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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vegetarian Festival. Why the blood?

I am getting myself prepared to see the annual vegetarian festival that commences in about 10 days. In our naivitee, we thought this would be a celebration of the vegetarian community. Lots of interesting foods and products all began based. Apparently this is not the case. It is instead a 10 period of time where people practice self mutilation, in an effort to release demons. I am all set to go to do the photography, as I think it will be of real unique interest and spectacle. Clive was looking forward to the evening festivals, where they would have great tables laden with food. Apparently, there is not vegetarian food, but with all Thai events there will be plenty to eat. It looks like Gary and I will go to see the body mutilations and Clive and Deb will go for the evening events. Stay tuned for my coverage of this event. In the meantime, this is a link to the events site.

Princess's Cup - Kho Samui

Clive and Adam at completion of the Samui Marathon
Koh Samui

Living in Thailand gives Clive the great opportunity to participate in the marathons that seem to be happening in some country or location not far from us, 12 months of the year. Since our arrival getting settled, the Koh Samui (Samui Island for the anglo’s) was the first local event he could do. We had looked at many ways to get there, but flying was very cost prohibitive, as only one airline serves the island, they apparently own the airport, hence no competition. We had heard of horror stories about taking public transit. And renting a car to do the drive seemed less practical, so we decided to brave the public transit system and be prepared for whatever may come.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cooking With Bruce

I have been doing Thai food cooking for a few months and decided I would put some of my creations on my blog.  This entry is a versatile dish, Thai Peanut Sauce.
This dish usually accompanies satay of chicken, pork or Tofu. But it has many more possible ways to be used in cooking.  It is a good veggie dip and you can add it to hot or cool noodles for a salad or a meal. I spread some on BBQ hamburgers and think it is fab! I can usually get three different dinners per batch.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Monk and His Dogs

While on Kho Samui, I noticed that the dogs there seemed to be better looking than most of my Thai dog encounters. When we walked along the street, we were amazed at how friendly these dogs were and how they approached you with tails wagging and nudging your hand for a pet. We also noted no obvious signs of skin rashes or ticks and it was also evident that they were not lacking in adequate feeding, some of them being outright fat.

One evening I had seen the dogs at low tide walking along the beach and they all seemed to be frolicking and running about. I then noticed that they were accompanied by a monk in his saffron robes, picking up litter along the beach. Our friend Adam commented that there was a solitary monk who lived not far from our hotel along the beach and he had a collection of dogs and there was some sort of cemetery there. At one point, not being much of a beach person to be able to just go and lay still for a few hours, i wandered the beach and found the said monk, living a solitary existence in a single room hut, and an assortment of dogs, all of who came to greet me. Behind his hut was a small cemetery with a mausoleum type structure as well as full-on cemetery plots. The area was meticulously maintained, including the sweeping of the sand walkways and no garbage or tree debris to be seem. He spoke no English, but was happy to see me and took me to view the headstones.

On race day, as I looked to the beachfront, a rainbow appeared and there was the monk with his dogs out doing beach clean-up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Koh Samui

I am getting my camera equipment cleaned up and checking the batteries as we prepare to head to Kho Samui  an island on the Gulf of Thailand tomorrow for a few days. Clive will run in the Samui Marathon, doing the 1/2 marathon portion of the run. We will travel by inter-provincial bus and make the 8 hour trip crossing the bridge off of Phuket to the mainland, across to the port of Surat Thani to board a ferry across the waters to Samui. I am looking forward to the bus trip just for the experience of riding in one of these super coaches, usually bright pink or purple and of course to experience a water crossing on a Thai ferry. Our friends Adam and Win have already got plans in place for us to see the sights, take in some entertainment and of course then there is the run on Sunday. I am sure this trip will prove a mother-lode for the basis of a kite. Speaking of which. I have not gotten what I had hoped to post before today, back from my "editor" (HELLO Clive) , so sorry for no new kites yet.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fiddling Around

Well I think I am finally done the major "fiddlin' and fartin' around", as my dad would say, with this blog and getting it established. I am amazed with the number of hits from around the world. So far I am being looked at in Thailand, Tiawan, South Africa, Canada and the US. Thanks for those of you who have written to give me some good feedback and encouragement. I have one set of Kites in for review and a second one I am just finishing writing before I send it to Clive for his feedback.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ministry of Transportation

Now legal to drive

After 90 days in the country, you are required under Thai law to obtain a Thai drivers license. While it has not been a continuous 90 days, it was time to deal with that official issue. From previous writings, you will know that the bureaucracy here can be overwhelming. Usually after every experience with a government department, I am amazed at the amount of time it takes to do anything, but also that the outcome is actually more efficient that what I experienced previous to coming here. The motor vehicle branch is a daunting ministry to deal with in just about any jurisdiction in the world. My driver license experience in Canada had been nightmares. You would automatically set aside 1/2 a day to renew your drivers license. With that experience, I was very dubious about how to prepare here for this license department.


Mannequins have seen better days, but is that a real Vercase??

Shopping is something you tend to do everyday for a large variety of reasons. The availability of things from around the world and of the latest technology is abundant and the pricing is as varied as the authenticity of the product.

The word knockoff is one that come to mind quickly. A stroll in the night market has stall upon stall of designer wear from sunglasses, to electronics to footwear and of course clothes and jewelery. To the casual eye, it look real, but Tiffany is not likely to be found in a night market on a card table, which should be the first clue. That beautiful sterling silver neck chain in the blue silk bag and the blue box with the Tiffany stamp are convincing enough, I guess. The up side is that the quality of everything is good and when you want a T-Shirt that is comfortable, light and cheap, the label is of little consequence. I recalled my first experience in this market when I was in Kosovo in 2000 and was surprised when we left Zurich on a flight and everyone under the age of 30 was dressed in Prada, Gucci and LaCoste. For a war recovering area, in my naivety I wondered how they could afford to buy such luxuries. Only by going to the market stalls did I begin to understand that the label may be real, but the goods certainly were not. It was a stark reminder of how much emphasis is placed on the label and the status that comes from being able to advertise for the fashion houses. Oh yes, if you are that concerned about the genuineness of the good, they do have actual fashion retail stores where you can get the real deal and pay accordingly, although to me, two people in a Paul Frank T shirt look the same, one may be $2 and the other $200.

By far the best experience is shopping in the markets. There are  day markets and night markets and even some that start at 4 AM when the fish boats dock and the seafood is still kicking.

Dog Walking

Dogs taking us for a walk on Nai Harn Beach

Moving from 2.5 hectares in Canada to the tropical climate of Thailand in a house with about 750 sq. feet of outdoor space, put a severe curtailment to the bassets ability to wander in and out and sniff away and run and play. We knew that the move would bring some adjustments for them, including getting acclimatised to the tropics. It also meant walking on a lead in a harness.

I am the first to say that these things confound me every single time no matter how often I have to put them into and take them out of the harnesses. Clive gets rather frustrated with me, but the mechanics truly elude me. After a few months I am actually recognizing when it is on wrong, its just the steps to get there that are the problem. I must admit that the dogs show enormous patience with me, except for Grace who simply goes passive resistant and drops her full weight to the ground and relaxes all muscles. If you try to roll her, she will yelp as if you have just kicked her, usually sending Annie into a flight panic. I am getting good enough that I am capable of actually doing this with her laying prone. All of those years spent in prisons with passive resistant people, especially the Dukabour women, were there is a will there is a way.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Grace in Canada

Grace is a spayed female tri-coloured basset hound about 4 years old. She came to live with us through the kind people at Washington Basset Rescue WARB . We knew little about her, but what we did know was that she not only had that classic Hush Puppy look, but she also had the textbook basset temperament. What were listed as behavioral issues and problems, were all easily resolved, by understanding bassets and getting them exercise. They may look like a couch potato, but they are a hunting breed and she can and does run, when she is onto something.Her favorite way to avoid being in trouble or having to do something she does not want to do, is to go completely passive and drop to the floor, as a mound of jello. She is my constant companion in the kitchen when I am cooking. She is happy to sample whatever it is that you are eating or preparing. Her diet has changed considerably since she came to Thailand. She loves her mango, fried banana and most of all RICE. To her a clean face is a sign of a basset who hs not lived properly. Most photos require some photo-shop to remove whatever is is she has on her snout, face or ears, sometimes all three. She is mostly a loner, preferring to find a place put of the way to snooze. She is the naturalist of the four, finding and inspecting any insect that she comes across. Her free time is little, as she works at night stalking gecko's, when she is not sleeping, eating or standing full tilt forward in Thunderbird 3, ears a-flappin on her way to the beach. She loves to wade in the tropical ocean water, preferring it to the cold hose of a rinse when she gets back home. She loves to lay on her back and wiggle around on the sand, to get a good back scratch and bring home the kilo of sand she has managed to grind into her back hair. Grace has been given the nickname "Bear" as she looks like a cute little bear cub and sometimes has the temperament of a bear in a bad mood if disturbed by Byron being a pest. Her adoption information and phots are found at this link ,
Grace after a wade and back-rub on Palai beach, Phuket


Dixie is a spayed female "lemon" (white with tan patches) basset hound. She came to live with us, along with her roommates Annie and Grace, courtesy of the Washington Basset Rescue     .  We do not know much about here except that she is in excess of 7 years old by vet estimates. She came into rescue found roaming the roads, heavy with pup, which she happily delivered the same night she was rescued. Giving birth to cross, basset-retriever or lab, puppies. They apparently had the physical characteristics of the retriever-lab and the legs of the basset. She had been identified as an escape artist and has proven to this day that she is not just an escape artist, she instigates and gets followers and no small escape possibility passes without her knowledge. She has adapted well to Thailand and has earned the nickname Bpoo (pronounced Boo), the Thai word for Crab. She loves nothing more than excavating palai beach sand in search of crabs. She is very efficient, and requires human intervention, lest she actually catch the poor crab who has just had their hiding space torn open to the bright sunshine. She has managed one incident of the crab deciding to latch onto that great basset jowl for dear life. She simply flips her head, tossing it to the water and she plunges back in scuba style to try and catch it again. Her favorite things are crab hunting, sleeping and being petted or touched.  She is the guard dog, noticing things and barking at people, whether she knows them or not. Information and photo's about Dixie's adoption can be found by following this link,

Dixie searching for crabs on Palai beach, in Phuket