Monday, June 30, 2014

Posting from the resort

Fast and pleasant trip upcountry today.  Few trucks, and light traffic makes it a smooth 4 hour drive with time for stops.  For me its like a drive to South Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area when there is no snow on the roads, and little traffic.  

Getting ready for a TAT promotion for the area and hope that the resort will be full this weekend and the next few weekends providing the rains come and causes the Siam Tulips to blossom.  Famous for their appearance and setting, the Dok Krachaio grows wild in one of two National Parks (Sai Thong)  near our resort.  The Park is cool and usually wet this time of year and a perfect environment to have these flowers grow.  Large fields of these flowers are visible off of protected wood planked walkways.  Visited a couple of  years back and plan on maybe driving there in the morning tomorrow for a look see.

Chaiyaphum is the least visited province in Thailand despite it proximity to the big mango.  Why?  Its very quiet and not easy to get to and up to a couple of years ago, it had not much in terms of development.  Its rapidly changing but hopefully won't ruin the beautiful country we enjoy up here.  Its on the high plateau plain to Thailand so its a bit cooler and there is usually a nice breeze to keep it very pleasant.

Anyway, it home for my birthday tomorrow and more later on the latest developments here at the 'homestead'

Going back upcountry

Driving back upcountry this morning after a weekend in the Mango.  The plants for the hedges around the target range and cathedral garden were delivered yesterday and I wanted to make sure they are going to be planted correctly.  Also the last of the beach huts were delivered as well so it will be great to finally see how the final configuration will look like before I come back and head off to California for three weeks.

Will be coming back to the mango on Wednesday for a suit fitting, visiting the US Embassy on Thursday and getting my extension for my retirement on Friday.  Busy week ahead, as usual.

Anyway, B is off to buy some fresh prawns at Khlong Toei this morning for us to eat tonight.  I need to go out and take a late walk and get things packed so more later from the resort.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Mango

Yes, its the mango again.  Got back in town late yesterday and didn't have much energy to go out and do anything, but the plans are to have a full day today - likely hit the free buffet again to meet up with the guys.  Had my customary walk in Lumphini park, but was out this morning around 5:30 AM instead of my usual as B and I have been getting up early in country and walking together around then.  Country folks get up early...555

Probably will only stay a couple of days and then go back up to the country for my birthday.  After that, a return to the mango for the Motor Bike Festival where I hope to pick up some custom accessories for my Zoomer-X, order a suit, and apply for my retirement visa extension.  The following week, I will be going to the States for a wedding and a bit of business.  Plans are to be back during the first week of August for B's birthday.  It looks like Sevenwinds is going to be a jet setter again this year.

Its busy, busy, busy, but a heck of a lot better than twirling my thumbs and staying all couped up at home in the States somewhere.  Its what keeps us young and life exciting.

A closing tale for today.  Sometimes good things happen, but only if you take the effort to make them happen.

Yesterday, on the way back from the resort to Bangkok, we stopped at a gas station complex for some food.  I was transporting two monks in the back seat (another story for another time) when I noticed a pick-up truck carrying a couple of chairs like the one we bought in December of last year.  These are nice copies of very expensive wood carved Dragon chairs.  They are about 6ft high and weigh a ton. We originally purchased one a while back for 28,000 baht and I would have bought another except I didn't have the cash with me at the time.  Anyway, out of curiosity I walked up to the guy in the pickup and asked him how much for the chairs, and he quoted me 30K each, so I walked away thinking I got an OK deal last time.  

The first dragon from last time
Now this chair will not be lonely as there will be a pair of these dragons in our main room.

Baby Marina pulling at the dragon's teeth in December

As I was walking away, the guy tells me a hard luck story about how he is desperate to unload these chairs (an unlikely story...) and that he would sell us a chair and deliver it too for only 20K baht.  To keep the story short, I have been waiting to call the other guy who sold us the first chair for some time now that I had some spare cash.  So we made the deal and this new guy in the lot and he delivered the chair to the resort (a 2 1/2 hour drive) last night as we were in Bangkok.  Moral of the story...I likely paid too much last time..555

This was from last time...took five people to unload

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I told you so......

I'm not an ivy league educated diplomat with years of Washington experience, but I have enough common sense to know that what the US and its buddies in  the EU have done so far in diplomatic sanctions and reduced aid has done nothing but pushed Thailand much closer towards China and Russia.  In fact, the Chinese have come out in praise of the Junta and has shown a willingness to step in to fill the void.  That 'void' has shrunk over the years and events this year has shown that the US is not a partner that can be trusted and counted upon when things don't go as expected.  With its current leadership, its economic woes, and troubles all over the planet needing their attention, the US has turned into a paper tiger in this region with very tiny teeth.

Cutting off a few dollars of aid and threatening to move 'Cobra Gold' to Australia will disappoint the bar owners and teeraks in Pattaya, but it will likely disappoint the boys in blue even more.  But a few years ago, the Chinese also started joint military exercises with Thailand as well so I'm sure their military won't mind a bit.  As for the US strategic pivot to Asia, it looks the pivot has gone completely in a 360 loop backwards with China getting stronger and the US weaker in the process.  They've done nothing for the Philippines when China set up their oil well platform and schools on the islands in dispute.   

So what are Thailand's options?  If Uncle Sam and the EU don't want to be your friends, there are all those Chinese and \Russians who would gladly step in.  In fact, the Russian already have key interests in pockets like Pattaya and the Chinese are looking at financing the high speed train that will connect China to South East Asia in the future.  China would love to 'close the loop' around itself with a friendly neighbor like Thailand instead of a proxy government controlled by the west.

Expect Thailand's junta to ignore the snub and continue its merry way.  Thailand did not achieve its success as being the only country to not be colonized by being subjective and stupid.  The pride of the country and its ability to weave through its relationship with competing powers will get it through these times and years from now, the Western nations and the Feds that controls them will wonder how things got so very bad for them here in South East Asia.

Anyway, I'm heading back to the mango for a couple of days as soon as B gets back from the Wat.  Its big Buddha day today so I expect most of the people will be on holiday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Now there are four

Two more beach huts came in yesterday.  They were delivered when I was in town picking up some lights for them.  We used all of them yesterday for Marina's party.  They were different than the first batch in that these were the counter hut and the four seaters.  We will eventually have two counter huts and three four seater huts (total seating of 12) plus 6 Thai Style huts with just an elevated platform.

Counter huts where food and drinks are sold

Four seaters

Yesterday's party for Marina was a lot of fun.  On the menu were T-bone steaks from Australia, seafood salad, pad seeow, barbecue salted fish, minced pork salad, and rice.  Mostly family attended and its setting next to the lake having a barbecue in the evening was a lot of fun. Four generations of girls were there, Great grandmother down to Marina.  This is what cements Thai families together.   There was a steady breeze that kept everyone cool and bug free.  I didn't have a good camera with me so the photos are all taken with my smartphone.

Yum...T-bones on the barbie

Marina enjoying her very first birthday cake with Family

I will be going back to the mango for a couple of days to check on some things and run a few errands.  Plans are to be back next week for my birthday.  Gosh...I can't believe another year has passed already.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One of the greatest Joys of my life

Today is Marina's birthday.  If I had to count the greatest joys in my life on one hand, her birth and the time she has spent with us this year would be at the top of that list.  Yes, I do love my other kids, but the joy of being a father again at my age and the happiness she has brought to me and everyone around her is very special.  There is nothing like raising a girl, especially a girl like Marina here in the land of smiles.  I consider myself so very lucky and while for some, its a scary commitment, to me its been an inspiration and a highlight of my life so far.

Marina was born while I was on route from Taipei to Bangkok this time last year.  I had talked to B just before take off at SFO and she was doing fine.  She was not scheduled for delivery for another two weeks so I thought I had plenty of time to arrive and get settled.  When I checked in at Taipei, B told me her water bag had broken and she was going to the hospital.  I got to BKK about 2 hours after Marina was born.  Still, I was the first to see her as B was still recovering and everyone else was not allowed in.

One year ago, you were a premee..

She was born three weeks early, but has developed very quickly.  Smart and strong, I know she is a special girl destined for something special in her life here in the land of smiles since she will be raised here and there are no plans to bring her to the US unless she chooses to do so herself when she gets older.  With all her family and extended family, she is in high demand.  But that is how kids are raised here in the Land of Smiles and already she is learning how to smile and melt hearts around her. 

Now look at you

So later this evening there is going to be a big birthday party for her at the resort.  Family mostly, but she has so many extended family members that its going to be quite a crowd.  Ice cream cake, lots of food, and lots of smiles and love - isn't that what girls are made of?

Happy Birthday Marina!

With lots of Love from Mom and Dad

Monday, June 23, 2014

First two have arrived

Just ten minutes passed by before the occupation

The first two beach huts have arrived and no later than 10 minutes after the delivery guys left, we got family and workers already out there 'testing' the huts.  We have some shore clean-up and grass cutting yet to be done.  All together there will be ten of these babies lining the shoreline.

Cool 7 mph breeze today and there was no sun.  Temperature in the low 80s and what a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and evening.  Tonight a 'test' barbecue is in the plans.  All together there will be ten of these babies lining the shoreline.  Two delivered each day for the next five days.

Nice view from the huts

Three weeks under Junta Rule

For living under a Junta rule, the last three weeks have been among the best times I've had here in the LOS for many years.  Gone is the daily news about protest sites and political problems which permeated the airwaves and newsprint like a foul stench that would not go away.  In its place are happy people going about their daily lives with whatever sense of security they now have verses the uncertainty of the past.

The polls suggest that the Junta is favored by over 70% of the people - which includes both red/yellow shirts and individuals of other political persuasions.  That is a higher percentage than any of the other parties in the last couple of years in a "democratic system".  Their performance rating is also at record levels - 8.8 out of a possible 10.  But is this a honeymoon period or is this a pivotal point in Thailand's history?  The opportunity exists for Thailand to clean up its system of corrupt officials, its drug problems, and put it on a path to becoming another Singapore of the region.  Only time will tell, but from what I have seen so far, the Junta seems to be truly  benevolent in its actions and purpose.  

On the other hand, the western media and the ousted government must be steaming.  The western media and the powers that control it are stymied in their inability to find dirt and controversy, as that is how they make a living nowadays.  Things are not supposed to go so well after a coup'etat right?  Where's the killings, the mass demonstrations and arrests in the streets, the human rights abuses, and mean military types holding their big ugly guns?  When nothing is happening and people are happy, that doesn't make the front page news and doesn't get ratings.  For those reporters stationed in Bangkok, that means no scoops, no airtime, and maybe being moved back to the real world to places like Iraq...where they are firing real bullets!

For bloggers, tweeters, and other social media types, it means less hits, followers, and interest.  That is a real blow to those who live and die by these statistics.  After all, we bloggers think we are really saying something significant right?...555

For the ousted government, every day without anti-coup protest news is another nail in the coffin.  Soon the world will forget and lose interest and even begin to see that the people in Thailand are really happy.  As they get weaker, the call for General Prayuth to become the next PM gets stronger.  Will he take the job?  Maybe as interim PM, but I doubt he would want the job permanently.  He is smart enough to know that what he has done will already cement is legacy in Thai need to dirty it by being involved in politics.  

And lastly, the mostly western governments that ostracized the coup are now back-peddling.  Unfortunately for the US, its still continuing its best efforts to drive away Thailand and closer to China by its policies and accusations of human trafficking abuses.  Look no further than your own borders, Mr. President, and you will see human trafficking and abuses eerily similar to what is happening here in the LOS.  Check your own food chain...I bet there a lots of things besides shrimp that has traces of human trafficking in its product elements. 

Enough rambling for now.  I'm posting because I am bored waiting for the beach huts to arrive...hope they get here soon.

A New Look

Decided to update the look of the blog a bit.  Had some really cool stuff on my old blog, but as I moved the contents private, the format went along into that blog and left a pretty basic look for the public blog.

So today, I just implemented dynamic views for this blog, which means that you can choose from a variety of formats on how you would like to have my blog displayed.  If you like the classic view, its going to be just like it was before, but if you choose another format, you will have some other views and hopefully navigate to a topic of interest easier.

For example, here is a dynamic view featuring flip cards. 

Anyway, enjoy.

Waiting around today for the first batch of beach huts to be delivered. We're hoping to have Marina's birthday party next to the lake tomorrow...More info after they get here.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday at the falls

We are fortunate that we live close to Tat Ton National Park.  Its just a bit over 15 km from the city center of Chaiyaphum and about 45 minutes from the resort, including waiting at the one and only major stop light in the city that has a 140 second red light.  Since the kids are off school today and Marina's great grandmother and grandfather came by, we decided to go out to the park and the waterfalls for the day.  Tat Ton Falls is a double waterfall that can be quite spectacular during high water, but this time of year, its very mild with lots of swimmers underneath, above, and below the falls.  That is our favorite although there are five other less spectacular falls in the park.

Reposted this video as the  Blogger video feature really sucked

For Thai families, a day at the park always involves food...lots of it.  There was everything needed for a major picnic as we had 10 people and kids to feed.  Once the food was packed and the cars loaded, we took the ride over to the park, with another stop at the local outdoor market for MORE FOOD.

Once at the park, it looks remarkably like many National Parks in the States.  There is a pay gate (Got in with the Thai price of 40 baht) welcome center, signs in English and Thai, and plenty of parking and restrooms.  If it were not for the local crowd, I would think I was in some state or local park in California.  Tat Ton falls is a pleasant 400 meter walk from the main parking lot.  Bring a cooler, some towels, and a change of clothes.  There is lots of  food and clothing for sale within the park also if you forget.

The visitor's center

Park Signs are in both English and Thai

As usual, Marina was the center of attention as she experiences the thrill of running water in a stream for only her second time.  The water downstream from the falls is very mild this time of year and perfect for getting babies and kids to get wet.  The water is not ice cold, but cool and refreshing.  With the clouds and daily breezes up here, it feels a lot like the weather in the Islands - 80s and low 90s with a cool 15 mph breeze.  So the day is eating, laughing, getting wet, and having a great time in our little slice of paradise.

Marina getting some fun time with her cousin Bow

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Upcountry again...with a new project

I am upcountry again.  Was alone for a few days in the mango while waiting for my doctor's appointment, but got a call from B and Marina who said they missed me and wanted me back ASAP.  I missed them too so it was a quick drive back up to the resort yesterday and now I am here working on a new project.  

Right outside our door and across the road is a lake!

We realized that we were not utilizing one of our most valuable assets here in the resort.  We have a beautiful shoreline right across the road from us and it sits unused and vacant.  Its not used because its just an area of overgrown grass with no shade or any other amenities.  B came up with an idea of selling food and drinks in front of the resort, but I told her why not on the other side of the road next to the water?  So the light bulbs came on and now we are implementing plans to put in some portable beach huts next to the water for rental and also for our customers to just 'hang out'.  

Huts will look like these

After a few calls, we found the perfect structures for the site.  They are also made locally and very cheap so that if they get damaged or broken, they can be easily replaced.  Our plans are that if the water rises or if there is a flood, we can move them up to the resort as they are light enough for two or three people to carry.  The cost for each structure was 3000 baht (less than $100 USD apiece) so its like the cost of  getting a picnic table in the states.  We ordered ten to start out with and the plan is to rent them for 10 baht an hour or 100 baht for the day.  30 days rental and each hut is paid for.  We also plan to make money on the food and drinks and maybe even rent space to vendors to sell the food.

So hopefully in two weeks, we will have everything in place and I can post more pictures then.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

World Cup Crazy

The LOS is undergoing its World Cup Craziness time.  Its hard for us Americans to understand the situation as we have grown up in a society where Football means the NFL and the Superbowl and not soccer.  For the rest of the world, Football is soccer and that is the big deal going on right now in Brazil.  

The World Cup is all people are talking about here in the mango, and even the Junta has stepped in and arranged for free broadcasts of all the games, compensating the broadcasters over 450 million baht for their trouble.  It is also said that the curfew was lifted to accommodate the late night games and celebrations/parties that go along with those games.  Millions/Billions will exchange hands like during the Superbowl and there will be lots of happy winners and sore losers.

Well, I did not stay up all night for the England vs Italy game and won't even see any of them unless there is nothing else showing on the television.  Kicking a ball into a net...I guess it can't be any worse that 11 guys trying to move a ball over a line...

I will also be extra careful as all these red eyed people will come staggering into work from the lack of sleep this week.  

Football craziness....TIT

Friday, June 13, 2014

Curfew lifted

The curfew for all of Thailand was lifted tonight.  Was checking Twitter all night after our free Friday night buffet as there were rumors that it would be announced tonight around 9PM.

NO More Curfew!!!!

That means there is no reason for not coming to Thailand anymore.  BTW, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the pleasures of Thailand at bargain prices as very few tourists are in town.  Likely scared away by the media and various government agencies.  Too bad, their loss and our gain and good news for those planning to be here in the new few weeks.

Roast Chicken...great menu tonight at the free buffet as it was an anniversary celebration for the establishment.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In the Big Mango

Just got back to the big mango this afternoon.  Not too bad a drive, although there was some highway construction that caused a half hour delay about 75 kms outside of Bangkok.  There were also a couple of police and army checkpoints, but they never stop me and just wave me by.  I guess I don't look enough like a gun runner or smuggler to be of interest.

After yesterday's post, I went into Nakhon Ratchasima ( AKA Korat) for the afternoon.  Its one of the nearest big cities to the resort aside from Khon Kaen.  Both are about an hour away and offer a larger variety of malls and other services not available in our area.  We specifically wanted to visit The Mall in Korat as I was sure there were a couple of computer stores inside where I could buy a universal simcard reader.  We also wanted to look around and hangout a bit in the mall as Marina really enjoys looking at all the new things and the people shopping.  I found my card reader and we had a great lunch at the food court.

The Mall is typical of many shopping malls in Bangkok that are not part of the Central Group.  They are the chief rivals to the Central group and are developers of such projects as Siam Paragon, Emporium, The Mall (fill in your area), etc. more info on the Mall Group here.  

Select shots from The Mall  (There was a golf sale going on!)

Its only three stories plus a basement, but enough stores to keep a mall rat like me happy for the day.  Tomorrow, after some rest, its more shopping in the Big Mango!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heading back to the Mango tomorrow

After a week in the country, its time to head back to the mango tomorrow.  Its nice to be away from things, but there is a limit on places to eat, hangout, and shop.  I have the option of being in either place and its now time for the mango.

I miss the golf, the shopping, and the excitement of the big city.  

Got a couple of emails from acquaintances and relatives asking if I am OK here in Thailand considering what's happening here and what they see on the news.  I don't think they believe that I'm 100% safe and happy to be here...I feel safer here than I would be in Las Vegas, considering what's been in the news recently.  I wish the press would stop sensationalizing the situation and leave us alone.  

This video sums it up very nicely....It was posted just today.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The photoshow of the ordination as promised...

Here is an early version of the Photoshow of the Ordination.  Its a bit less than 12 minutes long and covers the activities over a 2 1/2 day period.  Its posted on YouTube so it can be reviewed in the future if there is any interest.  This hopefully gives everyone a taste of Thai culture, especially the rites of manhood for most Thai males.

Quite elaborate for upcountry folks, but doesn't stack up at all to the more wealthy Thais in the big mango who go all out.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Exhausting Saturday

B woke me up yesterday before 6AM and said "its time to go".  What?  I said,  I didn't have my morning walk yet.  Evidently, the celebration was starting early today for the monkhood ordination and I had to get dressed up for the fancy banquet this morning.  By the time we got the clan ready and baby Marina in the car,  it was 7AM and when we arrived at the party it was already in full swing.  The music was blaring out LOUD Issan music,  the band was on stage, and the dancing girls were 'doing their thing'.

Something to wake up to early in the morning

From there it was one thing after another and finally they were brought into the Wat where they will spend some time finding their way in least that is the theory.  I will have more later in the photoshow but here are a few tidbits.

A fun video of the potential monks tossing away money.  There was a strong wind and as money flew over the walls, so did the people.  What they will do for 20 baht...555

There is more stuff going on today, but I am excused from the activities.  Its time to catch up on emails and keep up with what's happening in the rest of the world.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Yeah, I'm upcountry and loving it.  Haven't been to the resort for a month now and things are pretty much the same except that its green everywhere!  There has been a series of rain storms that have helped to end the drought we were having earlier in the year.  Some of the trees have grown a bit and we have lots of mangos on the trees.

Got here yesterday afternoon, just enough time to rest up for the two day event.  Two of B's cousins are going into the monkhood at the same time and there is a big celebration planned.  The celebration lasts two days with the climax being tomorrow when they march in a procession with family and friends to the Wat.  

Today, there was a party and hair shaving ceremony.

Sevenwinds the barber
The hair shaving ceremony involves having relatives and friends snip symbolic locks of hair from the potential monks.  There is food, loud Issan music and lots of people laughing and having a good time.  I'm doing double duty as a relative and official photographer.  That is followed by the actual shaving which is done by one of monks from the Wat.  

Don't forget the polish!

There was also a blessing and a visit to one of the other Wats nearby and music will be going on all night.

Here is an excellent link to the ceremony with explanations of each step:

We have relatives from all over the country that came to celebrate and our resort is full so its going to be a busy weekend.  I will be preparing my Phantom 2 Vision for overhead shots and video so it should be a lot of fun during the procession tomorrow morning.  Maybe back in the mango next week.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Day 4 under the coup

It was a strange day yesterday.  Things were normal and yet not so normal.  Went out for my morning walk as usual and things were pretty nice.  The grass is making a remarkable comeback in Lumphini Park as well as the number of runners, walkers, and those that hang out in the park in the morning for their socials.  My omelette man was still on the street and I bought his double egg version over rice for 35 baht.   Also went to the driving range and hit some balls, and met up with Bangkok buddy for some coffee in the afternoon.

All very normal.  But then...

It was announced that the Thai Army would be holding a concert at Victory Monument, the scene of protests just the week before.  There would be music, free food (Omelettes over rice - again), and even free medical checkups.  Later on in twitter, it was announced that it would even be televised.  Some photos from twitter follow.  Only in Thailand will the army hold a coup'etat and then within a few weeks,  stage a concert and party in the middle of one of the busiest intersection of Bangkok.  

When I got back to the condo, there was a small crowd of reporters and police in front of the Australian Embassy.  Evidently, a handful or should I say less than five, people showed up to support the stand of Australia against the coup.  Once again, there were more photographers and press than demonstrators and more police than the both combined.  Everything broke up quickly as it was just too hot to be out there too long.

I think these ladies need a little lesson on how to properly flash the 
Hunger Games sign.

It appears that the coup has finished its military phase and now there is a fierce media and social media war going on to control the public and world opinions.  Expensive media and PR companies have been hired  and experts in Social Media are lined up on both sides. Diplomats are flying in and out to reinforce relationships, and trade deals.  In my view, as long as its just words and pictures that are flying and not bullets, its fine by me.

From what I have seen so far, this coup is dramatically different that those in the past.  It was both masterfully executed and the team and steps that they have put in so far have been superb. They seemed to have covered every base and learned a lot from the prior coup.   In my view, this was not something that was a spur of the moment looks like  the actual coup and how to handle the aftermath was carefully thought out, planned and executed with military precision.  If this was a game of chess, the previous government didn't know what hit them and underestimated what they were up against...a Grandmaster of a player in uniform.

Now as the game unfolds, I think its going to be fun to watch indeed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Way too serious.....

The western governments and media are taking this coup d'etat thing way way too seriously.  After all, this is Thailand right?  My job today is to put a smile on your face...

Following video on YouTube posted without comment:

Have a wonderful hump day....

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Three days under Junta rule

Its been three days since I arrived in the land of smiles and three days under Junta rule.  If you ask me, as a Bangkok resident, "are you better off today than you were a year ago?", I would say 'yes'.  The calm and peacefulness is so striking that its kind of eerie.  All my Thai friends seem to be relieved and they now can go back and concentrate on making money and living their lives normally again.  And aside from one broadcast tonight during dinner time, there is no disruption of TV cable service.  And aside from one police 'checkpoint' where they normally shake down the motorbikes for helmets, expired registrations, etc. there was little else in terms of a military or police presence.  Life is good, life is grand in the big mango.

Its actually a very good time to visit Thailand.  If you are not a politician or media person looking for a story, you will find no crowds, a weaker baht, and vendors willing to make a deal.  With the lifting of the curfew in Pattaya, the nightlife there will be resuming and I am sure there will be bargain rates for those than choose to partake in its charms.

Amazing Thailand is still amazing.  The people and places of a country make up your experience when you travel and not the government.  The government can make things difficult for you to roam freely, but that has not been the case here.  Don't do stupid things and stay away from demonstrations (which are falling by the wayside - 100 people for a demonstration - give me a break - there was more press than demonstrators).  The food is still the same and if you come now, Mangosteen and Lychee are in season!

In a couple of days I will be heading up to the country to attend a celebration of B's cousins going into the Monk hood.   To Thais, this is a revered tradition for males, after which, they are ready to take on the responsibilities of manhood.  They may stay only a couple of weeks in the Wat, but its a tradition that the parents plan and save all their money for.  I'll have a photoshow of the celebration when I get back.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A beautiful morning in Bangkok

Its the morning after.  Still jet lagged and my sleep interrupted by the odd hours, I decided to go for my customary walk through Lumphini Park.  The sun was out and shinning at 6AM and the birds singing their hearts out as I walked through the park, where just weeks ago, was occupied by thousands of protesters in tents, stages, and cars.  It was quiet and peaceful and the grass was slowing starting to regrow where the demonstrators had pitched their tents and killed the grass.  People were smiling again and the tables were filled with the regulars that meet there every morning for food and a get together.  Life is getting back to normal here in the mango.

The usual traffic is getting stuck here in the central business district and people are going about their normal business.  You could tell there was a big sigh of relief from the months or should I say years of political turmoil.   If you ask me now if life is better before or after the coup e'tat, I would say its immensely better after.  

A little promo from my son's latest employer.....

People want stability and security more than what they got previously under so called 'democratic rule'.  Lets face it, for the 99.9% of us that are not involved in politics it matters very little whose in charge as long as we can carry on our lives normally.  

One pet peeve I have is how the US and some of its blossom buddies like the UK and Australia continue to admonish Thailand about the coup.  Its obvious they have something more than a passing interest in the welfare of the Thai people when they are pressing for early elections and democracy.  Its really hypocritical when the US has in the past not only supported dictators but instigated regime change in the self interest of Wall Street and other special interests.  Or is the support of the ousted government to protect some deep dark secrets, like maybe the details of the hidden prisons where we kept POWs for 'enhanced interrogation".  Only the shadows knows.

As they say, people in glass houses shouldn't be throwing rocks at other people.  

But its really a nice peaceful day in the big mango.

Just like the old days.......

It was just like the old days.  Plane landed at 11:50AM,  I was through immigration and out with my bags and in a taxi in 20 minutes.  Within an hour I was in my condo and 90 minutes later I was surfing the net.  It was shades of the old days, good for me, but not so good for the LOS tourism business.  Yes, it was a Sunday and traffic was light, but the airport was very quiet and about 1/3 of its normal craziness.  There were plenty of taxis and they were all pooled up and ready for customers.  People are still happy and smiling and all seems normal except for the lack of people.

Its a great time to come to the LOS as there was no signs of the army except for one little checkpoint on the side of the road on the Rama IX highway back into the city.  They didn't stop anyone and they were just relaxing and sitting around under the shade to keep cool.  Around town, there was some excitement around the malls and especially Terminal 21, but I decided to take a nap and spend time with Marina and B instead so it didn't affect me at all.  Supposed to meet Bangkok buddy tomorrow.

Now, I'm wide awake at 2AM so its time for a quick post and a return to bed.  Ah the sweet mango....Its good to be home.

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