My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.



This morning, at breakfast, Tim looked at me and said, "You get too small.  I like you pompuuyee" (Thai for "fat").  I guess this means that she's noticing that I'm losing some weight.  My diet has consisted mainly of watermelon, a vegetable salad every couple of days, and the occasional plate of sliced apples (only when I can find some imported from Washington as Japanese and Thai apples are somewhat different — not sweet and juicy — as I'm accustomed to), canteloupe, or pineapple.  I did fall "off the wagon" a bit yesterday, however, when I ordered a hamburger at a bar in Patong when we made a rare restaurant stop for lunch.  (The burger wasn't very good but the fries sure were!)

In getting caught up on news, I've bought a couple of issues of The Bangkok Post, The Nation, and The Phuket Gazette.  It's very interesting reading a Thai slant to world events rather than an American one.  Other than the endless coverage of this nation's current political turmoil (much of which I'm having difficulty in following), the major news here is that the oil crisis has reached Thailand and gas prices are beginning to surge upward; the problems in the Middle East hadn't affected the region up until now because of supplies coming in from Nigeria but now there's problems with that source as well.  I've also recently learned that Thailand is still the world's leading exporter of rice and that there are major war games in the Gulf of Thailand right now with the U.S. Navy and Royal Thai Navy (the USS Abraham Lincoln just became the largest warship ever to dock at Bangkok's port).  I was also extremely surprised to find a review of the new Bruce Springsteen CD, The Seeger Sessions released this past Tuesday, in The Bangkok Post (reminding me that I need to order a copy at some point).  However, the pieces in the papers that interest me the most are the local interest stories.  I'd like to summarize a few of these in a future blog entry if I find the time.

I've been meaning to mention the dates on my blog entries and archive listings:  the Thai calendar is 543 years ahead of the Western calendar, thus 2549 is the year 2006, 2548 is 2005, etc.  The format of the date entries is day of week, month, date, year.

You may have noticed that I've been uploading my photos to my Webshots account.  It's been pretty slow going on the dial-up Internet connection we have at home (which is usually 44.0 Kbps) but I'm getting it done.  I'm working at uploading the photos from April 13 — the day of Tim's birthday and the Thai New Year celebrations — right now.  When each album is completed, I move it to the top of the page so the most recent photos are always the first albums you can view on my homepage.  Large albums such as this April 13th one will be uploaded in pieces, with 12 or so photos sent to the server at a time over the course of two or three days.  I can't wait until I'm caught up with the backlog — I try to take at least one or two photos every day, but some days I take anywhere from 50 to 150 so it's going to take me a while to get them all onto Webshots; it will be a breeze when the backlog is finished because then I'll just try to upload every day or so and you can see photos very soon after I take them.

I had my first experience with a Thai bank yesterday (Friday).  Tim has an account at Siam Commercial Bank and we went to the Phuket Town main branch so she could deposit some money.  It was a madhouse — very crowded and there were probably 50-60 people ahead of us when we arrived.  However, they have a "take a number" system and plenty of seating in the lobby/waiting area.  It took about 30 minutes until our number was called so it was rather fast and efficient.  However, the numbers were called out in Thai so I couldn't possibly do any banking business on my own until I learn more Thai numbers (I'm still struggling with 1-10).  Perhaps I'll look for a nearby branch at which to open an account if I decide I want a local bank.

After leaving the bank, we drove over to Patong because I was craving a hamburger.  I'd had a really good one back in December at a small bar complex on the far southern end of the beach road and had pointed it out to Tim several days before as we passed by.  It was an expensive lunch for the two of us — 390 baht or just under USD $10 — but we enjoyed it, despite my burger being somewhat overdone and missing the cheese I'd ordered.  We then spent some time walking along the beach before running into one of Tim's street vendor friends.  We bought some canteloupe and coconut juice from her and she loaned us a blanket for our picnic.  We were soon joined by Lek and Jum (how do they always knw exactly where we are?) and it ended up being a long afternoon of eating and drinking (water & cola since alcohol sales were banned because of the planned elections which were cancelled at the last minute).  It was enjoyable, however, as there was a nice breeze.  I spent a lot of time watching the waves which were abnormally large (a number of Thais, we later learned, had gone up to the Tsunami shelters because they were afraid but most Westerners had fun trying to drive jet-skis through the increased surf).  Just before sunset, we drove over the mountain to Kathu in order to visit Tim's old roommate La and we ended by having another meal at Lek & Jum's shack.  That last visit was fun because Lek played some CD's by The Eagles and Queen which I could sing along to, impressing Tim with my knowledge of Western rock.

We slept in today, I spent some time on the computer, and then we drove over to Central Festival for some "fun" shopping.  I wanted to buy some blank CD-R's and also to check out the bookstores.  The huge B2S on the top floor reminds me of a Waldenbooks with a huge selection of books, magazines, CD's, and movies, as well as stationary items.  We bought some more karaoke VCD's for Tim (who never seems to tire of them) and well as a copy of The Chronicles Of Narnia DVD (with Thai- and English-language soundtracks) for me.  We also stopped at the much smaller The Books where I bought a couple of newspapers.  I wanted to treat Tim to some icecream at a shop near the movie theatres (I had my eye on a mango milkshake) but she wasn't hungry; maybe next time.  Our last stop was the large food market to buy a salad for me and some curry paste for Tim.  An afternoon of karaoke followed, a small dinner of salad and noodle soup was our only real meal of the day (I'm certain there will be a "snack" later on), and we're preparing to watch a movie as soon as my current batch of photos finishes uploading.

Tomorrow is Lek's birthday so I'm sure we're going over there for the party.  (I'm actually contemplating coming up for a reason not to go — let Tim go by herself — as, among other reasons such as the state of the place, I discovered last night that the toilet is one of the squat variety which I don't have any clue as to how to properly use; there's no flusher and somehow, if you can balance squatting on the food pads on either side of the bowl, you have a tube and water with which to clean out the basin.)