Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We had another ‘picture perfect’ day here in Chiang Rai.  It looks like the rain has left the area.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Hotel California” by The Eagles.  It’s time for another episode of ‘Old School Friday’.  “Riding along in my automobile, my baby beside me at the wheel.  I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile.  My curiosity running wild.  Cruisin’ and and playin’ the radio, with __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  I wonder if that was Maybellene by his side.  Riding for the sake of riding.  Oh yeah.

This morning we went to Central Plaza Mall for coffee and a few items.  We got there about 15 minutes before opening and it looked like the whole town was there.  We realized it was because of the parking problem.  Folks decided to go early to get one of the treasured spots on the main lot.  On our walk to Starbuck’s we passed a tent.  As we got closer I saw a boxing ring inside.  Hmm, so this was where the big Thai boxing match was to be held.  We’ve seen signs around town, but didn’t know the location.  Based on what I saw, there won’t be enough chairs.  Oh well, they’ll probably have a big screen inside for the overflow.  There were tons of people in ‘our’ Starbuck’s and we had to wait for our order.   Inside the mall we spotted a group of ‘Pretties’ in red tones and asked if we could take their photos.   Below is the result.  In the second photo, Lisa is showing them how the pics came out.  We don’t know what they were promoting, but they were sure to attract a crowd.



Around town people are gearing up for the Cold Season.  The first signs of the seasonal change are the roadside vendors selling warm jackets and sweaters.  It’s used clothing and is sometimes kept for the cold months and then discarded or passed on.  There is no need for a warm jacket most of the year.  I remember buying a garment during our first year, a light sweater for cool mornings.  That was before it really got cold.  It’s almost that time of year when things in the closet change positions and the warm things come to the front (555).

This afternoon Chopper got out of the yard.  We think he was just waiting for the right opportunity to make his move.  The gate opened for the family to leave and he raced out.  Someplace down the road, he attacked a duck.  The owner hit him just as Gong arrived.  He had to pay the man for the duck.  Maybe they’ll remember to secure Chopper before opening the gate.  So ends another episode of Wild Kingdom.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     The ‘Funnies’ are coming.    Formula 1 is in Texas this time.  Zoom!

                      Peace,
                                Danny


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Life

Hi,

The weather was clear and dry, and there was no burning.  I’d call that a perfect day.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has been remembered by many.  Here is the last verse of this wonderfully zany odyssey.  “Last thing I remember I was running for the door.  I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.  ‘Relax,’ said the night man, ‘We are programmed to receive.  You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”  Welcome to the __ __, such a lovely place, such a lovely face.  Plenty of room at the __ __, any time of year, you can find it here.”  Hint:  There’s a state involved.

Our morning adventure was a trip to Doy Din Dang ceramic studios.  On the way up the highway, we noticed lots of policemen standing by the road at intersections.  This is a clear sign that a major caravan of important people is coming.  After we turned off the highway, we were confronted with a long line of Highway Police cars going toward the highway.  There was only one van, so that might not have been the ‘event’.  When we pulled into Doy Din Dang, there were police standing around.  This was to be the destination of the caravan.  We found Khun Somluk and he told us that Princess Soamsavali was coming to visit.  She is visiting the galleries and installations in Chiang Rai.  The arrival time of the entourage was unknown, so he and his wife just went about their business until they came.  We went into the little coffee shop and it was filled with policemen.  One very tall officer asked Lisa where we were from and he was surprised to learn that we live here.  His English was very good and we had a good time talking.  Somluk wanted to get a photo of the three of us but Yoong (meaning very tall) had to put on his uniform shirt first.  I learned that the secret to the tailored fit of the officer uniforms is the full length zipper. The buttons are fake.  Once it’s zipped, it’s a tight, contoured fit.  Anyway, we took photos and then had coffee with Somluk and Tamako on the patio.  We had some great discussions on art, community, and quality of life stuff.  
He also showed us some new work of his that is going to be in an exhibit in Bangkok.  It’s a whimsical series of bent and folded ceramic plates and bowls. 

In the afternoon, we went for a swim.  The water was cool on entry, but the actual temperature was just right for swimming.  We just may be into our swimming season. 

Today’s photo was taken before dinner.  Gong was riding Nitchanan around the yard.  She loves her little seat, and the bell that she rings as they ride.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

“Life is the art of drawing
without an eraser.”
~John W. Gardner

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Destiny

Hi,

Chiang Rai experienced beautiful weather today.  That thunder and lightning from last night didn’t rain on us.  Maybe somewhere else, but we had dry streets this morning and the whole day was a ‘post card’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “No Fair At All” by The Association.  And now, the ‘Zany Day’ song:  “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.  Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light.  My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night.  There she stood in the doorway, I heard a mission bell, and I was thinking to myself, ‘This could be heaven or this could be hell’.  Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way.  There were voices in the corridor, I thought I heard them say: ‘Welcome to the __ __, such a lovely place, such a lovely face….”  Hint:  You may already be checked in, but if not, it’s about a place to stay.  The year was 1977.

This morning, armed with a photo and a tape measure, we found the perfect cabinet at Thai Watsadu for the outside kitchen, and it will be delivered tomorrow.  The woman that helped us with the purchase made sure all the details of finding the house were covered, and handled the sale in a very efficient manner.  It’s nice when someone takes the initiative to get it right the first time.  Right next door was Home Sukapan, where we had a small credit we wanted to use.  We found a couple of things for the guest room and our ‘work’ there was finished.  All of these big stores have very involved methods of protecting themselves and their inventory.  As a result, there is lots of paper, lots of signing the paper, and lots of time spent watching all of this.  I guess the lesson is to be patient and grateful that they had the item you were looking for (555).

This afternoon on bus station street, I noticed two very old ceremonial wagons.  I think they may be in preparation for some kind of dedication for the new bus station structure.  The name of the building was being installed.  Not only is it "Bus Station Number 1," but also the "Tourist Center."  The photo below shows one of the wagons, and part of a mural that was painted by members of ArtBridge.  


There was an interesting article in the Bangkok Post about the changing patterns of food in the Bangkok area.  Many things contribute to certain dishes disappearing and this article touches on some cultural aspects that I didn’t know about.  Since Chiang Rai is an agricultural region, we don’t have the same conditions as the Central region (Bangkok).  Here is a link to the article:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/food-and-drinks/1557778/gone-but-not-yet-forgotten

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“A person often meets his
destiny on the road he took
to avoid it.”
~Jean de La Fontaine

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Struggle

Hi,

The sky was clear, the breeze was mild, and we had no idea that tonight we’d be in the midst of a big thunder and lightning storm.  The sunset was spectacular.  This time of year brings awesome endings to the days.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is about realizing too late, what was there.  “Never seen the moonlight through your hair, til now.  Never heard the sweet things you could say, til now.  After all the time we spent together, just doesn’t seem fair at all.  __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  A key word in the title has been sung in the chorus.

Yesterday Cat spent the morning with us.  We went to Chivit Tamma Da and she had what she thought would be shrimp with noodles on the side.  What she got was six giant prawns in a bowl of Tom Yum soup with spicy noodles in a little bowl with a round bottom.  That little bowl kept spinning and rolling, not ideal, but it worked.  After Chivit, we went to see about getting her some glasses for working at her computer.  The third year of college has brought a lot more work, and eye fatigue is now an issue.  It turns out that the special blue-blocking lens should do the trick.  We ordered a pair that will be fashionable enough for use at home (555).  

Today we went out in search of a larger cabinet for the outside kitchen.  Chopper has been taking things off the counters and low cabinets and ‘playing’ with them.  This morning there was a bag of onions divided between two yards.  I can’t imaging them being much fun, but he messed with them.  There is a place that used to make just what we need, but when we got there, their focus was elsewhere.  Global House, one of the five Home Depot style stores didn’t have what we need.  We’re going to take a photo and re-do our tour of shops.  

Today’s photo was taken at Global House.  This is just one of the aisles devoted to PVC items.  This is just fittings for ‘plumbing’.  That word is not used, but that’s what it is.  Blue is for water, yellow for electric.  There is also white, but I’m not sure what that’s for.  Always more to learn (555).


This evening we finished our list of grown-up things to do this month.  We got our teeth cleaned (Yea).  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                         Peace,
                                   Danny

“Without a struggle, there can
be no progress.”
~Frederick Douglass

Monday, October 15, 2018

Art

Hi,

We had a weekend of ‘fake out’ weather.  It would look like rain and then not follow through.  It’s been pleasant, with slightly cooler temps in the mornings, and moderate evenings.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Only Have Eyes For You” as sung by The Flamingos.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvzNeh4Mq1o&frags=pl,wn   Now it’s time for an ‘Easy Monday’ song:
“I’ve never seen this side of you before (til now).  I never knew that you could feel this way (til now).  After all the time we spent together, just doesn’t seem fair, at all,  __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This one is easy, a six-man vocal band.  They cherished Windy.

Saturday morning we met our friend Atom for coffee at The Wanderer.  We hadn’t seen her in a long time and it was good to get together and do the ‘update thing’.  Atom told us she’s going to be facilitating a series of business meetings for a delegation from So. Korea.  It sounds like Chiang Rai is becoming a northern ‘hub’ city.  While we were hanging out, Khun Noot came to our table.  After a short conversation, she went to the kitchen and came back with what looked like a pear on a plate.  She is always bringing us something good to try.  The thing on the plate was called ‘Egg Fruit’ and had an almost creamy consistency, and a sweet potato flavor.  I’d definitely like to try that again.  


Sunday morning there was another bike ride.  I think this one must have been in honor of the late King, Rama 9.  This weekend was the 2-year anniversary of his passing.  I left the house and had to creep along behind a tiny little boy and his dad, along with their motorcycle escort as they did the last leg of the journey.  The little guy was pedaling his heart out.  

We lunched at The Wanderer with our friend Lisa and her mom and dad.  The place was swamped with customers. It was a beautiful Sunday morning on a long weekend holiday.  We ended up talking a lot about food.  What we can eat, how things are made, family recipes, etc.  As a result, we’re having lunch together next Sunday at their house.  I think it will be epic.

The dog trainer came over in the afternoon and gave Lisa and Natcha some pointers on how to deal with Chopper.  They worked with the leash on the driveway and he did pretty good.  As soon as Lisa took him onto the lawn, he went into his crazy puppy mode and was difficult to handle.  For now, they will work with him on the pavement.  The lawn is his playground and he thinks that’s what is suppose to happen there.  Hmm.

In the evening we went back to an old haunt, the Night Bazaar.  It’s been weeks since we ate at Sawadee.  We had a great dinner and a nice talk with the owners.  Things are picking up for the vendors.  They have tour groups booked next week and the scarf lady told us her business is good.  She was very happy.  We did a little pre-holiday shopping and got to see some of the newer items for this season.  

Have a Great Week.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“We have art so that we shall not
die of reality.”
~Nietzsche

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday Funnies

Hi,

This morning we had a heavy mist that turned into a light rain.  It wasn’t enough to hamper Daku’s time in the yard or create any puddles.  Chopper seem oblivious to the water from the sky.  It can be raining moderately hard and he will just stroll around the yard like nothing is different.  He has a very thick coat and doesn’t seem bothered by wet or cold.  Hmm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Mothers Little Helper” by The Rolling Stones.  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ song is from 1959, by a group named after a big pink bird.  “My love must be a kind of blind love.  I can’t see anyone but you.  Are the stars out tonight?  I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.  __ __ __ __ __ __, dear.  The moon may be high, but I can’t see a thing in the sky.  ‘Cause __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  The song is a standard, this R&B production featured lush harmonies and deep reverb.  The singer has very selective vision.

Sometime in November Chiang Rai will host the 46th Thailand National Games.  There are not many details yet, but athletes from different provinces will participate in what is sounding like a mini-Olympics.  Last week there was a ‘Night Run’ for the games.  From the photos posted, it looked like most of the town turned out.  The various events leading up to the games help with funding and also build enthusiasm for the actual events.  

Before we took Daku out, we had a Facetime conversation with Cousin Ellen in New Hampshire.  She’s going to be visiting next month.  The red carpet doesn’t get used that much so we will dust it off and plan the local ‘tour’.  

This was a Big C morning and since it was Friday, we made sure we got an early start.  The sky was looking like ‘maybe’ so we parked in the inside lot.  There is a section near the door with the wheelchair symbol and the word ‘Helper’ in red.  We are assuming this means that a security person will come and help anyone who needs it.  That’s pretty cool.  

Today’s photo is actually a bonus ‘Funny’.  It was taken yesterday at Work@Home.  Katai was wearing it and I couldn’t resist sharing.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.            The ‘Funnies’ are next.

                      Peace,
                                Danny


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Time

Hi,

Our weather day was mild, without rain.  It did manage to get hot.  The afternoon was marred by a big burning session not far away.  Lots of nasty smoke this evening too.  Air machines are doing their jobs.

Our ‘Zany Day’ song this week is all about ‘self care’.  It’s by a band who got their name from a blues song.
“Doctor, please, some more of these, outside the door, she took four more.  What a drag it is getting old.  ‘Men just aren’t the same today,’ I hear ev’ry mother say, they just don’t appreciate that you get tired.   They’re so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind, so go running to the shelter of your __ __ __.  And four help you through the night, help you minimize your plight…”  Hint:  It’s about medical back-up?  Hmm.

This morning was busy as well as productive.  We began with a visit to Work@Home, where we had coffee and conversation with Katai and Towan.  There was dog talk, car talk, and an update on our trip to Bangkok.  We were lucky to see them at all considering all the traveling they do for business.  Our next stop was Central Plaza Mall again.  We went yesterday to get a new power cord for my laptop, but they wanted to see the computer, so we returned to get the cord.  For some reason, power cord reminds me of ‘power chord’ as in Rock & Roll (555).  See how my mind works?

Our favorite ‘bakery’ is on Jet Yod Rd. and that was our next destination.  From there it was an easy drive to the Clock Tower and over to the nursery for tiny rocks to put around the stepping stones in the back yard.  What a morning.

After our nap, we voted.  That is to say, we assembled the paperwork that has to be sent to the Los Angeles County office for our votes to be recorded.  We only get to vote for the office of President and Senator, so this time it’s a small bit, but important.  

Today’s photos were taken at The Big Brown House.  The first is one of two red palms in the back yard.  They have been with us for about 8 years.  The next photos show the new palm in the front yard.  First you see it as it was newly planted, and then with the Chopper Barrier that Gong installed.




Tomorrow is Cat’s 21st birthday.  This evening we took her to dinner at Melt In Your Mouth.  We had a fun time looking back over the last five years.  When we told Cat about voting, she told us how she has never had the opportunity to vote.  When she turned 18, the new government had ceased having elections.  Now she really wants to vote.  One of her mentor/teachers told her how important it is to be counted.  Hmm, growing up in Thailand.

Tomorrow we get our flu shots.  There’s never a dull moment around here.  Always something to do.    

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Change

Hi,

The weather today was almost a carbon copy of yesterday.  Today’s rain came later, just as I was leaving downtown.  These little daily rains are nothing like what other parts of the world are having to deal with this year.  Our thoughts go with those who are getting hit by hurricanes and major storms.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You Got A Friend”, written by Carole King and sung by James Taylor and also by King. Time for another ‘Zany Day’ song:  “What a drag it is getting old.  ‘Things are different today,’ I hear every mother say.  Mother needs something today to calm her down.  And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill.  She goes running to the shelter of her __ __ __ and it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.”  Hint:  It’s by one of the oldest performing Rock & Roll bands on the planet.  

This morning we got a fun surprise when we went to The Wanderer for coffee.  Kwan had messaged that she had something special for us today.  After we had our coffee and tea, we were about the leave when the staff told us to wait for a few minutes.  We hung around the door, thinking it was something to take home.  They came out from the kitchen with a little plate of fresh coconut ice-cream topped with homemade caramel sauce, all sitting on top of a brownie.  It was 10:15 in the morning, but who could turn this down?  We sat down and devoured the amazing little dessert.


Our next stop was Tepawan Stationary and Art Supply.  Lisa went in and got a big greeting from Supaluk and her son Pete.  We were looking for modeling putty for cleaning our Air Pods.  It’s a trick I just learned about.  They didn’t have any, but suggested possibilities.  

At the mall, as we were leaving Top’s, we saw two friends who had also met there by chance.  It was a quick chat with Joaquim and Bruce and then we all went our separate ways.  The mall had just opened but people were pouring in like it was Saturday.  We learned that some of the new construction inside the mall is for a major clothing line, Uniqlo.  Our Chiang Rai mall is going big time (555).

The current series of rain storms has prompted the city to put a barrier at the base of the hillside that was slipping last year.  A bulldozer sits on the side of the hill, in a very precarious pose.  I hope we don’t get a heavy storm that takes the hill and the tractor onto the road.  

Wednesday is usually the only time I drive into town in the afternoon.  Most of the time it’s in the mornings.  Today, I noticed a denser traffic pattern than a few weeks ago.  It moves pretty good, just more cars and trucks.  The slowest part is when we pass by food vendors.  People stop for ‘take away’ on the way home.  One thing that there is an abundance of in Thailand is food.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

“If you change the way you
look at things, the things you
look at change.”
~Wayne Dyer

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Earth

Hi,

The day began looking like rain any minute.  It stayed heavily clouded until this afternoon when the rain came.  It wasn’t a big storm, just some thunder and enough rain to water everything.  The yard is very green and happy.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is terribly easy.  Here are the lyrics from the bridge:  “People can be so cold, they’ll hurt you and desert you.  Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them, yeah, but don’t you let them.  You just call out my name…”  Clue:  Title in 4 words.

After the morning routine, which included exercising Daku and talking to Joe, Lisa’s dad, we went to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee.  The time when we usually arrive at most of our ‘coffee stops’ is early enough that the places are fairly empty.  This is nice, especially down by the river at Chivit.  

Back on the highway heading north, we went to the post-office and then doubled back for a stop at Makro.  I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the bodiless voice that calls out sales on a looping megaphone.  It’s just eerie.  The mystery is compounded by the fact that I don’t know what the voice is saying.  

When we got home, Nitchanan was in the carport, sitting on her bike, using an old fan remote as a cellphone.  She made sure I knew what she was doing, and as I was going into the house, she began having a conversation on the ‘phone’.  After the groceries were put away, she came inside and took up her position at the base of the stairs.  This was letting us know her intention.  The two of us climbed the stairs together.  She can now step alternately, using her hands for support.  We identified a few things around the room and then she picked up the mini-didgeridoo that I got in Australia.  She knows what it’s for and pretended to play it, and then handed it to me.  I got a shot of her just before she sang a note into it.


At lunch, Natcha showed us a couple of videos she took of Nitchanan.  In one, she sings the alphabet song from beginning to end.  In the other, she counts in Chinese.  

Chopper is visiting with us this evening.  The family is out and he was alone in the pen.  Now he’s feeling loved, hanging with his other family.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

“The earth is the mother of all
people, and all people should
have equal rights upon it.”
~Chief Joseph

Monday, October 8, 2018

Help

Hi.

It’s good to be back in Chiang Rai.  Today is was the usual ‘hot’, but no rain.  I’m OK with that.  Gong washed the van while we were gone and it will be nice to drive a clean vehicle for a few days (555).

The ‘Old School Friday' song was “Memphis, Tennessee” by Chuck Berry.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ you all know:
“When you’re down and troubled, and you need a helping hand and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.  Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there, to brighten up even your darkest nights.  You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again.  Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you got to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.  __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This song was made popular by the writer and also by a close friend.  Either name will do, just don’t forget the title (5).

Our Saturday in Bangkok was great.  James and Nita took us to their gym, which was a unique experience.  To begin with, it was clean, the equipment was fairly new, the staff was helpful, and there were towels, water, and coffee provided.  Yeah, I could live there.  We watched a small group of people in one of the studios as they learned how to use what can best be described as slings made of cloth.  They would hang in different positions, wind them around themselves and do mid-air workouts.  The upside down pose looked really cool.  I managed to get in a good workout and not hurt myself.  You know it was good when you reach that ‘zone’, light and a little spacey.  

After our workout, Khun Boonrit took us back to the house to change.  Then it was back to the same complex to pick a place to eat lunch.  There were many possibilities in a small area.  After lunch we went to a place called Villa Market.  They have many things we can’t get in Chiang Rai.  A lot of the items are imported, which makes them more expensive than our usual shopping, but Saturday I got a can of cream soda.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in Chiang Rai.  We didn’t get much because taking it home on the plane gets tricky with weight and space.  It’s fun to go in and see what is there and know that it’s real (5).  

In the evening, James BBQ’d chicken, Nita made a salad and we had another great evening of food and conversation.  After dinner we all hung out in their upstairs den and watched a movie.  We closed the weekend with a Sunday morning treatment from Juan, the osteopath, who did some great work on my neck and showed me a few tricks to put things in ‘relaxation mode’.  

A tranquil setting, too cold for swimming, but still relaxing.


It is now possible to avoid long lines at the airport by simply telling the attendants my age.  Bangkok Air boarded us ahead of the crush just by mentioning that it was hard for me to stand in long lines.  Today, at lunch with our friend Sutheera, we learned that the Chiang Rai mall has designated parking near the entrance for seniors.  As populations get older, it makes sense to honor the presence of the ‘older’ folks.  I just have to remember not to walk too briskly (555).

While we were in Bangkok, little Nitchanan went to the stairs on several occasions and called up to us.  Natcha tried to explain to her that we were not at home.  It’s nice to be missed.

Have a Great Week.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“If you can, help others; if you
cannot do that, at least do not
harm them.”
~Dalai Lama

Friday, October 5, 2018

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The weather in BKK was similar to what we were having in Chiang Rai.  Most of the day we had cloudy sunshine.  In the late afternoon it rained and then the whole system cleared out and we had a beautiful evening.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Idol With The Golden Head” by The Coasters.  ‘Old School Friday’ is going on the road again with another song with a location in the title:  “Long distance information, give me __, __.  Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me.  She could not leave her number, but I know who placed the call ‘cause my uncle took the number and he wrote it on the wall.”  Hint: This tune is by one of the godfathers of Rock & Roll.  The location in question is near a famous river. 

Today was the big day and the reason we’re in Bangkok.  Tatt graduated from Chulalongkorn University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology.  Khun Boonrit drove us to a building next to the school and we communicated with Tatt about how to meet.  Trying to find someone on a huge campus can be frustrating.  Fortunately, in this age of personal communicators, it’s a lot easier.  Through texting and phone calls we finally found each other.  His parents were beaming with joy.  They gave us big hugs and couldn’t stop smiling.  One of Tatt’s sisters, her husband and daughter were also there.  After taking a bunch of photos we announced that we were hungry.  Tatt walked us through more of the campus to a big cafeteria where Lisa and I each had a bowl of noodles with chicken and it cost a grand total of 88 cents US.  Two bottles of water came to 45 cents.  There’s nothing like ‘student prices’. I should add that it was an excellent bowl of noodles and chicken, especially in a cafeteria.  Tatt told us that approximately 9,600 students received Bachelor’s degrees over the two days of graduation.  There were also Masters and Doctoral degrees given.  That’s a lot of new grads flooding into the workforce.  Tatt is teaching part-time in his home town of Rayong until he can complete his obligation to the military.  He can’t start that until next May and it will last one year.  It’s quite frustrating, since he can’t apply for work with the pending obligation.  

Today’s photo is a ‘Family Portrait’ at the graduation.


When we finally left the family and headed home, where we got to experience BKK on the ‘real’ side.  We took a campus bus to the Skytrain station.  Since the train runs above the city, one must climb a very steep staircase (legs starting to get tired).  We’ve ridden the Skytrain before, but Friday afternoon is a unique time to do it.  Oh, the crush of humanity.  When the doors open at a given stop, a few people exit, but more want to enter.  There is a quick adjustment of your standing position and then you brace for the pressure of 'the new ones’.  The seats had long been occupied and since this is Bangkok and not Singapore, we had to stand the whole way.  In Singapore, a young person would have jumped up and offered their seat to us.  Hmm, maybe this will catch on some day.  There was a small sign with drawings of three types of people that should be given seats, but elderly and tired weren't on the list.

At our exit, we found a coffee shop and sat down in the aircon oasis for iced coffee.  Back out on the street/heat, it wasn’t long before we hailed a cab for the rest of the journey.  

This photo shows motorbike taxis lined up, waiting for customers.  Yesterday we saw a line of about 20 people waiting for one of these ‘taxis’.  Anyone in this photo with an orange vest on is a taxi driver.


It’s raining again, really hard.  A whole new system has moved in since the late afternoon storm.  This one is the kind that would flood our front yard.  

Tonight we dined at a place called Pesca.  The food and service were outstanding.  Nita and James had seen it, but had never been there.  When we entered at 7pm, it was almost empty, which gave us pause, but by 8:30pm it was full.  After our meal, one of the guys we assumed was an owner, got interviewed and we learned that it’s a partnership that owns 22 restaurants in Thailand.  At one point James mentioned how interesting it was to be in Thailand eating European cuisine and listening to “Stand By Me”.  Indeed.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.          Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.   Oh, Formula 1 is in Japan this weekend.  Zoom.

                             Peace,
                                       Danny 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Courage

Hi,

Our daytime weather in Bangkok (BKK) was clear skies and hot, with a chance of rain in the evening.  It happened just that way.

The ‘Zany Day’ song has a lot of friends  We’ve messed with this tune before.  Maybe you remember this:
“The __ eyes began to wink and blink, he said, hold on, give me time to think.  The lightning flashed and the __ did speak, he said your Big Foot May, she’s down at Catfish Creek.  Rockin’ and a-rollin’….”  Clue:  There’s a color involved.

While packing for our trip, we found a sticker on our new suitcase.  It read: 

“In addition, the trolley luggage is made of ABS+PC material and thus in good toughness.  The trolley luggage has been passed serious physics test.”  

It’s good to have a trolley that knows physics (555).  After we arrived at Chiang Rai airport, we saw our friend Noy and hung out until our flight.  He and his wife Susan have a house in BKK as well as Mae Chan, and he was going down on business.  We shared dog stories and discovered that Susan had been bitten by one of their dogs.  We referred them to the trainer that’s working with Chopper.  While we waited we also took a selfie, which was fun.  We don’t do that much but it felt like a wild and crazy thing to do (555).  On our tickets we read these words:  "Gate closes 15 minutes before departure", but they don’t list a departure time. What?  We were a little disappointed with our airplane on this trip.  The seats didn’t recline, and the backs were bumpy.  It seems like the quality slipped, or something.  We still got to BKK on time and that’s the bottom line.

Mid-day traffic in BKK is very messy.  So many cars and motorbikes trying to move on roads not designed for the volume.  Our driver tried a few short-cuts.  Some worked and some didn’t, but he got us to our destination.  That seems to be the theme of the day, the arrival.  

Mala, James and Nita’s housekeeper greeted us and made us comfortable.  She fixed us grilled chicken sandwiches and then it was time to relax.  Later, Khun Boonrit, their driver, took Lisa to Villa Market.  It’s an amazing store with lots of Western food and some unusual items as well.  It would be nice to have one of these in Chiang Rai.  

At 5pm Lisa, Nita and I went to ‘Mandarin Ginger Spa’ for a long (90 minute) foot massage.  It’s one of the best that I can remember.  Boonrit and James met us there and we battled our way home through rush-hour traffic.  Now I know why I love Chiang Rai so much.  Simple traffic.  In BKK, there are streets that enter main thoroughfares at angles, and that sometimes complicates matters.  U-turns can be hazardous and motorcycle taxis dart between lanes and generally take lots of chances, with or without passengers.

Today’s photo is my DNA breakdown from Ancestry.com  Interesting stuff.


Tomorrow is graduation day for Tatt.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“Moral courage is a higher and 
rarer virtue than physical
courage.”
~William Slim

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Champion

Hi,

The air was much cooler this morning.  After an all night drizzle the air was clean and crisp, and gave us a hint of the cold season.  Later it warmed up, and then in the late afternoon it rained.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Somebody To Love” by Jefferson Airplane.  Time now for a ‘Zany Day’ song.  Who remembers this one?:  “Bought myself an __ __ __ __ __ (Great big __ __ __ __ __).  Put it on a shelf right above my bed (Great big __ __ __ __ __).  Got down on my knees and began to pray (Great big __ __ __ __ __)
I said, __, tell me where’s my big foot May? (Great big __ __ __ __ __).”  Hint:  There is a statue involved.  The group has brought us much laughter.

This morning we started at The Wanderer and then progressed to the mall.  Our mission was to buy a special blouse for Lisa for the graduation in Bangkok.  At the mall, the adventure began with lunch at S&P.  Whenever menus get changed, the food, even if it’s the same dish, ends up being different.  Today we lucked out and got good meals.  We did a lot of walking, saw a lot of clothes, and finally found a beautiful blouse for the occasion.  During our walking around, we discovered that the mall branch of the post office is gone.  The renovations in the mall have closed many businesses.  Also, at one of the temporary sales ‘events’ they actually had a portable dressing room.  This is a big deal, since it’s hard to know if some things will fit if you can’t try them on.  

Cat came over for dinner and we had a good time.  She and Lisa ate while I was at my meeting, and then the three of us talked while I ate.  As this was going on, Chopper was outside banging on the door and calling us.  He was lonely and wanted to join the party.  Lisa finally relented and let him into the kitchen and he calmed down.  He never did stop trying to get upstairs though.  

Today’s photos were taken this evening.  In the first one, Chopper is clearly talking about going upstairs.  In the second, he’s waiting in anticipation (555). The towels on the floor are for wet doggy feet.  


  
Now it’s time to pack for the trip.  It’s not a lot to do until you start doing it and then there are so many things to remember.  Since we fly out early in the morning, it all has to get done tonight.  This trip will be like a vacation.  Our friends James and Nita are wonderful hosts and always have interesting things planned.  Tomorrow afternoon we are scheduled for foot massages at very relaxing spa we experienced before.  Stay tuned.

It’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“A champion is someone who
gets up when he can’t.”
~Jack Dempsey

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Feelings

Hi,

Chiang Rai had a pleasant, cloudy morning and a rainy afternoon.  Good for napping (555).  Now we’re pondering the weekend weather in Bangkok, where the forecasts are for hot and rainy at times.  Oh boy.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is still loved by many.  Here’s the last verse:  “Tears are running, they’re all running down your breast.  And your friends baby, they treat you like a guest.  Don’t you want __ __ __?  Don’t you need __ __ __?  Wouldn’t you love __ __ __?  You better find __ __ __.”  Clue:  It was the summer of what? 

This morning we did the Big C run and then went to the mall for coffee, and eggs from Top’s.  I mention Top’s because the way the parking lot is all messed up, there is a special section for parking.  When we pulled in, I mentioned to the guard that we needed to park for Top’s.  No problem, he pulled the little gate aside and we parked right in front of the entrance.  At this time, the mall was still closed, but having access to the market let us walk over to Starbuck’s, get our coffee and then walk back through the mall (now opened) and buy our eggs.  It was a brilliant morning (555).  While we were there we saw two people we know.  It happens like that and it makes us smile.

Nitchanan is on a school break for one month.  Today, when we returned, she was in the midst of a meltdown.  By the time we sat down for lunch, she was over it and ready to join us.  First she distributed the pillows and then sat down to eat her food.  She did pretty well, considering the distraction of wanting us to see how she eats (gross).  There is nothing more ‘entertaining’ than a little one showing you the food that is in their mouth.  What? One of the constants is Nitchanan trying to slip upstairs.  Fortunately, she knows to wait at the bottom until someone goes with her.  She has been known to go all way up by herself, but I think she got a lecture.  It’s never a dull moment with a curious two year old.

We have been in several texting conversations with Tatt, trying to get a handle on the logistics of his graduation on Friday.  It has finally been determined that the best thing for us to do is to come to the university after the ceremonies are over, since we can’t really see them except on a remote big screen.  We’ll meet with his family, take photos and then go to lunch.  He is very excited and wants everyone to be comfortable.  What a guy.  Of course, more will be revealed.

Today’s photo is Daku and Chopper, hanging out upstairs.  You can see that Chopper is no longer the ‘Little Dog’.  He’s a big puppy and we have to remember that he doesn’t always know how to act.  He’s cool until he gets too excited.  Being upstairs is helping him to mellow out.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

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

Monday, October 1, 2018

Kindness

Hi,

The weather over the weekend was mostly cloudy and hot, with a major storm on Saturday afternoon.  It cleared out in time for Walking Street to still happen.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Kansas City” by Wilbert Harrison.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be familiar to some of you:  “When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies.  Don’t you want __ __ __?  Don’t you need __ __ __?  Wouldn’t you love __ __ __?”  Hint:  This musical question was a part of the Summer of Love, 1967, by a very hip flying machine.

The storm on Saturday was quick and heavy.  It flooded both yards as well as our perpetual puddle in the street.  It’s clear that we still have some work to do for more efficient drainage at the entrance to the property.  

Sunday morning the little family packed up the truck and drove up Mae Sai to visit with Gong’s family.  Our Sunday was busy.  After my morning meeting I picked Lisa up and we went to The Wanderer.  We also had accepted a lunch invitation at The Riverie with our friend Lisa and her parents.  Since our second lunch was scheduled for 12:30pm, we decided to get a ‘snack’ to hold us.  So, we split one of our usual orders in ‘the woods’ and ended up eating more at Riverie.  We had never been to the Dim Sum restaurant in the hotel.  Apparently it has been extensively remodeled.  One thing that was noted was the fact that they took away much of the red that was present in the decor.  Red, in Feng Shui, is said to promote the appetite.  I’m sure there are those who know much more about this than me, but that was the topic for a moment.  The whole experience was new to us, since it was conducted in a different manner than in China Town in Los Angeles.  Our hosts had pre-ordered their favorite dishes and they were brought in a certain order.  We didn’t have to deal with the carts full of food.  They made sure there were dishes I could eat, and even had one special dish made.  We had a great time, trying new food, great conversations and the flowing river as our background view.  As an extra bonus, they sent us home with the remainder of the Peking duck and we had it with our dinner.  

Since Chopper’s immediate family was out of town, he spent the evening with us.  He was a perfect gentleman upstairs.  He let Daku have his space and basically chewed on a bone the whole time.  He would change beds when he got bored, but kept his exploring of the room to a minimum.  He’s learning the rules.  At one point, he tried to engage Daku in a little play, and I think Daku might have had fun but we can’t afford for him to get injured from playing.  

This morning we went to the big nursery in search of a tree for the middle of the lawn where Chopper does his overnight digging.  Lisa spotted a Red Bamboo like the ones we have in the back yard.  It’s a good height and will be a nice presence in the lawn.  Gong planted it this afternoon and we’ll have him put a little fence around it so Chopper gets the message.   Just as we were leaving the nursery, we saw two artist friends, Keofar and Siri, who were buying a tree.  Keofar told us he has wanted this tree for about 4 years.  The tree is 30 years old and he referred to the tree as ‘him’.  We hadn’t seen them since the exhibit in Nan, where Siri was one of the artists in the group with Lisa.  Keofar is a sculptor and also teaches at Maefarluang University.  


Have a Great Week.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“How wonderful it would be if people did all 
they could for one another without anything in 
return.  One should never remember a kindness done
and never forget a kindness received.”
~Kentetsu Takamori