17 March 2007

Buddha image in Phi Mai

Buddha image in Phi Mai
Originally uploaded by Shanti, shanti.
More new photos on Flickr including most views of the house. Have a look:-)

14 March 2007

"My truck"

"My truck"
Originally uploaded by Shanti, shanti.
Check out Flickr for some new photos. They're coming slow but somewhat steady.

37 degrees

I guess the hot season is already here as it's supposed to be 37 degrees today. It only feels like a thousand though. I've got to make it across town to my travel agent to pick up my tickets for Laos. Yes, I splurged on plane tickets when I could've taken the train and bus combo. But now that it's 37 degrees I'm using the heat as my excuse.
The e-mails flinging back and forth about the conference in Vientienne are unrelenting. The timetable has changed three times already. Since I don't want to spend all my internet time on getting involved in this part I've sent an e-mail to the organiser saying that I'd just prepare all my materials here in Bangkok and then find out what's what when I arrive. I'd just as soon go with the flow anyway. I really feel for the guy who organises this as it's become really big with numerous presenters. He's a saint. I remember when I first met him at a Peace as a Global Language conference and someone said he could "organise the hind legs off a donkey". I guess I know what that means now.
Just wanted to mention that I spent an hour waiting for photos to upload yesterday onto Flickr and then only two of them actually made it. How annoying. I'm currently waiting for more to upload at a different cafe now as I type this. Sorry to anyone who is looking if the photos seem a bit random. It's just whatever I can get uploaded.

13 March 2007

Truck heaven

I about jumped in and rolled around in it when I saw this parked next to us!

It's going to be pretty difficult to go back to Japan and eat stuff without these important ingredients. I might have to carry some in my pocket for emergencies!

12 March 2007


OK, in the never-ending saga of the pursuit of affordable web-access, I've finally scored.
I just ordered a coffee in a cafe near the Caltex station, of all places, and the guy hands me a ticket for 30 free minutes on the computer. The evil oil company wins as I proceeded to upscale to a full one hour access so I could get all comfy at the screen.
So, I guess I've found my place (although I can't post photos here). Yes, I'll be hanging out at the petrol station from now on. The fumes are just a little bonus, but actually I can't tell the difference from the normal Bangkok air. Sorry Bangkok, you know I still love you really!
See you tomorrow!

Charitable venture for Mr. Gates, calling Mr. Gates??

Sorry to keep going on about this, but I'm out and about and have found a netcafe that is not TOO expensive so I'm taking advantage. However this is adding up in an annoying way and, of course I don't have my photos with me. I really must get myself a little laptop that I can travel with. Think I'll write to Bill and see if he wants to donate to a worthy cause...

10 March 2007

Chores and Markets

Ever spend more time trying to remember your thousands of passwords than actually typing real sentences?
I luxuriated today in hanging out in the room watching Thai cooking shows while I did the washing i had piling up. I hate having to do washing all the time, but i hate carrying too much for no good reason too.
Then i took a stroll to find a better internet cafe and ended up coming out at Sumen fort on the Chao Praya river in the late afternoon light. This area is becoming so cool with local young Thais opening their own cafes. I bought some cool arty postcards. I've sent the usual Thailand ones way too many times so i was glad to find these.
I'm going to amble back in a minute and hope to find some good eats on the way. On my first day here I discovered a huge market within the grounds of a big wat near my hotel. There was lots of activity including monks raising money for a wat in Christchurch! Unfortunately the table was unmanned and so I didn't get to talk to anyone about it. I had some great Khanom Jin there, spaghetti-like noodles with a fish-curry sauce and huge piles of fresh beans and herbs on the table for you to rip up and add. I love the stuff.
Then last night I couldn't resist buying a corn on the cob from a smiling woman who I managed to speak Thai with. I can't believe I've practised enough in the last ten days that I could understand everything. I think she enjoyed the interaction as much as I did. I especially enjoyed the grilled sweetcorn at 15 baht ( about 45yen or 40-50 US cents).
Once again my coins are running out at the ol' net cafe!

08 March 2007

internet cafes are stressful

My coins are quickly counting down on the computer, but I've made it to Bangkok after a midnight run to the airport with the students. They should all be safely in Japan by now, and I've finally had a good night's sleep in a nice bed.
It's very natsukashi (nostalgic) round here. All the good things about Bangkok are still here, and also the bad (touts and pollution). As usual, I've had some awesome food and have been to some of my favourite places already. I'm off to May Kaidee's for lunch...can't wait! Then visiting friends in their cafe.
Sorry, no photos today as I've only just located a good netcafe. Maybe next time!

05 March 2007

bonus post

While I'm waiting for Flickr to upload some photos, I'm just doing a quick bonus post.
It's been so wonderful being here for many reasons, but one is that the warmth of Thai people seems endless. Because of this, I am finding it east to pick up a lot more Thai. It's so fun interacting with Thais in their language because they really want to see if you can do it, plus they encourage it. So, I've realise that apart from approachability of people, there is one other major factor in learning language, and that is what you are doing while you are trying to learn. In both Vietnam, and Japan, I have picked up only basic survival language, yet in Thailand, in even a short time I feel I've learnt loads. So, this is it...I'm not teaching here! I think when you teach English all day, and then go home to your English-speaking partner, it's really difficult to learn the local language. But if you are not teaching English, you have more time to relax and enjoy learning.
Ahhhhh Soooooooo desu ne!?

Nam Tok, mai mii nam!

I've just got bak from a trip to a waterfall with no water and so they've decided to go off to one that is an hour away. After an exhausting weekend "off", I'm knackered and so am staying behind to do some blogging.
We had one night away in Nakhorn Rachasima and spent most of it ferrying people back and forth from the hospital. One of our team members was bitten by a dog and is now on a course of rabies injections, another didn't bother to tell anyone that she was in pain because sh hadn't pooed since we'd arrived (5 days ago!), and the lasty one had been having diarrhea since we'd arrived. Moral of the story kids...drink more water, and for gods sake tell someone if you are ill so we can advise you and you don't end up on a drip in the hospital! All are doing well now.
The house is also coming along swimmingly. It's almost finished in fact which is very satisfying.
I want to post some photos. but the electricity is really flickering here so I don't want to lose this post. Stay tuned!To keep you entertained until then, here is the truck I've been driving round in to carry bricks and also the site when we first arrived. Wait until you see what's happened since then.
Tomorrow is the last day and we will get to dedicate the house so we are very excited.
I am now going for a nap before dinner so I can enjoy our last real night here since we'll be leaving at about midnight tomorrow night for Bangkok.

02 March 2007

It's all dial-up in the Jungle

We're staying at The Jungle House and it's like stepping back in time to the dial-up age. I forgot how slow and annoying it is. Anyway, It's day four of our mission to build the house and we've made unbelievable progress. Luckily, the foundation was already laid when we arrived. But we've built most of the walls (all brick) and are off for the weekend. I think the professionals are going to try to do the roof structure while we are away this weekend. It's been fun driving the truck to the brickyard with everyone in the back. Counting, loading, driving back slowly, unloading, laying, filling in with sand, cementing, and doing it all again! I've been taking photos regularly but have no way to put then on here (in the "Jungle", I mean!) I hope to get some photos sorted when I get to Bangkok on the 7th.
Needless to say, my muscles are getting strong, and my skin is getting brown. However, they are feeding us so well on glorious Thai food, that I think I'll have gained a few kilos by the time we leave!
We got to go to the house dedication of the first Habitat house in this area. It was really heartwarming to see the family officially get their house. On the first day that we arrived, we saw it as well as their old house which most of us might regrettably describe as a one-room shack. Lots of reminders here of how excessively we live and how little we need.
We had a longer day than usual trying to get to a good stopping point for the weekend, so now I'm really hungry. So, I'm off to get some more good food and a well-deserved beer or two since we don't have to leave until 9am tomorrow. A luxurious lie-in!