Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai had another gorgeous day.  If the nights were a little warmer we might even have better temperatures in the pool, but it was still good for a workout.  Thunderstorms have been forecast, but who believes that anymore?

The ‘Zany Day’ song for this week was “Junk Food Junkie” by Larry Groce.  Time for another episode of ‘Old School Friday’.  Some of you may recognize this one from the background vocal at the beginning:  “Shoo-doo, shooby doo, shoo-doo, shooby-doo, shoo-doo, shooby-doo, shoo-doo, shooby whoa… __ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight, ‘cause I love, love you so.  Promise I’ll never let you go __ __ __ __ __ __ (__ __ __ __ __ __).” 

This will be a long weekend in Thailand.  Monday is King Chulalongkorn Day.  Also referred to as Rama V, as the fifth King in the Chakri Dynasty, he was a pivotal ruler in that he brought the Kingdom into the modern world.  His father, Rama IV, was the King that was depicted in ’The King & I’.  Rama IV was highly educated and understood the importance of the western world.  His son, Rama V was only 15 when his father died, and couldn’t take the throne until he was 20.  He traveled the world during that time and brought a new understanding of what it would take to help the country progress.  During his reign he abolished the practice of slavery, introduced a more democratic form of government, established hospitals using western medical practices and much more.  It will be interesting to see how Thailand celebrates Rama V while still mourning the death of Rama IX.

There weren’t any big adventures today since I spent the day at home.  Lisa had a lunch date at The Wanderer with our friend Tai.  I ate with Daku by my side.  

Yesterday while we were driving through town we saw a shop with a great name:  'I Love Ice Cream’.  Can’t imagine what they serve in there (555).  Kinda makes me want to stop in and check them out, even though I can’t eat the stuff.

There is a real entrepreneurial spirit here in Chiang Rai.  Every week there is a new business popping up on almost every street.  Businesses come and go pretty fast, but lately there have been some sophisticated start-ups that might break the cycle.  It doesn’t take much to start an eating establishment, so they come and go a lot.  Things like the slick looking ice-cream shop and some of the newer clothing stores seem to have a different vision.  Time will tell, but it looks like the small town vibe is slowly fading.  As long as we have the villages that surround the city, the charm will remain.

Today’s photo is a ‘Throw-Back’ to 2009.  Blue was visiting and was showing this Samlor driver a photo of himself that Blue included in his book on the Hill Tribes.  The driver was delighted and every time he saw me on the street, I’d get a big greeting.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.   This week Formula One is in Texas.  Zoom


Thursday, October 20, 2016



We seem to be in that monotonous weather reporting time.  Same thing every day.  Today it was blue skies with afternoon clouds.  We’re supposed to get an early start on the cold season at the end of this month, but there are no signs of that yet.

Well, so far no one has named the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It’s been around before, and a few of you guessed it then.  Here’s more: “Oh, but at night I take out my strong box that I keep under lock and key, and take it off to my closet where nobody else can see.  I open that door so slowly, take a peek up north and south.  Then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie and I pop it in my mouth.  Yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr. Natural, just as healthy as can be, but at night I’m a __ __ __.  Good lord have pity on me.”  Hint:  A closeted foodie doin’ his thing.  Can you figure it out?

Yesterday I forgot to tell you that we swam.  It was chilly at first, but then it felt good.  We thought we’d try it since Neetchanon went in the day before, with a little help from her folks.  If she could do it, so could we (555).  Today we went in again and it was great.  Not the water temperature for lounging, but good for getting in some laps.  While we ate dinner, Gong’s sisters went swimming.  The pool is getting used and that’s cool.

This morning we went into town.  We had planned to go to the Talat and get material for another bed spread but our plans got changed.  Several times a year the city fumigates the channels under the street where the water runoff goes.  It’s a prime breeding place for mosquitos.  Today was the day and one look at the plumes of vapor coming up from the curbs convinced us to move on.  At Big C we found one of the work books we need for our Thai class.  

Our second lesson with Khru (Teacher) Awe was very productive.  We learned more key words and how to use them. Today she had us answering questions in Thai.  In between, she would explain things, but it was good being forced to think in Thai.  I think it’s wakin’ up the brain.  It’s one thing to be able to say something, and quite another to hear something, understand and then respond.  Learning to communicate all over again can be fun.

Today’s photo was taken in Chiang Mai on a street that is filled with restaurants and small galleries.  I call this ‘Tin Man’.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Ordinary riches can be stolen;
real riches cannot.  In your soul
are infinitely precious things that
cannot be taken from you.”
~Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 19, 2016



Chiang Rai experienced another postcard day.  Blue skies with occasional puffy clouds.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “(You’re) Still the One” by Orleans.  Time to get crazy with another ‘Zany Day’ song.
“You know I love that organic cooking, I always ask for more.  And they call me Mr. Natural, on down to the health food store.  I only eat good sea salt, white sugar don’t touch my lips.  And my friends is always begging me to take them on macrobiotic trips.  Yes, they are…”  Clue:  Things aren’t always as they appear.  This man has a secret.

A morning without errands is a wonderful thing.  We did go to The Wanderer for coffee and had a great time.  There were only a few people there when we arrived.  During a visit with Khun Noot, the owner, we had a chance to learn more about the new display case full of beaded bracelets and necklaces.  There were two necklaces made of amber that were breathtaking.  All of the stones are from her collection, recently strung by her staff.  She is teaching them to make jewelry.  She has a piece of jade that dates back to Roman times.  There were no prices on any of the objects yet.  My guess is that I won’t be wearing any antique stones in the near future (555).  

This afternoon our friend Eric came over.  He and his wife Brenda want to install a tree in our yard in Blue’s memory.  It’s a beautiful gesture and we spent some time deciding on where to plant it and what kind of tree to get.  He brought a book with examples of trees that grow in the region and we settled on a few choices.  There will be a flowering tree to remind us of our dear friend.  I think Blue is smiling.

Most Thai doctors work at hospitals by day and operate their own clinics at night.  This evening we went to see a new eye doctor we heard about.  He starts seeing patients at 5pm, so we arrived about 15 minutes early to get on the list.  After a 20 minute wait we both got our eyes examined.  He speaks fairly good English and is very personable.  

Today’s photo was taken at Central Plaza Mall.  In front of Robinson department store the mall management set up this floral tribute to The King.  There was a table in front of it with a book for people to sign.  

There is another interesting thing that has happened during this time of mourning.  Facebook has canceled all advertising in Thailand for the 30 day period.  Nice move.  I wish it could be this way all the time.

This just might be a Wacky Wednesday.


“It’s not what you look at that matters,
it’s what you see.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 18, 2016



I guess the weather is preparing for the ‘High Season’, offering clear skies and warm days.  It was another one of those days today.  A little cooler would have been nice.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was apparently easy for some of you.  This next line sums up the theme of the song:
“You’re __ __ __ that makes me laugh, __ __ __ that’s my better half.  We’re still havin’ fun and you’re __ __ __.”
Hint:  Hey, it’s ‘Easy Monday’.  

This morning we went adventuring in the Talat.  The market was bustling and we don’t know why.  The vendors selling black clothes were quite busy.  One of the blind men who walks the aisles and sings to his tape machine was trying his best to make a living today.  Since music and singing are not allowed during the mourning period, he walked with his tin can and spoke a few phrases at a time.  It was very touching.  Some people recognized his plight and contributed to his cause.  I imagine there are many stories like his, people who depend on entertaining to survive and cannot.  On the brighter side, there seemed to be a festive vibe among the shoppers, seeing each other sharing their respect for The King, all dressed in black or white.  It provides a common thread (excuse the pun) that, in my mind, gave it all purpose.

One of our stops in the Talat was a gold stand.  I have been curious for a few days about whether there were any amulet/medallions with the image of The King.  I found a beautiful one this morning and got it at an good price.  I don’t usually wear gold, but in this case I’m willing to alter my ’style’.  I later discovered that there is a crack in the clear shell over the image.  It’s not noticeable from a distance and can probably be replaced.  Still, I’m happy with it.  I replaced the gold chain with a more subtle, brown twisted material.  Lisa now has a new gold chain.  

This afternoon we had our first Thai lesson with Khun Awe.  She dove right in, speaking to us in Thai to see where we were in our understanding.  We spent the hour learning some basic, fundamental phrases that helped us understand things we’d been saying and hearing already.  The time flew by and we’re liking the way she teaches.  Now, where did I put that tape recorder?

Today’s photo was taken in our driveway this morning.  Neetchanon had just had her breakfast and was in a very cute mood.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Real knowledge is to know
the extent of one’s ignorance.”

Monday, October 17, 2016



Based on our current weather pattern, Chiang Rai may be out of the rainy season business.  Today we had a clear sky.  The cool morning turned into a hot day with no sign of rain.  Break out the water hoses.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ is here:
“We’ve been together since way back when, sometimes I never want to see you again, but I want you to know after all these years, you're __ __ __ I want whisperin’ in my ear.  You’re __ __ __ I want to talk to in bed, __ __ __ that turns my head.  We’re still havin’ fun, and you’re __ __ __.”  Hint:  Group is named after a city.

Thailand is in mourning and the effects can be seen everywhere.  Saturday night there was no Walking Street.  The giant advertising displays show a simple black screen with a message in Thai.  There was no music on the stage at the Night Bazaar Sunday night.  Vendors were selling their goods, but the tone was quiet and respectful.  Many shops have run out of black shirts and blouses.  The Bangkok Post and The Nation, both Thai newspapers that publish in English, have converted their entire websites to black and white.  For 30 days from the passing of The King, either black or white is the preferred color to wear.  If that is not possible, a black ribbon pinned to the shoulder is acceptable.

Last night we went to the Night Bazaar and after dinner we walked around.  Three of our old friends were eager to have conversations about The King and how much he meant to them and the country.  It was very touching.  For everyone we know, he was the only King in their lives.  The examples he set and the changes he made were monumental and it is a very different kind of reverence than we’ve ever been around.  

Tomorrow we will begin studying Thai again.  Khun Awe will come to the house and we will become students.  Lisa has been studying on her own, I have some catching up to do.  We’re looking forward to being able to communicate with more ease and confidence.  

Today’s photo is a splash of color from lobby of the D2 hotel in Chiang Mai.

Have a Great Week.


“Feelings are just visitors.
Let them come and go.”

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Funnies


The weather in Chiang Mai has been perfect.  No rain at all, warm but not super hot.  On the surface, life went on as usual in this big city of the north.  Read on for more observations.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Fight Number 505” by The Rolling Stones.  ‘Old School Friday’ is not truly ‘Old School’, but it’s old enough to pose a challenge (555).  “Now if you feel that you can’t go on, because all your hope is gone, and your life is filled with confusion and happiness is just an illusion.  And your world is tumblin’ down, darling, __ __, __ __ for me.  __ __ __ to love and comfort you.  __ __ __ with the love, I’ll see you through.”  Hint:  This is tricky because the first part of the title is the two dashes, and the second part is the three dashes.  Got it?  It’s by four guys from the motor-city.

We went to the gallery this morning to set up the exhibit.  Our main job was to put the artwork where we wanted it so the staff could hang it.  Mrs. Wanthip, the gallery owner, was very helpful.  It was decided that the exhibit would open tomorrow, Oct. 15, but that the opening ceremony would not take place until late November.  Everyone is being asked to not have any celebrations, ceremonies, or activities for at least one month.  We just heard that the Festival of Loy Krathong is being canceled in Chiang Mai.  That’s a pretty big deal.  More will be revealed, for sure.

Television has been showing the same series of films about the life of The King since yesterday evening.  All the TV channels in Thailand are showing the same thing today.  For 30 days TV and radio must not broadcast any programs that include elements of entertainment, joy, violence, impoliteness, or overly expressed emotion.  "Program hosts and announcers must dress in black or white tones, mainly black, without a pattern, and be polite.”  These guidelines also apply to imported programming.  So, things are going to be different for a while.

We went to Central Festival Mall for lunch and there were a lot of people there; many dressed in black.  I have a ton of black shirts in my closet, but they’re all at home, so I picked up a T-shirt.  Government offices were closed today and that probably accounted for some of the crowd at the mall.  Traffic on the streets was very heavy in some areas.  It will be interesting to see how things are in Chiang Rai.  

Today’s photo is another take on the food court concept, as seen from an escalator.  

Tomorrow we will return to Chiang Rai, a day earlier than planned.  It will be good to get home.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.          ‘Funnies' are coming.


Thursday, October 13, 2016



This is a sad day for the people of Thailand.  The beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died at 88 years old.  As a result, Lisa’s exhibit opening event has been postponed and normal life will be a little different for Thailand.  More will be revealed.

So far, no one has ventured a guess as to the title of the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here’s how the story plays out:
“Well, I sat right there in my seat, well, feeling like a king.  With the whole world right at my feet, ‘Of course I’ll have a drink’.  Well, suddenly I saw that we never ever would arrive.  He put the plane down in the sea.  The end of __ __ __ __ __, the end of __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  It’s by the oldest (still performing) R&R band on the planet.  

This evening we were having dinner at an Indian restaurant here in Chiang Mai with our friend Marty when we heard the news about The King.  As we left the restaurant and walked through the Night Bazaar to return to our hotel, we could feel the mood of those around us.  There was a sadness in the air, some people were watching the news, others were just looking off in silence.  For 70 years he was The King of Thailand and the lives of many have been directly affected by his hard work.  There are many positive stories of how he helped the country through the years.

This morning, as we started to leave the house, Lisa took this photo of Daku standing at the front door.  ‘No, we couldn't take him with us’.  (555)

We will shorten our trip by one day and return to Chiang Rai on Saturday.  Tomorrow we’ll meet with the gallery owner and discuss just how to proceed in a respectful manner.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“If you have only one smile in you,
give it to the people you love."
~Maya Angelou