Grapevine: Foreigners last – May 21, 2021


Foreigners last
Expats are being bounced around by conflicting news and promises about vaccination. A tiny number, mostly with work permits, have found their way onto the official waiting list. For the rest, a longish wait for private hospitals to begin jabs at a price is the likeliest way out. As Bernard Trink might have said: TIT and Nuff Said combined.

Only two vaccines
The choice is evidently between Astra Zeneca and Sinovac. Many were relieved when they heard that the one-jab Johnson and Johnson had been approved by Thai authorities. But no sign of any deliveries, thanks to a combination of bureaucracy, administrative difficulties and ongoing research whether two jabs are better than one.

Used car replacements
A reader asks where he can get a radio and disc player for his 12 year old Toyota pickup as the main dealer says his vehicle is too old. The answer is likely to be on the other side of Sukhumvit, vaguely opposite Toyota but nearer spaghetti junction, where Boy Air has all manner of spare parts. Some have been cannibalized from crashed vehicles, but it’s a solution.

Hairy non-consensus
Barbers and hairdressers – unlike beauty parlours – seem to have escaped the ban on most useful facilities in Pattaya, but each one has to decide how far to go. Cutting hair and styling is OK, but what about shaving, manicures, face massages and the like? There don’t appear to be any official regulations, other than a provincial order stating that no queuing inside is allowed.

Free food gone
This lockdown, unlike the first one last April, hasn’t seen the emergence of free food and supplies which were largely funded by the expat business community first time around. Gone are the everyday long queues all over town with people patiently waiting in line. City Hall hasn’t even found it necessary to remind wannabe donors that a permit is required. All history.

Expat delicacies
Nobody predicted that the fewer foreigners there are in town, the more choice of frozen pies, tang sauces, chocolate and umpteen other goodies there would be. There are apparently now five (possibly more) retail outlets all competing for business and, we are told, all doing OK.

Home sweet home
A reader asks for an update on the earlier government announcement that foreigners would be able to buy land with a house (not a condo) built on it. Nothing has happened yet. The proposal is that foreigners might be able to buy new houses worth at least 10 million baht on certain estates provided they are purchased from the developer and are new. Limited stuff.

Travel bubbles again
Millions of words have been written about them, but Thailand is no nearer arranging any than it was a year ago. Unless and until the virus is firmly under control, we are not going to see the return of major group and charter travel on which most bubbles are based. In just over a month the Phuket Sandbox is scheduled to start. Watch this space.

Do it Yourself bonus
Mr DIY stores, with several in Greater Pattaya, have transformed the purchase of household items from electric drills and car mats to screw drivers and batteries. All the prices are marked and the quality is good. If you keep losing your sun glasses and hat every time you go outside, this is certainly the cheapest replacement option. Check out the one in TukCom, fourth floor.

Not quite illegal
One of the hallmarks of this lockdown is that we are all being “encouraged” to cooperate with the authorities rather than being warned with awful penalties. Landlords are asked politely to stop any booze parties going on in their properties, whilst lifeguards on the beaches are patrolling to “request” the occasional swimmer to desist on health grounds. Got it? OK.