Sunday 8 September 2013

Koh Samui

The Big Buddha

"Thailand stinks," says Barry, an English ex-pat who's lived here and loved it for six years.

"You'll walk down the street and go fwooar, what's that pong? It's the sewers leaking or someone's taken a dump in a bucket behind the shops."

"But the next step, it's frangipani on the breeze, or sizzling prawns over hot coals, fantastic!"

Barry is trying to sell my wife and I on a holiday club, but soon realises we're immune to his pitch and is just having a good natter about Koh Samui with us.

He describes the enterprising nature of the locals.

"There's a place I pass by regularly which has a sign - genuine antiques, made to order - sums it all up, really."

This is where the first world comes to holiday in the third world, taking advantage of the cheap local currency to vacation in relative luxury.

And why wouldn't you? It's warm and exotic, the food is fabulous, and everyone speaks English.

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Why Germans are airtight

Some final random thoughts about Germany, from a German-descended Australian who's visiting his German wife's family.


Every German home I've visited is essentially airtight.

The doors aren't just a rectangular slab like ours, they have a proper lip around the edge and they seal very well against the frame.

The windows are the same. They also have two ways of opening, depending on how you turn the handle.

If it points up, the window hinges on the bottom, opening along the top - this allows some air through without allowing rain or thieves into the house.

If the handle points down, the window hinges along one side, opening like a door.

It gives you total control of the airflow through the house. And in the cold winter, it keeps the warm air trapped very effectively inside.

Germans also make better use of their suburban space, as virtually every house is multi-storey with a basement underneath.

There's just something very cool about having a basement!  It's the shed you don't have to leave the house for.

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