Sunday, November 27, 2011

On Saturday the Girl Scouts helped the ISB flood relief effort.  The girls arrived in the morning and helped to back the relief bags with food and supplies.  Tim, Aleena and Nalin joined some of the girls who went out and helped distribute the supplies to those in need.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Multi Flash Exposure

I can find most camera gear that I need here in Thailand In fact, as far as retail stores go, Fotofile in basement floor of the nearby Chaengwattana Central is much better than any camera store in Cincinnati. Of course, in Cincinnati, I order my gear online.

 One thing that I couldn't get here, was a long (30 feet) flash sync cable. The cable allows complete control of the flash when it is not in the camera's hotshoe. Since I couldn't find the cable here, I ordered online and had it delivered to the house in the U.S. Tim brought it back with her.

Last night I put the cable to use and played around with the multi flash functionality of my Canon Speedlites (flashes).  The photo below is one single exposure of five seconds where my flashes fired once per second for a total of five times.


Girl Scouts in Thailand

The Girl Scouts of America are back in Thailand after an absence.  After the Girl Guides folded a few years back, there was no real equivalent to the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for girls here at ISB and Bangkok.  Thanks to the hard work of some ISB parents, the Girl Scouts restarted their council here.

Both Nalin and Aleena have joined, and Tim is Nalin's troop leader.  I have the secondary role of acting as the group's unofficial photographer.

Last Friday, the girls had their Investiture Ceremony to officially restart the council. I took photos throughout the event, and at the end took some photos of each troop. Aleena's and Nalin's troop photos are below. Not everyone from Nalin's troop is in the photograph, as some had to leave early, and others did not attend the ceremony.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not the Time

The government is currently working on a plan that could result in amnesty for former Prime Minister Thaksin.  While the details have been described by the Deputy Prime Minister as still "secret", there have been reports that the amnesty would include anyone with a jail sentence under three years.  The former Prime Minister left the country before he was sentenced to two years, and would seem to qualify.  As I understand it, the amnesty bill would be presented to the King for his signature.  It is not uncommon for the King to issue pardons on his birthday, December 5th.

Personally, I don't have really strong feelings either way about whether the former PM should be pardoned.  I certainly do not agree with the military coup that overthrew him, and I think it is certainly possible that his conviction was politically motivated.  I do feel pretty strongly that this is absolutely the wrong time to deal with this issue.  This is an extremely decisive issue amongst Thais, and to bring it up while we are in the midst of Thailand's greatest flood in fifty years is irresponsible.  Shouldn't the government's time and efforts be spent on helping the hundreds of thousands of Thais, many of them very poor, who have lost so much to the flood waters instead of securing the return of a billionaire.  

I understand that if he misses this window, perhaps he would have to wait another year for the King's amnesty.  So many Thai people have made so many scarifies during this flood, is it too much to ask for billionaire residing in opulent exile to wait a little longer?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

1st Day of Soccer

Today the kids had their first games of the soccer season.  One thing that is really nice here, is that the games are all played at the school.  This was particularly good today, as all three kids had an 8:00 a.m. game.  With Tim in the U.S., it would have been a lot more difficult to get everyone to the game if we had to go to three different parks.

In addition to all playing at the same time, they all lost today.  Nalin and Aleena's games were relatively close, but Jacob's was a blowout.  I think that the score was 11-1, but it could have been an even bigger margin.  The other team was playing full throttle the entire game and Jacob's team couldn't do a lot to stop them.  It was a pretty big mismatch; whether that was because Jacob's team was missing some players or when they assigned teams they didn't assign them more evenly, I'm not sure.  

Towards the end of the game, Jacob's coach talked to the other coach to ask that maybe they take it a little easy not to keep running up the score.   The other coach apparently told him that it was part of the game and there was nothing wrong with it.  Hopefully the rest of the season turns out a little better.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still Dry

While the water has flooded some new parts of Bangkok, we continue to be lucky in Nichada to have avoided any direct damage from the flood.  We've moved a lot of the stuff from the second floor down from the first floor, and also started removing some of flood prevention measures that we placed on the doors of our house.  There is still a chance that we could be impacted, but each passing day makes it less likely; at least I think so.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Back to School!

Much to the joy of many a parent of ISB students, the school announced on Saturday that it would reopen on November 8th instead of the 14th.  When I received the message, Aleena was in the room with me.  I started dancing around the room saying "yes, yes".  Aleena asked me why I was so happy because of a bad thing.  Actually, I think they are all ready to go back to school and see their friends.  I know that I am.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

See the Water, Photograph the Water

After a wonderful morning of e-learning (okay, it wasn't that bad), I set out on my bike to take a look at some of the flooding that is nearby the house.  The major road near us is Changwattana Road, and I knew that part of it was flooded a few kilometers from the house.

I rode my bike to Central Changwattana (a mall) and made my way against traffic on Changwattana.  Right after I got to Central I realized that I should have take the back gate from Nichada, as it was probably a kilometer or two closer to my destination, and would have allowed me to avoid riding my bike on the road or the rather uneven sidewalk.

The Klong Prapa (klong is Thai for canal) crosses under Changwattana road and is the source for the water processing plants that supply tap water to Bangkok.  The canal is protected from the flood water coming from the other side of Changwattana by a flood wall or dike.  Changwattana and the surrounding area on the opposite side of the canal are flooded, while the other side (my side) is not.  We've had some incidents in the past week where angry residents on the flooded side have destroyed parts of the dike in hope of getting some relief from the flood.  Fortunately they have been convinced to stop, as not only did it do little to relieve them, but it also contaminated the tap water source and caused some additional flooding.

As I approached the canal, I saw vendors of all sorts on the sidewalk and in the right hand lane (by the curb here).  There were vendors selling boats, water boots, water, eggs and all manner of supplies.  There were also army trucks with a very high clearance parked along the way.

I parked my bike on the dry side of the canal, and walked about twenty meters to where the road was flooded.  There were surprisingly a fairly large number of people there, including taxi cabs, motorcycle taxis, and something that I don't see every day, boat taxis.  You could hire a boat to take you into  and out of the flooded area.  The grocery store a few hundred meters down the road was open, although the road in front of it was flooded.  They had built a makeshift sidewalk out of crates and sandbags that let you walk to the grocery store.  Once on the sidewalk, you could walk (as I did) to the grocery store without getting wet.  The only problem was that to get on the sidewalk, I had to take one or two steps in the water.

If you didn't want to walk to the grocery store, you could hire a boat.  There were boats powered by all different types of power.  Some boats had motors, others were paddled, and one was simply pulled by a man walking in the water.

I stayed for a while and took photos of the area.  I returned through the back gate, which is a much safer and shorter route.

I am considering going back in the next day or two and hiring a boat to take me into the flooded area so that I can take photos.  If I do, I'll probably have Tim write a note in Thai explaining what I want to do.


There are more photos on Flickr.  If you click the photo, it will take you to the photo there as well as the rest of the flood photos that I have posted.

Sigh.... Another Week

Today, ISB announced that school will not restart until November 14th. Up until yesterday, they had been confident that they would receive a waiver from the government requirement that all schools in flood affected provinces stay closed until the 14th. The announcement stated that they would not be able to get the waiver in time, and I heard that some other private schools requests had been denied. So it's one more week of e-learning for the kids and me. Although it is hardly fun, I will say that being home was easier than when we were in Chiang Rai. I think the kids needed a chance to get away from each other for a little while.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back Home

We arrived back home from Chiang Rai today. Tim's brother Top picked us up at the airport, which was good because many people are having trouble getting a taxi to bring them to Nichada. The misconception is that the major road near us, Chaengwattana is completely flooded. This is simply not true, and there are several ways to get to our community either via the tollway or through normal city streets.

 Top drove us through the city in order to avoid part of the tollway which he said was slow moving due to the many cars parked there. Many people have parked their cars on the raised highways in order to protect them from flooding. While it is effective in doing that, it also means that the three or four lanes are cut down to one or two. On our way, we saw drove by some of the areas that are flooded. We stopped and I took a few photos like the one below. I was standing on the dry sidewalk on the "right" side of the sandbags.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elephant Ride

Yesterday, the kids took a few hours break from e-learning to take a boat ride and an elephant ride. On the way back we stopped briefly at a market that had the added of attraction of snakes and lizards with which you could be photographed.

Of course the kids wanted to be photographed with these creatures. The quoted price was 300 baht (about $10 per person per animal). Tim negotiated in Thai, and they agreed to 150 baht (about $5) total for all three kids.

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