Sunday, April 19, 2009

Carnage 2009

Your standard Mod 1 Thai
Crematorium. One located at
each Wat (temple).
Well, another Songkran, a holiday that most Thai’s refer to as Thai New Years has officially come to an end. And as always, many families are now missing members or visiting others in hospital.
The official days of Songkran run from April 13 through the 15th but the fun loving Thai’s always find a away to stretch it our for at least a full week. More time to kill others and themselves.

This year we amassed 3,977 road accidents, 373 deaths and 4,332 injuries. The main cause of the accidents was driving under the influence and speeding. Most accidents involved motorcycles. Not bad for a country with just a tad over 64 million residents.

By the way Thai’s not only celebrate Songkran as their New Years they also go whole hog in celebrating the one on January 1st as well as December 31st. It’s always two days here. Then there is Chinese New Year, which is also celebrated by a large portion of the population. On top of that there are many other official holidays in Thailand which give you time off. They are:

Jan 1 New Years Day.

Jan 16 Teacher’s Day (Yes, the schools are closed and the teachers get
a day off.)

Feb 9 Makha Bucha Day ( A Buddhist religious holiday.)

Apr 6 Chakri Memorial Day (Celebrating the beginning of the current

Apr 13-16 Songkran official days.

May 1 Labor Day. Different that ours. Only laborers get the day off.
Teachers, clerks, government workers carry on as normal.

May 5 Coronation Day.

May 8 Visakha Bucha Day (A Buddhist religious holiday.)

Jul 7 Asarnha Bucha Day (A Buddhist religious holiday.)

Jul 8 Buddhist Lent Day

Aug 12 Queens Birthday

Oct 13 Chulalongkorn Memorial Day (Something to do with the current dynasty.)

Dec 5 H. M. The King’s Birthday.

Dec 10 Constitution Day (God knows which one, they have had three in
the short time I have lived here.)

Dec 31 New Years Eve.

Not a bad place for the working man. Only problems is the majority of the population are farmers so what the hell do they care. All days are workdays for them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The New Tree

The tree arrives extending far beyond
the bed of the pickup.
I like to sit on my front porch in the afternoon and watch the world go by. Someone has to do this you know. The only problem is the front porch is drenched in sun light all afternoon and doesn’t cool down until after sundown. A problem that definitely needed fixin.

So yesterday, I had me a tree installed and not just one of those little twiggs that will hopefully grow up into something majestic. At my age I need shade now. Don’t believe there are enough years left for me to wait for something to grow into maturity.

The first thing they had to do was remove this little boxwood that I had planted in hope of shaping it into and nice little round ball like the one I had previously grown.

Then the miniature palm tree was removed.

The palm was then replanted where the boxwood
had been.

The new tree was then placed where the palm had been.
Hopefully where it will shade the front
porch once the branches begin
to spread.

How much do you say? Total cost 1,500 baht or about $43.00 at today exchange rate. That includes the price of the tree, delivery, labor and fertilizers. Total time on the work site was one hour. Heck, back home it would have taken that long just to load and unload the mechanized equipment they would need and here it was all done by hand by a husband and wife team.

This tree keeps the morning sun off the porch
and out of the bedroom.

My future lawn Christmas Tree.

I plan on putting s small statue of
Buddha under these palms,but
have not found one with the
correct dimensions.

This boxwood was once a scrubby little thing
like the one in the above picture.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Moo Ping

Breakfast today.
It's all finger food. No idea why the folk today.

I am often asked what I eat over here. Well for the most part it’s the same things that you do back home as I’m really don’t care for Thai food all that much. I regularly make cornbread, red beans and rice and all the other things that I grew up with.

I like the hotness of most Thai dishes and the ingredients. What I really don’t care for is the smell that many dishes have (fish sauce), their appearance or their consistence (how they feel in my mouth). That may be strange to some of you, but that’s how it is.

Anyway, the above-pictured dish is Moo Ping and Sticky Rice, which was my breakfast today.

Moo Ping is thin strips of pork, which are marinated, skewered on sticks and then grilled over coals. Sticky rice is very glutinous rice, which is very popular in Thailand. First you pinch off a little bit of rice, which you then roll into a ball between your thumb and fingers. You then take a bite of the Moo Ping and pop the little rice ball in your month. Aroi mak as a Thai would say (very delicious).

This is a breakfast dish and you normally only see sold by street vendors in the mornings.

Why I am on this let me tell you about a Thai Ice Cream Sandwich. You take a hot dog bun, add three scoops of coconut ice cream, sprinkle with corn or peanuts and there you are. This is a big treat on a hot summer day. The below pictures is not exact, but almost.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finally, Air Conditioning!

This is the unit in the living room section.
Due to brick and cement wall construction cable
runs are external to the wall.

As reported in my last posting, I finally broke down and installed a/c in my living/dining room area.

Believe me this was not an easy decision for an old skinflint like myself. I had been sitting on the fence for a long time until I saw little sweat beads on my seven-month-old nephew’s forehead. That observation left no doubt in my mind as to the decision that had to be made. He is the king of the roost you know.

This is the unit for the dining room area.

So after giving Mee the green light to proceed she then took the bull by the horns and started the search for the best deal. I can always rely upon her to ensure that we get our monies worth in any purchase. No ethnic jokes, but I believe she grew up counting shekels. Also as you probably know, nothing in Asia has a set price and everything is open for the bargaining game (one exception new cars). So the hunt began.

Unable to make a cable run to the breaker
box due to celing layout. So two switches
with breakers were installed for each unit
with remote controls.

There was a slight delay though as we were not sure as to the exact size of the area to be cooled.
With no tape measure and armed only with a 12 inch ruler I set about on hands and knees to make this determination. I then had to convert this information to meters, which hopefully I did
correctly. Turned out to be 45 square meters or 485 square feet.

This is shakey. You can't see but the power
was spliced on to the wires which lead
into the house. Poor duct work.

Mee then hit the phones calling all the local a/c dealers in our little town for prices of which, there were many. Who knew there were so many manufacturers and specific models within a brand? The only thing that that first round of phone calls confirmed was that a 36,000 BTU unit would be needed.

Compressor for the living room area. Up off
the ground so Miss Mee will not have
to avoid when parking in the

It was now time to look see and collect brochures. After this personal visit she narrowed down the search to two finalists.

Compressor for the dining room area.

The winner was decided when it was learned that they could provide two 18, 000 BTU units for 48,000 baht ($1371.00). They both offered a single 36,000 BTU unit for 58,000 baht ($1657.00). A saving of $286.00 always sounds good to me. By the way the price also includes installation and any parts required for installation like wires and switches.

T connection. Poor workmanship shown.
Will have to repaint to repair.

On thing about Thailand, once the decision is made to purchase the seller normally gets on it right away. They give you no opportunity for buyer’s remorse. In our case, the decision was made at about 4 PM and by 6PM I was enjoying my newfound luxury. Though, neatness and thoroughness in the instillation process may not meet all western professional standards. Labor is cheap and I will have it all cleaned up soon.