Krispy Kreme Craziness at Siam Paragon

A few weeks after Krispy Kreme’s Grand Opening of it’s first branch in Bangkok, Thailand and people are still waiting two hours in line just to get these popular donuts.
In the mornings, some folks arrive two hours before Siam Paragon even opens in order to beat other anxious customers. The lines have been consistently long and be prepared to wait a minimum of two hours to get your quota of one dozen Krispy Kreme donuts per customer.
I had already had a sample of these donuts made in Thailand and I can verify that they taste just as rich and sweet as they did in the US. I enjoyed watching the donuts being made in the traditional Krispy Kreme conveyor belt fashion, even though I didn’t have the patience to wait in line to actually buy any of them. I’ll wait a few more weeks to see if the hype dies down.

After you @ J-avenue, Thonglor

Enjoying some Nutella Shibuya toast at a trendy local hangout, After You. This shop offers a great selection of sweets, hot and cold beverages and even a few breakfast items.
Many of the desserts are warm concoctions topped with ice cream. The result is a delicious teat that must be eaten quickly and is better when enjoyed with a few friends.
At this shop you must order at the counter and pay first. If you have a sweet tooth, you can even pour additional syrup on your dessert. Also, try the lightly flavored iced tea that is available and complimentary.

Top 100 Asian Universities

Another list by Webometrics Ranking of Asian Universities.

Top Asia

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Problems with using ethanol blended fuels

Using motor fuels that are a blend of gasoline and ethanol is not knew. In fact, Brazil has been using ethanol since the 1970s. Nowadays, roughly 40% of cars in Brazil run on 100% ethanol. Brazil’s progressive actions were a result of a high gasoline prices due to the Middle East oil embargo in 1973. It took several decades to develop the ethanol production industry to the levels required to sustain such widespread use of gasohol. In 2004, Brazil was rated as the world’s largest producer of ethanol.

Thailand has been one of the countries attempting to follow in Brazil’s footsteps. Currently, Thailand’s production of ethanol would not even meet the needs of a small amount of Thai motorists buying cars capable of running on pure ethanol. This means that for now, an ethanol blend is the most logical fuel for the current car market and ethanol supply. As cars start coming on the market that are specifically designed to run on fuel that consists of a large percentage of ethanol or pure ethanol, the ethanol production and supply needs to build up to meet the demand. The Flexi-Fuel engine is suitable to both pure ethanol and belended gasohol and is ideal for transitioning to an ethanol-based motor fuel economy.

Problems associated with gasohol

After extolling the many benefits of gasohol, it is time took at some of the negative aspects of gasohol use.

  • Production In order to replace regular gasoline with gasohol completely, there must be a large investment of time and money to ensure that ethanol production increases rapidly enough to meet the motor fuel demand.
  • Reduced Fuel Economy For fuel injected cars, there is a 2% drop in fuel economy when using gasohol. That means that you get slightly fewer kilometers per liter compared to regular gasoline. However, if you consider the amount of money you save each time you fill up, it is still cheaper to use gasohol.
  • Not all cars can use gasohol It is unlikely that gasohol will damage your car engine, but that is the greatest fear of non-gasohol users. If your car is newer, check the car manual to see if it is capable of using gasohol or check with the manufacturer.

As a whole, Thailand’s use of gasohol is a step in the directly of finding alternative fuels that are derived from renewable resources. The global demand for oil has resulted in high fuel prices and has taken a huge toll of the Earth’s environment as well. The benefits of using gasohol outweigh the problems by in large. It really is a win-win situation where the motorist saves money on gasoline, the Earth benefits from fewer harmful emissions and the local Thai economy will grow economically and become more independent of imported oil.

Whether or not ethanol blended fuels will be the ultimate solution to the question of alternative motor fuels in Thailand is unknown. There are other alternative fuels such as NGV and LPG that are used primarily by taxis and vans. It is possible that these fuels will provide a better solution in the end, or even a new fuel solution that has not become mainstream yet. For the immediate future, however, gasohol and future Flexi-Fuel cars, which can run on ethanol and blended fuels, will provide lots of benefits to your pocket, your health and the world.

What is gasohol? Why use it?

No, it’s not something you drink on a Friday night. It’s actually a type of gas you put in your car. Gasohol is a motor fuel blend of gas and ethanol. Gasohol is sold in 91 octane and 95 octane varieties in Thailand. They are made up of 90% regular gasoline and 10% ethanol. This may also be written as E10.

Ethanol is the same as the alcohol that you drink as the main ingredient in beer, spirits and wine. It is made from rice, wheat, barley, sugar cane, potatoes, corn and other bio sources. Ethanol has a very high octane level, which is why the octane rating of gasohol is higher than regular gasoline. In Thailand, palm, coconut, sugar cane and other locally grown crops are used in ethanol production for use as motor fuel.

Gasohol has several benefits over regular gasoline because of its unique blend with ethanol.

  • It’s cheaper! You can save a few baht or so per liter using gasohol instead of regular gasoline.
  • It’s greener! Compare to regular gasoline, gasohol emits less carbon dioxide, benzene, butadiene and sulphur dioxide. A little better for the world and your health.
  • It’s cleaner! Aside from being cleaner for the environment, gasohol also helps to keep car engines cleaner by reducing build up of residue in the fuel system.
  • It’s higher performance! Since the ethanol in gasohol raises the octane level as mentioned above, gasohol has higher performance than regular gasoline at the same octane rating. It also reduces engine “knocking” and your car will run more smoothly.
  • It’s local! Gasohol is produced right here in Thailand and thus reduces Thailand’s need for oil. Also, ethanol production for the energy sector creates economic growth in the argicultural sector and related industries.
  • It doesn’t freeze! Not very useful in Thailand, but the ethanol in gasohol also prevents the fuel from freezing in the fuel system.

Most cars manufactured in the last 10 years are suitably equipped to run on E10 gasohol. Car manufactures today are designing cars that are able to run on E20. In Thailand, Ford released the Ford Focus with a 1.8 liter engine that can run on E20 fuel. Ford is leading the pack when it comes to ethanol engine technology and the use of gasohol as an efficient motor fuel. They have a different version of the Focus which is equipped with a Flexi-Fuel system that is able to run on E85. As Thailand expands its production for ethanol and Thai motorists increase use of gasohol, we can expect to see car companies and the Thai government offering more incentives and value to using environmentally friendly fuel options.

Hanging dolls on bumper of cars

Driving around on the streets of Bangkok you might spot an interesting phenomenon, a car with a stuffed animal or doll dangling from the back of the car. Many of the hanging dolls are dirty and ragged from being dragged around on the city streets. There is something eerie and morbid about the sight of a child’s toy looking so disheveled.Taxi drivers seemed to be the first group to adopt this practice and it has since spread to the average motorist. Even on a short drive in Bangkok, you are bound to spot one of the hanging dolls. Taxis still comprise the largest number of cars that hang dolls on their bumpers.

The question that you are probably thinking is “Why?” For awhile I pondered this myself and although I asked around, no one else seemed to know either. Finally on the Thai news I got my answer.

The hanging doll or stuffed animal is an offering to the spirits of those that died in a traffic accident. It is hoped that the spirit will play with the toy and leave the car’s driver alone. This superstition is thought to have originated in Korea. Since Thai people believe that ghost hang around near the location of their death. They also believe that the ghost are waiting to be reborn and may provoke an accident by tricking a driver, especially at night. In light of such superstitious beliefs, it makes sense that some Thais would readily adopt a practice that seeks to placate these devious spirits.

Interestingly enough, the news report stated that many people have been adopting the practice of hanging a doll on their bumper without even knowing why. They simply saw others doing it and wished to do it as well. Other drivers get even more morbid and stick disturbingly real-looking fake arms out of their car trunks to shock fellow drivers.

Next time you take a drive through Bangkok, keep your eyes open for this quirky sight and we’ll see how long this trend lasts.

Ratchada-Ladphrao night market

Ratchada Night MarketThis market is an interesting place to stop by on a Saturday night if you like shopping for second hand items. You’ll hardly see a foreigner and the place is crawling with young Thais who have a soft spot for the vintage scene. Among some of the items you’ll find in the night market are shoes, jeans, clothes, antiques, furniture, decor items and knick-knacks. While the majority of the items are used, you can find new items in among the different stalls.

The atmosphere is hip and trendy with a little bit for everyone. It’s not an organized place but that’s part of the fun. You’ll come across random items in each store and there’s plenty to look at.  The highlight of the market are the vintage motorcycles and cars. Lovers of Volkswagen buses and Beetles, Mini Coopers, Vespas and Yamahas are in for a treat.

Tako Before heading home you can grab a snack or a drink, even cocktails and whiskey are available. The main food area is located near Ladprao road but food carts are dispersed throughout the market.

A shortage of proper lighting in the market which makes parking and shopping a chore. Bring a flashlight to inspect items carefully as some stores offer little light. Most of the items will be one of a kind and used so check for damage before making a purchase. If your item happens to be flawed in some way, use it as an extra bargaining chip.

When: Saturday night from 19:00-23:30 Get there early to park or you’ll be waiting for a spot.

Where: At the Ratchada-Ladprao junction on the grounds of the former Ratchada Night Plaza. Located in the parking lot of the MRT Ratchadapisek parking lot.

How to get there/Where to park: The easiest way to get there is to take the MRT to Ratchadapisek station. by car, if you are on Ratchadapisek Road going towards Viphavadi, turn left into the MRT parking lot. It is poorly lighted so keep an eye out as you approach the junction.