Monday, May 31, 2010

Play It


We had quite a busy weekend here in Chiang Rai. The curfew has been lifted so we can run the streets from midnight to 4am. (Yeah, right) We went to a party, watched old movies, and saw an exciting F1 Grand Prix.

I got lots of response to the 'Old School Friday' song. It was "Book of Love" by The Monotones. It's 'Easy Monday' time, and I know you know this one: "Diamond life, lover boy, he moves in space with minimum waste, and maximum joy. City lights, and business nights when you require streetcar desire for higher heights... No need to ask, he's a __ __." Hint: It's a smooth sound about a 'player' by a singer with one name.

Saturday we got invited to a party at the home of Nate and Rachel. We knew most of the guests, and met some new 'visitors'. In the course of conversation I mentioned to our friend Libby, who lives in an Akha village on a mountain, that the pool was now warm and inviting. As a result, we're having another swimming party on Wednesday afternoon. After we left the party we settled down for the qualifying session for Sunday's Turkish GP.

Sunday we decided to try the lunch buffet at the Rimkok Hotel. We were told that they had a new chef, and that the food was much better. Well, it wasn't true. It was the same tacky offerings we'd had before. We will only go back to the Rimkok to use their pool when ours goes through coming repairs.

Since we don't have TiVo or anything like it, our Sunday dinners usually center around when the race will start. This week we tried something different. I went to Big C and ordered two of our favorite dishes 'take away', which is how 'food to go' is referred. As I entered the busy shopping center I saw our friend Tye, her daughter Napa, and a friend of theirs. When I mentioned that I was picking up dinner for the race, her friend said that her husband was also a big fan of Formula One. I ordered our meal, went upstairs to the market and got a watermelon, and went back down to get the food. While I was there Deirdre, a new friend who works with the Sold Project, came in for coffee. They had brought a group of kids from their center for a birthday lunch, and shopping. I went over to Mr. Donut, met some of the kids, and made my way out of the complex.

Since it hasn't rained in days, I watered both of the lawns this morning. Not a simple task, but it's getting easier. A few more items, and my system will be just right. This afternoon, while we were swimming, we kept coming up with new ideas so we dubbed the pool our 'Think Tank'.

Tomorrow the workers will start work on the canopy over the back patio. It is clear plexiglass, and will make it possible to sit outside during light rain. As long as it's not windy, it should be a nice addition. There is shade from the house during the afternoons, so the clear will provide shelter with light.

I got a call this afternoon from Chiang Rai Toyota, reminding me of my service appointment tomorrow afternoon. It's a nice touch when they call to let you know. The 10K service will be about $6, with a free car wash. Nice.

Have a Great Week.


"Wherever you are,
whatever your circumstances may be,
whatever misfortune you may have suffered,
the music of your life has not gone.
It's inside you.
If you listen to it, you can play it."
Nido Qubein

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Funnies


It was another clear day in Chiang Rai. The rain gutters are done, and the yard is once again ours. We cruised around this morning, and swam in the afternoon. Tonight we're going to the Night Bazaar.

The song you may have known was "These Eyes" by The Guess Who. I'm going to my 50th high school class reunion in July. This means a lot of candidates for "Old School Friday" have been running through my head. Like this one from the same year that Eddie Cochran had the 'Summertime Blues', The Four Preps went '26 Miles', and the Poni-Tails were 'Born Too Late'. It was 1958, and I was in my Junior year. This was one of the songs of the day: "...Chapter one says to love her, you love her with all your heart. Chapter two you tell her you're never, never, never, never, ever gonna part.... Oh, I wonder, wonder who, Bee-doo-doo who, who wrote the __ __ __." Clue: You don't have to be a semi-mature person too figure out the theme of this one. The group is named for something that stays on the same note. This should be easy.

While the workers finished up the gutters we went downtown to check out a new coffee shop. It's a small semi-outdoor place with cool music, computers, and a nice vibe. The only problem was the proximity to the street traffic. I've never understood why one would want to eat, or drink right next to the traffic. I won't go into that. Our plan was to stop by the new Fair Trade Hill Tribe store, but it was closed. Today was a major Buddhist holiday and many business were closed.

Around the clock tower, up the street, and we were in the market district. We looked at fabrics in several stores, got a few treats, and then went to the grocery store for juice. Simple stuff that makes for a pleasant morning, and keeps us connected with our community.

And now for a bit of trivia. Formula One is 60 years old. Can you tell me the one team that was there from the beginning, and is still racing? Over 600 million people watch each F1 race. That means one in every eleven human beings watches each race. This weekend is the Turkey F1 GP. Don't miss it.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Time for the 'Funnies'.


A cop pulls over a carload of elderly women.

Cop: "Ma'ma, this is a 65 MPH highway -- why are you going so slow?"
Driver: "Sir, I saw a lot of signs that said 22, not 65."
Cop: "Oh, that's not the speed limit, that's the name of the highway you're on!
Driver: Oh! Silly me! Thanks for letting me know. I'll be more careful.
At this point the cop looks in the backseat where the passengers are shaking and trembling.
Cop: Excuse me, ma'am, what's wrong with your friends back there? They're shaking something terrible.
Driver: Oh, we just got off of highway 119.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, May 27, 2010



Today began with a clear, blue sky with no rain in sight. Tonight it's raining. Happens like that all the time. I learned a few more things about Chiang Rai today. Read on.

A few of you recognized this tune from a Canadian band. I'll leave you with the chorus, which gives you all the clues you'll need: "__ __ are cryin'. __ __ have seen a lot of loves, but they're never gonna see another one like I had with you." Hint: As for the band's name, I gave it to you in yesterdays hint. Hmm.

This morning I went into town to get light bulbs and bread. No big deal, but when I got to the bakery I ran into a new friend that I met at the recent art show. He mentioned that he knew a guy from Belgium who was looking to get together with some guys to play music. He also told me that there's a jazz club here in Chiang Rai. Who knew?

Speaking of clubs, today I was following a truck that had a banner on the back. It was advertising a show for a young man who is billed as Boy Peacemaker. He's going to be at the Face Bar on June 9. Hmm.

The work on the rain gutters continues. Since it seems our rainy season is coming early, our timing is just right. They bring the basic pieces to the house, then cut and solder it in the driveway. It's always interesting to watch craftsmen do their 'thing', and this is no exception. When they're done, all of the silver channels will have to be painted brown. Right now they stick out like a sore thumb.

Late this afternoon while Lisa was teaching ballet, I had coffee with a friend of mine from Chiang Mai who was traveling through. Since he was on the highway we met at Big C, and spent about 45 minutes catching up. It's nice to be in a small town.

Have a Mellow Thursday.


"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.
That will be the beginning."
~Louis L'Amour

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style


Wednesday, May 26, 2010



It's been a beautiful day here in Chiang Rai. A little cooler, but still warm, and humid. I ran some errands, and we got another lesson in Thai pronunciation. Tonight we get a massage.

Your 'Easy Monday' assignment was to remember "Purple Rain" by Prince and The Revolution. Oh, the hints, and yet many of you didn't get it. Oh, maybe it's because you were singing 'Purpun Rain', Thai style. (555) Here's a hard one:
"__ __ cry every night for you. These arms long to hold you again. The hurtin's on me, yeah, and I will never be free, no, my baby. You gave a promise to me, yeah, an' you broke it, an' you broke it, oh no..." Hint: Can you guess who sang about the windows to the soul?

Yesterday, when Lisa returned from teaching ballet class, she asked me if I knew how to say 'Donald Duck' in Thai. I paused, and had no idea. I'm going to spell it the way you would say it: 'Doughna Duh' (the first syllable is like dough). Practice, there will be a quiz.

This morning I left the house with the plan to get the 10k service on our car. They were booked up until next Tuesday so I made an appointment. Then I went across the highway to Big C to exchange some computer speakers that were faulty. Customer service is always very courteous, and today was no exception. The desk is outside of the store proper, so there's a lot of red tape involved for any exchange. They called someone from the department to come out and complete some forms. At one point, the young woman helping me dropped her pen, and it flipped towards me. She immediately wai'd me, giggled, and retrieved the pen. Inside the store, the unit I had was plugged in so they could hear the weird sound it was making. A new one was opened, tested, and I was on my way.

This morning, at dawn, thousands of Bangkok residents gathered at sites around the city where buildings had been burned, and people died. Along with 1,000 Buddhist monks, Muslim imams, Christian priests, and Hindu faithful, they prayed for peace.

It just might be time for a Wacky Wednesday.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
~Margaret Mead

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, May 25, 2010



We had a busy day on the compound today. Banging, cutting, digging, mowing, and a little raining. The mystery has been solved, and the dogs get a new treat.

Well, a few of you jumped right into 'Easy Monday'. I even heard from friends who don't usually play. Here's more:
"I never wanted to by your weekend lover, I only wanted to be some kind of friend... It's such a shame our friendship had to end. __ __, (repeat 5 times) I only wanted to see you underneath the __ __." Clue: At one point the artist was known as a symbol, the song/movie were in a category of their own. There is a color involved.

This morning the yard crew showed up, right before the rain-gutter crew. Imagine the mix of lawn machines, hammers on tin, drills, and weed-wackers, and you get a pretty good idea of how it sounded around here. Mid morning we had to escape so we went to the 'little market' in search of spinach. We didn't find any but Lisa found an interesting looking leafy vegetable that was pretty tasty. We also got some pineapple.

A few days ago Lisa was reading about nutrition for dogs, and found an entry that mentioned frozen carrots as a chew treat. Yesterday the dogs got their first frozen carrots. They loved them. They had another one this morning, and while they don't last as long as the rawhide bones, they're much healthier. They finished their carrots, and looked up as if to say 'Where's the bone?'. It's like we tell Boot, they're always hungry.

This morning I told Boot about the people I saw by the road last night. She said they were collecting bugs. Some kind of flying things that swarm, and I guess, get knocked down by the rain. Anyway, Boot laughed when I asked her if she'd ever eaten them. She's from the south, and said northern people will eat anything. She was joking, I think.
So there you have it. Bugs are a delicacy for many people here in Thailand. No, I haven't tried any, but when Sam was here he ate several kinds. Hmm.

Since the night time is the only time the yard is ours, we're off for a swim.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"If I try to be like him,
Who will be like me?"
~Yiddish proverb

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, May 24, 2010



We began the week with a trip to the bank, the market, and the experience of 'Drive Like You Want To' day. This evening a new mystery presented itself. Hmm.

If you're old enough to remember 'Bandstand' then you should have remembered "At The Hop" by Danny & The Juniors. Now it's 'Easy Monday', and this one just might bring back some memories from 1984. There was a movie.
"I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain. I only wanted to one time see you laughing. I only wanted to see you laughing in the __ __." Hint: By a revolutionary artist with one name. Title is in two words about something from the sky.

We got an early start on our Monday by going to the bank right after it opened. Since it had been closed since Thursday we figured it would be crowded. It was mildly busy, but we got taken care of by our friend Bobby. While we were waiting, one of his trainee assistants started practicing her English with us. She told Lisa she wanted her email address so she could write. It's quite charming the way some students will assert themselves to learn more English.

After the bank, we went to the market. We have a few favorite stops these days. There are two stalls with 'treats' that we like, a shoe shop with remarkable deals, and today we discovered 'Pink Gold'. I'd never heard of it, but when the woman showed us a tray of rings, I told Lisa to pick one out. She did, and I bought it. The beauty of shopping in the market is that it doesn't break the bank. (555)

There seemed to be something in the air this morning. People were moving in and out of lanes, driving without looking, and basically in freeform mode. Hence the name: 'Drive Like You Want To'. Oh my.

On the front page of the Bangkok Post today there was a photo of two teenagers sweeping up a street in Bangkok. Over 4,000 volunteers turned out to clean up the city. That's a wonderful thing.

Tonight, as I drove towards the bridge near our house, I noticed people walking along in the street picking something up. There must have been at least ten small groups, with their motorbikes parked, searching the ground. It was either something that falls from the trees, or some kind of insect. This happened once before, that I can remember. I'll have to ask around and let you know after I solve the mystery.

Have a Great Week.


"The game of life is a game of boomerangs.
Our thoughts, deeds, and words
return to us sooner or later,
with astounding accuracy."
~Florence Scovel Shinn

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Funnies


It was a quiet, cloudy, rainy day here in Chiang Rai. Most of the day was spent at the house. The artist painted, the dogs panted, and I watched it all happen. (Ha)

I'll probably get mail saying 'I knew that song' when I tell you it was "Born Under A Bad Sign" by Albert King. Cream did an awesome cover of the tune. Now it's time for 'Old School Friday'. Are you Kats and Kittens ready for this golden oldie from '58? "Well, you can rock it, you can roll it, you can slop it, you can stroll it __ __ __. When the record starts spinnin' you 'chalypso' when you chicken __ __ __. Do the dance sensation that is sweepin' the nation __ __ __" Hint: It's about an event, a place, and it's sung by someone who's name I share along with a group. There, I've said too much.

We knew that it was going to rain as soon as we saw the early morning sky. Not only were there dark, rain filled clouds approaching from the west, you could literally feel the moisture in the air. It didn't actually start raining until the afternoon. We got a few fake outs and then, just as it was time to hit the pool, the rains came. It's really a good thing, considering the drought we've been in, and the fact that all the fields around us are newly planted. We can see faint rows of green in the furrows behind the house; a sign that a new crop is on the way. I wonder what it will be, and if they will actually harvest it when it matures? I'll just have to wait and see.

Today Lisa finished panel number three of a four-panel series. When it's finished it will be the biggest image she's done. The four panels make one big picture. Images flow from one panel to the next, and it's quite something to see. She's also been working on some local produce. Learning to paint Thai fruits, and veggies is a whole new thing.

Last night Daku went out for his evening play with Lisa. He's into routines, and chasing the yellow ball is one of them. They played while I wrote to you. Later in the evening he came over to me and started mouthing my elbow, which in 'Daku' means 'I want to go outside'. I took him out and all he wanted to do was play ball. We hadn't done the routine, and he wanted his game. If only we could change his morning routine of waking up with the sun.

Have a Wonderfilled Weekend. Stay tuned for the 'Funnies'.


A man and his wife were driving their Recreational Vehicle across the country and were nearing a town spelled Kissimee. They noted the strange spelling and tried to figure how to pronounce it - KISS-a-me; kis-A-me; kis-a-ME. They grew more perplexed as they drove into the town.

Since they were hungry, they pulled into a place to get something to eat. At the counter, the man said to the waitress:

"My wife and I can't seem to be able to figure out how to pronounce this place. Will you tell me where we are and say it very slowly so that I can understand."

The waitress looked at him and said: "Buuurrrgerrr Kiiiinnnng."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, May 20, 2010



We had a beautiful, productive day here in The Rai. A curfew has been imposed but we're not letting it bother us. We usually stay in at night anyway. It's all a precaution, and things are still mellow in the far north.

It's songs like this that let me know who the blues lovers are in the crowd. This one's for you, and anybody who's ever felt down, and out. "I can't read, haven't learned to write. My whole life, has been one big fight. __ __ __ __ __, I been down since I began to crawl. If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all." Clue: While he didn't write the '67 release, it became his best known song, and was covered quite well by a power trio from across the pond. There's a reference to astrology in the title.

We had planned to go to the bank today, but our bank, and some others, will be closed for the rest of the week. We did get some things done while we were in town. It's the same old story regardless of where you are, prices will be higher at the fancy grocery store than at the roadside stand. We priced a watermelon at Tops, and decided to get one from our friend around the corner on the road. The difference was amazing.

Lately we've been seeing the various methods of conveyance with different eyes. While we've gotten used to seeing motorbikes with sidecars of every description, we try to imagine some of these contraptions on the streets of L.A. The idea of a restaurant, complete with a deep fryer pulling up and parking at the curb, or butane gas tanks being delivered on a platform beside a motorbike just wouldn't fly. There's also the lengths that people go to get what they have from point A to point B. The other day we saw a guy on a small motorbike with a 50 pound bag of rice on the floorboard in front of him, and one on the back. It makes riding around a fun adventure.

This afternoon we did what can only be called 'Spring Cleaning'. Everything on the closet shelves was pulled down, sorted into piles, and dealt with. Oh my. There were things to keep, things to give away, and things to put in the trash. Lots of memories were in all three piles. Oh, and we're not done yet. There are still the things that are hanging in the closet. I can't believe I have so many sweatshirts. The thought of putting one on is out of the question. I'm saving a few for winter, but the rest will have to go. It's as if things grow in closets. Hmm (555)

Daku took great pleasure in our cleaning. There was lots to sniff, and he would occasionally grab something, and sneak off with it. I have a hat that he took twice, in addition to one of Lisa's shoes. BamBam was content to just sniff around and watch.

Have a Cool Thursday.


"Reach down and lift others up.
It's the best exercise you can get."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, May 19, 2010



It's been a bad day in Bangkok; a good one in Chiang Rai. Made some early morning rounds, went to the 'DMV', the vet, the pool, and still had time for a nap. What a day.

The 'Easy' song was "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO). That song has lots of fans. Here's a little something to change the tempo: "Hard luck and trouble, is my only friend. I been on my own ever since I was ten. __ __ __ __ __, I been down since I began to crawl..." Clue: A blues with many covers, about a hard life. It's by a king, but not Elvis. Hmm.

What began as a political protest has turned into chaos on the streets of Bangkok. Even though some of the leaders surrendered, and tried to disband the crowds, groups dispersed to different areas and began setting fires. It's a sad day, and will take a lot of work to repair the damage on every level.

This morning I went out early to get the truck washed. We're letting a friend use it in exchange for services. While it was getting washed I went to the bank, the coffee shop, and the bakery. Both vehicles needed to have registration renewed so we took them to the DMV at the same time. I was imagining waiting in a long line like last time. Today we walked up to the window, presented all the papers, and it was over in less than 10 minutes. Amazing.

We had to take Daku to the vet today. Lisa noticed what looked like a sore under his fur, on his cheek. We've been noticing him scratching it a lot. It turned out to be the aftermath of a tic. The bug is gone, but the itching lingers. He has some medicine to relieve the itching so he won't hurt himself further. He was a perfect gentleman while he was examined. He did want to have a close inspection of the office cat, but we pulled him away.

On the way home from the vet's it started to sprinkle. The clouds drifted, and we were able to get in a swim. The yard is really liking all the water and humidity. The little flowering trees that Daku likes to eat are all blooming like crazy. The white Plumeria tree is full, and the red one is starting to bloom. We have a purple Orchid on the waterfall that has withstood all the recent wind, and rain. It adds an wonderful splash of color against the rocks, and green foliage.

Get ready for a Wacky Wednesday.


"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, May 18, 2010



Today I remembered stuff I meant to tell you, we ran errands, took care of some business, and tonight we're going for a massage. See, you should have come with us. (555)

Looks as if 'Easy Monday' really was easy. Lots of mail on this one. Here's part of the second verse. Rock on.
"If it were easy as fishin' you could be a musician, you could make sounds loud or mellow. Get a second-hand guitar, chances are you'll go far if you get in with the right bunch of fellows... And we be __ __ __ __ (every day) __ __ __ __ (every way)..." Hint: This 'Boogie Band' had a huge following in the US and Canada. Many thought they were from the south, but they were from the north. Hmm. The group went by initials, and the song title is also used in common language, as initials. Hmm, again.

Last Thursday was "Ploughing Day." It's the day when the Royal Oxen is paraded in a grand arena, and then choses some grains and seeds that are offered. The ones he picks are predicted to be the 'good crop' for the season. This year rice was a winner, with a caution to plant late because of the drought. At this event, farmers are also honored for special harvests, and plants that they've grown. At the end of the ceremonies the spectators stampede to get a grain of rice, a bush, or any other part of the day, as a symbol of good luck.

Without getting into the politics of it all, I find it quite touching the way some people here in the north express how they feel about what's been happening in Bangkok. Feelings are expressed in very poetic terms, that sometimes catch me off guard. I mention this because this morning our banker, who is in his early twenties, said that it "doesn't feel like my Thailand". He is very sad about the pain. Others have put words to the drama in such a way that you really get a sense of emotion, not just opinion.

This afternoon the Rain Gutter Guy, whose play name is Roje (pronounced Rowt) came by with a contract, and showed us some of his other work. He's really a woodwork designer. I think we'll probably be doing some business with him in the future.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence."
~Henry David Thoreau.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, May 17, 2010



Contrary to all the news, life in Chiang Rai is still going on as usual. Over the weekend we dined with friends, went to an art show opening, a dinner party, and watched the Grand Prix. Whew.

Congrats to those who remembered "The Twelfth of Never" as sung by Johnny Mathis. Let's see if you remember this 'Easy Monday' tune: "You get up every morning from you 'larm clock's warning, take the 8:15 to the city... Look at me I'm self-employed, I love to work at nothing all day. And I'll be __ __ __ __ (every day)..." Hint: It's by a group with two last names, who also went by three initials. Many folks are having a hard time doing what this title is about.

While it's true that the city of Bangkok is in a terrible state these days with the protests, and violence that you're seeing on the news, but up here in the north people are going about their lives the way they always have. We continue to enjoy a safe, mellow life-style.

Saturday evening we went to diner with Sutheera, her brother, and his girlfriend. It was our first time meeting her brother, who works in city government. We talked of many things, from education to politics.

After dinner we went straight to 9 Gallery for the opening of an incredible exhibition for a 19 year-old ceramics artist. This young man has been trained in a special process that makes parts of the clay look like metal. We met Count Jerry, and several other expats that we didn't know. The works were priced to sell, and we bought a piece. All of them are statues about a foot tall, of Hill Tribe women. The young artist has quite a bright future ahead of him.

Sunday we went to a dinner party at the home of our friends Martin and Kay. Martin is an artist, and was in the Le Meridien show with Lisa. One of the guests is the manager of the facility where the Thailand Art Festival is held. We had a really cool 'stroll in the garden' before dinner, admiring, and learning about many local plants. There's one little bush that is used to slow down the effects of snake bites. The house is on a hillside in a very rural area, and the bush is a precaution. We don't have that problem since we're in the 'flat land' and we have a wall around our property.

Today we met with a contractor who measured the house for rain gutters, and an awning over the back patio. He'll return in two weeks for the installation. It's one of those things that will make life during the rainy season much dryer.

Have a Great Week.


"Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind."
~Eric Hoffer

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Funnies


It's still ridiculously hot here in Chiang Rai. The common greeting these days is 'very hot'. Oh well, not much to do about that. We have a busy weekend coming up, with a dinner, an art show, and a party. Oh, and then there's the F1 GP in Monte Carlo. (Ha)

It should be no surprise to most of you that the song we were working on was "As Time Goes By", as made famous by Sam (Dooley Wilson) in the 1942 film Casablanca. For 'Old School Friday', see if this one loops through your mind over the weekend: "You ask how much I need you, must I explain? I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain. You ask how long I'll love you, I'll tell you true. Until __ __ __ __ I'll still be loving you." Hint: Another song about the passage of time, first of many ballad hits by a smooth singing artist. 1957.

We spent the morning around the house. Lisa worked on her art and I did some internet investigating. We endured the morning heat as long as we could, and then turned on the air. I don't know how people can live in some of the dwellings here. Of course, they're usually open on at least one side, but the roofs are made of corrugated tin, which just attracts the heat. There's a man who has been working in the field next door, in a long-sleeved shirt. Hmm. It all comes down to adaptation, and insulation I suppose, but I have a hard time wearing anything. (Ha)

This afternoon I traveled into town. Sitting in the traffic was interesting. In the hot weather the motorbikes, and Tuk-Tuks either try to keep moving or turn off the engines at stop lights. You see some bikers stopping before the intersections, waiting under the shade of a tree for the light to change.

My main purpose for going out was to meet with Khun Thoe (sounds like dough), at Sahapaiboon, to talk about rain gutters, and an awning over the patio. We discussed styles, and materials for both projects, and a contractors is coming out on Monday to give us an estimate. I'm hoping to get this work done before the rainy season begins.

I got real brave, and went into the market at 4pm, which is when it gets busy with the food vendors in the street. I entered the area on Post Office street, and was shocked that there was no traffic. I was able to drive right through to a perfect parking place. I had to get Boot a new broom. I got her two for good measure, and got back to the comfort of the car as soon as I could.

Our afternoon swim was almost too hot. We turned on the waterfall and got some cool water flowing into the pool, and it was very pleasant.

Tomorrow evening we're going to dinner with our friend Sutheera, her mother, and her brother. From there we'll go to 9 Gallery for the opening of a new show. The presenter of the show is a Count from Belgium who has been living in Chiang Rai for quite some time, and has done some wonderful things for the art community. I'll tell you more about him next week. Sunday we're going to an afternoon party. Don't forget to set your 'whatever' for the Monte Carlo GP.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Now it's time for the 'Funnies'.


New Ticket Technology
A motorist was mailed a picture of his car speeding through an automated radar. A $40 speeding ticket was included. Being cute, he sent the police department a picture of $40. The police responded with another mailed photo-of handcuffs.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, May 13, 2010



We had an overnight storm, and light show, we got a copy of our 'press', and the pool party was a big success.

"And when two lovers woo, they still say 'I love you', on that you can rely, no matter what the future brings __ __ __ __." Clue: The artist was asked to 'Play it again'. What was his name. The song is about things that are timeless. Hmm.

The rain we had in the late afternoon should have been enough, but late last night the lighting started, the thunder rolled, the winds came, and brought another storm. Everything went well, the lights stayed on, and nothing blew over or away. All around town the old growth is washed, and the new growth is bright, making it beautiful around here.

Today we went into town to see our friends at Sahapaiboon. We got a copy of the newspaper that had our picture in it from the opening of their housing project. What a neat surprise. Also, Lisa delivered a commissioned cast acrylic print to Jaa, one of the sisters.

The pool party was supposed to start around 12:30pm, but our guests were busy working on the resource center for the Sold Project, and they wanted to finish the work they'd started. They got to the house around 3:30 and after a light lunch, everyone went into the pool. We discovered that when the waterfall is on, the pond is cooler than the pool. What a wonderful revelation. The waterfall pumps water from the surge tank which is underground behind the pool. That water stays cool, so when it comes up and pours into the pond it's quite refreshing. Now we can cool off.

The dogs were very cordial 'hosts', and behaved themselves. Of course there was the investigation of the ground around the table, in hopes of a scrap or two, but basically they had fun too.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, May 12, 2010



Today we had a whole range of weather. There were lots of chores performed on the compound, and tomorrow we have a 'pool party'.

The 'Easy' song was "Hello, Goodbye" by The Beatles. Nice to know some of your memories are intact. Now try this:
"You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply __ __ __ __."
Clue: This song was featured in a film a long time ago (1942). It should be easy. As for the artist, just tell me who sang it in the film.

Since the weather has been so hot, there has been no use for the solar rings that float in the pool. They've been sitting on the deck for weeks. Today was the day for them to get washed and put away. No easy feat considering each one is 5 feet in diameter. Part of the morning was spent wiping, rinsing, and spreading them out in the driveway to dry. We both came in the house dripping from the heat, and the work. In the afternoon we folded them, and found a place to store them. It's gotten to the point where we could use a garage. (Ha)

It was another 102 degree day, with high humidity. You could feel the moisture in the air. A storm had to be on the way. We were not disappointed. While Lisa was teaching ballet class, the wind came up and kept coming. This was the biggest 'blow' during the daylight hours that I can remember. Then, just as it got dark, the rain came. It's all calm now, but we can hear thunder in the distance. The hot weather we've been having is usually in April. By now it's usually a little cooler. Hmm.

Tomorrow our friends Nate and Rachel are coming over with three friends who are visiting Thailand. We're going to have a pool party. This will be the first time we've had such an event. We're looking forward to sharing the water with friends. Except for the little kids that come over, it's just the two of us using the pool. I'd better break out the lounge chairs.

Stand by for a Wacky Wednesday.


"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission."
~Eleanor Roosevelt.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



Today in Chiang Rai, more heat. The airport got another visit from us, the square umbrella was found, shoes were acquired, and another evening massage just ended.

I received a bunch of email regarding the 'Easy' song. That tells me it must be easy. Where's your message?
"I say high, you say low. You say why, and I say I don't know, oh no..." Clue: The title is not actually sung in the song. The two words are, in fact, reversed in the lyrics. Oh well, much more would give it away.

We got an early start this morning, hitting the street at 9am. The airport was our first stop. We had to change the date and time on the ticket we purchased last week. It all went smoothly, except for the additional fees. In the grand scheme of things, not a deal breaker. We just want to make sure we can get from BKK to CEI on our return this winter. Talk about planning ahead.

On a hunch, we stopped at Makro on the way back to town to look for the umbrella I couldn't find yesterday. It was a good hunch indeed. They had it, and in assorted colors. It's not as big as the one we had, but so much easier to handle.

It has gotten to the point, after over two and a half years, that I can visualize the streets and plot a course of travel that puts us in the right direction on the right street, for the right store. Some streets are divided, some are too busy to turn around, and some are one way, which means that planning can save time and frustration. Today was a good day, and not only did we travel in a good pattern, there was a parking place waiting at every stop. How cool is that?

After a stop at the hair salon for a trim of Lisa's bangs, we went to a shoe store we had success at a while back. It could be easily missed if you didn't know it was there, but we know. It's rather dark inside, and the hot air was not circulating at all. That didn't stop us from looking for comfortable shoes. This store carries some quality shoes. They have their share of junk too, but it's always worth it to check out their stock for something special.

This evening we returned to Arisara for a long massage. We've been getting good results at this new place. I hope they can keep the doors open, it always seems so empty when we go. Of course, this is the season of empty so it's hard to know. We're still seeing tourists in town, but now like 'High Season'. Life goes on.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"You can make your world so much larger
simply by acknowledging everyone else's."
~Jeanne Marie Laskas

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, May 10, 2010



Chiang Rai continues to be hot. Durian season is upon us, I searched for shade, school is back in session, and we find ourselves in hot water.

The 'Old School' song was "School Days" by Mr. Chuck Berry. You should know this song. Now it's time for 'Easy Monday'. "You say yes, I say no. You say stop, and I say go, go, go. Oh no..." Clue: The title is in two words, about coming, and going. Salutations from four guys from across the pond.

Saturday afternoon we had a light wind, and showers. A while later the wind really came up, and it caught the umbrella that shades the dog's pen. With a diameter of about 10 feet, the wind blew it over, bending the pole that holds it up. Today I went out in search of a square umbrella. We've seen vendors using them at the Night Bazaar, and they have a two-piece pole. They're also lighter and it makes it easier to take them down when necessary. I went everywhere I knew umbrellas were sold, and got the same answer, mai mee. I'll ask around, and as a last resort, find out where the vendors got theirs. My search ended in the market district. While walking along the crowded street, I noticed lots of small tables where people were selling durian by the slice, and uncut as well. The air was heavy with the smell of this pungent fruit. I saw a teenage girl walking with her mother, holding her nose. Not everyone loves durian.

Today was the first day of school, and while I wasn't in 'school traffic', the vans that haul the students around were an obvious addition to the flow on the streets. All of the 'school buses' are privateers with passenger vans. They get a permit, and stickers that clearly identify them, and they pack the kids in and take them to and from school. For many of these drivers it's one of several jobs. For others, it's their only gig, and you can see them parked together in various shady spots just hanging out.

As we entered the pool this afternoon, Lisa commented on how it was hard to believe we could complain about the water being too warm. With the outside temperature at 100F, there wasn't much cooling in the 91 degree water. A couple of ice-cubes would have been nice. (Ha) Seriously though, it was refreshing, but a little weird. We swam anyway, and felt better afterward.

Have a Great Week.


"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen
and thinking what nobody has thought."
~Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Funnies


It's safe to say that this is the 'Hot' season, that we're having a heat wave. At 2:30 this afternoon it was 102F in the shade. There was early morning plant extraction, late morning shopping, and lots of talk about the weather.

So, you finally figured out that it was George Michael singing "Careless Whisper". The Wham thing really threw a bunch of you. (Ha) Now it's time for 'Old School Friday'. This is one of many hits from a Rock and Roll pioneer:
"Up in the mornin' and out to school, the teacher is teachin' the golden rule. American history, practical math, you're studyin' hard and hopin' to pass... Hail, hail rock and roll, deliver me from the days of old..." Hint: The title is two words, one of which has just been sung.

Last night Daku took an interest in a new pink flower on a bush we've been suspicious about. Lisa thought it looked like an oleander (and kept him from eating it), so I looked it up. That's what it was, and since they're poisonous, they had to go. This morning after breakfast, we went out and I dug up about seven small bushes. Fortunately, they were not very attractive to the dogs without flowers.

We went into town to take care of some odds and ends while it was relatively cool. (Ha) One of our stops was at Sahapaiboon, where we were to look at some tile for our entry. They were out of one color, but told us to go to the tile warehouse on the highway. That's the place where we spent hours walking the aisles, picking tile while we were building the house. We'll probably go tomorrow, since the work is to be done on Tuesday.

While we were taking care of some banking, our young friend Bobby, the assistant manager, told us he saw Lisa's picture in the local newspaper a few weeks ago. It was one of the photos taken at the opening for the housing project at Sahapaiboon. It seems that we have a budding Chiang Rai celebrity in our midst. We'll try and get a copy of the paper or the photo from our friends at the store.

In our morning travels I was able to replace my dog-destroyed shoes. A trip to the market yielded treats, and heat. It was almost unbearable beneath the tin roof of this gigantic 'city'. With all the Friday shoppers filling the aisles, the heat of the day, and the lunch food cooking, it took the fun out of it. It was interesting to see all the different things going on though. School is about to start for the majority of kids, and the uniform shops were busy with families getting their children fitted for the new year. There was a dispute on the sidewalk about the amount of space one vendor was taking, and it was mediated by the parking lady. I wonder what her whole job description looks like.

The afternoon dip in the pool was just that. It was too hot to swim, so we just moved around, and cooled off. I was surprised that not many people were at the river today. I saw about five kids in the water. I guess it was just too hot to be out in the open.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd, and enjoy a couple of driving 'Funnies'.


Were You Drinking?
A policeman pulls a man over for speeding and asks him to get out of the car. After looking the man over he says, "Sir, I couldn't help but notice your eyes are bloodshot. Have you been drinking?"
The man gets really indignant and says, "Officer, I couldn't help but notice your eyes are glazed. Have you been eating doughnuts?"

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, May 6, 2010



It was a sunny day with no rain in sight, but there was water involved anyway. We had an adventure at the airport, and more shoes were put in the trash as a result of Daku the Destroyer.

Just as I suspected, my little 'hint' threw a few of you off, but a lot of you got it. Here's the line with the 'hook':
"Time can never mend the __ __ of a good friend. To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind, there's no comfort in the truth, pain is all you'll find. I'm never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm..." Clue: Idle gossip foiled an indiscretion. Hmm.

This morning when I took Daku out for his 'after breakfast romp', there was the smell of smoke in the air. Standing on the Spirit House platform I was able to look over the wall and see two tree stumps smoldering. What might have been a beautiful morning was now undone by the leftovers of yesterdays fire. There was only one thing to do. This was a job for 'Extinguisher Man'. Grabbing a ladder, I placed it next to the wall, got the garden hose, and soaked the stumps until there was no more smoke. There was a feeling of great satisfaction, not to mention clean air to breath.

Our local airport is officially called Chiang Rai International Airport, even though there are no flights in or out of the country from here. I think there used to be flights to China, but not anymore. We had one more ticket to purchase to complete our Summer Visit. We needed a flight from Bangkok back to Chiang Rai on our return. After we got our tickets we decided to have some coffee at the little Doi Tung Cafe. We noticed a big display of massage chairs, and gadgets so after our coffee we sampled some chairs. They were pretty cool. There was one thing that caught our eye, so to speak. It was an eye massager. That's right. It goes over the upper part of your face and pulses, and vibrates. It's supposed to increase blood flow, relax, and stimulate some nerve in the brain. Hmm, not sure about all the claims, but Lisa tried it, and said it felt kinda good, and a little weird.

This afternoon Boot told us she had to throw away two more of my shoes. Unfortunately it was one shoe each from two pairs. For some reason he only 'eats' my shoes. He'll pick up Lisa's shoes and walk around with them, but he doesn't chew on them. I guess he really like me. (555) Tomorrow we'll go to the market and get a new pair of canvas shoes that will be kept in the cupboard when not in use.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The hearts of fools are in their mouths,
but the mouths of the wise are in their hearts."
~Jewish Proverb

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, May 5, 2010



This was a day of revelations. Dropped off a laptop for service, watched a traffic encounter, and watched burning that was too close for comfort. Pulse back to normal, check.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Close To You" by The Carpenters. You knew but didn't bother to write. That's OK. (Ha)
"I feel so unsure, as I take your hand, and lead you to the dance floor. As the music dies, something in your eyes, calls to mind a silver screen, and all its sad good-byes. Clue: The title is in two words. You won't remember, and then 'Wham', it will hit you in the face. More clues tomorrow.

When we started planning for our life in Thailand, we got two laptops. I got an Apple, and Lisa got a PC since she'd been using that format at work, and it seemed like we'd have all the bases covered. Over time it became clear that the PC we got was not up to the task. We are now an Apple family, but there is information on the PC that needs to be retrieved. It's stuck on stupid right now so I took it to a place I kept hearing about. The Tech Center is quite a deal, off a tiny street in the market part of town. Had no idea it was there. I guess I'll find out in a few days if it can be revived. I think it will be OK.

This afternoon we were coming home from downtown and there was a truck behind me. I noticed another pick-up in the bike lane next to him, and just figured he was going to make a left turn. Then I watched, in my mirror, as the truck in the bike lane forced the nose of his truck behind me. When the light changed, he blocked the truck that had been behind me, jumped out, and started what looked like a heated discussion. Oh my. Chiang Rai road rage?

This evening, after dinner, I went out to turn off the sprinklers on the waterfall plants. I could see smoke rising from behind the wall, and heat waves. After closer investigation, I discovered that there were two fires burning in the field next door. A man was standing there watching the fires. For one of my pet peeves to be so close was not acceptable, and yet, all I could do was accept it. It's not OK, but I couldn't make him stop. We got Boot to come out and talk to him, but all she said was that 'He cannot speak'. The fires didn't last long, and most of the smoke went north, so I didn't have to put on my super hero suit and put out the fires. That's my fantasy, 'Extinguisher Man'.
Oh well, whatever.

After a day of 'revelations', I'm all calm again and wishing you a Wacky Wednesday.


"If you find yourself in a hole,
the first thing to do is to stop digging."
~Will Rogers

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, May 4, 2010



I could tell you that we just lazed about today, eating bon-bons, and watching the dogs play, but we're all out of bon-bons. We crossed the bridge into town twice today. Takin' care of business in The Rai.

Even though this 'Easy' song is silly easy, it's nice to get some responses. It's usually the only way I know you're out there. "...That is why all the girls in town, follow you all around. Just like me, they long to be __ __ __. Wahhhhhhh __ __ __, (repeat)" Clue: It's about a longing to be in the immediate proximity of the object of desire.

This morning we went to the market for fresh vegetables. Greens, bok choy, potatoes, broccoli, and ginger for about $3. From there we went to the Thai Airways building to get our tickets to BKK in July. We'd never been inside the offices, even though we see it every time we go downtown. It turns out that tickets cost less if you buy them in person, at the office as opposed to on-line. A travel agent told us this. We had planned to go to the art supply store, but the traffic was heavy and there was no place to park. We'll try again tomorrow.

This afternoon we went into town for printer ink, and into the big market to get some material for backing Lisa prints. We also scored some treats while we were there. It was a good day for errands.

Right before our swim, both dogs got baths. Daku was much mellower this time. Maybe because the water felt good in the heat. Contrary to my predictions, he didn't get sick last night. I hope he doesn't take this as a sign that he can successfully eat my shoes and get away with it.

This evening we're going to Arisara for a massage. Last time we were there we went for an hour and a half, and it wasn't so bad. That's the plan for tonight. It's not like I don't have things for them to work on. The nice thing is there's nothing serious going on. Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Rule your mind with serenity rather than with force and manipulation."
~Lao Tzu

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, May 3, 2010



Our weekend here in Chiang Rai was very pleasant. The weather was not too dramatic, so we didn't have to hide from the storms. I went to a band rehearsal, Lisa did art, and Daku turned into a brat.

There's nothing like a jazz classic to bring old friends out of the woodwork. Our 'Old School' song was "Moody's Mood for Love" by King Pleasure. The history of this tune is pretty unique. Sax man James Moody developed a solo for "I'm In The Mood For Love" and a few years later Eddie Jefferson wrote lyrics to the solo. That style is called vocalese. A few years after that King Pleasure recorded it, and it became popular. There are many recordings of the 'song', but Pleasure's is the stand-out. At one point, the original writer of the song sued Moody, but they came to an agreement on royalties. Now you know.

For our 'Easy Monday' song, it's time for something everyone will know. "Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be __ __ __." Hint: Are you kidding? You get no hints on this one. (555)

A few weeks ago we went to a party where I met a man from Puerto Rico named Eddy. He has a group of kids that come to his house on the weekends for English lessons. About four months ago he started a 'band' with five of the kids. He supplied the instruments, and they use his big downstairs room for rehearsals. His housekeeper is the manager, and her 12 year-old son is the drummer. The kids are taking music lessons and when I met them, they all stood and introduced themselves. They range in age from 11 to 17 and are very enthusiastic. They know two songs so far, and they played them several times. There is great potential there, and Eddy wants me to be involved in developing the band. They're working on a name, and logo for the group, and so far the name they like is 'The Secret'. I'll keep you posted as things move forward.

This weekend Lisa began work on a large scale project. It will consist of four panels that will be one work when finished. It's brand new territory but it looks like she's up to the task. One panel is done and now it's all about continuing the flow into the adjacent panels.

Mr. Daku has become very curious about trash. He makes a point of sticking his nose in all the waste-baskets whenever he enters a room. Tomorrow we're getting a trashcan with a lid. Today he ate the toe off of a pair of canvas/rubber shoes that I wear in the yard. That means he'll probably get sick in the middle of the night. Oh joy. It happened last night after he ate part of a plastic bottle. Outside, he will look right at me, and then run over to the little flowering trees, and bite off a flower. Welcome to the terrible twos. (and he's not even two)

Have a Great Week.


"Live out of your imagination, not your history."
~Stephen Covey

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style