Getting ready for New Year

Sawadee Khrap

Haven’t done much – No photos – just getting ready for New Year.  How about you ?  I’ve been house cleaning – that means looking at all the clippings and articles I saved during the year and seeing which ones need to be kept. – NOT MANY – most can be found on the Internet and I can just put a link to them – so why have a pile of paper here in the apt. 


Here’s one I got when I first came to Thailand and I thought it was great:  I have still not gotten the technique of using the squat toilets here in Thailand – actually I refuse to use them, so I have to plan ahead when going on a trip.  But this notice left in every room of the YMCA Hotel in Chiang Mai  really made me laugh – and I am told that several time many of my friends have see Thai’s try to use the throne this way .


BlowUpDollsAnd Here is a article I just saw in the “Pattaya News”.  I am always amazed to see what others will use to try and get their point across – this one takes the cake – I can’t imagine how someone would relate a blow up doll to talking about KFC chicken and especially taking it on a tour of the red-light district.

Sounds to me that they just wanted to have a excuse to go to the “Red-Light” district – fuck the dolls or KFC.


Anyway – as you can see I have nothing to post so I just put up some goofy stuff.  But as for New Year:

  •  Jan 1st – our New Year 2008

Buddhist New Year 2551 

  • Wikipedia
  • Another Post
  •     In Theravadin countries, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao, the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April.

Thailand Tourism states the following:

1 January 2008
(Tuesday) New Year’s Day
The beginning of the western new year is a national holiday in Thaland, one of three “new year” holidays celebrated every year.
National Holiday

8 February 2008
(Friday) Chinese New Year
The beginning of the Chinese lunar year is celebrated in the Chinatowns of every city throughout Thailand. Some businesses close for the day, but it is not a national holiday.

13 April 2008
(Sunday) Songkran
Songkran is the traditional Thai new year, generally celebrated as a water festival.
National Holiday

Soooooo we get to celebrate New Year several times  —–  next week will be mostly vacation, celebrations and hang-overs.  I’ll try to get some shots of the fireworks if I can.

Sawadee Pee Mai     Happy New Year

Lamphun – Tha Ku – Pea’s home

Sawadee Khrap

It’s been a busy weekend, 22nd to Chom Thong and here on Dec 23rd to Pea’s house in Tha Ku Village, Lamphum Province so he could vote.  We stopped at the “Gassan” , The biggest golf course in Northern Thailand for breakfast on our way to Pea’s house. Just a couple of shots.







Their web site has some great shots – sorry I don’t like golfing. The side road from the Chiang Mai – Lampang Super Highway to Pea’s village, Tha Ku, is being widened to 4 lanes and will be great when it’s done.

I got to meet Pea’s mother, stepfather, brother and several relatives. 


The voting was being held in the local temple, so we went there first.  At Pea’s house I was offered some “tasty” crickets – but passed them by, opting for a ice-cream instead.  Next we went to where his stepfather was working, cutting down branches that had ant nests on them – these ants farm a small insect similar to an aphid that makes clusters on the tree branches.  These are collected (along with the eggs of the ants too – I’m told they are very good) and used to produce a form of lacquer and cement or glue.

Later we drove to Doi Khuntan National Park and the train station & tunnel for the Lamphun-Lampang railroad. I was very lucky to have a couple of trains at the station, so I got some good shots.  Everything is in the SLIDESHOW   enjoy!


Ob Luang, Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Wora Wihan

Sawadee Khrap

On Saturday, Dec 22, I went to visit a friend of mine, Phum, and his family in Chom Thong.  Chom Thong is southwest of Chiang Mai on the lower road to Mae Hong Song.

Phum has a fish-raising enterprise on the Ping River next to his home.  The production cycle is 3 mo from fingerlings to sale – the fish are fed every hour as they grow – so this is a day and night job.  Very intensive. Two years ago when the Ping River flooded, Phum lost his entire setup, fish, baskets and all – what you see now is only half of what it used to be, it was twice as wide.  Oh ya – it extends the same amount to the left of the picture – but my panographic didn’t work. 

(This is a very large image so be prepared for some time to download)








Here I met his Mother, Father and Nephews.  This SlideShow shows the family, and a side trip we took to Ob Luang National Park and the amazing Ob Luang Canyon. 

IMG_7350 IMG_7372Here’s a great shot of Plum and the canyon. 

 I felt like I was back in California.  Here I am on the other side of the world and I felt like I was back home.  They have a camping area and a trail that we took and crossed the walking bridge over the canyon you see in the first image, past a prehistoric burial site and cave drawings.  What a hike – and it was unusually hot  – I sure got my workout.

From here we went to see the Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Wora Wihan Temple in Hot (that’s the name of the city or village).

IMG_7426IMG_7412 Impressive, I’ve made another SlideShow for this part of the trip.  The sign tells the story, but I wish we would have had time to capture more images  – what I got was just quick snaps and next time I will try to get more staged shots and panographics of the inside – really nice. 

On the way back to Chiang Mai we stopped at another Wat (I don’t have the name at this time – it was only in Thai and I forgot to have Phum translate it for me – sorry) with a great view of Chom Thong Valley. 




Just a quick post – hope you enjoyed.  Comment me if you have any questions or would like to see more of this area.

Merry Christmas


Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006

Sawadee Khrap

Last Sunday  Brian & Pong and I went to see if there would be any good sunset shots from the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 Expo grounds.  Too hazy and no sunset.

IMG_0583When we first arrived we went up to Wat Phar That Doi Kam and took some shots looking down on the Expo site.  It’s am impressive Buddha statue overlooking the entire site.  If you look closely at the pictures in the SlideShow you can see the Temple area on the top of the hill behind the Expo site.



IMG_0605This is a shot from within the main are looking back toward the large entrance plaza with the ticketing areas.  Right now admission is free but the Expo is considerably smaller.  They are not keeping open the exhibits from all the participating countries when the actual Expo was officially open.  And only flowers indigenous to Chiang Mai are in bloom now.  Here’s a few to show what I mean – we didn’t have time to go through the orchid display, but I did catch some great shots.




Please enjoy the SlideShow



Green Day – Chiang Mai

Sawadee Khrap

Dec 3, 07 was Green Day in Chiang Mai and they celebrated with all the Chiang Mai schools sending representatives to a Rally at 3 Kings Monument.  Wat Suan Dok, with teacher Khun Joanne, had a group of monks participate.  That’s Joanne with the green sign on the right.  Among them were some of the monks I am helping learn HTML and web programming. 







I have created a


of the event.  Bands from each of the school came from all 4 sides of the Old Wall Gates to meet at the 3 Kings Monument. Hope you enjoy the pictures.  I am in the process of getting all the shots from the last 3–4 week ready to put on the Blog – sooooooo there will be more from different venues for posting shortly. 


Big Brother

Sawadee Khrap

Well, it final. I’m a “Big Brother”, not by that name but as they say here, same-same. I am helping a young man here in Chiang Mai to go to school. I won’t mention his name for his privacy, but he and his family are unable to send him to school for the final classes to graduate and I have volunteered to sponsor him.

He lives with his Aunt and Uncle and he comes from the Southern part of Thailand. It’s a familiar sad story, he is a young Kathoey and from a poor family where going to work is more important for the family survival than his schooling – so he had to drop out and work at his father’s trade – fishing. But being Kathoey – commonly called a LadyBoy – he is not up to doing that muscular work. So he was sent to live with his Aunt & Uncle.

I was introduced to him by a friend of mine and got to listen to his story and dreams. Thailand on the surface is very tolerant toward gays and the LadyBoys but deeper down at the village level there is not that level of acceptance – especially if the boy is the oldest child and expected to help support the family as soon as he is able. In this case being different caused problems.

I came to Thailand wanting to help someone have some of the opportunities I had enjoyed. I had hoped my relationship with Tas would give me that opportunity – apparently not. So I started searching for another I could assist. Schooling was paramount in my life – I know I didn’t really try as hard as I should have and that did make it difficult to land those good jobs or positions – but I had some Great Mentors during my career. Thanks to them I was able to fulfill my dreams. Now I have a chance to help another fulfill theirs. Also I am very aware of what discrimination can do when one is considered different.

The last years I was in San Francisco I had several LadyBoy friends and on many occasions we talked about how hard their life had been – all were Thai and all experienced the loneliness of being different. It’s hard enough to build self respect when you are considered different from the others and even more pronounced when because of lack of education the only minor jobs are available or denied entirely. That leads many, and I see many, in the local sex trade. Hopefully I can have a part – even if it’s only for one child – that I can help see that some of the obstacles are removed from his path so that he can reach a full satisfying way of life. Education is the first step, and here I can help.

From time to time I will post on his progress. I do wish him the best, but I know he’ll make it.