Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Treats

I had two treats today:
1. My staff  - the ones who are not on vacation - treated me to lunch today at a nearby restaurant that I hadn't been to before. I didn't realize they were treating until the bill came and they wouldn't take my money. That was very nice on their part. I had pad thai with shrimp which I can order on my own but learned from them how to order some other dishes if I'm on my own. The menu is of course entirely in Thai (and no pictures!).

Last Friday I had treated all of them to lunch at a nearby favorite place that specializes in guay tiaw phet or noodles with duck.

2. I saw an elephant on a busy street in my neighborhood as I was driving home from work. This has happened only once before and no matter how often it happens will always be a treat.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Last weekend I went to Kanchanaburi which is a town about two hours west of Bangkok near the Burmese border.
If you're interested in knowing more about Kanchanaburi:

I went with my friend Julie who has taken in four teenagers whose American father can't care for to visit their Thai mother who lives near Kanchanaburi. Saturday night the kid's mother, Deng, cooked us a wonderful dinner with about 7 dishes besides the rice. If I had been less hungry I would have taken a picture of it. Instead I ate.
Most of the extended Thai family we had dinner with on Saturday. Deng is in front on the left with her hand on the head of her eldest son Patrick.

I stayed at a guesthouse, which is like an inn, smaller than a hotel although this one was fairly large. My room was about $17 per night. The room was nothing fancy but clean and spacious except for the bathroom which was clean but small. The food there was good too.

The guesthouse from the pool area
Guesthouse grounds

River Kwae f/ the guesthouse, early morning

A picture of me on the bridge over the river Kwae, which was built by Australian, British and SE Asian prisoners of war under the Japanese during WW II.

My friend Julie on the river Kwae bridge

One view from the river Kwae bridge

Train a comin' on the Kwae bridge
And I acquired a hunk of jade:

Sunday we drove a few mile north to the Sai Yok National Park. It was nice to see mountains again. It was nice to be in the mountains, even if briefly.
Nice to see mountains

Structures on the river at Sai Yok park

View from the river

We took a boat like this one on the Kwae Noi river in the park

In the boat

One of the falls on the river

You can rent these floating cabanas to stay in

Some of them looked very nice

Another waterfall

Teak forest - teak trees are protected

We went to the Hellfire Pass Museum, a memorial to the POWs and SE Asians who were forced to build the railroad for the Japanese between Bangkok and Rangoon. The conditions for the POWs were horrible and 45% of them died. It was a very sad place albeit beautiful.

Hellfire Pass view

Hellfire Pass memorial

Another view

Another view from Hellfire Pass
More info on Hellfire Pass at

Getting the maximum from your vehicle

Deng's cats

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Go Thailand!

Last week I was surprised to find a Christmas tree in the lobby of my building. Today I came home to Christmas carols in the lobby. Until today I had never heard any music in the building lobby. Go figure!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas tree

I arrived home from work yesterday evening to find a Christmas tree in the lobby of my apartment building. Complete with presents. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised but I really wasn't expecting it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Singing for the King

If someone had told me a year ago today that on December 3, 2010 I would be standing on a soccer field at a carpet mill in Thailand singing songs (well mostly listening and trying to be present) in honor of the Thai King's birthday I would have told them they were crazy. But there I was standing in a line with the factory management team in front of many of the first shift factory and office workers looking at a picture of the king on a raised platform while everyone sang songs, listened to some mercifully short speeches (both songs and speeches in Thai of course) and posed for group photos. After about 35 minutes we were back to work except for the volunteers who went to pick up litter from the road that runs in front of the factory.

And the good news is that we have Monday off to commemorate his birthday, which actually falls on Sunday. His birthday is also Father's day in Thailand so happy father's day to all the dads out there.