2015 Daily Blog

Fighting my cold by sleeping most of the day.

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I slept more than I was awake today. Probably a combination of medicine and needing the rest to fight the cold. Knock on wood but I think I am winning. I haven’t got worse and if anything a little better. My throat that was burning before is now just a tickle.

That means I do not have a lot to report today. …

I have a sore throat which is a good excuse to not eat the bugs they are cooking for dinner.

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I starting getting a sore throat yesterday and and had son in law drive me into Na Klang to the pharmacy today to try and get ahead of it. In Thailand you can get almost any non narcotic medication without a prescription. The pharmacist put me on an antibiotic prescribed for bacterial throat infections and a decongestant in case I get a runny nose. …

Phai got up at 4:30 am to cook for the monks. A trip into the big flea market in Na Klang.

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Phai had me set an alarm for her. She got at up at 4:30 am, cooked sticky rice and other food for the monks at the local temple and spent the morning with them. Now that our time is growing shorter here she needs to build up her bank of good karma. Since Phai was a little girl she would help out a lot at the temple. …

A slow day in Isaan but a productive several days on the internet.

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Phai and I had a relaxing morning working in her garden and feeding the ducks. They did not do much work on the new house today because Phai’s son had other commitments and he is the one that has been trained in construction. 

What is exciting for me is that after our return from Mukdahan I set out to locate fellow veterans that were stationed there. …

New house building begins across the street and my Apple Watch is amazing.

First about my Apple Watch. Yesterday evening I was sitting in my recliner watching Thai TV when my watch tapped me on the wrist and an alert popped up on my watch screen. It said a news crew had been shot during a live broadcast in Virginia. I called my dad and sister and they had not been watching any news so I told them about it. …

A nice cool morning. Helped Phai work with the ducks.

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Phai and I spent some time at the back of our property working with the ducks. They have been confined to pens and today we created a much bigger area that they can safely roam around in, eat some fresh vegetation and get some exercise. Took some work to set up netting for barriers but I am happy to see them have more room. …

A visit to the restaurant by a group of Thai guys that wanted to practice English and pose with me.

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A truck with a loudspeaker went by before six this morning. Phai said he announced there will be a lot of monks coming today to walk our street and gather food. I got excited because several years ago more than twenty monks came and I got some great photos and video. So I got my camera ready, had breakfast and waited. …

A haircut, a massage and the photos I promised yesterday.

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My MacBook hard drive was completely out of space yesterday because I have added so many photos and so much video since I have been here. This morning I spent a lot of time deleting applications and files I no longer use and moving large files including my iMovie Theater to my external drive. …

My trip back to Florida is booked. My thoughts about coming back.

Today I booked our flight from Udon Thani to Bangkok and a hotel room for one night by the airport. We will leave Udon Thani at 4 pm and arrive in Bankok an hour later. The hotel has a free shuttle to the hotel and back to the airport. Our flight leaves Bangkok at 6:50 am and we will travel via Tokyo, New York and then to Tampa arriving in Tampa 10:31 pm twenty six hours later. …

A night trip to the market. A busy day in the restaurant. Table making.

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Yesterday evening Phai and I hopped on the motorbike and rode into the market to check on Ning. She had a nice set up and in fact there was a lady trying on one of the outfits Phai made (over her clothes). I was fascinated by the lady in the booth next to Ning who was making what I will call “artistic pancakes” and “artistic pancakes on a stick”.

The Nong Dan Weekly flea market, door to door mat sales and a visit to a neighbor.

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This morning I found out that my granddaughter and her husband didn’t sell very much at the larger flea market in Na Klang. I suspect they just sat in their chairs and waited for someone to buy rather than interact with people. They also got there pretty late. Ning on the other hand just hand carried some items with her when she went to pick up veggies for the restaurant and sold half a dozen purses. 

The new business is going great. A bike ride to the “tailor” shop.

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Ning and her husband got back from Mukdahan about 10:30 last night and were exhausted and went to sleep. This morning I watched as they unloaded the truck. I could not believe all the things they bought for resale. They moved tables and racks to set up a sales area near the front of the restaurant. …

Bombing in Bangkok. Ning heads back to Mukdahan. 

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I can assure everyone that the bombing that took place yesterday in Bangkok is a major topic of conversation and on the news here. If you have not seen or read about it an individual walked up to a very important shrine in downtown Bangkok, took his backpack off and left. Shortly afterword the bomb blew up killing about 20 people and injuring more than 120 others. …

Went into Na Klang to find out about getting the new TV repaired or replaced.

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The Thai people have an amazing amount of patience to put up with things that drive me crazy. I bought the family that new 42” LED TV. While Phai and I were in Chiang Rai it started acting up with flickering on the screen about every ten seconds. They showed it to me on August 1st. Ning wanted me to switch out the box that links to the dish on the roof. …

Mushroom Hunting and gardening.

Last night our five year old granddaughter Fa Mai asked if she could sleep in our room. Phai told her to ask me and when I said “okay” she started jumping around and then gave me a big hug and kiss on the check. She has always been a bit standoffish with me, I think in part because she can’t communicate with me. …

What happened to the rainy season. Hot and sunny today. Went to my farm.

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Somebody turned the heat back on. I am glad we went to the farm early before it got too hot. Even with several days of sun and no rain the road to the farm was still a bit treacherous. The river is full but not flowing as fast as thought it would be. I think it was a partial release upstream from the dam. …

Nice hot sunny day. Hoped to get to my farm but did not make it. 

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I had hoped to go to my farm today. It hasn’t rained for a few days and the sun has been shining so I figured the road is drier and less hazardous. They have opened a dam north of here and the river is full and flowing again. As soon as I can get out there and take some photos you will see the difference. …

A day to catch up with everything on the computer. Temple and dance recital photos. 

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Today I will include photos from our trip back from Mukdahan and from yesterday when we attended my five year old granddaughters recital at her school. The recital was in honor of Mothers Day. In Thailand The Queens Birthday is celebrated nationwide as Mothers Day. I had to do some serious system cleaning as I am running out of space with the photos and videos I am loading on my Mac. 

Wow! A great trip to Mukdahan. Fantastic weather, shopping and old friends.

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I am not sure where to start. My previous posting I talked about sitting in front of Sompis’ bakery. The next morning, after our breakfast buffet on the sixth floor of the hotel we headed to Savannaket Laos. By the way, neither my step daughter Ning or her daughter Fa Mai had ever ridden in an elevator before so this trip was full of events for them. …

I am sitting on the the fourth floor balcony of our hotel looking out over the Mekong River to Laos.

I am going to provide a complete recap of our  trip here because of time constraints and flaky hotel wifi but I can tell you it has been an incredible trip. We spent time with Nuch, the little girl from the three wheel motorbike taxi photo who is now fifty years old. She took us to where I used to live when I rented a room off of the radar site in 1969 (her parents owned the house). …

Sunny all day. Excited about going to Mukdahan tomorrow.

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Phai was up very early so she could dress up and spend a couple hours at the Temple. The Queens birthday is approaching and today was a special ceremony at the Temple.

When she got back she showed me the new Spirit House in front of the old house. The Monk told her yesterday that she should get a new one in place before the end of the day so they went right out and bought one, mixed cement for the base and put it in after dark. …

Sun, then heavy rain, then sun. 

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Today was weird weather wise. It was beautiful early today with nice bright sun. Early afternoon that gave way to torrential downpour and by 4 pm it was sunny and actually pretty warm, probably due to the high humidity. We went over to Phai’s younger son’s house (where Mobuy lives) and did some tree trimming. …

A nice lunch at Tesco Lotus in Nong Bua Lamphu.

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It felt good today to get out of the house for awhile. We visited some family in Nong Bua Lamphu and then went shopping at the big Tesco Lotus. My son A drove and was happy they had a motorcycle dealer displaying new models just outside the front door. They even had him take a test ride on one. …

Phai is back and Ning’s father in law is stuck

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Phai got home at 4 am this morning. I rolled over, got kissed and then she crashed. She said she got almost no sleep on the bus. I woke up about an hour before she did but even after two all night bus rides and all day in Bangkok she was up by 7am and going strong all day. My new granddaughter Mobuy was here for a long time today and that always energizes Phai to have her new granddaughter around. …

My Alone Day

Phai left last night at 7pm with her son and his wife to catch an all night bus to Bangkok. They arrived at 6am in Bangkok and took a taxi to the visa consulting agency. Then their appointment at the embassy was at 10:30am. Unfortunately, they again were turned down for tourist visas. She could not go in with them but they said the man who interviewed them was American with poor Thai language skills. …

A Crazy and fun day today.

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I spent most of the day outside today. Mobuy, my new granddaughter, was here and Phai hooked up a hanging “basket” for her to sleep in. They connected a long rope so I could sit down and use the rope to swing her. Also Phai’s niece’s little girl was here a lot and she is really cute and has taken a liking to me. …

Three days back in the village

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Since It took me most of Saturday, Sunday and today to catch up on the posting all the write-ups and photos from our five day trip I will use this post to recap the past three days. 

Here is the amazing part. I mentioned that on Friday as we waited for our plane that I received an email from a woman in Mukdahan who said she is the young girl in the somloe that I posted with my Mukdahan Story two years ago. …

The trip back to our village

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We had purchased tickets at the bus station two days ago to be sure we could get on the VIP bus leaving at 9:00 am. Woke up at 6:15 so we had lots of time to eat a good breakfast in the hotel, pack and make the short walk to the bus station. Our Tuk-tuk driver was in front of the bus terminal so he wished us good luck.  …

Chiang Rai - Thursday - The Black House

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The tuk-tuk driver yesterday told us about another temple called the black temple. I researched it on the internet last night and it is actually not a temple and in Thai is is called “Ban Sedum” or “Black House”. It actually is a large plot of land with forty unique buildings on it all filled with the owners art, carvings and collection of bones called same tuktuk driver. …

Chiang Rai - Wednesday - The White Temple

We woke up early and had a fantastic breakfast which is included in the price of the hotel ($38 per night including all taxes). A photo of my first plate is below. That was followed by all kinds of fresh fruit - watermelon, melon, and pineapple. We wanted to visit the “White Temple” which I have seen in so many photos on the internet. …

The Trip to Chiang Rai - Tuesday

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We woke up 6 am and had a great breakfast that is included in the price of the room. That is pretty much standard procedure here. My omelette was cooked to order and they had ham, pork, sausage, bacon, etc. to eat. They also had fresh juice, coffee and fresh fruit. All included in the $50 per night price. …

Trip to Chiangmai - Monday

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The family drove us to Udon Thani to catch our 5pm flight. It was only a one hour flight. When we made the same trip in 2008 it was a turbo prop plan that we had to walk out on the runway in the rain with umbrellas to board. This time it was a modern jet and you boarded the way you do most planes. …

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