Grapevine – June 6, 2019

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Over 70?

Confirmed by the airport authorities: anyone over 70 can use the fast-track counter leaving and entering the country. But show your passport ID page to the vigilant security guy or gal. In the past there wasn’t much point as scams meant that fast-track was often as crowded as the regular channels. Much better now.

Give up smoking

The Walking Street isn’t what it was. A guy entered a club the other night and asked to buy a 20-pack of cigarettes just as he was leaving. Total charge 400 baht for a local brand. “What the heck is going on?” he yelled. “The motor bike taxi man expected a rather large tip,” replied the grim-looking security doorman.

Elite Visa

A reader asks why anyone would pay a one-off 500,000 baht for a five year visa. Lots better-off foreigners, especially from China and Southeast Asia buy them. You avoid having to keep cash in the bank, are exempt from the frequent changes in visa regulations, can forget about medical insurance (for five years anyway) and can enjoy all the perks listed on the website.

Hail to The Nation

Many expats will be sorry to have learned that The Nation newspaper is to cease its print edition at the end of this month. Lots of lively stuff there. Around two decades ago, it ran a weekly column called Farang Affairs which had a wonderful time criticizing the several local Pattaya journals which were then in print, but aren’t now. That’s life.

Entry after entry

A reader asks how many times he can enter Thailand to obtain a 30-days stay without a prior visa. For most nationalities, the answer is two entries per calendar year by a land border. No specific rule about entry through the airport, but the immigration officer can query whether you are trying to live in Thailand long-term without a proper visa. Best be ready to show your air ticket out of Thailand.

That Yellow Book again

The blue house book registers only the names of Thai occupants. The yellow one separately lists foreigners resident at that address. But each local authority has its own specifications to go yellow, some a lot more detailed than others. You’ve guessed it – the list given out at Pattaya city hall is not the shortest.

Embassy no can do

Foreign embassies here, including the British and the American, validate documents unless issued outside Thailand. For example, your UK birth certificate or US marriage licence will need to be confirmed back in your home country. The exception to the rule is a passport issued outside Thailand which can be verified by your embassy here. That’s because they have a comprehensive data base of all their passports, no matter where issued.

War of the pies

Did you know that in the former days of yesteryear there were three competing companies selling meat and fruit pies here in Pattaya? So intense was the competition that rumour claimed customers actually threw them at supporters of another brand. Nowadays, the choice of pie brands has doubled and without any warfare. Pie lovers are indeed lucky to live in our fair city.

Thoughts for the week

No 1: If ignorance is bliss, why are so many of my friends unhappy? No 2: Quit worrying about your health because it will soon go away. No 3: Thank goodness that electricity was invented, otherwise we’d have to watch TV by candlelight.