This is Thailand

 |  December 24, 2010

1. What do I do here if I have a computer problem, a virus or some other kind of problem?

If you can’t fix it yourself you can take it to Icon Plaza, one of the buildings on the left side of the moat after you’ve gone through the traffic lights at Central Kad Suan Kaew heading into town. There’s a little shop on the bottom floor called IT System, Tel: 081 681 1515 who will fix your computer for very little cost – depending on if you need to change parts of course.

2. Hi. I have a friend who split up with her Thai ex. Now he follows her around and does a lot of weird stuff like sit outside her house all night. He has threatened her and even restrained her, causing bruises. Do you know what she can do?

In this case I am told that the police might not be much help. This depends on who you report to, who you know, and of course how ‘big’ you are. A lawyer told me you might have more luck going to the criminal court in Chiang Mai and stating your case, telling them everything that has happened. They may issue a court order to him not allowing him to go near her again. Chiang Mai Provincial Court is located at City Hall, not in the main building but the building to the right side. Tel: 053 112 512. There is also a municipal criminal court located on the Superhighway next to Arcade bus station. Tel: 053 921 917.

3. One of the things I miss about back home is that lovely soft grass to lie down on. I know in Thailand it’s hard to grow that kind of grass, though I have seen nice grass on golf courses. Do you know how to maintain, grow, a nice lawn over here?

Growing a nice lawn anywhere is a lot of work. In the tropics, growing grass is even more work because of the various competitive weeds, and the water and fertiliser needs. (Note: On Thai golf courses all caddies are required (without pay) to contribute a few hours every week to weeding the fare ways. And they use lots of water, usually at night when you don’t see, and lots and lots of fertiliser.) We have found that a local grass called Malaysian Grass (‘Yaa Malaysia’ in Thai) is a perfect grass for here. It is a wide leaf variety, needs little water and no fertiliser and mowing maybe once or twice a year. It grows lush and spreads easily and is almost impossible to kill. It doesn’t look like a western lawn but is soft and cool and a deep green. I wouldn’t lie down on it without a mat though as the Thai biting ant populations might have something to say about that.

4. Is soy milk actually good for you? What is the consensus on that?

From what I read on the net the general consensus is that soy milk is good for you. It contains no saturated fats and can be drunk by those who are lactose intolerant. It also contains lots of other vitamins, proteins and minerals. It’s also said to be ecologically more ‘sound’, so you can drink without shame.

5. I’m getting so bored going to the same places during the day. Like, where do people go in the day time in Chiang Mai? What the hell can we do besides walk around shopping malls?

Join a gym with a pool? You can sit around the pool at some hotel, work out, and pretend to be on holiday like the rest of the people who have paid lots of cash to be where you are. Most big hotels have gyms you can join. At this time of year – just a shame about the congestion – it’s nice to walk around the Nimmanhaemin soi, drink coffee, read books. I hope soon Chiang Mai will implement something like a charge for coming into the city in car or a ‘at least two people one car’ policy.

In my Retiring Attitude column I have written about how we, especially those of us who are retired, can find things to do. If you go online ( you can find all the back issues of Chiang Mai Citylife. Here are a few old columns that might help:

Day Tripping (lists a number of day trips, car or motorcycle, around CM that can be fun and beautiful)

Too Busy to Keep Working (a list of stuff that one can do to make you so busy you wish you were back on the job again) http://www.chiangmai

Visiting a Thai Temple (a short guide to what you are looking at which might turn into studies of Asian art, religion, architecture, photography, etc.)