Florida, February 2010
Part II

After Part I

February 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Watcharee and Kig enjoyed a take-out lunch from Thai Bayshore.

PS: The market had a nice close today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Daughter Patty and her husband, Sam, and their two daughters (Ellie and Flora)* are visiting us in Florida.

* Ellie is the taller of the two.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My minder is always thinking of me.

February 19, 2010

This message alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Thailand that there are indications that political demonstrations may take place leading up to, on, or after the February 26 Supreme Court ruling on the case of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's financial assets. Over the next few weeks, U.S. citizens should pay close attention to public sources of information, including media reporting and the U.S. Embassy website, concerning events on the streets of Bangkok. U.S. citizens should avoid demonstrations and large-scale political activities.

We wish to remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the area of the demonstrations and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and health-information resources can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers in other areas by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Thailand are encouraged to register with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at ACSBKK@State.gov. The after hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.

PS: Why do Nordic girls always photograph with 'red eyes' while Asian girls keep the red out?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yesterday, being pre-occupied with 'redeye', I neglected the all important food*.

* All courses were from Capital Grille.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The night before last we had dinner at Chima, a Brazilian restaurant.

PS: Last night Watcharee prepared her signature dish. It brought out the 'redeye' in almost everyone.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Last night the six of us went to Coco, a mildly Thai restaurant on the far side of the big bridge. It brought out the biggest and brightest redeyes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our last dinner with Patty, Sam, Ellie and Flora was a return trip to Chima. What's with all these red eyes!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Last food shots! I promise. On Sunday we had lunch with Stephani and Robin at The Capital Grille.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two of our Thai friends, Ta and Mathana, visited us for one of Watcharee's signature dishes.

Mathana's husband, Lewis, made me this ballpoint pen (notice the colors of Thailand).

PS: Meanwhile outside it was raining.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I have picked up caching big time since we arrived in Florida. Ok, I know it is boring for you but it does take me to new places.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Breaking news from Thailand:

Thai court seizes more than half of Thaksin's fortune

Thai court seizes 1.4 billion dollars from Thaksin
by Thanaporn Promyamyai

BANGKOK, February 26, 2010 (AFP) - Thailand's top court Friday stripped Thaksin Shinawatra of more than half his 2.3-billion-dollar fortune after ruling that the fugitive former premier had abused his power for personal gain.

The verdict was an apparent compromise aimed at avoiding violence by the tycoon's supporters, but it left many of them in tears and a pro-Thaksin protest movement said it would push ahead with mass rallies in March.

After reading out a seven-hour verdict, judges said the Supreme Court would seize 46 billion baht (1.4 billion dollars) of the assets from the sale of Thaksin's telecoms firm, which were frozen after the 2006 coup that ousted him.

But they said the twice-elected former leader could hold on to the wealth he had already accumulated before taking office in 2001.

"The majority of the judges rule that the wealth of Thaksin to be confiscated, from share dividends and part of the share sales... is altogether 46.37 billion baht," the judges said in their verdict.

Thaksin, who lives abroad to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption at home, said in a video speech from exile in Dubai that he was the "political martyr" of a conspiracy to remove him from politics.

"This case is very political... The ruling will be a joke for the world," said Thaksin, who is widely known outside Thailand for being the former owner of Manchester City football club.

Thousands of troops and police had been deployed across the country for what the local media had dubbed "Judgement Day" but there were no outbreaks of violence by his backers, known as the "Red Shirts", after the ruling.

Dozens of supporters gathered at the headquarters of Thailand's main opposition party where some wept and others shouted slogans. Hundreds of others gathered at a central Bangkok park burned an effigy of the courtroom.

Jatuporn Prompan, a core Red Shirt leader, vowed to go ahead with their planned rallies beginning March 12 in Bangkok and rejected the ruling as "totally unfair" to Thaksin. "Our fight for democracy will continue. We choose to rally in order that people may digest the ruling and see whether it is fair to Thaksin," he said.

Red Shirt riots at an Asian summit and in Bangkok in April 2009 left two people dead and scores injured.

The Supreme Court judges would spend the night at safe houses but there were "no reports of possible violence", said senior police officer Wichai Sungprapai. The government had applied for the seizure of the proceeds from the sale of shares owned by Thaksin and his family to Singapore-based Temasek holdings in January 2006.

The judges said in the ruling read out on national television and radio that Thaksin had "used his power in favour of Shin Corp" and that the profit from the sale "is wealth acquired through inappropriate means," they said.

The court ruled that Thaksin illegally hid his ownership of shares in Shin Corp during his two terms as prime minister, despite saying that he had transferred them to his family.

Thaksin had also issued a cabinet resolution in favour of the mobile telephone arm of his empire, set satellite policies that benefited Shin Corp, and gave a loan to Myanmar in exchange for it doing deals with his firm.

The case goes to the heart of the rifts that have opened up in Thai society since the coup.

The Red Shirts, largely from his stronghold in Thailand's impoverished north and northeast, loved his populist policies and accuse the current government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of being an unelected elite.

The tycoon's opponents in the Bangkok-based circles around the palace, military and bureaucracy accuse Thaksin of being corrupt, dictatorial and of threatening Thailand's widely revered monarchy.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political analyst at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, said the ruling could help to find a solution to Thailand's intractable political divide but was not enough by itself.

"Certainly it's a political verdict, it has been all along. And not taking everything (from Thaksin) is a step in the direction towards a way out of this mess," Thitinan said.

"Taking everything would have been seen as unfair by many involved," he added.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Here are some 'time-travel' photos for my kids. What do they say, kids?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chilean spawned tsunami spares our waterway.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today I rediscovered 'PhotoStitch'. It really is an amazing little tool; here are four photos that were taken from our back yard...now 'stitched' into just one.

More to come ...

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