Dig ancient ruins? Get up to Chaiya! — by Levi

Savi and I hopped on our motorbike a while back and zoomed on up to Chaiya to see some temple ruins. It’s not hard to get to: Go north over the Don Nok bridge and hang a right on the 4112 when you reach it in Ban Nong Si. Follow that road to Chaiya. It’s not immediately obvious where these ruins might be, so let me tell you: when you get into town continue through it. Pass a set of railroad tracks and a temple shrouded in forest and turn right immediately after that temple to start back south on the road which gives access to Wat Long and Wat Kaew. If you come to a giant temple complex with a pointy golden stupa, you’ve gone too far toward highway 41.

Both Wat Long and Wat Kaew, representative examples along with Wat Suan Mok of Srivijaya empire architecture, will be on the left-hand (east) side of this road.

There is no fee for entrance and you should be surprised if there are any other tourists (or even people) in the vicinity. Pretty cool stuff. When we were there a dog had had her pups inside one of the ruined rooms of Wat Kaew, behind a headless stone Buddha.

Link to pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9889654@N03/sets/72157631030650990/

Ciao 2.0? — by Blake

This post serves two purposes. For one, it’s a follow-up to one of my previous blogs, Suratburger. It’s also my critique of the “new” Ciao Italia on Talad Kaset. Well, it’s not really new as in a new location or another restaurant, but because it’s under new management. Emiliano, the old owner, sold it in order to take his wife to Italy so she could get medical care that was not possible in Thailand. Since it’s come under this new management I’ve heard from a couple of people that it has gone downhill a bit, but I thought I’d see for myself.

Last Sunday, Britt and I battled the rain all the way to Talad Kaset to grab some Ciao for the first time in a long time. To make a long story short, I thought that overall… everything was better. The old owners were very nice, but let’s be honest service was not the fastest. This was always my biggest problem with Ciao (maybe my only problem). Not anymore. This time I got my burger and Britt got her pasta in just a few minutes. The Thai lady that served us was nice and thanked us on our way out.

As for the food? It was really freakin’ good. I’d never ordered the burger there before. I’m glad I did. I spent an extra 60 baht and got cheese (real mozzarella cheese) and bacon on it to do it right. Go big or go home and that’s exactly what this thing was… big. Well, the patty could have been a little bigger but the best part of the burger was the bread. It came on a giant freshly baked roll. To be honest I’d of been happy just eating the roll with the cheese on it (gooood cheese and a lot of it)… the burger and bacon was like a bonus! So anyway, to follow up with my post about where to find the best burger in Surat, I now have a new favorite (though I still need to try Peter’s recommendation– the burger at the Wang-Thai Hotel).

The best part of the experience was finding out that Ciao Italia is still a great escape for a western food fix. Neither the service nor the food have taken a hit with the new management. It seems like Emiliano trained the new owners well– and I’m glad!

CHECK OUT MY OWN BAD ASS BLOG AT:  http://blakesworld211.blogspot.com/

There are Snakes on the Mother F*ck'n Patio — by Laura

Life is always full of surprises in Thailand.  Over here at the Big House we have water outages, periodic swarms of bugs, the occasional smell storm of festering garbage from across the street, and now we can now add snakes falling from the sky.

The other weekend Joe and I were sitting on the patio eating breakfast and Skyping with his parents when we saw a mouse-rat fall about 9 feet from the gutter at the top of the chain link fence.  This was a surprise and I felt slightly bad for the mouse-rat that had landed near our trashcan full of beer bottles.  Joe took his computer over to show Tom and Claudia the mouse and as he was walking back from the mouse viewing party two more mice fell from the gutter followed by a 4 foot long solid green snake.

As the snake coiled on the trash can and plopped to the ground I screamed and ran in the house.  Even Joe set down his computer an momentarily joined me in the house.  Seconds later after the mini panic subsided we peeked out the door and saw the uninvited guest making its getaway toward the gate.  I grabbed my camera and snapped two photos of the slithering creature before it vanished under the gate back into the jungle.

Goodbye and good luck.

In lieu of the recent snake spotting at home I scoured the internet to discover what type of snake we had living in our backyard jungle.  Unsuccessful at identifying it from Bing and Google images, I emailed a photo of it to info@thailandsnakes.com.  Within 12 hours I got a response from Vern L. in the Thailandsnakes.com office saying:

“Hi Laura,

Golden Tree Snake, aka: Flying Snake.

Not dangerous to humans. Great climbers. Love eating geckos.”

There you have it, it was a Flying Snake on the mother f*ck’n patio.  If you ever need help identifying a snake in these parts, check out ThailandSnakes.com.

And remember: often it’s those unexpected moments in life that make for the most interesting stories.


They got me good! — by Blake

I swear every time I assign a project or homework there’s always a student (or group) that finds a way to make me part of their work.  Usually it’s to make fun of me in some way.  It’s all in good fun and I don’t mind.  In fact , I think it’s hilarious and I have a small pile of humorous Blake-infused assignments in my desk.  I was recently rooting through the drawer looking for something and I found this old gem…

It’s from an assignment about describing people in which I had the students make “WANTED” posters.  This group of girls thought it would be funny to take a picture of me on their phone and use it for the poster.  If you can’t read the text in the picture it says:


Mr. Blake

Wanted for Crimes against humanity, civil rights violations, considered to be very dangerous due to his stupidity

If seen kill him with extreme predigest

REWARD 10,000,000 baht

-He has blue eyes, he has beautiful smile, he is short

I gave them an A+  !  Ha

check out MY OWN BAD ASS BLOG at:  http://blakesworld211.blogspot.com/

Things I thought I couldn't find in Surat … but I DID! — by Joe

This post isn’t for things like peanut butter and nutella. (mmmm, delicious combo)

But for things from home that I was mentally prepared to not have access to for my stint in Surat Thani.

#1: Pick Up Basketball

My stereotype was that Thai people were generally short and wouldn’t be into basketball. I was wrong on both counts.

You see what happens when you ASSUME!! … your assumptions are often proved wrong

or something about butts or donkeys??


Daniel invited me to play ball at the stadium and there was a big crowd of people playing and watching, they even have volunteer refs, a nice new court with lights (sponsored by a cell phone company) and plenty of good players to challenge you.

I play basketball for fun and exercise and I’m not super competitive and Thai people are down with that.  You run a lot and if you play any defense, the volunteer ref will most likely call a foul on you. You get used to it and it’s a pretty good time. Bring your electrolyte drink from 7-11 because you get really sweaty. In summary, I can recommend pick up b-ball in Surat wholeheartedly.

#2 Pick Up Casual Poker

Tuesday nights, Tigger’s garden gazebo

No Limit Texas Hold Em, 100 baht buy in, If those things mean anything to you then you’re in luck

good level of play, excellent group of people, nice ceramic chips that are fun to play with and make noises.

It’s a good excuse for me to break out of the Super circle of friends and do something with my weeknights.

Ask myself, Evan or Levi for more information.

Stuff Thai People Like #6: White Skin — by Blake

What do Thai people and Michael Jackson have in common?

They both wish the could have whiter skin!  (55555!)

Okay, so that was a ridiculously bad joke but it’s so true.  In America (or the western world in general) most of us want to darken our skin a bit or at least be tan.  Being pale is looked at as unattractive and sickly whereas having color pronounces your features and is desired.  The opposite is true in Thailand (and most of Asia).  Presumedly because in Thailand, if you have dark skin it implies that you are lower class and work outside.  If you have lighter skin it means that you’re  well-off and can stay inside and out of the sun all day.  Shopping for toiletries in Thailand can be difficult for westerners because of this.  In addition to the regular whitening creams, EVERYTHING has bleaching agents.  Face wash, soap, shaving cream, sun block, and even deodorant!  It’s not just a weird cultural difference, it’s a bit obsessive.  Well, the Chinese have taken it a step further.  Allow me to introduce the facekini…

Girl, you so Asian!”

Nope, those aren’t Mexican lucha libre wrestlers… they’re just Chinese beach goers.  This ridiculous addition to their already incredibly ridiculous swimming attire provides complete protection from the sun.  It covers the entire face except for small eye/nose/ear holes.

PLEAAASE read this article or this one if you want to see or know more of this humorous wonder.


Ouch that stings — What to do if you are stung by a jelly fish — by Laura

This post was prompted by something that Joe and I witnessed while on Haad Yuan, Koh Phangan for the Full Moon party.

It was the day of the party and we had just arrived back “resort”, Barcelona, to eat lunch when we saw a guy writhing in pain on a chair surrounded by Thai guys.  The European guy was screaming, moaning, and clenching his body with all his strength.  I asked what was going on and one of the Thai guys said “jellyfish” and then made a gesture with his hand indicating that it was not very big.   We continued to watch out of curiosity as the Thai guys applied cooked vegetation (from the surrounding rocks) to the guys legs, stomach and hands.  After about 30 minutes he started to feel relief and the Thais instructed him not to wash himself for an hour while the natural remedy continued to work.

The guy who had been stung was swimming near the rocks on the west end of the beach and he hadn’t seen the jellyfish.  Most of the time I don’t think you see it until it is too late.  Jellyfish are beautiful when seen at the aquarium and from a distance, but if you get stung by one (and there aren’t any Thais who know a natural remedy around) you should know what steps to take.

NOTE: THERE ARE BOX JELLYFISH IN THAILAND.  They have been found in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.  These are in the top 5 most deadly animals on the planet.  

Here is a photo of a box jellyfish.

Small but deadly.


Recommended treatment for a box jellyfish is to pour vinegar on the stings for 30 seconds as soon as possible after the sting to stop the flow of venom and stingers moving throughout the body.  In Australia there are vinegar stations set up on beaches around the country specifically for box jellyfish and other jellyfish stings.  Please check out http://thaiboxjellyfish.blogspot.com/ and http://thailandboxjellyfish.wordpress.com/tag/thailand-box-jellyfish/ for more information on the box jelly fish around Thailand.

This is what to do if you are stung by almost any other jellyfish: 

Rinse the tentacles off. Rinse away the tentacles using hot water if possible (see step 5 for how hot). If heated water isn’t available, use salt water rather than fresh. Fresh water may worsen the stinging pain.

Peel off the tentacles. Remove any remaining tentacles with a gloved hand, stick, shell or tweezers. Be careful not to get the tentacles on yourself or on clothing. Jellyfish tentacles can still sting even after they’ve been ripped from the body of the jellyfish. If you use bare hands to pluck tentacles off, you’ll most likely get stung on the fingers. That’s also why it’s so important to remove them. If you don’t the victim will keep getting stung until all the nematocysts are used up.

Watch for anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can result in:



shortness of breath


tightening of the throat

flushed skin



shortness of breath


tightening of the throat

flushed skin



Anaphylaxis can also cause a drop in blood pressure known as anaphylactic shock.

Immerse the stung area in hot water. How hot is hot? There isn’t much evidence that water under 102 degrees is going to help, and a lot of evidence that water over 122 degrees is extremely effective. Since it’s unlikely you’ll have a thermometer to accurately gauge the temperature of water in a shower or a hot bath, the general rule is to have the victim either shower or immerse the sting in the hottest water he or she can stand. Work up to the heat and be careful not to scald (burn) the victim.

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen will help relieve pain. Ice or heat may also help. Mild itching may be helped with diphenhydramine.


http://www.about.com, Atkinson, P.R.T., et al.”Is hot water immersion an effective treatment for marine envenomation?.”Emerg Med Journal. 2006 July; 23(7): 503:508