Good times ahead!

The last weekend before I leave on vacation. That means lots of chores and things to do:

  • Getting a haircut (so I somewhat resemble my passport photo again),
  • Doing some clean-up in the house,
  • Packing my bags (don’t forget to put in the chocolates and presents)
  • Loading my e-reader with some more books (it is a looooong flight to Thailand)
  • Print-out the boarding passes (if already available on the airline‘s website) and hotel reservations
  • Charging my stock of rechargeable batteries (for the camera, the GPS, the headphones)
  • Charging and updating the tablet computer
  • Activate my ATM cards for South East Asia
  • Stocking up on cat food so Hobbes will have nothing wanting during my absence
  • Applying for a e-visa to Cambodia so we can go and visit Angkor Wat
  • Thousand other things I cannot remember now, but which will wake me up in the middle of the night
English: All Seasons Place, Bangkok, Thailand ...

Bangkok, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday morning will see me boarding the flight to Thailand. A few days in Bangkok to acclimatize and loose my Western attitudes and then on Monday I will take the bus to Bang Saen to meet my loved ones. The first few days we will spend some time with my darling’s parents and her brother, visiting some nearby sights, then we will go to Ko Si Chang for some nice and quiet island time!

Countdown to happiness!

Yesterday I received the confirmation from the Belgian Embassy  that the visa application of my lovely Thai girlfriend has been approved!

If everything goes well, she will arrive in Belgium on the 10th of October. Three weeks from now. It is a countdown to happiness.

Exciting times and happy coincidences

These last months have been far too busy. No rest for the wicked it seems!

Several business trips abroad, some major projects in the office, people on vacation, … Of all my plans to take it easy and do some fun projects, next to nothing got done. And my wish to blog regularly got totally sidetracked.

pc power supplies

The final resting place of all pc power supplies (Photo credit:

Then my desktop PC at home expired, like in “suddenly stopped working”: no sound, no lights, no nothing. I diagnosed it as a dead power supply. Actually, it was more of a lucky guess as I have limited hardware knowledge.

Anyhow, time to buy a new desktop PC and a new power supply, so I can recycle my old desktop PC into a new Ubuntu-server. Lucky I did, because a few weeks after installing my new desktop PC, my old server died as well. Yeah, another dead power supply. It seems these power supplies are made to last for about 5 years of continuous use.

Of course transferring the old files to my new desktop PC took a while and then reinstalling my Ubuntu server took even longer. But now my email works again, the automated backups run nightly and my music-server pipes mp3 files all through the house at my command.

And in between I managed to save the world in “Deus Ex – Human Revolution“. I had to test the capabilities of my new  desktop, didn’t I?

What more “exiting” things happened?

Well, my Thai girlfriend will apply tomorrow for her visa to come and visit me in Belgium. I hope the visa procedure runs smoothly, it sure takes much paperwork to try to convince the powers-that-be.

And speaking of powers and coincidences, my old friend from university has just been appointed to become Belgium’s next Ambassador in Thailand. So if the visa procedure does not run as smoothly as expected, perhaps I can apply to His Excellency?

It is all about respect.

During my recent travels in Thailand with my lovely Zai, we visited the temple complex of Wat Yannasang Wararam Woramahawihan.

There are different temples here and one nice stupa. The photo shows the entrance to this stupa. As is usual in Thailand (and many other countries) one takes of one’s shoes before entering.

Entrance to the stupa at Wat Yannasang Wararam Woramahawihan

Entrance to the stupa at Wat Yannasang Wararam Woramahawihan

Just before we arrived, a group of Chinese tourists entered and they all (none excepted!) managed to drop their shoes in front of the door, none using the storage space provided left and right of the door!

Inside the stupa, their guide provided some commentaries in a rather loud voice. I do not know if it is perhaps a property of the Chinese language but it seems that it always sounds rather loud. Or perhaps the guide just had to shout because the majority of his flock, paid no attention what he was saying and happily carried on their conversations (again in a rather loud voice).

Then, when we were making merit in front of the altar on the upper floor, the group of Chinese tourists entered this room as well (and none too discretely) and tried to walk in front of us, in other words, between us and the altar.

Now it may very well be that none of these Chinese were Buddhists, but even an atheist (as myself) knows that it is simply not done to cross between someone paying respect at an altar and the altar. I am sure that these Chinese know that very well, but they simply did not care.

My lovely Zai made an angry face at these tourists and told them to move behind us. I am not sure whether they understood any Thai, but the meaning of what she said surely came across and they walked behind her.

And this is not the only incident we had with groups of  Chinese tourists: generally they are loud and show no respect. I really wonder if they act the same in their own country or whether they only do so when abroad.

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