Saturday, 20 February 2010

Hashing with LBHHH

19th Feb Hashing with Langkawi Beach Hash House Harriers

Having arrived to Langkawi it naturally reached the hashing community and we were asked to join the LBHHH for their next run and so we did. From the crew we went me. Saini, Dubey, Richard and Asen. The run was close to the hindu temple towards the golf course. As hares acted Brendan & Co and as usual he had laid an easy trail.
Hashers on the trail

After the headcount and briefing circle the run was off. It went trailing into the brush and soon we found us crawling up a steep hill that had been cut out by tree fellers. At one time I passed a tree stump that was abt 1.2m in diameter and later on Brendan told me he had spotted abt 7-8 of them. After the grueling uphill always comes downhill and we found us running in green jungle that was littered with stinking garbage at intervals.

Richard, Asen & Dubey

I saw some of the boxes and bags stamped with the name of "Westin", I bet the GM of the said resort would not be very happy knowing his trash lies in the jungles of Langkawi instead of disposed properly. Once passing the garbage dumps and arriving to the main road again it was straight back to the laager. When I finished the run I could see Saini and Dubey there already, they had beaten all the hashers once again.


Vanessa having a shy moment

The Executioner

While waiting for the stragglers to get in we enjoyed a well earned beer and chit-chat. Soon enough the end briefing circle was called and the proceedings began. Executioners were appointed and the hares were called in for judgement. Eventually Richard and Dubey, having done 3 runs or more, was named Tigerwilly and Muffdiver respectively.

Other happenings worth mentioning was the hasher that always liked to be front running bastard but knew Saini was going to participate skipped the run and came tot he cicle with a sick note from his mom. Naturalyy the GM did not take kind eye on such blatant offence and he was down-downed in rapid succession. As darkness was falling we packed up the circle and went to Lobster village restaurant for dinner.
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Monday, 15 February 2010

Voyage Phuket - Langkawi

So, our time was again up in the Kingdom of Smiles and we were leaving for Langkawi once more. This time it could be for a longer time as there has been some talks that we might end up in Dubai.

My contractors and dayworkers had been paid off and jobs wrapped up for this period. Saini was getting the last supplies in preparation for his next maintenance round. I got a new stewardess onboard, Ms. Imtisenla Amur a.k.a. Asen, also from Nagaland in India.

Asen with her new curls

Kalpu making curls night before departure

On the 12th I went to Ao Chalong one-stop-shop and checked out the ship without any hassles and on 13th around 1pm we let go and started for Langkawi.

Since it was Lunar New Year and many of the boats with Thai, ethnic Chinese, Owners had been making offerings and attracting the Gods with fire crackers all morning I decided not be any worse and rigged a length of crackers from my bowsprit. Once we had our lines cast off we lighted the line and let it rip, every yacht in the marina that did not see us, at least heard us departing.

Weather was terrific, a bit of NE monsoon was blowing. As the weather was fine we decided to dive at Ko Ma. Ko Ma is a small Island with a crescent shaped reef on it's northern side. We planned to dive at the southern side where the Island apparently does a steep drop to 20 meters. Once in the water with Saini (we jumped off the aft deck) we started to descend and the water got very murky, at abt 15m it got also cold. Somekind of undercurrent pushed very cold water from somewhere.

I did some photography but it was not much use as I did not have my flash yet and the lighting was too low to get any decent pics. The bottom was bare with some odd coral growth and a multitude of crab holes, one could see them lurking for prey with their one claw out of the hole. After some 19minutes my air was gone and it was time to ascend. All in all a disappointing experience but in hindsight we could have gone a bit closer to the Island but as prudent navigators it is better to be safe than sorry.

Some sea creatures...eggs?

Once back onboard Kalizma the sun was setting and we continued our voyage to Langkawi. The waves were getting a bit higher and we developed a permanent starboard list from the monsoon wind that was blowing. Asen was saying she is getting seasick and she was going our for fresh air frequently.

Kalizma in front of Ko Ma

On the morning 14th we entered the channel to Kuah and winds were blowing there quite freshly. Once arrived to the marina we made fast to the N-S pier, the marina is protected from the wind so I did not have any problems going alongside.

I was met by our agent Mr. John Orr and after changing latest gossip and news we walked to the immigration office at the ferry terminal. Check in was a breeze here too and soon enough I was back onboard with stamped passports...
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Monday, 8 February 2010

Ekachai Srivichai concert

On the 7th Jira took me to see Ekachai Srivichai, a local talent from southern Thailand. He has been a staple "luk thung" artist for years in the Kingdom.

The entry ticket

I was rather surprised as the show started with historical references and the whole evening played out like an Indian movie with stories taken from the Thai history as well as one story from Korea and then followed by song and dance, Bollywood style but with the Thai touch. Of course the stage was filled with gorgeous dance girls and some boys too, otherwise it would not be a show at all in Thailand.

Ekachai on stage

In between there was a few visiting artists, a quartet from the north whose singing talent faded compared to Ekachai's strong baritone. Then of course followed the mandatory Thai slapstick stand up comedy which I even managed to follow at places.

The visiting northern boys in a rather gay costume

At last followed a potpourri of popular songs including the parody of "Chang Si Dong Thorn".

The dance girls

The whole affair lasted for abt 4 hours, not bad considering ticket price was 200 THB/ person. In the end heavy sponsorship was showing up as the sponsors products were paraded on stage and songs sung to them. At the exit more business was touted to buy these products...

All proceeds from the concert went to the school where the whole event had been hosted on. Even at this remote area police security was very visible. And as per Thai style the volume was cranked up to the max during the whole time so my ears were still ringing while writing this.

Below is one song that made Ekachai famous in his early years "Mae du Mia daa" (Mom, look, my wife's cursing me).

Here is another popular song that is parodized by Ekachai "Chang si dong thorn" (Lao hangover song), not sung by Ekachai himself here.

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

At the Muslim Butcher

This guy met his maker Dec 2008 in the Port Blair Market

Last year when crew wanted some mutton I asked one muslim girl where I could find mutton as many muslims eat mutton in Thailand. So, I was introduced to a butcher that is living near the Lotus market on the way to Surin Beach. The next time I went to buy mutton he told me to buy the whole goat otherwise he would not sell. As my freezer was not working well at that time I did not buy the whole carcass as it would have spoiled rotten.

Anyway, now that my freezers were fixed in Langkawi I decided to get some mutton for the boys and we drove to the butcher after our weekly grocery shopping at Supercheap with Richard.

The butcher was still the same and when I asked for mutton he asked if I'll buy the whole thing and I said, yes. Then he asked if we wanted to choose the goat so I thought why not and off we went, he on his tricycle and we followed with our car. Near the Victory monument, before reaching it, he turned right into a small utility road and after some distance we arrived to a small coop were the goats were kept.

He asked which one we liked and I asked Richard to choose one, he chose a black small goat. The butcher grabbed his hindleg and dragged the goat out of the coop and then unceremoniusly slashed his throat with a knife. Then he let the goat bleed dry and die after which he loaded them (he killed another one I suppose for another customer) onto his tricycle and back we went to his house.

At the house the carcasses were thrown into the abattoir where the goat was first gutted and all the innards taken out. After that the goat was hung onto a metal hook and the skinning started. The butcher started from one of the front legs around the neck. Cut the ears off. Then continued to the other front leg and from there eased the skin down to the hind legs. When he reached the testicles he just plopped them out of their pouches and then cut the skin off right down to the hind hooves.

After that the carcass was taken down, the hooves cut off, the head was cut off. Then the torso was chopped into pieces so we did not have to do it onboard. Richard said he wanted the brain so then the butcher chopped open the skull and removed the brain. The head was also skinned and the tongue removed. After this the intestines were taken in a bag (brain, tongue, liver, heart, testicles and kidneys). Richard did not want the stomach so that one and the skin was discarded.

In the end we got from a 20kg goat about 10kg of meat that cost us 3000THB. That evening Richard made the most delicious mutton curry, yum-yum....
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Monday, 1 February 2010

Captain's Blog January 2010

After settling down after the cruise we started on our pending works: awnings, teak dk, interior, engine, MCA, stability, interior carpentry, bridge equipment service (again, sic!), the list just went on and on.

The good news for the month was that crew got a salary raise from the Owner and Richard and Jyothi has been shortlisted to be transferred to France to take care of Owner's properties there.

I was also visited by Mr. Chan my electronics specialist from Lumut on the 7th. He asked me to arrange lodging in Patong, which I did. Eventually while picking him up from the airport he wanted me to show him around and I did that too. Anyway, when 2 hooligans get together there is no printable material to be published from that.

8th Jan NIck Coombes invited our crew to Queen of Andaman for a dockside party as the yacht is changing command. Nick had been acting Captain for QoA after she had ran aground in front of Ranong and the Captain then was flewn home.

On the 11th I left for Langkawi as our visas expired. Same day also Rajaram signed off to go home for a death in the family. I visited Penang in order to try and get all crew Thai visas but it failed miserably as Indians need permanent residence status in order to get a Thai visa in Malaysia. The visit was short and I was back in Phuket by the 15th Jan. Same day sent our tender for repairs to Cholamark as the fwd tube is leaking.

16th running to Phuket town immigration to bond out crew for sign off.

The weekend 17th I visited the Khuan Kaeng Hot Springs in Trang province that was a near "boiling" experience.

On 18th Sunil signed off to go to UK for his Y4 and Y3 Engineering competency licenses. He was sendng me emails about the agony of winter weather. Made us feel very comfy here in Thailand. Same evening s/y Yanneke Too is throwing a dockside party.

19th I got new echosounders for our tenders, this time watertight Garmins as the old Lowrances gave up the contract totally during our cruise. I also got a Garmin Etrex GPS plotter, 100% watertight, battery driven. No more equipment blackouts on tender.

On 20th K. Noi starts interior carpentry works in Owner's ensuite and corridor.

21st running errands on town. Phuket Electronics guys visited and checked our bridge equipment. Nobeltec is such garbage, it is on a par with Jim Mc Cormick's bomb detector.

22nd we got our tender back, good as new again.

On 25th there is a drama in Yacht Haven. Martula reports in the morning that a crazy woman has been throwing beer cans at her from m/y Sea Cellar. Vivek and Richard had seen the whole incident and they reported that she also threw full whisky and rum bottles too. Apparently the lady don;t have all the bulbs on at times and such things happens. The drama ended that the police removed her from the yacht and presumably took her to a hospital to get sober and on her pills again.

Same day Jyothi signs off to get married in India, all the best from the crew.

Rajaram returns from India to warm out the chill from his bones gathered in Uttar Pradesh, he told us he had not even seen the sun in 2 weeks.

I also got news that Owner might want to transfer Kalizma to Dubai so now we are researching this move. As I had many jobs opened it was somehow throwing my plans all upside down. Anyway, orders are orders so I informed my contractors and started winding down business as quickly as I could. Not looking forward to sweat and sandstorms.

27th Martula is signed off as she resigned from service. All the best for her future plans, whatever they may be.

28th Mr. Ekachai works on Owners ensuite glass shower cabinet, all fixed up nicely with new fittings and rubber seals.

On 31st I visit Holy Man Arian Phongphan in Trang province (near Khuan Kaeng Hot water springs) with Jira, Saini and Kalpu. Delightful old man that offered us a delicious lunch.

Jira & Kalpu being purified by the Holy Man
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