Archive for June, 2007

June 29th, 2007

Long pause in writing, a recap of events

I just noticed that I have been neglecting my both readers for almost two weeks. I’ve been extremely busy and the time has flown like an arrow…

Anyhow, the last weekend was Midsummer (juhannus) in Finland, the biggest celebration in summer and also a bank holiday (Friday).

We have been traditionally in my parent’s summer cottage in the Northern Carelia, and this year wasn’t an exception (there have been a couple). The highway number 5 is the most crowded road during the Midsummer weekend, especially on Friday, as the bulk of the summer cottages reside in Savonia, along the highway.

Our plan was to avoid the traffic jams and leave early, already on Wednesday. It worked like a charm; the road was practically empty and the trip took about five and half hours, including a couple of stops to fuel the car and the passengers.

Thursday was spent with work related matters in Polvijärvi town centre, and then we visited Joensuu for shopping and a trip to city museum to see readymade art. In the evening, we relocated to the summer cottage, had a dinner and a sauna.

The weather was against us, the first night was really cold — especially in a cottage without any source of heat — and Friday morning looked gloomy.

Friday is the big day in Midsummer; people burn huge bonfires, eat a lot, drink also a lot and some of us Finns drown to the thousands of lakes. Our bonfire has traditionally been at the peak of a rock cape, truly wonderful place — and no worries having troubles with fire escaping to the woods…

There were surprisingly many small children. It looks like that the cottage community has entered into its third generation. Our cottage’s third generation was already sleeping, as the bonfire was set on fire at ten o’clock in the evening. Maybe next year Aapo is able to stay awake till the bonfire.

Saturday was a brighter day and Aapo could enjoy delights of our small inflatable pool. I and Sanna read a lot and also rowed a boat for a while. Simple pleasures of life.

Sunday became too fast and it was time to pack everything in the car, have a fast lunch at my parent’s home in the town centre and then drive back to Espoo. This time we hit a congestion after highways 4 and 5 merge nearby Lahti and Mäntsälä. Fortunately they were not severe ones, and we were at home in dinner time.

After Midsummer it has been work, work and work. Day after tomorrow I’ll fly to London for a couple of days in business and then still a few more weeks before our holidays kick in.

Silk, silk, silk

Thailand is renown for silk, both the fabric and the garments. However, the greedy Thai businesses do their best to make buying silk problematic — if you are not a professional or seasoned amateur, you never know what you are purchasing for real.

Thai Silk Village in Hua Hin, Thailand
Fortunately, there is an upscalish silk shop at the northern end of Hua Hin; Thai Silk Village. The big store has all kinds of silk fabrics, and the people selling the stuff know their turf — and manage not to be pushy.

The adjoining Mike & Co. tailor company can be used to make the suit of your dreams from the silk in the shop.

www.thaisilkvillagehuahin.com, 18/1 Naebkhehars Road, Hua Hin, Thailand

English literature

If you run out of books or decide to extend your stay, Asia Books on second floor of Sailom Pavilion shopping mall is an excellent destination for purchasing some more. Unlike traditional Thai bookstores, there are only English books — and one Finnish, to my big surprise.

Asia Books bookstore in Hua Hin
The prices are understandably higher than in Europe, as everything has been exported. The selection has a lot of bestsellers and other sure bets, but fortunately there is so many books available that everybody should find something — this now excludes the pickiest bibliophiles.

The miniature mall around the store is also worth of visiting.

Asia Books, Damnern Kasem Road (in Sailom Pavilion minimall), Hua Hin, Thailand

June 16th, 2007

Visited Porvoo old town

We finally made it and visited the Porvoo old town! Sanna has been talking about the trip for a few weeks now, and today we got packed in our car, drove there and spent several hours there doing mostly nothing.

Porvoo old town

As you might remember, we were planning to go there a couple of weeks ago, but Aapo got sick. This weekend there were no signs of illness and the weather was also excellent.

The Porvoo old town from the old bridge

The Porvoo old town is one of the few medieval Finnish towns that have not been burned down or demolished. To be honest, there were not that many towns in Finland in medieval times… The place has a feel of its own, it’s somewhat detached from the rest of country — people seem to be happier, the buildings look completely different than you are used to, and the quality of boutiques, cafés and restaurants is outstanding for such a small region of land.

Yours truly with Aapo in Café Helmi in the Porvoo old town

The old town is quite compact, we spent less than four hours there by foot, and had enough time to visit all interesting shops (10+), sit a while in an excellent café (Helmi), and eat a lunch in Finnish archipelago style in Timbaali restaurant.

It felt like being on a holiday in some foreign but still familiar country; for example, being in Tallinn, Estonia. No worries and no agenda, just good time with family. Heartily recommended.

Good tailors

Thailand has been traditionally home for inexpensive tailors, and we Finns seem to be ardent customers — deducted from the number of Finnish advertisements on tailors’ doors.

Mike & Co. tailor boutique in Hua Hin
Finding a good tailor is an adventure itself, as the first glance doesn’t tell you that much, and it’s already too late to cancel the deal when you know the quality.

So, it’s best to ask for recommendations. We were recommended, by several sources, to Mike & Co. tailor, a couple kilometers north from the Hua Hin city centre and the tourist area.

The biggish tailor shop is located next to a Thai silk shop, and all silks sold there are also available for dresses. The service was excellent and at least seemingly honest, the number of fabrics was good and the results very good, too. It takes half a week to get a suit ready and the process has two fittings. The company send a car to pick us up from the hotel and later provided transportation back. All remarks were taken at face value and misfits were corrected fast.

The tailor is more expensive than those in the beachfront, but I think that the money is well spent on the quality and especially on the feeling that you are not being fooled.

www.mikecompany.com, 18/1 Naebkhehars Road, (north of the city centre), Hua Hin, Thailand, +66 3253 1155-57

Mall charm

If you have grown fed up with the Thai style shack stores and touts pulling you to see something genuine with special price only for you — remember, you are unique as everyone else — go to Market Village shopping mall a kilometer south from the city centre.

Hua Hin Market Village
The quite new mall is spotlessly clean and the stores have fixed prices — and there are no touts. There are a few dozen shops, no major brands outside sports and outdoor living. If you are staying longer in the region, Tesco Lotus supermarket is unbeatable for restocking your supplies. As an additional bonus, there are several nice restaurants, caféterias and ice cream parlours.

Hua Hin Market Village, Phetchakasem Road (south of Hua Hin city centre), Hua Hin, Thailand

June 14th, 2007

Enterprise 2.0 (in Finnish only, sorry)

I’ve been involved in writing a book about Enterprise 2.0. The book will touch a lot of stuff floating around the changes in the industry, as ways of working and communication are in constant flux nowadays.

The book is only in Finnish, as it is intended for the domestic markets. It will be published first in the Internet and maybe later it becomes a tangible printed book.

My Finnish speaking readers can go to www.yritys20.com. For the rest of you, I’ll provide short summaries from time to time, if anything interesting pops up.

Designed restaurant

Nahb Talay seems to be standing in middle of nowhere in Hua Hin. The white modern building has been quite recently erected, it seems, and the rest of the surroundings have not followed the suite yet.

Nahb Talay restaurant in Hua Hin, Thailand
It is, however, an excellent place to have a drink or two when doing a sight-seeing around the town, or visiting Mike & Co. by foot. The menu is extensive, but I cannot say anything about the taste, as we just had drinks there. The prices are a bit steeper than in most of the restaurants, but not outrageously so. The service is swift and very, very polite.

Nahb Talay, 22/65 Neab Kaehat Road, Hua Hin, Thailand, +66 32 531 493