Monday, October 31, 2016

Kindness

Hi,

The weekend was so dry we got the car washed.  Still have to look out for puddles, but it’s very clean.  No rain is expected until next week. 

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Stop, In the Name of Love” by The Supremes.  Hopefully, the ‘Easy Monday’ song will be just as easy.  “__ __ __ when she’s gone.  It’s not warm when she’s away.  __ __ __ when she’s gone and she’s always gone too long, anytime she goes away.”  Hint:  The title is an English teacher’s nightmare.  If you’re having trouble remembering, lean on me for more clues (555).  

We had what you might call a ‘Wanderer Weekend’.  Saturday we had lunch there with a couple who are visiting Chiang Rai from the States.  It’s always fun to tell people all the reasons we love living here and to show off our favorite place to hang out.  While we were there we saw two of the largest moths ever.  Apparently the had just flown in and were just resting up in the trees.  There was also a monkey sighting at The Wanderer.  Monkeys are abundant in the south of Thailand, but one hardly hears of them up north.  They gave it some bananas and it took a bite and then threw the rest back at them.  Hmm.  Today’s photo is one of the giant moths.


Sunday, after my morning meeting, Lisa, Cat and I went to The Wanderer for lunch.  Then we went to Art Bridge to get a canvas for the next project.  All of the artists have been invited to paint something related to The King.  This will be a very interesting exhibit.  It opens while we will be in America, but we’ll get to see it when we return.

While we were getting the van washed this morning, we had a fun visit with Katai and Thowan at Work@Home.   We hadn’t seen Thowan since the Singapore experience, so he wanted to know about the F1 Grand Prix.  Their big question was whether I had seen K.C. & the Sunshine Band perform.  It turns out they are big fans of some 70s music from the States.  He also told us that there is a Mustang on the showroom at one of the exclusive car dealers.  We’ve never seen a Mustang in Chiang Rai, and we spotted it later in the day - bright red.  

Another Thai lesson happened today.  We’re learning some interesting things about the cultural aspects of the language.  Hard to explain, but as an example, there is a word that relates to the heart and emotional state when used with other words.  Our new book also has 5 pages of Thai words taken from English, like ‘futbon’ is football, and ‘gee-taa’ is guitar.  Fascinating, seeing the roots of English words placed into the pronunciation patterns of Thai.  We’ve been told that the CIA ranks it as one of the hardest languages to learn.  

Neetchanon continues to expand her vocabulary and carries on conversations as if we understand.  It was great hearing her little voice from downstairs while she played with her cousin, Gop.  It won’t be long before real words will have us answering questions like ‘what’s that?’.

Have a Great Week.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“Kindness is the language
which the deaf can hear and 
the blind can see.”
~Mark Twain

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The weather report is in repeat mode.  Fortunate for us, we had a cool morning, which meant the downstairs was just right for our ‘Powerless’ morning.  The power company cut us off at 8:30am, half an hour early, but turned it back on at 2pm instead of 4:30pm.  It was a good day.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQnfooEED8Y
I would like to apologize to all of you who had to hear this song in your head for a day or more (555).  Now we need a new tune from the ‘Old School Friday’ library.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ before you break my heart.  Baby baby, I’m aware of where you go each time you leave my door.  I watch you walk down the street, knowing your other love you’ll meet….. Think it over.”  Hint:  Three gowns, three wigs, and three talented singers brought us a ton of hits in the 60s.    

Our lunch at the Rimkok Buffet was passable, but not the tastiest meal.  They did have some lemon cake that I enjoyed.  Lisa had more choices since she can eat spicy food.  Many of the dishes were what is called ‘Northern Style’, which includes ranges of ‘heat’.  It was a nice diversion, but we’ll probably not return for quite a while.

We managed to take a nap in the growing afternoon heat.  The smell of someone burning trash woke me up.  As I was trying to decide whether to close the window or move us to another room, I realized I was hearing the sound of a motor.  It was the pool filter pump and that meant that power had been restored.  We moved the show back upstairs, turned on the air and relaxed.  Daku was also happy about the cool air.  

Today’s photos are from the memorial service for Blue.  In the first, the monks are chanting.  In the second, the monk is blessing the gathering by throwing water.  



It looks like we’ll have a fairly busy weekend.  We have a lunch date at The Wanderer, Cat is staying over, and Sunday our deck is getting a special cleaning.  We have go to the the mall and schedule another visit from our internet provider.  When the power came back on today, our internet did not.  Not cool, but they will make it right.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       The ‘Funnies’ are coming.    Formula One is in Mexico this weekend.  Zoom.

                   Peace,
                             Danny


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Greatness

Hi,

We had another beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  It started out cloudy like it might rain, and ended up with bright sun.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was recognized right away by all of the subjects of this ‘ruler’ (555).  Here’s more:
“And when I hold you, you’ll be my duchess __ __ __.  We’ll walk through my dukedom and a paradise we will share.  Yes-a, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh.  Nothing can stop me now, ‘cause I’m the __ __ __….”  Hint:  I gave you a big hint in the lyrics.  If you catch it, you’ll know.

Our morning adventure was a trip to Art Bridge to see the mural depicting the life of The King.  We arrived a few minutes after the gallery opened and families had already begun gathering in the parking lot to take photos.  The entrance to the lot was blocked in order to provide a clear view of the giant mural that spans the width of the building.  It was organized and completed quickly and is very moving to see.  Several of the groups viewing the mural consisted of three generations of family members.  It is difficult to describe the love and adoration that is expressed toward The King.  

Today’s photos are of the mural.  I took three shots, moving from left to right.  There are numerous photos on the Art Bridge Chiang Rai Facebook page, showing the production of the mural.  This link will take you to the Art Bridge page showing the whole process.  https://www.facebook.com/ArtBridgeChiangRai/?fref=ts  Scroll down until you see the mural entry with 335 photos.  You don’t have to look at all of them (555).




Periodically, during the day National Thai TV broadcasts proceedings from the Grand Palace.  Sometimes it is the monks chanting, and other times there are ceremonies taking place.  They are now giving narration in English so we can understand what we’re seeing.  It has been very enlightening, giving us a glimpse into the very complex processes of paying tribute to The King.

Since we will be without power for most of tomorrow, we've had to figure out what to do with ourselves.  If we have another cool morning, we can hang out downstairs in ‘Cat’s Room’ until lunch time.  Then we’ll go to what used to be called The Rimkok Resort, down the road from us.  It has new owners and we’ve been told that the lunch buffet is quite good.  We have a Thai lesson at The Wanderer that should end at the time the power returns.  The adventure continues.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Anger

Hi,

The rain is still around.  Last night we had a big thunderstorm that scared off our TV signal.  This afternoon we had a downpour that watered everything again.  Maybe the season isn’t over yet.  We’re just happy to not be in a drought.  Oh, and let’s not forget the cooler mornings that come with the overnight rains.

‘Easy Monday’ was “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles.  Now you know.  The ‘Zany Day’ song may bring a smile:
“As I walk through this world, nothing can stop the __ __ __.  And-a you, you are my girl and no one can hurt you, oh no.  Yes-a I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh. Come on let me hold you darlin’, ‘cause I’m the __ __ __.  Yea, yea, yea yeah…”  Hint:  It’s about royalty.  The title is a title.

There is a tiny little store down a long driveway, and they sell only organic products.  We’ve been there before, but it’s hard to remember since it’s so hidden away.  Today they seemed to have mostly packaged goods like cereals, crackers, dressings, etc.  In the past we’ve seen fresh vegetables and fruit.  Some of the items are made in Thailand, which is good to see.  It’s a fun adventure, just to see what ‘off the grid’ stuff we might find.

Monday, on our way to HomePro, we stopped at a new giant home improvement store.  We just looked at a small portion of what was there, it was massive.  I keep wondering how so many stores with the same merchandise can stay in business.  It seems that the difference comes down to price, quality and service.  Each one has a target market, with some overlap.  As a result, at least one of the smaller ‘mom and pop’ home stores is now regrouping and changing their direction.  I suppose that’s the price of progress.  

Sometimes you have to go to the same stores over and over until they get what you want.  Such was the case with the little table and chair set we brought home the other day.  There is just enough space at one end of our balcony for a small set.  HomePro finally came through and had just what we wanted.  It’s nice to hang out outside without having to go downstairs.  It makes Daku happy because he spends a lot of time out there, watching his world.

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer on a recent visit.  The table is about 50 yards from the main restaurant, so it’s away from the crowds when the place is busy.  The base is made of two Singer sewing machine tables.  We love the giant fan leaves.  Need some in our yard.


This evening, after dinner, Neetchanon and I were having a ‘conversation’ in baby talk and she started laughing.  Hmm, was it something I said?

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“You will not be punished 
for your anger, you will be
punished by your anger.”
~Buddha

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tears

Hi,

The weather was a bit cooler today.  Not saying that it was cool, just cooler than yesterday.  The predicted storm did not appear and we had a wonderful, mild day.  

“Nothing you can make that can’t be made.  No one you can save that can’t be saved.  Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time, it’s easy.  __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __, __ __ __ __ __.”
Clue:  There is a four letter word that is key to this song.  It makes the world go ‘round….

This morning we had a list.  A few things to do.  After careful consideration we decided that we really didn’t need to do them so we went to The Wanderer and had coffee and just relaxed.  We saw an expat friend who was meeting people there and discovered he’d never been to The Wanderer.  I love the look on people’s faces when they experience it for the first time.  After our coffee, we strolled around and just enjoyed the botanical garden aspect.

When we returned to the house, Natcha and Gong were preparing lunch and Neetchanon was in her little walker, out in the dining room.  They had tied a string from the walker to the big table so she couldn’t wander down the hall.  She greeted us with big smiles.  


We had another Thai lesson this afternoon.  Last week we were given homework.  What?  Both of us did our work and we did a pretty good job of writing little sentences.  Sentence structure in Thai is different than English and we have to think accordingly.  Our next lesson is Friday, which is the day we will be without power from 9am to 4:30pm.  We will meet Khru Awe at The Wanderer for our lesson.

Have a Happy Tuesday

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Tears come from the heart, 
not from the brain.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, October 24, 2016

Impossible

Hi,

Chiang Rai weather was more of the same until this morning.  We got a morning downpour that soaked the yards and watered everything.  Of course, it also cooled the pool.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In The Still Of The Night” by The Five Satins  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAcmRsScYIw   On to ‘Easy Monday’.  “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.  Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.  Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game.  It’s easy…”  Hint:  Title is five words.  It’s by those four lads from across the pond back in ’67.

On Saturday, there was a mass gathering in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, for the singing of The Royal Anthem.  The crowd was estimated at 150,000+.  People came from all over Thailand to participate and many services offered free transportation.  There was a grand sense of community as people volunteered water and food for the crowd.  The photo below is a partial view of the gathering.


Here in Chiang Rai, we had a mellow weekend.  In the talat I saw three Karen Hill Tribe women with scarves covering the brass rings on their necks.  I had never seen any of the women away from the villages where they live, since they are undocumented and considered ‘stateless’.  At Big C they are playing mood-type music instead of upbeat songs, and there are no commercials.  

Sunday, we had lunch at The Wanderer with our friends Cornelis and Anoi.  Cornelis has stopped making his collage artwork and is now on a mission to trade art with local artists.  After a fun lunch, we went to our house and he brought in three pieces for Lisa to choose from, and she did the same.  Now we have a ‘Cornelage’ as he calls them.  

In the evening we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner and were surprised at the number of visitors.  The ‘High Season’ has begun.  I find it exciting, walking down the aisles, hearing so many different languages, and watching how people try to negotiate prices on goods.  

At Art Bridge, a group of artists have painted a giant mural in honor of The King.  We’ll take some photos this week so you can see the result.   All over Thailand, projects are underway to pay tribute to His Royal Majesty.

Have a Great Week.   

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“It always seems impossible
until it’s done.”
~Nelson Mandela

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Chiang Rai had another gorgeous day.  If the nights were a little warmer we might even have better temperatures in the pool, but it was still good for a workout.  Thunderstorms have been forecast, but who believes that anymore?

The ‘Zany Day’ song for this week was “Junk Food Junkie” by Larry Groce.  Time for another episode of ‘Old School Friday’.  Some of you may recognize this one from the background vocal at the beginning:  “Shoo-doo, shooby doo, shoo-doo, shooby-doo, shoo-doo, shooby-doo, shoo-doo, shooby whoa… __ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight, ‘cause I love, love you so.  Promise I’ll never let you go __ __ __ __ __ __ (__ __ __ __ __ __).” 

This will be a long weekend in Thailand.  Monday is King Chulalongkorn Day.  Also referred to as Rama V, as the fifth King in the Chakri Dynasty, he was a pivotal ruler in that he brought the Kingdom into the modern world.  His father, Rama IV, was the King that was depicted in ’The King & I’.  Rama IV was highly educated and understood the importance of the western world.  His son, Rama V was only 15 when his father died, and couldn’t take the throne until he was 20.  He traveled the world during that time and brought a new understanding of what it would take to help the country progress.  During his reign he abolished the practice of slavery, introduced a more democratic form of government, established hospitals using western medical practices and much more.  It will be interesting to see how Thailand celebrates Rama V while still mourning the death of Rama IX.

There weren’t any big adventures today since I spent the day at home.  Lisa had a lunch date at The Wanderer with our friend Tai.  I ate with Daku by my side.  

Yesterday while we were driving through town we saw a shop with a great name:  'I Love Ice Cream’.  Can’t imagine what they serve in there (555).  Kinda makes me want to stop in and check them out, even though I can’t eat the stuff.

There is a real entrepreneurial spirit here in Chiang Rai.  Every week there is a new business popping up on almost every street.  Businesses come and go pretty fast, but lately there have been some sophisticated start-ups that might break the cycle.  It doesn’t take much to start an eating establishment, so they come and go a lot.  Things like the slick looking ice-cream shop and some of the newer clothing stores seem to have a different vision.  Time will tell, but it looks like the small town vibe is slowly fading.  As long as we have the villages that surround the city, the charm will remain.

Today’s photo is a ‘Throw-Back’ to 2009.  Blue was visiting and was showing this Samlor driver a photo of himself that Blue included in his book on the Hill Tribes.  The driver was delighted and every time he saw me on the street, I’d get a big greeting.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.   This week Formula One is in Texas.  Zoom

                    Peace,
                              Danny
  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Riches

Hi,

We seem to be in that monotonous weather reporting time.  Same thing every day.  Today it was blue skies with afternoon clouds.  We’re supposed to get an early start on the cold season at the end of this month, but there are no signs of that yet.

Well, so far no one has named the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It’s been around before, and a few of you guessed it then.  Here’s more: “Oh, but at night I take out my strong box that I keep under lock and key, and take it off to my closet where nobody else can see.  I open that door so slowly, take a peek up north and south.  Then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie and I pop it in my mouth.  Yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr. Natural, just as healthy as can be, but at night I’m a __ __ __.  Good lord have pity on me.”  Hint:  A closeted foodie doin’ his thing.  Can you figure it out?

Yesterday I forgot to tell you that we swam.  It was chilly at first, but then it felt good.  We thought we’d try it since Neetchanon went in the day before, with a little help from her folks.  If she could do it, so could we (555).  Today we went in again and it was great.  Not the water temperature for lounging, but good for getting in some laps.  While we ate dinner, Gong’s sisters went swimming.  The pool is getting used and that’s cool.

This morning we went into town.  We had planned to go to the Talat and get material for another bed spread but our plans got changed.  Several times a year the city fumigates the channels under the street where the water runoff goes.  It’s a prime breeding place for mosquitos.  Today was the day and one look at the plumes of vapor coming up from the curbs convinced us to move on.  At Big C we found one of the work books we need for our Thai class.  

Our second lesson with Khru (Teacher) Awe was very productive.  We learned more key words and how to use them. Today she had us answering questions in Thai.  In between, she would explain things, but it was good being forced to think in Thai.  I think it’s wakin’ up the brain.  It’s one thing to be able to say something, and quite another to hear something, understand and then respond.  Learning to communicate all over again can be fun.

Today’s photo was taken in Chiang Mai on a street that is filled with restaurants and small galleries.  I call this ‘Tin Man’.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Ordinary riches can be stolen;
real riches cannot.  In your soul
are infinitely precious things that
cannot be taken from you.”
~Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

See

Hi,

Chiang Rai experienced another postcard day.  Blue skies with occasional puffy clouds.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “(You’re) Still the One” by Orleans.  Time to get crazy with another ‘Zany Day’ song.
“You know I love that organic cooking, I always ask for more.  And they call me Mr. Natural, on down to the health food store.  I only eat good sea salt, white sugar don’t touch my lips.  And my friends is always begging me to take them on macrobiotic trips.  Yes, they are…”  Clue:  Things aren’t always as they appear.  This man has a secret.

A morning without errands is a wonderful thing.  We did go to The Wanderer for coffee and had a great time.  There were only a few people there when we arrived.  During a visit with Khun Noot, the owner, we had a chance to learn more about the new display case full of beaded bracelets and necklaces.  There were two necklaces made of amber that were breathtaking.  All of the stones are from her collection, recently strung by her staff.  She is teaching them to make jewelry.  She has a piece of jade that dates back to Roman times.  There were no prices on any of the objects yet.  My guess is that I won’t be wearing any antique stones in the near future (555).  

This afternoon our friend Eric came over.  He and his wife Brenda want to install a tree in our yard in Blue’s memory.  It’s a beautiful gesture and we spent some time deciding on where to plant it and what kind of tree to get.  He brought a book with examples of trees that grow in the region and we settled on a few choices.  There will be a flowering tree to remind us of our dear friend.  I think Blue is smiling.

Most Thai doctors work at hospitals by day and operate their own clinics at night.  This evening we went to see a new eye doctor we heard about.  He starts seeing patients at 5pm, so we arrived about 15 minutes early to get on the list.  After a 20 minute wait we both got our eyes examined.  He speaks fairly good English and is very personable.  

Today’s photo was taken at Central Plaza Mall.  In front of Robinson department store the mall management set up this floral tribute to The King.  There was a table in front of it with a book for people to sign.  


There is another interesting thing that has happened during this time of mourning.  Facebook has canceled all advertising in Thailand for the 30 day period.  Nice move.  I wish it could be this way all the time.

This just might be a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“It’s not what you look at that matters,
it’s what you see.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Knowledge

Hi,

I guess the weather is preparing for the ‘High Season’, offering clear skies and warm days.  It was another one of those days today.  A little cooler would have been nice.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was apparently easy for some of you.  This next line sums up the theme of the song:
“You’re __ __ __ that makes me laugh, __ __ __ that’s my better half.  We’re still havin’ fun and you’re __ __ __.”
Hint:  Hey, it’s ‘Easy Monday’.  

This morning we went adventuring in the Talat.  The market was bustling and we don’t know why.  The vendors selling black clothes were quite busy.  One of the blind men who walks the aisles and sings to his tape machine was trying his best to make a living today.  Since music and singing are not allowed during the mourning period, he walked with his tin can and spoke a few phrases at a time.  It was very touching.  Some people recognized his plight and contributed to his cause.  I imagine there are many stories like his, people who depend on entertaining to survive and cannot.  On the brighter side, there seemed to be a festive vibe among the shoppers, seeing each other sharing their respect for The King, all dressed in black or white.  It provides a common thread (excuse the pun) that, in my mind, gave it all purpose.

One of our stops in the Talat was a gold stand.  I have been curious for a few days about whether there were any amulet/medallions with the image of The King.  I found a beautiful one this morning and got it at an good price.  I don’t usually wear gold, but in this case I’m willing to alter my ’style’.  I later discovered that there is a crack in the clear shell over the image.  It’s not noticeable from a distance and can probably be replaced.  Still, I’m happy with it.  I replaced the gold chain with a more subtle, brown twisted material.  Lisa now has a new gold chain.  

This afternoon we had our first Thai lesson with Khun Awe.  She dove right in, speaking to us in Thai to see where we were in our understanding.  We spent the hour learning some basic, fundamental phrases that helped us understand things we’d been saying and hearing already.  The time flew by and we’re liking the way she teaches.  Now, where did I put that tape recorder?

Today’s photo was taken in our driveway this morning.  Neetchanon had just had her breakfast and was in a very cute mood.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Real knowledge is to know
the extent of one’s ignorance.”
~Confucius

Monday, October 17, 2016

Feelings

Hi,

Based on our current weather pattern, Chiang Rai may be out of the rainy season business.  Today we had a clear sky.  The cool morning turned into a hot day with no sign of rain.  Break out the water hoses.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ is here:
“We’ve been together since way back when, sometimes I never want to see you again, but I want you to know after all these years, you're __ __ __ I want whisperin’ in my ear.  You’re __ __ __ I want to talk to in bed, __ __ __ that turns my head.  We’re still havin’ fun, and you’re __ __ __.”  Hint:  Group is named after a city.

Thailand is in mourning and the effects can be seen everywhere.  Saturday night there was no Walking Street.  The giant advertising displays show a simple black screen with a message in Thai.  There was no music on the stage at the Night Bazaar Sunday night.  Vendors were selling their goods, but the tone was quiet and respectful.  Many shops have run out of black shirts and blouses.  The Bangkok Post and The Nation, both Thai newspapers that publish in English, have converted their entire websites to black and white.  For 30 days from the passing of The King, either black or white is the preferred color to wear.  If that is not possible, a black ribbon pinned to the shoulder is acceptable.

Last night we went to the Night Bazaar and after dinner we walked around.  Three of our old friends were eager to have conversations about The King and how much he meant to them and the country.  It was very touching.  For everyone we know, he was the only King in their lives.  The examples he set and the changes he made were monumental and it is a very different kind of reverence than we’ve ever been around.  

Tomorrow we will begin studying Thai again.  Khun Awe will come to the house and we will become students.  Lisa has been studying on her own, I have some catching up to do.  We’re looking forward to being able to communicate with more ease and confidence.  

Today’s photo is a splash of color from lobby of the D2 hotel in Chiang Mai.


Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Feelings are just visitors.
Let them come and go.”
~Unknown

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Mai has been perfect.  No rain at all, warm but not super hot.  On the surface, life went on as usual in this big city of the north.  Read on for more observations.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Fight Number 505” by The Rolling Stones.  ‘Old School Friday’ is not truly ‘Old School’, but it’s old enough to pose a challenge (555).  “Now if you feel that you can’t go on, because all your hope is gone, and your life is filled with confusion and happiness is just an illusion.  And your world is tumblin’ down, darling, __ __, __ __ for me.  __ __ __ to love and comfort you.  __ __ __ with the love, I’ll see you through.”  Hint:  This is tricky because the first part of the title is the two dashes, and the second part is the three dashes.  Got it?  It’s by four guys from the motor-city.

We went to the gallery this morning to set up the exhibit.  Our main job was to put the artwork where we wanted it so the staff could hang it.  Mrs. Wanthip, the gallery owner, was very helpful.  It was decided that the exhibit would open tomorrow, Oct. 15, but that the opening ceremony would not take place until late November.  Everyone is being asked to not have any celebrations, ceremonies, or activities for at least one month.  We just heard that the Festival of Loy Krathong is being canceled in Chiang Mai.  That’s a pretty big deal.  More will be revealed, for sure.

Television has been showing the same series of films about the life of The King since yesterday evening.  All the TV channels in Thailand are showing the same thing today.  For 30 days TV and radio must not broadcast any programs that include elements of entertainment, joy, violence, impoliteness, or overly expressed emotion.  "Program hosts and announcers must dress in black or white tones, mainly black, without a pattern, and be polite.”  These guidelines also apply to imported programming.  So, things are going to be different for a while.

We went to Central Festival Mall for lunch and there were a lot of people there; many dressed in black.  I have a ton of black shirts in my closet, but they’re all at home, so I picked up a T-shirt.  Government offices were closed today and that probably accounted for some of the crowd at the mall.  Traffic on the streets was very heavy in some areas.  It will be interesting to see how things are in Chiang Rai.  

Today’s photo is another take on the food court concept, as seen from an escalator.  


Tomorrow we will return to Chiang Rai, a day earlier than planned.  It will be good to get home.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.          ‘Funnies' are coming.

             Peace,
                       Danny


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Smile

Hi,

This is a sad day for the people of Thailand.  The beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died at 88 years old.  As a result, Lisa’s exhibit opening event has been postponed and normal life will be a little different for Thailand.  More will be revealed.

So far, no one has ventured a guess as to the title of the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here’s how the story plays out:
“Well, I sat right there in my seat, well, feeling like a king.  With the whole world right at my feet, ‘Of course I’ll have a drink’.  Well, suddenly I saw that we never ever would arrive.  He put the plane down in the sea.  The end of __ __ __ __ __, the end of __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  It’s by the oldest (still performing) R&R band on the planet.  

This evening we were having dinner at an Indian restaurant here in Chiang Mai with our friend Marty when we heard the news about The King.  As we left the restaurant and walked through the Night Bazaar to return to our hotel, we could feel the mood of those around us.  There was a sadness in the air, some people were watching the news, others were just looking off in silence.  For 70 years he was The King of Thailand and the lives of many have been directly affected by his hard work.  There are many positive stories of how he helped the country through the years.

This morning, as we started to leave the house, Lisa took this photo of Daku standing at the front door.  ‘No, we couldn't take him with us’.  (555)


We will shorten our trip by one day and return to Chiang Rai on Saturday.  Tomorrow we’ll meet with the gallery owner and discuss just how to proceed in a respectful manner.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“If you have only one smile in you,
give it to the people you love."
~Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

You

Hi,

Last night we had another of those major storms.  Lots of thunder and lightning along with a large amount of water.   By mid-morning it had all ended and the sun was coming out.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder.  Try this ‘Zany Day’ song:
“Well, I was happy here at home, I got everything I need.  Happy bein’ on my own just livin’ the life I lead.  Well, suddenly it dawned on my that this was not my life.  So I just called the airline girl and said, ‘Get me on __ __ __ __ __, get me on __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  It came from across the pond, but not by the usual suspects.  There are numbers involved.

This morning we had to take Daku to the vet.  He has an infection on his hip that looks different than the usual hot spot.  We met with Dr. Boom, someone we hadn’t met before.  She was very calm and attentive with Daku.  He still didn’t like the fact that he was being messed with.  He has antibiotics to take, and a topical cream to ease the itching sensation.  It wasn’t on our list of things to do but since we’re going away, we wanted to take care of it so we don’t worry too much.  

If you’re wondering why this message is arriving so late, it’s because we’ve been out celebrating Cat’s 19th birthday.
We had dinner at Sizzler in the mall.  We didn’t get a cake this year and when Lisa asked if anyone had sung to her, she said, ‘Not yet’.  I asked if she’d outgrown that and she said she still ‘needed that’.  We got a slice of cheesecake to put a candle on so we could sing at home.  On the way out of the mall, we saw a group of the tiny elephants like Lisa painted.  Her’s was not in the group so we asked the guard if there were more.  He pointed to the other end of the mall and off we went.  We found another group, but still no ‘Ellie’ as she is called.  The mall was about to close so we’ll have to go back and continue our search.  Have you seen Ellie?

With all the focus on Daku this morning, I forgot about getting the van washed.  We went out this afternoon but our usual place was closed.  I remembered a carwash across from the Condotel.  Remember our Sunday dinners there?  It’s called Turtle Wax Car Wash and they were open.  While we waited, we tried out the new restaurant that replaced The Bistro.  There was one interesting looking snack that we tried and we loved it.  While we were waiting, our friend Tye came in on her way to yoga class.  It was good to see her.  After our snack we picked up our clean van.  I think we may return to this place.  

Today’s photo is a splash of color from our front yard.  


Time to finish packing for our Chiang Mai trip.  

It’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is
you-er than you!
~Dr. Seuss


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rainbow

Hi,

Another dry day in old Chiang Rai.  So far, this is working out well for our trip to Chiang Mai, and for the party-ers across the river.  Tonight begins a four night festival of some kind.  Let the music begin.

‘Easy Monday’ wasn’t so easy for some of you.  You forgot this wonderful song.  (that was a clue)  Here’s more:
“I feel like this is the beginning, though I’ve loved you for a million years.  And if I thought our love was ending, I’d find myself drowning in my own tears, whoa, oh oh ah.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, that’s why I’ll always stay around.  You are the apple of my eye, forever you’ll stay in my heart.”  Hint: He also sings in French.

As we began our morning drive around town to place posters at various locations, we came across the photo for the day.  How often do you see a shopping bag with a photo of The Beatles on it?  Not very often, so here is a special sighting.  Most young people here have never heard of The Beatles.  Hmm.


We had another productive day preparing for the art exhibit.  As the weekend gets closer more things enter the mind.  What about this? and when should we do that?  These things always work themselves out.  We do know that after we drop the rest of the art at the gallery on Thursday, we are free until Friday morning when we hang the show.  Hmm, a free day in Chiang Mai.  I think we can handle it (555).

This evening we went into town to make another poster stop.  Our route took us to what we call ‘Hospital street’, the cross street where the government hospital is located.  We usually only see it in the daytime.  Tonight was an eye-opener.  It had turned into a food village.  Carts with vendors preparing fresh dishes lined the whole block.  There was a festive air about it all, sparking curiosity.  I would speculate that some of the food goes to patients in the hospital, some is for family members who are staying and waiting, and some is for neighborhood locals who stop for dinner every night.  It’s a Thai fast food heaven.  There are several streets like this in Chiang Rai and even more in larger cities.  Amazing Thailand.

When Lisa took her poster into Aye’s Restaurant, Aye and her husband Hans were having dinner.  They were happy to see her and as she left, they gave her flyers for their newest endeavor: Appaloosa Stables.  They have a big ranch north of Chiang Rai and they have started a horse adventure place.  Things like trail riding, events and coaching will be offered.  Hmm, I haven’t been on a horse since 1970.  Oh well.  

Here’s to another sunny day tomorrow.  I need to get the van washed for the trip.  One does have standards to maintain (555).

Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“Try to be the rainbow
in someone’s cloud.”
~Maya Angelou

Monday, October 10, 2016

Time

Hi,

Somehow, all the water that was swirling around the planet missed us this weekend.  We do have a forecast for lots of rain later this week.  We’ll be watching the skies (555).

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune this week was “People Make The World Go ‘Round” by The Stylistics.  Check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExWtwDYwOQU    ‘Easy Monday’ is waiting in the wings.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, that’s why I’ll always be around.  You are the apple of my eye, forever you’ll stay in my heart.”  Hint:  This is the chorus of the song.  It should be pretty clear.  Maybe a clue tomorrow.

We spent part of the weekend following hurricane Matthew.  We have friends who live in the path of the storm and I’m happy to say they are safe.  Caty and the twins had just recently moved to Florida from Thailand, had to evacuate as did our friend Lee, who had to pack up his two little dogs and find higher ground.  Wow, what a new experience.  Haiti is another story.  I have a special warm spot for Haiti, having spent six weeks there in 1961.  It’s going to take a lot of help from a lot of people to put things back together.  

Saturday night we went to Art Bridge for the opening of a very interesting exhibit.  It was the first showing by a young artist who has a love of animals in the jungle.  The title was “Sounds of the Jungle” and the gallery atmosphere was filled with the sounds of animals.  The paintings had a ‘darkness’ about them and made me feel like I was seeing the jungle at night.  Most of the same crowd from the night before was there and we had fun.

The Green Bus system in Thailand is quite interesting.  Not only does it transport people, but anything else you want to send from city to city.  The gallery in Chiang Mai printed some postcard invitations and sent them to Lisa via the Green Bus.  We picked them up on Sunday morning.  We have done this before, mostly with printing from Chiang Mai.  It’s faster than the postal service and you know where your package is.  

Cat, Lisa and I did another Sunday lunch at The Wanderer.  Lisa and I have a few dishes that we like so the staff is used to our ordering.  Cat ordered a club sandwich.  It turns out she’s never had one before and when we asked her why she got it, she said she had eaten all of the Thai dishes on the menu so it was time to try the rest.  I’m not that brave when it comes to eating new food.  One of the cool things about being young, you can eat anything (555).

Starting tomorrow, students all over Thailand will be taking tests.  We’re not sure what the nature of the tests.  If  you ask if it is a ‘mid-term’ the answer will be yes, but school just started.  I think it’s a standardized assessment of some kind.  More will be revealed.  They gave the kids a week off to study, so who knows?  

Today’s photo was taken Saturday morning at the frame factory.  The elephant in the scene could easily be mistaken for real if one did not know.  It would look great in our yard.  Hmm.


Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Time you enjoyed wasting,
was not wasted.”
~John Lennon

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

This was a rainy day.  We had to cut Daku’s playtime short in the morning and then another storm hit this afternoon.  It’s not like we’re getting hurricanes, just consistent, wet weather.  Hoping everyone in the path of Matthew is safe from harm.  Feeling for Haiti.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters.  Time for ‘Old School Friday’.  Who knows this?
“Trashmen didn’t get my trash today.  Oh, why?  Because they want more pay.  Buses on strike, want a raise in fare, so they can help pollute the air.  But that’s what makes the world go ‘round, the ups and downs, a carousel.  Changing people’s heads around, go underground young man.  __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Title is a take-off on an old saying.  Group was part of the ‘Philly Sound’ in the early 70s.  It’s not an easy one, but it’s been a light week (555).

I had a long talk with my old friend Frank this morning.  He and Blue and I grew up together, in and out of the same circles, ending up loving music and cars.  We shared a bunch of stories and revelations and it was good.  

This week many in Chiang Rai have been celebrating the Vegetarian Festival.  It is a week of strict vegetarian meals for the purpose of spiritual cleansing and merit-making.  Historically it is a Chinese festival, but it has spread to encompass many cultures.  It is also the Festival of The Nine Emperor Gods of Taoism, the oldest Chinese religion.  Over the centuries Taoism adopted many elements of Buddhism, which led to a blending between the two philosophies.  In Chiang Rai there are two Tao Temples and a shrine.  We have friends who run a Thai/Chinese restaurant and this week they are very busy with the festival.  There are also many visitors here from China during their ‘National Day’ vacation.  They come to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai for the nine day holiday and the festival.

Sometimes shopping can be big fun, just looking at the names of products.  Today’s photo was taken at Browneys and I just had to share.  I can hear a Barry White type voice doing a commercial.


At Big C this morning one of the women in the produce department gave Lisa a coupon.  It was a really nice gesture. We seem to be making lots of ‘produce friends’ these days.  When we went to Healthy Market, the young son of one of our favorite vendor couples was out of school and working at the stall.  He waited on Lisa and was very helpful.  We don’t see him very often, which leads me to believe that they have a different future in mind for him.  Hmm.

After dinner we went to 9 Art Gallery for the opening of a group exhibition.  It was good to see so many familiar faces.  It was also interesting to see how some of the artists had tried new mediums and directions.  Many of them were successful with their style shifts.  Tomorrow night we go to Art Bridge for another opening.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Hang on for the ‘Funnies’.

                      Peace,
                                Danny


Thursday, October 6, 2016

People

Hi,

We had another overnighter that left the yards soaked this morning.  It was still a little mushy when we took Daku out, but he’s a dog and didn't mind a bit.  It turned into a great day, even with the clouds.

This ‘Zany Day’ song has a lot of friends and most of them wrote to me.  It’s by a group known for it’s zaniness.
“Who’s always writing on the wall?  Who’s always goofin’ in the hall?  Who’s always throwin’ spit balls?  Guess who (Who, me?)  Yeah, you!  Who walks in the classroom cool and slow?  Who calls the English teacher Daddy-O?  __ __, __ __, he’s a clown, that __ __.  He’s gonna get caught, just you wait and see.  Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?.”   Hint:  You know his name from a comic strip, though it’s a different kind of fellow (555).  

This morning we went down the highway to Sinthanee to get a microwave oven.  The one in the little apartment started doing things it shouldn’t, so we replaced it.  This progress thing can be quite amazing sometimes.  We found one that can also be used as a grill.  While they were getting us a new unit, we strolled around in our never-ending search for the perfect coffee maker.  We found one that looked promising and got a bonus toaster in the deal.  Cat needs a toaster in her apartment at school, so we all win.  Yea.  

We went to Work@Home for coffee and a visit with Katai.  She told us about her visit to England and Scotland, and how difficult it was to concentrate while dealing with Jet Lag.  We totally understood and she had us laughing.  We told her about our trip to Singapore and we compared notes.  Thowan, her husband, just returned from China, where he and his driver won first-in-class at a car rally competition.  Then the conversation turned to remembering Blue.  We all managed to keep it pretty upbeat, focusing on the good memories.  Blue used to love to go to Work@Home when he’d visit Chiang Rai, even before we lived here.  

Today’s photo is the view from the car when we’re returning home from some of our adventures.  Around the bend is a little shanty village, that new place, our neighbor, and The Big Brown House.


Several of our friends had been telling us about a woman who teaches swimming to small children.  She also teaches Thai and English.  We met her at The Wanderer this afternoon for coffee and details.  If the pool wasn’t so cold, she could start teaching Neetchanon next week, but Natcha said she really doesn’t like cold water.  When it’s warmer we’ll get her started.  The cold water can’t stop the Thai lessons from happening.  Lisa and I will have two lessons per week, working at our pace.  That sounds good.  Khun Awe graduated from a college in Wisconsin with a degree in Public Relations and Promotion.  She grew up as a stateless person in Mae Sai, and told us most of her story.  She worked hard and met some people who helped her get documentation.  She was invited to share her story at the United Nations as part of a project to help people world-wide, that face the problem of not belonging anywhere. She was subsequently part of a group that was able to get a new law passed that enables thousands to gain legal papers and be Thai citizens.  We were inspired by her persistence and bravery.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“I’ve learned that people will forget
what you said, people will forget what
you did, but people will never forget
how you made them feel.”
~Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mysterious

Hi,

Chiang Rai weather was beautiful today.  Scattered clouds are always better than heavy rain clouds this time of year.  We’ll see what happens overnight.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Heatwave” by Martha & The Vandellas.  Time to get crazy again with a ‘Zany Day’ song.
“Fe fe fi fi fo fo fum, I smell smoke in the auditorium.  __ __, __ __, he’s a clown, that __ __.  He’s gonna get caught, just you wait and see. (Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?)”  Hint:  You may have gone to school with someone like the person in this song.  The title is his name.

This was the busiest day I’ve had in weeks.  I guess I’m getting better ‘cause I didn’t fall apart.  We started at the northern end of town with a visit to Art Bridge.  I had missed the opening of the current exhibit with the tiny works, so I got a chance to see Lisa's painting among the many.  After coffee, we hit Browney’s for dog stuff, the bank for money, and ended up at the mall for lunch and shopping.  It was a very productive morning.  

The donut people were out on the highway again.  One day, when it was raining, we gave the donuts a nickname.  Imagining them getting wet and well, soggy, we now call them ‘soggys’.  We laugh every time we see one of the vendors now.  Here’s a photo to put things in perspective.


Yesterday I realized that with Blue’s passing I have lost a ‘nostalgia buddy’.  There’s something about looking way back and remembering the trivia and smiling, or laughing.  I had this distinct memory of a radio show called ‘The Fat Man’.  One of those mystery dramas that had you sitting next to the radio, visualizing every scene.  If any of you kids remember that show, let me know.  I may have more memories for you in the future.

At the mall this morning, there was a flood of activity around the various phone vendors.  All the popular brands are in a row, so you can go from stall to stall and compare.  New names keep popping up from China and Korea mostly.  All of the vendors are selling ‘smart phones’ and it’s all very modern.  I thought about how there is another segment of the culture that only needs a phone to make or get a call.  Across the highway at Big C you can buy a used ‘old school’ phone.  Remember those tiny little cell phones that fit in the palm of your hand?  No frills, no bells or whistles, just a call and maybe a text message if you’re willing to struggle with the keyboard.  I just find the whole thing interesting.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“The most beautiful thing
we can experience is the
mysterious.”
~Albert Einstein
 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Beauty

Hi,

This morning we woke up to the sound of rain.  It wasn’t heavy and it stopped in time for us to take Daku out to play.  There are still areas of the yards that haven’t completely dried out from the weekend, so it’s soggy in places. More rain is forecast for the rest of the week.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song seemed easy for a bunch of you.  Let’s see if another set of lyrics brings more memories to the surface:  “Whenever he calls my name, so softly and plain,  Right then, right there, I feel that burning flame.  Has high blood-pressure got a hold on me?  Is this the way love’s supposed to be?  It’s like a __, it’s burning in my heart.  I can’t keep from burning, it’s tearing me apart.”  

Today we took three of Lisa’s cast acrylic prints to The Wanderer.  It was a trade for pieces that are hanging in the air/con room.  There are three prints that will be in her Chiang Mai exhibit, so we needed them back.  It was nice of them to let us replace the prints.  

Down at The Healthy Market we bought a giant roll of bubble wrap.  One can never have enough of that stuff when transporting artwork.  As I crossed the street from the plastic store, Khun Singh, our Tuk-Tuk driver friend drove by and hollered to me.  It’s always a treat to see him.  Being out and about feels a little odd since I’ve been inside for the better part of 2 weeks.  I’ve been out, but mostly driving on a few occasions.  Walking through the market felt like I’d been away for a long time.  Hmm, definitely part of my routine I guess.

Lisa finished all of ‘The Work’ for the exhibit production today.  It was a monumental task that took a lot of lists, phone calls, Line messages and emails to bring it all together.  

My Singapore memories linger on, but there are some local photos that want to be seen.  The first is the view that greeted us when we returned to Chiang Rai.  The garden at the baggage belt is a beautiful relaxing sight after a journey.  The second photo is a cluster of orchids in our yard.



Have a happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Beauty surrounds us, 
but we need to be walking
in a garden to know it.”
~Rumi