January 2006 Archives

Lao Hotel Rules

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I haven't posted much in the last few days, as I have been in Luang Prabang, Laos, doing a whole lot of nothing. I had originally planned to go to a Lao wedding in Hong Sa, but I wasn't able to go at the last minute. So I spent time in Luang Prabang doing work, reading, walking, and talking to the locals.

When I am in Luang Prabang, I always stay at my friend's family guest house on the Mekong. On the back of the door to every room there is a list of rules that foreign guests are supposed to follow. I have seen this list in every Lao guesthouse I have ever stayed in.

So if you go to Laos, please be sure to follow these rules. (Copied from a photo with spelling, capitalization, and grammar as closely as possible.)

Lao people's Democratic Republic
Peace Independece Democracy Unity Prosperity

Regulation to link the guest who come to stay.

Staying at hotel or guest house to attach guest inside and foreign country guest. Come to stay.

In order to tidy the sociality and safety -- peace to the guest who come to stay also in sure to the way policy nation wided toruism in Lao P.D.R.

The officer authourities had to limited regulation for acting asutene as following:

1. Torls, visiting of the guest had to back the hotel or guest house before 12 o'clock.

2. when you check in the hotel or guest house have to bring your passport, document to the reception section or receptionist.

3. Guest house will not responsible for your valuable has lost in the room, if necessary please deposit to the reception section or receptionist.

4. Prohibit to bring any prossession in to the hotel or guest house that illegality, including other weapons exception the officer authorities military who's allowed to get alicence to hold agun only.

5. Disallow to apply another dopes and belling in the guest house or hotel.

6. Every tim you get in and get out please loced your room then bring the key room to the receptionist before you leaving out of the room.

7. checking out of the guest house, hotel always before 12 o'clock in the afternoon and inspected all your belonging before you get out of the room.

8. Forbid to get every thing in the room that belong to the hotlel, guest house, whenyou checking out the hotel or guest house.

9. Please meet your guests at the reception room that guest house, hotel had provided. Awesome received or lead the guest into your room before you get allowed from the staff of the hotel, guest house.

10. If anyone not to perform this regulation, will get penalty to put on trialby the law.

Luang Prabang 02 Apr 1999
Immigratin and foreignes mancegement

Siam Niramit

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To celebrate my fourth third cycle birthday, Piyawat and I went to check out the Siam Niramit show here in Bangkok. I went in with moderate expectations, after being mostly under-whelmed at the last big Thai production I saw: Alcazar in Pattaya.

But this time, I came out impressed. The show had three main acts:

Act 1: A "historical" look at the four regions of Thailand (Lanna Kingdom in the north, trading between Muslims and Chinese in the south, Khmer culture in Isaan, and Ayutthaya)

Act 2: Thai mythology (Buddhist Hell, the Himmapan Forest, and Buddhist Heaven)

Act 3: Thai festivals (Loy Kratong and Songkran, among others)

The second act was my favorite by far. I have seen pictures and statues depicting Buddhist hell in temples, but to see it acted out in live theatre with music, sound effects, and lots of screaming was a novel experience. It actually was a bit uncomfortable to watch... which means that it was well done! The Himmapan Forest with mystical creatures like Kinaree, Nagas, and Singha lions was quite fanciful. And the Buddhist Heaven with flying angels looked like it came right off the painting on the back wall of a Thai temple.

It was very similar to the Phuket Fantasea (as I remember it), but I thought this one was much better. The sets, the costuming, the lighting, and the choreography were all very well done. To me, the price tag was a bit on the high side, though (1500 baht = US$37.50) but it was worth it for a one-time viewing, especially on my birthday.

Wiang Kum Kam

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My day started with a visit to the Chiang Mai Airport to try to book a ticket back to Bangkok for today. But alas, all of the flights on all of the airlines were fully booked. So I am now planning on heading back tomorrow.

Since I now had an extra day in Chiang Mai, I wanted to visit a few places I had never seen before. I started with the Warorot Market next to the Ping River. It is a huge, multi-storied, old-fashioned market, with everything imaginable for sale, from clothes to curries, from live frogs to light bulbs. Sometime, when I have time, I'd like to come back to do some real shopping. It looked like some great bargains could be had.

I then had breakfast at a nice colonial style house on Tapae Road, and then did some work in an Internet cafe for a few hours. Finally, the highlight of the day was a trip across the Ping River to Wiang Kum Kan.

The story of Wiang Kum Kan is an interesting one. It was the capital of Lanna for King Mingrai, around 1290, before he built the city of Chiang Mai. However, severe flooding had forced the abandonment of the city, and in fact the floods eventually covered the city in thick mud. The most interesting part is that the city was only re-discovered in the 1980s. Discoveries are still being made, with the last occurring in 2002-2003. In this last case, the foundations of a large temple were found 1.8 meters below the surface. All in all, around 20 temple ruins have been unearthed.

So, that wraps up my trip to Northern Thailand. Tomorrow, it's back to Bangkok for "regular life"... at least for a few days...

Thai TESOL Conference

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A couple of weeks ago, an American lady who I had met two years ago accidentally found my site and invited me to meet up with her. She had been teaching in the south of Thailand, but was now working in Bangkok. We were unable to make a connection, until she told me that she would be in Chiang Mai this weekend attending the Thai TESOL conference.

I figured that a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) in Chiang Mai would fit in with my tour of Non-Formal Educaton in Lampang, so I attended the last day of the conference today. The presentations I heard were actually quite interesting. I won't get into the details (which I think are probably boring to most) but the key is that today I realized that over the past week I have been getting many more ideas about what direction to take on a future PhD.

The reason I have this renewed interest in topics of technology and education in Thailand was because it was so refreshing to see Thai people who are hungry for knowledge. The villagers at Baan Saam Kha were so happy to see us, and so interested to talk to us, and were asking us so many questions. They wanted to learn, but more importantly, they asked us to help them learn how to learn. The head of the school continuously asked us, "What do you think?" or "Do you have suggestions for us?"

Not only are the villagers learning a lot themselves, but they are also teaching others how to improve their lives through education as well. The group from Nakorn Sawan that I mentioned yesterday drove for hours to hear about the experiences of the villagers at Baan Saam Kha. The villagers had learned important lessons, and in turn they wanted to share their knowledge.

And even at the TESOL conference I could see this same desire to "learn how to learn". The rooms were full of Thai teachers who wanted to find out the best ways to teach a language that is not their own. They know how important it is for the people of Thailand to be able to speak the global language of English, and they know how difficult it is to learn. But they are working hard to improve themselves, so that they can improve their country.

So now I am excited about education in Thailand again. The needs of a village like Baan Saam Kha are still numerous. And I would certainly never say that I have solutions to all their problems. But I think it would be very exciting and rewarding to work side-by-side with them on some of these issues.

From Baan Saam Kha to Chiang Mai

This morning we were able to spend some time with Srimuan, the head of the elementary school in Baan Saam Kha. She told us more about how the students use technology and more about how the villagers are working hard to improve their lives.

There are two examples that stuck out in my mind. The first is how the students use the computers to practice the Lanna language. Lanna has it's own script, which to my un-educated eyes looks like a mixture of Thai and Burmese. Someone had created a Lanna font to use in Microsoft Word, and two elementary students showed me their proficiency in typing the script.

The second problem that the villagers are working on is to convince people not to burn the forests on the hills surrounding the village. There are many reasons to intentionally burn the forest, such as making hunting easier. But the villagers realized that with no cover on the mountains, the water washes off the slopes and that in turn makes the summers even drier than would be naturally. So the villagers of Baan Saam Kha are working hard to convince other villages to not burn the forest, so that everyone will have more water during the dry season.

Eventually, we had to leave Baan Saam Kha, and we headed north towards Chiang Mai. We made one stop in Lamphun province, to visit the 1000 year old Wat Phra That Haripunjaya. It was a beautiful day, so hopefully some of the pictures of the huge golden chedi will come out well.

Baan Saam Kha (Three Leg Village)

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It's been a wonderful day in Baan Saam Kha, or "Three Leg Village". When we first arrived, the kids of the village at the school all ran out to welcome us, giving us a wai and saying hello. We were then greeted by the energetic head of the elemenatary school, Khun Srimuan, who "checked us in" to the small homestay.

Our first scheduled event was to attend a meeting with villager leaders from Nakorn Sawan Province. One hundred village leaders from one amphoe (district) in Nakorn Sawan province had driven several hours to hear how the people of Baan Saam Kha had worked together to improve their lives. One big problem in Thailand is that many of the poor rural people have been given loans by the government and the banks, but now their expenses far outweigh their income. So much of the presentation by the village of Baan Saam Kha was about how villages can work together to reduce their debt -- both the debt of the individual families as well as the debt of the village itself.

After the meeting and a delicious lunch of pumpkin curry, glass noodles with pork, and fruit, we headed back to the school to learn more about the Internet pilot project that is going on in Baan Saam Kha. The project is being developed by the Wireless communication System Research group under the Telecommunication and Network Research and Development Division of the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC).

Although the elementary school now has a high-speed connection to the Internet, that is not the main purpose of the technology. Instead, it is a project sponsored by the Thai telecom companies trying to figure out how to best give phone service to the isolated rural villages. So it wasn't a project to use the Internet for education as I thought, but instead it was a VOIP (voice over Internet) project. In any case, it was still cool to be able to check my email on a fast connection in such a remote location.

Steven and I also went on a hike with a villager named Dtim. She pointed out many of the wildlife to us and explained about the different edible plants and animals that can be found in the forested mountains. The village has also built "check dams" to help collect water for the dry season, and she proudly pointed out the villagers handiwork. Unfortunately, she didn't speak English! But I could make out some of what she was talking about, like "the students built this dam" and "the crabs that live in the river are purple but the crabs that live in the rocks are green".

We finished the day with one of my favorite meals: mu ga-ta. Tomorrow we will spend some more time in the village and then head to Chiang Mai in the afternoon.

After taking the overnight train to Lampang last night, we spent most of the day today at the Center for Non-Formal Education in Lampang. As I might have mentioned before, this is a bit of a research trip for me, to learn more about how rural people in Nothern Thailand are using IT and the Internet in education.

We had a facinating talk with Dr. Suchin Petcharugsa, one of the instructors at Non-Formal Education. He is a follower of Seymour Papert and other MIT scholars, and is trying to bring Constructionism to education in Thailand. It reminded me a lot of my graduate studies where we were trying to build constructivist learning enviroments. (Or, in other words, educational software where students would learn by doing and by building things.)

Dr. Suchin also stressed the need to do more than just throw money and technology at rural people in Thailand. All too often, governments try to solve the problem of poverty by spending money. But really what the poor people need is help learning how to solve their problems on their own. They don't need directives from above, they need facilitators to help them use their "local knowledge" to improve their own lives. They have to decide for themselves what their problems and issues are, and then work together to solve them. More than money or technology, they just need to be empowered to make their own decisions, in their own way.

Tomorrow we head to the tiny village of Baan Saam Kha to see how they have followed the advice of people like Dr. Suchin, and how they have been able to wisely use the technology they have been given to solve the most important problems in their community.

Pictures from Australia and Singapore

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As I have been re-organizing the content on my site, I have realized that there are a few holes in my "coverage" of my life for the past three years. For example, I had not uploaded any pictures from Australia or from Singapore.

So today I have rectified this situation. The pics are both from trips I took with Piyawat, and are actually from his camera. In Australia, I forgot to bring a camera. In Singapore, I ran out of film after three snapshots. The pictures can be seen at:

Pictures from Australia (April 2005)

Pictures from Singapore (September 2004)

In other news, I will be hitting the road tonight to head to Lampang in northern Thailand. I'll be joining Steven and Jit to visit a small village that is completely covered by wireless Internet. We will be visiting a few schools to see how they are using the technology. Should be a great trip, and as usual, I am looking forward to seeing someplace new.

Limoncello: Italian on Sukumvit 11

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After my not-too-pleasant experience with Mexican food at Coyote on Convent, last night I tried a new (for me) Italian place on Sukumvit Soi 11, called Limoncello, with three friends of mine. And I am happy to report that it was much, much better.

The location is decent, located about half-way down Sukmvit Soi 11, before reaching Bed Supper Club. (Nana BTS station) The food was pretty good as well. We shared Capresse salad and spinach/cheese/ham for appitizers. The main course was two pizzas and some spaghetti carbonara. For desert we split a lemon pie.

The pizzas are big and tasty, but very thin and easy to eat. The carbonara on the other hand, was very thick and heavy. Delicious! The service was excellent as well. Our wine glasses never completely emptied. (Until the bottle was finished, that is.)

In fact, I don't have a single complaint about this place. It was expensive (2,500 baht, US$60 for four people, not including wine) but it was worth it. This is one place that I can certainly recommend.

As I have mentioned a few times, I do miss eating Mexican food here in Thailand. So I was very excited to see that a new "Mexican" restaurant had recently opened in the Silom area.

However, I have to say I am fairly disappointed in "Coyote on Convent". The location is great (next to Starbucks on Soi Convent, near the Sala Daeng BTS station). And the abiance is cool: very colorful lights and walls and loud Spanish rock-pop music playing.

But I don't think that my server had ever worked in a restaurant before. She didn't even know what was on the menu. Not to mention the extensive margarita menu is basically a list of expensive fruit shakes (195 baht, or US$5 per glass), because there's hardly any tequila in them.

I ordered fajitas and beef chili. The beef chili was very good: meaty, cheesy, and spicy. It had great flavor. The chicken fajitas were OK, but the tortillas were too thin and they definitely did not serve enough salsa to go with it. And to add insult to injury, I ordered more salsa and was charged a whopping 75 baht (US$2) for it. (Maybe it hadn't been so bad if I wasn't watching people eat 30 baht dinners on the sidewalk outside the restaurant!)

So, reverting back to my ajarn ways, here's how I would grade Coyotes on Convent:

Service:CFriendly, but slow
Food: B Decent taste
Drinks: C Tasty, but light pours on the tequilla
Value: D Two people, drinks, dinner, desert, tip = 1600 baht (US$40)
Location: A Right in the heart of Silom
Ambiance: A Party-Time!

I think that comes out to about a C+. Not good enough for a recommendation from me! But who knows, perhaps they still have a few kinks to get out. So for now, I'd still easily pick Senior Picos at the Rembrant Hotel to meet my Mexican food cravings.

Internet House Cleaning

Over the past few weeks, I have been making a few small changes to my site. I realized that I have quite a bit of content here now, and there were definitely a few things I could improve, such as the navigation between pages.

Today, I made a few more changes, such as cleaning up the photo pages a little bit. I am also starting to break up big categories into smaller, more specific categories, on both the journal pages as well as the picture pages. I just separated "Lao PDR" into Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Other. Next up: "Thailand: Northern" becoming Chiang Mai and Chaing Rai.

So here's a couple of links to the new Laos photo albums:

Pictures of Luang Prabang

Pictures of Vientiene

Day Trip to Phra Pradang

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The university I used to work for has a 16 story building in the middle of campus. It's the tallest building within several blocks, so the view from the top floor is great. Very often, I'd take a thrill-ride on the glass elevator to the top, just for the view.

The glass elevator faces the river and Bangkok's port, which is located a few blocks from the school. On the other side of the river, however, was a huge green area with no tall buildings. From my view, it was an untouched garden paradise of palm and banana trees. I often wanted to go visit, but I never really knew how to get there, or what there would be to see.

This week, that all changed. Through this website, I met Stephen Cysewski , who is originally from Alaska but is spending his sabbatical in Thailand. He lives in that amazing green space in the middle of Bangkok, with his Thai wife, Jit.

I found out through Stephen that the green space is called Phra Pradang. To get there, he recommended taking the river ferry near Wat Klong Toei, next to the port. I was supposed to go visit their home in Phra Pradang today (Thursday), and so to prepare, I rode my motorcycle over to the Wat on Tuesday just to check out the area a couple of days early.

I found the wat easily, snapped a few photographs around the area, then got back on my motorcycle to go home. On the way out I noticed a bearded, grey-haired farang guy an his Thai wife approaching.... Stephen and Jit! Their afternoon was free, as was mine, so I joined them on the ferry ride and spent the next 6 hours or so exploring Phra Pradang.

Apparently, there are quite a few people who live in this area, but they are mostly Mon people. One of the Thai kings gave this area to the Mon people (along with Ko Kret north of Bangkok) as a reward for helping fight the Burmese.

There is a wonderful, small park and a few Thai temples. But the thing that struck me most about Phra Pradang is just how quiet and peaceful it is. And along with the quiet and the green comes all of the wildlife that can be seen here -- birds, flowers, and big monitor lizards are all very common. And to think that chaotic, crowded, cement-filled, traffic-bound Bangkok is a short ferry ride across the river!

Luckily I had my camera with me and I took tons of pictures. Here are some of the best ones that sum up the uniqueness of this interesting part of Bangkok.


2006_01_12a.jpg
2006_01_12b.jpg
A young boy takes a break from football at the school at Wat Klong Toei
This is the boat we took to get to Phra Pradang (5 baht)
2006_01_12c.jpg
2006_01_12d.jpg
Jit and Stephen walk along one of the raised concrete sidewalks.
Mangos are shaken out of the tree with one long stick and scooped up with what looks like a homemade lacrosse-stick
2006_01_12e.jpg
2006_01_12f.jpg
A slow, quiet life with Bangkok skyscrapers in the background.
The scenic Suan Glang
2006_01_12g.jpg
2006_01_12h.jpg
I have seen these flowers dok rak ("love flower") in garlands, but I have never seen them growing wild.
Some of the touring with Stephen was done on the back of ONE motorcycle.
2006_01_12i.jpg
2006_01_12j.jpg
Buying fruit from a street vendor. I'd bet the fruit was very local, very fresh.
Here we are navigating the raised concrete paths on the motorcycle. And yes, that's a 90 degree turn ahead.

My Year in Cities

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Following a meme from Jason Kottke, here is a list of cities I spent at least one night in during 2005. The cities with a * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive nights.

Hmm. Not bad. 24 spots in 5 countries...

Maxed Out Mac Mini

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Warning: Geek Post Ahead!

I just realized that I have been on a bit of a hi-tech buying spree lately. In the US for Christmas last month, I bought an iSight for my Mac Mini. I also upgraded the RAM to it's maximum limit of 1 GB. I was also given a 250 GB LaCie hard drive for backups.

(That was three separate trips to the Apple store, by the way.)

Back in Bangkok I started having trouble with my wireless mouse and keyboard. I wonder if the repair guy at Apple accidentally did something to the Bluetooth. But I was starting to get some serious pains in my wrists and arms anyway, so I decided to go buy more ergonomic equipment.

So after a quick run to the IT City at Siam Paragon, I am now the proud owner of (wired) Microsoft ergonomic keyboard and a Kensington Mouse.


maxedoutmini.jpgSo now here's my current desktop setup:

  • Mac Mini. 1.42 GHz. 80 GB HD. 1 GB RAM. WIreless and Bluetooth. (the Mini small white box to the right in this pic)
  • LaCie 250 GB Hard Drive (the silver thing under the Mini)
  • Microsoft Keyboard
  • Kensington Mouse
  • Sony 17" LCD Monitor
  • Apple iSight on the top of the monitor
  • Creative speakers

As the guy at the Genius Bar said, "That's one maxed out mac mini!"

P.S. Unfortunately, the iSight only works with Yahoo Messenger or iChat -- Neither Adium nor MSN Messenger for the Mac supports video. Does anyone who has iChat want to chat with me so I can test the cam? I'm not even sure if it works or not...

Favorite Posts of 2005

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One of the best things about a new year is that it encourages me to take some time to think about what has happened over the last 365 days. Luckily now I have this website that keeps track of what actually happened (or at least some of it). It's memory is much better than mine!

Last year I made 110 posts to this site, or amost 1 every 3 days. Quite a few of the posts mentioned how I didn't have the motivation to write much (first part of the year) or no time to write (second half of the year).

But reading back over a year's worth of posts today, I see that it was a great year for me. I thought I'd link to some of my favorite posts here. Some talk about my adventures in Bangkok or on road trips, some talk about visits to the hospital, some talk of sadness, and some are ruminations on my new life in a strange land.

So, without further ado, here are my favorite posts for 2005:

Bangkok Adventures

  • Inter-Park Bike Path: A happy find: A bike path between the Queen Sirikit Park and Lumpini Park.

  • Election Day: My first national election in Thailand, where I saw the voting process up close and personal.

  • Honeymoon in Bangkok: My friends Brennan and Deb spent part of their honeymoon in Bangkok, and here's a description of some of my favorite places that I took them.

  • Trial By Fire: I bought a motorcycle and had a very scary first ride home down Sukumvit.

  • A Thai Day: "Today was one of those days that I can look back and say, 'Now THAT was a real Thai experience'."

  • Street Cooking: My opportunity to stir a big pot of duck sauce on the side of the road.

Road Trips

  • Underwater World Pattaya: Needing to get out of Bangkok, I take a quick trip to Pattaya and visit the surprisingly cool Underwater World Aquarium

  • One More Province Down: A random road trip to Uthai Thani, a "place that no Lonely Planet backpacker will ever have the chance to visit."

  • Muang Ngoi Neua: A trip to a very tiny, very remote, but amazingly scenic village in Northern Laos

  • A Lao Loy Kratong : Celebrating the Loy Kratong festival in Luang Prabang, Laos

Hospital Visits

Sadness

Ruminations


P.S. Thanks to Nick Gray for the idea to do this post!

Finding Work in Thailand

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Back in the first part of December, a website visitor left this comment:

I'm writing because I would love to work in Thailand some day as I love everything about this country and it's people. Born and raised in California and currently reside in San Francisco. I will be finally graduating with a degree in Business and would like to find a job with a US firm that does business in Thailand and allows me to live there but still pays US type salaries. I've heard these jobs are hard to find but thought if I start now I can someday make my dream come true.

Any recommendations on what firms might fit my criteria or what sort of skills I need to acquire to land this sort of job? I known about the demand for English teachers but would prefer not to go that route- looking for more of a business job that pays more.

My reply to him was that he asked the million-dollar question and that since I was a teacher, I really had no advice on getting a business job here. If I did, I'd do my best to get all my friends jobs in Thailand paying American dollars. (Sounds like a good deal to me!)

So I thought I'd throw out the question to see if anyone else had any ideas or thoughts...

Chinese Language in Bangkok

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In recent comments, Kitjar wondered what dialect is most commonly spoken in Bangkok asked whether the Dim Sum in Bangkok is Cantonese. He also mentioned the Teochew dialect and it made me wonder which Chinese dialect is most common here in Bangkok. So, I consulted my favorite reference, Wikipedia.

Turns out that some linguists debate whether or not Teochew is a separate language or a dialect of Chinese. In any case, it comes from the coastal region of eastern Guangdong (Canton) known as Chaoshan. And, as Wikipedia states:

Chaoshan was one of the major sources of Chinese emigration to Southeast Asia during the 18th–20th centuries, forming one of the larger dialect groups among the Overseas Chinese. As a result, Teochew is now spoken in many regions outside of Chaoshan.

In particular, the Teochew people settled in significant numbers in Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore where they form the largest Chinese dialect group. They constitute a significant minority in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.[1]

But even though it comes from the same area of Southern China (Canton) as Cantonese, Teochew comes from a different linguistic family than the Cantonese dialect. Teochew comes from the Min form of Chinese, and Cantonese comes from the Yue group.[2]

So there's the answer, at least according to Wikipedia. Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of the validity of these statements? I did take a Cantonese language class in San Francisco for a few months many years ago, but all I remember is hello, good night, and being able to count from 1-10, so I have no idea one way or the other.

Sources:
[1] Wikipedia: Chaozhou Dialect accessed today at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaozhou_dialect
[2] Wikipedia: Chinese Dialects accessed today at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_dialects

Swimming to Stay Awake

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So it wasn't such a good idea to go to bed around 2 PM yesterday after all. I woke up around 9 PM, went to have a snack at Soi 38, and then was back in bed by midnight. But my night time sleep was more like a nap, and I was up again 2 hours later.

At least I had another productive morning. From 3 AM to about 9 AM I finished grading all of my exams and papers from the university. I went in to the office around 9:30 and finished up the final grades for the end of the semester.

And ever since about 3 PM, I have really been struggling to stay awake. I am determined to do it to try to get a good night of sleep (as opposed to a good day of sleep). So to stay awake once I got home, I went swimming in the pool in my apartment.

I have lived in this condo for eight months, but I have never used the pool before tonight. It's a shame, because the pool is actually quite nice. It's not much of a lap pool, only being about ten yards long. But I was able to do about 50 lengths, which is not bad for being out of the water for the past three months.

The sun was setting, which always makes for good pictures, so after I finished I ran upstairs, grabbed the camera, and came back down to take these photos:



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The rooftop L-shaped pool
A white flower floating over blue tile
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A small Hindu shrine
next to the rooftop pool
The closest house of worship
is actually a Muslim mosque.

Further proof that my body is not ready for Bangkok time, I woke up (and stayed up) at 4 AM this morning. Not only did I wake up, but I woke up starving.

The only 24 hour restaurant that I know of is Chok Dee Dim Sum on Ekkamai. At 4:30 AM, there were several tables of young Thai people who were celebrating the 4-day weekend by enjoying delicious steamed goodies.

After eating, I took advantage of the cool air and no traffic to drive around on my motorcycle a bit. I wish Bangkok was always cool and car-free like this.

By 5:30 I was sitting at my computer and doing work for the next 6 hours. I was amazingly productive. Now, I am a list-maker, but on the plane ride home I outdid myself with a list of 50 things to do. I am happy to report that by lunch time I had already crossed off several of those 50 things.

I knew that my bout of energy couldn't last, though, and sure enough, here it is 2 PM... and all of a sudden.... I am feeling... very... sleeeeepy...

Head Cold and Jet Lag

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Even though I wasn't hit with an impressively hot blast of air when I stepped off the plane last night, it's good to be home in Bangkok. I'm actually glad to see that the weather is still a little bit cooler than usual. I guess after living here, I have learned to be very appreciative when the thermometer dips below 80 F.

Unfortunately, though, I have brought a nasty cold back with me. Add that to the usual jet lag, and I am feeling pretty miserable today. I slept from about 1 AM to 2 PM today, and only then did I drag myself out of bed and make myself drink a Diet Coke to try to wake myself up and get my body back on Bangkok time.

Once I get over this cold, I am really looking forward to what this next year brings. I usually don't put much stock into New Years, but this year I am, because I am expecting 2006 to be much different than 2005. Hopefully some of those differences will be seen on these pages, but, as I often say (perhaps too often), we'll just see how it goes.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2005 is the previous archive.

February 2006 is the next archive.

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