2015)
One more year in Thailand
This summer we should have left Thailand after 4 years but we are lucky. We will stay one more year, so this summer we only visit the Netherlands. Next year we might move back but we will have to wait and see what will happen then.(posted by Jitze, 12/07/2014)
2 days of water battles
Last year Songkran only lasted one day in Krabi (Ao Nang) but yesterday people were still gathering to celebrate it with fierce water battles. Lot's of fun for them but we only joined in on Sunday. It was a great day, soaking wet and nothing but fun. But to be wet for two days, naaaah...
Anyhow, tomorrow snorkling and today some beach walking. So far a great Holiday. (posted by Jitze, 15/04/2014)
Tomorrow will be the start of Songkran. It's a Buddhist event celebrating a new year with originally symbolic cleaning of body and mind by poring some water over your head and shoulders. Also Buddha statues were cleaned during the celebration. Today it has changed radically in many places. Partly because of tourism, partly because things just change.
What will start tomorrow is a country wide water battle. Young and old will walk around with all kinds of water guns and everyone is legitimate target. If you go out of your house for a walk on the street tomorrow it's impossible not to get soaking wet! Wish us luck, we bought shirts printed with flowers because that's something else everyone does. Tomorrow it's one day of being a complete child again. (posted by Jitze, 12/04/2014)
The website will get more attention very soon, technical issues are being solved. The proof is the fact that I am posting this message. (posted by Jitze, 21/02/2014)
We are back in the Netherlands for our summer Holiday. Follow zofona on twitter for updates.
(posted by Jitze, 06/07/2013)
And again a posting after arriving in Krabi. Just to keep up the tradition. Tomorrow we will celebrate Songkran (Thai new year). Plenty of water will be thrown at everyone during this event. It starts at noon so we will be completely wet at 12.01 I guess. Happy (Thai) new year to all of you.
(posted by Jitze, 12/04/2013)
This update was made only because I am sitting behind our laptop and can easily login on our website.
Again not much to tell about the website, we are hardly updating it at the moment but this might chance in the future. Check for zofona on twitter or facebook for more information about daily life in Thailand.
(posted by Jitze, 22/02/2013)
A long weekend and we are at an island called Koh Chang (elephant Island). We have been here before and it is just a very nice destination if you want to get out of Bangkok but you don't want to drive all the way to Krabi or Phuket. It's only a little bit more than 4 hours driving towards the ferry. In 40 minutes this boat will bring you to this nice Island.
If you are visiting Koh Chang this time of year you will feel like you are almost alone. It's low tourist season and shops and hotels are almost empty. We like it this way but if you want to party you better wait for the tourist season (December/January).
I am sorry that I cannot post pictures on our website at this moment, just check our twitter feed for random pictures. (posted by Jitze, 21/09/2012)
This is a new record, no weblog postings in half a year. I guess twitter replaces most of the small stories.
We are in the Netherlands right now and it's great but not due to the weather. It's cold, windy and rainy the whole time. For next week the predictions are a little bit better but that will already be my last week. Christina and the children will stay one week longer.
We visited Paris and for those of you who use facebook, search for me and look at the nice pictures (uploading of pictures on the weblog doesn't work at this moment).
Furthermore we visited family and friends. We will also visit some Dutch musea but after the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay they will look a little bit small.
Anyhow, if you want to see us just give us a call.
(posted by Jitze, 17/07/2012)
At this moment we are enjoying our stay at Krabi. Our Holiday destination during X-mas 2011 (and 2010). We first thought of going to New Zealand this time of year but the 'tailbone accident' ruined our plans. On the other side, it's great over here. Tomorrow we will head for the beach and the day after we might do some serious snorkeling and squid fishing. (posted by Jitze, 20/12/2011)
I just added Dirk's travel story. It's in Dutch only, for the English reader an opportunity to test google translate.
Tomorrow I will start working again, let's see how it goes. After six weeks of rest because of my broken tailbone it's about time. The only problem will be sitting for a long period of time. On the other side it's boring to do nothing at all so I am happy with the change. (posted by Jitze, 20/11/2011)
The Reverend Horton Heat
Recently someone posted a youtube clip on twitterfeed #thaifloodeng showing flooding. He added music from The Reverend Horton Heat to that clip, I really start to like this band. Funny lyrics and it has a catching sound.
(posted by Jitze, 13/11/2011)
Rammstein = funny
I guess they released a new album because I tumbled over this funny video clip.
(posted by Jitze, 13/11/2011)
We're coming back!
Tomorrow, Yde, Vibeke and I will come back to Bangkok. After more than two weeks in Ao Nang we finaly will return home. It seems that the floods will not reach our house, or at least not in a few days, so Jitze and I decided that the children and I will come back. We had a wonderful stay in Ao Nang, due to our friend Gidi who offered us to stay in one of his apartments. Tolmaj family apartment is located above Gidi's restaurant Carnivore and on some days that was quite convenient. Today, on our last evening after a massage at the next door salon, Yde ate a chocolate pudding for desert and Vibeke took some ice cream. I decided to take a second Mai Tai, so if you see some typing mistakes or sentences that make no sense, blame it to the Mai Tai. I think it is time for me to go to bed too. (posted by Christina, 12/11/2011)
No time yet
Sorry for not publishing Dirk's story. I just did not had time to do it yet. Two weeks ago I broke my tailbone and even now I can hardly sit or do much behind the computer. I cannot work at the office or drive the car properly. Although it slowly is improving it will take some time.
In the meantime a short update on the flooding of Bangkok. Our house is still dry because we live in the center of Bangkok although it is not sure to stay that way. People are advised by the Governor of Bangkok to leave if they are not needed in Bangkok. The Government also decided to give extra holiday for this weekend which will be critical to Bangkok. If I have to believe twitter many people are leaving now for Hua Hin or Pattaya. We will stay for the time being. If there is any news I will twitter it for you to read on the homepage.
If you are interested to read about the flooding, use this twitter tag: #thaifloodeng, if you hate retweeting add -rt. (posted by Jitze, 26/10/2011)
Posting on our weblog
As you can see we hardly post on our weblog. Twitter is easy for short messages and you can read them directly at the main page of zofona.com. Of course you can also follow zofona or ojajoh2 for updates. Especially at this moment because of the flooding in Thailand (and possible in Bangkok), news will be shared via twitter.
We still have many new pictures but I did not manage to upload them because of some technical issues with the website. Our guest Dirk also visited us in September. He just send me a great travel story which will I will publish this evening. It's only in Dutch but for you Dutch readers enjoyable. For English readers, try google translate if you are curious.
We also went to Cambodia and Singapore, these stories will be added as well but later when that picture uploading issue has been solved.
Anyhow, enjoy and if you actually read this blog every now and then, let me know by sending a short message (use the submit a comment button at the top of this page). (posted by Jitze, 10/10/2011)
Hair By Phonatip
This morning I went to the hairdresser. A new one because my old hairdresser moved to China. After asking friends about their hairdressers and searching the web I decided to go to D-Hair. It's about 30 minutes traveling from my house, BTS and 5 minutes walking, but it was really worth it. Phonatip looked first at my hair and then asked me what I wanted. I told him that I wanted to leave his salon with curly hair. It has happened before that I came home with completely straight hair, looking like an average Thai girl. After one and a half hour or so, I left his salon with curly hair, coloured in a nice shade of brown and satisfied! I guess I found my new hairdresser today. (posted by Christina, 16/09/2011)
I am singing in the rain
This morning I twittered something from Bangkok post about possible rain in the North and Central Thailand. I also wrote that I thought it would not mean much to Bangkok. Look at our youtube movie, guess I was wrong :)) (posted by Jitze,27/08/11)
I added the recipe of the curry we ate yesterday, yes, the one with the edible flowers. (posted by Christina,26/08/11)
Flowers for dinner
Yesterday Phaw made a dish she likes to eat. Before she went to the market she showed me a picture of the dish and said that it contained edible flowers. She should know by now that we always try new kinds of food but she still was a bit hesitant about the flowers. After my approval she set off to the Klongtoey market and bought the ingredients she needed. After some research I discovered that flowers in the dish were the flowers of the Sesbania Grandiflora, in Thai: dok khae. They are mostly used in curries or eaten raw in salads. Before using the flowers for consumption you have to remove stamen and calyx. Young leaves are chopped fine and steamed, cooked or fried. Tender pods can be used as a substitute for string beans. Containing 25-20 percent crude protein, the flowers are very healthy to eat, not even to speak about all the other parts of the tree that are believed to cure illnesses. The S. Grandiflora is a multi purpose tree and is used as well for fodder, forage, fire wood, its timber and the production of paper. The clear gum from the bark is used as a binding agent in foods and as a substitute for gum arabic in adhesives. What a search on the web for what you have been eating can lead to... The recipe will be put in the food section but needs to be translated first. (posted by Christina, 26/08/11)
What on Earth is this?
Jitze came home last week with a very special gift. If you want to know more about this gift check out the food section of our website, I also added some more recipes. By the way, Jitze ate the gift this evening and his comment was: not bad at all! But if you know Jitze, I know Dirk does, you know that that Jitze eats everything that is called food. And besides that, Jitze has a cold and tastes almost nothing so I'm still not sure if it really tasted good enough to eat. (posted by Christina,19/08/11)
K-Pop in Central World
Vibeke and I were in Central World this afternoon when we heard hysterical screaming girls. Curious what it was about we decided to take a look. Around a small stage of AJE Big Cola we saw a mixed crowd of press, young Thai teenagers and security guards. On stage some young people who were about to sing. Signs with Korean texts were held up in the air and when the music started the screaming became deafening. So we left the scene and I decided to look it up on internet. As far as I can understand Thai, the popular band was B1A4 and they were probably doing some advertising for Big Cola. When we were leaving Korea I thought we left the K-Pop behind us but here in Thailand it is extremely popular, no wonder seeing all these girls go crazy for B1A4.(posted by Christina,28/07/11)
Never Say Cutz
I went to the hairdresser this afternoon. What's interesting about that? Well it's the best hairdresser in our neighbourhood. They play my favourite music, they cut my hair the way I like it and my mum says they are not expensive. Check it out! I'm not the only cool guy going to Never Say Cutz.(posted by Yde, 27/07/11)
What are we having for dinner tonight?
Since I have twitter I am asked every day what we are having for dinner. Especially for AJ, tonight on the menu: minestrone soup by Phaw, Kai Tod, baked potatoes and Christina's salad with a honey-mustard dressing. We still have holidays, which means time, and I will try out some Thai recipes and put them in the food section of our website. (posted by Christina, 27/07/11)
Bye Carrefour, Hello Big C!
Before we went on vacation we noticed the first changes, our Carrefour was really going to become a Big C Extra supermarket. Not familiar with the Big C, I was eager to see what differences had been made during the holidays. All foreign Carrefour products are gone now and replaced by the Big C brand Casino, also French. Actually I have to admit, after half an hour of looking around, that I am very happy with the change. Big C products are similar to the ones at Carrefour but there is more variety, like three types of cheese fondue. Why would I know this? Just because I like to eat cheese fondue. Well, this was a short update of my shopping experience at Big C. (posted by Christina, 26/07/11)
Yesterday I entered the modern world according to Jitze. I have now a smart phone and I even learned how to send messages to my twitter account. I also have twitter since yesterday and now my live is fully digital. During the holidays I also had to create a Hyves account so I can communicate with my sister in law. My only question is now where I can buy the extra time to keep everyone updated. (posted by Christina 25/07/11)
Messed up layout
The results of the crash are still visible, as you can see the layout of this page is a little bit of a mess. The youtube movies don't show correctly and other stuff like pictures are unfortunately also not visible. We are working on a solution to solve it. With the repair I want to integrate twitter in this weblog in order to keep it more updated. Especially now with my new smartphone this way of logging is just faster and easier. I hope to show the result pretty soon. (posted by Jitze, 21/07/11)
Server crash, back in Thailand
I did post something on our weblog but due to a server crash those two postings about the system of a down concert and a sepultura concert just disappeared. In short, the system of a down concert in Berlin was great and the sepultura concert was very loud. I went back to Bangkok yesterday. Christina, Yde and Vibeke will follow in two weeks. (posted by Jitze, 10/07/11)
No news for a while, we were all busy wrapping up the season. At school, at work and at home. Tomorrow we go to Holland to enjoy our Holidays. After 4 weeks we I will return to Bangkok, the rest of the family will stay two more weeks in the Netherlands. If everything goes as planned and ordered we will finally have internet connection at our house in the Netherlands after June 20. We keep you informed about funny, interesting or even borrowing news if we have it. (posted by Jitze, 10/06/11)
We went to Koh Chang last weekend and stayed there until Tuesday. Just like the first time we were lucky with the weather. Our daily routine; every morning right after breakfast swimming or snorkeling, when it really got hot at the beach it would be timte to go out for lunch and we used the afternoon for other activities. Our days ended in the swimming pool to refresh again.
Because Yde and Vibeke would definitely like it we decided to go for an elephant ride. Of course it's quite touristic and the 'jungle ride' isn't much more than walking up a forested hill deep down trails left behind from thousands of elephants dragging previous tourists along those hills. But to be honest, who cares. It's still fun to sit on top of one of these mighty animals and being able to touch tree leaves and listening to all the strange noises in the forest.
Besides from the 'jungle trail' the elephants also went to a creek and walked through water around 4 feet deep. Certainly spectacular for the children and I have to admit that we also enjoyed it. Some of these tourist attractions are not that bad.
And at the end of the day we went back to our hotel to enjoy a great sunset at the beach, the picture can't show you how beautiful it really is but at least you get an impression.
And one more picture about insects in Thailand. Around two weeks ago we suddenly had uninvited visitors close to our house. A swarm of bees decided to make a beehive in a tree in front of our house, click here for a good picture. We did not like it too much but still it's amazing to see how they quickly build it. Luckily for us they decided to fly away the next day. People told me this happens quite frequently at this time of year. As long as they choose trees a little bit further away from our house we don't care. (posted by Jitze, 22/05/11)
Delay in updates
Sorry for not posting some nice pictures from Koh Chang or a short youtube impression of us riding Elephants. I was just busy with other stuff including going to the ****** from the toyota garage at Sukhumvit close to Soi 26. Tomorrow I will post more pictures and other stuff, I am going to bed now. (posted by Jitze, 21/05/11)
For all you future visitors and more, for us good news. We now have a satellite dish and we can receive BVN. This is a channel broadcasting Dutch and Belgium programs. The only disadvantage, it's a weak signal so don't expect much during the rainy season because considerable formations of clouds block the signal quite fast. Still we like having it, it's besides a nice television channel a good rain prediction system. No BVN means it will soon rain. (posted by Jitze, 13/05/11)
Wow, two water monitors
My office is located in the center of Bangkok but we do have quite a big lot surrounding our office. It even has a pond and small canals. Besides from turtles, fish, snakes and other crawling or swimming tropical animals we almost daily see these giant water monitors. Yesterday one of my colleagues called me because something special was going on. Two of these giants hugging each other?
At first we thought they were mating but we are not sure. One of them was bleeding slightly and a friend of my colleague told me that this is also the way they fight in order to solve territorial disputes. Whatever the truth is, the picture is great. Click here to see two bigger pictures which I posted at our Fauna section. (posted by Jitze, 11/05/11)
Again Koh Chang and kitchen cam
Although it has only been a week ago we made another reservation at the Chill for next weekend because we liked it very much. It will be a long weekend. 17 May is a local Holiday, our children will just skip one day at school and that makes 4 days of snorkling, swimming and relaxing.
And a small reminder, if you want to see us cooking ask for the login password and check out our remote controlled webcam (link on homepage). We did not get too many requests although it's rather funny according to people who tried it. (posted by Jitze, 08/05/11)
Strange noises and one dead fish
On Friday Christina and I go out every now and then. Yesterday we went to a new movie called Thor. It's not bad if you like some fantasy in your movie but I would recommend to watch it in a theater instead of waiting for the DVD. The special effects are typically more enjoyable on a wide screen.
Before we went to the movies I first went to B-Quick. The website is only Thai but you get an idea. It's one of those tires, suspension and battery service garage. The good thing about the one close to our house is that they beat the official Toyota garage when it comes to diagnostics and service. Some time ago I had a problem because the car would not drive straight. A thorough check at the Toyota garage did not solve anything. Two minutes at this B-Quick and they discovered the problem. One of the shock absorbers did not work good. Ridiculous that the Toyota garage could not find it. This time it was a strange squeeking noise in my car. Again the Toyota garage did not find it, the guys at B-Quick discovered that the bull-bar caused the noise. Some rubber and it was solved.
And what about the dead fish? Today I helped my colleagues to move an aquarium from the house of one of them to the other. Everything went well and the big aquarium fitted in the car. There was just this one suicidal fish which jumped out of the bucket, therefore a dead fish in the title... (posted by Jitze, 07/05/11)
Koh Chang, our youtube video
(posted by Jitze, 03/05/11)
Birthday at Koh Chang Island
Today on my birthday I took a day of and the children didn't have to go to school because I wanted to celebrate my birthday with the family at a nice location. We drove to Laem Ngop and took the ferry to Koh Chang. We also didn't book anything in advance but that makes the surprise better. Finally we ended up in a very nice resort hotel called 'the Chill Koh Chang' after checking out several other resorts. Just take a look at this website. We arrived after dark so this is what we can expect tomorrow morning because I am writing this at 23:29. (posted by Jitze, 29/04/11)
First travel story by Addy
Although Jan, Ina and their children were our first visitors Addy has the honor to be the first visitor who wrote the mandatory travel story. I added the visitors stories section and you can read his story and check out some nice pictures he made by simply clicking here. (posted by Jitze, 18/04/11)
Songkran part III
And some more Songkran stuff. Today we took the car again and now we made some pictures and a short movie with our camera. We drove through a small Soi to give you a better impression of all the fun. I briefly opened a window so you can hear the screaming and music.
And this is a nice article from the Bangkok Post with some very nice pictures. This evening I think I will walk around a bit more because it's just fun to see all the adults behave like children.
We also passed through Bangkok's Chinatown but the only picture we made was while driving in our car. The Chinese advertisement always look colorful, and even today some markets were open for business.
This time we did not get out of the car to visit a market because even the traders had water guns at their disposal. Christina only went out quickly to buy drinks at a 7/11 but even there somebody with a water gun managed to hit her before she could enter the shop (hehe). (posted by Jitze, 14/04/11)
Songkran part II
No pictures so far because the camera we have would not survive it, only a waterproof camera would be good. Today we first drove around with our car for an impression of Songkran. Christina decided not to go for a walk because she didn't feel the urge to get soaking wet.
Yde, Vibeke and I went for a walk, we quickly bumped into other Dutch people from our compound so our group of five children and two adults armed with water guns started the water battle. Within 100 meters we were already completely wet. Not only do people trow water with baskets, they use hoses to finish it of. Everyone is wishing each other happy new year and many Thai people did put chalk powder on our faces.
For children it's great fun, and for adults it brings back the child in them. The only thing which isn't much fun, being on the receiving side of ice water. Many people have huge baskets full of water and ice. It's just awful cold compared to regular water.
I also made the mistake to walk with some kind of handbag with my wallet and telephone. I thought it was water resistant but now I know it is not. Even my wallet got soaked, now I am busy drying the banknotes and other stuff. If you are in Thailand during Songkran I can recommend everyone to join the party. Pack stuff in plastic and make sure when you take a taxi's or tuk-tuk that the driver isn't drunk. Songkran is unfortunately also the most dangerous time of the year to be on the road. (posted by Jitze, 13/04/11)
The next tree days are Thai Holidays. The famous Songkran festival will start tomorrow morning. We already bought some battery powered water guns but we don't know what to expect. I just looked at this youtube movie and now I know what to expect, ai ai ai.
(posted by Jitze, 12/04/11)
That's the result of one weekend driving in Thailand. Our hotel in Chanthaburi turned out to be good. The room was good, friendly staff and it's located close to the old center of Chanthaburi. In the evening we went to a fancy restaurant in the city and paid 190 baht for an expensive meal ;)
We wanted to go back via road 317 (or was it 371, I don't have my map here). This road goes back North but is located not too far away from the Cambodian border. Therefore we ended up at the border market at ....... (will look it up, you get it tomorrow)
It's a market where Cambodians buy Thai stuff and Thai go to Cambodia for whatever is interesting on the other side. These are borders like we used to have them in Europe. Visible with a checkpoint and in this case a very clear difference between the two sides. At the Thai side tarmac and immediately at the other side a road without any tarmac at all. A small river divides the border and there were no tourists at all at this border.
One of our future plans is to drive to Cambodia, we might take this border just because that crossing looks great. After walking around for a while we continued our trip through nice hills and cultivated fields. Not only crops but also many trees with fruit we don't recognize half of the time.
At 18.00 we arrived back home in Bangkok. It was quite a trip but we explored some parts of Thailand which we didn't see before. Now it's two days of working before the Songkran festival starts. From Wednesday until Friday it will be water ballet in the streets. We are not sure what to expect besides from the fact that you cannot escape it as soon as you leave your house. Check out our weblog because for sure we will write about it. (posted by Jitze, 10/04/11)
Hotel Kasemsarn in Chanthaburi
At this very moment we are staying in hotel Kasemsarn in Chantnaburi. The province of Chanthaburi offers plenty for us. We drove here today and took some nice pictures while getting here. Tomorrow we will continue our trip and in the evening we will go back to Bangkok. (posted by Jitze, 09/04/11)
Airco, bullbar and Sea Salt
Last Friday I drove home from work and the only appointment on my agenda for the weekend would be the trip to an exhaust pipe shop. A colleague discovered that they were the right guys to mount the bullbar on our toyota. Don't ask me what an exhaust pipe has to do with a bullbar but at least it would finally be done. But within 5 minutes of driving I discovered that I would need another appointment. The airco was only delivering hot air. At the beginning of the week I already thought once or twice that is was a little bit humid in the car but I didn't notice it very well because the week started with low temperatures as I mentioned before. However, on Friday it was 34 degrees outside and inside the car it was awful. Opening the windows was the only solution but all the exhaust fumes did not made me feel any better.
On Saturday I first had to get that bullbar done because I made an appointment. I knew they had to make some changes and, although slowly, they did a great job. Within 2 hours the bullbar was installed. Afterwards I rushed to the Toyota garage. Good Thai tradition against Western impatience and intolerance towards a broken airco.
These conversations go something like this (with very limited English and a lot of smiling). Me; 'Could you please try to fix it today, I need my car', Technician; 'of course Wednesday is possible', me; 'aarggh (smiling, trying to smile even more), please my friend, I am dying in my car', Technician; 'hmm, Tuesday is also nice but no prado spare parts', Me: 'I will just wait, ok' (smile now beyond what I thought would normally be possible), Technician; 'hahaha, let's take I look' (I got you scared, right!). Soon four technicians discovered a faulty rubber and started a discussion about missing spare parts. I nodded and smiled and signed some paperwork. And happily they promised to do their best but I should expect it to be finished maybe on Sunday afternoon.
Two hours later I got a call, a happy and proud Thai technician who told me the job was done. It's just a matter of never losing your temper and being polite but determined to get something done. Of course don't forget to tip the guy before picking up your car. The next service will fully depend on how you handle the tipping this time.
Anyhow, the airco probably didn't work too well for some time because I suddenly noticed renewed polar wind in my car in a way I couldn't remember. That's one of the reasons why today we went for a drive, pleasantly cool we discovered the famous sea salt fields close to Phetchaburi.
After this we drove towards a nice beach were we had a good lunch with sea view. Two times sweet and sour pork with 2 steamed rice, fried rice with seafood, two sprite and a coke for 265 baht, what more do you need.
And of course you find plenty of nice harbours and villages were you can watch the Thai fisherman preparing their boats for mostly night fishing. It was just a nice and pleasant Sunday here in Bangkok. (posted by Jitze, 03/04/11)