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

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

It was our 6th ......

It was our 6th Wedding anniversary yesterday. Managed to fool Wanna into thinking I was playing pool and would be home late and that it was just another day at the office with nothing special going on. She was not too impressed with my approach but I did explain the need to honour commitments to my Mates etc. So having planned a surprise party I had to get it all organized and at the same time keep up the appearance. Started with my departing in the morning to work carrying my 'Chill Bar Pool Shirt' adn putting it in the back of my car. Good start. Wanna said very little. I went on my way.
Once at work I got on with checking the food arrangements with Tee. He was organizing the main food and cake! Phuk was getting a range of fresh sea food from Rayong. All sorted. Me I was responsible for the drinks and of course a small present for Wanna.
To be on the safe side I decided to ring my bank to ensure no problems with my credit card. Done. Instruction in place that my limit was increased for 24 hours. Next was a trip to Tesco/Lotus to buy the drinks. Its about 30 minutes away from my work area so in all I needed to be absent for about 2 hours. Imagine my frustration when having arrived at Tesco the drinks area is closed. They do not sell alcoholic drinks between 2pm and 5pm. What to do? I loaded up with the soft drinks, coke, orange etc and of course paper cups and plates. Next, off to buy Wanna a present. Found a suitable gold shop and after a quick inspection found what I wanted. Great, handed over the credit card, which yes you’ve guessed, got declined. To add to this I had a phone in which the prepaid card had run out. Rushed around to find a shop selling a new card, that took 20 minutes. Then phoned the bank, several times.
“Thank you for calling Abbey International, all our Customer Service Advisors are busy with other Customers and your call is important to us and we will be with you shortly. Etc etc…)"
Talk about frustration. Anyway finally got through to them amazingly it was to the same lady I had spoken to in the morning. I was not as polite as I should have been this time, and she did remind me in no uncertain terms that all calls were monitored and recorded, and for sure, not to swear at her!!! Even so, we got over that bit and I kept her on line while I went back to the shop and made for the second time, the same purchase. The card fortunatley worked. Beer, whiskey and of course ice could be bought later on the way home. Enough of shopping, for now I needed to get back to work.
I understand that not long after I left the house in the morning and went to work, Wanna rang her friend Oyi to have a get together.’ Poor Wanna ringing Oyi only to be told 'Sorry cannot make it this morning’…. All part of the plan of deception... Then we organized Khun Nuan and they both went into town for the afternoon. They then ended up at Khun Nuan's house in the afternoon and settled into having a few beers. I turned up at about 6.30 for a quick 'hello' before I went off to play pool! Poor Wanna, she told me she had bought some pork and would do me a stir fry when I got home later in the evening.
Sure, sounded good to me. I left them both, only to come straight back. saying 'my driver had left me ‘. I needed to get a lift from Keith our Pool Captain. He is to pick me up at the Terrace Bar. So we stopped off and went into the Terrace Bar for a beer while I waited for Keith to turn up. Needless to say there was no Keith! And I watched as several friends passed on up the estate to our house. Wanna was oblivious to all this, Just trying to put on a brave face to the evening. I supported all her with all her hard comments on her friends not being around when she needed them etc etc. In a way very good fun. (for me!!!!)
I then made a call 'to Keith' asking "where the hell was he as I was waiting". Then I explained to Wanna I needed to use the pickup as ‘Keith’ had let me down on the offer of a lift. I’d called him in front of her as she had just heard; well actually I called another friend ‘Tee’ who was at our house organizing the whole thing. Tee confirmed everything was in place. So having had what was clearly a strange phone call and informing Wanna that Keith had let me down we went home. Everything organised.

video

The house was in darkness and Wanna was resigned to just going home. Nuan had said she would join her later…We walked in.
Surprise, the lights came on and she saw everyone. Absolute disbelief. Started crying…
What a really good evening. Videos and photos. It was even more special as Wanna had absolutely no idea of the arrangements and had been lamenting her luck and how her friends had not supported her etc etc!!! Me, I was so happy for all the support and kindness of all concerned. Great Friends. Worked out so very well. Thank you Guys, you were amazing.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

It's over a week....

It’s been over a week since I added anything to this Blog. What have I been doing you ask? Not much. Popped over to Ho Chi Minh City last weekend for a few meals and a chance to catch up with a few friends. In particular I met with my old mate, Vinh. We chatted away over several coffees and realised it was about 7 years since we last met. Time flys. I've now got grey hair and Vinh, well he's just the same. It was, I hope a successful trip in all respects, food was good and the company first class. Only time will tell how good the trrip was , and that will be tested on how well we all remain in touch.
It’s a fun place, but, I’ve now been so often that these recent trips are more about seeing people than the usual touristy stuff. This time I had a series of catch ups on the Saturday and again on the Sunday. It was all over and me back to work at Map Ta Phut, on the Monday morning before I felt I had actually been to Ho Chi Minh City, let along got back. If you follow my meaning…
As always it was hectic and it is good to be back to work and almost be in a relaxed mode.
Next weekend is Ban Muang and I hope to start my cooking videos. I did as earlier mentioned look up Issan cooking on You Tube. Not much round. However being bit slow I did not think to check Lao Cooking which of course now I’ve told you is so, so, so very obvious…. Enough of my stupidity.
So this weekend it is a tree planting session, catch up with few people and relax. And of course get down to some of the promised cooking.
The trees we bought in Pak Chong a few weeks back and we left them in their plastic pots ready to take up with us. Not sure we have that much room left to plant more trees. We’ve got so much growing already. I have however thought about digging up on of the rice fields and so making our pond bigger. The excess material can go onto our second rice field and provide another area for tree cultivation. After that, we’ve run out of land!!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

We've moved…

We've moved from our Condo into Owens house last week. Need to sort out our few bits and pieces. Not a lot but deciding where to put them is important.

No sooner had we arrived than we had visitors. Bar B Q started as soon as we moved in. Our Friend T and his Mother came along with his son and a few more to make up the numbers. We were a bit worried about all the cooking but no need to have worried. They turned up with all the food and even brought cooked rice and crushed chilies. Easiest Bar B Q to date!!! Hope we have many more like it.

video

Having moved we were faced with a major problem. No TV. What to do? You know its easy to say go buy a new one. Sure we looked. DO you know the differences between an LED, LCD and plasma screen add in HD and HD compatible or HD ready followed by number of pixels and refresher time etc, etc and it is easy to get quite a headache. If your not sure try going to a few shops one after the other and make a decision. Its hard. Anyway we made one. After much deliberation and several visits to each shop we made a decision. What did we decide on? Very good question! I think it is an LCD or hang on? Was it a Plasma? I’ll check when I get home this evening. Which ever it is, the picture last night was excellent. This makes me think I’m not sure how many posting you’ll be getting over the next few days as I’ll be glued to the flat screen.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Thai Roadside Moment

Its been a busy week at work, time has flown by. We also moved accommodation out from our Condo to a house, that was on Tuesday. All time consuming. So I’ve had little time to do anything in the way of photos or videos. However as always I keep the camera ready for that ‘famous’ moment when somehow I’ll capture the world scoop which everybody dreams about. I don’t know maybe a bank robbery in action or aliens landing.
Well far from that I was stuck at some traffic lights the other day and did a quick clip of a roadside flower seller. Nothing remarkable in that, in fact not even a good clip. I’d taken it through the car window, no planning or particular thought went into it. Just pressed the button. Except that is, when I looked over the clip it had so much ‘Typical Thai Scene’ in it that it was difficult to ignore. Firstly the seller himself, or is he actually a She? Even that I am not sure. So covered up to protect from the sun and avoid the sunshine and the possibility of going brown. The beautiful flowers themselves are from Jasmine trees offering a wonderful smell and bright colour. They give a real feel good factor to the day. They are sold by ‘he or she’ to passing cars, trucks and buses etc. Then once purchased they get hung on the rear view mirror. Wonderful fresh and clean smell. They also have some good luck/religious significance. They last about 1-2 days then of course you buy another one.. Any and all traffic light places will be selling them!!!!

video

I mentioned ‘Typical Thai Scene’. Look at the clip. There are people crossing the lights on motor bikes, always motorbikes and always some pickups. Add in the background of numerous Thai National Flags, the wonderfully kaleidoscope coloured buses waiting on the green light and big advertising hoardings. A complete and instant ‘Thai Roadside Moment’.