Can You Negotiate Your Fine In Bang Saen?

Bang Saen January 2018. When tourists stroll along the beach walk in Bang Sean they encounter a plethora of signs that remind them to absolutely not smoke. It is “Verboten!” And the penalties and punishments are plentiful, yet weirdly inconsistent… for one and the same violation: Smoking.

This is the beach walk in question. And this is the first sign I photographed.

You smoke and get caught. You pay 5000 Thai Baht. That is about $140 or €125. It is enough to ruin one of your vacation days – agreed? As the tourist still on, they see another reminder,

You smoke, your cigarette will be hit by lightning and likely the offender will be instantly incinerated – I find this one particularly harsh, because it is so final. On the scared tourist walks…cautiously to find the next no smoking reminder.

You smoke and you will pay 100.000Thai Baht for a vacation extension of one year in a Thai prison. That too, can crimp. Tourists style, but at least foreigners and locals are punished the same for the same offense. And we move on.

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Title further done the beach walk, the smoking offender’s punishment will depend on his status: English speaking foreigner or Thai native. Natives are punished with a fine of 100.000Thai Baht and one year in prison, while the tourist will need to pay 1.000.000Thai Baht and spend a year in the slammer.a practice that is common in Thai National Parks. Natives by 1/10of what non-natives pay, even when they are tax payers. I wonder what Thai tourists would say if they were taken advantage of like that when they are abroad. It sure would pour funds into the National Park Service in America or would make the Zugspitzbahn in Garmisch, Germany one of the most profitable cable cars in the known universe. But I digress where we should move on, down the beach walk.

And we have encountered our lowest penalty, yet. You smoke and you pay 2000Thai Baht in fines – Done!

Now in case you still wish to light up and you want to do that by the beach, you may. in these designated smokers cabins, which are clearly designated as such.

Here you may burn’em to your weak heart’s delight, but beware, should you dare to get caught outside the smoke house…..well, then you know that the fines are apparently variable and negotiable….try your luck.

Cheers, live adventurously and stay sharp.

Markus \m/

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Hell!

We went to Bang Saen to visit a temple that has Thai Hell on display.

Well, at least the interpretation of what Thai Buddhism thinks hell might look like.

For every sin and transgression there is a commensurate punishing torture available.

But who am I to tell you, peruse at your leisure.

There is a jacuzzi sized bath where the sinners will be boiled alive.

There are crows feasting in intestines of a dude who had already been punished by having his head turned into a frog head.

Women get their stomach “drilled” out, if they had an abortion.

There seems to be an obsession with de-tonguing people. Maybe to manage the incessant complaining and moaning.

I once saw a really cool tie, that had a guy like the one below on it. Eyes hanging out, tongue dangling…that would have been a conversation starter at the chamber of commerce dinner.

I feel for this guy, with is face on his belly, diving a car would be difficult with the safety belt an all. Also custom shirts are mandatory. The sweat from your armpits runs likely in your eyes.

Here just general flogging and torture, bad as it is.

So there you have it. There is a hell in Thai Buddhism, so think twice before you transgress.

Markus \m/

What Are We Doing?

When I was un elementary school, we started writing themes or essays on given topics. Usually, after holidays, when the teacher wanted to take it a little easy, the topic was something like:”My favorite vacation situation”, “My favorite vacation day”, “Things I found in the beach” and topics like that.

I was reminded of that when I saw Bang Saen Beach at 8:00 this morning.

It is very sad, but also inevitable, that all the trash we just throw into the oceans with that Out-Of-Sight Out-Of-Mind attitude, will make an encore appearance where it looks bad. A fee months I mentioned the trash problem in Bali, it is just as bad in Thailand. We just refuse to learn. Look at the stuff you buy and the insane amounts of packaging that seem to be required to package even the most mundane things. Well, we should get used quickly to beaches looking like this….

Stay sharp….

Markus \m/

About Structure

Full Disclosure: I am an engineer and I like being one. Not that it is all I am, but without engineers humanity would still lack fire in the cave, we’d still share with a bear. Not to mention, that my blog would be a cave drawing for no one else to read than my tribe. Besides the esthetics and function of all things man-made, I am interested in how it was made – the manufacturing process and the quality.

Let me give you an example. There a many architecturally very interesting buildings in Thailand, particularly in Bangkok. The manufacturing processes of building houses and skyscrapers is very much in the public domain – these processes are pretty well known. But the execution varies a lot. Not even two years ago, the parking garage in our condo was renovated – had to be renovated, only 6 years after it had opened. There were numerous cracks in the lowest level of the garage, which also is part of the foundation.

To make a long story short, I took this abstract, yet absolutely real image yesterday of one of the “repaired” sites.

Paint is not a structural element!

– The Weeping Wall Of Bangkok –

Stay sharp and take some pride in what ever work you do.

Cheers Markus \m/

Still Renouncing Satan

Just like in previous years, I an renouncing chocolate for 100 days, or 2400 hours, which interestingly corresponds to exactly 8,640,000 seconds. Now during this time I stand up to chocolate – I am having none of it. I do not give it the time of the day. i am steadfast. And believe you me, the sweets companies, appear to have formed a coalition to launch an all out assault on my steadfastness, in an overall effort to seduce me with its sweet, swee-eet, sw-sweeet chocolaty tastes and put their chains on me again. NO!

For example, I ventured to the local super market to obtain some ice cubes in exchange for money. When I got pinned down in a crossfire of sweet seduction.

“Ferrero kinder” came out with a machine gun out of nowhere. Their little goody-two-shoes child soldier smirking confidently from everywhere.

From another direction came the Mars company with its Big Betty Howitzer firing “Mars” bars. Luckily for me they only brought he “B” team, the normal bar, which, if might add, was Thai size.

In Europe a Mars bar is bigger (60g)and they also have “KING SIZE Mars” (100g). Quickly, I “bitch-slapped” myself to further enhance my resolve and focus in order to not present the enemy an opportunity to overwhelm me. Still the enemy kept pushing, a decoy of different flavors of “KitKat” bars, almost brought down my defenses.

I rolled for cover so quickly in the dairy aisle, that Ferrero’s nuclear “Rocher” option, could not harm me – nothing.

I retreated quietly through the dental hygiene section, turned left past the detergent and dishwasher soaps and arrived safely at register 2 undetected and unscathed.

Yep, and that was that. Long live the resistance to the chocolate invaders and temptresses.

And during this whole time, I had the climax scene from The Godfather playing in my head – the baptism scene. And just like Michael Corleone, when the priest asked him if he renounced Satan, I too renounced Satan. However, the difference between my early-evening-heroics and Michael Corleone, was that nobody got executed or even as much as a finger nail broken.

Stay sharp and stay alert.

Cheers Markus \m/

In The Gutter….

…..

Not so fast. I have some time on my hands, so I roam the city armed with my pen, sketchbook and my camera. And as I am roaming along through this always busy city, I saw a guy in the gutter – way deep down directly below me.

That was a bit of a shock, as you can imagine. But there he was, way down, directly below me and upside down to boot. Poor guy.

We chatted a little and he quoted Frank Sinatra. I like this guy – Sinatra and then upside down guy below me. He said:”

That’s life, that’s what people say. You’re riding high in April, shot down in May. But I know I’m gonna change that tune, when I’m back on. Top, back on top in June. I said that’s life, and as funny as it may seem, some people get their kicks stompin’ on a dream. But I don’t let it, let it get me down, ’cause this fine old world, it keeps spin in’ around.”

He’ll be back in no time…I wish that for him, very much so.

Stay sharp and rip the mike….

Markus \m/