Monday, 3 May 2010

Updates March / April 2010

Yes, I agree it has been conspicuously silent on this site for the past 2 months. No that doesn't mean that a stream of blog entries is on it's way ...

More probably the followers will have noticed that there has been lots of flesh added to the bones otherwise known as Hot springs of the Himalaya. This month (April) just 3 postings, March 4 postings. In all there are now specific links to 160+ hot springs. Research has been done on much more, all very time consuming, but the (temporary) end is near ...

Facebook page has been added. No, it's not even running lukewarm ...

Anyways, any other news?
That's besides the World Geothermal Congress, see previous posting. Well, harking back on the geothermality is this
article from Indonesia which was originally published in the Jakarta Globe (23 April, 2010). It of course deplores Indonesia's lack to provide power despite all that energty being available under their own noses, so to speak. Commenting on a project in Garut:
'“People I speak to think it’s related to Lapindo [the uncontained mud flow near Surabaya],” said Erfan Hutagaol, head of the Energy Ministry’s geothermal business effort section, referring to the mudflow disaster in East Java. “And there are those who are already using geothermal for tourism purposes, such as natural hot springs. And they’re afraid the hot springs will disappear if we develop geothermal energy.”'
So that's not the case? An aspect which seems to be waylayed:
'An estimated 42 percent of Indonesia’s potential geothermal reserves are located within protected or conservation forests, the latter of which is off limits to geothermal production according to 1999 forestry law'.
Dr Fish discussion on Khmer 440 forum concerning the antics of fish 'spa's' in Siem Reap, Cambodia. As Cambodia is another home of pirated goods it's no wonder that the fish in these fish spa's are not original ones, at least that's the allegations. But heh, where else can you get a 20 minute Dr Fish session for $3 complete with a free can of beer? (see photo's).
Bangkok Post (25 March 2010) puts in it's 2 cents. They spoke with the owner of Cafe DeSpa ($8 for 30 min, no drinks included) who uses a Japanese system of drainage to ensure sanitary conditions, something less obvious in Siem Reap even though I've yet to hear complaints from there. The article concludes:
'It seems the fish spa business is now under a cloud of suspicion. Hygiene is of course a big problem, while some outlets don't use the right kind of fish, but Garra Rufa [nibbling fish from Turkey] lookalikes like the Chin Chin fish [fish from China, when not juvenile they have teeth!] which can wound customers. Only time will tell if fish spas are here to stay, or are just a trend that comes and goes'.
Blogs / news from Southeast Asia (sort of):

  • An entry on on 'sulphorous' hottish springs near Tawau, Sabah. Located in the forest just 3 hours walk (this link says 1 hour) from Tawau Hills Park. But reporter didn't find the springs. Walked back, talked with ranger and set out the next day to find the springs, which he estimates to be 25-30 degrees; in his words they are not hot. Great posting, including pictures.
  • Five million $ set up aside to spruce up Giang Son hot spring.
  • We like to think that all Southeast Asians are adverse to any risky behavior in or near water, but that's not the case. For instance at Sadanga, Luzon. A nice blog entry by banayan on communal bathing:
    'Though there are other hot springs in Mountain province, like that in Mainit, Bontoc, Sadanga’s set-up is unique. Even before the cisterns were built and enclosed, the males were already separated from the females – each has their own place to take their baths though these places are near each other. Though it was a common sight to see naked person of the opposite sex taking a bath, no records of malice or rape was ever done. But, decency took place and the bathing cisterns were enclosed. Yet, inside the enclosed bathrooms, all young and old females, take their clothes off, sit down and start splashing themselves with the hot spring water – splashes which very soon become pours'.
    Even more un-Southeast Asian:
    'A proposal rejected by the local people was that this public bathing place be developed and enclosed so those who’ll come will enter for a fee. Such a proposal was taken as something absurd but the local people clearly understand that once that happens, they, the locals, cannot freely enter the place. And, so it was rejected'.
    Unbelievable? Hot from the
    'The renewable arm of Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) has secured a geothermal exploration contract to develop a 40-megawatt (MW) project for Luzon.According to Energy Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan the project would have an estimated US$120 million investment which would cover 20 MW for the Mainit-Sadanga and 20 MW Buguias-Tinoc geothermal projects'.
  • This blogger (adventuresofabeautyqueen) while visiting Pong Phra Bat, Chiang Rai takes a different cue:
    'If you are looking for luxury, beware. Pong Phrabat Natural Springs is run down and in dire need of an investor who can turn the place into a world-class destination for SPA fans all over the world'.
    Her score card:
    'Water: 10 Tiaras; Privacy: 8 Tiaras; Tubs: 4 Tiaras; Service: 2 Tiaras; Ambience/Design: 1 Tiara; Massage: 1 Tiara (based on the French lady’s review); Cost: 10 Tiaras'.
  • A new hot spring resort in Krabi province? Natthawaree hot spring apparently.
  • A sign of life, a recent picture of Marobo hot spring.
  • I know, I know, that's not Southeast Asia, still worthwhile news. Last year the hot spring of Gasa experienced a wash up damaging the hot spring infrastructure. Now the Japanese are coming ... to give advice:
    '“We want to reconstruct the tsachu as soon as possible and we’d like to work together with Japan, considering the same culture of hot springs in Japan,” Lyonpo [Bhutanese Home Minister(!)] said, during his meeting with a team from Arima hot springs in Japan, who visited Gasa tsachu to explore the possibility of reconstruction'.
    Yes it's possible this is the good news, might cost a bit ...

'People taking dip at hot-water spring in Singh VDC of Myagdi district.
People believe that bath at the spring cures several illnesses'.
Photo by Ghanshyam Khadka published by eKantipur.
More gawkers than soakers ...

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