Vale David Sampson

David passed away at 5.30 on the morning of 23 July at the Alfred Hospial in Melbourne, Australia.. He died of respiratory failure caused by a tumour in his throat.
His passing was peaceful.  David had been unwell for some time.
We will all miss his company, his ability to tell a good story, and of course his great food.
He was privately cremated on Friday 25 July. His sisters were present.They will scatter his ashes on the Murray River, which was David’s request.
It is ironic that David returned to Australia to qualify for the age pension. but he did not reach pension age of 65.

 David was originally from Cohuna, a country town in Victoria, Australia. He lived and worked in New York City for 13 years, and then had restaurant in Japan for 16 years. Apart from a 12 month break in southern Laos, he has been in Chiang Mai for the last 5 or 6 years where he operated restaurants. Initally he was the proprioter of West restaurant and more recently Compass restaurant

He was renowned for his deserts and cakes.  He served the aussie favourites, sticky date pudding and lamingtons.

Tonight a wake was held at Compass restaurant in David’s memory. A large number of his Chiang Mai friends attended to pay their last respects.

Lori Ashton in a moving eulogy said among other things,

Lori Ashton Speaking

“He leaves a lovely huge special mark on this world for us to follow. His life consisted not of what he had, but of what he was and what he gave. A gentle, kind soul,living simply”

Rest In Peace, David. You will not be forgotton.

Compass will remain open in the capable hands of Kon and Ong.

Here are a few photos of the evening.

Friends of David

A Much Younger David

Photographer Steve From City Now!


David's Thai Business Partner and Chef, Kon


Dining Out Group – Tex Mex

Last night the Dining Out Group ate at the Mexican restaurant, Tex Mex Cafe, located in Chiang Mai 89 Plaza on Chiang Mai – Lamphun Rd. Nong Hoi. This was formerly the franchise Minguels’. Seventeen of us enjoyed a very congenial evening. The food was good and service excellent.

My Partly Devoured Whatever!

I can’t remember the name of the dish that I ordered but it contained spicy beef mince. I forgot to take a picture right away so the one you see is partly devoured. Anyway it was quite tasty. They had a Happy Hour special, three glasses of wine for the price of 2. Generous serves they were too!

Another pleasant Dining Out Group function.


Paul, Simon, & Me

Snacks on Arrival

Our Table


La’s Farms

Toy’s sister La and her  husband Sak operate two farms just outside the village. They were left to La by her late father.

Longan Fruit

Arabica Coffee Beans

One is a longan and arabica coffee farm and the other is a rice farm. When Sak is not working the farms, he takes jobs around other farms in the district.

We visited both farms. One farm has mature longan trees interspered with young arabica coffee trees.

We travelled to the rice farm in Sak’s truck which was made in China.

La & Me in the Longan Orchard

Young Arabica Coffee Tree Beside a Mature Longan Tree


Waiting for the Truck to Pick Us Up

Sak Driving

Toy & La at the Rice Farm

In the Rain Shelter


Life in Toy’s Village

Here is a selection of pics of life in Toy’s village taken during our recent visit..

Dinner Fish Egg Tom Yum & Bamboo

Enjoying Dinner - Brother in Law, Sak, Sister La, Toy

Toy Giving his Mother a Shoulder Massage

Happy Hour - La's Husband, Sak, Niece's Husband, Nai

Sak & La, Son Arm and Toy

Toy's Niece, Lan and Daughter Baikao


Trip to Toy’s Village

Click to Enlarge

On Thursday morning, we set off for Chiang Rai and Toy’s village in the district of Wiang Chiang Rung. It is about 40 km north east of Chiang Rai. The popular Waterford Valley Golf Course is not far away. We stayed away for 5 days. While there, I did a visa run to the Myanmar border town of Tachlilek. The border is about 60 km north of Chang Rai. Visa runs in Thailand are required because of a law that requires foreigners to leave the county in order to get a passport stamp , which allows them to return to the country they just left,  for a further period. My visa conditions require me to get a stamp every 90 days.

Buying Dragon Fruit

We gave a lift to Toy’s cousin who lives in the same village.On the way we had a noodle lunch at the Charin Resort and the obligatory pie. Charin is famous for it’s pies. It is a popular stopping point en route to Chiang Rai. We also bought some dragon fruit from a roadside stall.



Lunch Beside the River

Pineapple Meringue Pie


In the village, we slept at Chan’s house (Toy’s sister), which was vacant because Chan  works in Had Yai.

House of La & Husband (Sak) and Toy's Mother

Chan's House

Each evening we ate (and drank) at the house belonging to Toy’s sister, La, and his mother. I cannot handle the local food, so I microwaved my own frozen meals.

More later!

Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant

The Bar at Khaomao - Khaofang

Last night we went to the Khaomao-Khaofang Restaurant.The address is Ratchapruek, Tambon Nong Kwai, Amphoe Hang Dong. It is on a road which connects Canal Road with Hang Dong Road. It is a popular restaurant, with a rainforest type setting beside a man made lake. The numerous plants and beautiful waterfalls give a cool and relaxing atmosphere One can dine under the dome in the main atrium or alfresco around the lake. Tables are well spaced.

Mieng Gai Krob

Mieng Gai Krob

Our first dish was Mieng Gai Krob, crispy chicken with herbs wrapped in fragrant leaves (betel). Mieng is referred to as bite sized snacks of various chopped up herbs, lime, chilli, ginger, etc wrapped up in  leaves. What we do here is make little cones out of the leaves, then fill the leaves with the chicken / herbs mix. Yum! The pictures on the left and right were taken at the restaurant and are better than the ones that I took.

Our second dish was Thai corn fritters. The were served witha delicious sauce. Yum again!

Toy Studies the Menu

Our third dish was fried cat fish, followed by a Thai desert. A wonderfu meal in a fabulous restaurant.



Travel Club – Vietnam

Last night at the Travel Club meeting at the Sangdee Gallery, the presentation was by Ruth, who is one of the conveners of the Travel Group. Husband Bill operated the projector.  She spoke about Vietnam with special emphasis on Hanoi and DaLat.

In February they were in need of some R & R, so they travelled to the area for a couple of months. After a short time in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, they headed for Dalat to relax.

Dalat is the capital of Lam Dong Province in Vietnam. The city is located 1,500 m above sea level on the Langbian Plateau in the southern part of the Central Highlands region. Therefore it enjoys a pleasant all year round climate. Many waterfalls are in the area.

Ruth During Her Presentation

The area is known for is flowers, fruit and vegetables, and preserved fruit. The city is clean and tidy and has good cheap restaurants. Accomodation is inexpensive. The local market is a great place for photographs and people watching. A local 6km trainride is a great way to see the countryside.

Lessons Learned from the End of Life

This morning, I attended a seminar at the River Market restaurant called “Lessons Learned from the End of Life in Chiang Mai”. It was presented by Lanna Care Net & Cancer Connect Chiang Mai. Speakers were Nancy Lindley from Lanna Care Net and Carl Samuels from Cancer Connect Chiang Mai.

We learnt from the experience of other expats who were in serious medical situations in Chiang Mai.  An Advance Health Directive that has been used successfully in local hospitals here was explained, along with other actions we can do now to prepare for our own Happy Ending.



The programme consisted of

Lesson 1: Have a Primary Care Doctor

Handout: Hospitals in Chiang Mai Private and Public

Handout: Primary Care Physicians

Lesson 2: Prepare for Home Health Care

Handout: Nursing Care & Assisted Living Facilities in the Region

Lesson 3: Have someone you trust to make decisions for you when you can’t

Handout: Checklist Documents, Records, Data

Lesson 4: Have an Advance Directive in Place

Handout: Advance Health Directive

There are links to the handouts.

It is important that we confront our own mortality.



Dining Out Group – Jia Tong Heng Chinese Restaurant

Last Thursday night, the Dining Out Group ate at the Jia Tong Heng Chinese Restaurant. We were served in a private banquet room at two round tables. Fifteen of us enjoyed the evening. The address is193/2-3 Sri Don Chai Road, almost opposite the Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel.

Mr. Pengtong Saejia, well known for his legendary restaurant in the Narawat market, opened the new premises in 1993. The restaurant is huge. Over 2000 diners a day are served. Taechew chinese recipes are featured.

I would rate the food as good without being special. The service however was very friendy and a lot of fun. Working out the checks was hilarious, but they got nothing wrong.

Toy and I ordered between us, braised duck, steamed broccoli, sweet and sour snapper, fried rice with olives and steamed rice. We were completely stuffed at the end!

Thanks Nop for the last four pics.

Sweet & Sour Snapper

Braised Duck


Our Table Where's Nop? Taking the pic of course

The Other Table!

Entrance to the Restaurant

Simon & Joan


Movie – The Last Executioner

The Book

The Film

Yesterday we went to the movies. We saw the Thai film “The Last Executioner” at the SFX complex in Maya mall.

It was based on a book written by Chavoret Jaruboon on his memoirs as Thailand’s Last Prison Executioner. A powerfu and somewhat disturbing film directed by Tom Waller and starring Vithaya Pansringarm, Penpak Sirikul and David Asavanond.

Chavoret had a deep sense of duty and maintained that he was an executioner and not a murderer.

Chavoret Jaruboon was personally responsible for executing 55 prison inmates in Thailand’s infamous prisons. As a boy, he wanted to be a teacher like his father, but his life changed. Told with surprising humour and emotion – The Last Executioner is the remarkable story of a man who chose death as his vocation. The Last Executioner (see a trailer on this site) is not for the faint hearted. It takes you right behind the bars of the infamous ‘Bangkok Hilton’ and into the shadows of its grim death chambers.

Up until 1934, the official method of execution in Thailand was by decapitating (see The Last Public Beheading). This was then considered to be barbaric and the method was changed. Over a period of 71 years, a total of 319 prisoners were then executed in Thailand by firing squad A single sub-machine gun was used from a distance of about four metres. A total of 15 bullets were loaded though only about 8 or so were needed from a single burst. The last execution by this method was carried out as late as 11th December 2002. The last executioner to use this method in Thailand was Chavoret Jaruboon.

The recent Shanghai International Film Festival awarded Vithaya Pansringarm the best actor award.