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Vol. XIII No.21 - Sunday October 19, 2014 - Saturday November 1, 2014


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MAIL BAG  [email protected]
 

No parking on Suthep, how about Huay Kaew?

Dear Editor,
May I applaud the traffic police for their efforts in clearing congestion on Suthep Road by enforcing no parking along the side of the road near the hospital? Well done on that idea and you should know that your efforts have made that road far less difficult to use. The ease and flow of traffic on Suthep is a wonder, going from one of the worst roads to use at any time of the day to something that is actually usable is quite a serious accomplishment.
Now I call on you to ban the parking of songthaews along Huay Kaew Road in front of Kad Suan Kaew Mall. The mall should be encouraged to open up the very large parking space in front of the mall for the songthaews (and may not charge the songthaews a parking fee) and leave the road in front free for traffic. This major bottleneck not only slows traffic down considerably but is quite dangerous as they stop without looking, pull out into traffic regardless of who is coming, and force traffic into one lane. Add in the additional rather dangerous factor of cars and motorbikes have to go around them and then turn in front of them to enter the mall parking lot and it can be quite bad. I have seen, on more than one occasion, people being nearly struck by the songthaews as they attempt to turn into the mall as the songthaews pull out into the road.
Also enforcing the no parking opposite Kad Suan Kaew would be good too. This is another bottleneck that causes serious traffic problems.
Huay Kaew is an incredibly busy road and at rush hour is often close to gridlock as people head out of the city towards the Superhighway. It is in everyone’s interest that these areas are left free for traffic to move.
Signed
Huay Kaew resident



Obtaining a British passport in Bangkok

A step by step guide

Dear Editor,
Brits seeking to apply for a new/replacement passport in Thailand must now go to the amazingly named Trendy Tower block, Sukhumvit soi 13, Bangkok and not the British Embassy.
Applications by DHL to Hong Kong are sadly a process of the past.
This is fairly well known, but my visit to Trendy on September 19th highlighted a few points which may be helpful to applicants.
1. The formal advice - once one has made an appointment online - is to arrive not more than 5 minutes in advance of the time allocated. You are warned that if you miss your appointment you may have to wait 8 weeks for another. I was the counter-signatory for my friend and so we were very thankful that we arrived 25 minutes in advance. Parking in the area is virtually impossible. On the ground floor of Trendy Tower one must first check in to a special reception desk to get a pass to go to the 28th floor. This ultra-modern and smart facility offers facilities for Australians and Canadians as well as British, is very efficient but very busy. Approximately 100 people were being dealt with when we were there. By the time one has got the pass to the 28th floor and waited for one of the 3 lifts, time had passed by. Once up on high, one needs to allow 5 minutes to get through the security check, more if you need last minute photo copies or blank forms to fill in.
2. All through the process, you are met by charming Thais with excellent English. Right on - or a little before - your appointment time, you are ushered into a tiny cubicle to present your evidence. Although the instructions say that only the applicant is admitted, I was also admitted as counter-signatory. The British system prefers - in order - holders of British, Irish, EU or ‘commonwealth’ passports as counter-signatories to expedite the fastest issue. It’s also preferable that this person be a member of one of several specific professions, or retired from one. I took my old professional ‘quallies’ just in case and they were accepted. They also needed a colour copy of the photo page of my passport.
3. We had missed 2 points. Payment for ones’ next UK passport can only be made by credit card. No cash in any currency accepted! I did not find this in advance on the UK Government website. Also, evidence of one’s Thai address MUST be in English as all this paperwork goes to Liverpool. My friend took his usufruct and we were thus sent back down to the ground floor for a 500 baht translation. This was done in 20 minutes and we were able to get straight back into the process on the 28th floor.
You keep your existing passport (as per Thai law) but cannot travel on it internationally once your application has been made.
Applicants unfit to make the journey to Bangkok can send a representative along with a doctor’s letter and power of attorney. Everyone will be advised by e-mail when new passports are ready for collection at Trendy, and again this can be done by a representative.
Did I say ‘fastest issue’? Several weeks should be allowed, and my friend began the process early to ensure he has a virtually empty, long-term, passport ready for his next Thai 1 year extension in early February. If I have missed anything, doubtless the UK Consul Chiang Mai will advise you.
Yours,
Bill Sykes


Excellent care at San Sai Hospital

Dear Editor,
Sansai is an oddly shaped amphur, hanging over a wide west-east arc north of Chiang Mai city, rather like an over-ripe banana.
The west end actually covers Mae Jo, which I suppose is why the government hospital (north of Mae Jo and a little east of Mae Rim) is called Sansai Hospital.
When I was rushed there during my heart attack on Tuesday morning, Oct 7th, I didn’t know the name of the place, only that it had a good reputation locally. I was about to find out why.
My horrible chest pain began as I was driving north up the Mae Rim road, and I parked at a petrol station just south of Mae Rim centre. By the time my wife had called for help to another car (she can’t drive), the pain had spread to my left arm and left side jaw, so I knew what it was!
By the time a good friend leapt out of another car to drive us to a hospital, I was sweating all over and my own ugly white face, whiter than our car, stared back at me in the driver’s mirror. But I was still able to think clearly.
The huge Nakhon Ping Hospital, south of us on the Mae Rim road and north of the Sala Klang Provincial Hall, seemed logical, but we had just come through the huge road works at the Outer Ring Road (121) junction and the awful traffic jam. So I navigated my new chauffeur out of Mae Rim to the east, over the bridge and into (what I now know as) Sansai Hospital.
I doubt that any hospital, private or government, east or west, could have reacted faster or more accurately. All the right equipment was there, mercifully the painkillers too, and two doctors and two nurses with perfectly clear English.
The first night in a full and busy mixed ward (babies crying) cost 300b, with 4 subsequent nights at 1,000b each in a small but adequate ‘private’ room. Monitoring by EKG and auto blood pressure machine among others was consistent, and the results relayed to a cardiologist at Nakhon Ping hospital. I am now in a queue to see him by the month end.
At all times Dr ‘Toon’ and his staff kept me informed of progress in English, and the cleaning services in the ward and my small room were exceptional. This young doctor was on duty at 8.30am when I was admitted, was finishing duty at midnight that day, and re-appeared at 8.30am the following morning!!
My report here is being translated into Thai to send to the Director of Sansai Hospital - with heart-felt thanks of course.
Over many years here I have lost at least 3 foreign friends who either lived too far away from the right facilities to be treated in time, or lost time being taken to inadequate local facilities first. Speed is the essence in such cases. A powerful argument for not living TOO far out in the sticks!
Sincerely,
Dickie Ticker


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

No parking on Suthep, how about Huay Kaew?

Obtaining a British passport in Bangkok

Excellent care at San Sai Hospital

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Note: Letters printed herein in no way reflect the opinions of the editors or writers for Chiang Mai Mail, but are unsolicited letters from our readers, expressing their own opinions. No anonymous letters or those without genuine addresses are printed, and, whilst we do not object to the use of a nom de plume, preference will be given to those signed.
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