A wise man once said....

A wise man once said
"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new."
Dalai Lama

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Toilets "R" Us

This post is about a toilet. Yes, a toilet. I’ve included a picture of a toilet door. I know, you're asking, why take a picture of a toilet door? Look at it closely…First I apologise as its a poor quality photo, I had rushed in and wanted to be quick, one click and out again and secondly again you ask why take it anyway? Can you imagine being caught taking pictures of toilet doors? I’d never live it down. So why do it?

Anyway back to the toilet. And it’s still a very good question.

Well it’s like this…. There's a restaurant in Map Ta Phut, where we often go for lunch and it has a small set of toilets for Clients. On several visits I have made use of these facilities. It’s so small in fact that the WC doors cannot fully open and close!! Requires some maneuvering to get in and out I can assure you.

So here in Thailand and in true Thai style the owners have dealt with this problem. The problem has been analyzed and simplified to find the best solution. Which is.... Either the rooms to small, increase size, not a real option, or the doors to big, and a smaller door is also not an option as it will not fit properly or the toilet bowl needs moving which seems the most 'doable'.

Having made this assessment they, the owners decided to make the decision and just “dealt with it:!! How you ask? Simple By cutting a section of door to enable it to pass over the toilet pan. Weird or just plain clever?... Now you know why we say 'T I T' This is Thailalnd!

Possibly The Smallest Coffee Shop For Miles Around

Every day on the way to work I’ve pass this little place. About 7 to 8 months ago I watched as the small timber frames ‘cubicle’ was delivered. This is the small shed on the right handside ofthe photo. It was just by chance that it arrived as we were passing. I did not think much of it but could no help but notice the way it was up and running as a shop within days. Now it is a 'fully' grown coffee shop with adjacent food stall. I’ve yet to stop and try it. Always in a rush either to or from work. One day soon I’ll try. I’ll just have to stop rushing and relax. Sounds good….

Thursday, 28 May 2009

River Boats

Spotted a small river boat heading upstream. Twisting and turning its way through the enormous amounts of water hyacinths which were drifting down with the flow. Wonder where it all comes from and where it is going. Its non stop….Then you wonder where is the boat going...Me I was relaxing over lunch just watching the world (hyacinths and boats) go by.
(Music by the Ink Spots).

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Welding Photos


Visited a steel fabrication shop this morning and had a chance to watch some welding and general fabrication. I know it’s not a Thailand type article to fit into my Blog, but it was an interesting trip. Especially for me to note that the same type of work is carried out around the world in a surprisingly similar manner.
I decide to try out my sony web cam as a camera and see how it performed with strong lights, in particular welding. I think it turned out OK. Not brilliant but OK. Well that’s my opinion. I did not do any set up just used automatic setting and minimal post editing to the photos. The balance of colour and light seems to have come out OK. It is difficult to deal with very strong sunlight when coming straight at you for these shots but all in all it catches the mood of the visit. Please, if you read this let me know what you think.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Biryani

Found a lovely little restaurant just off the main Bangkok Pattaya motorway. Specialises in Halal food and is well know locally for excellent Biryani. Photo clearly does not do it justice, you'll just have to trust me on this one. It was excellent as was the chicken soup (s).

Bananas

Sometime ago when in Karachi I watched a chap making Nan Bread. Posted it up on old Blog “Alan in Karachi”.

http://alan-in-karachi.blogspot.com/2007/03/staple-pakastani-food.html

Well today I saw a similar thing with a chap making banana rotties. Called โรตีใส่กล้วยหอม in Thai. Pronounced "Rottie Sai Clua Hom", which roughly translated means "Rottie Banana with a sweet smell". So true.

Basically he took a banana and squashed it, making it almost into a paste. These bananas are of the short, sweet fatty type of banana. Very common in Thailand. The look and style of the paste is really not so different to making a flat pancake or indeed preparing the dough used in Nan bread. Having made the ‘dough’ he then rolls it out wafer thin. And I mean thin, almost paper thin. Adding a little oil as he goes along to encourage it to get thinner. This he then folds neatly into a square, and places it on a very hot cooking plate. Adds a little flavouring, well I assume its flavouring, as it an orange coloured dollop of what looks to me like marmalade. Then he stands back and waits till it gets slightly crispy. Exactly like a pancake. Take off the stove and top it off with a generous pouring of condensed milk and a sprinkle of sugar. This is then rolled up in paper, and eaten as you wander along the road. Wonderful. All for 10 Baht. Can’t beat it.

The funny part about it all for me was, having filmed the cooking and bought the pancake I passed it to Wanna more for me to film her eating it than for her to enjoy! I’d planned a sort of video with a start and a 'happy ending with a satisfied customer!!!

“I don’t like these….” was the only comment I got from Wanna. Not the answer expected when trying to close out a food video. However don’t believe her comment, it tasted real good. I know after her single bite, I finished the whole thing. Probably good job she did not like it after all.


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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Friday and a dull day

Friday afternoon and it was blowing hard. Wind and rain seemed to be on a mission to ruin my weekend!!! However on the way from the work site I watched the clouds forming and the sun trying hard to shine through. Quite a magnificent view, in a raw, almost savage way. The backdrop to the site was almost sinister with the rays of sunshine forcing their way through and highlighting one solitary crane. It seemed to be almost makign a statement, standing up on its own in defiance of everything nature was throwing at it.

(emailed on 25th May 2009) Alan อลัน

Monday, 18 May 2009

Quiet Weekend

It started off as a quiet weekend, attending a birthday party on Saturday afternoon followed by a couple of hours watching the last few games of the premier league. Fine. So far easy and relaxed.
Lek, our friend has been ill for about 18 months, from of stroke, She has been virtually bed ridden for some time. It therefore was with some excitement that Joe was able to get her out of the house and into the sun. We had a Bar-B-Q with loads of food and drink, coupled with good company. And yes, of course there was a Birthday Cake...

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Next morning Sunday, set off for a bit of shopping and to check on a few things. We stopped for a small roadside lunch, adjacent to a house where a couple of boys were busy cleaning up their truck. The restaurant lady ever keen to chat and give away gossip told us the truck cost 1 million. OK that's the going rate for a new truck, so no big deal. Then she followed this useless bit of info with a second piece of information. She told us the trucks sound system cost 2 million (Baht not USD.....). That's 65,000US$ to you and me, just for the stereo!!! Well it certainly did deserve a little mention and write up in my Blog. Even if its only for my memories sake. It's not every day I get to see and hear a 2 million baht sound system. Well worth a look, well not look more a good listen too. Not sure I would want to be in back seat when cruising at full volume......

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Saturday, 16 May 2009

Black Cats......

Just got up to go to work. Black Cat on my truck bonnet. Is this good luck? God I hope so!!! The alternative is not an option I want to contemplate. Well I'm now sitting at work having driven here without an accident so yes, conclusion is 'Black Cat on the bonnet' should be taken as good luck. Or as a minimum, a sort of 'non' luck related thingy!!! Bit early in the day for me to get into such deep thinking.

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On the way in I also passed a couple of small cultivations of eucalyptus trees, beautifully lined up. I managed to get a short clip driving by looking directly down the lines. Not much to write home about, but interesting non the less.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Elephants and Things

In keeping with my Blog title and due to the fact I am at work on a Saturday morning where there is little happening, I've added an elephant to my pages. What?... Yes I decided to add a few words and an elephant photo. Several months ago I bough a Thai mens 'handbag', for want of a better description. Its basically a big cloth bag with a wide strap so you can use it to carry loads of stuff and it fits comfortably across the shoulder. No big deal only a few dollars to buy one. I've got 2 ! Anyway, one of them had a small metal imprint of an elephant which seemed simple but interesting. I know what you're thinking...'what a sad way to spent part of my Saturday morning'.




Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Off Road Car Racing

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Yesterday after work we went for lunch down by the beach. Almost every time I turn a corner in Thailand I seem to come across something new. A few years back it was a motor cycle off road competition with kids of 8 years old upwards all doing flying stunts etc and now here was a high rider Cherokee Jeep. Seems so out of place parked along the beach front next to rows of restaurants. Next to it, I noticed, were a couple of other off road type cars and trucks. Took a couple of shots then headed back to the restaurant.
Amazing…when sitting and eating, I took a quick glance up at the TV in the back. Wow, we discovered there was an off road car race going about 300 meters away. Can you believe it was being broadcast live in the restaurant where we were eating!!?
Needless to say we went to have a look. Some fantastic vehicles. All appeared to be locally built with extra strong suspension and rugged but basic air filters etc. Not sure what all the other bits and pieces did. They raced around a rough track two cars at a time. Seemed to me it was a whole lot of timed events to decide a winner. Must have been about 2000-3000 people wandering about. I tried a couple of close shots and got covered in dust as did the camcorder. See the end of this movie. I got as close as I could.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Clemment and his going away lunch.

We had a brilliant dinner last night at a small canal side restaurant in Rayong. Seemed idyllic, hidden away from the main street, and away from all the busy tussle and bustle of Rayong evening life. Clemment's last day at work is this coming Wednesday, so this evening fitted in well. He had invited a few work friends and us. Great atmosphere and great food, the meal for sure was local Thai. Wonderful tastes with some fresh fish, crabs, squid in garlic, savory rice and of course Tom Yum Talay, etc, etc. All washed down with Singha Beer and Johnnie Walker. Yes, Johnnie turned up as well. Good evening had by all.

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Saturday, 2 May 2009

Mobile Restaurant

Returning home from work yesterday and we were stuck at the lights for a few minutes. Well before us was a mobile Restaurant. I mean, take a look. The back of the pickup is lined wall to wall with Coke, Pepsi and Beer Chang.. Add in the cold boxes and the array of salads and meats, then you ask yourself why go elsewhere of a meal, it will just arrive to you. But then the lights changed and it took off. Nice little snippet of life in Pattaya.

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Friday, 1 May 2009

The Coconut ... Part 1

Not real grass just the stuff that grows on the ground. Anyway I don't smoke. The revetment has just been grassed to prevent errosion during the rainy sseason. It whole area is reclaimed with sea bed material and so is of high salt content. This is of course, being washed out by the rain etc and during the dry season the grass is watered and fertalized on a daily basis.
We added this morning a young germinating coconut we had picked up on the way to work, and placed at the toe of the revetment. Already there are signs of additional plants growing in the grass, including a few flowers, no doubt seeded by bird droppings, and also we noted a couple of pineapple suckers. How they arrived I've no idea. They certainly did not come from bird dropping, too painful for sure!! We decided to add our bit. So it will be intersting to see how our coconut tree develops. I know, exciting, so watch this spot again in 6 months for an update!!!!