“I used to walk past this restaurant that was just disgusting. They had blackened rice cookers outside and dirty floors. No farang would ever go in there. But a friend took me and it was just fabulous. Everyone was there from the hi-so grandmother (Thai-English for “high society”), to a funeral group, to a grandson who just became a taxi driver and an older mamasan, who was heavily made up. The first time I ate there I got violently ill, probably from one bad garlic shrimp. But it was so good, the next day, I said, ‘We’re going back’. The place stayed open during the protests as a sign of faith, even when staff had to walk through the Black Shirt front lines. It’s now one of my favorite Chinese seafood places.”
So is a day in the life … Read More »
I kind of like to imagine myself as a photographer.But I’m not.
Yeah, I did make it to the top 25 finalists in last year’s Conde Naste Traveler Photo contest, so close to the $25,000 grand prize I could almost taste it. And NBC News may have picked up a photo I took on safari.
The camera I travel with is my trusty Canon EOS (which I know only because of the word “Canon” in huge letters emblazoned on the strap), which I bought for $400 from a friend who had himself bought it as part of a starter $800 package from Costco. Over the years, I’ve added two more lenses (both less than $200) and have done some short photography courses. But when people ask me any questions beyond that, I just blink rather dumbly. And when people start asking about focal lengths … Read More »
A few months ago, I wrote a post about what Star Trek has taught me about travel. It remains one of my favorite posts to date. I love the way the crew of the Enterprise sought to interact with the indigenous population (especially when they were either green or furry), without leaving a trace, taking away only a better understanding of a foreign culture. There’s something to be said about traveling like a local.
Something that I’ve tried and loved is renting an apartment instead of a hotel whenever I can. I adored the little apartment I had for a week in a working class Prague neighborhood. I ferreted out the nearest supermarket and not only did I save money by buying meals from the hot food counter or making meals myself, but there’s something to be said about wandering the … Read More »
I hate the word “undiscovered”. As in “(insert location here) is the next undiscovered paradise!”
It makes me feel like I’m not part of the “in” crowd. The travel elite. (Cue awkward flashback to high school with my bulky JC Penney sweaters and no-name sneakers.)
I mean, how does one go about “discovering” a place anyway? Is there even such a thing? All I know is that by the time I get somewhere, it’s gone through all its phases of (1) undiscovered and only known about by locals, and even then only to the wizened village elders, to (2) a few intrepid backpackers who have swam under caves and braved death battles with komodo dragons to get there, to (3) oops, someone talked about it in an obscure travel forum but was shushed into silence for fear the tourist hordes … Read More »
I have Travel OCD. There, I said it. Acceptance is the first step toward healing, people.
It doesn’t help that I have the Myers-Briggs personality known as ENTJ, aka The Field Marshal. But Field Marshal? Really? Doesn’t sound all that great considering that the other personality types have names that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like Artisan, Healer or Champion. Famous ENTJs in history include Margaret Thatcher, Simon Cowell (yes, the one that sat next to Paula), Napoleon, Hitler, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Now doesn’t THAT just sound like a fun-filled dinner party? Here are our strengths:
And now the much longer list of weaknesses:
Thankfully for all you regular people, ENTJs are only 2-5% of the population. Even so, we rule the world. But then again, are just as likely to be lynched.
How does this relate … Read More »
Every time the packed sky train would stop at Rajadamri station, I’d find myself wistfully staring at a wide swath of manicured lawns and fountains curiously located right in the middle of Bangkok’s downtown of concrete and glass. Strangely, I never saw any people enjoying this veritable oasis. No parents pushing prams. No lovers strolling hand in hand.
I soon discovered that it was a race track, or more accurately, the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. It was only fitting that in my own homestretch of a three month job in Bangkok that I was invited to dinner at the venerable club which has hosted horse racing for more than a century.
I found it interesting how much horse racing has crept into the vernacular. Aside from the common race-related expressions like “home stretch”, “win by a nose” and to be “off and … Read More »
This wasn’t at all the plan. I was supposed to have quit work last September, travel around the world and land in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, living off of savings for another blissful 6 months… But sometimes life takes a detour. So it was that I found myself on a short contract in Bangkok. Living and working in Cambodia for the better part of 10 years, I assumed that office work in Thailand wouldn’t be that much of a change. Silly rabbit! Those office trix are for kids…
So based on my truly limited experience (by which I cannot claim to have even scratched the surface of the Thai psyche) and with the help of a book lent to me by a colleague about working with Thais, here are a few random observations regarding the Thai workplace from my short … Read More »
It’s that time of year again. That’s right, awards season is upon us. BAFTA, Golden Globes, People’s Choice, Oscars, and the list goes on. I figure there are simply not enough awards to go around, so, dear readers, for this blog, I’ll be doling out my own Academy Awards. Of course, this Academy is made up of just me. (That makes the vote counting so much more straightforward…) And as I live in a vacuum and hardly watch any movies (I looked at the nominations and have not seen a single movie nominated for Best Picture…) we’ll be sticking to what I know. Which is food.
Stranded in a lovely studio apartment without cooking facilities for 2.5 months means that I eat out every breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thankfully, I’m in Thailand, a country renowned for its cuisine. In fact, in … Read More »
It’s the year 2555. People travel high above the ground. The human form has evolved from two distinct sexes into one seamless hodgepodge of androgyny. People no longer cook. You simply imagine what you want to eat and it is instantly available. Yes, I’ve been to the future, people, and it ain’t pretty.
Of course, I’m not really time traveling. It’s much worse… I’m in Bangkok.
The year is 2555 (in the Buddhist Era), with Year 0 being the year Gautama Buddha is believed to have died. Skytrains zip people around this sprawling metropolis. Ladyboys with flawless skin and ever-so-slightly-too-large-hands and their opposites, Tomboys, are firmly in the mainstream, so much so that Ensogo, the Thai version of Groupon, ran this deal the other day…
When I lived in Cambodia, I couldn’t wait to spend long weekends in Bangkok. But now that I’m … Read More »