Monday, March 31, 2008



We're slowly coming out from under the cloud of jet-lag. We've come to accept the fact that when you travel through time zones, defy the clock and disrupt sleep patterns, there's a price to pay. This time, as is usually the case, it means waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning, instead of 8. It means having droopy eyelids in the mid afternoon, but still staying up late. Hmm.

It seems that the weekend song brought back many pleasant memories. Who could forget "Leader Of The Pack" by The Shangri-Las? Some said it was too easy, but sometimes we just have to have fun. So, try this one on, and be sure to give me the original artist: "The night was clear and the moon was yellow, and the leaves came tumbling down. I was standing on the corner When I heard my bulldog bark. He was barkin' at the two men who were gamblin' in the dark." Clue: A story song with real 'street' drama. Someone made the artist change the lyrics for a certain occasion. Who was it?

This evening, Monday, I went over to the bakery to get some fresh bread. There was a guitar/flute duet playing inside. The guitar player was a Thai guy singing in English and the flute player was a falang (foreigner). The guitarist was singing the folk standard, "Today" and when he got to the chorus there was a beautiful three part harmony. I immediately looked around for other singers and saw none. Of course I had to investigate. He was using a T.C. Halcion Harmonizer (something I've lusted after). It worked perfectly. I hope to see them again.
The other day, when we went to the property, we had to take a detour due to road work. It took us on a road we'd never been on before. We wound around to the river front, on the opposite side from The Place. It was the first time we'd seen the front of the house from a distance. What a sight. Even with just the steel girders on the roof, it was very impressive. We found out that our tile searching isn't over. We had planned to have the same laminate from the living room floor on the stairs, but Yuthana told us he was concerned with safety so he wants to use non-slip tile instead. So, back to the tile store, with laminate in hand, to find a complimentary color. And the beat goes on.
In the very near future, I'll be posting some more of the pics from New Zealand. We went to so many places, I've got to get organized so I can tell you where the pics were taken. Hmm, should have taken notes.
The weather here is hot. It's supposed to be, right now. We're actually getting a mild break because of morning clouds and occasional showers. Which brings me to last night. We always go into town on Sunday nights, for dinner. When we arrived, it started to sprinkle, and we were afraid it would shut down the Night Bazaar, but it stopped. We had a great dinner at one of our favorite spots. Before that, we went to see our friend Poui (pronouced like Bouy). She and her husband Jimmy had just had their Thai wedding. She had invited us, but we were out of the country. We saw pictures of the wedding and she explained the tradition. They had the musicians from the NB play for the gathering. The bride and groom looked fantastic in outfits of matching material. We haven't met Jimmy yet. He had to go back to Alaska where he works. She'll join him up there in a few months. That's commitment.
Well, time to wind down since we'll probably be waking up early. Have a Wonderful Week.
"It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey that matters in the end."
~Ursula K. LeGuin

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Funnies

Well, we made it back to Chiang Rai. As predicted, there wasn't an opportunity to send a Thursday message. Our traveling is over, for a while. Lisa figured out that between our Bali trip, the trip to Bangkok and the New Zealand trip, we've been on 12 airplanes this month. The number of hours is a whole different matter.
With two days to figure it out, only two people came up with the song. Kristy and Lisa knew it was The Rolling Stones and "It's All Over Now". Actually, Kristy pointed out that it was really Bobby Womack ('64) who sang it first. As she put it, 'Just one more R&B song not always properly credited. Now you know.
For the weekend, try this one: "[Spoken] Is she really going out with him? Well, there she is. Let's ask her. [Sung] I met him at the candy store. He turned around and smiled at me, you get the picture? (yes, we see) That's when I fell for __ __ __ __ __" Hint: 60s 'Girl Group' hit. Good girl/bad boy theme.
I must say, it's good to be home. We had a fantastic time in NZ, and only saw a small portion of what it has to offer. The country is rich in history and culture and our next trip will probably dive into more of the culture. I have tons of pics to upload, and missed a few great shots because I left our camera in the car when Carolyn took us to the airport. There were some beautiful shots of Auckland, as we took off, that you would have enjoyed. Fret not, we got some coming in over the Bay of Islands. Another thing we'd like to do is spend more time in the Kuala Lumpur airport. We had another brief stop, but this time had to walk through part of it. It looked amazing. They have a train inside that runs to the outer terminals. There were also lots of displays referencing Formula One, since they just hosted a race. Hmm.
Today, after a bit of a rest, I went over to see The Place. Great opportunity to kick myself again for leaving the camera. It's amazing how much gets done in a week. When I arrived, a crew was working on the front gate. They had just finished the steel frame and were testing the rolling action. It will be covered with wood painted the same color as the wall. It will be powered by an electric motor, so we can open it from inside the house, or from the truck. Pretty slick.
I got a better understanding of some of the little 'touches' that Yuthana has included. From our bedroom, we will have a view to the west of the trees and the big hill. The same view will be available from the bathroom by opening a sliding door. Imagine, relaxing in the tub and looking out at nature, from the second floor. Sweet. The circle drive is partly done. The concrete in 15 centimeters thick with steel reinforcement. Before the crew takes their 10 day break for the Songkran Festival (more on that later) they will paint the concrete the same dark brown as the wall and let it 'cure' while they're gone. The entire yard will be graded for proper drainage. Something I wouldn't have thought about.
This weekend you might want to drop by the Flickr site and check out what we've been seeing and doing. Have a Great WeekEnd and enjoy the 'Funnies', sent in by my good friend VonSheila.



A Mother passing by her son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up.

Then she saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to "Mom". With the worst premonition she
opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

Dear Mom,:

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a
scene with Dad and you. I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice. But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. It's not only the passion...Mom she's pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.

Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy. In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it. Don't worry Mom. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.

Your Son Jon

P.S. Mom, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house.

I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the report card that's in my center desk drawer.

I love you.
Call me when it's safe to come home.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Friendship (Oops, Tuesday's Message)

Well, another day in beautiful NZ. Today we went into town and experienced the Mall. It was like most malls, I guess. Lots of kids, families and some of the same chains you see all over the world. We actually started off at a 'duty free' store with lots of souvenirs. One thing that really stands out here is that prices are very high. I know that it's all relative, but it stopped us from really shopping. I found a knit hat that was pretty cool, but it was NZ$50.
"We lie, about each other's drinks. We live, without each other thinkin' what anyone would do, without me and you. It's like I told you, __ __ __ can play. Clue: About people who are alone.
This afternoon we went to Raglan Beach. This was west of where we're staying, on the west coast of the island. We go there in late afternoon, at low tide. After a scenic drive on a winding road, we arrived at the beach. From the 'car park' we had to make our way down a steep, paved road. We walked out on a huge expanse of black sand that was wet and dense. The sand is very fine. Even at low tide, there were many surfers in the water. Lisa collected shells as we walked and gazed at the sunset. Tonight we had a great dinner. Dan threw a Red Snapper on the barbie and Carolyn roasted some chippie and beets.
Terms we've learned: Cotton Candy is Candy Floss, Potatoes are Chippies, Relatives are Relies. You don't tuck in, you tuck up. Bed sounds like bead, and we still haven't figured out how to say 'no'. All this may help me interact better with the people from NZ that I meet in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. I'll pass on more as we go. That way, when you visit, you can sound like, and understand the 'language'.
It's Tuesday night here. Finally getting a handle on the time difference. Have a Happy Tuesday where you are.


"Friendship is like a bank account;
you cannot continue to draw on
it without making a deposit."
~Nicole Beale

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Doubts (Wednesday's Message)

Well, we just finished our last day in New Zealand. What a gas. Today, Carolyn drove us across the country to The Bay of Plenty. On the way, we encountered mountains, lakes, and lots of areas with native plant life. When we went to Raglan Beach, we were at the Tasman Sea. Today we were at the Pacific Ocean. The bay is not at the most eastern part of the north island, but it was 'east coast'. The whole beach was different. There were sea gulls, kelp, and white sand. The exact opposite of Raglan. We walked on the beach and, once again, collected shells. There was an amazing thing that occurred. We were walking along and suddenly we came upon a huge cache of shells. (I'll post a pic) My explanation is that a mermaid was clearing a spot and dumped the shells on the beach. Oh well, just my imagination.
So, you knew the Motels and "Only The Lonely." Cool song. Let's go back a little farther. "Baby used to stay out all night long, she made me cry, she done me wrong. She hurt my eyes open.....because I used to love her, but __ __ __ __" Hint: Rock 'n Roll from the '60s. One might say it was a painful breakup.
The Maori are the first people of NZ. Their culture is embedded in the life of New Zealand. Where we are, most of the street signs are in Maori and the university is on their land. I won't go into a lesson now, but I did learn a lot. The color black is significant in Maori culture and is the color worn at all ceremonies. The name of the national rugby team is 'The All Blacks'. The men's basketball team is 'Tall Blacks', the hockey team is 'Black Sticks' and the cricket team is 'Black Caps'. Then there's the soccer team, 'All Whites', and the women's netball team, 'The Silver Ferns'. A cup of black coffee is a 'Long Black' and coffee with milk is a 'Flat White'. When you order food to go, you order to 'take away'. Finally, did you know that ranches are not ranches, they're 'Stations'. In fact, the term 'Station Wagon' originated down here.
As I said yesterday, we saw so much in the time we were here, that it's hard to remember everything. Once I get the photos uploaded, you'll get more of a sequence of events and a little more detail.
We will probably be flying over ocean at the time when I'd send Thursday's message, so you may not get anything until Friday. That's just the way it goes.
Have a Wacky Wednesday.


"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the
good we might win, by fearing to attempt."
[Measure For Measure]
~William Shakespeare

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, March 24, 2008


We're having a wonderful time, here in New Zealand. Today we went to the zoo and the botanical gardens. Yesterday we went to a bird sanctuary. So far we've seen Kiwi, parrots, cheetahs, and a friendly rhino. The weather is much warmer than we expected. I've been taking lots of pictures. Check out Flickr from time to time for new additions. Speaking of time, if you're in the U.S. it's four hours ahead of our time, the day before. Yeah, I know.
So, the weekend song was "Crocodile Rock" by Sir Elton John. I'm impressed with all the active memories out there. Try this, from about a year ago: ""We walked, the loneliest mile, we smiled, without any style, we kissed altogether wrong, no intention..."
Clues: Group named for a place of temporary lodging. Any song clues I can think of right now would give it away. (Ha)
Where we are, here in NZ, is dairy country. There are lots of 'farms' with lots of open spaces and many different kinds of cows. It's been quite an education. There are also goats and sheep. The island has many volcanos and there are underground caves and rivers. We went into an area yesterday and walked through some small caves, saw beautiful waterfalls and walked across a suspension bridge that moved when we walked across. A little creepy, but the thing was made very well. Not like the rope bridges one would imagine. It's hard to remember everything we've done and seen.
Getting used to hearing English with a twist. I know they're speaking the language, but there are different vowel sounds and phrases that are unique to the country. There are also some road signs that could make you go 'Huh?'. When they want your attention on the road, there's a sign that has a giant exclamation mark with a one word comment underneath, like 'Temporary', or 'When Wet'. Then there are the signs at certain intersections that say 'Give Way', meaning yield. There are traffic circles that require you to 'Give Way' to a certain direction of traffic. Something we could use in Chiang Rai.
Tonight we're having dinner with the whole family. Dan and Carolyn's son Ryland and his girlfriend are returning from a big rock concert in Wellington, on the south of the island. It should be a great evening.
Well, that's all for now. Cheers, mate.


"Someone's opinion of you does not have to become your reality."
~Les Brown

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Belief/Friday Funnies

Hi, (This is Thursday's Message)
I'm writing you from high above the Gulf of Thailand. We're on our way to Kuala Lumpur. We have an hour stop and I figured, if I wrote the message before we land, I have an hour to figure a way to send it. Brilliant.
A few of you knew the song and the rest of you were too busy to reply. (5) Here's a bit more that will surely jar the memory:
"Well, it happened that the PTA was gonna meet that very afternoon..."
Our day in the airport was kinda fun. We discovered this really cool network of escalators that will let you keep your luggage cart. They're similar to the ones at Big C. I'll post some pics. We spent most of the day in the Sky Loft. It's a restaurant/lounge with a pre-pay system. You buy a minimum of Bt500 on a card. You 'buy' items and the price is deducted from the card. We hung out at a table by a big window, with a plug nearby. The plug is the key. With it we could power the laptop and watch movies, TV, check mail, etc. Since we couldn't check in until the afternoon, we had to babysit our bags most of the day. It all worked out just fine.
It's 7:30 Malaysian time and the moon is out and we can see a pink sunset down below. We're headed south, so we have a perfect view. The sunset is bright on the other side of the plane. I got a shot of the moon and clouds.
I just saw a piece on the big screen about how the Chinese government is sending a group of young people to rehab for internet addiction. Hmm, how interesting. I remember, many years ago, seeing a web address for internet addicts. How's that going to work? I'm just asking.
Well, with any luck (and free WiFi) I'll get this message out and we can keep this thing going. Have a Cool Thursday.


PS Today's quote seemed fitting after all we've been exposed to lately.

"It doesn’t really matter what religion anybody believes. If their life
is working (and there are many different approaches to life that are
working very well) then why not let them believe whatever they want to
believe? It’s all working in the way that it is supposed to be. There
are religions that you wouldn’t want anything to do with, that are
perfect mechanisms for the people who are involved in them. And
therefore, they are a very good thing."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Hi, (Friday's Message)
Well, needless to say, there was no free WiFi in Kuala Lumpur. We're in New Zealand now, at Dan and Carolyn's house outside of Hamilton, on the North Island. Their house in on an acre of land in the middle of rolling farm land. It's warmer than we thought it would be, with a light breeze. They're in the midst of the driest season in years, but it's still beautiful. We got a great view of the northern islands as we came in for our landing.
The song was pretty easy for some. It was "Harper Valley P.T.A." by Jeannie C. Riley. Here's something for the weekend, if you dare:
"I remember when rock was young, me and Suzie had so much fun, holding hands and skimming stones... We were hopping and bopping to the __ __ " Hint: There's a loose connection with the Funnies. He had us rockin' a few weeks ago.
Here's a few new terms I've added to my vocabulary since being here: electrician is a 'sparky' and a body shop is 'panel beater'. That's how they're listed in the phone book. More to come, I'm sure.
Gotta run. There are cows and deer to see outside. Have a Fun WeekEnd and enjoy the 'Funnies'.


PS Malaysian F1 GP Sunday. (and we just left there)

Grown Up Talk

It was the first day after Christmas vacation in a 3rd grade class.
The teacher told the class that each student could tell the class 1
thing they got for Christmas. So, the teacher calls on a girl to come
up to the front of the class and tell everyone 1 thing she got.

"My daddy got me a Bow-Wow," she said.

The teacher tells the class that they are old enough to know the
correct words for things without using nicknames. The teacher tells
the girl to try again. The girl thinks real hard ........

"My dad got me a dog," she said.
She sat down and a boy got up and said,
"I got a choo-choo!"

The teacher scolded him and told him to try again. The boy thought
hard and said,
"I got an electric train!!"

That boy sits down and a really shy kid gets up and sadly says,
"I got a book"
The teacher feels bad for the kid and she asks,
"What was the title of the book??"

The boy thinks very hard. The class waits as the boy is thinking.
Finally, the boys face brightened and he said,

"Winnie The Sh*t!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Just a quick note. We leave early for the airport tomorrow. It's a 7:20 a.m. check-in for an 8:20 flight that will probably leave at 9 o'clock. Then we spend the day at the airport in BKK until 5 something. Then the journey begins. It's a two hour flight to KL, an hour layover and then 10 hours to NZ. Not so bad really. Taipei to LAX is about 14 hours. Of course, it's all relative.
The Temptations really made an impression on most of you. You knew "Get Ready" without a second thought. Here's something to last until Friday: "The note said: 'Mrs. Johnson, you're wearing your dresses way too high. It's reported you've been drinking, and a-runnin' 'round with men and going wild..." Hint: There's a school involved, some parents, and a valley. I've said too much.
The oddest thing happened today (my Wednesday). No mail from anybody. Oh, I got my usual automatic mail, but you had nothing to say. I'm impressed. A day of silence, no doubt. Hmm.
Back to the packing of the bags. It's not like the old days. A new weight limit has been imposed, with an eye on saving fuel costs. Trying to pack light is not the easiest thing to do when you want to dress warm. For now, I'll take what I need and wrap it all in helium. (Ha)
Have a Wacky Wednesday and drop by Flickr. I just added some more. There are now 655 pictures.


"Knowing is not enough;
we must apply.
Willing is not enough;
we must do."
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Hi, I know, I practically gave the song away, but I like to get mail. Oh, I spelled 'Sera' wrong yesterday. Lois caught it. Here's a more easy song: "Twiddley dee, twiddley dum Look out baby 'cause here I come. I'm bringing you a love that's true so __ __, cuz here I come." Hint: If you need a hint, you need help. Kids of all ages knew this one. Just kidding. ` We had rain last night. Just a heavy 15 minute downpour. It was nice. After it was over, the streets dried in about half an hour. Nothing like warm rain. It happened again this evening, only it would start, stop and start again.

You find the most interesting things in the Bangkok Post. We discovered some search engines that are geared to specific areas of interest. One of them is called Blinkx and it has lots of videos. Among the YouTube style things is a TV category. Wonderful for those of us who are locked out of the network download pages. If I can watch a show in four parts, I'll go for it. Which brings me to another little whine: We can't get SpeedVision/Channel (whatever they call it now), which means we don't get to hear the brilliant commentary of the Formula One races. The season started last weekend and our hotel didn't carry the channel that had the race. Ugh. I'm trying to download it, but it probably won't be complete until the end of the season. (Ha)

We went by The Place today and there's been more big progress. The brick walls are going up fast on the ground floor and they've started on the upstairs. The guys who do the roof steel have started on the west wing and the concrete is done in the pool. It's very exciting each time we go over, because we can really see big differences. The perspective changes every time the walls go up for a room. There's a lot of clever adaptation going on as well. The women doing the brick walls upstairs have a pulley system that brings the cement and bricks up to the second floor with a series of buckets. I took a few pictures of this because it's hard to describe. Another big change was the entrance. They've started building the perimeter frame for our special driveway. Basically, one will drive in, park in front of the porch, and then go around a circle on the west side and out. Wait 'til you see this. It's a great idea. They had to try it with different size vehicles, just to make sure it was big enough.

I guess I'd better start collecting clothes for our next trip. The temps in NZ are a bit cooler than Chiang Rai or Bali. It's time to bring out the warm stuff. Highs in the upper 60s, lows in the low 60s, should give you an idea. We've been in the 90s this week. We leave Thursday afternoon (our time) and arrive mid-day the next day (NZ time). It's complicated, when you consider we have a lay over in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a few hours. What I'm trying to say is, I may miss a day, unless I can get something out from KL. We'll see.

Have a Happy Tuesday.



"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches,
but reveal to them their own."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, March 17, 2008


We're back from Bangkok and home with our predictable surroundings. By that, I mean the internet, our connection with the big wide world. Our hotel was very nice. Probably the nicest room we stayed in, so far. The fact that you have to buy your connection is a bit of a pain to manage. One would expect that when you pay for 'high speed', you'd get more than a slow boat to 'fill in the blank'. Aside from that, it was quite an experience. There were aquariums all over the place, a huge aviary with exotic birds from many countries. I have mixed emotions about that. While it's neat to see parrots from the Amazon and the African jungle, it's also sad that they cannot fly freely.
I got lots of mail about the weekend song. Many of you got the title, which was "Que Serra, Serra (What Ever Will Be Will Be)". The original artist was Doris Day. The cover I was looking for was by Sly and the Family Stone. If you've never heard that version, it was featured in the film "Take The Lead" and can be found on iTunes. Anyway, it was fun, wasn't it? Maybe you remember this oldie:
"Never met a girl could make me feel the way that you do, you're alright..." Hint: This group from the Motor City had many hits, including one about sunshine on a cloudy day. (what a clue) The song has a two word title.
Sunday we took the Skytrain, an elevated rail that was a real adventure. Our destination was a huge marketplace that's held on the weekends. We climbed about two stories worth of stairs to the platform. There we bought our tickets from a machine, put them in a turn-style and waited for the train. We had to stand for the 15 minute trip to the north of town. Actually standing was cool because we could look down and see the city. When we got to the end of the line we saw what looked like a little city within a city. Once we got to street level, we were met by a mass of humanity that was almost overwhelming. Added to that, it was very hot and humid. We marched on and dove into the whole thing. There was so much to see that it was hard to focus, at first. The whole place is divided into areas of interest. We spent a lot of time in the art and furniture sections getting ideas. Then we came upon an inside, mall type building, with air. More looking. I guess we're a little spoiled by the prices in Chiang Rai. Things were higher in some areas, but we did pick up a few things. At one stall, outside, we saw a young woman with a little squirrel on her arm, complete with collar and leash. Hmm. On one of the walkways, there was a guy (westerner) painted up in silver, with a silver suit and hat doing the 'human mannequin' thing. A direct rip off of the guy at Venice Beach. After about three hours of the market we were done. On the way back we were able to sit down and relax.
There was something I forgot to tell you about Bali. On our way to the airport, our cab driver told us about the Bali calendar. It came up because that particular day was some kind of Bali birthday, but on a Hindu calendar where each month has 35 days. That way, it's the same day every year. Each year has 420 days. So, they run on a two calendar system. Very interesting.
This is a short week for us here in Chiang Rai. Thursday we take off again, this time for New Zealand. We'll be there until number 28. We'll get to get used to different money, different time (relative to where you are) and a whole new culture. Of course, there will be pictures of all our travels.
Have a Wonderful Week.


"Destiny is not a matter of chance,
it is a matter of choice.
It is not a thing to be waited for;
it is a thing to be achieved."
~William Jennings Bryan

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Well, I heard from just about everybody on yesterday's song. "I Shot The Sheriff" was written and first recorded by Bob Marley. Lane sent a wonderful background page, complete with picture. The song was recorded in 1973 and first released on the Wailer's album 'Burnin'. Eric Clapton covered the song and it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Now you know.
Just to get things back to 'normal', we're going to another song today. "I was alone, I took a ride, I didn't know what I would find there.
Another road where maybe I Could see another kind of mind there..." Hint: From across the pond. Not much more to be said. Great song.
Observations from Bali: Narrow roads make for some pretty hairy rides. It took some getting used to. Since I've been driving in LOS, I have a better understanding of time and space, when it comes to weaving through traffic. The drivers in Bali took me to school. Sometimes, from the back seat, I could just ignore what was happening and look out the side window at all the sights. Sitting in the front seat was a different proposition. All of a sudden, the motorbikes and cars and trucks that are on 'our side' of the road are not easily dismissed. Oh my, they're coming right at us. Then, just in time, they duck back onto their side of the road. It was like that all over the island. It's almost like some sort of motorized dance. There is a flow to it, once resistance is relaxed. One thing's for sure, I won't be driving in Bali.
There is a strong sense of community in Bali. The building of the Ogohs is an example. There, as in Thailand and many other areas of the region, the culture is based on a common belief system. The celebration of that belief is based, in part, from the village one comes from. We noticed that when it came time for the festivities leading up to the Day of Silence, all of the staff went to their home villages, to be with their families. That same thing happened today here in LOS. The workers were given a half day so they could return to their villages. It's hard to describe, but it's all beginning to make sense. When we first arrived, I mentioned the fact that people smile at you. In my humble, unscientific study of various cultural phenomenon, (Ha) I think there is a sense of belonging that leads to a sense of self, that leads to a confidence that brings inner peace. Hmm. Just the thought of the moment.
Back here in Thailand, we're on the tile circuit again. This time, we're on the hunt for counter tile for the kitchen and bathrooms. We looked at the granite possibilities but were not happy with our choices. So, we went back to the warehouse today and got one room settled. Tomorrow we'll go back and do more. Today the pool was having the forms put in place for the pouring of the sides and more work was being done on the steel framing for the roof. It's a very tall house. Yesterday we walked up the stairs and looked out. A little creepy with no walls, but what a view. Guess it's time for more house pics.
Friday we go to Bangkok for a long weekend. It's very hot in Bangkok these days. We'll be inside most of the time, but one must take in some city at some point.
Have yourself a Wacky Wednesday.


"Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every
single person shared a little of what he is good at doing."
~Quincy Jones

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Well, I bet you thought I'd run off to Bali and left you. No such luck. Between no connection, travel, and no connection, you got to have a vacation as well. Bali was a gas, and it's good to be home.
The song that didn't stump you was "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder. How could you forget? Let's start the week off with something we played with over a year ago: "All around in my home town, they're tryin' to track me down; They say they want to bring me in guilty.
For the killing of a deputy..." Clues: Song made famous by two singers. Of course, I want to know the writer/singer of the song. Oh, both singers were from islands and both played guitar. It's an interesting confession.
I'll try and remember what's been happening in some sort of order. (Ha) Friday morning I went into town and got my 'hairs did'. We met a local guy, Egi at a salon that had a sign out front with pictures of dredlocks. We talked to him a bit and I decided to make an appointment.
I had not been happy with my 'head' and it was time for either a change or a razor (Ha). Egi, his good friend Odie and I spent most of the day talking, laughing and bonding. Their English was pretty good, which was great, considering I only know two or three words in Balinese. You'll get to see Egi's handy work over at the Flickr site. He's quite an artist. For now, that's all I'll say, other than I now have two very good friends in Bali.
Just a note for those of you in other parts of the world: I write this page as if it's the day of the week in the U.S., since that's where the majority of the readers live. Sometimes you'll notices that I'll mention 'my Tuesday' which is today, when it's actually Monday 'over there'.
We had a pretty mellow weekend. We watched the people take to the beach, enjoyed the surfers at breakfast and visited John's shops. If you're ever in Bali, you've got to go to his shops.
We're going to miss the dogs. There are a few that we made friends with. Carlito, the big Golden Retriever, is my new buddy. Anytime I went downstairs to our room, he'd escort me. He'd stop and look back to make sure I was still following him. Sometimes he's try to take my hand in his mouth, but I resisted. In the evening, he'd stretch out in front of our door. Then there was Brucey. I'm not sure how she got that name, but she's a very smart dog and seems to be in a bit of control over the other dogs. Brucey is the only one who has official kitchen privileges. We also think she's part cat. She leaps up on ledges and maintains perfect balance, walks on the roof and generally defies gravity.
All of the dogs are 'rescues' and get lots of love by John and his staff. Brucey is a bit thin, so we started giving her leftovers. She loved it, and it became a ritual at meals. She'd wait patiently for what ever was coming and gobble it down. Then there's Ginger Snap, who used to be Stinky. He sort of ignored me until two days before we were to leave. He woke us up, barking at the koy fish. He was out there entertaining himself before the sun came up. Finally, I went out and talked to him about it. After that, he'd smile at me and come over wagging his tail. We're going to miss them all.
Guess I've gone on a bit. I'd better let you get something done today. Now that we have our internet back, I'll work on sending a bunch of pictures to Flickr.
Have a Happy Tuesday.


"People see only what they are prepared to see."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Not so loud, it's Nypi Day (nippy), the day of silence. We got in really late last night after the Ogah Ogah parade. It went on for 3 1/2 hours and we just fell out. This morning the power was out and I didn't think I'd get this out at all.
By the looks of things, y'all are really old or you know your 'oldies' pretty good. I'm guessing it's the latter. Here's the first verse:
"Tonight you're mine completely. You give your love so sweetly. Tonight the light of love is in your eyes, but __ __ __ __ __." Clue: one of those groups, this one starts with an 'S'. It's an age old question.
Yesterday we went into the downtown area of this district by ourselves. We wanted to wander and discover. We went to John's big store, 'Libido' and Lisa bought some earrings. We strolled, had some real strong coffee and I got some new earrings. I'd say it was ear day. We went back to Bali Deli and got some essentials and came home to get ready.
About 2:30, one of John's 'family' came by with his son, to take us to see the Oga and the parade. Little Nio is 2 years old and cute as can be. He finally warmed up to us as we rode around from village to village. Each Ogah is built by a village. The idea was to see some of the Ogah up close before the parade. Oh, an Ogah is a demon figure. Originally taken from Hindu writings and tradition, there are variations on the theme, depending on who's building. Most are built by the young people, as a community project. The little kids build their own versions and some of them make it to the big parade. Those that don't, have their own parade. They range from 3 feet tall to 20 or 30 feet and sometimes poles have to be used to lift the power lines so they can pass. They are made with frames of steel and wood, then paper mache and lots of colorful paint. After the parade they are burned. Wouldn't want those pesky demons hanging around. I'll post some Ogahs at Flickr, eventually.
Our final destination was the downtown area of Denpasar, the largest city on the island. We got there early enough to watch the crowd build. This is a very big deal on the island and everybody makes an evening of it. There were many dignitaries in the judges booth, T.V. and media cameras all around and you could feel the excitement in the air. While we waited, we got some cotton-candy from a vendor. Hadn't had any of that in years. It was Nio's first encounter and once he finally tasted it, he was all smiles.
Today we stay home. It's hard with the sun shining and the beach so close. I guess we'll just have to hang by the pool. (poor babies) If the power stays on, I'll try and get another message out tonight (Friday Funnies)
Enjoy your Day.


"Sometimes there are no answers,
there are only examples."
~Mark Kostew

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Just winding down our second day in Bali. We started with a bright, sunny morning. We watched the surfers while eating breakfast. What a trip.
Whether you play the song game or not, I'm sure you recognized "Respect" by Aretha Franklin. If not, now you know. Here's an oldie:
"Tonight with words unspoken, you say that I'm the only one. But will my heart be broken when the night meets the morning sun?" Hint: That line is from the bridge. R&B "Girl group", many favorites, major question.
I had mentioned to John that I was having trouble with my hip. He told us about this wonderful healer in the village. Being adventurous and not liking the hurting thing, I went for it. One of the women offered to take me over to his place. I walked out, all ready to get in a car and drive there. She threw her leg over a motorbike and I had a 'moment'. Having been on the roads around the village, and considering that it's been about thirty years since I was on the back of a bike, I froze, momentarily. I took a deep breath and got on. Fear comes to mind. I kepttelling myself that she knew what she was doing. We got there and I hopped off with a big grin on my face.
The first thing I should mention is that his work space was outside, in a sort of patio, on a small raised area. It was open on three sides, with chairs for waiting facing the platform. I sat and watched him work on a woman and it was a bit odd. I had never watched someone else go through any kind of treatment, except for Lisa. Now I was sitting there watching a complete stranger wince and yell and express discomfort. Hmm, so you really want to do this? After her session, she left with a smile so I figured it must not have been that bad. I couldn't tell from his perspective because he smiled and laughed the whole time. What I got was a combination of reflexology, acupressure, mild manipulation, deep massage and some magic thrown in for good measure. Through testing methods he went right to the key problem and quite a few more. We had quite a time together laughing, making jokes and 'tuning' me up. Afterward, I placed my payment on an offering table behind him. He told me it was not for him. (100,000 rupia=$10) I called the house to be picked up and asked if they were coming in a car. Wrong way to ask. Answer: 'They'll be right there'. The bike returned and I told her, as I got on: 'Drive slow'. She laughed and drove slow. Oh, I do feel better.
This evening we went to a beautiful boutique resort for snacks. It's a collection of little houses that were moved to the property, each one different, each one typical small Bali house. There's a open-air pagoda style area where dance and yoga classes are held and a small restaurant. Very cool idea and it seems to stay booked.
Tomorrow we go into town for Uga Uga,the parade of spirits and lots of Gamelon bands (can't wait). Then Friday is the quiet day. Apparently many foreigners leave the island this time of year so they can escape the 'day of silence'. I guess it's just too much to bear. We're looking forward to it. Living on this little compound, it won't be so bad. I other areas, it might be different. It's against the law to be out on the street. You could be arrested. We can moved around without going 'outside'. The only thing we hear most of the time is the ocean, and the birds and the lizards and....
I mentioned that there are five dogs. I forgot to mention the goose. There used to be five, but the others got sick. It's a beautiful goose, but he acts like the roosters in Chiang Rai. Honks whenever he feels like it. Like in the middle of the night. John said he sleeps through it. Maybe it just takes time.
That's all for now. Have a Wacky Wednesday.


"I can't be found in myself;
I discover myself in others.
That much is clear.
And I suspect that I also love and care for myself in others."
~Hugh Prather

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Did you miss me? (Ha) How many of you bothered to go to the website and read the Monday message? I thought so. Well, I'm back on my computer, with all your names in a neat little row, so life can continue.
The weekend song was "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" by Stevie Wonder. I haven't seen much mail, so I guess that one was a little difficult. Oh my. I guess it's going to be one of those weeks. "What you want, baby I got it. What you need....All I'm askin', is a little __"
Surely you remember this one. It's sung by the Queen of something. Everybody wants some. Rodney Dangerfield never got none..... You only get one day on this tune.
So, we just finished our first full day in Bali. Unbelievable. Most of the island is Hindu, and it's a very big part of daily life. Today was the beginning of the events leading up to the full moon and the new year. John (our host) lives right across the street from a temple. In fact, his compound is owned by the temple and he leases it from them. Anyway, all over the island, families and groups went to their temples and brought offerings. The offerings were then taken to other temples in other villages for blessing and they did this all day. We had a steady stream of worshipers passing by the house all day. There are traditional outfits that are worn, and various foods are prepared and eaten at the end. I got a real kick out of all the Gamelon groups that came through. Each village makes an offering, a large structure that's carried on the shoulders of many men, and a Gamelon group accompanies the offering, as well as the people from the village. The Gamelon groups consist of two large gongs, a few smaller gongs, cymbal players, drummers and sometimes flute players. I'll tell you more about this some other time.
We watched countless processions go past the house and down to the beach. There would be a ceremony on the beach, in front of the house and then they would go north to another, larger temple. In the afternoon we were dressed in traditional clothing and we walked up the beach for the final blessing ceremony. There were hundreds of people sitting on the beach, with all the offering structures at the foot of the temple. First there were prayers that were said, during which we took flower pedals of different colors and held in our hands. Then priests walked out into the crowd and sprinkled water on us. There were three into the hand, which we touch to the mouth, and then one over our heads. Then we took some rice and pressed it into our foreheads. The whole affair was to bless the past year and the coming one. After that, the offerings were eaten.
We met a woman from the U.S. that has been here four years. She came from another temple and helped us with some of the specifics. After the ceremony she and John's friend Linda took us to a hotel on the beach for a look around. We sat in a garden and talked for quite a while.
Later we went to dinner at a wonderful little restaurant in the neighborhood. This has been a very full day. We have no idea what's coming tomorrow. I do know that on Thursday we'll be taken into town for the big parade and then Friday will be the day of silence.
I'll be posting a bunch of pictures so you can see what we've been experiencing. Be sure to go to the Flickr site later this week. I have to upload when there's not much traffic.
It's time for Happy Tuesday.


"The principles you live by create the world you live in;
if you change the principles you live by,
you will change your world."
~Blaine Lee

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, March 3, 2008

Love, Compassion,and Tolerance (from Bali)

Well, we're here Bali. But not before 'One Night In Bangkok', and a wonderful time. Briefly, we saw Pink Taxis, beautiful painted buses, and a mall full of people.
I'm writing this from our host's computer. John lives in this wonderful beach complex, but the plugs are all different. So, this will be brief, and we'll pick up the song game tomorrow.
We can see the ocean from our room. There are five dogs. There is a staff of people who do various things, including make the jewelry that John designs. He has two stores that sell the work he creates. One is called 'Street Dog'.
We went to a store called Bali Deli, that was like Trader Joe's. Land here is very expensive, and it keeps going up. Many foreigners retire here, hence, stores like Bali Deli. Oh, and then there's the chopper rental shop. Huh?
Tomorrow we will take part in a major festival that begins with a big gathering at the beach by the house, complete with special outfits. Of course, there will be tons of pics on the Flickr site, starting some time tomorrow.
I hope this reaches you. Have Magnificent Monday.


"Love, compassion, and tolerance are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them, humanity cannot survive.
If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good.
But you can survive without it if you have
love, compassion, and tolerance."
~His Holiness the Dalai Lama, For the Love of God