Category Archives: Expat

Apartment Shelving Evolution

I am now living in Siem Reap, Cambodia!  This is the eleventh country I have lived in (countries visited).  This is also the 25th city I have lived in!  One of the first things I do when I get to a new place is get shelving to multiply counter space.  This can be done very cheaply with plastic shelving and makes life a lot more convenient.  I would also say always get a furnished apartment because you never know with a new country.  Even furnished apartments rarely come with much in the way of shelving.  Below is a photographic essay of the mundane subject of apartment shelving evolution!  The four-shelf monstrosity below ended up in the kitchen first, then next to the TV and finally ended up being shelving for my electronics!  I used three kits to make the shelving below because the store next to me (new Angkor Market on highway 6) only had three kits in blue!  The kits were designed to make three, three shelf units.  Blue is your safest color for plastic stuff period.  The most common color for plastic houseware is blue.

Below is my electronics corner minus the four-shelf monstrosity!  The maids can’t clean the area easily.  The table doubles as my dining room table so the area really should be cleaned.  I use two giant brown plastic trays to keep the eating area and laptop area separate and avoid a spillage catastrophe.  Ideally, I should be eating on one table and doing computer stuff on another table but I don’t live in an ideal world.  I am willing to invest in plastic shelving since its cheap and the benefits are immediate.  Plastic shelving can be taken apart and moved from one city to another city in the same country in the trunk of a taxi.  If I leave the country then I give the shelving to the maids and they deserve a present!  Investing in real furniture comes much later.  Buying things like tables means I am more or less committed to staying in the country for a year or more.  So far, I am having fun in Siem Reap but my track record for staying put in one place is not very good!  My family calls me “el piedra rodante“!

The four-shelf monstrosity finds a final home as an organizer for all my electronics. 

Not very aesthetic but the set up does get the cables of the floor. 

I get a blue plastic hook set and I now have a place to put my headphones! 

The kitchen counter has zero extra counter space.  There are only plugs behind the microwave and the cords are not long enough for the cooking equipment to be moved. 

I am using valuable counter space to just store dishes and sundries!  The living room is in good shape.  Now I need to fix up the kitchen. 

This is where the four-shelf monstrosity was born.  The monstrosity was then moved to the TV area and then ended up being my tower of electronics. 

I find some smaller shelving that better fits the space I am working with in the kitchen.   I don’t want the shelving to use up all the counter space which I will use to do cooking.  The four-shelf monstrosity is banished to the TV area and then become the electronics tower.  The dishware bought is based on almost 20 years of living in Asia.  I use the big pot to make all sorts of stews.  Asia sells vegetables in packets!  You do have a choice of more than one packet.  I buy a vegetable packet.  I buy a meat which is generally chicken since chicken is relatively cheap in Asia.  Gizzards are not cheap like in the US but sometimes the fox has to have his gizzards.  First meat, then the veggies and finally I add my curry ramen noodles!  I buy dishware in sets of four which means I can put off doing dishes a day or two.  I guess I could entertain four people but that never happens.  In Asia you eat out when socializing!  Last but not least, I get mostly hard, plastic Chinese style dishware because that stuff is indestructible and cheap!  I don’t mess with the Western dishware in Asia because its more money and not as durable.  The vast majority of Chinese dishware is white.  I stick with white and minimal decoration so the dishware more or less matches. Light blue and white are not the worst color combination.

I can squeeze in one last narrow shelf for my basic food stuff and still have a little countertop for cooking.  Basic food for me is curry ramen noodles, and some cans of black beans and tuna.  With these three ingredients I can make ramen and tuna, ramen and black beans. and if I am really hungry, ramen and tuna and black beans.  I am just about always really hungry.  Cooking your own ramen doesn’t make a lot of sense in Cambodia economically.  Prepared food is actually cheaper than buying food at the supermarket and cooking it yourself in Cambodia.  This is unique to Cambodia.  Why?  I am not sure!  One theory that I have is that AC drives the prices of supermarkets.  Electricity is 1.5 times higher than in neighboring countries such as Thailand despite the fact just about everything else is cheaper than Thailand.  Maybe because the night markets don’t have AC and other overhead, the night markets can charge lower prices for meat and vegetables.  However, the traditional markets are absolutely not barang friendly.  Barang is farang in Khmer.   Farang is Thai for Westerner.  The supermarkets have a disproportionate amount of barang customers and maybe that is the real reasons prices are so high at supermarkets compared to traditional markets.  Barang are just willing to pay more money for convenience.  I know that I am.  Plus, the price of labor is so low in Cambodia that the cost of having the food prepared is minimal compared to other countries.  However, sometimes I don’t feel like eating at a noodle stand with a bunch of Cambodians that generally have zero English so I can’t talk with them.  Sometimes I want to eat my noodles watching TV and/or playing on the computer.  Also, my tuna, black beans and curry ramen is a food I have been eating for decades and something familiar in a strange land.  Two beer mugs and two coffee mugs at the bottom.  Cupware is breakable, small and used more often than any other kitchen utensils.  Therefore, the cupware deserves its own separate place in the narrower shelf area.

I used two kits to make the narrow three-shelf unit above.  The kits were for two-shelf units.  The leftover shelf ended up being a basket of sorts which I did use to store bananas atop of my refrigerator!  The small legs of the leftover shelf are very handy.  If the bananas touch the fridge through the mesh of a basket then the banana can rot and leave a mess.  I can clean the shelf a lot easier than the fridge surface.  Bananas are cheap in Cambodia.  I am trying to make bananas my new snack food.  So far, I have failed miserably in this endeavor!

The dish washing tray has been moved to the top of the microwave.  I am a big fan of a simple BIG dishwashing tray!  I debated putting the hot plate there and the dish washing tray where the hot plate was but grease spatter is more easily cleaned from a marble counter than a microwave surface. 

Once every two or three months, I take all the plastic shelving and even the dishwashing tray and clean the whole mess in the bathroom shower area!  If you have a bath tub then let everything soak for a few hours.  If you have a balcony then get a giant plastic tub and clean everything there.  Bugs are a big problem in tropical places like Thailand, where I lived for 8.5 years and a total clean is needed now and then.  Do move the furniture and get behind the counters and clean that area as well.  Cambodia is identical to Thailand in terms of climate.

Apartment photos

Mundane Subjects Series

Apartment Shelving Evolution

Turn Utility Shelving into a Great Clothes Rack

Ukiyo-e Noren Curtains at Daiso

Am I Kitsune?

WereVerse Universe Baby!

Google Drive Link: WereVerse Universe

Sriracha Tiger Zoo

1Hugh Fox & Tiger Cub

The audience for this article is farang living in Bangsaen.  The Sriracha Tiger Zoo is a great way for someone from Bangsaen to spend an afternoon.  Burapha University is in Bangsaen and more and more visitors from many countries find themselves learning and/or teaching at Burapha University.  You go to the zoo to get three pictures in particular.  The first and most important picture is with a tiger cub!  There are two places to do this.  One has a nicer backdrop and an older cub.  The other one has a backdrop that is not as nice but the cub is younger.  I went for the younger cub since the backdrop doesn’t matter much anyway.  As of July 20th 2013, a farang pays 450 baht to get in and a Thai pays 180 baht to get in.  The picture with the tiger cub is an extra 150 baht but they print out the picture there and then and the quality of all such pictures at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo is excellent.  I did have some pictures taken with my digital camera but their scanned picture which can be seen above was far better.

2Hugh Fox & Scorpion Queen

The second must get picture is with the Scorpion Queen (pictured above).  I have seen this sort of thing before but was never tempted.  Generally some bozo in a T-Shirt is putting the scorpions on you.  The Scorpion Queen is a lot better than some bozo.  The lovely lady put about six scorpions on me and unfortunately the scorpions are black as was my Hawaiian shirt so I recommend wearing a lighter shirt so the scorpions are more visible.  There is a rumor that tigers don’t like red or orange so pick a color other than black, red or orange for your shirt that day.  Some Thai ladies had outfits with tiger prints on.

3Hugh Fox & Crocodile

The third must get picture is with the crocodile (pictured above).  Again you will run into this sort of picture set up all over Thailand but this crocodile was special.  The crocodile is gigantic and I have seen a lot of crocodiles while living in Thailand!  You use your own camera but it’s only a 100 baht versus the usual 150 baht.

If you want pictures with wild animals then there are plenty of places that provide this service in Thailand.  Pattaya has Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden and Bangkok has Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo that are similar to the Sriracha Tiger Zoo but both are not day trips from Bangsaen so if you are looking for some afternoon fun from Bangsaen then the Sriracha Tiger Zoo is the way to go.  The Sriracha Tiger Zoo website mentions their food but this is not why I would go there.

If you are hungry then I would recommend the Saturday buffet at the Pacific Park Hotel restaurant which starts at 6 pm which is when the zoo closes!  The buffet is 300 baht per person and features Japanese, Thai and Western dishes.  Sriracha is home to various Japanese factories and has many Japanese workers and expats living in Sriracha but finding a good reasonable Japanese restaurant that is gaijin friendly is actually not easy.  I would recommend the Zenmaru Udon restaurant pictured below for price and atmosphere.

4Hugh Fox & Zenmaru Udon Restaurant

They have little Japanese style rooms upstairs with a lot of ambience and I would order the chicken cutlet, with noodles under the cutlet and curry on the cutlet, but they just call it the curry dish.  The menu has pictures so just look for a breaded cutlet and you will do ok.  You can get more exotic Japanese food that is generally not available in more touristy Japanese restaurants but some of this food is too exotic and pricey but hey you only live once.  However, no Japanese beers at Zenmaru Udon!  Heineken and local Thai beers are available.  Zenmaru Udon is just down the street from the Pacific Park Hotel and if you pass a hospital then you have walked just past the restaurant.  The Pacific Park Hotel is in turn right next to the Sriracha Robinson which is also a lot of fun.

Hugh Fox III - Block

You can also download my autobiography of my struggle with a bipolar condition on  Am I Kitsune on my Google Drive.

WereVerse Universe Baby!

WereVerse Universe at Google Drive Link

Do Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipedes make good pets?

Hugh Fox Giant Centipede 1

Do Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) make good pets? This is my story. I received Curly, the name of my centipede when I was fifteen in 1972 from my uncle Manuel.  My uncle had snuck the centipede past customs from Peru because he had a centipede of the same species given to him by his father, my grandfather, when he was around the same age as a pet and Manuel felt I was ready for this awesome responsibility.  Uncle Manuel said that if you could take care of a giant centipede then children and for that matter any task, was easy after that.  I have never had children period but perhaps this is true.

Their first few years with Curly were not easy.  I was bitten several times and had to be rushed to the hospital.  One of the more unpleasant aspects of being bit by Curly was the fact that your heart goes into cardiac arrest which makes your heart slow down to almost nothing and you feel like your soul is descending into the ground and even the underworld.  Fortunately, after the fifth or sixth bite, you develop some immunity to the venom.  You still feel like you are going to die but you at least have enough strength to inject the anti-venom serum into your heart without help and in a day or two you are just fine.

Luckily, Curly mellowed with age. After fifteen years of living together, Curly became a lot less aggressive towards me.  Curly also got a lot bigger!  A normal Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede is about a foot long but after fifteen years Curly was almost two feet long.  The Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede lives about five years in the wild and as long as ten years in captivity but if you give them our very secret Incan family recipe of herbs and spices then the centipedes can live a lot longer.

I cannot give the details of the recipe except to say Peru is bordered on one side by the Andes and the other side by the Amazon and because of this many botanical miracles can be found in Peru and nowhere else.  Some plants may not have even originated on our planet but may be deliberate hybrids between plants of different planets.  Shine an ultra violet lamp and shine that lamp on any jungle or field in the world, except Peru, then nothing will glow in the dark.  If you do the same experiment in Peru then you will become aware that some plants seem identical even using current DNA analysis to other plants but are in fact very different!

Actually no one in my family knows how long a centipede can live if they eat our special recipe.  Chulito, my uncle Manuel’s pet centipede, died when she was 55 years of age but only because she had wandered out into the street and been run over by a bus.  Chulito had grown to an amazing five feet in length and many a dog and cat disappearance, in the neighborhood my uncle lived in, was blamed on Chulito.

My uncle was always adamant that Chulito was innocent. My uncle claimed the stories of Chulito were lies by the communists who resented his Freemason connections. According to my uncle the communists said he had used his connections to stop the communists from erecting a statue of Karl Mark in the Park of the Exposition in Lima.

There was actually a great deal of eye witness testimony that the bus driver swerved in order to hit the centipede and had loudly said after the act that he had done what he had done in order to “matar el monstruo, matador de gatos y perros”, kill the monster, killer of cats and dogs.  Both criminal charges and a civil suit brought by my uncle against the bus driver failed because apparently centipedes are not protected under Peruvian law.

The funeral was dignified.  As the inheritor of the family tradition of the pet centipede, I of course asked for a leave of absence from my ESL teaching job in Houston and went to Lima to attend the funeral.  A coffin generally used for a dog was used.  My uncle had wanted to get a metal hermetically sealed steel coffin but my aunt had insisted that a wooden coffin was more than enough for a centipede.  The wooden coffin cost around fifty dollars.  The steel coffin would have cost almost two thousand dollars!

An informal, low key, pet cemetery on unconsecrated ground exists behind the Convento de San Francisco for Limeños of a certain social standing and Chulito was buried between a parrot that was famous for singing the national anthem of Peru albeit badly according to my aunt and a rooster that had been the fiercest fighter on the cock fighting circuit of Lima in the year of 1937.  The owner of the rooster had been an unabashed fascist and had named the rooster Mussolini.  The parrot was named José de la Torre Ugarte y Alarcón after the musician who had composed the Peruvian national anthem.  As a rule only pets of distinction above and beyond affection are given formal funerals in Lima.  I felt sad that Chulito had such a common name compared to her neighbors but I also felt glad she had such illustrious company.

A representative of the Museo Nacional Arqueología, Antropología e Historia Perú was in attendance and made one final appeal before the burial to donate the centipede body to the museum but offered very little in the way of money and instead appealed to my uncle’s sense of national honor.  In the year 2,006, a representative of Ripley’s Believe It or Not offered the fantastic sum of 10,000 dollars for the centipede body and the coffin was disinterred.

However, the wooden coffin fell into pieces as it was raised from the ground.  Mold, rot and insects had destroyed the coffin and the contents were beyond recognition.  My uncle cursed himself for not getting a better coffin for his old friend when he had the chance. The metal coffin would have cost two thousand dollars so an intact centipede body would have yielded a profit of eight thousand dollars.  After that day, whenever my aunt tried to make a point forcibly, my uncle would say, “Remember the wooden coffin of Chulito!”

The Chulito remark had the cumulative effect of causing my aunt Zoila to briefly consult a professor of psychology at San Marcos University that had been her classmate years earlier and was a psychoanalyst.  The problem is that the poor doctor could never quite understand that the centipede was an actual centipede rather than some opaque way of referring to my uncle’s penis. This led to my aunts often said observation that some of the stupidest people in the world are some of the most educated people in the world.  Later my aunt hopelessly tried to create some sort of theory that perhaps education in some ways caused stupidity.  However, my aunt was a very busy woman and always focused on keeping the house clean and the meals going since she was the nucleus of our extended family and theory did not feed children so her theory never got very far except in my own mind.

I later received a doctorate and read Malinowski.  I ultimately came to the conclusion that what is magic (nonsense that has societal sanction and passes for knowledge) and what is science (useful knowledge) is often known in hindsight.  I inherited the centipede from my uncle.  I inherited a suspicion of over-education from my aunt.  In both cases, I inherited a suspicion of theory.  I also came to the conclusion that just saying theory was useless was also useless.  Men form theories and that’s that.  I liked what Dewey had to say about theory.  You should reject particular theories but not the enterprise of theory building per se.  I have a theory of theories and its pragmatism.  You build new theories based on new evidence.

This murder/accident (?) that involved Chulito led to an ongoing feud between our family and the Ramdenk family of the bus driver.  The Ramdenks immigrated to Peru from Romania in the 1880’s and have always been in the business of group transport.  They started in the coach trade and moved into the bus trade later.   If you rode a bus in Lima in the last hundred years then your bus driver was probably some relative or crony of the Ramdenks.  There is an unusual strain of both albinism and dwarfism in Ramdenk gene pool so you are more likely to have an albino dwarf as your bus driver in Lima than in any other country in the world which I think adds to the local charm of Lima.

One Ramdenk did not want to be a bus driver and opened a Romanian restaurant in Lima in the 1960’s.  The restaurant failed a few years later due to a lack of interest in Romanian food in Lima. This particular Ramdenk committed suicide by eating gogoşi, a type of Romanian doughnut, mixed with opium.  Generally, this form of suicide was reserved for Romanian aristocracy.  This upstart form of suicide confirmed the suspicion among the Ramdenks that the fellow thought he was better than the family.  So the Romanian restaurateur became a cautionary tale to other Ramdenks who wanted to be more than bus drivers.  They say that if you walk in the area of the Hospital Almenara, where the Romanian restaurateur ultimately died, in Lima during a full moon then you will occasionally see an opiated albino ghost eating a donut muttering in Romanian.

The upshot of the feud is that members of my family in Lima do not ride on buses and walk much more than other Peruvians of their station.  The local truism is that because of all this walking, members of my family have enormous muscular legs and in fact the women in my family are known throughout Lima for having exceptionally shapely legs so perhaps something good did come out of the death of poor Chulito!

But I digress, as I stated previously, after about 15 years the Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede starts to mellow and stops trying to kill you.  My own explanation is that the brain of the centipede gets bigger and bigger brains mean smarter centipedes.  The centipede starts to realize you are a consistent source of food and in turn tries to protect you rather than try to kill you!  This is great on the few occasions a dog tries to bite you since a two foot centipede can take down even a German Sheppard with a single bite in under 30 seconds but unfortunately the Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede will attack any girl that tries to touch you much less kiss you.  This means that when you have girlfriends over then you need to make sure your centipede is safely locked up and this is not easy to do.

A two foot centipede will break the glass of most normal terrariums.  The two foot centipede will just ram the same area of the terrarium again and again.  The centipede prefers using a pebble but will use its own head if pebbles are not available.  This process may take weeks but centipedes are stubborn creatures.  I suppose learning how to use all those legs early on makes them stubborn.

What you really need is a terrarium made of toughened glass.  You will need to have this terrarium custom made since no one manufactures terrariums made of toughened glass normally.  Cages would be strong enough but a centipede can easily slip out of cages that a snake of the same size could not!  I would also suggest not letting your girlfriend, to be, know about your giant centipede until the relationship has matured.  Many women do not want to spend the night in an apartment that also houses a two foot centipede.  Fast forward!

Well its 2013 and Curly is 41!  Curly is almost three feet long and is still growing! Curly has been costly financially.  The costs include hospital visits due to bites, law suits related to missing cats and dogs, having to move constantly because of harassment from neighbors about Curly and the specialized terrariums.

Curly has also been costly in terms of relationships because I have never been lucky enough to find a woman that will accept a giant centipede as part of the romantic package.  I have tried again and again to make sure Curly stays in the terrarium but somehow Curly knows when there is a woman in the house and miraculously gets out of the best built terrarium and the woman invariably gets bit.

I now keep anti-venom in the fridge and am quite expert in injecting the anti-venom into the heart directly which means the lady in question is totally safe and will recover in a day or two but these incidents just about almost always lead to a break up and/or a law suit.  However, when Curly is cold then Curly will wrap himself around my neck and tickle my ears with his antennae affectionately and that’s when I know that I have made the right decision to keep Curly as a pet despite the costs!  I look into his big brown compound eyes and I see love!  Curly loves me and I love Curly and it’s just that simple.

So in conclusion, I think a Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede can make a great pet!

Hugh Fox Giant Centipede 2

Hugh Fox III - Spider Men

You can also download my autobiography of my struggle with a bipolar condition on  Am I Kitsune on my Google Drive.

WereVerse Universe Baby!

WereVerse Universe at Google Drive Link

Microbreweries in Vietnam

3Legend Brewery

Picture of Legend Brewery above which is at nr  4 Vu Ngoc Phan, Hanoi, one of the few breweries that are known to expats in Hanoi because of the previous German brew master.

The following article was submitted to my blog for publication by Jonathan Gharbi.  Jonathan is the Founder of the beer blog and he is based in Hanoi, Vietnam.  This article is in response to my earlier article on Microbreweries in Asia.

Since I came to Vietnam, for 1,5 years ago, a newer ending search for good beer and breweries has been going on. After almost a year I realized that there is no imported ale, ipa, stout etc to be found in Vietnam despite 95 millions of beer interested inhabitants. Beer consumption here is high and everywhere you find people drinking beer. In northern Vietnam and Hanoi, the streets are filled with small plastic chairs and tables where people drink bia hoi from lunch time until late evening. Bia hoi is a light beer only with the most basic ingredients, quick and easy to produce which has around 3-4% alcohol and can also be produced easily at the restaurants.

Then some friends who used to meet every Wednesday in Hanoi and drink beer introduced me to the breweries. I was chocked the first time I went to Hoa vien brewery in Hanoi, one of the oldest breweries here, was this really true, do they brew and sell two kinds of beer, full of malt and hops in a real brewery.

1Hoa Vien Brewery Vietnam

2Hoa Vien Brewery Beers

Pictures of Hoa vien brewery and their three beers, Hanoi

I don’t think people understand how it is here in Vietnam, the economy is struggling and many businesses are going bankrupt. The normal price for a glass of tasty beer at one of the microbreweries here is about 35 000 – 40 000 VND (ca 2 USD) it’s not reasonable for the regular worker with a monthly income of 150 USD to consume beer with these prices. Some breweries are really struggling to maintain their production while some already have down scaled. There are a couple of thousands of expats living in Vietnam and their consumption of beers is to low to justify an import unless it’s consumed by locals also. Many expats does not know about the existence of these breweries, they are often unseen in media, on the web and some of them also lack English speaking staff which makes it difficult for foreign customers.

There are about 20 microbreweries in Vietnam whereof about 15 are placed in Hanoi, all are either brewing Czech or German styled beer. The explanation is that Vietnam had strong relations with former DDR and Czechoslovakia and today the largest groups of Vietnamese diasporas is to be found in Germany and Czech republic.

3Legend Brewery Beers

Dunkel, Lager and Munich from Legend brewery (German inspired) at 222 Tran Duy Hung, Hanoi.

4Goldmat Brewery

Black and blond beer from Goldmalt brewery (Czech inspired) at 17 Van phuc, Hanoi.

As mentioned before, they are unknown for most locals and in particular for foreigners, partly because of their low profile but also because the breweries don’t know what good products they have. All the beer are brewed and sold in same place. Only three breweries sell their beer in another pub/restaurant, so unless you visit them there is no chance to taste the beer.

A couple of days ago I was driving around in Hanoi on my motorbike and saw a small sign which said something in Vietnamese with the word PLZEN in it. It looked like any regular restaurant here but I went in to see if they had any beer. Two minutes later I was standing by the taps and was trying three different kinds of Czech beer. Brewed and served at same place. There are only 20 breweries I know off so far but guess after this experience that there are plenty more to be found.

5Nha hang plzen

Two of the three beers served at Nha hang plzen at 167 pho Hoang Ngan, Hanoi.  Is it a seafood restaurant or a microbrewery?

Some breweries have 1-3 percent of foreign customers but some breweries below 1 % which I hope will change later on. Some breweries produce amazing beers, black beer almost like a full bodied stout and lager beer with plenty of malt and charisma. But without homepage, no advertisement or defined as regular Vietnamese restaurants at facebook, there is no chance for a foreigner to find them, in many cases, not even for a Vietnamese. In Europe or North America they would be defined as microbreweries or brewpubs, nothing else. Several times I have asked for the name of the brew master at the breweries which I found out is a very odd question here. The regular answer from the staff is “you mean the guy that makes the beer, I have no idea”.

That’s why I started my beer blog and the brewery tours, to enlighten all beer enthusiasts of all the microbreweries in Vietnam and to encourage the breweries to continue their fantastic work so we can continue to enjoy wonderful beer. If you travel to Vietnam, there is plenty too see but most important of all, it’s a reason to come here only for the beer.

Hugh Fox III - Cereal

You can also download my autobiography of my struggle with a bipolar condition on  Am I Kitsune on my Google Drive.

WereVerse Universe Baby!

WereVerse Universe at Google Drive Link

Bangsaen: United Place Apartments

United Place Apartments Bangsean Thailand

Since I wrote Bangsaen: Nearby Shopping and Traveling I have received many enquiries about what would be a good apartment complex for an expat to live in and this article is in response to those enquiries.  There are many, many, many apartment complexes in Bangsaen but the vast majority of them are totally unsuited for expats living in Bangsaen for three major reasons.

First, the apartment managers at United Place have good English skills and this is very important when choosing an apartment abroad. Secondly, in the vast majority of apartment complexes you will be the only expat and surrounded by Burapha students.  Expats tend to be older and value peace and quiet.  The students want to have fun and can be noisy.  Third, there are some more upscale apartments that have a better class of apartment manager that speaks English and fewer students but they tend to be in out of the way areas that are hard to reach without a car.  Driving a car in Thailand can be problematic for expats.  If you want a an apartment that is centrally located, has apartment managers with excellent English and houses other expats that share your desire for peace and quiet then I would recommend United Place over all other apartment complexes in Bangsaen.

Below is a link to their web page:

Contact info:

United Place Apartment

15/1 Bangsaen Lang Road, Tumbol Sansuk, Umper Muang, Cholburi 20130, Thailand

Fax: +66(0)38746306


United Place Bangsaen Map

You can also download my autobiography of my struggle with a bipolar condition on  Am I Kitsune on my Google Drive.

WereVerse Universe Baby!

Hugh Fox III - Burn In

Spider Monkey vs Halloween Prop Arm

The spider monkey flips out when it sees fake plastic Halloween arm. This proves monkeys are much smarter than dogs. A dog would have smelled the arm and decided it wasn’t real. The monkey also relies on visual cues on top of olfactory cues.

WereVerse Universe Baby!


Bangsaen: Burapha University Tour

This is the second post in a series of three posts about Bangsean. The first post was Bangsean: Nearby Shopping and Traveling.  The third post will be titled “Bangsean: Tour of Main Street”.

The audience for this post is non-Thai students or faculty at Burapha University that need to find their way around the campus.  This information may also be useful for expats visiting or living in Bangsean.  This post is a visual tour of Burapha University in Bangsean.  The goal is to provide an article that non-Thai can print out and use to easily navigate the campus.  The Burapha University campus is pretty big and Thailand can get pretty hot so walking around aimlessly looking for a particular building can be frustrating.

Below is a map in English of Burapha University:

Burapha University Map in English

Below are pictures of where the various faculties and administrative organizations are housed.  Links to specific faculties that have English information on line is also provided here.  I will add more pictures over the next week or so.  I provide links to general information about Burapha University at the end of this post.  The number of the building on the map above is provided in parentheses.

Burapha University International College (41) – Pictures below

Burapha University International College Announcement

Admission to Undergraduate studies at International College 2011

International College Burapha University offers an International program
(all courses are taught in English).
The college is now opened for application for the academics year 2011. The details are as follows

Program offered

1. Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) concentration on:

1.1 Marketing

1.2 Management

1.3 Tourism and Hotel Management

1.4 Management Information Systems

1.5 Logistics Management

2. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

2.1 Communication Skills for Human Resource Development

Admission requirement

1. National school system

1.1 Completion of Mathayom Suksa 6 or equivalent accredited by the Ministry of Education, or

1.2 Completion of Grade 12 from an International school accredited by the Ministry of Education.

2. Overseas school system

2.1 Completion of Grade 12 from the United State with a diploma and transcript.

2.2 Completion from the United Kingdom or a  school in  the  British system with a diploma or transcript that passed GCE “O” Level, GGCSE or IGCSE for major subjects.

Method of Selection

Interviewed by the committees of International College

Number of acceptance

Total 120 students (30 students in each subject area)

Documents for application:

1. Transcript

2. Three recent 1” photographs

3. TOEFL or IELTS results (if any)

4. A copy of a residential certificate

5. A copy of an identification card or passport

6. Medical records

Application Procedure

1. Email Admission

1.1. Download “Application Form” from and send it back to อีเมลนี้จะถูกป้องกันจากสแปมบอท แต่คุณต้องเปิดการใช้งานจาวาสคริปก่อน

2. Walk in Admission

2.1. Apply directly at Office of the Dean, 1st floor, International College, The Professor Dr. Suchart Upatham Building, before 10 August 2011.

Application fee is 200 Baht.

2.2. Summit the application form and documents to buuic(at)

3. Apply by mail

3.1. Please post your application and all documents to Office of the Dean, International College, The Professor Dr. Suchart Upatham Building, Burapha University, 169 Longhad Bangsaen, Thambon Saensuk, Amphur Muang, Chonburi, 20131 Thailand.

4. Application fee is non refundable.

Announcement for qualified candidate

Name of the candidate who is accepted to study at International College will be announced 5 days after the college has received his/her application at

Entrance Registration

See the announcement of qualified candidate.

Academic Calendar

10 August 2011 Fall Semester begins

Tuition Fees

Total cost of four-year full time enrollment = 490,000 Baht. The fee includes books, and Intensive English course (120 hrs.), Internet use, additional English courses, library access, computer facilities, selected study visit, student activities for student development and accident insurance. Non-degree seeking students can register for courses individually at 4,000 baht/credit hour.

 Central Library (36) – Picture above
 Computer Center (37) – Picture belowThis is where you can get your university password.  All campus universities require you to log in before you can use the computer.
Confucius Institute at Burapha University (80) – Picture above
Faculty of Fine Arts – Picture Below
 Faculty of Humanities and Social Science – Picture Above
 Faculty of Nursing – Picture Below
Faculty of Political Science and Law
 Faculty of Public Health – Picture Above
 Graduate School of Commerce -Picture Below
 Graduate Student Housing  – Picture Below
 Aquarium (2) – Picture Below
 Main Entrance – Picture Below

 QS1(42) – Picture Below This building is between the Main Library and the Burapaha International College and  has a large cafeteria and ATM machines for three different banks in the front.
 President’s Office (15) – Picture Below

 Faculty of Allied Health Sciences (6) – Picture Below

50th Anniversary Burapha University Building (25) below

The front of the 50th Anniversary Burapha University Building is the site for the outdoor graduation pictures and the university Christmas party.

Online Resources About Burapha University

Burapha University Official Website

Burapaha University on Wikipedia

Bangsaen: United Place Apartments

Bangsaen: Nearby Shopping and Traveling

WereVerse Universe Baby!

Taiwanese Blogger jailed over critical restaurant review!


Article reproduced below:

OBJECTIVITY:  The judge said the blogger should not have criticized the restaurant’s food as ‘too salty’ in general, because she had eaten dried noodles and two side dishes

By Lin Liang-che / Staff Reporter

The Taichung branch of Taiwan High Court on Tuesday sentenced a blogger who wrote that a restaurant’s beef noodles were too salty to 30 days in detention and two years of probation and ordered her to pay NT$200,000 (6,900 USD) in compensation to the restaurant.

The blogger, surnamed Liu (劉), writes about a variety of topics — including food, health, interior design and lifestyle topics — and has received more than 60,000 hits on her Web site.

After visiting a Taichung beef noodle restaurant in July 2008, where she had dried noodles and side dishes, Liu wrote that the restaurant served food that was too salty, the place was unsanitary because there were cockroaches and that the
owner was a “bully” because he let customers park their cars haphazardly, leading to traffic jams.

The restaurant’s owner, surnamed Yang (楊), learned about Liu’s blog post
from a regular customer, and filed charges against her, accusing her of

The Taichung District Court ruled that Liu’s criticism of the restaurant exceeded
reasonable bounds and sentenced her to 30 days in detention, a ruling that Liu

The High Court found that Liu’s criticism about cockroaches in the restaurant to be a narration of facts, not intentional slander.

However, the judge also ruled that Liu should not have criticized all the restaurant’s food as too salty because she only had one dish on her single visit.

Health officials who inspected the restaurant did not find conditions to be as
unsanitary as Liu had described, so the High Court also ruled that Liu must pay
NT$200,000 to the owner for revenues lost as a result of her blog post.

The ruling is final.

Liu has apologized to the restaurant for the incident.

Yang said he filed the charges because Liu’s negative comments about his restaurant led many customers to call him to ask if her review was true.

He said he hoped the case would teach her a lesson.

Huang Cheng-lee (黃呈利), a lawyer in Taichung, said that bloggers who post food reviews should remember to be truthful in their commentary and supplement their comments with photographs to protect themselves.

He also said bloggers should be objective and fair in their writing.

WereVerse Universe Baby!

Happy Mother’s Day Thailand!

Queen Sirikit

Queen Sirikit

Today is a very special day, Mother’s Day in Thailand and also the birthday of Queen Sirikit.  Queen Sirikit is widely beloved in Thailand and respected and admired throughout the world.

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s has supported over 350 projects and to enumerate all of them today would be impossible.  Some of her Majesty’s most prominent projects are in the areas of the environment, handicrafts and public health.

Among her many environmental projects, the Queen has given patronage and her time to organizations such as the Association for the Conservation of Wildlife (ACW) and the Wildlife Fund of Thailand (WFT). But I think her most important insight was that she realized that deforestation threatened the livelihoods of needy people.

I would like to share some of her Majesty’s words on the subject of deforestation.  On the eve of her 76th birthday she addressed the country from Dusit Palace.  Her Majesty addressed the pressing issue of dwindling forests. The Queen said that forests help to store the ground water that gives life to watercourses, big and small.
“A forest is a water source,” Her Majesty said. “Think about fresh water – we can’t do without it. Our industries, our lives, need water,” the Queen said.
She noted that many experts predict the world will suffer a serious shortage of water within the next 15 years.  As well as encouraging renewed forest protection, Her Majesty pleads for reforestation efforts.

Her environmental concerns extended to the Chao Phya River and mangroves, too. “The Chao Phya River used to be abundant,” Her Majesty recalls.
She hopes to see the river clean enough again to be a vibrant habitat for water life. Factories and farms must cease discharging effluent into the Chao Phya.
“Mangrove forests are important. Don’t destroy them,” she added.

The Queen has supported the traditional handicrafts of Thailand in many ways.  The Queen has personally provided seed money for many for support groups and cooperatives that have promoted traditional handicrafts.  Her projects in this area have improved the lives of rural females in Thailand tremendously.

The Queen has been active in the area of public health.  The Queen is the President of the Thai Red Cross.  She has held this a post since 1956.  Her role in this area gained new prominence when she was active in coordinating disaster relief after the tsunami disaster in Southern Thailand.

Perhaps the Queens greatest contribution has been in the area of diplomacy.  The Queen has worked tirelessly to promote tolerance and understanding for the Muslim minorities in Southern Thailand.  Her quiet diplomacy in this area demonstrates a far reaching understanding of soft power long before soft power became a major theme in global circles.

In conclusion, the Queen has shown herself to be an invaluable resource for the people of Thailand, a person of foresight, and a true mother of all the people of Thailand.

WereVerse Universe Baby!

Bangkok Cats


Cats at play in a school in a suburb at Bangkok.

More photos at:

WereVerse Universe Baby!