Thursday, November 10, 2011


Flight leaves tomorrow morning at 5:55 which makes this my last day. I've had a great time. Last night was a fitting send-off. My girlfriend and I went to our favorite restaurant for some shabu and sushi, then we went to the carnival which is in town and rode some sweet rides, and we finished the night at Blues Bar (my favorite place) with an all-star cast jamming out their greatest hits. A fine day indeed. Today is my last day which means frantically running around and tying up loose ends while simultaneously celebrating my girlfriends' birthday (11/11/11). If this post seemed rushed it's because it totally was. I'll sit down and write a proper post once I touch down in the Western Hemisphere. BKK->Tokyo->NYC->Washington DC.

Much Love

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nam Tuam 2

It's been over a week now and the flood has yet to make it anywhere near my door. It's been making slow progress all over the city but Sathorn remains pretty dry.This is good news but while I've haven't had to wade through waist deep water, the flood has had an impact on my last days here. As some of you may know, this past week was my last at I Can Read and I was looking forward to seeing some of my students again and saying goodbye. The flood changed all that with either the students leaving town or not being able to reach the school. This was partly due to flooding and partly due to horrible traffic jams caused by cars abandoned on the highways by people in a panic about flooding. I didn't have a single full class and over half of them were straight-up cancelled which meant a pretty boring last week. People panicking has also caused some problems when it comes to shopping anywhere. First of all there's no more fresh water. Stores have been out for a long time and the treated water from the dispensers now tastes like tap water did (and the tap water now tastes like unholy garbage). The water thing doesn't bother me too much since I have a nice supply, but when I want to get some everyday things like toilet paper or a can of coke I now have to wander from store to store until I find one in stock. And yes I got what might've been the last roll of toilet paper in the country.

With all my free time at work, I went down to the riverside on Friday to see how the water levels were and took some pictures of some light flooding. It was just barely over the sides and the sandbags were doing a nice job of keeping it on the pier and funnelling into the drains.

A view of I Can Read's Sandbag wall. They added another level after the PM came out and said it was gonna get worse before it got better.

A lot of people had the same idea to come check it out. This is "my stop" for the river taxi.

The part in the foreground is supposed to be wet. The picnic table is not. PS Notice how high the dock is.

Some sandbags and walkways at the SkyTrain stop.

The wall they built around the 7/11. This thing has been up for weeks now. I guess they're just gonna knock it down later. The weird thing is that the 7/11 across the street has barely any protection at all.

That's all the flood coverage for now. I'm officially through with work so I'll have the next couple weeks to hang out and give Thailand a proper goodbye. I know you're all wondering so let me just tell you the ticket has indeed been booked. The plane leaves at 5:55am on November 12th. It feels like a long way away and too short all at once. For now, though, I'm just worried about Halloween! Have a spooky one everybody! and, as always, costume pics are very appreciated!

Much Love

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nam Tuam

Sorry for the cliffhanger, gang, but when I went up to the north of the city I didn't get any great flood pics. I didn't even get any bland flood pics. No pics at all. Now to be honest, I went up there to check out the Jatujak weekend market and any gripping photojournalism would have just been an added bonus, but it was like there wasn't a natural disaster right next door. I've learned now that it's important to distinguish between a flash flood and a regular flood. When I heard that the water was breaching the city limits, I figured it would be at my door by dinnertime but that certainly wasn't the case. Make no mistake, it's coming, it's just taking its sweet time. Mother Nature has helped out by giving Bangkok four straight days of beautiful sunshine but a rainstorm last Tuesday night has accelerated the flood's progress. The government has done a great job of totally mismanaging the situation and after weeks of "Don't Worry, Don't Panic" type messages, the PM finally changed her tune yesterday morning and told residents of all areas to brace for flooding. The Chao Praya river that runs through the city is at capacity and they're saying the water will likely surge over the 2.5 meter embankment sometime this weekend if not sooner. Out on the streets, places are busy sandbagging and some are even building cheap concrete walls around their doors (some places actually did this weeks ago). I've done my own bit of flood prep too. I'll be alright. There's nothing to worry about till there's something to worry about and I'll keep you posted if something happens. I did take a couple of pictures around the soi of sandbags and the temporary concrete walls but is having trouble loading them up. I'll hang on to them and put 'em up together with any others I take in the next few days. Keep calm.

Much Love

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Flood

It looks bad. The flood has made its devistating march from up north and is now knocking on Bangkok's door. I'm not sure what the papers back home have been saying but as we go to print it's just now reached the city limits. So far the flood has really put a hurtin' on the areas to the north, notably Ayuttaha, but I don't think it's any match for the prevention systems in place to protect the city of angels. Things will get wet and some people who've evacuated will be glad they did, but I don't think the damage will be anywhere near what the footage of other areas has shown. Anyone particularly worried about me shouldn't be. I'm in a part of Bangkok that looks to be the safest and dryest should things go awry. Also my room is on the 8th floor. The only real probs this flood has caused so far are just minor inconveniences. I spent the past few days in Hua Hin (nice vacation destination about 2 hours south) and the traffic coming back in last night was dreadful. My friend can't leave his parking garage because scared motorists have driven all their cars up as high as they can and blocked everything in. The paper today said people have just been abandoning their cars on top of expressways and overpasses to keep them safe (obviously causing huge traffic problems in the process). Although this part of town is the safest, shops and houses are still putting up sandbags everywhere. Even I Can Read got in on the act. Tomorrow I have my first Saturday off in the city since last year so I plan to head out and take some pictures around town. I hear that if anything's gonna happen, it'll be tomorrow so I'll put those up as soon as I get back but until then here's some pictures of Thai folks taking the flood in stride. This is a horrible natural disaster but that's no reason to take yourself too seriously.

Much Love

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Catching up

Wow. It's been a long time since I wrote anything here but a lot's been happening so let's see if I can cover it all in the next few days. I will address the pressing issues like the flooding in Bangkok and my impending return home in future posts but for now let's pick up where we left off: Pook's wedding.

Because we had to work late, we missed the actual ceremony (5am start!) but were on time for the reception at the Mon Tien Riverside Hotel. I haven't been to too many U.S. weddings and even fewer Thai ones so I can't say what the differences were but there were little things I noticed. The family/friends/food part was obviously the same but instead of the Best Man and Maid of Honor getting up and giving toasts independent of one another, they acted as joint emcees for the evening. They introduced other guests of honor like the couple's parents and employers and had them give little speeches. Then the couple got up and told the story of how they met which I was told happens at most Thai weddings. The cutting of the cake was the same except the cake was 10' tall and they used a sword (but that might've been due to the groom's military career). Afterwards, as with any Thai ceremony, there were thousands of pictures to be taken. There was a little stage set up and every friend, family member and coworker in every permutation had to get in a picture with the couple. The only major difference I noticed that night was the total lack of dancing. There was a band and plenty of room for it but no one shook a leg. That's alright though because everyone had a great time and I wish nothing but the best for Pook and her husband. Here's some pics as promised.

The monster cake being sliced

The lovely bride with Andrew and me

The gang from I Can Read Sathorn

The staff from all the ICR centers in Bangkok

My girlfriend and me in front of megacake

Much Love

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The manager of my I Can Read center is getting married tomorrow and guess who's invited to the wedding! I've never been to a Thai Buddhist wedding before and I'm really excited to go. We don't get out of work until 6 so we'll miss the ceremony (normally in the morning) but I've seen pictures and it looks like there'll be lots of praying and merit-making. I'll let you know how the reception goes and hopefully be back with some pictures.

Much Love

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No Signs

The elections were only five days ago and it already seems like a weird dream. The newspapers are running news again instead of articles about a candidate’s favorite restaurants or what’s on their night stand, people have resumed wearing red and yellow shirts without making bold political statements, and the 8ft tall election posters that blanketed the city have all vanished without a trace. I wanna talk more about these posters because they really are ridiculous. Instead of a small card saying “Elect So-and-so” in some red/white/blue scheme staked in the lawn, Thailand instead opts for larger than life posters on cheap wooden frames placed anywhere there’s a pole or a tree to tie them to. Literally anywhere. I had planned to take some pictures of some of my favorites to share with you but there was some kind of massive, massive clean-up on the night of the 3rd and there’s hardly a trace that they were even there. Here’s a couple I pulled off the internet.

We’ll start with the victorious candidate. This is a typical poster for Yingluck Shiniwatra and her Pheu Thai party. The numbers assigned to the parties are based on some kind of random ping-pong ball machine like the lottery which gathers lots of attention (Thais can really get into lucky/unlucky numbers).

Here’s former Prime Minister Abhiset. You had a good run?

This was my favorite candidate. Apparently he runs every year as somewhat of a joke. He campaigned with the message “enough with corruption in government!” He made his millions as a sleazy massage parlor tycoon. He’s a member of parliament now.

This series of posters created a stir.They have a variety of creatures on them and they basically say “No animals in government” and were directly targeted at members of the Pheu Thai party. Calling someone an animal here, especially a dog or buffalo is a pretty serious insult so this shocked even me.

Here's an idea of how ubiquitous these posters were. During the final week before elections it really approached critical mass. It actually got difficult to find somewhere to cross the street.

That's the story from over here. Hope all's well back home and you're all enjoying the summer.

much love