Archive for October, 2011
Growing up in England, I was spared the assorted nonsenses associated with Halloween. I understand that this was because pissed off protestants banned the event and suggested that the populace concentrate on Guy Fawkes night instead. An excellent suggestion, bobbing for apples cannot compare with firing rockets at elderly relatives. Apparently the prohibition did not extend to Scotland, and Peebles proudly holds the world record for the highest number of people to bob for apples at the same time; although they call it dooking so it might be something else entirely. But it is America that goes overboard on this Halloween thing, especially with the endless carved pumpkins; which I suppose is a better fate for them than us having to eat them.
Anyway, I see no merit in this festival and plan to ignore it. Not difficult given that small children attempting to trick or treat would be mugged by security guards if they tried to come into the condo, and she who must be obeyed is far too busy being busy at her first day of work to think about dressing up in a witches’ costume (and would I notice?). Instead I intend marking the occasion by spending some time with the coolest of the undead, the zombies.
This morning I revisited the always amusing Plants vs Zombies. This evening I shall watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead, already into series two, which has a storyline as enjoyable as Downton Abbey; but with marginally more zombies in the cast. In between, I shall enjoy my birthday present from The Son, the imaginatively titled game Space Pirates and Zombies.
Finally, I shall end my day with some light reading of a slightly edited version of the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Khun Tic has been my friend for around ten years. We worked together in Bangkok and discovered common interests in cameras, gadgets, beer and women. We used to hang out at weekends, perhaps Starbucks in the mornings and a suitable hostelry for beer in the evenings. We bought too many gadgets, we built and raced and crashed radio controlled cars, we took the occasional trip to neighbouring countries in search of the latest toys. We were eventually to go our separate ways when I retired and Tic went first to work in Kuala Lumpur (excellent choice, so I could go to the Grand Prix) and then Singapore (excellent choice, so I could go to the Grand Prix); but we have always stayed in touch and he is the friend I would turn to first when I need a friend to turn to.
A common theme throughout our beer fuelled discussions was the search for a partner in life. We were both spectacularly unsuccessful at choosing suitable girlfriends for a long term relationship and were continually working through a cycle of initial enthusiasm, followed by doubt, followed by dumping as potential partners came and went. Then I found she who must be obeyed and I was sorted; but Tic continued to stumble through a succession of hopefuls until he too finally found the right person to spend his life with. Her name is Khun Kade and on Saturday they were married.
The wedding ceremony in the morning took place at the library in the Dusit Thani hotel, a pleasantly informal setting, but not easy light for photography unless you used flash; and I didn’t want to use flash. Still, the Fuji X100 did a good job at ridiculously high ISOs and I have a few shots I can give to Tic to add to the massive collection that will be presented by the official photographer, videographer and the army of family and friends wielding cameras, phones and tablets.
Tic had told me that he was thinking of surprising Kade at the reception in the evening by playing a song for her. He is a competent but not professional guitarist and it would take some guts to play in front of a couple of hundred people; but he did it.
It’s been a long time coming, but finally my friend is married. Although we don’t have much to talk about in the women department any more, there remains cameras and gadgets that will be in need of discussion over a few beers and I hope we can carry on doing that for many years to come. Congratulations bro!
She who must be obeyed has been under a lot of pressure. A new job to master, living alone in Bangkok for three weeks, a threat of floods, missing her home, her cats, and perhaps me. It all came to a head yesterday when she had to close down her assignment in Bangkok, rush straight from work to a wedding, rush straight from the wedding back to her apartment and pack, and then travel back to Pattaya. It is therefore more than understandable that she forgot that today is my birthday.
I awoke this morning to no greetings and hugged myself with glee. In the eternal war that is the battle of the sexes, there is no better points scorer than missing a birthday or anniversary. If I could carry this off I would amass so many bonus points I could get pissed and urinate in her clothes cupboard and still come out on top.
“You’ve peed all over my best clothes!”
“Ah yes, but you forgot my birthday three years ago! I win! In fact I still have enough points remaining that I can projectile vomit over your shoes.”
I planned to say nothing and leave it for a while, maybe January, when I would just make a passing remark to lodge my claim for seven million points.
I reckoned without my mother-in-law. Mid-morning she rang my wife and there was a short conversation. She who must be obeyed looked a little startled.
“My mother would like to wish you a very happy birthday. (Pause). And so would I.”
Damn, bonus already crashed to one million points and any lead I might have had was further reduced when she nipped out and bought me a very nice present this afternoon.
Still, I reckon I am still far enough ahead to forget our next anniversary; but emptying my bladder in the general direction of her clothes collection will probably have to remain a distant dream.
Bangkok. To the west and east of the city, the land is flooded, roads and rail are blocked. To the north, massive amounts of water are slowly moving south and flooding the suburbs, bringing misery to thousands.
In the city itself, which is still dry, an air of uncertainty hangs in the air, faces are drawn and the stress is clear to see; these are people living on borrowed time whose lives are about to be seriously disrupted. Err, no. After a couple of days in Bangkok I can confirm that life goes on as normal. The skytrain is packed with smiling, chatty Thais. The roads are busy and the shopping malls are rammed with locals and tourists. Thirty kilometres away and people are forced out of their homes by deep, stinking water; but people in the city are determined to keep on living life until they are affected.
There is some evidence of preparation. Sandbags are prepared at many places….
..and some people have gone as far as walling up their driveway entrance. Must make parking the car difficult:
No sign of flooding though. So your massively intrepid reporter risked live and limb to travel on the skytrain to the river to capture Getty-ready shots of the drama. But there wasn’t any. The river was certainly flowing fast, but it had not reached the top of the barriers.
I gave up in my hunt for devastation and headed for the latest Bangkok mall, Terminal 21. Packed out, mainly with young Thais strutting their stuff and showing no signs of shopping for rubber boots or inflatable boats. What’s wrong with these people, don’t they know that a flood of “biblical proportions” is about to hit them (thank you CNN)?
After attending a wedding yesterday, we packed up she who must be obeyed’s possessions and headed back to Pattaya. Good to have her home again; but Pattaya is extremely crowded with Bangkok refugees and I wouldn’t mind popping back to Bangkok next week for a quiet meal and a bit of shopping.
If you want a view of what is actually happening within Bangkok, I recommend following @RichardBarrow on Twitter, or via his website http://www.thaitravelblogs.com/.
Am I aware that my contributions to this organ have been somewhat lacking over the past couple of weeks (Months? Years?). This can be ascribed to laziness, inertia and a lack of subject matter; but it is also due to the fact that my wife is stuck in Bangkok and I spend too much of my time watching flood updates on Twitter.
The good news is that she who must be obeyed has agreed with her employer that there is no point in her continuing her training in Bangkok, as many of those she is meant to be working with are already away trying to safeguard their homes. I am off to Bangkok tomorrow, will be looking for some flood related snaps in the afternoon and then on Friday there is the wedding of a very good Thai friend of mine; provided that the Dusit Thani is not underwater. On Saturday we will return to Pattaya and life will return to a less stressful level and I can perhaps give this blog thingie a bit more attention.
Of course this plan could all go to pieces if the water comes quickly and comes deeply. If you don’t hear from me by Sunday, please airdrop Mars Bars. I thank you.
An afternoon excursion to the taste-free capital of Pattaya (and that’s saying something), the Saha Farms complex. I have been there before, but I was pretty sure that Ian of PattayaDaze would love the place; and indeed he did; whatch out for his offerings in due course.
As for me, it was the first time to try out my Olympus 45mm in anger; and it proved to be an excellent performer. All the shots below were taken wide open at F1.8. The bokeh (the effect the lens has when it renders the out of focus background) at that aperture is really pleasing. Great lens, shame about the subject matter. Still, Ian is always amusing company and further outings are planned.
Seen off Naklua this afternoon:
When I lived in Brunei, these were quite common and I used to yearn for a closer look; until one headed for shore, passed within two hundred metres of me and removed the roof of the boat club. I no longer relish a close inspection.