May 2006 in Bangkok, Part III

After Part II

May 18-24, 2006

Thursday, May 18, 2006 (Pre-journal)

A break between chukkas at Hua Hin:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Here is a bird's eye view of River Garden's spirit houses ... look closely and you can see the birds eating the offerings to the spirit (*).

Hey, in this picture it looks like my car has a spirit house on the roof.

(*) Though Thailand is a Buddhist country most of the believers also embrace Hinduism. It is a curious mix that also pulls in a lot of astrology. So, when Prime Minister Thaksin said the stars were not favorable for him he was not just being glib; he meant it. When we bought our two cars the monks checked the 'books' to see when would be the most auspicious time and date for their delivery ... down to the last minute. Believe me, this sure beats those monotheistic superstitions!

Friday, May 19, 2006

One of Bangkok's little jewels is this shop on Sukhumvit between sois 51 and 53. Called Tifosi, it offers authentic scale models of automobiles. This afternoon I drove there ... (yes, there is parking) ... for a look. And, I bought. This metal 1:18 scale of a new SL is incredibly detailed; it has real mirrors and the seats are covered with leather. Check out the operation of the Varioroof and look at the engine.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Stephff is a cartoonist for The Nation, one of Bangkok's two main English language newspapers. Ever since the price of petrol has been going up he has explored some alternative sources of energy. And, his caricatures are spot on. During the past couple of weeks I have posted two of his earlier ones (which I'll repost again today). Today the third one was published in The Nation.

For readers who prefer Bangkok traffic scenes when thinking about saving energy I am not forgetting you. Today I even have a short movie for your viewing pleasure called "Stuck in Traffic in Bangkok" (*).

(*) I have not used this movie feature on my camera since ... well, maybe since as far back as the sinking and the 'clandestine' raising of The Oriental Queen which was more than four years ago.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

This was posted on a forum discussing "The Da Vinci Code".

The man on the left (wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lamé gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz) is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish.

PS: Last night after we (Watcharee, myself, Alex, Pom, and Golf) had dinner at the newly opened Millennium Hilton ... and while we were waiting for the valet to bring our car ... my camera saw three stunning Thai girls all dressed in basic black. When they heard the first flash bulb pop they turned and smiled.

PPS: But, going back in time ... the waitress who took our order this evening is also rather stunning. The Hilton has recruited a lot of recent college graduates into its workforce.

PPPS: Jumping ahead in time ... this afternoon I took the coveted left rear passenger seat and viewed my surroundings as if I was a fish.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Athenee Residence as of May 20th:

PS: I have lived in BKK for more than six years and I have never received a satisfactory answer to this question. Why so many wires? Either every electrical appliance in this city of 10+million people has its own wire leading into the electricity grid OR, whenever a wire develops a fault the people in charge string up another wire and leave the old one just hanging there. This latter explanation seems more logical; but, if that is the case how to they keep them straight ... how do they know which live wire leads where?

If most of these wires are dead then Bangkok must have a fortune in copper hanging above its streets.

This photo was taken where Ploenchit meets Ruam Rudi.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Quite a bit of excitement here at River Garden ... the management replaced our refrigerator.

PS: Reader Tuki from Thailand/Australia replies to my question about all those damn wires:

In the west these are mostly buried, but the same principle applies. There is a central point in your neighborhood, where each end user picks off his/her cable. Normally (in Australia, at least) this works its way down from exchange to pillar to pit to your home. Each of these break the main supply down to street level where you get your signal.

However, from what I can work out in Thailand, it goes from exchange, to pillar then every house picks off from the pillar/MDF or whatever you want to call it.

What they are missing is the final step, it actually goes hand in hand with the addressing situation, is not coherent. Instead of a formal system to break it down for the end user each household seems to break off from the local MDF (Main Distribution Frame) rather than a more local (street level) IDF (internal dist. frame). SO what you find is that there is a spaghetti type arrangement. In my opinion it all boils down to poor civil planning.

If you picture a human body.
You have a brain (the service provider).
Then the spinal cord (the backbone).
Then you have the ribs (the cables to your house).

The longer the back bone, the shorter the ribs have to be to get to your house. In the west the backbone normally runs in front of your house, here it finished after the 3rd or 4th vertebrae, so you need to get your services from a lot further away, hence so much more cabling.

I live in the country, but this is how I see it.

PPS: The monkfish went wild in our parking lot ... eyeing S and SLK alike:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A few random memories from my 30 month stay at The Oriental ... back in the days when we recorded things at 78 RPM, metaphorically speaking. Is it my imagination or are some of the colors fading?

Next: Part IV

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