Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Friend's Renewed Blog

What I believe to be an egret in rural Thailand a few weeks ago

Normally you wouldn't see a post here on a weekend, but I just got a note from a friend who has decided to begin posting about life in rural Thailand again after a nine month break, and that's notable enough to make an exception.

I've updated the link to TOQ's Life In Thailand under the "Other Sites You Might Enjoy..." section in the right hand column.

It was a pleasure spending some time with him recently in Thailand, and I'm hoping he begins to share about the life he shares with his partner Choa on at least a semi-regular basis. It's a view of Thailand I'm sure many readers will appreciate.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ouch! Watch Where You're Driving...

While out for an event yesterday I came upon this post-accident scene. I'm not sure how "post-" it was, as there were no police or people in or around the vehicle and everyone nearby was going on with their lives as though it weren't even there.

Deaths by auto accident are half what they were 10 years ago, and that's a good thing. The unfortunate part is that they still happen; nearly 8,000 last year - and that doesn't include the ubiquitous motocy on the roads (and sidwalks).

The whole "mai pen rai" philosophy is fine if your friend is late for lunch, but it has slightly more serious ramifications if you're allowing yourself to be distracted or ignoring your surroundings while piloting a few tons of metal and plastic around, like this driver was doing.

Yes, accidents happen even in the most ideal circumstances, and there's no telling what was going on when this driver hopped the low curb and bent this metal standard, wrapping the front of the truck around it, but some can be avoided.

Many is the time I've seen a taxi driver nod a bit late in the evening as they speed along the streets of Bangkok, and energy drink bottles sometimes litter the floor around the driver's feet. Sleep deprivation, illness and alcohol abuse can all have an effect on a driver's performance. It fits neatly into the file folder of being aware of your surroundings and those who are caring for you - wherever you happen to be.

I looked closely at the truck before deciding to take the pictures to post here. The windshield wasn't broken, there were no signs of blood inside the vehicle and the steering wheel was intact and in shape (although I can't vouch for the driver's ribs).  I figured it wasn't too "tabloid", so here they are.

Drive carefully... and defensively. If you're a rider, you don't have to take the ride from someone who doesn't appear to be capable of doing the job. Sometimes convenience isn't worth the cost.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thai Signage #1: Park and Bomb

 OK... I guess I've sluffed off for three weeks, and that's probably enough. Thanks to those who sent queries and good wishes, but as was posted in the 1 March post I had (and have) no intentions of stopping. As I mentioned, part of cutting down was to live a life offline and spend more time on my other projects, as well as with friends and family. The past couple of weeks I've been fortunate enough to be spending that time here in Thailand. Now you know.

English is a terribly difficult language to learn. There's abundant proof of that throughout the West, where many speak it as their mother tongue. Urban Speak, the e-world of texting and tweeting and the overall unfortunate state of the educational system is at the core of this, most likely, but that's not the idea for the post today.

Foreign signage as a source of humor is an easy touch - especially unintentional errors - but since I can rarely speak more than a few words of the countries I've visited I try not to point and laugh. Note I said "try".

The other day I was out on a morning walk in Bangkok and came across this shop - a beautician school - with a name that sounded like a poor choice off words, considering the somewhat volatile nature of the world today.  The covered vehicle parked along side of it didn't make it any more comforting!

Friday, March 1, 2013

"The Time Has Come," The Walrus Said...

Lewis Carroll's 1872 children's book Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There contains a poem called "The Walrus and the Carpenter", and there's a stanza from it that runs through my head every so often ...usually at the strangest times:

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
     "To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing-wax --
     Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot,
     And whether pigs have wings."

Maybe it's just a infinitesimally small bit of lysergic acid diethylamide still whirling about deep in the temporal lobe of my cerebrum; a leftover from those reckless and irresponsible days nearly five decades ago, but if - after checking in the mirror - I can see my face isn't melting off of my skull I can breathe a sigh of relief and recognize it's merely a time for a break, and my mind is just a few steps ahead of me.

When I've worked stressful jobs in the past it was more of a regular occurrence,  but now it just pops up on an irregular basis, and I'm kind of glad it does: it's a gift to have gentle reminders to look up from life and note not only the passage of time, but what's out there we might be missing.

I've been with and seen far more than my share of people passing on to wherever they go after leaving their human shells here on earth to those of us left behind, and not a one of them has shared how they wished they'd have spent more time at work.

My own father told me one of the few regrets he had was that he didn't travel more. "Go while you're younger," he told me "before you need a walker!"

With that in mind, I'm putting Bao-Bao's blog into lower gear for just a short bit.  All of us have friends, and I'm going to hit the road and visit some of mine.

"So?" you might ask "Why not just post from the road?"  Well, I probably will... but not as often as usual, and certainly not five days a week. I'm going to visit friends and see places and do things that just don't jive with time in front of my travel laptop.

I write everything I post here - nothing is submitted by kind readers - and I was raised it's not fair to lift things from other sites and publish them as my own.  A friend who teaches in Korea jokes about telling their students "if you can find it online, odds are I can, too", and I get a laugh out of that. I simply don't have time to stockpile "filler" posts, nor would I want to foist them off on you.

Second, since I do my level best not to fall back on posts a mile off the topic of Thailand or other Asian countries I can't do posts about, say, the U.S. elections or the World Series... that just seems silly to me, and messages I've received have backed me up on that.

At least 98% of the 3,000+ photos posted here have been my own, and that also takes some time and thought. There are already plenty of web sites and bloggers that scour the internet for the images others post (probably without the intent of seeing them end up on a stranger's site) and run them as their own, but that's not me.

So... "The time has come".  I'll be around, and I hope you'll still check in when you can. You can always contact me through the email on the site here, and I'll post as time allows over the next month.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay in touch!