Monday, October 31, 2011

Golden Triangle

Today we visited the Golden Triangle, that little corner of the world where Thailand, Burma and Laos intersect. The Golden Triangle was once a major source of heroine, but those days are supposed to be behind it now.

We took a boat ride on the Mekong River which separates the three countries and stopped briefly in Laos. For 20 baht (about 66 cents) per adult, we entered Laos without having to go through immigration or customs. We visited a small market for fifteen minutes and then returned back to Thailand.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

A few photos from our trip in Chiang Rai. Due to Jacob not feeling well and my foot, I haven't ventured out much.

For some reason the photo isn't showing up correctly in the blog, if you click on where it says the image isn't available, you should be able to see it.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quiet Day

Today we pretty much took it easy all day, and spent most of the day at the hotel.  At lunch time, the family, minus Jacob, went to lunch at Sizzler in Central.  Jacob was not feeling well and was really tired so he stayed here at the hotel.

I ended up coming home shortly after lunch in order to avoid walking too much and aggravating my feet.  It was nice to to stay and relax.

My plan was to edit a bunch of photos while I was here.  To that end, I brought my tablet and the external drive with my photos.  Unfortunately, in the hurry of packing, I grabbed the wrong drive.  I can still see the photo previews in Aperture, but I don't have the photos themselves.  This means that I can do some screening of which photos that I will edit, but I'll have to wait until I get home to actually make changes and upload them.  I do have some photos on my actual laptop that I might play around with, and of course, any that I take while I'm here.

Tomorrow should be a fairly quiet day as well.  It's just nice to get away and not have to worry about the flood (although I follow the news).  A lot of people from Bangkok have gone to Pattaya and Hua Hinn to escape the water, but it's actually pretty quiet up here in Chiang Rai.    

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hong Kong Photos

Here is a link to the photos from our trip to Hong Kong this October. Nalin was adamant that we have no photos with Winnie the Pooh.
Hong Kong

In Chiang Rai

We arrived safely in Chiang Rai this afternoon. Our first stop here was to the hospital. Nalin's ear was bothering her, so we went to see a doctor. She is okay, but they gave her some drops. Part of the problem was that she had sand in her ear; probably from our trip last month. We are staying at the Meridien; a very nice resort that is part of the Starwood properties. Our original plan was to stay here for four days, but we are thinking of pushing it out until November 2nd due to the flood. I plan on spending most of my time at the hotel for the first few days to give my feet a rest. They feel a lot better, but I want to be able to run again sometime in the near future. I brought my tablet and the external hard disk with my photos on it so that I will have plenty to do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Plans Change

I decided to go to Chiang Rai afterall, given the apparent increase in the risk of flooding. We are probably going to extend our stay beyond our original plan of 3 days.

Nalin's Birthday Party

I know that I missed quite a few things, having not blogged much over the past few months. One thing that I did not blog about was Nalin's birthday sleepover. We ended up having the party in late September, as things seemed to be going on the weekend of her actual birthday. While I cannot claim to be an expert on ten year old girls, I will pat myself on the back for this one. For the evening's entertainment, I did a photo shoot with the girls as the models. They all really seemed to love posing with each other for the camera. Later that evening, I printed out a few dozen of the photos for the girls to take home. We gave them each two picture frames, and the girls sat around together, looking at the photos and selecting which one they wanted to frame. The photos can be seen by clicking on the Family Photos menu item or clicking here. It was really nice to get photos of Nalin with her friends, because she often doesn't want to pose when they are around. I want to get photos with her friends because at some point some of them will move away, and I think Nalin will appreciate them then.

No School Until Nov. 7th

The government ordered all schools in flood impacted provinces to remain closed until November 7th. This means that ISB will be closed an additional week. We would plan another trip, but between my foot problems, the trip to Chiang Rai,a and TIm's trip to the U.S. in early November, we are probably just going to make do here. Of course, if things get difficult here, then that could change.

Back In Bangkok

Nalin and I arrived back in Bangkok this evening; an unfortunate sour note to an otherwise very fun trip was the fact that her ear really bothered her after the plane ride. Tomorrow the family is going to Chiang Rai for a few days. My plan was to go, but my feet have been bothering me for a while. I think it started about a month ago when I was running. My shoes were probably worn down, but I did not change them until after my feet started hurting. During our first day at Disney, my feet hurt so much just standing around. I decided to give them a few days rest here while the family vacations up North.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hong Kong

With the flood waters threatening, we decided to more to dryer ground; grounds actually. Tim and Aleena are actually in China on a trip with her brother Top, while Jacob is in Krabi on a Boy Scout field Trip. Nalin and I made last minute plans to visit Hong Kong, and we took Yaow with us. The reason that we are scattered about is that originally my best friend Dave and his wife Robin were going to visit us. They were going to arrive on the 24th of October. That is one of the reasons that Nalin and I didn't go on the trip with Tim to China; we wanted to be here when they arrived. Nalin and I were going to stay home, and on Wednesday the entire family was going to to to Chaing Rai for a few days. As it looked like the flooding was going to hit Nichada, I decided to take Nalin somewhere. I tried to get flights to Chaing Rai and Chaing Mai, but they were booked through Sunday (today). I was worried that if I waited too long, I might get flooded in and not be able to go, so I booked the trip to Hong Kong. We arrived Friday evening in time to check into our note and go to bed. We spent all day Saturday at Disneyland, and Nalin had an absolute blast. It was really nice to be on a trip with just her. Normally she has to compromise with her brother and sister on what to ride and what to do; this time was all her choice. On Sunday, we visited the HK Botanical Gardens, Stanley Market, and the night market at Temple Street. We also saw the gatherings of Filipino maids all over the city. It's their off day, and tens of thousands of them gather together in the city; play cards, have picnics, and chat with their friends. Tomorrow we are back to Disney for a second go round. I gave Yaow the day off so that she can do a little exploring herself. Nalin and I should do just fine by ourselves at Disney. We head back Tuesday afternoon, so we might do something in the morning before we go. We might go up to the China Bank building.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


One of the many photographic challenges that I have right now is that my photos are in a lot of different places. I take some photos for the kids school, and depending on the event, I upload them to one of three different places; two Flickr accounts and one Picasaweb. I also have my own Flickr and Picasaweb accounts, as well as Facebook. This meant that there was no one place where someone could see all my photos. Well, there still won't be a place to see all of my photos, but when I was playing around with my blog a few days ago, I saw the ability to create additional pages. I am going to use these pages to setup links to many of my photos. That way I can direct people to one place to check. It does require a little more work on my part. I have to write some basic HTML and spend time identifyin In order to see the photos, just click on one of the links near the top of the page, such as ISB Photos or Family Photos. I'll add some more pages and continue to fill out the existing pages over the next couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Break

The kids are on fall break next week. Assuming the flood waters don't disrupt things, we have a bit of travel planned. Tim and Aleena are going to China for a few days, while Jacob will go on a Boy Scout Campout. When they return, we all will go to Chiang Rai with some friends.

No Flood So Far

We've been really lucky so far that the flooding that has affected so much of Thailand has not struck us. We are only a few kilometers from the Chao Phraya river; the main river in Thailand, so we were concerned that the water traveling from the North would hit us. While it's a bit too early to say that the threat has passed, I am feeling more confident about it as the days pass.

 Last week I started taking some precautions in the form of buying additional water and food that we didn't need to cook or refrigerate and stored it on our second floor. We have enough canned and dry food to last us for many days. In addition, I also brought up all the electronics and other items from our first floor, and made some crude attempts at making a barrier against the water using plastic, wonder board, and bags of rocks. My reasoning was that if we prepared and the water doesn't come, then we just lost a little time. We'll eventually eat the food and drink the water, so it's not like that money is wasted.

 One of our friends who lives in another part of the city actually was hit with the flood waters this morning when a dike broke near her house. Apparently she had to wade through some pretty deep water to get out. I think she is going to stay with another family here in Nichada.

 Tim has been really great in helping out the flood victims. She and I visited the old airport where they are collecting donations for the flood victims. After we dropped off some modest supplies, we went inside and she talked to one of the workers to find out what they needed the most. While she was talking to her, a reporter came up and started to interview Tim. I slowly backed away to get out of the shot. The reported asked who I was, and Tim told her. The reported said "I guess he doesn't want to be on camera." She was correct in her assessment.

 One of the supplies that they really needed was medicine. Tim called the government run hospital and bought a very large supply of some medicines. It was really a great idea to call them, because the government hospital must be subsidized, and it sells the medicines at a fraction of the price that you could buy it in a pharmacy here. That meant that we were able to buy a lot more medicine. I was going to go with Tim to make the donation, but a bunch of Nichada moms went with her. I think they all were donating something. I also decided to stay so that I could try to get the house ready in case the water reached us.

 Tim returned to the airport a third time, this time with Jacob. They helped to bag supplies. It was really a great experience for both of them. I think Jacob really felt like he was helping the flood victims. While they were bagging supplies, the Prime Minister shows up to see how things are going and pose for photos. She ends up standing less than ten feet from Jacob and Tim, with only a pile of medicine in between them. The reporters were all gathered around Tim and Jacob trying to take photos of the Prime Minister helping a girl pack some bags. The photographers were getting pushy and bumping into Jacob and Tim, and almost stepping on the supplies. Tim turned to them, and in a very loud voice told them that they were going to step on the medicine that people needed. Apparently the Prime Minister heard her, because right after Tim said it she got up and moved on.

Hopefully the water which has stabilized will start to recede soon.  There have already been 300 deaths, and they are estimating the damage at over 3 billion U.S. dollars.  There were some industrial areas in Ayuthaya that were pretty hard hit.  It's things like this that makes some of Thailand's self inflicted wounds look so pointless.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Over a Month

I realized that I have not posted an entry in my blog in over a month. I want to find a better way to integrate Facebook and/or Twitter with the blog so that I don't have to make multiple updates. In any case, one way or another, I'll be updating this blog much more frequently.