Monday, March 31, 2014



The weekend in Chiang Rai was pretty mellow.  We visited with a friend, went to an art exhibit, had lunch with a one-year old, and stayed out of the heat as much as we could.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Just One Look" by Doris Troy.  Time for some 'Easy Monday'.  Here's a classic:
"I, I love the colorful clothes she wears, and the way the sunlight plays upon her hair.  I hear the sound of a gentle word on the wind that lifts her perfume through the air.  I'm pickin' up __ __, she's givin' me the excitations.  I'm pickin' up __ __ ...."   Hint:  Something about a positive buzzing.  

We basically hid from the heat during the day on Saturday.  For the next week the forecasts are calling for temps over 100 F.  The evenings are a tiny bit cooler so we went into town and hung out with our friend Kay at NorThai.  It was nice to catch up on local happenings and talk about our pets.  

There was a special art workshop for kids at Art Bridge last week and Sunday there was a program to celebrate the young artists.  When we arrived they were passing out certificates to the children.  The 70 kids were mostly elementary school age, and they were all wearing special Art Bridge T-shirts.  Their work was displayed on vertical panels along the walls of the outer gallery.  They each did six works using various medium.  The staff did a great job of inspiring the kids and we may have some future artists out of the group.  There was lots of picture-taking and a feeling of community filled the room.  One of the original goals of the Art Bridge project was to nurture young people and expose them to the world of art.   Today's photo shows one of the kids getting her certificate, and some of the artwork on display.

We're still dealing with the 'haze', which is like a really bad smog.  The big news from Chiang Mai this week was a comment made by the governor, stating that wearing face masks was bad for the city's image.  He reprimanded the press and created an even bigger backlash.  His comments came after a march by citizens demanding that something be done about the air.  Now the campaign has grown even bigger through various social media outlets.  Hmm, the elephant in the room is getting lots of attention.  

This morning we went to the post office to pick up my new harmony device.  Needless to say, I have been working away, learning the various possibilities and relearning some songs in the process.  I am able to add either one or two part harmony to my voice and it is truly inspiring.  It's been a long time since I sang with anyone and it feels good.  (555)  For anyone who is mildly interested, it's a T.C. Helicon Harmony Singer and there are lots of examples on Youtube.  

Caty and Jaiya, one of her twins, came over for lunch today.  We had a really nice visit with Caty, and Jaiya was a charmer.  She and Boot hit it off, and near the end of the visit she invented a little game.  The twins turned one on Friday and later this week we're going to a 'Birthday Swim Party'.  

Have a Great Week.


"There are far, far better things
ahead than any we left behind."
~C.S. Lewis

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Funnies


The hot keeps getting hotter and the haze keeps getting hazier.  The key is to do outside things in the morning and stay inside during the afternoon, unless there is a meeting with a friend or a trip to the bus station.  Hmm, we get around.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  'Old School Friday' is next, and we go back to 1963 for an R&B hit.  "__ __ __, and I fell so hard (hard, hard) in love with you, oh-oh, oh-oh.  I found out how good it feels to have your love, oh-oh, oh-oh...  I thought I was dreamin', but I was wrong, yeah, yeah, yeah.  Oh, but-a, I'm gonna keep on schemin' till I can a-make you, make you my own."   Hint:  The title has to do with something the eyes do.  This tune has had many covers through the years.  Extra Cool Points if you know the original artist.

This morning we took Daku on another 'field trip'.  This dog knows a lot of words and when he heard 'go out', he started getting excited.  When I put on my waist bag he knew something was up.  When Lisa picked up his leash he knew he was going somewhere.  Today we took him to a place we'd been before, where there is thick grass and a view of the river under a big tree.  We were having a perfect time and he was doing great until a woman came over to us and told us we had to leave.  It seems she has two dogs that she said, 'bite people'.  We never saw the dogs but that was all I needed to hear.  We later learned from our friend Gary, that she never trained the dogs.  Hmm, there is something to be said for taking responsibility of one's pets.  We'll cruise around town and look for another spot that has the same vibe.  Daku is liking the rest of the world.  Today's photo shows a boy and his dog by the river.

This afternoon I had a 'coffee chat' with my friend Yai, the bamboo artist.  We hadn't had one of our meetings in a long time and it was good to hang out with him.  Our conversations always cover a wide range of topics from spiritual to political.  Today he told me some stories about the kids in his Saturday art class.  He holds the classes outside, under a big tree and they learn about many different ways to make art.  He also teaches them little life lessons at the same time.  I usually don't bring up politics with locals since it's become such a volatile subject.  Today, Yai brought it up and wanted to discuss the state of current affairs.  Fortunately, it was easy to stay focused on the health of the nation as opposed to the specific parties.  We both agreed that change will have to come from the young people of Thailand.  The importance of English as a second language got lots of time as well.  He learned most of his English by watching a movie over and over again.  He's a very smart man and has a more worldly view than many of his peers.  We left feeling refreshed by our conversations and full of new thoughts to ponder.  

There are some things that cross all cultural boundaries.  One of those has to be the chatter of two teen-aged girls in the back seat, especially when the chatter is in another language.  This evening we took Cat to the bus station south of town for her tree project trip to Bangkok.  During dinner Lisa asked her if she was getting excited about her trip.  She said she wasn't, but by the time we hit the road it was clear that she was in 'the zone'.  She and Pown were having a very animated conversation and it was hard to figure out what they were talking about.  The bus trip takes 12 hours, which is longer than I care to sit on a bus, but I'm not a teen heading for a week in the big city.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the 'Funnies'.


Thursday, March 27, 2014



We had more hot weather today.  The air is slowly creeping to the ugly side.  No rain is predicted for a couple of weeks.  

This week's 'Zany Day' song was called 'Cowboy' song back in the day.  If you know this one, you're from then (555).
"I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine.  I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine.  I loaded __ __ of number nine coal, and the straw boss said 'Well, a-bless my soul'.  You load __ __, what do you get..."  Hint:  One word is actually a number.  Hmm.

The peace and quiet of the morning was interrupted by the sound of a tractor moving dirt around on the lot behind us.  With the windows closed it wasn't so bad.  Then came the dump trucks.  I thought they were done with that part of the job, but no.  If they add much more dirt, it will be higher than our property.  Meanwhile, right next to the new dirt, the farmer and his wife planted more seeds for a new crop of vegetables.  I guess it will be some time before it gets filled in.  Looking on the bright side, if and when they begin to build a little house, it won't take long to complete it since it's a tiny lot.

Our afternoon coffee time was spent at Work@Home.  Cat went with us and ordered a fruit cocktail that was an amazing dessert.  Picture a small 'fountain style' glass filled with ice-cream, dragon fruit, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and apple, topped with whipped cream.  Oh my.  Our friend Andrew was there and he and I had a long conversation about the teaching of English.  He is the director of the language school where Cat studied.  Part of our discussion centered around the cultural shift that is going on in Thailand as a result of the internet exposure that so many young people are getting.  When I mentioned the skateboard shop in Central Plaza he noted that the generation 'gap' is becoming a totally different thing than in the past.  Today, young people here are adopting many things from the 'West', and moving farther away from the traditional ways of their parents.  Those learning another language  are creating a cultural shift that may leave the older generation behind.  Hmm.  Lots to think about from a sociological point to view.

Sometime next week I will take delivery of a device that will kickstart my music.  It's a pedal that has the ability to create two voices in harmony with mine, based on the chord I'm playing on the guitar.  Wow, me, myself and I, singing again.  I'm getting excited about the possibilities.  

Today's photo was taken at Work@Home and it shows what happens when hail meets a canvas awning.  Nasty business.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
~Douglas Adams

Wednesday, March 26, 2014



Chiang Rai is back in the 'Hot Season' business.  Today was a scorcher.  We continued with storm recovery, took Daku on a field trip, and helped Cat prepare for her trip to Bangkok.  It was a full day.

Our 'Easy Monday' song was "Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters.  It's 'Zany Day' time with an oldie:
"Some people say a man is made outta mud.  A poor man's made outta muscle and blood.  Muscle and blood and skin and bones.  A mind that a-week and a back that's strong.  You load __ __, what do you get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.  Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go.  I owe my soul to the company store."  Hint:  This one's about a measure of weight, sung by a man whose first name is a state.  Hmm.

This morning the yard crew came early, which meant that Daku and BamBam didn't get their morning play time.  We took Daku on a little trip to the fairgrounds for some exercise and leash training.  This was the second time at this particular site and he was a different dog.  He didn't tug on the leash and get all frantic.  There was the typical inspecting of everything that could be smelled, but he was fun to be with.  The last time is was a workout just to keep him on the path.  While we were walking I saw a hole, which caused me to double back.  It turns out it was a burrow of an unknown creature.  I will keep showing the photo to friends until I find out what made it.  There was another one not far away.  We are very curious.  Of course, it merits the position as photo of the day.

We usually have a list of things to do when we leave the house.  This morning's list included coffee and a car wash.  Even though our little van sits in a carport, when the wind is whipping around it gets wet anyway, and since it was already dusty, it looked terrible.  We hung out at Work@Home and had another of our interesting conversations with our friend Katai, the owner.  The topic of the storm came up and she showed us one of their awnings that had been pelted by the hail.  (tomorrow's photo)  I'll just say, hail is not something to be underestimated.  

On some of the wider streets in Chiang Rai, the use of diagonal parking has allowed for a greater number of cars to visit businesses.  The only problem with this is when it's time to back out of the space.  Visibility is almost zero due to so many pickup trucks and SUVs.  That's where the 'parking people' save the day.  These are the folks who take our money when we park.  This uniformed brigade not only serves as the 'meters', but they also help guide you into the traffic.  Standing in full view of the rear-view mirror, they each have their own style of hand gestures to let you know when to go and when to turn your wheels.  On some streets they are a big aid in parallel parking.  The 4 Baht (12 cents) we give them goes a long way.

On Friday, Cat will be going to Bangkok with two other students and a teacher for a progress meeting on their tree project.  There are five teams of students from different provinces, all working on a project to make Thailand a better, cleaner country.  Some have recycling plans, others are involved with beautification.  They will stay in a large house that is set up like a dormitory, with ten students to a room.  Cat will be there for about a week, so we went to the 'big market' for supplies.  During our shopping, we met one of her 'team mates', named Dream.  It's fascinating to see how kids who don't really speak much English come up with English nicknames.  Some of them are very creative.
This evening Cat is teaching Lisa how to write her name in Thai.  The adventure continues.

Looks like a Wacky Wednesday.


"To the world, you may be one person;

but to one person, you may be the world."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014



Blue skies and clear air for most of the day.  Around town and in our yard, clean up is happening.  We have survived the 'Storm of the Century' for this month. 

It looks like this week's 'Easy Monday' song really is easy.  I'll bet a few more lyrics and clues will bring it all back.
"What I've got they used to call the blues.  Nothin' is really wrong, feelin' like I don't belong.  Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown, __ __ __ __ always get me down.  Clue:  There is a kind of weather and a day of the week involved.

Today the work began to keep the rain from coming into the house.  Khun Mahn came over and climbed onto the tiles and discovered the problem.  This afternoon he returned with his helper to start patching a long crack. There are many ways to do some things.  It seems that safety is not always a priority, or a consideration.  Before Khun Mahn arrived I was wondering how he was going to deal with working on the roof.  Things like ladders and scaffolding were in my mind.  When I looked out from an upstairs window to see how it was going I got a big surprise. Today's photo shows Mahn on the roof bracing himself against the end of a bamboo pole.  Hmm.

I think I am slowly understanding the rules of the road.  There are just a few, and that is what has made it so hard to understand.  Chiang Rai is still a 'small town' in its own eyes.  By that I mean that most of the folks who were born and raised here, see it as a place where everyone knows what the other is doing while they're driving.  One just knows that motorbikes will turn in front of you in an intersection and you let them go.  They understand that the heat of the motor makes it uncomfortable to sit still at red lights, so moving to the front of the line keeps you cooler and makes it easier to start moving on the green.  If you see me, you won't hit me, regardless of what I'm doing.  Size matters and trucks trump cars and bikes.   So, if I start thinking of this as a country town again, maybe it will be easier to tolerate some of what I was calling erratic driving.  (555)  It's simply about getting from point A to point B.

We met our friends Nukoon and Sutheera for lunch at Central Plaza.  We always have fun talking and laughing with them, and we always learn something new.  Today we learned that many of the hotels in Phuket have front desk staff from the Philippines.  Because it's a major tourist destination, having staff that is fluent in English makes for fewer communication problems.  Thailand is playing 'catch up' as far as fluency in English.  It was recently addressed by the government, and changes are being made to prepare students for the future.  

Tomorrow the yard crew is coming to take care of the mess that the storm produced.  It will be nice to have things back where they belong, although the dogs like all the new smells.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"We need the courage 
to learn from our past
and not live in it.
~Sharon Salzberg

Monday, March 24, 2014



There is an old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."  Well, we wished for rain and we got more than we asked for, for sure.  Read on...

'Old School Friday' was The Temptations singing "I Wish It Would Rain".  Boy, did it ever, which leads us to 'Easy Monday':  "Talkin' to myself and feeling old.  Sometimes I'd like to quit; nothing ever seems to fit; hangin' around, nothing to do but frown.  __ __ __ __ always get me down."  Hint:  There is a direct connection with 'Old School' and the nature of our weekend.  It's by a brother/sister team that we've been close to.  Hmm.

Saturday afternoon the sky got dark and we had a very nice rain shower.  The air was fresh and the evening was very pleasant.  On Sunday we suspected the same thing might happen, based on the clouds.  We don't have the good fortune of having a news program with MegaDoppler images and accurate predictions.  We have to go by the look and feel of the sky.  One thing we know is that when the wind starts whipping the trees around, and the sky gets dark, it's time to baton down the hatches.  Whenever there was a clap of thunder, BamBam would either run to where I was sitting, or hide beside or behind something.  Today's photo shows her sitting in a small area, hiding from the big noise outside.

Sometimes the wind dies down when the rain begins.  On Sunday they both came together in one of those monsoon type storms.  Things were flying around the yard, and we could tell we were in for a ride.  Then we heard a tapping sound on the windows and realized that it was hailing.  The lawn was covered with what looked like moth-balls.  Cat, Lisa and I stood looking out in amazement.  We'd never seen this in our part of town.  Apparently it was happening all over.  When we went to check one of the doors on the west side of the house we discovered the curse of the horizontal wind.  Water was coming into the house in the hallway.  It gets blown under the roof tiles and works it's way down the walls.  This happened once before so we knew what to do.  Get all the towels and block the flow.  Such fun.  To add insult to injury, late that night the power went out for 1 1/2 hours.  We managed just fine with flashlights, hanging out watching TV shows on the laptop until the lights came back on.  What a night.

This morning, when I took Cat to The Brain, there were messes all over town.  Trees had been blown down, lots of leaves in the street, and giant puddles that made for one-lane traffic in some areas.  A friend of ours posted photos of her kitchen with its roof on the floor.  She was very upbeat about the whole thing.  'Don't worry, I have a man to fix it.  Time for a new house'.  That's what I call a positive outlook.  Later she posted photos of the finished job.  

All I asked for was a little rain to clean the sky.  Hmm.

Have a Great Week.


"You can't direct the wind,
but you can adjust your sails."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Funnies


Today was cooler, but the haze/smoke was the worst yet.  Daku went to the doctor, and Cat went to her village.

The 'Zany Day' song was "England Swings" by Roger Miller.  Now, for some 'Old School Friday'. "Sunshine, blue skies, please go away.  My girl has found another and gone away.  With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom.  So day after day, I stayed locked up in my room.  I know to you it might sound strange, but __ __ __ __ __."  Hint:  We sing this song everyday.  I'm tempted to give more clues but I might rain on your parade.

This morning we had to take Daku to see Dr. View, his vet.  The hot-spot on his chin looked like it was getting better, but then it spread to another area and he needed relief.  Somehow, he knew something was up even before we went downstairs.  He senses things and when Lisa got his leash, he knew he was going for a ride.  At the vet's office there was no waiting and once he knew he was going to get taken care of, he relaxed.  He's a pretty good patient.  He got a couple of shots, and some medicine that should have him doing much better in a week.  When we got home he tore around the yard doing the 'crazy run'.  

On our ride to the vet's in Ban Du, we were quite surprised to see a group of serious bicycle riders out on the road with no masks.  Some outdoor workers were wearing them, but many weren't.  In the afternoon we saw an ultra-light pilot fly overhead.  That puzzled me since the air is so thick, there is really nothing to see.  Oh well.

Cat went to her village after her session at The Brain.  Tomorrow she will work with other students, making the final plans for the tree planting project.  Next weekend she will go to Bangkok with a teacher and a few students.  They will meet with other kids from different provinces and they will present their projects.  

We are still seeing forecasts for either rain or thunder storms over the weekend.  It would be so great if it actually happened.  This afternoon the sun was red.  I have a friend who lives in Chiang Mai and he said that some of the burning has forced some small animals (squirrels, cobras, lizards, etc.) from their habitats.  They have moved into his yard and he's hoping they will leave when things return to normal.  We are fortunate that we don't have open fires in our area.  At least not near us.  Life goes on and we stay inside as much as possible.  

Today's photo was taken in our front yard.  This delicate orchid really did its thing for spring.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It's time for some 'Funnies'.


Thursday, March 20, 2014



Today was the coolest day in over a week, here in Chiang Rai.  Could it be a prelude to the rain that's predicted for Saturday?  It may have been cool, but it was also darker than usual.  Very ironic since this is the first day of spring.  It's the Vernal Equinox here in Thailand.  

This week's 'Zany Day' song brought some quick responses.  Here's a fun verse to ponder.  
"Mama's old pajamas and your papa's mustache.  Falling out the window sill, frolic in the grass.  Tryin' to mock the way they talk, fun but all in vain.  Gaping at the dapper men with derby hats and canes.  __ __ like a pendulum do, Bobbies on bicycles, two by two..."  Clue:  It's across the pond, and it's doing something.

One of the big questions on everyone's mind is, 'Where does the haze come from?'.  In a recent article in an expat newspaper we learned that some of it comes from the usual suspects, the people who burn their trash and yard waste.  Now it comes out that various government agencies are also responsible for the haze.  In some cities the people are asking the agencies to stop burning.  Change is on the wind, along with a lot of smoke.

This evening we went to dinner with our friends Stephan and Claire.  Flavola Italian Restaurant at Le Meridien Resort was our destination and the perfect occasion for Cat to wear her new dress.  Stephan is the general manager of the hotel/resort and it's always fun to hear what's going on in 'the business'.  This time of year is usually slow for tourism, since the High Season is over, but occupancy is high and there are a lot of Americans.  While Lisa, Cat and Claire talked about books and things, Stephan and I discussed Formula One, things with wheels, and the possibilities for speedboat tourism on the Mae Kok River.  (555)  

Our photo today is a picture of springtime at Charin Gardens.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014



The Chiang Rai forecast is more of the same, only hotter.  What we need is a heavy rain to clean everything up.  

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Do You Want To Know a Secret?" by The Beatles.  Do you know this 'Zany Day' song?
"__ __ like a pendulum do, Bobbies on bicycles, two by two.  Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben.  The rosy red cheeks of the little children."  Hint:  This chorus will probably haunt you (555).  Artist/writer had a string of novelty country-style 'Zany' tunes.  We featured one last week.  Hmm.  Oh, it's about a place.

The official date for the observance of Songkran, the celebration of the Thai New Year, is April 13.  Preparations have already begun for the wettest week of the year.  We went to Big C today and there were large displays of colorful flower shirts.  It's the same thing all over town.  Places that don't even sell clothes are selling 'Songkran shirts'.  Big C also has a giant section of water guns, pool toys, and bathing suits.  The water shooting devices will be used on the streets to wet down passers by, the pool toys will probably be used for frolicking in the river, and the bathing suit sales will most likely be low since most Thai people swim in their clothes.  Cat asked us what we will do for Songkran and we told her, 'Hide'.  Most people are surprised that we don't get out there and mix it up, but the idea of being dowsed with water for fun is not on my list.  We do like to ride around a bit, with the windows up, and watch the kids play.

If today's temp reached 100 F, it's going to be even hotter tomorrow.  One prediction is for 106.  It's unfortunate the air is so bad, or we'd be camping out in the pool.  The water is finally near our 'minimum' temp and we have to just gaze on it from inside.  

During one of our many interesting conversations at dinner this evening, Cat looked at me and said, 'You are very strong'.  OK, what did she mean?  She told us that in her village, people my age seemed very old, but I seemed to be able to do many things.  We talked about it more and the conclusion was that the hard physical life, an unbalanced diet, and lack of preventative measures probably contribute to a faster aging process.  I'll keep taking my vitamins and eating my vegetables.

Today's photo is an update on our local 'Coffee Guy' on the corner.  His business has picked up and today you can see for yourself.  He now has someone helping him fill orders.  Nice to see it working for him.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"The joy is in the journey
the destination is always changing."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014



Well, according to the weather reports, we reached 100 F today.  We still have to translate from celsius, which was 38 degrees.  Either way, it's hot.  There is a prediction for rain this weekend.  I won't hold my breath.

I'm sure more than one of you knows the 'Easy Monday' song.  There aren't a lot of lyrics to this tune, so here's the bridge and the first verse again:  "I've known a secret for a week or two, nobody knows, just we two.  Listen, __ __ __ __ __ __ __?  Do you promise not to tell?  Whoa oh, oh...."  Hint:  It's the Fab Four again.  Shh, don't tell.

This morning, as I drove out into the street, I saw a sign on our property between the road and our front wall.  It was in Thai and there was the number 50 on it.  I became irate at the idea that someone had just pounded this sign on our land without asking.  When I returned home Lisa talked to Boot and we found out it was cautioning drivers about the dump trucks 50 meters down the road.  There is a very large piece of land that is being 'filled' and it's been a constant procession of big trucks for several days.  It wouldn't be so bad except when they dump the load of dirt, they rock the trucks to get all of the dirt out.  The tailgate bangs against the bed of the truck and makes a loud booming noise that is startling every time.  Eventually they will finish the job and it will be quiet.  Our biggest concern is what will become of this big lot.  If they build apartments or condos, the traffic will change our little road forever.  On the other hand, they may be filling it to sell it, which means it might stay vacant for years.  Hmm.

The air quality, or the lack of it, has become the subject of many conversations lately.  Friends who ride bicycles are parking them until things clear up.  More and more people can be seen wearing masks on the street, especially motorbike riders.  What's really ironic is the fact that southeast of us, in the province of Loei, they had hail and the countryside looked as if it had snowed.  Can we please have some of that?  It's funny, when Thais hear about cold weather in America, they assume that the whole country is cold.  Lisa explained to Boot that there are many kinds of weather in America because it's a very large country.  Now we can say the same for Thailand.  Maybe not as large, but there is certainly diversity in the weather.  

One of the nice things about taking Cat to school in the morning has been the light traffic.  It gives me a chance to see things I normally would miss, dealing with all the motorbikes, cars and trucks.  Today's photo is a patch of vacant land in the middle of town.  I stopped one morning last week and captured this photo just for you.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


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

Monday, March 17, 2014



Hot and hazy is the norm right now.  This weekend saw us going to the mall, enjoying colorful dirt, and watching Daku join a game of badminton.  Our full moon was orange, which was pretty for the wrong reason.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "You Really Got a Hold on Me" by The Miracles.  Time for some 'Easy Monday'.
"(Intro) You'll never know how much I really love you.  You'll never know how much I really care.  (Verse)  Listen, __ __ __ __ __ __ __?  Do you promise not to tell?, whoa oh, oh.  Closer, let me whisper in your ear, say the words you long to hear, I'm in love with you..."  Hint:  It's about something told in strict confidence.

Going to Central Plaza Mall is not an unusual thing to do, but I realized this weekend that part of my fascination with being there is seeing the cross-section of the people of Chiang Rai.  There are some who think it's just a bunch of 'HiSo', upwardly mobile Thais out shopping.  That's partly true, but it's also average families spending time together, and various subcultures meeting or cruising just for fun.   On our trip this time we saw a group that could have been from anywhere in the west.  They were young men and women with radical haircuts, lots of tattoos, and a vibe that felt like Rock & Roll.  We also saw folks who wore the ethnic garb of their Hill Tribe.  School is out for most students and it was quite evident.  During our daily travels we don't usually get to see all of these wonderful people.

Today's photo was taken at Central Plaza in one of the outside areas.  The horse is made entirely from branches of wood that have been sanded and assembled.  We don't know who the artist is, but it's a very creative use of natural a natural medium.  

After their last day of science camp, Cat called to say that she and Pown were going to eat dinner at Walking Street. That's the Saturday night market that takes up many blocks through the downtown section of Chiang Rai.  They called back to say they wanted to see a 'show' and would be ready to come home later than planned.  Later Cat explained that show they saw was a group of university students from the south of Thailand, where there has been much unrest.  The students were Muslim and their presentation was to show that their region was not all bad.  They wanted the audience to see that they were just like anyone else, trying to live and be happy and productive.  The girls were quite impressed with all of this and learned a lot.  I'm glad they stayed.  On our way home I pointed out the orange moon in the night sky and explained that it was caused by the smoky air.  

Sunday afternoon Cat and Pown were playing badminton on the front lawn.  They were having a great time laughing and the dogs really wanted to be out there with them.  We finally let them out and they ran around for a bit.  Then Daku saw the birdie flying through the air.  He watched it go back and forth and when Cat missed a shot, he pounced on it and ran away.  Lisa finally got it away from him, after he'd chewed on it.  He was 'benched' and the girls continued their play after we all got over all the laughing.  

This weekend there was a 'land filling' project on the main road near our house.  A lot had been cleared and dirt was brought in to even the land and raise it above the level of the street.  The dirt was a deep maroon color that we've seen out in the country-side.  It doesn't really look like dirt it's such a beautiful color. 

Have a Great Week.


"What we see depends mainly on what we look for."
~John Lubbock

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Funnies


The weather began like it was going to be a cooler day.  Ha, little did we know it was just a trick.  By this afternoon it was hot and hazy.  We had a great day anyway.  The weekend will be filled with fast cars.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Pin Ball Wizard" by The Who, from the Rock Opera "Tommy".  'Old School Friday is next.
"I don't like you, but I love you.  Seems like I'm always thinking of you.  Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly, I love you madly, __ __ __ __ __ __ __.  I don't want you, but I need you.  Don't want to kiss you, but I need you.  Oh, oh, oh, you do me wrong now, my love is strong now, __ __ __ __ __ __ __."  Clue:  The singer is in the firm grip of love.  The group is from that place where they used to make cars. 

This morning we had a surprise visit from our friends Noot and Kwan, from Doi Chaang Coffee.  They brought us some incredible flowers from their yard.  In Thai it's called 'Asok Sappan' and the tree that grows it was brought to Thailand about 30 years ago.  Only in the past few years has it bloomed.  Apparently it grows in tropical regions in different parts of the world.  

This afternoon we went to Doi Chaang Coffee for supplies (coffee), and hung out.  I browsed through a Chinese business newspaper written in English.  It struck me that living in this region has made me more aware of international news in Asia.  There is a lot going on in this part of the world that I had no clue about before.  Because some countries are relatively small, there is more interaction and dependence on neighboring countries.  As an example, some of our water supply is dependent on the dams in China.  The buying and selling of rice is another hot topic that cannot be overlooked.  We have known for some time about medical tourism, a term that was new to us until we came here.  The more you know, the more you know.

Day one of Science Camp for Cat was all physics.  The day was broken into seven 40 minute sessions.  In each session they were given a physics problem to solve.  Hmm, how I spent my summer vacation.  Tomorrow is biology and chemistry.  School here is no joke.

Yesterday was Thai National Elephant Day.  We didn't see much evidence of it here in Chiang Rai, but I'm sure there was something going on at the local rescue camps.  There is a move to enlist Mahouts (elephant handlers) to become forest rangers.  They would patrol the forest areas with their elephants, which would be good for the animals since they would be in their natural habitat.  Nice idea, I hope it happens.

Don't forget, this weekend is the beginning of the new Formula One season.  There are new rules and all the teams have brand new cars.  This should be interesting.  Zoom.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   On to the 'Funnies'.


Thursday, March 13, 2014



The weather in Chiang Rai is slowly moving into 'total' hot season.  The mornings are not as cold, which means that soon it will be warm all night and hot all day.  Hmm, just when I was getting used to this current pattern.  We also realized that it's hard to judge the seasons here.  Read on for details.

The 'Zany Day' song still lives in many hearts.  I'm not surprised since it was such an iconic production and concept.
"He's a __ __ __, there has to be a twist.  A __ __ __, s'got such a supple wrist.  'How do you think he does it? I don't know!  What makes him so good?'  He ain't got no distractions, can't hear those buzzers and bells, don't see lights a flashin', plays by sense of smell...."  Hint:  The year was 1969 and the idea of a Rock Opera seemed a little far-fetched, but it worked.

Today we tried something different.  The plan was to go to HomePro for a few items.  Instead of taking the usual route, we drove to the 'Airport road', which is a new highway designed to bypass the central part of town.  The road is fairly straight and goes directly to the south end of town.  It is clear that developers see this as the next big area for the 'new' population of Chiang Rai.  At one intersection there were giant signs for condo projects planned for three of the corners.  There were many apartment complexes near completion, and to our surprise, not one coffee shop.  Now there's an opportunity. (555)   

Cat had to go back to school today for meetings with teachers.  When I picked her and Pown up, one of the first things they said was that they wanted to swim again.  Cat's sister sent Lisa a jar of honey that was clearly not from a store.  There were bees in the honey.  What?  I guess that makes it truly organic, or something.  The girls connected one of our tiny speakers to Cat's phone by the pool and the sound of Thai rock music and laughter filled the air.  Spring is here.

Lisa made a profound observation today.  The 'season' is clearly spring, with flowering trees, nesting birds, and the usual colorful flower beds.  In other ways it feels like fall, with many trees dropping leaves that blow about in the afternoon.  What season is it, really?

Today's photo was taken at Art Bridge the last time we were there.  The artist was painting scenes based on the view from the restaurant.  I really enjoyed his use of color and the detail he got with tiny brushes.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"You have to dream
before you dreams 
can come true."
~Abdul Kalam

Wednesday, March 12, 2014



March madness takes on another meaning here in the north of Thailand.  It's the month when many people leave and go to the southern beaches, or leave the country.  The air quality is bearable if we do our shopping and errands in the morning and then camp out with the air filter and air/con in the afternoon.  That's what we did today.

'Easy Monday' turned out to be easy after all.  It was "Respect" by Otis Redding, who wrote the song and sang it first.  Now it's time for 'Zany Day' and one you may remember.  This rock song became the focus of a feature film.
"Ever since I was a young boy, I've played the silver ball.  From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.  But I ain't seen nothing like him in any amusement hall... That deaf, dumb, and blind kid sure plays a mean __ __."
Hint:  The two words in the blanks are just part of the title.  There's one more important word.  Do you know who sang it?

The tension in the van was obvious as I drove Cat to school this morning.  Today was the day she would get the results of her make-up exams in math and physics.  Later today she called us to say she passed them both.  She had gone to her village and was having fun at The Sold Project Resource Center.  

Yesterday, while the screen door man was working, the gate was left open.  This became an invitation for our neighbor dog, Black, to come in and wander around the yard.  Black is a beautiful, part Lab who would like to be friends with our dogs, but he spends most of each day in the streets and we're not sure what he might be carrying around with him.  This morning BamBam and Daku spent a great deal of time tracking everywhere Black had been in the yard. They finally finished their investigation and play began.  Dogs.

Today I began to tackle the eternal question:  When do memories (stuff you save) become trash?  It turns out that many things hold their sentimental value for a very long time, and others seem to fade after a few years.  Especially if I haven't seen them in all that time.  Part of the afternoon was spent purging my studio of such stuff and it wasn't all that bad (555).  I have enough audio and video cords to open a roadside store.  Hmm, I could join the folks selling the old shoes on the big road.

This morning we spotted a truck that was worthy of a photo of the day.  He must have said, 'I can do it in one trip' by the looks of things.  The cargo was foam bowls and plates used for 'to go' food.  

It must be time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Our greatest strength lies not in how much we differ from each other
but in how much - how very much - we are the same."
~Eknath Easwaran

Tuesday, March 11, 2014



Chiang Rai had slightly cooler weather today.  It was a good day for a storage sorting project, a Skype visit with friends, and a couple new doors.

This week's 'Easy Monday' song had a few half-right responses and one totally on the mark.  I'll give you some hints.
"I ain't gonna do you wrong while you're gone.  Ain't gonna do you wrong, 'cause I don't wanna.  All I'm askin' is for a little __ when you come home, hey baby, when you get home."  Hint:  The writer/singer of this tune sat on the dock of the bay, maybe 'cause he wasn't given what the title is asking.  Easy.

This morning we had a great Skype call with our friends Seth and China.  Some of you may remember Seth from his one man show, "The Godfadda Workout".  We hadn't seen each other in years, so today was a real treat.  

When we built our house, we had one room that opened onto the back deck.  We thought it might be an exercise room, but it quickly became our 'storage shed'.  Every few years we pull things out, sort through what's relevant, and try to put it back with a semblance of order.  Today was the day to do it again.   It must be a sign of maturity, but many things were 'released' without a second thought.  There is still a lot in the 'shed' but it's stuff we want to keep and we can find it.  It was a good day.  (555)

While taking Cat to school today I noticed that the little sidewalk restaurant was back in business.  Maybe they just set up for the morning crowd, providing food for those on their way to work in town.  There are many food outlets that have specific meals that they serve.  The lunch truck on Clock Tower street packs up after the lunch hours and rolls away.  I don't know if they do dinner somewhere else, but I doubt it.  They stash their tables and chairs beside a building where they park.  Then there is the nightly parking lot dinner spot that not only sets up tables and chairs, but brings potted plants and lighting as well.  Several motorcycle dealerships let food vendors use the apron in front of their businesses for evening meals.  There is so much food in the evenings that one could sample new places every night for a month and not hit them all.  Amazing Thailand.

This evening our pool had it's first swimmers of the season.  It was not us, but Cat and Pown.  They braved the chilly water for playtime, Thai style.  That means T-shirts and shorts.  It's very common for people to swim in their clothes, modesty being what it is here.  They had a ball, and when Lisa offered them pool toys it raised the level of fun.  I had to run them out of the water when it got dark, but they were worn out anyway.

Today's photo was taken at the frame factory.  One of the craftsmen was working on this large statue of Ganesha.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"The world is round, and the place which may seem like
the end may also be only the beginning."
~Ivy Baker Priest