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Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok June 19th 2022

Although they eat some very unusual shit in Thailand, cooking with poo is, thankfully, not literal. It's the cooking school of Poo, a lady from the Khlong Toei slum in Bangkok. Before starting her cooking school, Poo spent 14 hours a day cooking food and making live-in-a-slum money, about 200 bhat ($7usd) a day. But a bubbly personality, a pinch of escape-life-in-the-slum tenaciousness, a dollop of getting-a-business-started help from an Australian missionary, some very clever branding, a well-titled cookbook (Cooking with Poo), and an endorsement from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver were the breadcrumbs leading her out of poverty. Despite the change in fortune, Poo didn’t move the cooking school into a shiny antiseptic space on Sukhumvit (i.e., the fancy part of town where poor people wear uniforms). Instead, she takes tourists to the ‘real’ market and ... read more
waterbugs are disgusting
yum yum frogs; some were still breathing
tourists in the meat aisle

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok May 31st 2022

Raw sewage. Carrion. Vomit custard. Rotting fish. Death. Someone compared it to eating ice cream in an outhouse. Anthony Bourdain said it was like “French kissing your dead grandmother,” and one 19thcentury journalist said, "To eat it seems to be the sacrifice of self-respect”. None of that matters. We have to do it. We have to eat durian. And we’re making the kid eat some too. Although allegedly banned on the sky train, we smelled it yesterday on the way home from school. It was only a hint, much fainter than the wall of stink that wafts through the grocery store, but definitely durian. There is no way to contain the stank. If it is cut, it smells; uncut, it smells; vacuum sealed, it smells. The prodigious funk is apparently an advantageous evolutionary adaptation. When the ... read more
packaged heaven or hell?

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok May 20th 2022

Banyan trees are killers. They start life in a nice mulchy fork of another tree’s branches, and as they grow, they send tendrily aerial roots twisting and twining down and around the host tree. Once the roots find the ground, they thicken and slowly choke the other tree to death. This is the ‘strangler’ fig. A large part of the world considers them sacred.The one in our front yard is at least three stories high and more than sixty feet around. The host tree has long ago vanished and rather than a discernable central trunk, the body of the tree is a braided mess of differently sized roots woven into densely knotted masses. Pillared roots form secondary trunks and hold up the tree’s mass, making it appear as if the one tree is actually a forest ... read more
how do the spirits feel about kids in their tree?
a hum drum spirit house with a lot of figures, fanta, and flowers
the entertainers for the spirits

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Tao May 15th 2022

Koh Tao is a diving mecca famed throughout the world, and also known locally as Turtle Island. It's been a long held dream to visit this magical little island, and finally I have the opportunity to add Tao to my ever expanding list of places visited. There's a daily high speed ferry (and also a catamaran) that both zoom across to the island from Koh Phangan, with the sea journey completed in just an hour. The arrival at the pier proved to be a typically effortless Thai travel experience, where the resort had organised free transportation and I wasn't even aware I had booked the service! It's all part of travelling in this wonderful country, as the Thais really are here to help! Before you know it I was checked in to a lovely resort that ... read more
Turtle Island
Beach scene
Beach through the trees

Asia » Thailand May 9th 2022

Hi, my readers, I’m back….I’ve been busy working, running, and cooking in the last few weeks on my own in Chiang Mai. After talking to a bunch of foreign friends and asked them a lot of questions. I came up with a new article about the reasons why expats love living in Thailand and I can’t wait to share this piece with you guys. Enjoy reading and let me know what do you guys think! If you have ever dreamed of being your own boss and living out your days on your own terms, that goal is closer to becoming reality than ever before. The days of relying on an employer for your livelihood can be over for good. Thousands of people every year are choosing to ditch the 9-5 traditional workday in order to freelance ... read more
Eating Out in Chiang Mai
China Town, Bangkok
At tha lake

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan May 3rd 2022

It's astonishing to realise just how much I missed all that is learnt from travelling the world. It's one thing to immerse yourself in a book, but nothing compares to the life experience and knowledge gained from travel, where there is the opportunity to interact daily with so many fascinating people living in this wonderful world we share. Actually It doesn't take too long to get back in to the swing of a traveller's life, even after an extended break. At the conclusion of a wonderful time in Koh Samui I decided to branch out for a bit of island hopping in the region, and the boat journey is just thirty minutes on the fast ferry - akin to a speedboat, before an effortless arrival in Koh Phangan. This legendary island is home to the full ... read more
An Thong National Marine Park views
Drone shot
Marine park island

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok May 3rd 2022

People wash up on foreign shores for many reasons – opportunity, sanctuary, happenstance, adventure, love, vacation or in my case, a dependent spouse visa. While tourists come and go, ex-pats (ex-patriots) settle in and take root. In Thailand, most ex-pats are from neighboring countries. Some are permanent ‘migrant’ workers, some are bigwigs of international corporations, and some are things in between. Then there are the Westerners, who also run the gamut and number somewhere between a couple hundred thousand and a million. Over the years, a fair few of these have ended up with Thai wives. The malls are full of heavy jowled, thinning haired, sagging belly, tattooed, flip flopped old white men holding their high-heeled, smartly dressed, 15-year younger wives’ Louise Vuitton monogrammed purses while window shopping at the new Gucci store. While these fellows ... read more
tonal variations on 'paa'. high tone 'paa', for reasons unclear, doesn't mean anything
what do want to have for lunch?
soi cowboy: late night language school ... and other things

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Samui April 23rd 2022

Throughout the course of human history free men have always resisted the authoritarian dictates of overbearing rulers. To be honest, dear reader, the last few years have collectively taught us a great deal about human nature, with almost none of it being good. Nevertheless, I believe mankind must continue the eternal quest to emerge from the darkness and head towards the light. The ideals we have cherished for a lifetime cannot be frivolously cast aside, regardless of any health emergency. Of course I bear witness to the struggle for freedom, for liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold as a lifelong dream the ideals of peace and love, and the search for our better angels; to acknowledge on a daily basis the inherent good that resides in our fellow global citizens, no matter where they ... read more
Lovely beach
Chaweng resorts
Resort on the granite rocks

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand April 8th 2022

As the door closes on the cacophony of the street, there is the sound of tinkling water and the smell of lemongrass. A smiling lady with kind eyes wais (bows) and hands me a thick menu. On the first several pages are soothing images of herbal compresses, gold masks, aroma oil rubs, body scrubs, and head and foot massage packages. It isn’t until page 4 that the human spatchcocking is finally pictured – suspiciously buried beneath all the smiles and the spa treatments. This is the only indication of what ‘traditional Thai massage’ entails. They don’t warn you about what’s coming. It all starts innocently enough. They take your shoes, wash your feet with a green herbal exfoliant, and lead you into a dim room divided by heavy curtains into several smaller ‘rooms’. In each, there ... read more
the infographic is entirely painless; the reality, otherwise.
marble plaques of sen lines at Wat Pho - photo by internet
reclining buddha at Wat Pho - photo from Best Western Bangkok site

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok March 20th 2022

In the immortal word salad of George W. Bush, “Fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.” By which he clearly meant that the first time you do something, you can be forgiven your ignorance, but if it’s the second or sixth time, you have obviously failed to learn from previous experience. And yet, here we are again, moving overseas with a cat. Evidently George isn’t the only one with questionable mental faculties. Rewind to three years ago: we left Bangkok with a kid and a cat. Then Covid happened, and we got Covid stranded in middle America. This was very tolerable despite the rational assumption that nothing in middle America is very tolerable. We took walks, enjoyed fall colors and winter snowfall, puttered about the yard, ... read more
sunset over the Andaman Sea
bougainvilla
obligatory picture of coconut




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