Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Alive

Hi,

Today's message begins with a request from Daku and BamBam.  Every meal they have a powdered supplement that keeps their skin healthy and their coats nice and shiny.  They're running low and need help getting a new bag of the powder.  They want me to ask if there is anyone who would be willing to receive a box from their supplier, and then send it to them here in Thailand.  If you would like to help the dogs by re-labeling a box and shipping it to them, send me an email and I can fill you in on the details.  Oh, and who could resist this face (portrait by Blue).


This week's 'Easy Monday' song was meaningful to many in 1967.  It's still in the memories of some.  Last verse:
"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.  And the White Knight is talking backwards, and the Red Queen's 'off with her head!'  Remember what the dormouse said: Feed your head, feed your head."  Hint:  Really?  I'll tell you this, it's not the Easter Bunny.

The Vegetarian Festival is in full swing.  It began last week, and over the weekend there was lots of activity at many of the local restaurants and food carts.  We live near the Chinese Community Center and they always have special events and assorted food booths to promote the week.  Some eateries display red and yellow banners signifying that they are offering vegetarian meals during the celebration.  

This morning when we went out with the dogs we discovered a plastic trash can lid on the far side of the yard, away from the gate.  It had been knocked off the can, floated under the gate, and had been taken with the 'current' where it came to rest near the yard drain.  Hmm.

Today's adventure took us to HomePro where we investigated water filtration systems.  All drinking water is  bottled and we buy large bottles for cooking and small ones for personal drinking.  The time has come to end the procession of the large bottles into the house.  We found a sophisticated system that will be installed on Thursday. 

This evening we're going to check out a new music spot that features jazz and blues.  The place looks pretty hip from the outside and it will be interesting to see some live, local music.  I'll fill you in tomorrow.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

"Because you are alive,
everything is possible."
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, September 29, 2014

Give

Hi,

The weekend weather was a mixture of cloudy sunshine and some 'small rain'.  Today we had another one of the biggest storms yet.  Let me just say that there were sticks floating in the driveway.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler.  Now you remember.  It's time for another dose of 'Easy Monday'.  "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:  Lots of storybook characters in this one, the title is two words.  It's easy.

Things have been pretty mellow around the Big Brown House.  In the mornings it almost feels like a commune.  There are six humans and two dogs.  The breakfast dance has found it's rhythm, as the dogs get fed while vegetables are chopped for the morning drink, and eggs are scrambled, the teen is fed, the adults are fed, and the day has begun.  

Saturday morning the yard crew came early, which meant the dogs didn't get their running time.  This always makes them a little edgy until they realize what's happening.  Then they calm down, play inside and then sleep.  Even though mid-terms were over, Cat had to go to school with her group for one of their projects.  

Our Sunday usually involves going out to dinner, but this week Boot cooked for us so we hung out and had an evening at home.  Cat is spending the week in her village at her sister's house, so Sunday night was an evening of preparation.  Every night we talk about the day, and what the plan is for the next day.  Her plan for the first week of her vacation is to visit her old school, and her friends at The Sold Project, and to help her sister with her work and with cooking at home.  It will be a very busy week for her.  She still plans to set aside time to talk to her friends from school and play with her nephew.  What a kid.

The gate drama is over.  No more pushing the heavy gate back and forth.  The techs came this morning, replaced the circuit board and reprogramed all the remotes.  

The day began all sunny and warm so after the gate guys left, we gave both dogs a bath.  They both run to the towels on the back deck and roll around to dry off.  It doesn't really dry them off, but it helps.  Then they run around like they're possessed for a few minutes.  Usually, by the end of a hot day they are pretty dry.  Today the weather changed dramatically after lunch.  The sky started getting dark and the next thing we knew, it was raining.  Then it was storming.  When I woke up from a nap, the yards were both flooded and it was still coming down.  When cars would drive down the street, they would send ripples of water down the driveway.  Tiny little waves.  At one point we thought that maybe the drains were clogged, but they were open.  It was just too much water for them to handle.  And so, without further ado, I give you two photos of today's flood.



Here's hoping we have a sunny Tuesday with not a drop from the sky.

Have a Great Week.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

"When we give cheerfully 
and accept gratefully,
everyone is blessed."
~Maya Angelou

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Chiang Rai was granted a rain-free day.  Yea.  We took the opportunity to get some things done.  The big news is that our internet is back.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Little Red Corvette" by Prince.  This week's 'Old School Friday' song is from 1962.
"As I walk through this world, nothing can stop the __ __ __.  And you, you are my girl, no one can hurt you, oh no.  Yes, I, oh I'm gonna love you, darlin'.  'Cause I'm the __ __ __, so yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah..."  Hint:  This could have been a 'Zany Day' song (555).  It's about love and royalty. 

The first order of business today was our 90 day check-in with immigration.  The process has really been streamlined since we began doing it in 2007.  We used to have to drive 45 minutes to Mae Sai, fill out forms and present copies of documents.   Now we travel across town, present our passports, and in a few minutes it's over.  

The biggest adventure of the day was tracking down a particular ceramic pot used for cooking herbs.  We have a photo of the pot and everyone knew what it was, but no one had it.  We would get referrals to certain shops that didn't have it, and they would send us somewhere else.  This afternoon we went to the ceramic specialists at Doy Din Dang, where we just knew we would find one, but no luck.  We did get another tip that we will check out tomorrow.  While we were at Doy Din Dang we were introduced to an artist who lives about 3 hours from Chiang Rai and is involved with art therapy.  It will be interesting to see his work and hear more about what he does.

Today's photo was taken on our way to Doy Din Dang.  The rice field and the clouds made it necessary to stop the car.  


While we were running about town, the service tech from the internet company came to the house.  We were instructed to take our router to the office for a replacement.  After a trip to the company that supplies the router, and back to the internet office, we finally got things back to 'normal'.  It's running again and reaching all the corners of the house.  Everyone is happy.

Tonight we had dinner with our friends Claire and Stephan at Santiburi golf course.  It's about 30 minutes east of town and is another of those quiet, tranquil spots where one could just bliss out.  We arrived just before sunset, so Blue didn't get a chance to see all of the features.  Having a meal on a terrace, overlooking a dark golf course is a very eerie thing to do.  I'd look out and there was nothing.  Hmm, we had fun even sitting next to the void.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thankful

Hi,

Oh, the aftermath.  This morning we still had no internet or gate motor.  The day was cloudy with sun peaking through.  The afternoon brought another 'storm of the century' (555).  The rainy season is not done yet.

It looks like this week's 'Zany Day' song has some friends.  Maybe the first verse will wake something up.
"I guess I should've known by the way you parked your car sideways, that it wouldn't last.  See, you're the kinda person that believes in makin' out once.  Love 'em and leave 'em fast.... __ __ __, baby you're much to fast..."
Hint:  It's about a car, or is it about a girl?  It's done by a princely chap.

I had a mildly busy morning calling the various parties involved in repairing our lightning damage.  The gate company was the best of the bunch.  They sent two guys and even before they took the cover off of the motor, one of them pointed up and said with a smile, 'Sky?'.  He knew what had happened.  Inside the housing was a shattered fuse and what looked like tiny bits of metal.  He will be back on Monday to make it whole again.  The internet was another story.  It must be some universal principle in the industry to keep the customer waiting.  I finally talked to a person in the afternoon and she could tell from the office that something had happened outside of the house, in their line.  Really?  The local tech never called so I wait.  Meanwhile, my phone is our link to the world outside.  It's providing WiFi upstairs and down, much to my surprise.

Blue and I went to the Alternative Clinic at Maefarluang University today.  He met with the Chinese herb doctor.  We learned the difference between the little black balls that are sometimes prescribed, and the drinking of cooked, raw herbs.  Aside from taste and smell, there are 77 standard combinations that make up the balls, while the raw herbs can be tailored to specific needs for an individual.  Hmm, so much information out there.  

While we were shopping at Makro it was sprinkling and we noticed one of the parking guards preparing for rain.  When it gets heavy, he brings out a patio umbrella and escorts patrons from their cars to the door.  That's what I call service.  

Today's photo came from the file:  Things seen on the road.  I had never seen a motorbike stuffed into a tiny Song Taew before, but seeing is believing.  The light in the truck is from the motorbike.  Sometimes you just have to get home the best way you can.


Cat had one mid-term today, and it was in aerobic dancing.  Her group had to create a routine, find the music, and present it to the teacher.  There are ten students in the group and they only had a few days to pull it together.  She got a high grade for her effort and now she's studying for the final day of testing.  Tomorrow the range of subjects is math, physics, Thai language (history), and English (spoken).  After that, school will be out for one month and then it begins again.  

Our job tomorrow will be to go to immigration for our 90 day check-in.  There are plenty of other odds and ends that will make it a busy Friday for us.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

"The more you are thankful,
The more you attract things
to be thankful for."
~Unknown

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Power

Hi,

We started out with a beautiful day, and no rain in sight.  By the evening there was thunder, lightning and heavy rain.  The whole story has a happy ending, to a point, but the internet is out and you're getting this through the magic of modern technology.

Well friends, it turns out there are actually two correct answers for the 'Easy Monday' song.  Here's why: I goofed, made an error, lost my head.  The Monday answer was "Along Comes Mary" and the Tuesday answer was "No Fair At All", both by The Association.  That's what I get for liking a bunch of songs by the same group.  Anyway, Barry and Denny set me straight and they get Extra Cool Points.  Now it's time for 'Zany Day' and I promise it will be the same song for two days (555).  "__ __ __, baby you're much 2 fast.  __ __ __, U need a love that's gonna last."  Hint:  If you've been reading this since '07, then you may remember the tune.  We played it back then.  The artist used to go by a symbol, there's a color involved, and a car.

The Imperial River House Resort is one of the tranquil spots around town that we don't get to very often, but today it was our lunch destination.  There was no one else in the restaurant so it made for a very relaxing lunch.  After lunch we strolled around and took pictures.  Today's photo was taken from the bank of the river.  The jungle in the right of the photo is an island in the river.  


This evening I took Lisa to the dentist for a progress check on the work done last week.  Just as we were about to leave the office, it began to rain very hard.  All the way home there was thunder and lightning.  When we arrived at our front gate, I pressed the button on the remote but the gate didn't move.  We called Cat and asked her to open the gate from the switch inside but the gate remained still.  There was a moment of deja vu, and mild panic.  Lightning had indeed struck the same spot twice.  The gate motor had been struck again.  This meant that the gate had to be disengaged from the motor.  We called Rudi, who was home, and asked him to come out in the rain and unlock the motor.  He was trying to get it to work as Boot drove up on her motorbike, soaking wet.  Eventually, Boot climbed over the gate, unlocked the gate and we were able to drive in to the yard.  Whew.  Cat and Blue both remembered hearing a giant clap of thunder, with lightning right over the house.  That was probably the moment the motor was hit.  

When we get big storms with lightning we always unplug our computer cords, just to be safe.   When I realized the internet lights weren't blinking I thought the router was out, but it was getting power.  Somewhere in the vast array of wires and boxes on poles on the road, there is an internet device that is not working.  I'm tethering the internet from my phone to my laptop in order to send you this message.   The Adventure Continues.

It's a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

"We do not need magic to transform our world.
We carry all of the power we need inside already."
~J.K. Rowling

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wondering

Hi,

Today was a perfect day for the tourism board to break out the cameras.  There were blue skies with wispy clouds, warm but not too hot, and lush vegetation all over town.

There has been no response to this week's 'Easy Monday' song.  I was so sure you knew this one.  Read the clues.
"Never seen the moonlight through your hair, till now.  Never heard the sweet things you could say, till now.  After all the time we spent together, just doesn't seem fair, at all.  __ __ __ __."  Clue:  For some, there are days when it seems like life is no fair at all.  

This morning we experienced local driving at it's best.  I mentioned to Blue that I sometimes call the bobbing and weaving of traffic as a 'Car Ballet'.  Lisa noted that it's more like a 'Car Tango'.  We laughed.  It's amazing that there are not more accidents, based on what we see on an average day.  The number of near-misses as motorbikes weave their way through cars, or vehicles 'challenge' the red lights at intersections.  Once one gets the peripheral
vision perfected, and a sense of timing, it's a piece of cake (555).  Oh, and remembering that bigger gets the right of way.  

We were hanging out at Doi Chaang Coffee when I noticed some men in yellow jumpsuits walking around in the traffic outside.  It looked like a parade might be lining up so I ran outside.  Just as I got to the corner I was able to snap today's photo of some Lion Dancers.  They were the only real attraction since it was a caravan of the 'Rescue Boys' on their way to some kind of expo on the Super Highway.  The line-up included ambulance vans, hot-rod pick-up trucks, and a custom sedan communications car.  These first responders are a major part of the emergency system in Chiang Rai.  People depend on them to show up quickly and render first aid and transportation to hospitals.  The various clubs offer a unique service to their community.


Since we haven't had rain in a few days, the water in the pool was cool, but swimmable.  It was nice to get in a little exercise and cool off.  Just as we were finishing, Cat came home from her first day of mid-term exams.  She had 5 today in a hot school with no air/con.  There is an exam from every teacher, even the special classes like aerobic dance P.E.  There will be tests every day this week.  As I recall, when I was in high school, back in the last century, I had a total of 5 exams, period.  The idea of having three English exams and two math tests alone boggles the mind.

I think we have some of the loudest crickets on the planet in our backyard.  The windows are closed, the air/con is going and I can still hear them chirping away.  After a rain there are frogs in the mix as well.  Oh, the beautiful sounds of nature.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

"I would rather have  a mind
opened by wondering,
than closed by beliefs."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Path

Hi,

The daytime weather in Chiang Rai this weekend was pretty nice.  Night time was a different story...we still got rain.

'Old School Friday' was "When We Get Married," originally by The Dreamlovers in '61.  Larry Graham did a very smooth cover in 1980.  Big thanks to Barry for details on this group.  Now I give you an 'Easy Monday' tune:
"Every time I think that I'm the only one who's lonely someone calls on me.  And every now and then I spend my time at rhyme and verse and curse those faults in me.  And then __ __ __, and does she want to give me kicks, and be my steady chick and give me a pick of memories... When we met I was sure out to lunch, now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch."  Clue:  Even though there are a lot of lyrics, this one should be easy.  There's a girl's name in the title, and rumors of double meanings from a six-man vocal group that hung out with someone named Windy.

Saturday Cat kept Lisa company while she was recuperating from some dental work.  Blue and I went to Art Bridge for dinner and the opening of the art exhibit.  The artist being presented has quite a following and a big crowd was on hand for an hour of speeches before the doors opened.  It began with a young woman who played a Chinese instrument called the Guzheng.  If you're familiar with the Koto, they look very similar.  Her performance was followed by four speeches in Thai, that included personal stories about the artist as well as talk about art.  The artist had a few humble words and then the gallery was opened to the public.  We had been seated inside and didn't realize that there was a large gathering outside in the parking lot waiting to get in.  Blue and I decided to come back and see the paintings when the gallery was empty.  Just as we were walking to the car, the wind came up and it began to rain with that monsoonal force we're so familiar with.  The ride home was a challenge, but we made it.  It was one of the biggest storms in this recent phase of the rainy season.  

Today's photo was taken on the bank of the Kok River at Chivit Tamma Da.  It's the lone paddler I told you about last week.  Seeing the river used for private transportation is not something we experience every day.  Where was he going and how he will get the boat back to it's original location?  Hmm.


This morning we stopped by Work@Home and had a nice, but brief visit with our friend Katai.  She and Blue have been friends for years and she was very happy to see him.  This afternoon Lisa, Cat and I went to the local hospital and got our annual flu shots.  We met a doctor who speaks very good English and it's good to know that there is someone close by that we can communicate with if necessary.  

Even though we have been having lots of rain, there are parts of Thailand that are dealing with a drought.  Some of it is the result of water being diverted earlier in the year, and some is just a lack of rain.  It was just a big surprise to read about it.  It's a big country and it's not all the same.  North of us in Mae Sai, near the border with Burma, there has been flooding and mudslides.  We are in a very good spot here in Chiang Rai.  

Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

"We meet ourselves time and again
in a thousand disguises
on the path of life."
~Carl Jung

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It was a beautiful day for sightseeing and river watching in Chiang Rai.  Our nap-time storm was another heavy rain, but didn't last too long.  By the sounds in the night sky, we're going to get more.

The 'Zany Day' song was "High-Heeled Sneekers" by Tommy Tucker.  'Old School Friday' will be new for many:
"Darling, oh oh, __ __ __ __, we'll have a big celebration.  Send invitations to all our friends and relations.  We'll have a ball, dancing and all __ __ __ __."  Clue:  This song was big for those ready to make a commitment.  If you count the words and think about it, it's easy.

This morning we wanted to show Blue our new neighbor to the north, so we drove up the road to see the progress on the giant Buddha that's under construction.  Our drive took us through bright green rice fields as we drove all the way up the hill to the temple grounds.  The temple used to be the tallest thing around, but now it's dwarfed by the Buddha.  The men working on the scaffolding below his raised arm look tiny by comparison.  


From the rice fields beneath the giant Buddha we traveled a few minutes to the riverside jungle of Chivit Tamma Da.  There we had coffee and tea, and just relaxed as the swollen river flowed by.  We watched as a man climbed into a tiny little boat and paddled into the current and then disappeared down the river.  Photos of this visit will be coming next week.  

It was quite a contrast to go from the tranquility of the river to the bustle of the city.  After a few errands we returned to the Big Brown House.  

This evening, at dinner, Cat told us she has to be at school tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 7am.  Her entire class has to re-take a math test for the third time.  Hmm, still trying to understand this one.  In the afternoon her group has to rehearse their aerobics routine for a performance test next week.  It's mid-term time and lots of testing is going on.  

 Saturday evening we will attend the opening of a new exhibit at Art Bridge by a prominent local artist.   Don't forget the Formula One Grand Prix from Singapore.  It's a night race through the streets.  Zoom.

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

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Deeds

Hi,

Today the weather made up for all the days when it faked us out.  We had two storms and both had heavy rain.  

This week's 'Zany Day' song may be easily recognized by this second verse.  Think wearing apparel.  You know it.
"Put on your __ __ __, wear your wig-hat on your head.  Put on your __ __ __, wear that wig-hat on your head.  Ya know you're lookin' mighty fine, baby, I'm pretty sure you're gonna knock 'em dead."  Hint:  It was by one of those one-hit-wonders but got lots of covers.  

Whenever I have discussed the mysteries and oddities of Mr. Jet Lag, it's been in the first person.  Most of our house guests have been in the country before arriving in Chiang Rai, so we rarely get to witness it.  Today was day one for Blue and I totally understood the need for sleep.  For some reason, it's not as bad coming from the states to Thailand.  We all agreed that it's harder going from here to there.  Of course, our conversation spiraled down from there, into a symposium on the exact nature of the lost day coming west and the same-day arrival going east. We had lots of fun with that one.  

The rains that came today showed up at good times.  Neither storm interfered with anything we had planned, so we just sat through them.  The afternoon visit came during nap time and woke us all up.  Sometimes rain seems to come with its own sound.  This one had a bit of a roar to it that changed with the intensity of the downpour.  All the plants are happy.  I wish I could say the same for all of the motorists that come down our road and have to pass through the giant puddle that happens with the storms.  The cars slow down, and the motorbike riders have to put their feet up on the frame of the bikes to keep their feet dry.  Hmm.

Today's photo was taken at Muu Mai restaurant.  All of the garden paths are lined with little statues of creatures, gnomes, and caricatures of Thai children.  There seems to be no pattern, or relevance to any of it, just a collection that has grown over time.  Amazing Thailand.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny 

"Great acts are made up of
small deeds."
~Lao Tzu

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Choose

Hi,

The weather is still teasing us with the possibility of rain.  Because of the cloudy, hot conditions, the humidity makes it feel like it's hotter sometimes.  Our friend Blue landed this evening after a long trip from America.  The laughter has begun.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Summer In The City" by The Lovin' Spoonful.  Here's a real 'Zany Day' tune for you: 
"Put on your red dress, baby, ya know we're goin' out tonight.  Put on your red dress, baby, 'cause we're goin' out tonight.  And-a bring along some boxin' gloves, in case some fool might wanna fight."  Clue:  There are some stylish athletic-type shoes involved.

There are three dominant colors of vehicles in Chiang Rai, and probably most of the country:  Silver, black, and white.  We keep noticing long lines in traffic that are all silver, whether they are cars or trucks.  I think the silver and white are popular because the colors reflect sunlight and may keep it cooler inside.  Those of us driving the black cars just keep the air/con on all the time and maintain our coolness on the inside and the outside (555). 

This afternoon we took some of Lisa's father's artwork to the frame factory.  When we walked in, we heard a familiar voice coming from a little radio.  It was Dolly Parton.  Lisa said something to Khun Tawd about who it was and where she was from and he told us he really likes it.  The radio station was playing American oldies.  What?  After we completed our business I walked between two bushes and discovered the photo for today.  This lake is on Tawd's property, and behind the trees in the center of the photo is his house.  Another day, another tranquil setting to soothe the soul.


On our first trip to Thailand in 2001, we were escorted by our friend Blue and his son Ming.  Blue has lived in Thailand in the past.  Since we have been here he has visited many times.  His return this time is something he's been looking forward to for some time.  The plan is to stay.  We are really happy that he's here, and so are the dogs.  They both remembered him from a year ago.  Boot is also excited that Blue is back.  I guess you could say that everyone in the Big Brown House is feeling very positive.

Driving through the northern part of town this evening, we noticed several restaurants on the 'new row' that were all lit up, but with very few patrons.  It was strange because there were lots of cars parked in front of them.  Hmm, where were the people?  One of these nights we'll just have to go and see what's happening.  

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

"I can choose to let it define me,
confine me, refine me, outshine me,
or I can choose to move on and leave it
behind me."
~Unknown

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Within

Hi,

Chiang Rai had a day without rain, but we had a spectacular lightning show this evening.  The western horizon was flashing every 3 or 4 seconds, sometimes lighting up the clouds, and then there were vertical bolts that looked quite menacing.  It was far away and we breathed a sigh of relief.

So, maybe this 'Easy Monday' tune wasn't as easy as I thought.  I got mail, but just a few.  Maybe this will help:
"And babe, don't you know it's a pity, that the days, can't be like the nights, in the __, __ __ __, in the __, __ __ __."  Hint:  Metropolis heatwave

Our morning adventure took us to the tranquil setting at Doy Din Dang pottery north of town.  We had a deep, insightful discussion about creativity, the artist community of Chiang Rai, and the importance of balance and perspective, with Tamako, wife of Somluck, who is the artist.  This was in a setting overlooking a lake, with trees all around.  I'd call it a Zen moment for sure.

It seems like most of the places we go are about 20 minutes from home.  Some trips seem like they're far away, but in fact, everything is rather close.  There are those times, when it's a high traffic time of day, when it goes very slow on certain streets, but we usually don't travel at those times.  Life in a small town has its advantages.

This evening we learned a little more about how things work at Cat's school.  She had some tests today and when we asked how she did, she told us there were some questions she thinks she got wrong.  The problem is, the tests are not returned so students never find out what they need to know, or how to correct a problem.  Hmm.  Lisa suggested that she ask her teacher if she can see the test so she can learn from her mistakes.  What a concept.  On another note, each class is divided into groups and these groups sit, do projects, and in her case, even eat lunch together.  She has seven friends that have the opportunity to work, play, and grow together.  It's a great idea.

In local 'news', the downtown barbershop has added another color to their collection of barber smocks and capes for patrons.  Along with the bright blue, and the vivid green, they now have a pink day.  The next time I see them, I'll be sure to take a photo.

Yesterday I mentioned the melting pot that is bubbling in Chiang Rai.  Today's photo is another example of this trend.  There is a Korean beauty supply/cosmetic shop near the Night Bazaar and it seems to be doing business.  Outside the shop I spotted a cute little scooter and then noticed the license plate.  It's a Korean plate and you will notice the Korean flag on the little sign next to it.  Everybody's here these days.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

"Peace comes from within,
do not seek it without."
~Buddha

Monday, September 15, 2014

Listen

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai continues to be hot, with a pretty good chance of rain every day.  We seem to be back in the cycle of clear skies, progressing to cloudy skies, and then rain in the afternoon or evening. 

'Old School Friday' was that classic slow jam "Since I Don't Have You" by The Skyliners.  It's 'Easy Monday' time:  "Hot town, __ __ __ __, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.  Been down, isn't it a pity, doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city.  All around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head."  Hint:  I think my friends in California will relate to this song.  Also, my friends here in Thailand.  There is a season involved.

Saturday morning it looked like it was going to be another hot day.  We hadn't had rain for two or three days so we decided to water everything.  Mid-afternoon we were presented with a big downpour.  Some days you just never know what's going to happen.  

Shopping on Sunday is something we usually avoid because of the crowds.  This week we broke with tradition, and common sense, and went to Makro in the morning, Big C in the afternoon, and the mall in the evening.  The crowds were there, but we managed to get what we needed.  At Big C, it's always more fun when Cat comes along.  She also helps us read the ingredients on labels and that has been a real asset.  

Sunday evening we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner, but our usual restaurant was closed for 'new building'.  I guess that means remodeling.  We strolled the food court, which brought back memories of when we first moved to Thailand.  The Wancome Hotel where we stayed for our first month here, is very close to the Night Bazaar and we used to go there almost every night for dinner.  There was one food stall where we'd get our main dinner, and another where we'd get our watermelon shakes, which are like a slushy.  This time, nothing appealed to any of us so we ate at another favorite place.  Cruising the aisles of the Night Bazaar, I asked Cat if she'd ever been inside The Nine Shop.  It's a unique place that sells hand-painted T-shirts and shoes featuring zany little characters.  We went in and she fell for a pair of tennis shoes that were very cool.  Today's photo are the hip tennies.


There was a lot of art in our Monday.  This morning we went to Art Bridge and viewed a new exhibit of paintings by an artist from China.  He creates giant canvases of landscapes that are very colorful.  We will return on Saturday evening for the official opening, which should be interesting.  This evening we went to The Curry Hut, a little restaurant owned by a friend of ours, for the opening of a small exhibit by two local artists.  One artist had a series of paintings of peace signs, and the other did abstracts in acrylic.  The whole thing was rather psychedelic and felt like we'd stepped back in time.  The crowd was a mix of Thais, expats, and young teachers from other places, giving it a real international 'hippie vibe'.  

One of the things we enjoy about Chiang Rai is the fact that it is emerging as a melting pot of cultures, on a small scale.  It stays interesting and stimulating.

Have a Great Week,

                    Peace,
                              Danny 

"When you talk, you are only repeating 
what you already know;
But when you listen, you may
learn something new."
~The Dalai Lama

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Chiang Rai had a day of mixed weather.  We sat in chairs and listened to a presentation at 8:30am and actually enjoyed it. 

This week's 'Zany Day' song was "Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan.  Time for 'Old School Friday'.  Remember?
"I don't have plans and schemes, and I don't have hopes and dreams.  I don't have anything, __ __ __ __ __."
Clues: This 1958 R&B classic has had numerous covers, and was a 'heart-break' anthem.  If you know the song, you may remember counting the last word of the song to see just how many times it was sung (555).

This morning we returned to Le Meridien for a presentation by a rep from the U.S. Consulate office.  They come to Chiang Rai about twice a year and give background on the office and the services they provide for U.S. citizens.  We learned many things and got some official business taken care of, in addition to seeing old friends and making some new ones.  We learned that the United States and Thailand have been 'Friends' for 150 years.  

We made friends with an American couple from Idaho.  They've been here about 3 years and live near us.  There is a building called the 'Condotel' and as you might guess, it's a condominium.  It houses many expats and was the first condo in Chiang Rai.  

The photo for today was taken at Le Meridien, looking across the river.  I heard the sound of children and realized it was a group of young monks playing at a temple.  


Filed under 'Things I did not know':  I heard that at the DMV there is a man who sits in a chair by the door.  If you give this man 200 Baht, he will take the written driver license test for you.  So interesting.  It explains why many people don't seem to know certain 'rules' about driving.  

Today the weather played tricks all day.  First it looked like it would be a sunny day.  Then the clouds came, left, and came back.  In the afternoon it rained on part of the Super Highway, on the south side of the bridge, but not the north.  What?  We never got rain at our house and believe it or not, we wanted some 'small rain'.  Just enough to water the lawns and gardens, but it was no dice.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     The 'Funnies' are coming.

                 Peace,
                           Danny


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Greatness

Hi,

I guess you could call this the 'Late Edition'.  What can I say?  Fun happens.  

This week's 'Zany Day' song was obvious to some, still a mystery to others.  Here's another of the many verses:
"You said you'd never compromise, with the mystery tramp, but now you realize he's not selling any alibis, as you stare into the vacuum of his eyes, and he says, 'Do you want to make a deal?'  How does it feel?  How does it feel?  To be on your own, with no direction home, like a complete unknown.  __ __ __ __?"  Hint: You may know him as B.D. but his real initials are R.Z.

Riding around town I am always on the lookout for interesting things to tell you about.  It's not hard to find them; they're everywhere.  There is a man who appears to be homeless.  He has an old, beat up Samlor that he pushes around, similar to how a shopping cart might be used in other places.  The difference is, he eats and sleeps in it.  He has plastic to drape over it in the rain, and spare tires hanging off the back.  I have never seen him pedal it, he just pushes it up and down the street.  There is a security guard who directs traffic in front of City Hall during rush hours.  He wears white gloves.  What is unusual is that he pulls the fingers of the glove on his right hand so they stick out past the ends of his fingers, giving the appearance of a large hand.  Very clever.

Today's travels took us north of town to Maefarluang University, to the Alternative Medicine clinic.  While Lisa was seeing the chiropractor, I found the only off-street parking at a little turn-out on the winding road above the clinic.  My view was a cluster of trees and a view of the beautiful campus below.  Not a bad place to wait.

This evening we had dinner with our friends Stephan and Claire.  We met at a restaurant called La Flavola on the grounds of Le Meridien Resort where Stephan is the general manager.  The dinner was great and the conversation was obviously pretty cool because we stayed there for a little over three hours.  We just lost track of the time, talking about so many things.  I learned a lot of things about Thailand that I'll be passing on to you in the future.

This photo was taken at Le Meridien this evening.  The grounds are very peaceful as well as photogenic.


On the home front, both dogs got baths today.  We always have to wait for a sunny day so Daku can dry thoroughly.  This was that day and he endured.  He hates baths, but there comes a time when the dog needs washing (555).

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

"The greatness of a man (person) is not
how much wealth he acquires, but in his 
integrity and his ability to affect those 
around him positively."
~Bob Marley

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Camera

Hi,

Chiang Rai had another post-card weather day.  Mostly blue sky, warm/hot temps, and not a drop of rain.  The pool was actually warm this afternoon.   

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf.  Time for the 'Zany Day' portion of the week:
"Once upon a time, you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?  People'd call, say, 'Beware doll, you're bound to fall', you thought they were all kiddin' you... How does it feel, how does it feel?  To be without a home, like a complete unknown, __ __ __ __?"  Clue:  Within the title is a term for a wanderer, a rock band, and a blues tune.  Hmm.

Today I got new lenses for my glasses, and also got my new 'work' glasses.  The new pair have a wider reading lens and a mid-range so the're good for dealing with an area of about 6 feet.  So far, they seem to be a nice change when using the computer.  

While we were getting the van washed we had coffee at Doi Chaang.  The music playing was a mix of different styles  from the past, and then I heard a familiar voice.  It was Erika Badu.  It turns out Kwan, oldest daughter of the shop family, has recently discovered her and loves her music.  Hmm, the universal language.  

We learned a lot more about Cat's school this evening at dinner.  She told us about the monthly 'inspection' that is held to make sure all students are complying with the dress code.  Each student is examined from the top of their head to their shoes and socks.  Hair length, how it is tied in the required pony-tail, the color of the ribbon, etc., is all under scrutiny.  Cat also told us about the morning assembly where they sing the national anthem and listen to a lot of announcements.  On Tuesday a monk comes to the school and talks to them and then, while still standing, they meditate for 10 minutes on what the monk has taught them.  Hers is the only school in Chiang Rai that does this.  Conformity seems to be the rule.  Thinking back to when I was in high school, we had it pretty easy.  

The photo for today is the purple orchid that blooms in the back yard.  If you look closely, you will see another plant in the back that looks something like a human head (555).


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny 

"Life is like a camera.  Just focus on what's important
and capture the good times, develop from the negatives
and if things don't turn out, just take another shot."
~Unknown

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Future

Hi,

We're back in Chiang Rai after our quick round trip.  There was no rain for us and that was wonderful.  Traffic was light and our return was in good time, even with a stop for coffee and pie (555).

A few of you jumped right on the 'Easy Monday' tune.  If you ever wanted to act out the lyrics, maybe you were...
"I like smoke and lightning, heavy metal thunder, racin' with the wind and the feelin' that I'm under... Like a true nature's child, we were __, __ __ __ __.  We can climb so high, I never wanna die.  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __."
Hint:  It's easy.  

This morning we drove through the city, following directions from the hotel staff, to a salon called 'NewYorkNewYork'.  The main stylist studied and worked in New York and other cities before returning to Thailand.  Lisa was referred to her by a friend of ours.  This place was very different from the little shophouse salons we usually see.  Just another example of the big city nature of Chiang Mai.  

I have been trying to pinpoint what seems so different when we're in Chiang Mai, besides the tempo and the numbers.  Today I realized that there is no sense of 'village', because it's a city.  Here in Chiang Rai, you drive down a street and you see signs telling you what village you're driving through.  The markets and stands have that neighborhood vibe.  Yes, it's the country.  

While having lunch, I noticed a sign across the busy street.  It read 'Fruiturday', as in a day of the week.  That was clever, but what really made me take the photo was the word 'i-cream'.  When speaking English, Thais generally don't pronounce the ends of words, and 'ice-cream' is a good example.  The sign is what it sounds like.  



People in Chiang Mai are still concerned about the earthquakes in Chiang Rai.  It's been a long time since the big one, but with all the news coverage about the aftershocks, you'd think we were about to sink into the molten center of the planet.  I guess if there could be an upside to any of that, it's that it has slowed the fever to move to our quiet town.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"You may have made some mistakes,
and you may not be where you want to be,
but that's got nothing to do 
with your future."
~Zig Ziglar