Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Well, we're back to the hot, as in weather.  Tomorrow the prediction is for 90+ and we've started using the air/con again.  We have a few 'outings' planned this weekend, with an emphasis on staying cool.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Itsy, Bitsy, Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Brian Hyland.  Enough foolishness, on to 'Old School Friday' and a song we just love as the weather warms up:  "Whenever I'm with him, something inside starts to burnin', and I'm filled with desire.  Could it be the devil in me or is this the way love's supposed to be, just like a __, burning in my heart.  Can't keep from cryin', it's tearing me apart."  Hint:  It's from a city where cars used to be built, by a singer and her crew who vandalized the charts in the 60s.  This was one hot tune back in the day.

Our little van never left the carport today.  We had a little family over for lunch and it was great.  Our friends Nu and Nan, along with their daughter Poon-Poon and their son Pahn-Pahn spent a couple of hours with us.  Nu and his mother and brothers were the ones who looked out for us when we first arrived in Chiang Rai in 2007.  Dr. Nan, as she's known, was our dentist for a while, but now is a full time orthodontist.  The kids are 2 1/2 and 6 months.  Poon-Poon was very shy at first, but that changed.  Pahn-Pahn is a strong little guy with a wonderful smile.  After some time in the back watching the waterfall and testing the cold water, we had lunch.  We don't have a lot of things for small children to do here, but a Thai alphabet game and a coloring book seemed to occupy Poon-Poon to the point where she didn't want to eat with us.  After lunch Lisa brought Daku into the dining room and had him lie down.  Poon-Poon enjoyed petting him and he was very tolerant of her grabs to the face.  At one point he raised he head and gave her a little nose-touch on the cheek.  He really seems to know the difference when it comes to small children.  

One of the cool things about having Cat living with us is that I now have a popular music connection.  Today, she came to our room when she returned from school and I was watching Thai MTV.  I liked the song that was playing and asked her if she knew the group "Tattoo Color."  She loves the group and knew the song they were singing.  Time to go to the record store.  (555)  Last night she was telling us how difficult it was for her (before she lived here) to go to high school and not have the internet at home.  She has one teacher that sometimes gives assignments via Facebook.  Other times there is research that requires using the web.  There is also the advantage of working with a tutor or fellow student, and being able to see a page or work a problem together in real time.  The world has definitely changed.  

Sunday we're taking Cat to the Pokhun Festival at the old airport grounds.  The trick will be going early before it gets too hot and crowded.  

Today's photo is that special moment when Poon-Poon got a grip on Daku's face.  He stayed perfectly still through it all.  What a guy.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Stay tuned for a laugh.

                 Peace,
                           Danny


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Laughter

Hi,

The weather is getting warmer by the day.  It won't be long before jeans will be too hot, and shorts will be the order of the day.  The pool is also slowly warming and you know what that means.  

As 'Zany Day' songs go, this one ranks up there with the best/worst of them.  Some of you knew it.  Hmm.
"She was afraid to come out in the open.  So a blanket around her she wore.  She was afraid to come out in the open, so she sat, bundled up on the shore.  Two, three, four tell the people what she wore.  It was an __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ that she wore for the first time today..."  Hint:  Most of the title consists of adjectives describing this garment, in detail.

As we approached the entrance to Makro this morning, we were treated to the sounds of an Erhu, a Chinese musical instrument often referred to as a two-stringed violin.  It really set the stage for all the decorations inside.  I even spotted a product rep wearing a traditional dress that was bright red with gold trim.  There is a special section in most of the big stores featuring Chinese desserts and treats for the occasion of the New Year.  I have sampled many of these in the past, but since I'm being more careful about what I eat, I just sigh and look the other way.

In our travels we're noticing more and more vacant lots being prepared for building.  Massive amounts of dirt are trucked in to either level the ground, or bring it up to street level in the case of former rice fields.  Rice fields are typically below the level of the surroundings because they have to hold water.  The property that our house sits on was once such a field.  The operators of the various dump trucks and haulers are having a bonanza during this building boom.  The real question might be:  Where is all that dirt coming from?  Hmm.

This afternoon we traveled north on the Super Highway to Maefahluang University for a visit to Dr. William.  We went for what may have been our last 'Tune Up' from him.  He may be leaving the university, which would be sad since he is the only person we know of that performs chiropractic adjustments in the area.  More will be revealed.  On our way home we stopped at a roadside pineapple stand for a 'kilo' of fruit.  That amounted to three small, round pineapples.  There is a stretch of road that is littered with these stands.  It's not unusual to find stands selling the produce of the area.  It might be bananas, or mango, or sugar cane, but you're getting it straight from the farm.

Today's photo was taken at 'Healthy Market', the produce and meat spot where we get most of our vegetables and fish.  There was a Blessing Ceremony in progress for several of the vendors.  In the photo you can see a man in the foreground with string on his head.  This string is connected to a network of string that went all the way into the office in the rear, where the monks are sitting, chanting.  We had a similar experience with the Blessing of our house, sitting under a teepee-like frame with the string on our heads.  Amazing Thailand.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
~Victor Borge

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Spirit

Hi,

Just so you know, we're having cold mornings and hot days.  It either requires changing clothes mid morning, or dressing in layers.  Today was a mix of exploring with Daku, and sitting in traffic.  Both were interesting.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "You've Got a Friend", written by Carole King and recorded by King and James Taylor.  The time has come for the 'Zany Day' song.  Even though it's not summer yet, I give you a summer song.
"She was afraid to come out of the locker, she was as nervous as she could be.  She was afraid to come out of the locker, she was afraid that somebody would see.  (Two, three, four tell the people what she wore)  It was an __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ that she wore for the first time today.  An __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ so in the locker, she wanted to stay.  Hint:  The title is describing, in detail, a garment made for swimming and/or sunbathing.

This morning we took Daku across the river to an area used for festivals.  There is a winding road with shade trees that was the perfect spot for more leash training.  One area is what I would call the 'School Bus Depot'.  The schools do not have their own buses for transporting students so there are privateers who use their own vans, fitted with three rows of long benches.  They take the kids to school and there is nothing to do until they pick them up in the afternoon.  Today there were about 15 vans parked in a random fashion off the road.  Several drivers had hung hammocks from the rear bumper to a tree and were napping.  Others were cleaning their vans and some were just hanging out talking.  Daku was mostly interested in sniffing the fallen leaves, trash, and anything vertical.  He did better than the last time out, so we'll continue with his training in a few days.  When we got home he was bursting with energy and tore around the yard.  It's good to run free.

This afternoon Lisa had her first massage from Khun Joy since our return to Thailand.  It was later in the day than usual and it meant that I got to experience rush hour traffic through a small business district.  Sitting still and inching along gave me time to take in the sights.  I watched as men gathered around the little truck that dispenses potions for whatever you need.  They would drink from small cups, chase it with water, and try to act like nothing happened.  Most of it is strong whiskey and herbs of various kinds.  A friend of mine had some once and swore to never do it again.  Then I spotted a large family of tourists who were walking slowly and trying to take in all the sights around them.  It was easy to tell that they weren't from around here by the way they stopped and pondered various things before moving on.  Heavy traffic on a two-lane street means that it's actually five lanes when you consider that there are motorbikes on either side, weaving around parked cars, and another set of dare-devils going down the center of the road.  Several times I held my breath as a car would cross the traffic, not seeing the center line riders.  Oh my.

In the center of the photo you will see a man on a ladder.  He's cutting down some of the many coconuts that needed to come down from our prolific trees.  We sent most of them home with the yard crew, but saved a few for ourselves.


Time for Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

"Man has never made any material 
as resilient as the human spirit."
~Bern Williams

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nothing

Hi,

Chiang Rai is finally warming up.  The afternoon called for a T-shirt instead of a thermal, and socks are now optional.  Next thing you know I'll be wearing shorts and sandals again.  Yea.

Looks like 'Easy Monday' was just that.  If you're still wondering, here's the second verse of this favorite:
"If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds, and that old north wind should begin to blow.  Keep your head together and call my name out loud.  Soon I will be knocking upon your door.  You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am... yeah, yeah, yeah, __ __ __ __."  Hint:  Really?

Quite a bit of the furniture that is sold in Chiang Rai is made from 'pressed wood'.  The parts for drawers and some tops of pieces are finished with a veneer that eventually warps or peels.  We have been slowly replacing some of these items with real wood.  Our search for a dresser ended today when we found a solid unit that will last for years.  Another thing we noticed was that most dressers had very shallow drawers.  I have concluded that because apartments are so small, there is not enough room for a standard depth or it would take up too much interior space.  Our new dresser has deep drawers and that's a bonus.  

Sometimes when we interact with people here, we get interesting and often humorous attempts at English.  We had a conversation with Cat last night about learning how to put a sentence together.  Things are done differently in Thai than in English and the outcome can be confusing.  Recently we were talking to a clerk who was trying to communicate with us.  When we were leaving she said, "Hello, Bye-bye".  Later we realized that in Thai the same phrase is used to say hello and goodbye so it seemed logical to her to do the same in English.  The adventure continues.

Today's photo is another example of 'you never know what you'll see' as you move about the city.  I had to capture this example of excess to show you the possibilities.  Actually, it's a demonstration vehicle for an auto sound shop that installs stereos and speakers.  We didn't get to hear it with music, and I should probably be grateful for that.  (555)  Note:  Each round thing you see is a speaker.  The interior looked like the cockpit of a rocket ship.  If you'd like to see more pics, email me and I'll send them.


The next big sporting event for us, besides the Super Bowl, will be the Winter Olympics.  I'm still trying to figure out if any of the games will be televised here in The Kingdom.  In some parts of the world it's not so easy to see major events when the broadcast rights are restricted to specific regions.  There's always a way and I'm sure that modern technology will come through.  Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

"There is nothing stronger than gentleness."
~Hans Suyin

Monday, January 27, 2014

Good

Hi,

The weather is actually warming up a bit.  It may be a temporary thing since there's the forecast of another cold front moving down from China.  Maybe it will get blown away (555).  I can dream.

The 'Old School Friday' tune got lots of responses.  "Cryin' Time" was written by Buck Owens and made a hit by Ray Charles.  Now it's time for 'Easy Monday' and a song you all know:  "When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand, and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.  Close your eyes and think of me, and soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest nights.  You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am, I'll come running to see you again.  Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you got to do is call, and I'll be there, yes I will, __ __ __ __."  Clue:  Two singers recorded this song using some of the same musicians.  The writer won a Grammy for Song of the Year and the other singer was voted Best Male Performance.  They later did a duet.  The title words are something we all want to hear at some point.

Saturday we had coffee in the afternoon with our friend Khun Pay, the nurse from Overbrook Hospital.  When it was set up, we thought it would just be her and Lisa, but when we arrived at Doi Chaang she introduced her boyfriend, Khun Boy.  The four of us spent an hour talking about everything from family to hobbies to flowers.  Khun Boy is a teacher at the Technical College.  We learned new things about Thailand flowers, and discovered many mutual interests.  

I spent the greater part of Sunday behind the wheel.  Cat needed to go to the Rajaphat University library to look for a book on biology.  Her friend Fern was also going, which meant a trip to the bus station to pick her up.  On our way up the highway we came to a red light and realized that a parade was crossing the road.  It went on and on, and I finally turned off the engine.  It was the beginning of the Pokhun Mengrai Maharat Festival which will last 10 days.  The festival celebrates King Mengrai, the founder and King of the Province that is now Chiang Rai.  The parade was ending at Mengrai Square, where we were 'parked'.  We finally got to the school and found the library.  A few hours later I drove back and picked them up.  Fern is an artist and at one point in our travels she said, "Art is much easier than math", and we all cracked up.

Our friends at NorThai invited us to come to the store and watch the Australian Tennis final and hang out.  Lisa, Cat and I showed up before the match began and toured the newly remodeled store, checking out the new jewelry, the artwork, and visiting with Ziggy the fish.  After the first set of the match it was time to go home and feed the dogs.  

The Chinese New Year isn't until the 31 of this month, but that hasn't stopped the fireworks from going off early.  Sounds ranging from the crackle of firecrackers to the thunder of display devices can be heard in the distance, and sometimes close by.  Saturday, as I drove Cat to school, we saw a team of Lion Dancers getting into a truck in front of the Chinese Cultural Center.  I'm sure there will be a parade or two featuring these 'teams' before it's all over.  

We never know what we'll see, driving around Chiang Rai.  Today we came upon this ornate object being towed by a truck, on the highway.  Amazing Thailand.



Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress
what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good."
~Calvin Coolidge

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Everywhere we go, the talk is about the weather.  From bank tellers to treat vendors, everyone is cold.  Hey, this is a tropical climate, most of the time.  It's supposed to be a few degrees warmer tonight and we're thrilled.  

Day two of the 'Zany Day' song brought more memories back and more right answers.  The song was "Long, Tall Sally" by Little Richard.  Time for 'Old School Friday'.  "Oh, it's __ __ again, you're gonna leave me.  I can see that far away look in your eyes.  I can tell by the way you hold me darlin'.  Oooh, that it won't be long before it's __ __"  Hint:  Clearly a sad 'Love is over' song by a legendary singer often referred to as a 'Genius'.  What'd you say? 

Today we ventured into the Talat (market place) to look for warm things and get some treats.  Parking the car is always entertaining since the 'Ticket Ladies' are so helpful with their hand gestures.  I was backing into a space and she motioned me back and then gracefully twirled her hand in the direction I should turn the wheel.  The usual cast of characters were there, including the blind singer and the women on the floor selling things we would never eat.  The abundance of the color red made it clear that Chinese New Year was close and the marketing was strong for anything to do with the holiday.  We stopped at a shoe shop that was nothing short of chaotic.  They have hundreds of shoes stacked to the ceiling in a very small space and seem to know where everything is.  The husband is a very cordial guy with a big smile and his wife is strictly business with no expression and few manners.  The two of them, plus a helper, had about four customers in progress when we arrived.  Somehow we managed to find some comfortable shoes and get out without too much trauma (555).  A bag of treats and we were on our way home.

After lunch we took Daku on an adventure in the van.  We went to a place that Gary, of Jago and Gary, told us about yesterday during a doggie play-date.  There is a big lawn near the river where he takes Jago for walks.  Daku is still a stranger to the outside world so he's eager to just run crazy.  There are too many possibilities to let him run wild so we kept him on his leash.  Today's outing was a training session and a chance for him to get used to being away from home.  What's interesting is that he was eager to get into the van, but as soon as we turned left out of the driveway he started whimpering.  We were going towards the vet and that meant poking and stuff.  He calmed down quickly and then revved up when we arrived at our destination.  We want to be able to take him places without having him tugging on the leash the whole time.  A few times a week for a few weeks and we think he'll be more relaxed.

Today I give you another photo from the Flower Festival that could have been in the Rose Parade.  This big pink guitar is covered in flowers. 


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

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Drive

Hi,

It's still cold here.  The coldest it's been in a very long time.  It's even cold in Bangkok, which is normally always hot.  It warms up a bit during the day, and in the sun it feels hot, but we know better than to get too happy with that.  Waiting for warm.

There have been a couple of responses with half the answer.  The 'Zany Day' song strikes again.  Brother Denny got it, so can you.  "Well, __ __ __ she's built for speed, she got everything that Uncle John need, oh baby, Ye-e-eah baby.  Woo-o-o-oh baby, havin' me some fun tonight.  Well, I saw Uncle John with __ __ __.  He saw Aunt Mary comin' and he ducked back in the alley.  Oh baby...."  Clue:  It's obviously a woman, and she happens to have a height advantage on Uncle John.  Hmm, her name rhymes with alley.  Now I've given it away.  Note:  On the record it sounds like the singer is saying '...Sawn Mary comin'..."  Hey, it's Rock & Roll.

I've been quite proud of my quick 'transition' with the turn signal lever since our return from America.  This morning, on our way home from Makro, Lisa said something about California and at the next turn I hit the wiper lever.  A truly Pavlovian reflex.  

Our big adventure today was dinner at a little fish restaurant.  We were invited by our friends Cornilus and Anoi.  They told us it was the best fish in town so we went for it.  We got there a little early and checked out the set up.  In the very front, right by the sidewalk, was what can best be called a multi-rotissorie table with about 6 or 8 fish slowly turning over hot coals.  They only serve Tub Tim (the correct spelling) and they have different sizes depending on your appetite.  Our friends had ordered in advance and when we finally sat down we were given two small bowls containing sauces, a basket of fresh salad greens and herbs, and a plate of rice noodles.  Then came the fish.  Two giant Tub Tim were placed on the table, one for each couple and we learned how to take off the skin.  The fish was very tender and tasty.  We had lots to talk about since we hadn't seen them for awhile.  The owners name is Pok and they told us he always has a big smile on his face.  We will probably be ordering fish-to-go when Boot goes on vacation later this month.  


Tonight was Cat's first session with a math tutor in Bangkok.  They used Skype and it appears to be going well.  She actually found this teacher on her own and will be getting help with Algebra and Geometry three times a week.  We've also learned that there is a general math course that all students take, and a college prep course that includes the subjects she's getting help with.  If you think that's hard, she has three English teachers and each of them gives tests.  We are in awe at her determination and perseverance.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny 

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness.
Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that."
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Forward

Hi,

Well, today was Lisa's birthday (1-22).  We spent the first half of the day in the streets, then a fun dinner at home.

It seems that the 'Easy Monday' song was only remembered by a few readers.  "From Me to You" by The Beatles.  Here's hoping you can recall this 'Zany Day' song.  "Gonna tell Aunt Mary 'bout Uncle John, he claim he has the misery, but I know he's havin' fun.  Oh baby, ye-e-e-ah baby, woo-o-o-oh baby, havin' me some fun tonight.  Hint:  The title is three words, two of them describing a person, plus a name.  It's by a man who will boldly tell you that he invented Rock & Roll.  He's been around for a very long time.

One of the interesting things about living in Chiang Rai is making friends from other places and learning about customs in those places.  This morning our friend Johan came by and in the course of our conversation he told me about how he and his family celebrate New Years in Holland.  It's a gathering of many generations for dinner and games.  Then at midnight they do fireworks outside and then more games.  Around 1am the younger members go out and visit with their friends.  

We went to Chivit Tamma Da for a mid-morning breakfast and the place was practically empty.  The meal we ordered could have been split and it would have been enough.  Next time we'll try that.  As we drove away it struck me that part of the attraction of the place is that you don't feel like you're in Chiang Rai, Thailand.  It's like being transported to a European Tea Garden.  There are lots of antiques from Sweden, cool jazz in the background, and a lush view that could be anywhere.  

Dogs have an unusual amount of freedom here and that can be both good and bad.  They nap in the street, move about like they have appointments, and seem to understand the rules of the road, most of the time.  This morning, as we got in the van, a little dog came walking down the small street and greeted us, and then kept going.  A block later we passed him while he was checking out an interesting bush.  He was on his way to somewhere.  Some dogs get enough to eat, and some don't.  Some have a place to call home and some don't.  The feeling here, by many, is that they have their own path and they have to handle it themselves.  Then there are the animals that get the royal treatment with lots of pampering.  The adventure continues.

After excursions to HomePro and Central Plaza Mall, we came home and relaxed watching some tennis.  When Cat came home from school she managed to slip by Lisa without her seeing the little surprise she had cooked up.  We had a fun time talking at dinner and then Cat said she was going to start her homework.  A few minutes later she returned with a birthday cake complete with burning candles.  She and I sang to Lisa, who was totally surprised.  The cake was delicious, requiring second helpings by some at the table.  It was a wonderful evening.

Here's a photo of Lisa and Cat in front of one of the giant displays at the Flower Festival.  The figure in the background is a mannequin wearing a traditional outfit.


It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, 
if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do
you have to keep moving forward."
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Things

Hi,

It so happens that the weather in Chiang Rai is very close to the weather in Culver City, CA.  By the end of the month we will be in the 90s.  Oh joy.

I'm a little surprised that only a few of you recognized the 'Easy Monday' song.  Here's the bridge and first verse:  "I got arms that long to hold, and keep you by my side.  I got lips that long to kiss you, and keep you satisfied, oooh.  If there's anything that you want, if there's anything I can do, just call on me and I'll send it along with love __ __ __ __."  Clue:  Fab Four, happy love song.  Think, remember, sing.

All around town preparations are being made for Chinese New Year, which will be on January 31.  It's the Year of the Horse, and banners and lanterns are on sale as well as fireworks.  There will probably be a few parades and lots of special menus at restaurants.  

The last few days we've been hearing the sound of the drum corps practicing at the elementary school.  They keep getting better and better.  This morning was the culmination of all that work.  A parade down Maefarluang Rd., which is the major road near us.  It looked like the whole school had walked down to the Pink Bridge, lined up and then marched back to the school.  They were divided by classes, with the drum corps leading the way.  One class had a little girl of about 7 or 8, carrying a drum major baton, keeping time and strutting her stuff.  The children had tiny flags that matched their uniforms and they were waving them as they walked and giggled down the road.  Fortunately, they kept to the side of the road so traffic wasn't backed up.  

Our yard is turning into a regular fruit farm.  The banana tree now has two bunches growing, the coconut trees are so full they're dropping their fruit, and the tiny little mango tree has flowers already.  The other day Daku tried to eat some of the flowers but was given a lecture and has left them alone.  We also have three different kinds of orchids blooming.  There's lots to see in the yard these days.

Today's photo is an incredible 'wall of orchids' from the flower festival.  All of the flowers are orchids.  It boggles the mind as to how all of this is kept looking so fresh.  


Have a Happy Tuesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"If I cannot do great things, 
I can do small things in a great way."
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Vision

Hi,

We're still having cold weather here in Chiang Rai.  By cold I mean high 40s to low 50s at night and mid 70s in the daytime.  I think this cold stuff is following us.  I'm ready for some warm weather.

Our 'Old School Friday' song was "Silhouettes" by The Rays.  Time for some 'Easy Monday' and a song I know you'll remember:  "If there's anything that you want, if there's anything that you need.  Just call on me and I'll send it along with love __ __ __ __."  Hint:  An early one from those four lads from across the pond.  Title is full of pronouns and prepositions.  (555)

Friday night I picked up Cat and a friend after the concert.  They talked at a rapid pace all the way home.  I couldn't understand a word of it, but the energy was amazing.  After we dropped her friend off, Cat told me this was her first time going to a real concert.  She was very excited about it and wants to see more.  I got to hear a few songs as I waited for them.  What I do know is that it was loud.  I was across the street with the windows up and I could still hear everything.  

Sunday morning we were to meet our friends Stephan and Claire at Chivit Tamma Da for breakfast.  When we arrived there was no parking to be found and we ended up at Doi Chaang Coffee.  Later we found out that there was a wedding reception at Chivit.  A morning reception is a new one on me.   I can understand wanting to have it at such a beautiful spot.  The ambience is very romantic.  

We finally got to see the flower show on Sunday afternoon.  It's a smaller version of the one we missed, but still beautiful.  It's in a park in the center of town and they transform the grounds to be a giant garden.  It's across the street from Cat's school so she acted as tour guide.  We strolled around and took in the colors and smells.  There were lots of families doing the same thing, and lots of photos being taken.  Cat told us she sometimes buys her lunch and eats in the garden.  That's what I call relaxing.  I have lots of photos to share and we'll start with some color contrasts.


Chiang Rai is full of visitors these days.  There were very large crowds over the holidays and it seems like they're still here.  When we went to dinner last night at the Night Bazaar, our favorite restaurant only had a few small tables that weren't booked.  They had four large tours coming in and I saw them turning customers away.  We were going to walk around after dinner but it was just too cold.  Imagine that, too cold to cruise the Night Bazaar.  On the way home we saw the lighted decorations on Clock Tower Street, where New Years Eve had been a giant spectacle.  Friends told us the street was blocked off and there were thousands of people celebrating.  

Have a Great Week.

              Peace,
                        Danny 

"Your vision will become clear
only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens."
~Carl Jung

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The morning fog over Chiang Rai was heavier than yesterday.  Mr. Lag is still around, but we're putting up a good fight.  Day two with no nap and we're hanging tough.  

This week's 'Zany Day' song was "The Weight" by The Band.  Now it's time for 'Old School Friday'.
"Took a walk and passed your house, late last night.  All the shades were pulled and drawn, way down tight.  From within a dim light cast two __ on the shade.  Oh, what a lovely couple they made..."  Hint:  Hmm, kinda easy.  

We're gradually getting back into our regular schedule.  This morning while we got the van washed, we had coffee and conversation at Work@Home.  Khun Katai, the owner, sat with us and we had a long talk about dogs and whether she would get another dog after the passing of Jonathan.  We told her about our trip and she told us about local happenings.  Before we picked up the van we went to Doi Chaang for a bag of coffee.  We saw our friends Rachel and Tawee, from The Sold Project.  That sense of community is back full-force.

This afternoon we sold the Vios.  The car is gone.  It was a great little car and it served us well.  The cool thing about the new van is that it's not much wider than the car, which means it's not uncomfortable trying to squeeze through traffic.  Today we saw two giant tour buses and realized how narrow they are.  Most buses in the US are shorter and wider, providing more interior seating space.  I'd be curious to see inside one of these giants some day.  

This afternoon Cat called to remind us that she was going to a concert tonight in the park across from her school.  She told us about it a few days ago.  It's a band that she called 'Superstars', which means they're really good and very popular.  It reminded me of Chuck Berry's song 'Sweet Little Sixteen', about a girl wanting to go to a concert.  Do you remember those days?

The photo for today is one of the elephants in the parade yesterday.  You can see the Clock Tower and the traffic back-up.  We could see 'visitors' scrambling to get photos as the parade turned the corner.  What a treat if you're from out of town.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Stay tuned for a laugh.

               Peace,
                         Danny


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Character

Hi,

Chiang Rai had fog this morning.  It was gone in a few hours, but it was weird to wake up and not see the fields or the big trees.  Another day, another parade, just to let me know I'm not in Kansas anymore.

It would appear that the 'Zany Day' song is firmly embedded in your minds.  Here's another verse:
"Crazy Chester followed me, and he caught me in the fog.  He said,'I will fix your rags, if you'll take Jack, my dog.'  I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'  He said, 'That's okay boy, won't you feed him when you can."  Clue:  The band recorded this song in a very colorful house.  The title is not in the lyrics.

The big news from the Big Brown House is that we may have sold our car.  In other house news, there was a funeral at a house on the other side of the field, according to Boot, and two of the lantern/balloons landed in our pool, and one in our tree.  There are more of them in the field next door.  What goes up must come down.  So strange to see these gray shapes on the bottom of the pool, like monsters.  Fortunately, the pool guy came yesterday and took them out.

On my way to get the first month service on the van, I followed a caravan of pick-up trucks filled with young women holding signs.  It turned out not to be political but commercial.  They were all holding signs advertising products, but I don't know what they were selling.  First I thought it was an odd sight, but then it hit me that it was a case of shrewd marketing.  A truck filled with pretty young women will get attention, then you read the signs.  The servicing took about 30 minutes and on my way home I saw the trucks in another part of town.  What a way to spend a morning. 

This afternoon, as we drove to the bank, we made a detour when we spotted a political caravan up ahead.  In addition to the 'parades', there were numerous 'sound trucks' with large speakers blaring commercials into the public space.

Today's photo was taken at Central Plaza during an outing with Cat.  As you can see, it's a giant mobile of umbrellas.


It struck me today that driving in Chiang Rai is much slower than in Southern California.  Not only are the streets smaller, there seems to be a slower 'cultural pace'.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

"The farther behind I leave the past,
the closer I am to forging my own character."
~Isabelle Eberhardt

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Act

Hi,

Mr. Lag is a little angry with us.  We slept all night and stayed awake all day.  It's 8pm and my lids are heavy, but I'm not giving in to his madness this time.  (555)  Who am I kidding?  I'm ready to crash.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Love The One You're With" by Stephen Stills.  It should be noted that the Isley Brothers had a hit with the song one year after Still's release, in 1971.  And now, on to the 'Zany Day' song:
"I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' 'bout half past dead; I just need some place where I can lay my head.  'Hey mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?'  He just grinned at me and 'No', was all he said.  Take a load off Annie, take a load for free.  Take a load off Annie, and (and, and) you can put the load right on me."
Clue:  Find another word for 'load' and your close to the title of this song.

On our first day back in Thailand we charged ahead like Mr. Lag didn't exist.  I managed to stay on the right side of the street, which is the left side.  I only used the wipers a couple of times and adjusted to 'Thai style' driving pretty easily.   I knew I was back in the Land of Smiles when I spotted a man leaving the store with six large bags of live 'Top Tim' fish.  He probably has a restaurant or fish market.  He was proud to have their photo taken in the parking lot.


This afternoon, while doing errands, we stopped at the mall and had coffee.  On our way home we encountered a parade.  What?  A parade on a Wednesday afternoon that wasn't a holiday?  It was mostly students from a large high school near us, but what made it unusual were the two elephants bringing up the rear.  They were decorated, and their Mahoots were in traditional costume.  We don't know why there were elephants, and we may never find out.  It's just another one of those things you don't see every day.  Hmm.

During dinner we were discussing Cat's weekend plans and she told us that Saturday her school class is going to take food and clothing to children in a village next to her village.  She told us they have no parents and often don't have warm clothes.  It was one of those moving moments, hearing the compassion of this sixteen year old who has no parents of her own.  

OK, about to surrender to His Majesty Mr. Jet Lag.  Time to turn on the Australian Open and nod off to dreamland.  

Time for Wacky Wednesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

"However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act upon them?"
~Buddha

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Measure

Hi,

We're back in Chiang Rai.  We got a wild greeting from the dogs, Boot was happy that we were home, and when Cat came home from school she gave us a 'Welcome to Chiang Rai' post card with a sweet message on the back.  While it's good to be home, we will miss The Boys back in Culver City.  We had some good times. 

Lots of emails came in on this one.  That tells me it was truly an 'Easy Monday' tune.  Here's the second verse:
"Don't be angry, don't be sad.  Don't sit crying over good times you've had.  Well there's a girl sitting right next to you, and she's just waiting for something to do.  Well there's a rose in a fisted glove.... __ __ __ __ __."  Hint: It was written by an artist who was suite on some eyes.  

We did a lot of sleeping on the first (the longest) part of our journey.  That might be why we're so sleepy now.  Maybe our Jet Lag won't be as bad.  Our second EVA flight was without the overpowering presence of Miss Kitty and it was a relief.  Are flights were on time and our bags arrived safely.  

Rudi picked us up at the airport and drove us home.  Our little van was a welcome sight and I forgot how nice it rides.  

We already have a breakfast booked with friends on Sunday to recap the trip.  So many memories to try to sort out and replay.  

Today's photo is a street corner in downtown Culver City.  The signs are distances to 'Sister Cities'.  Great idea.


Have a Happy Tuesday

             Peace,
                        Danny

"The measure of our life is not whether others know our name,
but whether we have touched the lives of others."
~Unknown


Monday, January 13, 2014

Think

Hi,

We just got through with the longest segment of our trip.  LA to Taipei, 13 hours and 45 minutes.  It's now 6:45am in Taipei, the lounge is a little chilly but the coffee is hot.  
The 'Old School Friday' tune was "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry.  I guess it's 'Easy Monday' time somewhere in the world.  While the management doesn't necessarily condone the behavior set forth in this song, it's still a great piece of musical 'stuff'.  "If you're down and confused, and you don't remember who you're talking to.  Concentration slips away, because your baby is so far away.  Well there's a rose in a fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove.  And if you can't be with the one you love, honey, __ __ __ __ __..."  Hint:  Do we really need to go there?  (555)

Today's message is really just to keep in touch and let you know where we are.  We fly to Bangkok (3 1/2 hours) at 8:10am and our flight to Chiang Rai comes not long after landing.  

The plane from LA was the EVA Airlines 'Hello Kitty Jet'. The little cat was all over the plane.  They even had Hello Kitty toilet tissue.  The plastic utensils were not spared the 'Kitty' treatment.  For your dining pleasure (or not), I call your attention to the second item on the menu below.  Hmm.


Well, that's about it from the lounge.  I'm off to see if I can get a photo op with Miss K.  

Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                          Danny

"Happiness is something that you are,
and it comes from the way you think."
~Wayne Dyer

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

With three more nights on the continent, we're getting that feeling.  So much to do, so little time, but soon we'll be home.  Thursday was another exciting day in LA.

Our 'Zany Day' song was "Smokey Joe's Cafe", by The Robbins, who later became The Coasters.  'Old School Friday' is next, with what could be an autobiographical sketch by a man that shaped Rock & Roll.  You must remember this: "Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans, way back up in the woods among the evergreens... There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood, where lived a country boy name of __ __ __.  He never ever learned to read or write so well, but he could play a guitar like ringing a bell..."  Hint:  It's a name.  Artist Hint: Can you Duck Walk?

Our Thursday schedule was very interesting.  On our way to run errands, we stopped in front of the duplex where we lived for three decades.  The current tenant was in the yard and invited us inside.  He had made some beautiful improvements and it felt warm and homey.  We also got some gardening ideas as well.

Lisa drove for the first time in a long time and loved it.  She had an early breakfast with a friend.  We had lunch at the University Club on the campus of USC with another friend.  We returned to Eastwind for another Thai dinner with more Valley Cousins.  One thing we've noticed from all these visits with friends is that it's becoming hard to remember who said what, when.  The information is there, but it's hard to place the source.  Hmm, sensory overload.

I got feedback on the relativity of 'cold' and I stand by my statement.  Nobody told y'all to go to that cold climate (555).  Our bodies actually change and acclimate to the weather where we live, so it's a real thing.  Now, turn on that heater.  Soon enough, I'll be complaining about how hot it is, maybe.

It seems that 'Chinese Laundry' is a chain of shoe stores.  I did not know this, since I don't wear heels.  As for the other stores, many of you still hold Fedco and Sav-on dear to your hearts and I was told that Rite-Aid ice cream is still in a Thrifty container.  Hmm.  I guess we're not the only ones hanging on to the good old days.

Today's photo was taken on our tour of the duplex on Duquesne.  This desk was made out of discarded pallets.  Very creative.  


I just realized that this is the last message from America.  We leave on Sunday night, but I will post a travel update from Taipei.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.  

                Peace,
                          Danny