Grapevine – September 20, 2019 – October 03, 2019

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Transport off the Rails

It’s a great idea to have an electric rail loop around Second and Beach roads and onward to the Jomtien beach area. Other excellent matters are the redevelopment of Bali Hai pier and the hi-speed rail link from Bangkok to U-Tapao. But wait a moment. None of these with their sky rocket costs have been formally approved yet by the government.

TM 30 Woes

Looks like it’s here to stay! Immigration top brass say it’s very important to know where those pesky foreigners are living. It is not well known that Cambodia has just the same regulation. Householders and hotels are supposed to report all arriving guests within 24 hours of arrival. What happens if they don’t? Not too much at the moment.

Retire to Cambodia

The one year retirement visa in Cambodia with multiple re-entries will set you back around US$300 or thereabouts, depending which agent you use. One guy told us he got one last year without any paperwork at all – no proof of address and no bank statements. However, this year things have toughened up considerably. He had to provide a thumb print.

Sleepy Border

A reader recently arrived in Thailand after crossing a Myanmar border post. But he failed to have his passport stamped either because he was waved through (unlikely) or because the officer was taking a nap. What happens now? You can’t leave the country without an entry stamp, so the luckless fellow has to return to the said border post which is 200 miles from Pattaya. Ugh!

The Czar and Liverpool

An unfortunate misprint on the Thai disc cover of the new Netflix mini-series “The Last Czars”. The wording has come out as “The Last Zcars”. Older Brits will remember that Zcars was a 1960s TV series about the police in Kirkby, a suburb of Liverpool. The Netflix series has some other unfortunate errors. There’s a photograph of Moscow’s Red Square in 1905 which clearly shows Lenin’s completed tomb. But he died in 1924.

Not a Drop to Drink

In case you are wondering why so many Pattaya main roads have recently suffered from single lane traffic, or no lanes at all, you can blame the water. City Hall apparently received a government grant, time-limited as usual, to install new water pipes across parts of the downtown area. Following so quickly on the earlier road chaos to bury overhead wires, the last thing expected was another dose.

Family Visa Query

A British farang, aged 38, is asking what long visa he can obtain as he is the father of a Thai baby but he’s not married to the Thai mother. He can apply for a non-immigrant “O” family visa based on his responsibilities to the baby. It is annually renewable. He asks if this visa comes automatically with a work permit as he needs to earn cash to cover his commitments. Sadly, no. To obtain a work permit he would need to be offered a job or to make an investment in a company.

British Embassy Change

Brits can now avoid visiting their embassy in Bangkok if they want a certified copy of their passport or UK driving licence. The website makes clear this service is now available by post for those who prefer it. The cost is 25 pounds plus a 2 pounds fee for return of documents by EMS. Given the long wait for a time slot at the embassy consular office, this latest discretion is likely to be welcomed. But you still need to book an appointment to swear an oath, for example if you want to marry in Thailand.

Thoughts for the Week

A lot of gardening to do in late summer? “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration,” (Lou Erickson). A man should never plant a garden larger than his wife can take care of,” (T.S. Elliot). “My green thumb was the result of mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view,” (Fred Ale).