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

Friday, 31 July 2009

Moon River Pub

Had a cool evening at the Moon River Pub last night. Joined by Martin, Gerry and Kevin. Wanna, Oyi, Nuan and Phuk turned up a bit later. The place laid on a buffet and they have 3 litre self serve beer 'tubes'. Kevin got to work the beer tube while Oyi just sat back and enjoyed. Wanna got into the spirit of things while our hostess "Miss Heineken" clearly did not want her photo taken.

Add in a Filipino band and it all made for a great evening.




Thursday, 30 July 2009

Another Chroma Key effect.

Following our weekend on the beach a few weeks back, I have been going through the old movie clips and decided to try out one more 'trial' chroma key effect. It is actually quite easy to do once you figure it all out. Me, I'm just a bit slow on these things....
So, a few days ago I sat Wanna down in our Condo in front of a green piece of cloth I'd bough earlier in the morning. Used it as a back drop. You can see a faint glow from it on her left side, where the chroma effect was not complete. I need better lighting and setting up etc in the future.
But it was fun. well for me, I'm not sure Wanna was as excited as me about doing such a scene. We had a few takes and after a while I did get to say the famous Directors words "its a wrap"! Got her to relax and chat about the beach and the result is....

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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Pool Night

New league started last night. 6 teams and we intend ot do our best and hopefully come out top. Makes ofr a good evening out. We won 9-4, so a good start. For fun I got Keith to do a short video of me playing. Good to be recorded when actually knocking balls in rather than missing. Hardly world championship stuff but enjoyable. Watching and editing this replay I realised I am getting fat, very fat... The good life.

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Monday, 27 July 2009

Tattoos And Things…

Seems to have passed in a flash. Our friends from Pakistan came down from Bangkok for the weekend and before I knew what had happened, they were returning as Sunday evening had already arrived.

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We left the condo to meet up with them. However the place is undergoing a major repaint. In true Thai way they made quick work of it. Simple to paint the face of a 15 story Condo. Start at the top with a roller and a bucket of paint. Work your way down on a rope.
We took in a Tattoo Festival early Saturday morning. Not so much to see as it was just starting up. However did notice some head tattoos and a couple of Thai Rasta’s. So some interest there. Also discovers a place which does religion/Thai tat’s so will give that a visit some time soon.

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Later we watched a street seller making some savory pancakes. I did a quick video and slowed it down on the replay. Quite amazing the speed at which she worked. So the slowing down to 25% speed makes you realize just how quick she was.

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The Sunday afternoon was taken up with a trip to Silver Lake. A recently established Vineyard. Had a walk around there followed by a quick visit to the local Wat.


Again beautiful statues and as always, I never cease to be surprised at how calm everything seems after such a visit.
We then spent the rest of the afternoon lazing on the beach prior to yet more food and an early night. Now back to completing my Seychelles Blogs. It was such good fun as a break but having to write it all up seems like a long task...

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Seychelles Part II

I've really struggled getting this done as the videos seemed so big and there was so much to write about. You know, a weekend away, anywhere, is a busy time and as for putting it on a Blog! It is a matter of how much you want to write that finally is the issue. Add in that I am trying to do a days work as well and there you have it. Limited time with a strong wish to add it all on board the Blog.
Video is at the bottom of the page. Don't miss it....

Anyway here goes.... And what got me started today was receiving a letter from Seychelles. The post mark was depicting that Seychelles had first been sighted by Europeans over 400 years ago in 1609. Apparently it was uninhabited back then. This information and receiving the letter provided me with the extra bit of motivation to make me get on with it..

The time was spent meeting my girls, visiting friends and attending a wedding. Add in a few trips on an ox cart and you have it all. How best to share this. Well a few photos and a video seem as good as anything. Just gives you some idea of what it was all about. As for the video its long, about 4 minutes and features lots of short clips showing our arrival, the wedding, trip on the ox cart, tortoises etc. Provides me with good memories. Enjoy!
And now for the video. It might take some uploading but well worth it. Well I think so.

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The Music in the Video is off a CD titled 'Ti Marianne', track 11, by a chap called J P Cecile. I've tried to get hold of him via 'Facebook' but no luck. And strangely there is no contact information given on the CD cover. Strange. So if you like the backing music please take this as an advert for him and go buy his CD. We did.... Available at the Airport in Mahe, Seychelles.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Seychelles Part 1...

This is possibly one of the harder posting. How do you Blog a weekend which was only decided on the Thursday morning? Involved traveling 8,200 kilometers, involving 4 plane trips and 2, one and half hour ferry journeys. Well we did just that. Truth be known it was a last minute decision to attend a wedding on La Digue scheduled for Saturday 3.00pm. So even knowing about the wedding 6 months ago, I still had not made the decision till the last moment.

So that’s how it started. We decided on the Thursday morning that we would go to Seychelles.

How? What? making the decision to go or going? Decision made, at last…so that just left the how to go bit…..
How to go, easy take the office car to Survanabumi Airport and off we go. But first need some tickets. Phone Emirates. (Credit Cards are wonderful at times). 5 minutes later sorted. Email tickets received by return. Rang Wanna to say we’re off, please buy the wedding present….

Depart Friday Morning 2.30 am. Red Eye flight. We’re have liftoff. Wanna, Oyi and me. And we went via Dubai finally arriving home on La Digue at 6.30pm. We returned leaving on the Tuesday morning and arriving back in Bangkok Wednesday afternoon.



View Bangkok to Seychelles in a larger map


Did we really do all that or was it a dream. Read on.

Departing Bangkok was simple enough. Few hours stop over in Dubai. Time for a breakfast and a draught Kilkenny. Good start.

On to Mahe Seychelles. Met by Sarah, Genevieve and Simon. Lunch at Pirates Arms and then dropped off at catch the ferry to La Digue and home.

Monday, 13 July 2009

A Thai Beach.

What better way to spend a day. We had a relaxing weekend and spent the Sunday afternoon on the beach at Jontiem. It’s something we used to do a lot of, ages ago. So it was with some excitement that we set off for an afternoon of swimming and relaxing under the sun and of course some beach food. Would not be a complete trip without the food.
I had forgotten the ‘buzz’ of the beach life. Everybody, Thais, Foreigners of all sorts all on holiday trying to enjoy themselves just sitting around and relaxing.
Relaxing? Not as easy as it sounds. While being surrounded by hawkers of all kinds it is not that easy. Takes a whole new mind set. Try sitting and thinking all with be quiet. This especially after being used to a beach in Seychelles where you might be the only person for miles….So very different.
I tried to photograph a few of the sellers to give you some idea of the hustle and bustle, and to see the range of goods available. Food of course varying from full on Thai and Western Meals, (made in restaurants across the road and hand delivered), someone even selling toilet roll/paper napkins. Add in the hard sell for silk bed sheets, nail clippers, toys, games, balloons, DVD’s, fake watches, baseball caps, polystyrene model planes, rip curl shorts etc to name just a few and you begin to get some idea about the difficulties of relaxing on Jontiem Beach Not so easy after all… It’s a tough life being a tourist.

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Well we went for it all, head on. Sat down under umbrella shades and promptly ordered a cold beer and ‘Yam Wumsen’. The latter dish comprises a mixture of cooked prawns and squid mixed with noodles and various herbs and of course plenty of hot chilies. Delicious. While eating this more hawkers arrive selling fruits, salads, deep fried bits of everything, spring rolls, mouth watering prawns, fresh fruits etc. We settled on and bought quail eggs. One of my favourite snacks. The eggs are hard boiled (cold) and are served with a small packed of fish sauce as a dip. Really a great side dish to go with the cold beer.
Wanna opted for a new dish, well new to me not her… It was called ‘Krung Ten’ which literally translated means 'Dancing Prawns', comprising very young live prawns mixed with lemon sauce, dash of fish sauce and again lots of herbs and this time even more chilies. It tasted fantastic. Had a sort of sparkling fresh taste I think due to the lemons and the prawns were soft and sweet. Amazing mixture of flavours. At first it was a bit disconcerting to take a mouthful of this as the prawns kept jumping out of the dish…. So first few mouthfuls.. you kept expecting to feel lots of wriggling of the prawns, but not so. The lemon juice finally ‘kicked in’ and cooked them. All OK.

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Enough sitting around, time for a swim. Even the beach was fully occupied with everything from jet skis, speed boats, banana rides and wind surfers. Came across an interesting sight of a wind surfer on the sand. One guy had made up a 4 wheeled base and was using it on the beach. Went well until he got into the soft welt sand and came to a shuddering halt.
I reflected on all this and realized it was a typical day out on a Thai Beach. Different to anything I could imagine and even more difficult to explain. I’ve tried to capture the essence of it all but am sure I have not done it justice. Al I can say is it was fun and I’ll be back again soon for another relaxing afternoon.

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Friday, 10 July 2009

Roads

I've written a few posts about off road car racing and such like.
Going home yesterday we were stuck at the lights waiting for them to turn green. Not everyone was prepared to wait. Out from my left came a full 40 foot truck which proceeded to do a u turn right across us all. I just happened to have the video camera on. What amazed me the most on reflection, was that it was not until I had uploaded my footage and went through the various videos I had taken that this event was anything but a normal way of driving... Its only a few seconds long is the video, check it out.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Buddhist Lent

Buddhist Lent starts today. It is a solemn occasion with most Thai visiting their home Wat, (Temple) and making their vows to follow the precepts of Buddha. For our part, I was told by Wanna last night, that she is off to the Wat at 6.30am this morning to 'Make Merit". Me, I'm off to work as usual.
The Wats are all decked out for the occasion with bright coloured cloths and candles etc. And the shops geared up to sell the candles and various orange coloured plastic buckets full of offerings of assorted foods for the monks. So on the way to work I had expected to see more people around and maybe a lot more monks walking the roads. Not so. If anything it was quiet, quieter than usual, and the roads almost empty. The start of the Buddha Lent bonus for me was, I got to work early. Is this really a bonus?....
I had also remembered, (unlike last weekends trip to Viet Nam) to have my camera open in the car just in case something special passed me by. Nothing... I was so busy with the quick trip to work that I probably missed everything..
So I had a quick look on the Internet to see what was being said about the Lent, and found a useful link on the whole topic.

The Buddhist Lent, which starts on the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month. The tradition of Buddhist Lent or the annual three-month Rains Retreat known in Thai as "Phansa" dates back to the time of ....... full text Buddhist Lent

Worth the read.
Photos source (huffingtonpost)

Monday, 6 July 2009

Sai Gon...and Coffee Shops

Well, no Thailand this weekend. It was off to Sai Gon, Viet Nam for a few days. Main purpose was to celebrate Liam’s Birthday and watch the British and Irish Lions play the last of the three match series. Being already 2-0 down we did not expect too much from them, but surprisingly they managed to win 28 -9. But a good surprise result.
We, Wanna and I went over Friday night on Air Asia, and met up with Liam and Thuy the next morning. They had booked us into a small boutique type hotel in the mainly ‘Back Packer’ Pham Ngo Lau area. So the first evening Wanna and I spend walking around and taking in the views and getting an evening meal. All felt very familiar. The plan was an early night, well it almost happened! We stopped off on the way back to the hotel for some road side grilled mussels and sea shells. That we did, even thought we had just eaten. Staggered home a few kilos heavier. having spend several hours watching the world walk by.
Normally when I go to new places I take a lot of photos but this short trip we ran out of time and also we were so busy. Doing what you ask?. Well drinking beer, eating Vietnamese food and generally just walking around. So it seemed on reflection that getting out the camera was not high on our list. In fact it just luck and force of habit that I took any shots at all. It was out only out about 3 times. I suppose in fairness as an excuse, I had lived in Viet Nam for about 4 ½ years so the things you normally take photos of I was taking for granted and they just did not seem new. I had already ‘been there, done that already’ if you follow my drift. The usual pictures of the town hall, post office Catholic Church etc were not on my list of ‘to do’s’. (I did do one small on of the Town Hall). So the few photos are really of the not so normal Viet Nam…. Bear with me. (The first photo below is the Town Hall!) Saturday morning found us out and about, and I did carry the camera. First stop was to a glasses shop having lost mine on the way over. At least for the rest of the weekend I could see where I was going. We then took a taxi to the down town area and had a leisurely walk along the old roads, where so much had changed,. The shops, bars and restaurants I remembered had either moved or closed or just vanished to be replaced by a new high rise. Amazing pace of development. Added to which there were about 100 % more cars on the road and everyone on the bikes were wearing safety helmets. Unheard of 5 years ago. So on we walked Slowly, as it was getting warm.. . As were our temperaments...
Everybody knows Viet Nam is world famous for coffee and we did managed to find one shop in particular with a really amazing wide selection. All very tempting. And gave us a chance to sit down for a few minutes. Some good coffee was available selling 100gms fresh ground for about 1US$. Not bad in fact an excellent deal. And so I bought several (lots of) different flavours including vanilla (my favourite) and cinnamon and nutmeg. All Mocha type coffee. Only last week when in Khon Kaen I had retrieved my espresso machine so now was impatient to get back home to use it and try out these new wonderfully smelling flavours. Yum!
Coming out of the shop and crossing the road I spotted a row of motor bikes with a collection of white gloves laid out to dry. That did make of an interesting shot! Why white gloves and why dry them on the back of motor bikes. I have no idea.
It was then along the walk that I did take a few shots. I had early said my photos of this trip were unusual but having reviewed them I think they offer a good ‘feel’ to what you will see when you make it over there.
We spotted a Lady Monk and several street hawkers. All going about their business. And believe you me they are quite persistent in trying to sell you any and everything.

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We were having a great time but, Liam was determined that we have a lunchtime beer. We followed him convinced he knew where he was going. He did and we found 4 or was it 5 of his favourite haunts. All just round the next corner....And they were ther, we found them all. And all were closed.... After this we were all getting a bit parched and irritable. Back to Pham Ngo Lau for a cold beer. Plenty of places there to quench our thirst. The rest of the day flew by. As proved by Liam....
Sunday morning saw us catch up with our good friend Mr Tu. He joined us for breakfast at the hotel then insisted in taking us out to meet friends and again have a lunchtime beer. This time the place was open. This was followed by a rush back to the hotel. Check out and get to the airport. Rush rush rush. We had a quick beer at the departure lounge and back home.
This morning saw me going back to work. Needed to fill up the truck with fuel. First thing I see is a lovely coffee shop!!
Maybe coffee drinking is really catch on in Thailand. Hope so., save me having to go to Sai Gon to buy ground coffee.