Daily Phuket #45: 26 April 2021 – Parking Lot Clock

This proved to be a real “three strikes” day as far as errands went. I had just three things I wanted to accomplish when I was finally able to venture outside and did not succeed at any of them. Other than early this morning, and just an hour or so ago, it has been pouring rain all day. I really don’t mind the monsoon season when I can stay at home all day, every day, but I would really like to get something accomplished when I rush out during the brief breaks in the storm.

My main goal for today — indeed, I had been looking forward to it for several weeks — was to purchase the new Thai stamps scheduled for release today. As soon as the rain stopped just after 3:30 pm I headed for the nearby Phuket Philatelic Museum. Upon my arrival, the clerk put up her hands. “No have,” she said. “COVID stop stamp again.” Last year, the Thailand Post headquarters in Bangkok stopped sending stamp shipments to some of the provinces (including Phuket) because of the severe lockdowns. Most of the stamps eventually were sent and the clerk held them for me but I am still missing one set (the only Thai stamps I don’t have since I began collecting them in late 2006). The issue planned for today — five stamps commemorating the “Opening Ceremony of Navamindrapobitr 84th Anniversary Building, Siriraj Hospital” may have actually been postponed as Bangkok is more shut-down than Phuket is at this time. I will send a message to the Thai Stamp Museum and ask them.

While the museum shop sells current commemorative stamps and first day covers, they do not stock the general issue definitive stamps (i.e., anything of a higher denomination than 3- or 5-baht). I needed some 30-baht stamps to mail postcards (the international rate almost doubled in March) and so my second task was to buy some at the main post office next to the museum. I got a queue number and waited about 20 minutes only to be told they didn’t have any stamps at all (I even showed the clerk a photo of the type I needed). Now, I have always had problems trying to purchase such stamps at different Thai post offices. They usually want you to just give them the items to be mailed and will happily apply a postage meter after having weighed the mail. That does not go over well when you are sending things to stamp collectors. We hate postage meters!

That clerk told me to try the Packing Service counter so I trudged over there. They were very crowded but a young lady motioned me to the side. I explained that I needed 30-baht stamps to mail postcards. I even showed her the photo on my phone. She smiled and picked up a folder containing partial sheets of stamps, tearing off two 15-baht stamps for me. I tried to explain that I needed enough to mail ten postcards to which she responded by tearing off a 10-baht stamp from another sheet. Oh, well, I paid her the 40 baht and headed back outside. Next time, I will lead off with the total amount I need rather than the denomination. Maybe if I ask for 600 baht worth of stamps, I will end up with a full sheet of 20 30-baht stamps.

Anyway, strike two.

My planned photo for the day was going to be of the museum shop clerk postmarking my first day cover but since that didn’t happen, I decided to snap a picture of the clocktower that sits above the parking garage adjacent to the Queen Sirikit 72nd Anniversary Park (location of the “sea dragon” fountain) and across from Limelight Avenue shopping arcade. It’s a nice clock, I suppose, just in an odd location. The numbers on the dial are in Thai so that is cool. The parking garage was emptied out during lockdown last year and most of the cars sat on the grass of the park during most of the rainy season. After they were finally moved, they began reconstructing the pathway through the park so it was closed off until just a month or two ago. The park is finally open to pedestrian traffic once again. I imagine that they will eventually finish whatever they are doing with the garage.

My third strike came when I got to 7-Eleven only to find the shelves almost completely bare. There was very little to eat (certainly nothing I wanted) nor was there any beverages other than whatever was in the locked beer cooler (no alcohol allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions). It looked like a Chinese tour group had beat me to the convenience store. I really wanted to take a photo there but they get very crazy about that. I ended up buying some pineapple juice from a nearby mini-mart but I had really been wanting root beer and soy milk. Some drinking yoghurt would have been nice as well (not to mention ice cream!). I think I may have to return to ordering grocery deliveries from Tesco-Lotus if this keeps up.

Oh, I did take another photo early this morning. I usually check the weather when I wake up by walking onto my balcony. I could see the squall line approaching in the distance but there was a rainbow just a short distance off today. By the time I rushed back inside to find my phone and return to the balcony, it had started to rain again and the rainbow was disappearing. If you squint carefully, you can still see a bit of it next to the tree in the center of the photo.

Here’s a couple of images of the stamps I was trying to get for my postcard mailings today. I still have not been able to find any pictures of the Hospital stamps that were due to be issued today.

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