March 1-10, 2010
This 'PhotoStitch' tool also works very well inside.
PS: My minder worries too much.
March 2, 2010
This message alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Thailand that in the wake of the February 26 Supreme Court verdict regarding the disposition of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's frozen assets, small explosive devices were discovered and/or detonated outside five separate banks in metropolitan Bangkok. In the lead up to the expected March 12-14 demonstrations and rallies, it is anticipated that more of these small explosive devices may be planted. These incidents are clearly politically motivated, not acts of international terrorism, and travel to Thailand remains generally safe. However, U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise caution and vigilance (especially during the hours of darkness) when walking through populated urban areas. Immediately report to law enforcement/security personnel any unattended packages or bags in public areas.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and health-information resources can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers in other areas by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Thailand are encouraged to register with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at ACSBKK@State.gov. The after hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.
Our GPS in the S tells us that traffic on I-95 is heavy. But, I don't mind as I am sitting the rear playing with my Kindle while Watcharee drives and Ta talks.
Today we made our first trip to the Oriental Market since we have been back in Florida. Normally we would have stocked up from its shelves within hours of arriving in the US ... but, a competing store that is much closer to our house is now selling the same good stuff.
The reason why today we came this far west of the ocean was because we had lunch with fellow corkscrew collector, Joe Paradi (and wife Monika), at their Palm Beach home. Joe and Don Bull are putting together a book on Champagne accouterments. Years ago in Nepal I witnessed a British mercenary (Jon Titley) decapitate a Champagne bottle ... by removing the cork and the surrounding neck with one swipe of a Gurkha knife. I have kept this severed piece along with the slicing blade near to hand as it brought back good memories of Elephant Polo. When I mentioned it to Don he asked me to send him a high resolution photo of the duo. As my traveling camera is a small digital Don suggested I meet Joe for the photo shoot. Perhaps now Joe and Don will show a photo of the cutter and the 'cuttee' in their next book.
When I photographed Joe photographing the knife my camera's eye must have also read the light from his flash: but, the result I like. It is more interesting than my boring shot of the severed thing.
PS: Men's facials.
Sitting in Florida we can see in real time what is happening in our Bangkok condo which is exactly 15,582.6 kilometers away from us.
What are those people doing there? Preparing the floors for a major clean.
PS: Who remembers them back then?
The first time that we ate at Sukhothai* was on November 7, 2000. The last time we went there was on November 2, 2004. Since then we have stayed clear of the place as meals there appeared to augur bad things.
But, last night** we ordered take-out food from Sukhothai. It was excellent.
* A local Thai restaurant that has been in Fort Lauderdale for many years.
** GOOGLE told us that there were no important US elections scheduled for March 4.
Kig and Watcharee share the same birthday. Yesterday, for a pre-celebration, both of them went to lunch at Capital Grille in the Galleria Mall. It was followed by a visit to our local spa for a massage.
But, Watcharee's actual birthday (today) was 'celebrated' at the Publix supermarket on Oakland Park Blvd.
However, we'll really celebrate her birthday on Wednesday with something special. Wait and see.
This afternoon we drove to Bal Harbour (North Miami) and had lunch at La Goulue*, a French bistro located in the 'Shops of Bal Harbour'. It's the first time that we have ventured this far south since we arrived here a month ago. Normally, when we are in America we choose Sunday as a lurch-and-munch day.
Next Sunday we plan to head north to Palm Beach.**
* If Kig checks out the photo of Watcharee reading the menu she'll see how much she liked the birthday gift.
** Today's 'Travel' section in the New York Times ran a spread on how to spend 36 hours in Palm Beach. We are familiar with a lot of the recommended places but it is nice to see them verified in print at the NYT.
Dedicated to everyone who has at least one closet that they have not cleaned out in over a decade.
Reds plan to paralyse BKK, topple govt : sources
By Pravit Rojanaphruk,
BANGKOK: -- The red-shirt movement, in its last ditch effort to topple Abhisit Vejjajiva's government and its back-up forces, are mobilising a huge protest march from four regions to paralyse the capital on Friday.
With Maoist tactics of the "forest surrounding the town", protesters from the provinces will move from their home towns to the capital by farm and pickup trucks, plus buses to put pressure on the government.
Members of groups in many provinces - Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri, Angthong and Songkhla - prepared yesterday for a long march to Bangkok.
They are due to gather at six sites in Bangkok and its outskirts before moving to Rajdamnoen Avenue on Friday evening, said Jaran Dittapichai, a leader of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD).
"The gathering at six centres will last until 4-5pm on March 12," Jaran said, adding that the decision to converge at one large site was a result of 20 hours of deliberation.
The red shirts are prepared to face the declaration of a state of emergency by the government or any special laws and will try to persevere through sheer weight of numbers. They to draw several hundred thousand rural people to Bangkok.
"They won't succeed in stopping us from entering Bangkok even with special laws, unless they resort to violence," Jaran told The Nation.
Jaran reckons the stretch along Rajdamnoen Ave from the Rattanakosin Hotel to the Rama V Equestrian Monument is about three kilometres long, and the road 40 metres wide, with an area of about 120,000 square metres. With three people per square metre, that could hold 360,000 protesters.
"The huge crowd will act as pressure against the government," he said.
Asked about the potential for violence, Jaran said 5,000 red-shirt guards were trained to ensure things proceed smoothly.
Nobody knows how long the demonstration will last and how serious the situation will be - but the government is prepared for a worst-case scenario of violence and riots.
Nattawut Saikua, another key DAAD member, said low-rank military officers from the lower class and grass-roots would work to help the red shirts topple the aristocrat-backed government.
"We call it the watermelon army - meaning they wear a green uniform but have a red heart inside. They will come out to help us," he said.
The red-shirts hope to deliver a knock-out punch to the government by Sunday, a source close to the group's inner circle said but declined to go into details. Hardcore members of the group aim to create chaos in Bangkok with violence and perhaps explosions in many locations, the source said.
They would use the farm trucks to block traffic and mass outside military bases and state offices to force them to stop functioning.
The red shirts did not rule out the possibility of copying the yellow-shirt group's tactics, including seizing government offices as well as Suvarnabhumi Airport, the source said.
The bottom line was to stir a chaotic situation until the government loses control, he said.
-- The Nation 2010-03-09
Food and friends! What else!
Pam and Kig came over for Watcharee's signature dish. But, the dessert was baked out-of-house.
All of these photos have something in common. They were all taken at the scene of:
Next: Part II