Monday, February 29, 2016

Reaction

Hi,

Chiang Rai has been having hot days, warmer nights, and strong breezes.  The breeze thing is good because it’s keeping the air a little cleaner than usual.  No rain in sight.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass.  Not many knew it.  Time for an ‘Easy Monday’ tune:
“Is there anybody going to listen to my story all about the girl who came to stay?  She’s the kind of girl you want so much it makes you sorry, still, I don’t regret a single day.  Ah, __, __.”  Hint:  Title is one word and it’s in the verse. Should be easy for fans of those four guys from across the pond.

In this part of the world El Nino has the opposite affect from what happens in the States.  We are in a growing drought mode.  There are water shortages in some provinces and the government is asking people not to throw buckets of water during the upcoming Songkran holiday.  If you recall, Songkran is when some streets become a giant water-fight.  Children and adults of every age get in the street and throw water at each other, moving vehicles, and themselves.  Last year there was a move to curb roving pick-up trucks with big drums of water in the back, tossing water on other motorists and pedestrians.  The idea of going back to the old custom of just sprinkling a little water may not get much traction among the young.  Time will tell.  We sure don’t have the water to waste.

The strange construction down the road from us is taking shape and we still can’t tell what it’s going to be.  There seems to be a row of little rooms that face into the property, but that’s all we know.  It’s a mystery.

At the intersection of our road with the main road we got a big surprise this morning.  There had been a two-unit structure that had a small cafe and a coffee shop, but this morning the little building was gone.  They must have torn it down on Sunday.  We didn’t drive in that direction yesterday so we missed the whole thing.

Today the pool repair people showed up and did a lot of work on restoring the grout.  They have another day’s work and they may be done.  Now comes the big question:  What is the current price of water in light of the drought? We have our suspicions that it may have gone up, but it’s all speculation.  This will be interesting.

Yesterday evening we had dinner at Le Meridien with our friends Claire and Stephan.  Just as we got there I noticed a group of young monks across the river.  The temple has a lot of youngsters and we often see them enjoying free time.  In this photo a few are climbing out of the river, while another group is playing football in the distance.


Getting excited about the open-house tomorrow at The Wanderer.  

Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Sometimes the best reaction
is to not react at all.”
~Unknown

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We are back in a cold spell and that’s spelled ‘Brrrrr’.  This weather is brought to us by an arctic front coming through China and flowing over us.  It’s supposed to lift on Monday.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was recognized by one person, my brother.  The song was “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark When You Come Around?”, by Prince Partridge.  Listen to the whole song and see why we still remember it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCULQwdYZeU  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ won’t be as old as the ‘Zany Day’ tune so rest easy.  “__ __, take me in your arms __ __, I want your tender charm ‘cause I’m lonely and I’m blue, I need you and your love too.  Come on and __ __.”  Hint: So easy, but someone needs help.

Today was a very productive day.  One of the highlights was at the flower mart.  We wanted an assorted bouquet for Cat’s graduation.  The woman at the stall we used was very helpful and when it was time to pay she gave a price and then discounted it, and then thanked us.  

Our goal for the afternoon was to be at Cat’s school by 3:30pm for the ‘Congratulation’ ceremony.  We made it before that time and met some grownups from The Sold Project who were waiting.  All around us there were kids on the way to somewhere.  There was no order to it.  In a big concrete area in the middle of the school there were large circles of seniors.  They were all doing some kind of ritual.  All of them were different, but with lots of enthusiasm.  It sounded like multiple pep rallies mixed with tribal chanting.  At the end of this scene, some of the circles literally exploded with balloons and powder.  As the kids dispersed, some kids were covered in powder, others in glitter, all laughing and smiling.  

There never was a ceremony.  We were all ready to endure long speeches but there were none.  The seniors darted around giving each other gifts, and exchanging things with their "little sisters" and “brothers."  All of the kids have one or two ’siblings’ that they do things with during the year.  It’s a nice idea.  Cat’s big sister, who graduated last year, came to the school for this year’s festivities.  We found out that diplomas will be given at a later date.  Finals are Monday and Tuesday, but for the time being there are lots of gifts to enjoy.  Today’s photos show the loot that came home with us.  



This afternoon Natcha came into the house with Neetchanan, who was actually awake.  Daku got to sniff her little feet and then went to his bed.  Lisa took some photos.  Pics next week.

This evening we ended up back at the Night Bazaar with visitors from Australia.  I have a good friend who is from there and lives in Chiang Mai and he had a couple visiting from Oz (that’s what they call it) and they drove up to see the sights.  It was a very enjoyable time and we hope to see them again some day.  Friday night on the town is something we haven’t done in a long time.  

As we were leaving the Night Bazaar we stopped at the Scarf Lady’s stall.  Lisa found a scarf she liked and our friend tied it around her neck, said it looked perfect, and gave it to her.  That was the biggest surprise yet.  Life in Chiang Rai is good.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                 Peace,
                           Danny


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Feelings

Hi,

Well, the rain that was predicted happened last night.  We had a good storm that soaked everything and also blew a big bunch of the giant leaves into our yard from the trees across the road.  The temperature dropped so today was cool and this evening even cooler.  As I suspected, there was no work on the pool today.

I realize I threw you a real curve with this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song, but it is a worthy submission.  Here’s verse two:
“Yeah, he’s about the meanest dog there is in town.  He’d bite anybody, my sister or my brother.  Why, he’d even take a plug out o’ my old feeble mother.  Yeah, he even bit the mailman, and he sees him every day.  You say he’s never seen you before, but he wants to jump up and play.  Now I ain’t got a clue as to what you puttin’ down, but 
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __?”  Clue:  The song was first released in 1955 by another singer named for the son of a king.  The title is questioning the allegiance of the singer’s dog.

This morning we stopped by the side of our road and found one of the red flowers I wrote about yesterday.  We were fortunate enough to find a complete flower.  Each petal is 4 inches long and it seems that some people use the inside of the flower while others use just the petals.  


It isn’t often that we get visitors from far away.  A very old friend of Blue’s, who became a friend of ours, comes to Thailand on a regular basis.  I first met Clifford while he was performing in San Jose back in the mid-90s and saw him again at a hotel gig in Phuket a few years ago.  He and Blue talk by phone almost daily.  For this trip, Clifford brought two friends, David and Joel.  They started their adventure in Pattaya, then went to Chiang Mai.  From Chiang Mai they took a road trip up north to Chiang Rai.  They met us at the house and we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner.  We had a wonderful time sharing common experiences, discussing Chiang Rai, and enjoying another great meal at Sawadee restaurant.  We invited their driver to have dinner with us.  He’s been working on his English so he enjoyed listening to the conversations.  I don’t like to drive in Chiang Mai so we may contact him when we visit there.

Tomorrow we will have another new experience.  We’re going to Cat’s high school graduation in the afternoon.  If nothing else, we have experience in sitting through long presentations in Thai and appearing to be comfortable.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Feelings are neither bad or good,
They just are.  It’s what we do with them
that counts.”
~Unknown

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Relax

Hi,

Our weather adventures continue with across the board forecasts of rain this evening.  If it does rain it will be later than the predicted start times (555).  I just hope it doesn’t mess up the work being done on the pool.

‘Easy Monday’ was “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack.  It’s time for a really cool ‘Zany Day’ song.  It’s about a dog.
“Now you say you ain’t never met my wife, you ain’t never seen her befo’.  Say you ain’t been hangin’ roun’ my crib; well here somethin’ I wanna know… I wanna know what in the worl’ is goin’ down, __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __?”
Hint:  The ten word title contains an hint of suspicion.

A three person crew arrived this morning to start work on the pool.  Essentially, they are scraping the grout from the seams of the tile and will then re-grout the entire pool.  It’s tedious work and they left at the hottest time of the day.  Made sense to me, considering standing in an empty pool with 90 degrees beating down on you is counterproductive.

This morning we went to the Suzuki dealer for new wiper blades.  If rain is coming, I want to see.  Our blades were given the third degree by three different mechanics and the cashier.  It was like they didn’t believe we needed them.  The windshield was streaked and the rubber was weak.  After much frustration we asked if they had them in stock and they said no.  We don’t have a Pep Boys but there are some auto parts shops to check out.  The funny thing is, a lot of drivers here hardly use their wipers when it rains.  I tried it and it’s very strange to look through a wet windshield with water beating down.  Everything is all blurry.  Hmm. 

There are big trees all around town that are blooming with bright red flowers.  The flowers have large petals and they are used in Thai cooking, like curry dishes.  There are some of these trees on our road and we see people picking up the flowers off the road.  Some gather them to take home and use, while others actually sell them.  I’ll try to get a photo before they’re all scooped up.

In keeping with a ‘Zany Day’ theme, our photo for today was taken in Chiang Mai, at Central Festival.  This little stand makes lots of yummy things using mango.  I had mango and sticky rice, a classic dessert.


Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Your mind will answer most of your questions
if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
~William S. Burroughs

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Wisdom

Hi,

This little weather blurb is about to become monotonous.  It was hot again in Chiang Rai.  To break the monotony, I will tell you that this evening feels warmer than last night.  Also, there is a 40% chance of rain tomorrow.  That means it won’t rain, but it will make you think it might.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is still a very popular song based on the responses.  I guess that means it’s easy.
“I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd.  I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud.  I prayed that he would finish, but he just kept right on strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words.  __ __ __ with his song, __ __ __ with his song….”  Hint:  It’s easy (555).  

Daku is having a flurry of hot-spots.  The first wave was a result of the hotdog treats that we give him during morning exercise.  They were not pure pork, but a blend with chicken, which causes hot-spots.  We stopped giving him the dogs and now he has another one.  The weather may play a part in this, we don’t really know.  In an effort to provide him with a treat ‘beyond kibble’ during play, we got some crab sticks today.  They’re not really crab meat, but taste like it.  After a label reading by Cat, we’ll try them tomorrow and see if he likes them.  He loves fish, so chances are he’ll go nuts.

This afternoon we had another visit from our internet provider.  We have this speedy fiber thing going on, but it often won’t open links when we click on them.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and because it’s random, it’s hard to pin down the problem.  Two guys worked for about an hour trying different things but it is still not right.  We’ll call them back and, at their suggestion, replace the router with a new one. 

We had dinner at Central Plaza Mall with our friends Sutheera and Nukoon.  We had been curious as to why the parking lot was packed at 5:30pm and got our answer when Nukoon mentioned a big rally for the Chiang Rai United (CRUTD) Football team.  After dinner I walked to the middle of the mall to see what was happening.  The rock music had just begun and the crowd was beginning to roar.  There was a haze from the smoke machine and then they started screaming.  In groups of three, the team came out, struck a pose and was replaced by another group.  It was like being at a rock concert.  The hometown crowd loves their team.  The season starts soon and they’re building momentum to fill seats in the stadium.  Today’s photo will give you an idea of the crowd.


Tomorrow the pool work begins.  They have to pull out the failing grout and replace it, plus fill the earthquake cracks.  The timing couldn’t be better as far as the warmth is concerned.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“The highest form of wisdom
is kindness.”
~The Talmud

Monday, February 22, 2016

Knowledge

Hi,

Hot days and warming nights, the story of weather in Chiang Rai.  Clothing adjustments are being made and it’s almost time to break out the swimwear.  Work starts on the pool this week.  Maybe by the time it’s refilled the nights will be warm.  Oh joy.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Hello Stranger” by Barbara Lewis.  A good one for sure.  Time for a dose of ‘Easy Monday’.  “I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style.  And so I came to see him, to listen for a while.  And there he was, this young boy, a stranger to my eyes, strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words.  __ __ __ with his song, __ __ __ with his song, telling my whole life with his words.  __ __ __ with his song.”  Hint:  This song from 1973 is still being played on the radio.  The singer in the song had quite an effect on the singer of the song.  

We still haven’t received the final word on what is being built on our street, and our speculation changes every day.  Whatever it is, it doesn’t look like it will be a dwelling, but more like row of small businesses.  Answers are needed so I can stop trying to figure it out (555).

This morning, early, there was the sound of the big gong from the temple, then I heard mallet music briefly.  It was in celebration of Makha Bucha Day, which commemorates The Buddha’s first sermon to his disciples.  As a National Holiday all banks and government offices were closed and many stores observed the holiday as well.

Sunday night we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner and it was like a busy Saturday night on the town.  We realized that with Monday being a day off for many folks, they took advantage of the chance to go out.  All of the restaurants on Clock Tower Street were busy, and the Night Bazaar was packed.  There are also a lot of tourists in town and apparently business is good for our vendor friends.  It was also one of the warmest nights in a long time.

This morning we went over to The Wanderer to deliver tags for Lisa’s art work.  I measured the distance from our house and it’s only 2 kilometers, or about 1 1/4 miles.  While we were there they showed us the latest additions and the place is really coming together.  There will be a ‘Soft Opening’, (open house) on March 1 so many preparations are happening every day.  We’re feeling close to the project for many reasons.  Aside from being friends with the creators, we knew Khun Witcha, who is the inspiration for the project. We’ve watched it grow since the beginning of the concept, and who doesn’t like going to a forest so close to home?

Today’s photos are pretty obvious.  The name is up over the entrance to the coffee shop, and the waterfall/pond is more dense than ever.  



Our schedule will be full over the next week and a half.  There will be dinners with friends, the work on the pool, and preparations for our trip to Chiang Mai next week for my second surgery.  Then we have all the daily things that have to get done, like shopping for food and playing with the dog.  So grateful for this life.

Have a Great Week.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“All knowledge has its origins
in our perceptions.”
~Leonardo Da Vinci

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It was a hot one in Chiang Rai today.  The temperature range was from the low 90s to the mid 60s.  It’s a big jump from day to night, but not nearly as cold.  Life is getting more comfortable weather-wise.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song went unanswered.  Lisa told me this would happen, but I wanted to broaden your knowledge.  Everyone should know there was a song titled “Does the Spearmint Lose It’s Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?”.  Here’s a link if you want to subject yourself to some real ‘Zany’:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23gCTWWGhxw   Now it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’ and a tune we’ve hummed before.  “(Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby, shoo-bop, shoo-bop) __ __, (Ooh)  It seems so good to see you back again, how long has it been?  (Ooh, it seems like a might long time, shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby)…”  Clue:  The backgrounds are important to set the mood.  They are also the bulk of the lyrics to the song.  It was sung by a woman in a very sultry manner.  She is greeting an old friend.

This morning we went to Big C early, which is always a pleasure.  There was lots of parking, the aisles were open and the check-stands had no lines.  The only way to shop.  After our shopping, Blue and I sat on a bench and waited for Lisa, who was getting a watch.  We had a chance to watch the morning ritual of two vendors as they opened their tiny little shops outside the main market area.  The spaces are maybe 8 feet square and have an accordion-style door that locks things in at night.  One was a luggage and dress shop, the other sold clothes for small children.  Their routines were precise, with product placement very exact.  It was impressive and curious.  How do they pay for the stall with such a small inventory?  One thing they don’t seem to worry about is security.  People leave their stalls, go and visit other vendors and return to find everything the way they left it.  Amazing Thailand, or at least Chiang Rai.

This afternoon we had a visit from a member of The Sold Project team.  She had a form for Cat to fill out regarding her living arrangement and contact info.  We thought it was to be in interview with us, but that was not the case.  Next week Cat’s school will hold graduation ceremonies at the campus.  In Thailand they refer to this rite of passage as ‘Congratulations Day’.  Then, the following week there will be the two days of exams.  We have learned that everyone gets a blank diploma, but it’s the final grade point average that determines if you really did anything.  One could march but not have a real graduation.  We have been encouraging studying for the finals.

Today’s photo is of tiny baby clothes that presented themselves when we pulled into the carport at The Big Brown House.  It brought a smile.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                 Peace,
                           Danny


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Courage

Hi,

I haven’t consulted the weather sites in days, but it seems like every afternoon is hotter than the day before.  This is very normal for this time of year.  

It seems that no one knows this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song.  I’m not surprised since it first hit in 1924.  Here’s more:
“__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __?  If your teacher tells you not to chew it, swallow it for spite.  Could you grab it with your tonsils and then swing it left or right?  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Title deals with a matter of taste, or the lack thereof.  

The latest art project at the Big Brown House revolves around the little white elephant that has been living in our front yard for a few years.  Today Lisa got some spray paint and put a base of dark red on the little guy.  The artist is not sure where things will go from here, but he will be colorful for sure.

The big lot on the other side of our neighbor has been sold and construction has begun.  We haven’t been told what they are building, but from the basic plumbing start and the early layout, it looks like it might be a small row of shophouses.  Oh my, that will be interesting.  Maybe they will just be tiny apartments.  As long as they’re not over two stories it will fit into the surroundings.  If they go three it will be like a high-rise.  Most of our viewing is in the other direction, but it would be nice to keep our country feel.

This morning the pool got inspected by a repair contractor and work will begin sometime next week.  This is good news.  Maybe by the time the work is finished the nights will be warmer and the new water will be swimmable in a short time.  I live in hope.

When we arrived at Chiang Rai airport Sunday afternoon we were welcomed by a unique ‘orchestra’.  The instrument is called the Angklung and is shaken.  Small hammers strike the tuned bamboo tubes producing a pleasant, pitched sound.  The players often have one in each hand, of different pitches.  Melodies and harmonies are played by specific players shaking their instruments.  There were 12 players plus 2 drummers.  I would imagine it requires a lot of concentration to keep up.


Have a Happy Thursday.

             Peace,
                       Danny

“It takes courage to grow up
and become who you really are.”
~E.E. Cummings

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wisdom

Hi,

Chiang Rai weather was very pleasant today.  Cool morning with heat in the afternoon.  I wouldn’t mind if it stayed like this if the overnight temps came up a bit so the pool could warm up.  More on that later.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” as sung by Frank Sinatra.  If you think that’s old, this ‘Zany Day’ song goes back even farther, but I couldn’t resist.  “Oh me, oh my, oh you, I don’t know what to do.  Hallelujah, the question is peculiar.  It’s got me on the go, I’d give a lot of dough if someone here would tell me, is it yes or is it no?  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __?  If you chew it in the morning, will it be too hard to bite?  Can’t you see I’m going crazy, won’t somebody put me right?  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __?”  This song has to do with the storage of an item and it’s condition after said storage.  Hmm, pretty zany song even if you don’t get the title.

This morning we did some errands in town.  After a brief visit with our friend Chalit at his photography studio we went to the bank.  I never would have imagined that we would be dealing with the ins and outs of international banking.  Sounds so 1%, but when you think about it, a lot of people have to do it.  It’s really not so bad as long as everything is done correctly.  

Today’s photo was actually taken on Sunday when we stopped by the Healthy Market.  The power was out, we think because of some work on the power poles outside.  Vendors were working by candlelight and life continued.  In the photo, the woman is chopping small chilis.


We are in that time of year (February and March) when the burning begins.  When we were flying home we could see evidence of burning from above.  The haze over part of Chiang Rai was not good.  So far, it hasn’t been bad around our area.  Since we deal with a certain amount of trash burning most of the year, we are prepared for the worst.  It’s a matter of closing the windows and turning on the air filters.  I have noticed that a lot more motorbike riders are wearing masks since they never know when they will encounter stinky air.  There are several movements around the country to try and put an end to it, but it’s such an ingrained tradition that it may take a long time. 

For several weeks our pool has been empty.  The grouting needs to be replaced and we’re waiting for a crew that can do the job right.  It may get fixed soon and dreams of swimming can begin.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“Wisdom is the daughter 
of experience.”
~Leonardo Da Vinci

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Matter

Hi,

The weather is definitely heating up.  The nights are a little slow to catch up, but it’s getting better.  Rain would be a nice break right now.  Everything is getting very dry.

A few readers remember this gem from way back when.  Our ‘Easy Monday’ song may come back after these lines.
“Don’t you know little fool, you never can win?  Use your mentality, wake up to reality.  But each time that I do just the thought of you makes me stop before I begin ‘cause __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  It’s when something is embedded, becomes a part of you.  It is not an epidermal problem, it’s becomes worse than that (555).

This morning the yard people came to clean things up.  There hasn’t been enough rain for the lawns to be very tall, but other things went a little wild.  Our coconut trees have gone, pardon the pun, nuts.  The last thing we need is falling coconuts, which was starting to happen.  The banana trees also have been prolific.  Things have been pruned and propped and it looks much better.  

Blue, Lisa and I went to Art Bridge to see the Drawing Exhibit that opened last Saturday.  Some of the work was amazing.  The detail that some artists put into their work boggles the mind.  After viewing the works, we went down to the restaurant for lunch.  It was nice, sitting by the water, listening to Smooth Jazz and reminiscing about various events from our youth.  Blue and I ended up talking a lot about our junior high and high school days.  Blue noticed that the rice fields near Art Bridge were a tan color.  This is a sign that the rice may not have survived.  The fields need to be submerged in water.  If the farmers can’t get water the rice dries out and dies.

Our friend Kwan came by in the afternoon to look at some of Lisa’s art.  She wants to hang some at The Wanderer.  We spent time at the dining room table learning more about coffee in Thailand, a little Doi Chaang history, and some of the plans for The Wanderer.  Kwan explained coffee brewing techniques and how they affect the flavor of the drink.  It was almost too much information to absorb in one sitting.  She left with three works from Lisa’s Sail Boat series.  The family already has three of her works so she will be ‘in the house’.  

Today’s photos are from Pattaya.  The first is near sunset, looking out from our 6th floor room.  You can see Koh Phai in the distance.  It’s the larger of a group of islands that are often destinations for tours.  The second photo is part of the coastline next to the hotel.  



Lisa and Cat are in town getting massages as I write to you.  It’s near the end of Cat’s senior year and there is not much homework being handed out.  There is studying to do since she will have final exams for two days after graduation.  Please don’t ask me to explain that one.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Things which matter most
must never be at the mercy 
of things that matter least.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The weather in Pattaya is very warm and very humid. There have been forecasts of showers, but there’s no way to really judge the sky down here.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.  It’s ‘Old School Friday’ time once again.  
“__ __ my love has come along.  My lonely days are over, and life is like a song.  __ __ the skies above are blue, my heart was wrapped in clover the night I looked at you.  I found a dream, that I could speak to.  A dream that I can call my own.  I found a thrill to press my cheek to, a thrill that I have never known, __ __.”  Clue:  This song was the signature tune for a famous blues singer.  

I spent the greater part of today chairing a committee meeting.  We got a lot of work done and accomplished our goals.  Now I’m beat.  While I was doing that, Lisa went for a swim in the hotel pool.  The water was cold but she swam anyway.  Because of the remoteness of the hotel, many people spend the day here.  It’s almost like a cruise ship, seeing the same people during the day in different places on the property.  The dining room staff seem to have very familiar relationships with some of the guests.  

This morning I needed copies made of the meeting agenda.  We asked one of the drivers in front of the hotel and he said he would take care of it.  He picked up some guests and drove away.  Later, while I was waiting in the lobby, a hotel staff guy brought me the copies, collated and stapled.  That was pretty cool.

Today’s photos are from Pattaya.  The first one is the old train going through town.  The second is a shot of me with a few of my new ‘friends’ (555) on the hotel grounds.



There is something about old hotels that make them both charming and aggravating.  The charm is in the little decorating touches and architectural twists and turn.  Then there are the things in old hotels that are just old and don’t quite work well in this modern world.  Our room has one working wall socket.  There is a socket in the bathroom, but it’s designed for ‘shavers only’.  It must be for antique shavers because the plug spacing is very odd.  There are no overhead lights in the room, and the existing lights are all soft.  Not conducive to reading or drawing; just setting a mood.  While the view is spectacular, in one review of the place someone wrote, “This may be the only hotel in Thailand with no free wifi”.  Oh well.  Sunday we will be back home with our wifi and Daku.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.        It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Adventure


Hi,

Reporting from Pattaya, where the air is very hazy and humid.  The temperature is warm and the view of the Gulf of Thailand from our hotel room window is wonderful.  

Our ‘Zany Day’ song this week is from an album whose title would be a cool place to rest one’s head.  Still one of my favorites.  “And if you go chasing rabbits and you know you’re going to fall.  Tell ‘em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call.  Call Alice, when she was just small.”  Clue:  A very pale rodent is involved.

When we first came to Chiang Rai, our quiet little airport had two flights in the morning and two in the afternoon.  I believe Air Asia and Thai Airways were the only carriers and they flew shuttles between Chiang Rai and Bangkok.  This morning, when we went to the airport, there were two lines to check into the departure room.  There are now  about 6 or 7 carriers, many daily flights, and some now go to China.  Part of this traffic has to do with the ‘season’, but a lot of it is simply growth.  

After a long walk through the airport we had lunch and connected with our driver for the trip to Pattaya.  It’s not a scenic drive by any stretch of the imagination.  Lots of industrial things and what I like to call 'shipping container farms’.  Huge lots with stacks of containers looking like giant Legos.  When we reached Pattaya there was a feeling that growth had been a bit overdone.  There are overwhelmingly large condo structures, skyscrapers, and lots of heavy traffic.  At one point we had to stop for a train.  It was a General Electric Diesel that our driver said was very, very old.  

The hotel where we are is called the Asia Pattaya Hotel.  We went exploring, checking out the pool, and walking down to the beach.  It’s a short distance from the cliff to the water, so it’s a tiny space for those wanting to sun-bathe.  We knew there was something across the water, but the haze was too thick to see.  In the evening we could see lights from what we think is an island.  

By Monday I will have lots of photos of the hotel and surrounding area, but for today a few more from The Wanderer.  There are ‘coffee tables’ and then there is this beautiful piece of wood inside the coffee shop.  The second photo is for fern lovers.  



Have a Thrilling Thursday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“Adventure must start with
running away from home.”
~William Bolitho

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Young

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai is the same as yesterday.  Actually, the daytime was a little hotter. This week has been the first time I’ve worn just a T-shirt during the day in a long time.  Our four-day weekend will be a real vacation from the chilly nights here.  Temps at night will be in the mid 70s.  That’s 30 degrees warmer.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder.  That means it’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ song.  I think you’ll remember this one:  “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 is not in the lyrics of this song.  The group’s name is a kind of flying machine. 

Daku was very casual about the suitcases on the floor.  The frenzy won’t come until we close them up in the morning.  He’ll have plenty of company while we’re gone so he won’t be lonely.  

I really like the ‘relationships’ we have with the people we shop from around town.  We mostly buy fresh food from the same group of folks and even some that we don’t buy from, give us smiles of recognition.  Part of this comes from the fact that there is no rotation of staff like in a supermarket.  Every day the same people are there, selling their vegetables or fruit, cleaning fish, or serving food.  The longer we persist in shopping with them, the more ‘chatty’ they get.  It’s fun, and keeps that ‘small town’ vibe going strong.

Meanwhile, back at the Wanderer, we visit what is called the ‘Drip Room’ with it’s indoor tree.  This room will have slow coffee brewing techniques as its main feature.  No steam driven coffee, just old-fashioned drip methods.  The second photo is the waterfall with its lush foliage and soothing sounds.



It’s time to start gathering the few clothes that are going to Pattaya.  With warm temps there is no need for a lot of bulky ‘warm clothes’.  

It’s time for Wacky Wednesday.  

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“It takes a long time to 
learn to be young.”
~Unknown

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daydream

Hi,

The nights are getting colder, if that’s possible.  Mornings in the yard with Daku require a thermal, heavy shirt, jacket, neck scarf and knit hat.  What?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has a few friends out there.  This song could be used to discourage the ‘Good Luck’ dolls.
“Very __, wash your face and hands.  Rid me of the problems, do all that you can.  Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong.  You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song.  When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer.  __ ain’t the way, yeh, yeh.”  Hint:  The singer has been called the ‘8th Wonder of the World’, he’s a fan of Sir Duke.

The house has been buzzing with questions since last night when our ‘Wonder Net’ started misbehaving.  Everything was going so well, then all of a sudden: ‘Cannot Locate Server’.  This morning we went to the office to tell them about it and of course the sites we couldn’t reach popped up on their screen with no problem.  Isn’t that always the way?  There doesn’t seem to any pattern to it so far.  More will be revealed, but it’s a cruel game.

Today’s photos are two more from The Wanderer.  The little garden around the base of the tree is a typical touch that gives the place it’s wild, untamed look.  The indoor tree lives in the coffee shop.  Another unique inclusion of nature.



Thursday we will be going to Pattaya for the weekend.  We’re going to the annual Recovery Convention.  After a flight to Bangkok we will travel to Pattaya by car.  The hotel sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  

Before we leave there are many things to arrange here at the house.  Most of them revolve around Mr. Daku and his care and feeding.  We think we have it covered, but there are always details.  Today he got a bath, which he did not like at all.  There was a breakthrough though in the drying process.  He let Lisa use the hair dryer on him without running away.  Maybe he’s mellowing with age, but he seemed to enjoy it.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“Everything starts as somebody’s
daydream.”
~Larry Niven

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ask

Hi,

The days are nice around here, but the nights decided to do the cold thing again.  We are now having lows in the 40s.  It’s back to layers of clothing at night, in the house.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “There Goes My Baby” by The Drifters.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be obvious.
“Very __, writings on the wall, very __, ladders ‘bout to fall.  Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass.  Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.  When you believe in things that you don’t understand then you suffer.  __ ain’t the way.”  Hint:  Rabbit’s foot, amulets, magic oil, sidewalk cracks, hmm.  

Just when I was going to tell you that we’re having a quiet, explosion-free evening, a giant display was set off behind our house.  Maybe it was just something left over (555).  It turns out most people celebrated Chinese New Year on Sunday.  

The highlight of our weekend was two trips to The Wanderer.  If you recall, this is the river-front ‘forest’ being developed at a coffee shop, restaurant, bakery experience owned by the folks from Doi Chaang Coffee.  It’s finally near semi-completion and they invited us by to see the progress.  Khun Noot and her daughter Kwan took us on an updated tour and then we had rose petal tea, that was wonderful.  The trees and vines have filled in spaces nicely and we noticed lots of little touches everywhere.  Tiny wild flowers grow at the base of trees, stone pathways lead you to quiet spots, and it’s only a few minutes from our house.  Below are a couple of photos.  More about our visits tomorrow.

The Path to The Wanderer


A View of the Central area from Above

This weekend also saw the arrival of more friends and relatives to visit Natcha and Neetchanan.  Some, like Gong’s sister Fang worked hard both days.  The entire family is very sweet and loving and it’s a joy having them around.  We’re hoping one day to take a photo with everyone at The Big Brown House.

For some merchants in Chiang Rai, a major holiday like Chinese New Year means an infusion of cash by the many visitors.  For others, it’s business as usual.  Certain things mean more to visitors than others.  For instance, food and lodging are very important, but trinkets or local crafts may not be a priority.  Our friend at Sawadee Restaurant was doing big business last night, but another friend with a small souvenir shop was complaining that no one was buying anything.  And so it goes.  

Have a Great Week.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“You create your opportunities
by asking for them.”
~Shakti Gawain

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

As predicted, the weather in Chiang Mai was warm.  The north of Thailand was warm today.  The nights will have varying coolness.  Next week we’re due for more cold nights, with temps in the mid to low 40s.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” by The Beatles.  It is now time for another chapter of ‘Old School Friday’.  “__ __ __ __ movin’ on down the line.  Wonder where, wonder where, wonder where she is bound?  I broke her heart and made her cry.  Now I’m alone, so all alone.  What can I do, what can I do?  __ __ __ __, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh…..”  Clue:  Someone is leaving.  Hmm, maybe she’s on Broadway.  By an historical R&B group.

One sure thing about trips away from home without Daku, we get to sleep in.  This morning was no exception.  You know you’re tired when you get a good night’s sleep in a strange bed.  Our motel served a buffet breakfast so we thought we’d check it out first.  A brief look at the line-up told us to go down the soi to ‘Art and Eatery’, where we snacked yesterday.  The menu was the same as before, and still just as tasty.  Today’s photo is the front of the little building.  


After breakfast we went into the small gallery and enjoyed the whimsical works of the resident artist.  I’ll post a few things next week.

Since we were staying in a new part of town as far as driving, we asked the front desk for directions to the hospital where we were going.  It took three people to finally get us to the easiest way there.  Armed with a very cool map we brought with us, Lisa navigated the journey across town and it was a breeze. 

At Central Festival Mall, where we stopped for lunch, we got a strong reminder that Chinese New Year is coming.  All over the place there were cardboard monkeys and lots of red decorations.  Yes, its the year of the monkey.  

By some very rough calculations, on the drive to Chiang Mai I figured that we spend one hour in each of the mountain areas and one hour on the flat land.  The mountains provide the challenge, especially on a Friday afternoon.  We still made good time and managed to get to Chiang Rai in time for rush-hour traffic.  It seemed quite mild after Chiang Mai traffic.  At home there was the crazy greeting from Daku.  

Some folks in the village here have started practicing their fireworks skills.  They aren’t close to us so it’s not so bad.  Still, Sunday and Monday will probably sound pretty wild.  

In Thailand we’re calling the big football event: Superbowl Monday because that’s when we’ll watch it.  Who says you can’t watch football for breakfast?  Who will you root for?  One thing that will be cool is the fact that we get to see the game without much interruption.  One thing that won’t be cool is that we’ll miss all the ‘special’ commercials that will be presented.  Hmm.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    On to the ‘Funnies’.

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Start

Hi,

The weather cooperated and we had a perfect day for traveling.  It’s hotter in Chiang Mai, which is a nice change.

The ‘Zany Day’ song came out in 1969.  Several readers got it pretty quickly.  Here’s the rest of the story.
“She said she’d always been a dancer, she worked at 15 clubs a day.  And though she thought I knew the answer, well I knew what I could not say.  And so I quit the police department, and got myself a steady job.  And though she tried her best to help me, she could steal but she could not rob.  Didn’t anybody tell her?…..”  Hint:  A strange relationship?  I guess the title has to do with how they met.  Hmm.

Our drive to Chiang Mai was very smooth.  The traffic was light and the driving was a breeze.  We stopped about an hour into the trip and had coffee and pie at the Gardens.  Along the way we kept noticing how things were changing.  Villages were becoming towns, small towns were getting bigger.  The forest hillsides are getting very brown this time of year, especially since there has been so little rain.  

We’re staying at a new, for us, hotel in a different part of town.  The rooms are very nice and it’s clean.  After checking in we walked down  Soi 17 looking for a snack.  We found a little spot called ‘Art and Food Space’.  It’s part of a collective, with a gallery and a workshop.  The food was healthy, with creative and attractive combinations of things.  I had wheat toast with peanut butter, banana, and cranberries.  As I looked over toward the kitchen I couldn’t help noticing something above the window.  It was a row of old phones on the wall.  Our photo for the day.


The motel has a driver they use when you ask for a taxi.  He took us to the Consulate office and waited.  After some time, we got all our business taken care of and returned to the motel for a much needed nap.  

Dinner was an experience for us.  We went to a place called ‘Duke’s’ at a mall that has a Rimping Market.  We know the food at Duke’s, and Rimping is a chain that has lots of things we can’t find in Chiang Rai.  Duke’s was full of non-Thais.  It was like being somewhere other than Thailand.  Quite a few of them knew each other so it must have been a group thing.  

We will never complain about the traffic in Chiang Rai again.  We don’t have any ’traffic' after spending time on the streets of Chiang Mai.  In some places it was due to road construction, in others it was bad sequencing of traffic lights.  Then there were the roads that just had too many cars.  An SUV slowly started moving over on our taxi and our driver honked and said he must be from Bangkok, he moved so slow.  In Bangkok the traffic sits still for very longs periods of time.  From above, it looks like an ocean of cars.  Motorcycle taxi drivers often drive up on the side walk to bypass the mess.  We felt so local, understanding an ‘inside’ joke like that.
 
We return to Chiang Rai tomorrow, after visiting Dr. Perry for adjustments.  The nights are going to start getting very cold again, so this little warm break hit the spot.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“When you start being good to yourself,
you start feeling good about yourself.”
~Unknown

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Song

Hi,

We had another hot day in Chiang Rai.  The afternoon was very windy, which was nice for clearing the air but left a lot of leaves in the yard.

‘Easy Monday’ was “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash.  This weeks ‘Zany Day’ song is just that.  Do you know this?  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __ protected by a silver spoon.  But now she sucks her thumb and wanders, by the banks of her own lagoon.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?  Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me.”  Clue: Someone makes an unusual entrance as seen in the title.  Not sure how it’s relevant, but there it is.  

Somewhere to the south of us, but not far enough, is a venue that has started having nightly music.  All we hear is the constant thumping of bass and drums and not much else.  They are going to have some fierce competition when the stage by the river starts having music again.  Meanwhile, the music to the north must have been a party because it has been quiet since that one night.  I have nothing against music (555) but when it’s in my house, I like to chose it.

Recently, Lisa changed her phone plan so that she pays once a month for what she’s used.  Today she paid her bill for the first time and it was very smooth.  At 7-11 she showed them the message on her phone from the carrier.  They typed in some numbers, she paid, and she got a receipt on her phone.  I may have to try that.  It’s much better than realizing you’re almost out of money and then ‘topping up’.  Oh, this modern world.

In some of the larger cities here, they have what they call a ‘Ring Road’.  It’s a road that goes around the city and connects with the highway so you don’t have to deal with any congestion.  Chiang Rai is in the long process of building such a road.  Yesterday I learned that a large, open area near the road to the airport is going to be one end of the ‘ring’.  More will be revealed, but it would be nice if the big trucks went around instead of through town.  Yea, progress.

This afternoon we got the van washed in preparation for our road trip tomorrow.  Blue, Lisa and I will drive down to Chiang Mai to get documents at the U.S. Consulate Office.  Every year we have to renew a statement declaring how much we get from Social Security, and take it to immigration when we renew our visas.  We’ll stay overnight and return home on Friday, after an appointment with our chiropractor friend.  There will also be some ‘looking’ for a few things we can’t get in Chiang Rai, like soy-free mayonnaise.  Oh, there will also be pie involved (555).

Today’s photo was taken at Browney’s Pet World.  In keeping with this ‘Zany’ Wednesday I thought I’d share.


Baby Tina sleeps a lot, as babies do.  Today Natcha brought her in while she was awake so we could see her beautiful eyes.  

Time for Wacky Wednesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“A bird doesn’t sing because
it has an answer; it sings
because it has a song.”
~Maya Angelou

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

People

Hi,

We seem to have missed out of the ‘rain every night’ portion of the year.  The days are in the mid-80s and the nights are dropping into the mid to high 50s.  This, I can live with (555).  Like I have any choice.

Some of you recognized the “Easy Monday” song right away.  It’s from ’72, so it’s not too old (555).  Here’s more:
“I think I can make it now, the pain is gone.  All of the bad feelings have disappeared.  Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for.  It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.”  Clue:  Clearer vision without a new pair of glasses, so to speak.

The tick wars continue.  A few days ago we went by a vet we used to go to and he suggested a powder that, when mixed with water, could be sprayed on the lawn.  It was specifically for ticks.  He said some sprays are really for mites and don’t to a proper job.  Today the spray people came, mixed up the potion, and sprayed the lawns and driveway.  Again, we wait.  

The search for a play-name for Neetchanon is over.  They asked us for suggestions since they wanted a Western name.  Lisa gave them a list that they studied. Then they asked Lisa to choose.  What?  She chose Susie or Tina.  Gong liked Tina and Natcha was OK with it so that is what we’ll call the baby.  Tina had her first trip out of the house today for a check-up with the doctor.  Natcha’s brother drove them in his truck, whew.  We think she’s doing pretty good, but needs to get some sunlight according to the doctor.  We’re not clear on what’s really happening.  The family is very attentive and our little village is getting into a routine.

Imagine packing a couple of suitcases, and going to a foreign country to live for at least one year.  You don’t know the language, and don’t have many contacts.  This happens everyday and we have had a chance to meet many brave young people who tackle this challenge and thrive.  Today we had a chance to hang out at Art Bridge with such a person.  We met her through The Sold Project, where she works, and this was our first chance to get to know her.  After visiting the exhibit in the gallery, we had lunch in the restaurant.  She shared some of her experiences with us and in my mind, I wondered if I would have had the courage to do what she’s doing when I was in my 30s.  

Today’s photo was taken at Art Bridge.  The bamboo handrail marks the short trail to the water’s edge.  The inlet is somehow connected to the Kok River, the main waterway through Chiang Rai.  There is a little dock that extends over the water, with no real function, just an artistic touch.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“People are the way they are,
not the way you want them to be.”
~Unknown