Thursday, 26 July 2007

Visa Run

So today was my visa run. I hate this day. It is a tedious chore that I have to perform every 3 months to extend my stay in the country. I normally look for a way to make it more interesting by turning it into some kind of trip. I haven't actually done the standard minibus run to Ranong for almost two years but for some reason this time I couldn't be bothered to make a trip out of it so I did the standard run.

You can find a description of the standard visa run here - The Standard Phuket Visa Run.

The good thing is our friend Geoff (the millionnaire) has added a visa run operation to the legal business ran by his girlfriend - Bangkok Legal Services. They have bought a very good minibus with comfy seats and a TV & DVD. They are even doing the trip for a bargain price of 1,300 baht all in. So it was an easy choice to give them a go.

They didn't make the best of starts when they turned up 20 minutes late but from then on it was all good. They just got on with it which is all everybody wants. Get the job done and get home. There were only 5 of us on the bus which makes all the difference comfort wise. There were no idiots on the bus which also helps, no overstayers, no messing around.

We were back home just after 4pm which is the fastest visa run I have ever done by a mile. It is still a crap day but at least it was less crap than usual.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Ben's Ails Continue

Ben has been vomiting again over the last couple of days. This time so much so that he could not keep any food down and was clearly suffering so we gave hime the day off school. He was also complaining about his ear again. This time we decided to take him to an ear specialist as I am sure he has an ear infection. So we took him into Phuket Town to an ear doctor on Phuket Road.

It took the doctor about 10 seconds to declare Ben's right ear was clogged with wax and infected. I suspect this may well be the root cause of all his ailments over the last few weeks. He has actually been complaining about his ear on and off for a couple of months. Goes to show you should take note of what the kids say.

The doctor set about sucking the wax out of Ben's ear with a nasty looking suction syringe. Ben was a little nervous but he sat still and patiently endured the process. He has been a little soldier about the whole thing and made me feel quite proud. The doctor gave us some ear drops and hopefully they will clear the infection.

Ben looks better already and is back at school today.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Ben's Energy

I wonder about Ben sometimes. He seems to have quite extraordinary energy levels. He never stops and when there are other children around to play he turns into a whirling dirvish. We had a friend around today who bought his seven year old son. Ben played and played and played with this kid. They ran, jumped, chased and played for hours. This kid eventually ran out of steam but Ben just never stopped and would not let this poor exhausted kid stop either.

I have seen Ben do this before. He can just run other children to exhaustion. I worry that he might be hyperactive but on the other hand maybe it is a good thing and just shows he is a very fit boy. I try to cast my mind back to when I was a kid. I can't remember back to Ben's age but I do remember having lots of energy. When I was a kid we would go to the park to play football after lunch. We would play constantly until it was dark and then head back to our street to play other games until we were finally called in by our parents.

It would be fantastic to have all that energy now. Imagine what you could do if you never needed to stop. Sadly there is no beating age. It is all I can do to keep Ben and Jenny entertained and under control.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Ben is Better

Well Ben is very much better. The cough is gone and he is full of energy - actually he was always full of energy. I went to bed at midnight last night only to find that Ben had got out of bed and was happily playing bu himself. Needless to say he was rahter tired when we got him up for school this morning. We are meant to take him for a follow up visit to the doctor but I am not sure I can be bothered.

I have a new interest - torrents. I recently bought a video camera so that I can take home videos of Ben & Jenny growing up and therefore I also had to find software to convert those videos into DVDs (Nero seems to the best software out there). One of the few frustrations living out here is that you miss some of the TV from back home. There is not much I am bothered about but I did want to see the second series of The Office so I investigated torrents.

It took me two days to download the entire second series and the Xmas specials but now I have them. I do not seem to be able to get the speed above 20kbs which seems very slow but it gets there in the end. I think I am missing something on the set up but maybe it is just the limits of my internet connection. I will continue to tinker.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Ben's Cough

We took Ben to the hospital for a check up. The doctor was very good. He spoke good English and quickly diagnosed bronchitis. He explained we needed an X-ray to make sure there was no pneumonia. He also said there was the possibility it as asthmatic bronchitis but it is difficult to tell the difference. Of course I hope Ben is not asthmatic - I can't see why he should be. There is no history of it in either Pon's or my family.

Anyway the X-ray was clear for pneumonia. They gave Ben breathing treatment - a breathing mask that mixes air and medicine into a steam. Ben was a little intimidated by it all but he was quite the little soldier about it. The doctor gave us some medicine. There was bronchial clearing stuff, antibiotics in case there are any related infections (we think he might have an ear infection, an and asthmatic tablets just in case.

The funny thing was although he was meant to be sick he was sprinting round the waiting room for most of the time we were in the hospital. Anyway a couple of days later and he is much improved.

Went for a night out in Patong with Huwy. It was the usual routine around the usual bars. A nice enough night out. We finished off with a pizza at our usual restaurant. It was slow coming and Huwy threw a little strop and walked out. Huwy is a good straight-up guy but he does like to make a drama of things. The simplest problem gets turned into a major event. Guess we won't be going back to that pizza place for a while.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Ben's Ear

Ben's cough has returned with a vengeance. He was coughing all night and had a rough sleep. Then he was sick in the morning. He has also been complaining about his ear so I think it looks like an ear infection may be the problem. Since it hasn't cleared up it is time for a visit to the doctor to have it looked at.

Everything else is normal. Pon and I went for a night out in Phuket Town on Monday. We were going to watch a movie first but the schedule was wrong so we just went out boozing. We started at the bar in the Thavorn Hotel. It is a nice cosy bar with live Thai country music. Then we went to Jammin. This is a more pub style place with a live rock band. It used to be one of the most popular bars in Phuket Town but it seems to have dropped off the in-list. There were only a handful of customers. Still it made for a nice atmosphere as the customers could have a bit of banter with the band.

After that we went to YoYo Restaurant by the weekend market. The boss, Khun Joy, is a friend and also an old friend of Pon was coming. The beers flowed quickly again and we got absolutely hammered. It was good fun but again I remember little of going home and woke up with a stunning hangover. I worry I have lost my booze handling ability.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The Gym

We forgot to go to the gym this morning. Well okay, I overslept. They have three morning yoga classes that Pon attends regularly. The only problem is the only day we can go together is Saturday. On Mondays & Thursdays Ben is at school and Jenny will not play on her own. Therefore after dropping Ben off at school, I drop Pon off at the gym and then I go home with Jenny. I go to the gym early afternoon for a session before collecting Ben from school.

So Saturday is our day when Ben & Jenny can play together in the play room while I do a session in the gym and Pon does her yoga class. Don't let anyone tell you having children won't affect your life. Everything revolves around them.

Over the last month or so Ben & Jenny have developed quite a sibling rivalry. They are endlessly battling over toys and they will not share anything. I think Ben was the one who started it but now Jenny is standing her ground and they will fight over anything. I am not quite sure how to deal with it. No matter what we try the pair of them will not et on. Hopefully they are just going through one of those phases.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

What a Hangover!

Yesterday was a complete write off. The day before Geoff had one of his little parties at his house. I don't know what happened - it seemed like a normal long boozing session. We were certainly hammered by the time we left and I don't remember much about going home. A big session for sure but I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary. However the next day I was just wiped out. I lay on the sofa until 3pm and whenever I did get up I felt giddy and had the shakes. I don't think I have ever had a hangover quite like it. I've had a few where I felt dreadful but not actually physically faint. I think it is a little warning that I am getting older and my body cannot handle heavy boozing sessions the way it used to.

Today I feel recovered. I will go and do a lunchtime session at the gym before picking Ben up from school. Then we need to do a shopping trip.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Night out in Patong

I went for a night out in Patong last night. Patong is the biggest tourist town in Phuket and is where all the tourist nightlife goes on. I lived there for a while and always used to visit often. However, I have not been down there for a month. It is a fun place but over time you start to get bored of it. It is still a good place to visit but I can't be bothered to go there regularly.

I went with Huwy and we did our usual rounds of the bars where we know the owners. A few drinks and a chat and then on to the next bar. I am definitely out of practice as I felt hammered after an hour. Still we ploughed on, got slaughtered, had our traditional end of night pizza and then struggled home barely conscious.

It was good fun but it might be another month before I go again.