Thailand 2008 (IV)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the experiences of Thailand in January and February were sufficient to prompt a return visit in November the same year. Again for three weeks’ duration, this visit was going to be an opportunity to get some quality diving experiences. The first week was spent completing both the Enriched Air [Nitrox] and Advanced Open Water PADI Courses. Then the middle 6 days were spent aboard the Marco Polo, Sea-Bees live-aboard cruise ship that visits the Similan Island National Park every week during the high season.

Thailand 2008 (III)

Another assortment of images from Phuket. The truck containing it’s load of “green” coconuts (they still have the outer husk in place) was so heavily laden that as it drove up the road to this parking spot, the sound of tyres scraping  wheel arches was frighteningly loud.

The temple is one of a couple of exquisite Chinese shrines to be found in Phuket Town, and date back to when Phuket had an active tin mining industry. Chinese families moved to the island and settled, and now there is a vibrant local community. Karon beach is peaceful compared with the likes of Patong, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks a lot of development.

Sandwiched neatly between the local football stadium and the vast expanse that is the Hilton Hotel you will find a little parade of restaurants. During the day they seem quite sleepy, but let the sun go down and the neon lights fire up and they quickly become popular venues…

The last shot is of “The Beach” – made famous from the movie of the same name. The film brought a certain amount of notoriety to Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands, but for every person who thinks it was a good thing, there are 5 locals who think that the movie damaged the wildlife and has brought the blight of careless tourists to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Seeing the mindless pollution, I’m with those who think the movie was not a good thing for Phuket…

 

Thailand, 2008 (II)

As I sit to write this update it’s 21:05 on Wednesday evening and I’m sat at a table in Molly Malone’s “Authentic Irish Pub” on the beach-front of Patong Beach, Phuket. It’s about 30′C outside – seriously warm – but in here, with air conditioning, it’s just about bearable. We’ve barely had a moment to stop since the last entry, but that hectic pace has all been an enjoyable experience and I’m doing my best to cram as much in as possible in the time available.

Thailand, 2008 (I)

How do you compress almost 72 hours of intense activity into a few lines in a blog entry? Well, this isn’t going to be easy then, is it? We made it to Phuket – via Bangkok – relatively unscathed. Our luggage had a slightly more entertaining journey, stopping off as it did for a brief exploration of Bangkok while we flew ahead.

Initial thoughts on Thailand are – for me – very similar to the experience I had when I visited Brazil in 2004 – can it really be more than 3 years ago now? – and take little time getting used to. There are huge numbers of mopeds everywhere – like swarms of buzzing insects – and most of the riders seem to be daredevils, with a wonderful sense of humour. We followed one with a T-Shirt that read, “Make out with my Butt” and which took us a little while to realise meant, “Kiss My Ass”, but hey, whatever…

Here are just a few quick images from the first couple of days…

 

 

Liquid Refreshment

So, after quite a bit of research into different options, I finally took the plunge and asked my local PC Specialist, Rapid PCs, to build me a new “Gaming” system. The brief was simple: it had to be the best machine we could manage [within a not too tightly defined limit of sensibility]. The end result is, quite simply, stunning.

And the specification for the tekkies? CoolerMaster Stacker 832 Case, Xilence 1000W PSU, Asus Blitz Extreme DDR3 Mobo, Intel Q6850 Quad-Core, mildly over-clocked from 3.0 to 3.62GHz, 4Gb of OCZ Platinum Edition DDR3 RAM, Creative X-Fi, (Factory) Water-Cooled BFG 8800GTX nVidia-based GPU [just the one], Adaptec SCSI Card and Freecom 72Gb Tape Deck, 2 x DVD-RW/RAM Drives, Swiftech Water-Cooling system with wide-bore pipes, 2 x SATA Caddy units for removable boot drives and 2 x 500Gb water-cooled HDDs internally mounted for shared data…

The Asus motherboard came with a modified set of performance benchmark tools. We ran a complete set and basically confirmed that as at the time of build, this system is in the top 1% of all machines tested thus far. So on the whole, not bad…

With either Windows [XP] or ubuntu Linux [7.10] this absolutely flies!