Another Earthquake

Sawadee Khrap

It’s 5:50 AM on Tuesday morning Chiang Mai time and we just had another earthquake.  Amazing I have felt more earthquakes here than I ever did in San Francisco.  This one was not severe, just a rocking  – I am setting in a chair with wheels at the computer and it started to move or rock and the pull string on the ceiling fan was moving too – so I know I was not daydreaming.  I will check the weather map to see where it was located.

UPDATE- 5.7 Myanmar (Burma) report — the posted time is not correct as I wanted to get it online for the States so I posted it early – it’s 6 AM Tuesday here in Thailand right now – sorry

Getting ready to go back again to Wat Montien, I have copies of the images to took of the Temple and Van – I thought I’d give him copies of the shots so he could send them home if he liked.

Last night I went to my first “Monk Chat”.  This is a program at Mahahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, Chiang Mai Campus which is located next to Wat Suan Dok, where novice Monks studying English get a chance to meet and practice speaking and the lay people (farangs mostly) get a chance to hear about Buddhist life.   It’s a neat one-on-one chance to get questions answered by studying monks. 

 I met a Senior Monk – Phara Saneh Dhammavaro – who is the Director of Academic Affairs at the facility.  We spoke for a while (we didn’t have a lot of time because it is the beginning of Buddhist Lent and all the monks had to be in prayer service before sundown and it was about 6:30 then)  He presented me with a autographed copy of his book “BUDDHISM – Ethics and the Path to Peace”.

I have volunteered to help with a project he has attending to the needs of the poor, alien tribal people in and about the Fang, Mai Ai area — the same area we were at last week where I photographed the boys swimming in the road side pool and the mountain villages.  I will go with him next Sunday to see what his full project is and if I can help in any way using my photography.  I mentioned that the HillSide4 Condo  has a yearly benefit dinner party to raise moneys for local causes and that with a good presentation his project could be eligible for funding next year.  See the posts on “School for Life”

Wednesday I will go to Wat Suan Dok again and will post more shots.



Asalabucha Day – Buddha’s first sermon

Sawadee Khrap

Tomorrow (Sunday) is Asalabucha Day, when Thai’s celebrate the day that the Buddha gave his first sermon to his disciples.  WatMontienI went down this morning to see Van-WatMontien5





what activity was at the Wat Montien Temple– just 3 blocks away from our Condo – today the monks clean it and the candle and merit ceremony will be on Sunday, then on Monday and Tuesday is the start of the Buddhist Lent and the monks retire to the Temples for the rainy season.  They used to fully confine themselves to the temple area because. as custom has it, they did not want to kill by stepping on any animal as they walked in the WatMontien2rainy season – puddles could hide animals and they would step onVan-WatMontien4 them without knowing.   The monks are also preparing circular amulets of the Buddha to sell to the people tomorrow as fund raising for the Temple.  As you can see they have a large variety of colors available, and this only shows about a quarter of the ones laid out to dry in the Temple.

Van-WatMontien3I was very fortunate to meet a Novice Monk (Van) Van-WatMontienwho showed me around the Temple grounds and told me the story of the celebration. He is from Lao, living at this temple while studying here in Chiang Mai at Wat Suan Dok – a very beautiful Temple nearby and the nearest Monk Novice School.Van-WatMontien2   Van is studying English Language as well as the standard Buddhist classes.  It was a lot of fun talking to him and what a beautiful young man.  He says it will take him about 9 years to graduate from Novice class to a full Monk.  After he graduates from school he plans on returning to Lao and his Temple.

He also offered to give me a personal tour of Wat Suan Dok on Wednesday and that I would never refuse – so I will should have some great shots to show you then.



Mike’s Burgers – 1st Bangkok Branch

Hey, remember back when I posted about my trip to Mae Ngad Dam with Brian and Kot.  Well Brian just opened his new Mike’s Burgers in the Silom Road area of Bangkok. Just up the street from the famous “Patpong” streets and the ever so erotic “Boys Street”.     Another friend, Jerry, was there for the Grand Opening and sent me these pictures.


He has 3 other franchised locations here in Chiang Mai and this is the first to go in at Bangkok.  The big “enchilada” – he is planning on franchising several others in the greater Bangkok area over the next few years.


That’s “Pong” behind the counter – Mike’s partner.   The next time your are in BKK and taking in the sites at the famous red light district “Patpong”   Make sure you stop by for a old fashion hamburger and fries – he’s even got beer to wash it down with.









Good Luck Brian ——  Reminds me of SF – Look out McDonald’s

Golden Ball Restaurant – Chiang Mai

Sawadee Khrap

Bon, a friend of ours is opening a new restaurant in Chiang Mai.   Tasanai just designed his new business cards and when you are in Chiang Mai be sure and stop by.  Many cute boys as waiters and excellent food – both Thai and Farang.  GoldBall-Front copy





GoldBall-Back copyGrand Opening scheduled for August 1st

Here is the map for the local boys –

See you there !!!!


Their web-site should be up and running soon – They tell me they will have pictures of the staff – be sure and check it out too.


Day Two – Fang trip

Sawadee Khrap

Continued :

We had a very good breakfast (included in the room cost) and then headed out to the Thaton temple area again.  Nestled on the slopes of the densely forested mountain range that separates the northernmost part of Chiang Mai province and neighbouring Burma, lies the Thai Yai or SHAN village of THATON.  100 years ago, the Mae Kok river used to be the border between Thailand & Burma and cut the city in half – Now the border is 2 km North and both sides of the river are Thailand. This is the view from the great Buddha statue, one of the 3 massive sculptures looking down on this valley.

This is a fairly large file so have patience to see the full size version – but such a incredible vista.


Here are shots of the 3 sculptures:  IMG_4189-Fang-07-10-07-











If you look closely at the photo above you can see two(black spots),  massive wild bee hives in the Nagas or the Serpents – here is a close-up – these were over 6 ft. long and about  1 ft thick.


All 3 sculptures are situated on the side of mountain looking down on the valley – and they are very impressive to see as you drive by on the main highway through town.

Next we headed to the Hot Springs at Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park.When we got there we could not see any activity from the geysers. FangHotSpring2 As you can see from the picture only a couple of small jets were alive and all of the creeks were empty. 


Again this is a large file – please be patient if you want to see it full size.

We were told by the snack vendor that the geysers and springs were only active for about 40 min/day and as our luck would have it  – this wasn’t the right 40 min.  We got some water and snacks but decided not to wait around for the next activity – maybe next time – so in the car and headed back home.

Our next stop was at Tab Tao cave in Chai Pra Kan – now that’s a mouthful.








This is the entrance to the cave – too dark to get any good shots – we will have to bring several flashes to get any inside shots – maybe next time.   These caves form a network – connecting together throughout the Chiang Dao Mountain Area.     From here we headed back to Chiang Mai.



Setting up the Expat’s Photo Group

Sawadee Khrap

Several guys from the Expat Club of Chiang Mai are revising the Photographic Group and I am helping out.  We are planning on having evening meetings about twice a month, with time for critiquing photos, tutorials (film & digital, lighting, processing, editing, and framing) , and live product presentation by local businesses.  So far plans are to have the first full meeting about  mid September at Tusker’s Bar & Grill.   I plan on helping out where I can  – great group of guys and some professionals as well.  Great learning experience.Best party in Chiang Mai




We really like Tusker’s —– so if you are in town make sure you don’t pass it by.  Next month they are having a BBQ party, sponsored by ThaiVisa and Tasanai and I plan on attending – August 18th.  This should draw people from all over Thailand. I’ll try and get pictures of the festivities.




Day one – Fang Trip

Sawadee Khrap

We left Chiang Mai later than expected as we had to first get a new battery – ours just died.   So with half the day left gone, we left and headed for Fang – arriving there about 2 PM.  We did stop for lunch along the way but didn’t get any shots.      IMG_4183-Fang-07-10-07-We booked into the Tangerine Villa – the largest and newest of Fang’s Hotels.  cost 1000 Baht/night  $28 US  — high because of the low US dollar and high Baht –  nice place, comfortable, but not quite up to most of Chiang Mai’s four star class.

Next, we headed out to see the Old City’s (before the Lanna Kingdom) King’s & Queen Monument. temple and grounds.




















and then on to Mai Ai and Thaton.  Along the way we side-tracked to Tak Mok to see the waterfall there – Boy!,  was that a steep climb in the hills.  The little Mira just made it  – didn’t overheat but we did have to stop and add more water at the top – seemed like a real deserted road leading straight to Burma.  We kept going wondering where the waterfall was (no signs posted) and near the top we came to a tribal village.IMG_4098-Fang-07-10-07   This was the Lahu ( Musur) tribe. 

These people originated in southwest China and migrated first to Burma before being forced by the Burmese Army into Thailand.  We hesitated on getting shots of the village as they were a little surprised that we were there – maybe they didn’t believe that our little car could have made it.  On the next trip I want to spend a lot more time there and get some shots of village life – we will need to have some coins to give them to get some pictures.

Still we didn’t see the waterfall so we headed back down and several curves below the village we saw some boys playing in a rode-side pool.  I didn’t see them on the way up so this was really a sunrise.  They were real friendly and loved posing for the camera and seeing their pictures.







IMG_4137-Fang-07-10-07Really wanted to join them – it was about 92F now and little breeze.  But as you can see several of the boys were skinny-dipping and we didn’t want to cause any problems.  So we just got some shots and headed back down to the valley floor.

On to Mae Ai and Thaton, it was getting late and the sky was getting very cloudy.


In Thaton we stopped at lower entrance of Thaton Temple and went only to the base of the first pagoda (Chedi) – had to start back as the clouds were really starting to build and it wouldn’t be long before a real downpour started.  We planned on going back tomorrow and see the whole complex.

And I mean down-pour, as we headed out of town it started to rain in earnest and I mean rain – rivers of water on both sides of the highway – could barely see at times it was coming down so hard, but about half way back to Fang – it stopped.

After dinner we wanted to see what Fang held for night-life.  A friend suggested that we stop at Chaba, a local bar and his favourite hang-out.  Here we met Dang the owner – he was from Fang went to Chiang Mai and moved back to start this place.  Very nice, lot of people there. A great place to start the evening.ChaBa-Dang-Fang-7-11--07

We had a couple of drinks and chatted with Dang for a while and he suggested we also stop by the club on the corner of the same block called  69Club.  It was the favourite spot for the gay community in Fang – and they were there.  What a great crowd – friendly – with good music and atmosphere – not to mention the beautiful boys there.69Bar-Fang-7-11--07

Here’s their card for reference.  These are two spots we don’t want to miss on our next visit to Fang. 

The other “HOT” spot in town is the Orange Disco Club – packed, loud, everything I don’t like so we let it slide  – maybe Tasanai will venture there the next time and let us know what it is like.IMG_4186-Fang-07-10-07-   

It’s late – so we headed back to the Hotel.


The rest tomorrow.




Trip to Fang

Sawadee Khrap

We just got back from our trip to explore some of the Fang District area.  Located North of Chiang Mai on the way to Chiang Rai passing Chiang Dao, Chai Pra Kan, Fang, Mai Ai, and up to Thaton village.  We didn’t get all the way to Chiang Rai.  I am now processing almost 400 pics we got on the way and will post them next few posts to cover each area.

Some basic observations I have found : 

  • Lipton tea must have a monopoly on tea in Thailand – Few have other brands and almost non have herbal teas  – all have Lipton ???? 


  • All windows, doors are mounted in backwards in Thailand – must be a country code ????  every Inn, Hotel, Condo, etc is built this way – strange – is that a result of G I’s being here. 


  • At the Hotel we stayed at there were only 8 channels of TV and 5 of them were “Christian – Sow the Seed” revival programs from the US deep South. – You can’t outrun the Christians – not when they need money. 

Well in the next few posts I will have pictures – Temples, magnificent vista views, hot springs, massive bee hives, local tribal boys swimming, and other points of interest – stayed tuned. 

They got “my” picture

Sawadee Khrap

Last Thursday Tasanai and I went to a friends birthday party – and low-n-behold it is now appearing in Chiang Mai Mail.   Tasanai was sitting right next to us but didn’t get in the shot.  Here is the photo.  About the center of the page , I am with David (owner of the Club9) – Kevin (birthday boy) and David (another friend).  We had a great time at the party and the Club itself.  I didn’t take my camera so I don’t have any more to show – sorry

I was going to put a post about the bar as soon as I received some photos they have to show it off.  But they haven’t sent them yet, and this article beat them to it.  

As soon as I get the photos from the Club, I’ll post an article about it.  Latest gay bar to open in Chiang Mai – unique and  setup to cater to more relaxed, refined gatherings – If your looking for fast, noisy, lots of ‘shall we say’   – available boys – I’ll also post where they can be found too.


Happy 4th

Sawadee Khrap

Trusting you had a safe and happy 4th.   Tasanai and I went down to the US Consultant Office in Chiang Mai this afternoon to go to the 4th Celebration there.  Apparently I did not register Tasanai (non-US) soon enough so we were, or I should day Tasanai was, refused entry at the door.  Now ain’t that some shit.  So we both left.

Sorry I don’t have any shots of the fireworks but I was somewhat pissed and didn’t feel like celebrating.  Actually fuck-um.  The gal in charge of the Consultant has made the party shorter this year than before – down to 4 hours, 4PM to 8PM and at 8 the fireworks – as I write now – much smaller. I’d say no more than a 2 min show – WoW, Is that the best the Americans can show to celebrate their Country’s Birthday. She has really cut back on the doings – so much so that several of the US restaurant owners who brought their food to sell last year said the hell with it – too short to make it worth while.  It appears to this observer that she is trying to discourage the event – maybe too much of a possibility for criticism while she is in charge.  Only she knows – seems strange to me that the Embassy doesn’t really have a real blow-out for us.

Anyway – hope you had a good one, I do miss the firework displays – last one I went to was in San Jose, and it was great.  Love to see some pictures that you have taken – email them to me and I will put them in the Blog.



This flag image was a animated GIf – but apparently it doesn’t work here. – same as the celebration. Figures !!!