Wow – Have I been out of touch.

Sawadee Khrap

When I went to school and studied chemistry – there were only slightly over 98 elements in the table.  Now look at it – amazing.  118

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This is a article from the Bangkok Post that caught my eye  – check it out if you have a science background – maybe you’ve kept up.

 

I sure as hell didn’t.  I don’t know any of the newer names.

 

Ciao

Jataka Tales – Wat Suan Dok

Sawadee Khrap

Sorry to have taken so long to post some pictures.  Here are some shots from Wat Suan Dok as they celebrate the reading of the Jataka Tales.  The Jataka is a collection of stories of the previous Lives of the Buddha, told by the Buddha for universal application.  10 of the favorites are read throughout the day in the temple. 

This is normally done on Loy Krathong Day (Nov 24th), but because most people are at the major celebrations in the city, Wat Suan Dok celebrates it the week before.  The balloons will be released during the week and on Loy Krathong Day.  I will get more shots as the festival continues.

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Ciao

 

HDR Photos with Photoshop

Sawadee Khrap

I am testing how to make “High Density Range” images using PhotoShop.  In this test photo of the view from Moun-Ju-Kour-Resort in Wiang Haeng.  I posted other shots from the restrauant deck where we had breakfast — It is almost the same shot as  “Return to Kuang Jaw Shan ……” post, but check out the differences.

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This is a combination range using 3 different exposures created from a single camera RAW shot by Adobe LightRoom.  The 3 images and ranges were processed through Photomatix Pro and then further tweaked in PhotoShop CS3 –    Notice the great range especially in the detail in the sky and the shadows in the rice field – remarkable  – what a range of exposure.  I also saved this image at 72 dpi and optimized for the web.

This shot would have been much more impressive if I had made 3 separate camera RAW images covering a wider exposure range than this version using a single RAW image and adjusting it’s exposure.

I am really impressed and now will try to go back and re-process some of my older shots that I have the camera RAW file to work with.   The more I get into this the better I like it – must be because I am finally starting to know how to work the program – not the program working me.  Anyway this is just a test.

Ciao

What a mess – & Lak Tang 1 Baht School

Sawadee Khrap

What a mess this Burmese thing is – I’m not going to get involved in the political problems in this part of the world – I am a guest in Thailand – and want to stay that way.  My friend DeeJohn has a great article on the present problems – check it out. 

We were visiting the refugee camp in the Tak Lang Area, but due to the present problems have shifted our efforts to helping to just the local Thai village itself.  First we help the Thais then any refugees, if possible when the present problems clear or are resolved.

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This is the poster I designed in Photoshop to use for the project – don’t you just love the boy’s photo. It will be at the Expats Club meetings and at Wat Suan Dok and Monk Chat

Here there are enough problems for the present.  I am going to give a presentation to our Chiang Mai Expats Club next week to see what help we can raise to help the 1 Baht School at Lak Tang.   This school (over 200 kids) was (or is, I should say – it’s only half completed right now, several classes have to be held on the playing field due to lack of covered space or rooms).   I’ve got a lot of pictures I want to post to show the school and the children there – I’ll do that in the next post as I get them ready.  I’ll also go into a little more detail about the effort and area.

We’ve also started packaging our Massage Oil – and have a first trial customer “Chakka Massage” .  Tree will have it available at his spa under his own label – Chakka Massage – Sensual Massage Oil.  This is to test the market and see if it is worth while to start a company to commercially produce ( at a profit) the product.   Check out the earlier posts on Chakka Massage.  We want to thank him for doing the trials for us.

Well, I have a lot of catching up to do – stay tuned.

Ciao

 

Return to Kuang Jaw Shan Refugee Camp – final

Sawadee Khrap

Continuing our trip back to the refugee camp, the next morning we woke at our small house at the Moun-Ju-Kour Resort.  Here is the view from our front porch.

CRW_6686   CRW_6691and this is a shot of the main office & restaurant.

Last night – this was our sunset — spectacular.  The next shot is Tasanai, the X mayor of Wiang Haeng city and  owner of the Resort, and Jira, our friend from Suan Dok.

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And or course the Rhinoceros Beetles, the staff had a bucket of them that they collected last night as the bugs flew around the Resorts lights – they sell them in Chiang Mai for the vendors who make bug collection displays for sale – I thought they ate them – but no, its for profit.  And I also thought I’d throw in a flower shot – they were really beautiful with the morning sun shining.

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CRW_6695  I also really liked the glasses they used at the Resort restrauant.  The sideshow has the other versions  —– I’m going to try and get a set – wish they had a gay version – that would be neat.

 

From here we headed to the Wat Fa Wiang Inn temple to see if everyone was there yet – but Dr. Saneh would not arrive till 11 AM and that would make it too late for us to continue into the National Park – so we left early.

Here are a couple of signs at the Temple – lot of Burmese.

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CRW_6944But before we left Wiang Haeng we stopped by one Wat we saw on the top of a local hill and then to the Monument for King Naesuan at the place where is is reported that he had a cock (chicken) fight while he was waiting to attack Burma.  This place had a commanding view of the entire valley – a perfect place for the King to rest.

From here we headed into the Park – stopping first at Srisangwan Waterfall.  Enjoy

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CRW_7038I always love the boys playing shots – and they really like to pose and get their pictures taken.  It was a beautiful day and I really envied them in the water – it was so clear and inviting.

We tried to take a side road to the Hot Springs area but bottomed out in the ruts in the road – next time I’ll rent a 4 wheel and then we will be able to see the “Unseen” parts of the Park.

So back to Chiang Mai  Please enjoy the

**** SLIDESHOW ****

Ciao

Golden Ball Blessing & Birthday Parties

Sawadee Khrap

Saturday was a special event day for the Golden Ball Restaurant.  New Logo and the monks came for the blessing ceremony.  Bon also bought some new furniture for the lounge area.  Tomorrow, Sunday,  will be both Bon’s and my birthday – he’s throwing a party at the restaurant and I and Tasanai will go there to celebrate mine too.  Different setup here, in Thailand the birthday person throws the party (paying for all food and drink) and guests bring presents (at least some do – he he).  I know Bon stocked up on the booze so my costs will be low – but I will chip in on some of the costs – I don’t have that many friends coming – like he does.  Anyway here are the shots –

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See you after the party — still have more shots from the Refugee Camp trip.

Ciao

The Party

Sawadee Khrap

cookie lineupNow for the children’s party.  As I mentioned in the earlier post , Tasanai and I brought several 5 gallon containers of cookies for the kids.  When I saw the line form I was really worried that we hadn’t brought enough for all – but it was perfect – everyone had theirs and some even got seconds.   Since we had gotten there early it was a perfect starting point for the day – about 10ish Michael and his volunteer troubadours arrived from Chiang Mai.  And the show began!

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Here’s a shot of Michael’s group as we finished up the cookie line.

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CRW_6135They brought a lot of donated stuff for the camp and then started to put on the entertainment.  Games, games, games.

We had    darts, football, rope skipping, dancing contest, Western dance lessons, pop-the-balloons, relay race, and finally the

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Quite a day – 200 screaming kids – excitement,   excitement ,   excitement.

The rest of these images show highlites of the day – Be sure and check out the

**** SLIDESHOW ****

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And finally the closing prayer at the temple – all the kids were there and it was amazing to see even the littlest with clasped hands and praying with the others.

What a great day – I did get a little sun burned – forgot my hat – but that faded too –

Tasanai took about 1 hour of video so over the next week I will try to make a flash movie to post and let you see and hear all the screaming kids and excitement we had that day –  I will also try to get more names and post about each as we go on – but remember my motto – “I only do one thing a day”  The rest of the day is spent planning tomorrows one project and relaxing – soooooooooooo  it might be a while.

Ciao

 

 

Return to Kuang Jaw Shan Refugee Camp

Sawadee Khrap

We just got back from a return visit to the Kuang Jaw Shan Refugee Camp.  That is the correct name (see prior post labeled Tak Lang)  Tak Lang is the small village next to the camp – so now I have it named right,

I have a lot of pictures so I thought I would first show some shots of the people we meet and then next post will be on the party, followed by the Moun-Ju-Kour Resort where we stayed and later the visit to Srisangwan Waterfall.

Musur ladies First, before we arrived at the camp we passed these lovely ladies on the road – I think they are from the Musur tribe. I’ll check on that to make sure.

The rest of these shots were taken at the camp.  We got there early so we could see the kids reactions when Michael’s group of troubadours, volunteers from

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the Chiang Mai area arrived to entertain the children.  I don’t have everyones name but this is a shot where they were talking to the Monk and the Camp leader(seated right).

Throughout the day we meet a lot of great kids and parents – some of which I thought were special enough to show here – Please check out the  *SLIDESHOW* for more.

SaiooeJornHere is shots of Saiooe and Jorn – these young men, residents of the camp, are also students at Chiang Mai University and luckily were home today.  Saiooe has written a essay about his life before and at the camp and when everything is completed he will allow me to post it here – 

birth defectbadly burned boy To the left is a boy in camp with a birth defect who escaped with his grandmother – the other boy standing with John was badly burnt while trying to escape from the Burmese army – nature and man can be very cruel – but here at the camp both boys are accepted and considered equal – there’s a lot more love and tolerance when all share the same problems . I don’t want to put any names here for their safety – there is still a shaky truce at the border – and we were just steps away.  Old Man

Old Lady And  ain’t these classic shots – the old man was I think the oldest person in the camp – we visited his house that last time I was here – see the post  – and one of Michael’s group brought a set of hearing aids and gave them to him – first time he has heard in a long time – Boy did he love to talk now – but in Burmese and we couldn’t understand anything he said. ——–

CRW_6605 It started to rain and we ducked under a roof of this lady’s house and she invited us in – low and behold in a mostly Buddhist camp here was a Christian family.  What a surprise.

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living roomYou can see Jesus’s picture in the niche in their living room – and what a gracious hosts she was. 

And last but not least here is one of the children’s toys – the rhinoceros beetles – not sure what to call them – toys or pets , but the kids loved to watch them fight –

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The little one is the female.

Well – enjoy the

*** SLIDESHOW ***

I will get names and post a future article with names and more detail – today just the photos.

Ciao

Massage & Haircut

Sawadee Khrap

I just finished getting my Monday 2hr massage & haircut.  1000 Baht.  $25 US

Tasanai is going to see if he can develop a business marketing his new massage oil formula.  Under the AsianCoOp label and for the local spa and massage parlors with their own label.  He just received a sample of a new version of Raw coconut oil from “Ms Ta’s” in Koh Samui.  Using coconut oil as a base and adding other Essential Oils, he has come up with a very good formula.  So today I tried it out.

In addition I needed a haircut  – so I called another friend “Odd” , his nickname, to come to the house and fix me up.   And that he did.

CRW_6028 ModFirst a haircut – sitting on a chair in the front room and then a 2 hr Oil body massage – using of course Tasanai’s coconut formula.  This guy is great, barber and masseur.  The haircut was right on – just the way I like it – no wheel-wells around the ears and fairly short – trimmed my beard too. And then the massage.

We put several blankets on the floor ( I have to get an air mattress) and his skilled hands went to work.  Odd is small but powerful and his pressure lasts the entire two hours – I like a strong massage so he is excellent.

If you are in Chiang Mai or planning to come and you want to contact Odd – he can be reached at 0845039561.  By appointment only  Limited English but that hasn’t been a problem – call him.

Soooooooooooo  now you have my 3 recommendations for massages –

  • Odd  (haircut & massage at your place)
  • Chakka Massage (elegant and great ambiance)
  • Classic House (Excellent massage in Night Bazaar area)

Ciao

Back to the border

Sawadee Khrap

Hey !   We’re going back to the border – Tak Lang Camp in a couple of weeks.  Bert, a friend of ours, will also go with us to photograph the camp and peoples.   At last nights Wat Saun Dok – Monk Chat –  we meet Mike Meallem who is organizing a entertainment group to go and entertain the kids at the refugee camp – we’ll get photos and really look forward to going.  They expect to have clowns, dancers, singers – designed to “put a smile on the face of 200+ kids that live at the camp”, it’s all volunteer and impromptu.

I also found another great article – in fact a wonderful magazine you will need to bookmark in your Thailand Travel Guide section –  Welcome to Chiang Mai * Chiang Rai * Pia * Mae Hong Sorn, I intend to use links to many of their articles in the future – their mag is really well done.

National-parks_pha-daeng_2  If you look at the top-left of the map, you will see Baan (village) Piang Luang — just a little farther to the border is the refugee camp – actually on the border. We will stay at a more up-scale Guest house at Wiang Haeng this trip – the one I stayed at in Piang Luang was a bit rustic –  so to say – and Bert wants to make sure there is at least Hot running water for his morning shower.

After we attend the show for the kids, on our trip back home, we will take 1322 route back through the Park and see what shots we can get for you there.  That should be exciting too. Up 1322 and then back on 1178 to Chiang Dao – I think we’ll leave the Mira at home and take a rental car this time, more comfort and better for the mountains.  I can get a Honda Jazz for 1200 Baht/day  $30 US — cheap enough.

Check out the article on the park called Part III Chiangmai’s Norther Areas – Pha Daeng National Park

Going to have to use the older Canon 10D – my newer Canon 350D just died and I had to ship it to Canon Service in Bangkok for repair – that will take over 3 weeks — damn just when the great weather is here – spectacular clouds, and mood-full lighting –  Oh well – life goes on !!!!!!!!!.

Ciao

Chakka Massage – And did you heard this one?

Sawadee Khrap

CRW_6002I’d like to introduce a friend of ours new massage parlor in Chiang Mai.  Khun Montree Jino (Tree) just opened his new facility  “Chakka Massage” at 13 Soi 1 Sotsuksas Rd.  Phone 053–214–201.  I’ve known Tree for almost 2 years and have Copy of 69had many of his expert massages.  I suffer from a herniated disc in my lower back and Tree’s massages have helped me manage the pain.

I highly recommend him and I am very glad to put an announcement here for his new massage parlor.

CRW_6012Offerings:  by appointment only

  • Aroma Oil Massage
  • Thai Traditional Massage
  • Honey Milk Massage
  • Cumcumber Clay Wrap
  • Mud Clay Wrap
  • Body Scrub
  • Facial Scrub

Pricing ranges from 450 Baht to 1200 Baht.  That’s $12 to $30 US

At the present time his staff consists only of masseurs, future plans include staffing several masseuse.   Every masseur is licensed and personally trained by Tree.  Quality at reasonable prices. Be sure and give it a try when you are in Chiang Mai.

 

 And I almost forgot that I heard a great story at the last Expats meeting.

“A guy was lying in his hospital bed and realized he wasn’t going to last much longer. So he pulled his wife closer to him and whispered in her ear. 

 “Honey, I have something to tell you.  I have been having an affair with your sister for quite some time, but want to you to know that I am very sorry for it.  Will you forgive me.”

And his wife said “Now, Now, I’ve known about it for quite some time and now I forgive you, just lay back quietly and let the poison work.”

Sooooooooooooooo   take heed watch your step.

Ciao

Chiang Rai River Park – Dancing Shrimp

IMG_5929The last hurray for this trip – Dancing Shrimp at the Chiang Rai River Park.   Tasanai had to stop by and order this dish – he says it the best he has had, fresh and very tasty.  I wouldn’t know – the idea of eating live flopping shrimp doesn’t appeal to me. 

If you look closely you can several shrimp that have jumped out of the bowl – they just put them back in or eat them as they jump out.   They are baby shrimp, transparent and without hard shells but just the thought of eating them live truns me off.

 

Here are some shots of the local area and one of the staff children.

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Ciao    Until next trip     Hope you enjoyed the photos, Please leave your comments.

Oub Kham Buddhist Museum – Chiang Rai

Just out of town is the Oub Kham Museum.  Khun Julasak Suroyachai, a teacher and art lover, realized that soon the heritage of northern Thailand would only be able to be seen abroad – so he started to collect antiques and relics affiliated with the Lanna Kingdoms, objects from  northwest Laos, Burma, China and the area around Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. First he founded the “Lanna Heritage Conservation Center” which late became the present museum.

It’s impossible to mention all the masterpieces here, the “Oub Kham”, a golden bowl used by the Royal, the golden throne of the Royal Palace of Chieng Tung for the Prince( the present Keng Tung is the easternmost Shan State of Burma), and mannequins fitted with the Tribal dress of each cultures that have migrated here.  

We were not allowed to take any picture inside the exhibits (Our guide did smile and turn away so I could snap off a few) but I hope you find the Slide show exciting enough to visit and see the splender.

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And to our sunrise they had several African items in the collection

Very nice museum, almost 1 hour to tour, and then they served tea and opened to question.

We were the only two there so we got royal treatment – try it  – I am sure you will too.

IMG_6015  The rest of the photos are on the

   Slide Show

 

enjoy

Mae Fah Luang Gardens

Sawadee KhrapIMG_5778

Leaving Mae Salong we headed back to Chiang Rai by the back roads and came to the “Mae Fah Luang Garden”  – one of several of the Royal Sponsored Doi Tung Development Projects for that area.  Here they cultivate local and International species of orchids, dahlia, and created this magnificent garden.  We stayed here for about 2 hours, taking photos, eating ice cream, and just walking through the displays.

Show the beauty of the place – I hope you enjoy the Slide show  – leave a comment and I will try to answer any questions.

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This I though was a very interesting statue –

It was very hot out this afternoon so after ice cream we headed back to Chiang Rai — we had seen a museum on the way out of town that Tasanai wanted to stop and see – They had the largest collection of Buddha statues  (very old originals) in Thailand  – so we had to stop.

Next stop  – Oub Kham Museum.

 

Ciao

Chiang Rai – Doi Mae Salong Trip

Sawadee Khrap

We began this trip early in the morning at Chiang Rai – IMG_5467On leaving our hotel we passed by a regular morning event – local monks going out with their bowls for merit donations from the residents.  I’m not sure what Wat these monks were from but we gave them a small offering as they passed by.  More pictures are in the slide show.  After breakfast we headed for Doi Mae Salong. Not too far out from Chiang Rai we came across a Hot Springs area – there seemed to be 2 capped springs there, but no pools to bath in.  Both were venting steam.

IMG_5481IMG_5527 I got a great shot (or so I think of a metal bridge across a small stream to a back field – looks like a old railway bridge) and here is a shot of the surrounding countryside.

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The above shot is the inside area of a Chinese Warrior Monument to the fallen warriors escaping from the war and persecution in China – they moved first to Burma and then were forced out to settle here and built this monument and created Mae Salong Village  – Opium poppies were the main crop until a few years ago when the Thai Gov’t began to teach them how to grow tea and stop the drug trade.  The little figure is really neat – we bought 3, each a different doll – first soaked in cold water to load them up – and then hot water poured over the head of the doll  – well you can see what happens — and quite a distance.      It was about lunch time now so we stopped at the Doi Salong Villa in town.

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Here is several shots from the Villa – more are in the slide show, including a great shot of the young lady who waited on us, and more shots of the view.  If you look very closely at the first picture you will see the temple in the background – after lunch we drove up the mountain to the temple.

Here is a image of the Temple, but I think there are much better shots in the Slide Show – check it out

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IMG_5747 And here is a photo of some of the local tribal people you can find working in the jungle and surrounding fields, collecting mushrooms, tending to the tea plantations.

When I stopped to take these pictures of the old ladies, this shot and several in the slide show, all of them only knew “10 Baht, 10 Baht, 10 Baht” of English – they love to get their photos taken, but only if they get their 10 Baht – that’s about 25 cents US.

Ciao