» Archive for the 'Bangkok' Category

What Could Happen?!

Friday, November 21st, 2008 by rdm
Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

Thursday afternoon when the main programs of the conference had ended Juha and I decided to go in search of some trinkets to take home as souvenirs.  Even though the main place for such things, the weekend market, was not open we were directed to JJ Market (an indoor shopping mall) and found some nice things to take home.  Mission accomplished!

With a little time to kill before the closing ceremony and dinner we decided to take a taxi into the center of town so that I could look for a new place to stay.  (I’ll be happy to leave the Maruay Garden behind me.)

So, traffic is always heavy in Bangkok, nothing like Hanoi but still congested with lots of little scooters darting in and out of the road and in between cars.  This became a problem for us when we were stopped and leaving the taxi and just as I opened the card door next to the curb (literately it was right next to the curb) a scooter slammed into the open door.

Stop Pig Sacrifices!!

Stop Pig Sacrifices!!

Luckily no one was hurt and the incident did not escalate into violence but I was a little concern, to say the least, that things might take a turn for the worse.  I don’t think that I did anything wrong opening the car door, in stopped traffic next to a curb but let’s face facts – I am a stranger in a strange land and I was in no position to argue my case in downtown Bangkok.

One thing I decided was to get the police involved because I did not want to try to settle things on the street and when I think things are OK, find out that the locals would make more demands.  So after Juha and I, the taxi driver, the scooter drive, the police, 2 westerners and two other Thais came to an agreement (we needed this many people to work through the language problems) I paid 2,500 Bhat for damages to the scooter.  (This is about $70USD.

In hindsight, this was a small price to pay to get out of something that could have gotten very sticky!  And here is a tip for anyone traveling in a foreign country – always have cash on had to settle any differences!

People in Asia Love Sons of Ralph!

Friday, November 21st, 2008 by rdm
Lek

Lek

Apparently, everywhere I turn in this city I find more and more fans of the Sons of Ralph!  It seems that their music is very popular with people from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, South and even North Korea!

Check out their Web site www.sonsofralph.com for more and upcoming photos.

Server Problems

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 by rdm

Not much time to post to this blog.  There are server problems back in the US and that is taking up most of my time when I am not doing things at FORTROP.  I’m not sure what needs to happen – maybe it will require a complete rebuild.  Whatever is gonna happen seems like it will be difficult.

On thing outside of work is that Juha and I got to see something other than the hotel and Kasetsart University.  Yesterday afternoon we took a quick trip to the national museum and over to Khao San Road and I finally got some good Thai food!

More postings as soon as I’m able.

Outside the Hotel Waiting on the Bus to Kasetsart University

Outside the Hotel Waiting on the Bus to Kasetsart University

Juha, Ho Sang, and Preparing for the Workshop

Sunday, November 16th, 2008 by rdm

I finally meet Juha this afternoon.  After months of Skyping we saw each other in the hotel as he was going down to the lobby to buy more Internet access (that’s right – we have to pay for Internet access) and I was going out for a walk around the neighborhood.  BTW, the neighborhood is not that exciting, it is mostly a residential area around the university.

At 4pm Juha and I are going to go in search of Ho Sang and the rest of the IUFRO/GFIS folks.  Maybe we’ll even have some time to prepare for the workshop in  the morning.

One last thing – it is November 16 and it is HOT here!  86 degrees!  Wonder if I can wear shorts tomorrow…..  ;-)

The Teachings of Buddha and Barefoot Maids

Sunday, November 16th, 2008 by rdm
The Teaching of Buddha

The Teaching of Buddha

One other note, the Gideon Society is not as big here as in the States.  The bedside reading is “The Teaching of Buddha”.  Maybe I will learn something.

As I write these posts I had the maid service come by and do a very through cleaning of my room.  (I had not idea that it neded such scrubbing after all I have only been here a few hours.)  Anyway it seems a little unusual to me but aparently the maids in the hotel seem to prefer to go barefoot.  I dunno why this is, or why it seems odd to me but it is just something I don’t normally see when I stay at the Hampton Inn

Sunday Morning in Bangkok

Sunday, November 16th, 2008 by rdm

Arriving in BKK was uneventful and I was VERY pleasantly surprised to see that my luggage made the trip with me!  It is always good to go smoothly through customs and exchange cash into the local currency.  I should have used at ATM instead of brining cash so that I could have gotten a better exchange rate but live and learn.

A good decision I made before the trip was arranging to have a hotel shuttle pick me up at the airport.  Even though I was not as tired as I thought I might be, I am glad I did not have to battle/negotiate with taxi drivers as a way to get me to the my hotel.

Last night I was able to sleep a few hours, not as much sleep as I needed but it was some rest nonetheless.

This morning I had breakfast at the hotel.  I love Asian breakfasts – rice, soup, mixed vegetables along with VERY strong coffee followed by fresh tropic fruit.  Ahh……  Following breakfast I took a short walk around the neighborhood.  Not much to see in the neighborhood at 8am on Sunday morning but at least I am getting oriented.

Well, time to have more coffee, try to contact Juha and Ho Sang and start preparing for tomorrow morning!

My Window on the World

My Window on the World

My View of Bangkok

My View of Bangkok