May in Bangkok, Part II

Between Part I and Part III

May 8-14, 2004

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Reader N. H. from 'Downunder' wants to know if our new bathroom window will allow for peering eyes. No!

The Shangri-La Hotel is running a Tom Cruise look-alike contest.

At yesterday's Ploughing Ceremony (*) the Royal Soothsayers predicted an "abundance of crops and water this year". (**)

(*) A ritual which combines Buddhist and Brahmin rites.

(**) Currently 59 of Thailand's 76 provinces have been declared "drought zones".

Sunday, May 9, 2004

You can always tell when someone thinks his (her) car is no longer "new": they take it to a commercial carwash.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Yesterday's carwash machine must have had a strange light on board: one that largely reflected the color blue from the interior leather of our car. Using Adobe Photo Shop (7.0.1) I tried to change it back to what it really is (silver) ... but with only limited success. In fact, I may have made it worse: something pinkish. Obviously, I am not a master at this Adobe thing.

PS: This file photograph more accurately represents the interior color.

"Alf, do you think that anyone really cares whether you washed your car at a commercial car wash; or, even if you ever washed it? And when you worry about the 'reflected' light from the seats ... well, you really should find something to take up your time in a more productive manner."

Thailand to own a little bit of England?

Thai Premier Pays $115 Mln for Liverpool Stake, Thai Rath Says

BANGKOK: -- A group of Thai businessmen headed up by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has agreed to pay 4.6 billion baht ($115 million) for a stake of about 30 percent in English Premiership soccer club Liverpool, Thai Rath newspaper reported on its Web site, citing Deputy Commerce Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal.

The deal will be signed tomorrow in Bangkok, Pongsak was quoted as saying. Pongsak represented the Thais in negotiations with Liverpool's management, the newspaper said.

Thaksin wants Liverpool to help promote professional soccer in Thailand, it said.

Thaksin on March 17 denied newspaper reports saying he was in talks to buy shares in Liverpool. His family was ranked the second richest in Thailand, with a net worth of $1 billion in 2002, according to Forbes Magazine. 2004-05-09

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The motorcycles are the killers! Over the Songkran Holiday 78% of all motor vehicle deaths in Thailand were chalked up to riders on motorcycles.

Sometimes they are just a real pain.

On the expressways and highways, when the infernal machines are fairly stretched out (distance-wise), they are not terribly noticeable or irritating. But in Bangkok (where most of them are 'garaged') they tend to clump together at intersections. Part of this is because the traffic lights in BKK stay 'red' for so long (up to 5 minutes); this allows the motorcycles lots of time to weave between the lanes and the paused cars...thus positioning themselves at the very front like a swarm of hornets all set to 'go' when the light turns 'green'.

Our new car has four motion-proximity sensors that beep whenever something is moving within dangerous striking distance of any of its four corners. On a normal day, at any Bangkok traffic light, all four of them are beeping like a monotonal quartet trying to eke out the most notes in the shortest amount of time.

Motorcycles frequently drive the wrong-way on one-way streets; and they are not shy about driving into oncoming traffic if their own lanes are running too slow; they even resort to using sidewalks when they only have a block or two to go and it is too much of a bother to take the bike up and down the curb.

All motorcycles feel comfortable passing cars either on the right or the left even when there is only one lane of traffic. By the way, like in England, traffic moves to the left of the center line ... and the steering wheel is on the right.

Incidentally, it is common to see three riders on one motorcycle; on one occasion I saw five: the baby was in front of the father while the mother and two other kids were tucked onto the rear.

Single rider motorcycles frequently carry freight worthy of a tuk-tuk. Propane tanks are often delivered by motorcycles.

Bangkok has tens of thousands of motorcycle taxis. Only the driver is required to wear a helmet ... though, as a courtesy, many of these two wheeled cabs carry a spare helmet (presenting a dermatological risk that probably outweighs that of being maimed).

One plus: in the evening it is fun to see the 'working girls' arrive at work (Nana, Cowboy, Patpong) riding side-saddle. They are dressed for that moment.

PS: Reader A. Page of England has sent us the newest edition of the London Underground Map. If only Bangkok could have a system like this! London must have 150 train 'stops'. I think BKK is lucky to have about a dozen. London has about seven million people. Bangkok is nudging twelve million.

Click for large .pdf version

PPS: Does this explain all the violence found in The Passion of the Christ? Back in @ 32AD was this Guy doing just a little bit more than changing water into wine ... and did the good people with the lashes and the nails have a legitimate 'beef' ... were they the good guys?

Yes, was He the Grand Daddy of all Pedophiles?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

This is a contest.

Can you guess what this is?

The prize? You'll see.

Anyway, the answer will be here tomorrow.

PS: Reader Bull writes: "That's an easy one. It's an upside down one of these." (*)

(*) Admittedly, it does look like a ceiling support. But, no, it is something much more practical ... especially in SE Asia.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

If this is not the answer you were looking for ... well it is a hint that almost everyone should get.

Come back tomorrow if you are still stumped.

PS: Though THOCBDC received 3,765 entries, only four of them were close; and of those four, only two were right on the target.

Reader R. B. (*) from Seattle, WA (USA) correctly observes: "I'll have to say it's an ant trap. N'est pas?"

Reader P. F. (*) from Bremerton, WA (USA) also is on the right road: "Aha! Death to climbing insects and other vermin!"

Reader D. B. of Wirtz, Virginia (USA) shows his affinity with early American (Colonial) accessories: "AHA - Table Booties!"

Reader H. M. from Astana, Kazakhstan writes: "Something to keep the table legs (wood) always fresh; like what Christians do with Christmas trees."

(*) Both winning entries come from computer experts: people who deal with bugs all the time.

PPS: A last minute entry from N. H. from 'Downunder' stabbed in every which-way:

PPPS: Apparently N. H. of 'Downunder' was being facetious when he sent his scattering of guesses. His real answer is:

"It's to stop 'beasties' crawling up the table leg. In the bowl is oil or maybe petrol. All the legs will be in there own pool. It also is most probably your new house up River, where 'beasties' are abundant. An ancient bug catcher."

Yet another PS to the May 13th entries: Reader R. B. of Seattle, WA (USA) adds to his 'homer' with:

"In Guyana we used to use water but THEY eventually figured out how to swim across it so we resorted to a more pungent and viscous medium :-) (*) I love Thailand partially because it reminds me of Guyana 20 years ago."

(*) Dear R. B.: In our Ayutthaya river house where these table legs rest protected in cups of apparently benign fine china ... well, all is not what the eye thinks it sees. For in all four bowls there is an outer citadel and an inner citadel, each of a most ingenious design. Cleverly constructed with these twin walls...the outer barrier allows the ant to reach its upper edge and survey the dangerous mixture of lye and essence of pepper-oil that separates him ... on his exterior perch ... from the (next) inner one. Should he attempt the swim (and survive) this second wall of draconian composition should be his end. Tiny Ricin laced barbs hurled by nano-sized catapults will almost certainly staple him into the gooey acid based jell from which this penultimate fortress was built. But, for added security, the insulation between this interior death wall and the table leg contains the ultimate 'gate': Strontium 90 mixed with spent Cobalt casings from discarded X-ray machines.

Friday, May 14, 2004 (Breaking News)

The day before yesterday my hits on one particular page took a 'spike' ... not because of anything that I had done ... at least not recently. Apparently, GOOGLE had indexed one of my older photo gatherings in such a way that anyone who was looking to see the Berg head-roll found 'me'.

This was the lead entry on a GOOGLE search of "Beheading Photos".

Beheading Photos
Beheading Photos. The Corrections Museum. Bangkok, Thailand. After
his head was cut off it was paraded about on a stick. Three of the ... - 5k - Cached - Similar pages

Friday, May 14, 2004 (about 9am Southeast Asia time)

Thailand's summer storm season is starting. Fortunately for me (*), the big rains don't hit Bangkok until late in the afternoon.

(*) But, this is very unfortunate for rush hour drivers.

Friday, May 14, 2004 (Later)

Area Between River Garden and The Peninsula Hit Hard

Windsock at The Peninsula Sucks Big Time

Boats Get Wet

Curtains at 5a Billow

Next: Part III

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