Monday, February 20, 2017

Threat

Hi,

We’re reluctantly settling into the hazy/smokey season.  The days are getting hotter, but I can’t say the same for the nights.  Weird.  There is usually a guarantee of rain by Song Khran, so mid-April we should see a change.  We’ve been watching the storm coverage in California, hoping everyone is alright.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos (1953).  Give it a listen, it’s beautiful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch annotation_id=annotation_1892616559&feature=iv&src_vid=63nlhoda2MY&v=Pn8SFdyOA_M  Now it’s time for a new week and a clean slate.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ for you:  “Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something, I think you’ll understand.  When I say that something, __ __ __ __ __.  Oh please, say to me, you’ll let me be your man.  And please, say to me, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  The year was 1964, and this 6 word title started a musical invasion from across the pond that lasted for years.  Some youngsters might not know this song (555).

Saturday we went to the home of John and Aye for a morning snack and a visit in their garden.  Their home and yard are unique and there was much to see.  When they built their home, they planted mature trees, the kind that have to be brought in by large truck.  It gives the feel of a space that’s been there for years.  The land was an organic farm so the soil is very plant friendly and it shows in the thriving vegetation.  In the patio we had fresh fruit and croissants and learned more about their house project.  Where many Thai houses have a water tower with a tank at the top, John and Aye chose to use the space between the ground and the tower for two floors of living/work space.  The top floor houses the tank and an observation area.  More about this fun place later.

Today’s photos were taken on our Saturday outing at John & Aye’s.  The yellow flowers cover the yard for a few weeks.  They last several days in water after they have fallen from the tree.  


Saturday was a day for more graduation exercises around town.  The trade and technical schools held ceremonies and on the street outside of the campus the vendors were on hand to provide gifts for the grads.  This photo is part of what was on both sides of the street.


On Sunday we had lunch with Cat at The Wanderer.  We learned more about her school schedule this term, and how some of the tests are conducted.  She’s getting excited about her July visit to the States.  

This afternoon Gong planted the tree that Atom gave us in memory of Blue.  It’s in the back yard near the pool.  

Later in the day, Sandy and her daughter Dylan came by to bring us treats for Daku and me.  No, we don’t eat the same treats.  He got some little chew sticks that he loves and I got two boxes of halva, both direct from Israel.  Her sister came for a visit and Sandy had her bring some for us.  So cool.  And how interesting to have another item that I love with a label that I cannot read.  
 
Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Injustice anywhere is a threat
to justice everywhere.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The weather today was basically a repeat of yesterday.  Things will be different next week.  Just letting you know there may be whining about how hot it is (555).

Congrats to all those who knew that “Come Together” by The Beatles was the ‘Zany Day’ song.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next:  “(intro) My love must be a kind of blind love, I can’t see anyone but you.  Sha bop sha bop. Are the stars out tonight?  I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.  __ __ __ __ __ __.  The moon may be high, but I can’t see a thing in the sky.  __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  The R&B group who sang this song was named after a beautiful, long-legged bird.  This song was a ‘blue light’ song at house parties.   

This morning we made an early run to Big C.  It’s so peaceful in there when the day is just starting.  One of the things that fascinates me is the morning ritual at the gold shop.  After the employees ready their stations, fix their hair and make-up, they all line up and do a little chant, complete with choreography.  Then they take a selfie of the group and begin putting the gold items in the showcases.  All of this takes place in a very tight space and there is a real family vibe to it all.  I’ll have to take some pics next time.

On the way home we stopped at one of the fantastic ‘Everything Stores’ that are all over town.  We named them that because they seem to have everything one might need.  Dishes, pots, pans, tubs and racks of all sizes, electrical gadgets, wooden and steel utensils, you name it, it’s there.  As usual, we didn’t find what we wanted (a large tray) but we left with a small plastic table and chair set for Neetchanon’s play area, reading glasses, and butane lighters for candles.  So even if you don’t see what you came for, you’ll leave with something.  They get us every time.

This evening we went to a farewell dinner for a friend.  It was at a restaurant near the Clock Tower that we had never been to before.  The menu is lots of Thai dishes, but toned down for western tastes.  They do a lot of business with the visitors who go to see the light show at the Clock Tower.  Very smart business move.  We probably won’t eat there again, but it was a fun experience and a chance to get to know a couple of new people as well.

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  What you’re seeing is an Ice Drip Coffee Maker.  According to Kwan, it takes 24 hours to brew with this system since ice water drips at a rate of a drop every second and then has to seep down through the coffee.  We had a chance to sample some and it is very different from hot brewed coffee.  Cold brewing does not release the acid in coffee, so you get a very smooth taste.   


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.        Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                   Peace,
                             Danny


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Conductor

Hi,

Today we awoke to the smell of ‘bad smoke’.  This is, smoke that comes from the burning of plastic, rubber, or the wire casings used as insulation.  It has a distinct odor that says ‘Stay inside’.  It cleared out just in time for Daku to have his bath.  He was not happy.  The day warmed up and the sky took on the familiar haze.  

Nice to see we’re getting back in the groove with the song thing.  Lots of responses to this ‘Zany Day’ song.
“He bag production, he got walrus gumboot, he got Ono sideboard, he one spinal cracker.  He got feet down below his knee.  Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease.  __ __, right now, over me.”  Clue: Assemble as a unit?

Here in Thailand, we don’t use credit cards, and checks don’t seem to exist.  We use cash for daily life and when we buy something from out-of-town, we transfer funds online.  It’s a very cool way to do things.  The only thing is, you have to go to an ATM to do the transfer.  This morning we went out to do a transfer and I realized that it’s all about knowing the location of the ATMs and the parking during the day.  Fortunately, we’ve got a pretty good memory of where the money is (555).  

About 4 years ago we invited a traveling couple from Denmark to spend a few days with us.  We became fast friends and we’ve stayed in touch over the years.  They’re coming back to Thailand in July, along with their little boy who we’ve never met.  We’re really looking forward to seeing Louise, Jesper and Rasmus.  

Neetchanon has an adoring extended family.  Her dad Gong, has three sisters who come over to help out when needed.  Of course this means that the little one is the center of their attention.  Today she spent time with (sister) Gope. When Neetchanon came into the house I heard her before I saw her.  She was wearing little silver anklets with bells on them.  As fast as she is becoming, it’s good to know where she is (555).  She also had a pink hair-tie on the top of her head.  That didn’t last long though.  Trying to take photos of her is getting difficult, now that she understands the wonders of the smart phone.  It plays music, cartoons, and tells stories.  When I aim mine at her, she approaches with one thought in mind, seize the phone.  I did manage to get this shot today.


This afternoon we bravely went into town.  A parking spot was waiting for us and traffic breaks allowed us to cross the busy street fairly easily.  We were having our mailbox name card laminated.  It was time to change it from four names to two.  Another one of those bittersweet tasks.  While we were waiting, we strolled down the small street that becomes the Night Bazaar in the evening.  Our friend the ‘Scarf Lady’ was sitting in her shop and called out to us.  It turns out she’s there all day and all night.  We talked a bit, I bought some cheap sunglasses and she referred to us as her good friends.  Feeling grateful.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“I was the conductor of the 
Underground Railroad for eight years,
and I can say what most conductors can’t;
I never ran my train off the track and
I never lost a passenger.”
~Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Service

Hi,

This morning the sky looked closer to it’s natural blue than the day before.  It was a pleasant day, but temps will be rising soon.  Friday it’s going up to 90, and next week it may reach 98.  That’s hot.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “On Broadway,”originally by The Drifters.  It was later done by George Benson.  Now it’s time for some kind of ‘Zany Day’ madness.  I think this one qualifies, and you still might know it:
“Here come old flat top, he come grooving up slowly, he got joo joo eyeball, he one holy roller.  He got hair down to
his knee.  Got to be a joker he just do what you please.  He wear no shoe shine, he got toe jam football, he got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola.  He say ‘I know you, you know me’.  One thing I can tell you is you got to be free.
__ __ right now over me.”  Hint:  It’s another from the Fab Four in 1969.  Please don’t ask me to explain it (555).

When I take Daku out after his breakfast, it’s still dark outside.  I have noticed that we have a new creature living on the grounds.  I call him Mr. Frog and he’s always in the same spot at the same time.  The only reason I see him and Daku doesn’t is the little flashlight I take with me.  While Daku is scanning the ground with his nose, I’m checking things out with the light.  I make sure Daku doesn’t see Mr. Frog.  He’s on a leash, but he’d want to investigate and return to the spot over and over again.  Frogs have a defense mechanism that can sting dog’s eyes.

This morning we went to Central Plaza Mall.  I thought the Robinson department store still opened at 10am.  We had coffee at Starbuck’s, which has an outside door, and went to Robinson, only to find that they don’t open until 11am with the rest of the mall.  The lower level, featuring Top’s Market was open so we went there.  There’s always something in there that we can’t get at Big C.  The food court was going strong and the aroma from various vendors filled the air.  

It will be interesting to see just how long this town can continue to operate with mostly two-lane streets.  The volume of vehicles is growing and one lane in each direction can only work for so long.  I have no solution, except maybe a rapid transit system using electric buses.  Of course, this would bring on the wrath of the Song Taew community and their army of little pick-up trucks that haul people around.  Still, they add to the congestion.  Hmm, where did all that come from?  I’m done.

Today’s photo is one of many that Blue took at The Wanderer.  He had a great ‘eye’ for nature shots and this is one we really like.


The study of the Thai language has helped us understand the sounds of many words, and their prescribed tones.  It has also confirmed that some things just can’t be explained.  I have told you about the use of the ’n’ sound on words ending with ‘l’.  Today, while working on pronunciation, a program presented the word ‘Ball’.  When it was time for the voice in the program to say the word, it said: ‘Bon’.  We have surrendered to footbon, appun and all the rest of the words we used to know.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Service to others is the rent
you pay for your room here on earth.”
~Muhammad Ali

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rebellion

Hi,

Standing in the middle of the yard, it is apparent that the smokey season has started early.  The blue is gone, the hill is just barely visible, there is an overpowering urge not to breathe. 

“They say that I won’t last too long __ __ (__ __).  I’ll catch the Greyhound bus for home they all say (__ __).  But they’re wrong, I know they are, I can play this here guitar.  And I won’t quit till I’m a star __ __ (__ __)…”  Hint:  The first hit of this song was by a group, the second by a solo artist who could really play ‘this here guitar’.

This morning, while traveling across town, we noticed a very long line of cars going in the opposite direction.  I hadn’t noticed an accident, so it must have been something with the traffic light.  Sometimes the police mess with the timer at a certain time of day and don’t reset it.  The other possibility is that there was a caravan of important people rolling through town.  When that happens, traffic is stopped so they can proceed.  We later learned that the Princess was in town to pass out diplomas at two of the universities.  That can stop traffic.

We had coffee today at Work@Home.  As you know, this is always a delightful time.  We don’t get to see our friends Katai and Thovan over the weekends because their business takes them out of town.  This is the season for selling tractors and their territory is a long way from home.  We got caught up on life in Chiang Rai, talked some politics and had a lot of laughs.  

This orchid was a birthday gift from our Thai teacher, Kru Aor and her boyfriend.  It sits on our balcony and we can see it all day.  


Last night we watched most of “Anna and The King”, the remake of "The King and I”.  Each time we watch it, we understand more of the subtleties about the culture that were written into the story.  More of the little comments make more sense having been here long enough to understand what they really mean.  

I don’t usually take photos of food, but I had to share this one of my ‘Birthday Breakfast’ that Lisa prepared.  Beautifully delicious.  The organically grown strawberries were a gift from our new friends Robert and Bee.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“The thing worse than rebellion
is the thing that causes rebellion.”
~Frederick Douglass

Monday, February 13, 2017

Life

Hi,

Sunday morning it almost looked like rain.  The cloud/haze burned off and it was another Chiang Rai day.  The only thing we have to add to the weather report is the smoke haze that is starting to color the sky.  Sad.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In The Still Of The Night” by The Five Satins.  Here’s an easy ‘Easy Monday’:
“They say the neon lights are bright __ __ (__ __).  They say there’s always magic in the air (__ __).  But when you’re walkin’ down the street, and you ain’t got enough to eat, the glitter rubs right off and you’re nowhere."
Clue:  It’s about life along a famous street in a famous city.  Either famous artist that made this song famous will do (555).

Saturday was the day we celebrated my 74th birthday.  It was quite a day.  The party was a big success, with about 30 guests throughout the afternoon.  There was more than enough food, lots of desserts, two cakes, and a beautiful day that didn’t get too hot.  The crew at The Wanderer made a chocolate cake that was incredible.  Some of the guests were people we’ve known for years and a few we just met.  It turned out to be a magical mix of people who either knew each other or made instant connections.  

Today’s first photo is the wonderful cake that Kwan and Kern brought to the celebration.  They also brought some of their mom’s coconut pie.  Yum.


Our dear friend Atom arrived with a small tree.  It wasn’t until she had left, and the party was almost over that I learned that the tree was to be planted in memory of Blue.  One of those bittersweet moments.  We are looking for a good location for the Night blooming Jasmine tree.  


About half way into the party we realized that with so many interesting guests, you end up having half a conversation with most of them.  Things start off, get intense, and then you’re pull away to meet someone, answer a question, or be introduced and that original vibe just fades away.  Such is the life of ‘party talk’.  Still, it was a wonderful afternoon and now there will be follow-up lunches, etc. for weeks to come.  Life is not boring.

Sunday afternoon we were going to go to the mall and just stroll, and take in the ambience but we were too tired from the party.  We just lazed about.  What better way to spend one’s actual birthday?  There was good food and plenty of cake left over from the party (555).  

This has been a holiday weekend in Thailand.  It’s Macha Buka Day, a Buddhist holiday and a Thai National holiday.  This morning we drove through the market and it was so busy that sometimes we’d have to stop and just watch the foot traffic in the middle of the street.  It really felt like the country, and reminded us of one of the reasons we came here.

Have a Great Week.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“Education must not simply
teach work, it must teach Life.”
~W.E.B. Du Bois

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Well, same weather, different day.  We enjoyed some of the morning at The Wanderer, having coffee under the trees.  And then there was the visit from Mercy the Husky.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song that only a few were humming was “Life's Been Good” by Joe Walsh.  Here is one of many versions of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8ocviQ3ux0
That means it’s time for more ‘Old School Friday’.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight.  ‘Cause I love, love you so, promise I’ll never let you go __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  It’s an R&B makeover of a Hoagy Carmichael/Jo Trent hit from way, way back.  The title refers to a special time.

Before our coffee adventure we went to Grace’s Bakery to get some treats for my birthday party on Saturday.  My actual birthday is on Sunday the 12th.  We had planned to run another errand but it would have caused us to miss The Wanderer, so, cancel my morning.  (555)

At first it was just going to be a few close friends, but in a small community like this, the number grows beyond a few.  It will be an afternoon affair with snacks and treats.  I’ll miss my nap, but you don’t turn 74 very often.

Late this afternoon we had an unexpected visit from our friends Somluck and Tamako, of Doy Din Dang Ceramics.  They thought the party was today so we hung out a while and then invited them to stay for dinner.  Natcha had made a big batch of her yummy spaghetti.  We had some wonderful conversations over dinner and learned some interesting history.  They are also big fans of Chareon Gardens, the pie place.  The woman who started it began baking in Bangkok, after visiting California.  Many years later she relocated in the north and the rest is history.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer, but it’s not a tree.  This little car is a TATA, made in India.  We think it belongs to one of the staff.  Every time we see the rear window, we laugh.  Hmm, translations as entertainment.


It’s Friday night and that means an evening of the throbbing bass drum from a distant stage.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                   Peace,
                             Danny