Monday, June 30, 2014

Answers

Hi,

It's good to be back in Chiang Rai after our quick visit to Chiang Mai.  We had great weather, if you consider hot and humid to be great.   It did not rain and that's what mattered.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Try a Little Tenderness" as sung by Otis Redding.  This song was written in 1932 and has had numerous recordings.  Otis recorded it in 1966 and gave it a new life.  Now you know.  Hey, it's time for 'Easy Monday'.  "I read the news today, oh boy.  About a lucky man who's made the grade..."  Hint:  What a day.  

The Sunday morning drive to Chiang Mai was rather routine.  We stopped at Charon Gardens for lunch and pie.  When we got to our hotel there were several conferences going on and the place was jumping.  Our friend Irene had just returned from a trip to 'Tiger Kingdom' and had stories to tell.  We have never been there because I have a serious cat allergy, and tigers are big cats.  

One of the interesting things we noticed that evening as we strolled the Night Bazaar was how few visitors and vendors were on the street. It had an eerie, ghost town quality.   It was in sharp contrast to every other time we've been there.  Not only is it the 'Low Season', but with so many travel warnings in effect, tourism is down dramatically.

Our evening picked up when we had a harrowing Tuk-Tuk ride to The Good View restaurant by the Ping River.  We had a table overlooking the water, the food was good, and the live band was great.  The place was full of people in the inside area, which made our table ideal for conversation.  In contrast, Sunday nights in Chiang Rai are rather quiet.  Hmm.

The hotel has a free buffet breakfast that offers food for everyone.  In many parts of the world there is no such thing as 'breakfast food'.  Things you might think are dinner items were available for breakfast.  They also had western style items like cereal, eggs and toast.  After some of the recent airplane menus, I was happy to have a simple meal.  

Having a traveler with us on the drive back was a new experience.  There were so many things to point out as we drove through the countryside and the mountains, the time seemed to fly by.  We made another stop at Charon Gardens for lunch and pie, and I had a chance to sample Mango Pie.  Oh my, next time I just may have to order a piece.  

No trip on the highway is without new and different sights and this trip didn't let us down.  Today's photo can easily be described as a 'Heavy Load'.  I waited until the road was straight before trying to pass him.  It swayed on the curves.


I just realized that Mr. Lag didn't join us on our trip.  I guess he got tired (555).  The next few days we will be seeing the sights around Chiang Rai, and running errands at the same time.  It's going to be fun.

Have a Great Week.

                Peace,
                          Danny

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

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

So, today is Friday.  I'm sure of it.  We've gone two days without rain, but it's still hot and humid.  

The 'Zany Day' tune was "Fun, Fun, Fun" by The Beach Boys.  That can mean only one thing:  Time for 'Old School Friday'.  Here's a classic from the 60s that you should recognize with just a few words:  'Ooh, she may get weary, young girls, they do get weary..."  Hint:  It's the kind of information one might receive while sitting on the dock of the bay.  

It's day two of our return and we got real bold and didn't take a nap.  I'm not sure how this is going to work, since there was a brief 'fade' in the afternoon and now, in the evening Mr. Lag is tapping on my shoulder.  If it will keep us from waking up while it's still dark outside, then it might be worth it.  

We traveled around town a bit more today and noticed more changes.  When we left for the states, there was a piece of land that had been filled, and steel posts had been put in the ground.  I was curious as to what they were going to do.  In just two weeks it went from that odd lot to a furniture store.  That's what I'd call a quick build.  The only thing that puzzles me is how things like mattresses and upholstered furniture can stay completely dry during the rainy season.  The front is completely open and it has a tin roof.  Oh well, they're doing business.  

In our neighborhood there has been more activity on the 'Pink Bridge'.  The frail wooden railing that has been torn down by the many wind storms, is being replaced by vertical steel poles with plastic mesh between them.  We're still not sure why they tore the concrete railing down in the first place.  The expansion work is being done on the other side.  Someday the picture will become clear.  In the meantime, a small crew is being paid for another temporary measure.  

Sunday we will drive south to Chiang Mai for one night.  A friend from the States just arrived there and will ride back with us and spend a few days seeing the sights.  More on this next week.  Looking forward to playing tourist/tour guide and seeing more of our town.

Today's photo is from the plane as we approached Chiang Rai.  The countryside is lush and we could see the expanse of rice fields filled with water in sharp contrast. 


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

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Change

Hi,

This afternoon (Thursday), while lounging in the pool, I realized that I missed a day in my calculations.  The return trip to Thailand left me totally confused as to what day it was.  Now I know that it's your Thursday and hopefully, for the rest week, all the days will be in the right place (555).

A few of you got this song on the first day.  Let's see if the last verse brings back any memories.
"Well, you knew all along that your dad was gettin' wise to you now (You shouldn't have lied now, you shouldn't have lied).  And since he took your set of keys you've been thinkin' that your fun is all through now.  But you can come along with me 'cause we got a lot of things to do now, and we'll have __ __ __ now that daddy took the T-Bird away."
Clue:  A lesson to be learned about kids and cars?

Yesterday I mentioned the differences in airports.  As we walked through the departure area at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok we realized it must have been plant-changing week.  All along the long 'streets' to the main area we saw crews constructing beautiful displays, most of then featuring orchids.  Today's photo shows workers placing orchids and greenery in the big departure concourse.


This morning we went out and did the grocery shopping.  It was a chance to see what had changed in our two week absence.  It was also a time to start keeping track of how often I hit the wiper lever instead of the turn signal.  I don't think I will ever get used to the initial change in driving patterns.  Had it been a rainy day, I could say that I was wiping the windows, but it was a hot, sunny day and there was no excuse.  Sometimes it can be so embarrassing, even though nobody really cares.

Because we arrived in the afternoon, our time sense has been a little off.  The same could be said for our 'Lag' sense as well.  After lunch we took a nap like we usually do.  We hit the pool for a light swim and garden appreciation.  Things have really grown while we were away.  The everyday rains are the main reason, and we could see the difference in the height of the banana trees and some of the bushes.  What happened that was unusual was the arrival of Mr. Lag not long after dinner.  He usually hits in the middle of the afternoon.  In fact, I'm writing this message using sheer will power.  

While we were gone, Cat took care of herself in great fashion.  Daku spent the nights in her room and they are now best buddies.  This evening she went to the bus station for another trip to the Bangkok area for the last of her tree-planting project.  She will return on Monday morning and then go to school, after a 12-hour bus trip.  Luckily there's no such thing as 'Bus Lag' (555).

I know I said it before, but Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one
that is most adaptable to change."
~Charles Darwin

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Doubt

Hi,

It's Wednesday evening and we are safe and sound in Chiang Rai.  The air was hot and humid after a rain.  Later it rained again.  Welcome to the rainy season.

This week is a little out of sync, but I'll try to catch up.  The 'Easy Monday' song was "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, but most of you knew that.  We'll do a quick run with a 'Zany Day' song and then close out the week with some 'Old School'.   "Well, she got her daddy's car and she cruised through the hamburger stand now.  Seems she forgot all about the library like she told her old man now.  And with the radio blasting, goes cruising just as fast as she can now.  And she'll have __ __ __ 'til her daddy takes the T-Bird away."  Hint:  What?  It's easy, the title is three words and they're all the same.

Our trip across the Pacific took 14.5 hours.  In Hong Kong we had time to walk two long corridors in the airport, have a cup of coffee and go to the gate for our next flight.  It became clear that sending my daily message was not going to work.  There is something very strange about sleeping on an airplane.  We slept a lot but woke up tired.  The entire trip from door-to-door was 27 hours, just for perspective.

I always wonder about the people I see in airports.  When you consider that there is a story accompanying each person, the imagination could stay busy all day.  This morning we saw families with small children walking through the airport.  The sense of a pending adventure was obvious on their faces.  

Today's photo is an amazing digital installation at LAX, in the Tom Bradley Terminal.  Each vertical panel changes, with some parts spinning.  There are no moving parts, it's all done with 'digital magic'.  It's a contribution from Sydney, Australia.  


Returning to Chiang Rai International Airport was the biggest contrast of all.  When we landed and approached the terminal, ours was the only plane on the tarmac.  That's a big difference from the heavy traffic at all of the other airports.  

We didn't get to relax when we got to our house.  Daku has a giant hotspot/infection so we had to take him to the vet.  The patient is resting 'uncomfortably' and will get lots of love.

The lids are getting very heavy.  Time to call it a day and surrender to Mr. Lag.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"Doubt kills more dreams
than failure ever will."
~Unknown

Monday, June 23, 2014

Story

Hi,

It's Monday morning and the beginning of our last day in the U.S.  There are still a few things to do before we fly out tonight.  The weekend was a blast.  Stay tuned.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "We Belong Together" by Robert & Johnny.  For 'Easy Monday' we go back to the Bay Area of California for a very special time.  "One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small.  And the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all.  Go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall..."  Hint:  The two word title does not appear in the song.  It's the name of a key figure in the story that is the basis of the song, and is by a group of aviators (555).

Returning to the states every six months can sometimes be shocking.  While shopping for art supplies to take back to Thailand, we discovered that one of our favorite stores was gone.  We drove to another supply store and found out that another small chain had sold their business to the store we were standing in and yet another had scaled back their operation.  The young man behind the counter told us that digital art seemed to be dominating the field and people were not buying as much of the traditional tools.  Hmm.

On Saturday evening we had dinner with Blue at a place called Hugo's.  They cater to diners who want to eat healthy food or have dietary needs.  Our server was very helpful when it came to finding out specific ingredients is some dishes.  It was a unique experience for us and the food was good.  It was good to hang out with Blue, and talk about life in Thailand.

The party for Cousin Nowell was a gas.  For us, it was a reunion with cousins we hadn't seen  since 10 years ago in New Hampshire.  We met lots of new people and made some interesting connections.  Nowell and his wife Jennifer are getting an Airstream trailer and the birthday cake was shaped like one.  It was a cool touch.  

On Sunday, we started our activities with a piano recital that included a brilliant performance by Mr. August at the Musician's Institute in Hollywood.  We didn't stay for the whole 'show' since there were 41 'performers'.  From there we drove down Sunset Bl. and marveled at how much it has changed.  So many landmarks are gone, it was a little sad.  

Today's photo was taken on Sunset Bl.  I have often mentioned that the 'shophouse' is an integral part of life in Thailand.  What a surprise to see a Southeast Asian restaurant named 'Shophouse' right there on the boulevard.  Pretty clever.


We spent the afternoon with my mother in Altadena after a fun excursion to the giant Whole Foods store in Pasadena.  I have never seen such a large food store in my life.  Two floors of things to eat.  We didn't see much of that, since our focus was lunch, but it is enormous.  Next time we're here it may be a field trip.  It was a good day.

Have a Great Week.  I may be able to write you from Hong Kong.  What a kick.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

"When writing the story of your life,
don't let anyone else hold the pen."
~Unknown

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Today (Thursday) was a 'get things done' day, and we did.  We also managed to have a lunch, a coffee date, and a dinner.  

Only a few of you remembered the 'Zany Day' song.  It was "What I Am" by Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians.  Now let's go back farther for 'Old School Friday'.  "You're mine, and __ __ __, yes __ __ __ for all eternity.  You're mine, your lips belong to me.  Yes, they belong to only me for all eternity."  Clue:  It's sung by a male duet and it's rather possessive.  This is the bulk of the lyric so you get the idea.  Oh yeah, it's a 'slow song'.
 
There are certain items that we just can't find in Thailand, so when we make these trips we end up with many things to take home.  Trying to fit everything in our suitcases is a problem so now we mail some things home.  The main thing we send back is vitamins.  We figure out how many of each one per day, do the math and order them online.  When we get here we box them up and send them.  Today was the day for packing the boxes and visiting the post office.  In a couple of weeks we'll have our six month supply.  

I could be said that this was Thai food day for us.  We had lunch at Emerald Thai with our friend Kerrina, and dinner at East Wind with cousin Martha and her daughters.  The only thing that wasn't Thai was the coffee in the Marina.
Oh well, you can't win them all.  Some Doi Chaang would have been nice.

Today's photo is our road.  Our house is around the bend, but this tree-lined section has a calming effect after being in the city.  


I've been noticing more 'motorbikes' on the streets of L.A. this trip.  Just think, in a few years those of you living here may understand what it's like to share the road with these little things.  There will always be a cultural difference when it comes to motorbikes.  In Thailand kids learn to ride them way before they can legally operate them.  Cat learned to ride one in her village when she was 12 years old.  We see kids on the street with baby faces looking like they're 13 or 14, usually being careful not to ride on the streets where there are 'check points'.  When the police set up one of their 'zones', they stop all the bikes and inspect license, insurance, and registration.  Sometimes they keep the bike until everything is in order and the fines are paid.  That last part seems to be the most important part.  Hmm.

This weekend will be another busy one for us.  More lunches, dinners, and a party on Saturday for Nowell, of the Valley Cousins.  Sunday we will attend Mr. August's piano recital and then spend time with my mother.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Now, on to the 'Funnies'.

              Peace,
                        Danny


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Darkroom

Hi,

We're back in Culver City after our northern excursion.  It's been two full days, complete with great visits, lots of driving, and some airport sitting.  Five more days and we're back in the air.

A few of you knew the 'Zany Day' song.  If it helps, the year was 1988 and this 'folk-rock' tune was a bit about not being too deep when it came to thought.  I guess a lot of people liked the idea of being shallow.
"Choke me in the shallow waters before I get too deep.  What I am is what I am, are you what you are or what?  What I am is what I am, are you what you are, or?  Oh, I'm not aware of too many things, I know what I know, if you know what I mean.  Philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks, religion is a light in the fog.  I'm not aware..."  Clue:  The artist was a 'one hit wonder' who continued to remain a celebrity long after the song faded.  Hmm.

This morning, as we drove through Palo Alto, we noticed the orderly rush-hour traffic and how different it seemed to what we are used to.  There was a train at a major stop with people pouring out.  The city posts big signs at intersections letting you know the fine for running a red light.  I suppose that works in a place where there's someone to catch you.  In Chiang Rai it would go unread.  

We had breakfast with Lisa's father Joe, and then went to his art studio to see his latest work.  We are always amazed and inspired by the way he continues to experiment and develop his art.  Each time we visit, Lisa picks up new ideas.  Before we left we had a chance to have a nice visit with Eva.  

Our next stop was in Cupertino, where we had lunch with our friends Bill and Rachelle at a new Apple dining room.  The place was built in the same style as the one on the Mothership (555), but it's off campus.  There are stations for every kind of dish you might imagine.  Dishes can be made to order and it was hard to decide what to eat.  

I know this trip is getting to be routine when we can travel up north and not get lost.  We even got off the freeway near San Jose and drove around, sight-seeing.  We saw a large Vietnamese shopping center that is almost ready for the public.  It was a combination of business services and small shops.  Around the area we saw many Vietnamese restaurants.  

Seeing all the construction going on north and south, is interesting.  There is such a difference in the way houses are built compared to Thailand.  We're used to seeing steel-reinforced concrete pillars installed deep into the ground, followed by brick walls covered with cement.  Hmm.

There are many flowering trees starting to bloom here in Culver City.  In today's photo you see one of the varieties that blooms in Chiang Rai.  


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"Isolation is the darkroom where negatives are developed."
~Unknown

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Strength

Hi,

The weather in Palo Alto was not what had been forecast.  We were prepared for temps in the 60s, but it was a very warm day.  This segment of our Summer Visit always seems to serve up two family meals and an interesting car encounter.

'Easy Monday' was "Careless Whisper" by George Michael.  See if you remember this 'Zany Day' tune from the 80s.
"I'm not aware of too many things, I know what I know, if you know what I mean.  Philosophy is talk on a cereal box, religion is the smile on a dog.  I'm not aware of too many things.  I know what I know if you know what I mean."  Hint:  Think 'Popeye'.  What?  The singer clearly knows where she stands.  Title is three words.

When we went to get our rental car this morning, at the San Jose airport, we were assigned a Mercedes-Benz GLK 350.  It's like a very glamorous Jeep-shaped vehicle.  It took us a few minutes to figure things out inside.  We usually get a Mazda/Toyota type car with generic controls.  This MB was a whole different ride, starting with the ignition key.  Not a typical key at all, but I got it to start and off we went.  I am calling it a 'San Jose Surprise'.  Some of you may remember the time we were given a Cadillac to drive.  Fun times.

Our 'Cousin's Lunch' in Oakland was fun.  All of our visits this trip, with family and friends seem to include a conversation about the state of things in Thailand.  The more we talk about it, the more we miss home.  
The 'Family Dinner' in Palo Alto was filled with lively conversation in a newly remodeled restaurant that went from traditional Chinese food to Chinese Fusion.  The conversion was successful, the ambience was cool and the food was great.  The motel we chose this time was just a few doors away from dinner.  

Today's photo shows Berhoft in concert at the Troubadour on Monday night.  As you can see, we had a pretty good spot for viewing the show.

 
Time for a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

"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, June 17, 2014

Thinking

Hi,

It's very late on Monday night (West Coast time) so I'll make this brief.  We went out on the town to a concert and just got home.  We leave on our Northern California trip in the morning (Tuesday).

While I did get some responses to the 'Easy Monday' song, I just know more of you have been humming it. 
"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...".   

Tonight we witnessed a magical hour and a half at the Troubadour.  We saw Bernhoft in concert and he was fantastic.  He is a solo artist who literally builds each song production from scratch, right before your eyes using guitars, pianos, a loop station, and his wonderful voice.  He never performs the songs exactly the same, preferring to be spontaneous. The club was packed and a large portion of the audience knew the songs.  On one song the audience was singing the background parts and he stopped to listen to the chorus of voices.  He then jumped off the stage and fell on the floor.  When he came back he thanked us for making him a very happy man.  The icing on the cake came as we walked back to our car and a voice called out to us.  It was Emmaline, one of the Valley Cousins.  She had won tickets to the show and was, like us, still in the glow of the concert.  What a night.  Here's a link to one of his tunes.  There are tons of live performances on Youtube.


  
Tuesday in the north begins with the 'Cousin's Lunch' in Oakland, then dinner in Palo Alto with Lisa's dad, stepmom and step-sister.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

             Peace,
                       Danny

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking
we used when we created them."
~Albert Einstein 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Nothing

Hi,

Our dear friend Mr. Lag stayed with us through the weekend.  I think he may be gone now, but it didn't take away the desire for an afternoon nap.  (555)  Allowing time for our 'intruder' has been tricky, but we've learned how to schedule around him.

The 'Old School Friday' tune was "Moody's Mood for Love" as sung by King Pleasure.  It's based on a horn solo by James Moody for the song "I'm In The Mood For Love".  The style of this song is called vocalese, the art of setting lyrics to an existing instrumental improvisation.  Now you know.  I guess this means it's time for 'Easy Monday'.  
"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 the silver screen, and all its sad goodbyes.  I'm never gonna dance again.  Guilty feet have got no rhythm.  Though it's easy to pretend, I know you're not a fool.  Should've known better than to cheat a friend, and waste the chance that I've been given, so I'm never gonna dance again the way I danced with you."  Hint:  It's easy. It's about speaking very softly.  Hmm.

Saturday we had lunch with my mom and our good friend Blue.  We found a place in Pasadena that caters to specific food needs, which made it easier to order.  "Pita Jungle" is willing to work around food allergies and dietary needs, and the food was good.  We had fun driving through town, remembering what used to be on which street corner, and all the memories that came with those places.  A couple that stood out in my mind were Ford's record shop, where I bought my first 78s, and Nell's barbershop.  The very first record I got was 'Bo Diddley' by Bo Diddley.  Hmm.  Nell had a neighborhood shop where she specialized in cutting kids' hair.  She was really nice and would support whatever project we might have going.  I remember one year I was selling boxes of Christmas cards and Nell bought a box from me.  She probably had stacks of them in the back room.  

By the time we finished lunch and visited at my mom's house, Mr. Lag was tugging on my sleeve.  We drove down to Alhambra to visit Lisa's childhood friend Deb and I ended up crashing on the couch.  It was just what I needed in order to be alert for the major traffic jam we encountered on the freeway going home.  We took an alternate route down Wilshire and it was interesting to see a part of L.A. that we usually don't visit. 

We got back to the Westside in time to have dinner with our friend Kathie.  We always meet at Emerald Thai and it's always a fun visit. 

There is a little game that we've been playing in the car.  We make note of driving opportunities that might be undertaken 'Thai style' if we were in Chiang Rai.  The big one (that I wouldn't dare try here) is the practice of making a left turn in front of the opposing traffic as soon as the light changes.  It's one of my pet peeves, and I don't do it unless the oncoming cars just sit there.  Sometimes they will wait, almost expecting you to turn in front of them.  

I hope the Dads out there had a nice Father's day.  I got a card from C-Bass and August that was touching.  Lisa went to dinner with the family and I dined with my dear friend Mark.  

Today's photo was taken in Healthy Market, where we buy our vegetables and fruit.  The artist opened his shop, set out his work and took a nap.  


Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                         Danny

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Mr. Lag is in the house.  Wednesday night we went to sleep about 1am, and woke up around 5ish.  By mid-afternoon Thursday, the eyes closed again. 

The 'Zany Day' song ended up jogging some memories.  The tune was "School's Out" by Alice Cooper.  For all of you who complained about the 'Old School Friday' being too easy, here's one for you.  It's based on a sax solo, with a lyrical variation on a standard.  "There I go, there I go, there I go.  Pretty baby you are the soul who snaps my control.  Such a funny thing, but every time you're near me, I never can behave... Am I insane or do I really see heaven in your eyes?  Bright as stars that shine up above you, in the clear blue skies."  Hint:  The title is not in the lyric, but based on the name of the horn soloist.  Get this one and receive 'Very Cool Points'.

The first thing we noticed as we left the house for our first day in L.A. was the clear blue sky.  Not a cloud to be seen as far as the eye could see.  Usually, in Chiang Rai, there is something looming in the distance giving an indication of what may happen later in the day.  The night sky was very cloudy.  Hmm.  The second thing we realized was the traffic reports on the radio.  What we call traffic is a far cry from what happens here.  One report mentioned a four hour delay and gave alternate routes that might cut a couple of hours off that time.  What?  That's when we knew we were from the 'country'.  For me, the traffic offers so much to see.  So many variations on transportation, and as usual, things one just doesn't see on the road in Chiang Rai.  

Emerald Thai was our first lunch in the big city.  Our friend Nid was very happy to see us.  We talked about the state of things in Thailand and he gave us his perspective from what he saw on Thai TV and the internet.  We assured him that things were still mellow in Chiang Rai and he mentioned that his mother, who lives in Bangkok, was not worried a bit.  The place was empty so he could sit and talk.  It was a nice slice of 'home' to hang out with him.

Going to the store for food, we remembered to take bags with us.  It reminded me of shopping at Makro where nothing gets put in a bag.  We roll the cart to the van and fill our bags in the parking lot.  Once again, being able to read the signs and labels on the food was a real treat.  Another thing that reminded us that most of the year we are illiterate.  Hmm, be grateful that you can read what's all around you.

Today's photo was taken on the streets of Chiang Rai.  Here in America, tow trucks are sophisticated machines with lots of special hydraulic ways to lift a car or truck to move them when they fail.  This photo shows what can be done without the bells and whistles.  


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         Time for a 'Funny'.

            Peace,
                      Danny


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Carrier

Hi,

We have landed in America.  The long part of the trip was pretty uneventful.  Lots of sleeping, a little eating, and a few movies.  The best part is seeing the little hummingbird outside our window this morning.  

I can't believe no one got this one.  Oh well, here is my favorite verse.  Waiting to hear from the teachers (555).
"No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks, yeah.  Well we got no class and we got no principals, and we got no innocence.  We can't even think of a word that rhymes.  __ __ out for summer.  __ __ forever."
Hint:  His boa was not of feathers.  

Tales of the Hong Kong airport are brief, but interesting.  In the giant food court there are all the usual suspects, and a Popeye's Chicken, which came as a surprise.  There is a place that is called a 'Premium Spa' and it offers various treatment packages that can include assorted massages, showers, and facials.  I'll have to 'study' the menu on our return.  The line of people for this attraction tells me business is good.

So, I'm driving on the right side of the street, but the wiper thing is in full effect.  After a few moments with the local news I understand that hockey fever is growing, World Cup starts today, and there is crazy weather across the country.  Culture shock came as soon as we got in the car.  Music on the radio, all kinds of music.  Hmm, one could sit in the car all day, sampling the mix.  More on this as time goes by.

I'm off to enjoy the overcast, cool morning.  Today's photo is the giant Koy fish at Wat Rong Khun.  


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

"Enthusiasm is contagious. Be a carrier."   
~Susan Rabin

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Awake

Hi,

We're sitting in a very large food court in the Hong Kong airport.  The trip has offered some pleasant surprises so far.  The adventure continues.

This week's 'Easy Monday' song was "Smooth Operator" by Sade.  Ming has suggested a Sade Revival.  I like the idea.  But first we have to get 'Zany Day' under way.  Here's a tribute to this time of year.  "Well we got no choice, all the girls and boys, makin'all that noise 'cause they found new toys.  Well, we can't salute ya, can't find a flag, if that don't suit ya, that's a drag.  __ __ for summer.  __ __ forever..."  Clue:  I think this may be obvious.  Singer had quite a zany visual presentation.

Today's photo is one of the many curiosities we see from day to day.  Most school kids are driven around in vans or pick-ups.  This bus takes the cake for secure transportation, and, it's a long way from Fresno.  When I first saw it, I thought it was a prisoner bus.  Some kids might agree.


This morning Daku knew what was going on.  Actually, I think he knew last night.  At 8am both dogs confronted us and wanted to go outside and play.  We managed to escape to the airport right on time.  While getting coffee at the airport we noticed they were selling frozen dinners.  What?  OK, so you buy a frozen dinner, fly to Bangkok, drive through the traffic in the heat and by the time you get home it's ready for the oven.  (555)

In Bangkok, we were looking at that 7 hour wait.  As we passed the time with a foot massage, Lisa got a call from Cathay Pacific telling her that they wanted us to take an earlier flight so we could connect with the L.A. flight.  Oh, and they'd have to upgrade us to business.  Sweet.  

The Hong Kong airport is like a giant shopping mall.  A great deal looks like it was modeled after Rodeo Drive.  Needless to say, we're not shopping; everything is so overpriced it hurts.  Now if they had a Ross or a Target, well...

In a few hours we will board the plane and spend 11 hours suspended above the clouds, over the Pacific Ocean.  I'm ready for a nap.

See you in a different time zone.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"Those who are awake 
live in a state of constant 
amazement.
~Buddha

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Breathing

Hi,

Life is certainly full of natural 'events' here in Chiang Rai.  Last night we had another earthquake.  Today we're currently on our second storm.  Southern California sounds real good about now.

Well, I was expecting more of you to remember this sultry tune about a player.  There is a term used for silk.  Hmm.
"Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago, Western male.  Across the North and South, to Key Largo, love for sale.  Face to face, each classic case, we shadow box and double cross, yet need the chase... No need to ask, he's a __ __ (x3)."
Hint:  It's by a singer with one name.  

With thunder pounding the night sky, BamBam curled up next to me, I'm trying to concentrate on too many things at once.  The obvious part of the packing is almost done, but there are all those little things that need to be remembered.  

This morning I sat in the little waiting room at the Suzuki dealer while our Ertiga got it's 6 month service.  Morning TV can be interesting, even without knowing what's being said.  I saw news briefs that included a clip of the Royal Thai Police showing things they had confiscated from bad guys, there were yoga stretches, cooking tips, and some really goofy comedy complete with sound-effects.  One of my favorites was a short little show that has been going for years.  In today's episode two young people are in love, but their families are about to go to war about it.  All of a sudden everyone was flung at the feet of a monk.  He listened to them yell at each other, raised his hand and offered some words of wisdom and everyone humbly understood.  There are several shows like this, intended to keep people focused on their spiritual lives.  

Last week I mentioned the tiny pineapples that our friend Khun Gahn grows on her farm.  Today we were back at her house and she had some for sale so I took a photo so you could see them.


This afternoon I got a new mouth, in a manner of speaking.  Dr. Upra had my new bridge ready in time for our trip.  After some work at getting things to line up, I left with more teeth than I walked in with.  Chewing is a pretty important part of life, and now it's fun again.  (555)

Tomorrow morning we fly to Bangkok.  We will have seven hours in the airport before departing for America by way of a layover in Hong Kong.  It's too bad we won't be able to see the city, only the airport.  We will arrive at LAX on the night of the same day we left, only a day later.  Yeah, I know.  I will try to write to you from Hong Kong, so don't be surprised if the timing is weird.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

"Music to me is like breathing.
I don't get tired of breathing,
I don't get tired of music."
~Ray Charles

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rainbow

Hi,

It seems apparent to us, that the rainy season has arrived.  So far, it's not any of the monsoon stuff, just downpours that don't overwhelm.  In between the rain it's cloudy and hot.  

Our 'Old School Friday' song was "Nature Boy" as originally sung by Nat 'King' Cole.  It was featured in the film "The Boy With Green Hair" in 1948.  I remember that my mother took me to see it when I was a little boy.  I'm sure I didn't understand all of it, but there are some things I still remember.  The writer of the song had royalty checks that could not be delivered so Mr. Cole searched for him to make sure he got his payments.  He was found living under the Hollywood sign.  Now it's time for 'Easy Monday'.  "Diamond life, lover boy.  He moves in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.  City lights and business nights, when you require a streetcar desire for higher heights.  No place for beginners or sensitive hearts, sentiment is left to chance.  No place to be ending but somewhere to start.  No need to ask, he's a __ __, __ __, __ __."  Hint:  Oh my, this should be easy, but just know that he doesn't work for the telephone company.

Saturday we went to the opening of the exhibit for 'Young Artists of Chiang Rai'.  The event was very well attended and there was some very creative work presented.  We will have to go back and see it with less people in the gallery. 

During our travels around town today, there were no signs of 'the troops'.  This is very encouraging.  There is still a road block to the riverside area, but no posted guards.  Chiang Rai is not known for big demonstrations, so maybe we won't see the 'presence' that is seen in Bangkok. 

Sunday evening, after dinner at the Night Bazaar, we went to Big C to stock up on things that will be needed around the house while we're gone.  We also wanted to make sure our 'teenager' had everything she'd need.  It's fun to shop with Cat because she can explain things to us, read labels for ingredient contents, and add a touch of humor when we least expect it.  
 
Everything here is very green and lush.  Today we drove north on the Super Highway and saw oceans of green.  Closer to home, we saw people on our road picking leaves from various plants that grow wild.  I find it fascinating that even though we live in a city full of restaurants serving prepared meals, there are people who find nourishment from things growing wild.  There are 'city dwellers' who used to live in the forest and still follow traditional ways.  

We had two rains today.  The yard crew came this morning and right before lunch time, the rain came.  They sat on the front porch and by the time they finished their lunch the rain had stopped.  Late in the afternoon we had another downpour.  If this pattern keeps up, we won't have to worry about the yard getting watered while we're gone.

The photo for today was taken today on the main road near our house.  At first I thought the couple was making a recycling run, but the more I looked, it appeared to be all of their belongings.  Hmm.



Have a Great Week.

              Peace,
                        Danny
 
"Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud."
~Maya Angelou

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Last night's storm left a beautiful cloudy, cooler morning.  Our old friend Mr. Heat paid us a visit by the afternoon though.  The weather forecasters should mention that there might be rain in some parts of town.  We drove across the city and went from dry streets in some parts, to soaked streets in others.  Very interesting.

A lot of you knew that the 'Zany Day' song was "Lady Marmalade" by Labelle, recorded in 1974.  It's time for some 'Old School Friday' and this week it's going to be harder than last time.  "There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy.  They say he wandered very far, very far, over land and sea.  A little shy, and sad of eye, but very wise was he.
Until one day, one lucky day he passed my way, and while we talked of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me:  'The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return'."  Hint:  The title of the song is two words that are not in the lyrics.  The song was featured in a film, and was sung by a very famous singer.  

We are in that pre-travel mode where lists are being made and completed, things to be packed are starting to appear, and reminders are being given about the dogs and their feeding.  Hmm, you'd think we were going someplace.

Today, in our travels, we passed a sign that warranted a U-Turn for a photo op.  There are tons of coffee shops in Chiang Rai, and many have signs showing their featured items.  I just had to share this one with you.


Many people in Thailand are not immune to World Cup Fever.  'Football' is a major sport here, but there's a mean twist to the story this time around.  The Cup is being played in Brazil.  There is a dramatic time difference and it means that live broadcasts cannot be enjoyed at restaurants, clubs, bars or a friend's home.  Why?  Because of the midnight curfew, and start times that begin after the curfew here.  Some matches begin an hour before curfew.  The headline in the paper stated:  'You'll have to watch them at home'.   I wonder if any of the generals are football fans?  

Cat's class went on a field trip today to a school near the village of Ban Du, north of town.  They went there to plant some trees.  This was right down Cat's alley, since she's involved in a tree-planting project in her village.  The students at the school will take care of the trees and learn some vital lessons about nature first hand.  Pretty cool idea.

This morning, while we were downtown, we stopped by the 'warehouse pharmacy'.  The door was open, but the shelves were empty.  The owner explained that the wholesale side of business was getting too hectic so they're going strictly retail.  It was a relief to know that they'll still be there since they have the broadest inventory in town.  It will take about a month to change it around.  When we asked if they would be closed she smiled and said they'd stay open.  Amazing.

With four more days to go, the weekend will be busy with light packing, final shopping, and the opening of a new exhibition for young artists at Art Bridge.  

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

               Peace,
                         Danny