Just a glimpse...

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, and is NON CH related - chat about the weather, or anything else that takes your fancy.

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Katharine
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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Katharine » Sun May 11, 2008 10:28 pm

Philip you know I want to be back in SE Asia why do you keep on teasing me? We had those too! Your cobra looks to be just a baby in that photo! (though I would rather not have any in the garden - the largest I saw was in Ghana not Borneo).
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Not for the faint of heart

Post by Ajarn Philip » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:55 am

My apologies for what is about to follow, but it's cathartic and a lot cheaper than going to an analyst.

Whenever I go anywhere I almost invariably drive myself. I've been driven up to Bkk a couple of times in a university minibus, but that was a pretty incident-free experience. On Friday, though, I had a real insight into the dark side of driving in Thailand. I was driven up to Bkk by a university driver in a souped up Toyota super-pickup that seemed to hit 150kph in about 3 secs. The driver (I'll call him Nigel - I've always liked the name) needed a pee break after 3 minutes, and bought himself an iced coffee. There was a compilation cd of crap farang soft rock playing, and he kept skipping tracks or going back to the previous one. When it finished he spent 5 minutes trying to find a radio station while doing 145 kph on the Samut SongKhram road. At that point I offered to find it for him, or preferably drive. He seemed to think I was kidding.

Nigel had a nasty habit of driving with his left hand while the right one was cleaning out his left ear. When it wasn't digging for potatoes it was drumming a rhythm on the back of the headrest - he must be a trad jazz fan, because I couldn't make out what the rhythm was supposed to be. Although the music was playing constantly, he had some kind of device surgically attached to his right ear (made me think of that sexy Star Trek droid lady with a telephone extension for a name), which is probably why his unoccupied right hand had to manoeuvre round to his left ear to keep itself busy. It wasn't a hands free device, because on the 3 occasions he used his mobile while driving, it was always held to his left ear (with his right hand).

Nigel didn't always have much of an idea about what was going on around him, and when he did, it was usually the wrong idea. On a 3-lane road he wouldn't pass anything in the slow lane without indicating, flashing his lights, sounding his horn and braking first - now I'm all for a bit of caution but he was already in the outside lane anyway...

He was constantly on edge (but see coffee info coming up...), accelerating and braking unnecessarily, adjusting the steering minutely, but again unnecessarily, so that the ride was extraordinarily uncomfortable for a passenger. Long sweeping bends seemed to confuse him totally - he went storming into them, suddenly realised the road wasn't quite straight and appeared to lose all sense of where the he was and slam on the brakes. The sort of things that happen all the time on the roads here seemed to come as a huge surprise to him, causing him to make a sort of teeth-sucking tsk sound that I've only ever before heard from West Africans.

Nigel is obviously being overpaid, as he bought (and consumed) 3 iced coffees and a bottle of water in less than 5 hours there and back (including turnaround time and breaks). Needless to say, we had to make 3 pee stops...

He also seemed to have a bad back. Either that or he was suffering from a version of Tourette's Syndrome. Every now and then, just as I thought things seemed to be going a bit more smoothly and was starting to relax, he'd utter a weird grunt, and his upper body would jerk forwards as if he wanted to headbutt the steering wheel.

On the way back he developed a nasty case of the sniffles and had no tissues. That resulted in an even nastier case of the Thai 'hawk' process without the end result. Unfortunately I have a very easily triggered gag reflex, and this, frankly, is about the best way to trigger it. Especially when it's combined with a good nostril dig with stringy results. (Sheesh, I'm gagging as I type.)

There were a few other things I'd planned to mention, but I'm afraid I'm about to projectile vom... - spleeeeeeeursh
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Jo » Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:54 am

:lol: Phil, this raised a chuckle first thing on Sunday morning!

Seriously though, it raises some interesting points about cultural differences. Like you, I find hawking quite disgusting, but I understand there are some cultures in which it's unacceptable to blow your nose in public, so I guess it just depends where you've been brought up. Actually, I think what bothers me principally about people doing it in this country (along with constant sniffing, or spitting), is not just the action itself, but the fact that the people doing it aren't taking the trouble to respect our cultural norms. I know that sounds a bit pompous but we are constantly reminded to be sensitive and considerate when travelling abroad (and I know we have our share of trouble makers and lager louts), but we just have to be tolerant when people are not sensitive and considerate here. Phew, that turned into a bit of a rant that I hadn't intended :)

Going back to your visit to Bkk, I think I would ensure I always drove myself in future! It sounds hair-raising :shock:
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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Ajarn Philip » Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:54 pm

Talking of cultural differences, they're sometimes not as wide as you might think.

I had a busy weekend, but I found time for a bit of funa an relaxation...

http://jazzfestivalhuahin.com/
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by englishangel » Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:21 am

Ajarn Philip wrote:Talking of cultural differences, they're sometimes not as wide as you might think.

I had a busy weekend, but I found time for a bit of funa an relaxation...

http://jazzfestivalhuahin.com/
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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Ajarn Philip » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:17 am

Another of those 'just a glimpse' moments.

I was walking round the grounds of the estate (okay, the garden) just now, when I saw a plate of food, a glass of water, a handful of incense sticks and some flowers on the ground by a bush. This means someone's been having a chat with Buddha. Mrs Ajarn's got the Thailand snuffles right now, so I thought maybe that was it. I went and asked, and she said it was because she had a bad dream last night.
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by CHAZ » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:32 am

Poor Mrs. A: For the sniffles a good Beechams powder sshoudl do the trick but I suspect in Thaikand, that's not a common item to come by unless Watsons or Boots have it.

Interesting cultural point on the bad dream story....has the food gone now? Buddha or the local dog/cat/rat/snake etc!
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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Ajarn Philip » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:27 am

Well, it was only meant to be a little snippet, but since you ask...

I'm no expert on Buddhism, I've made no study of it, so what I say is merely personal observation. But by and large, it seems to me that the vast majority of Buddhists here have no real concept of the religion. Most seem to think Buddha was a Thai. They have no idea of his real name. As far as I can gather, there is no formal religious education to speak of. That's surprising, considering that even today, outside of the cities, most of the schools are within temple grounds. I don't mean that they don't take it seriously: on the contrary, they frequently pop down to the local temple to feed the monks on religious days, often give donations to the temples and are forever waiing as they pass one of the many shrines all over the place. I don't mean to sound condescending at all, but it seems more like superstition than anything else. Ghosts, luck, fate, amulets, etc. play a big part in everyday life. Praying seems to involve asking for favours (mind you, that could be said of many other forms of prayer), and merit strikes me as a commercial arrangement. The treatment of animals here is quite shocking.

Think I'll stop there, I certainly didn't mean it to become a diatribe! But I do think it's a shame, as from the little I know of Buddhism, it doesn't sound like a bad set of principles to base your life on.
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by CHAZ » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:30 am

Any more mysterious going ons in the garden today Philip? Did Buddha eat well?
Hope that Mrs.A has been exorcised from her bad dreams.
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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Ajarn Philip » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:37 am

Not a glimpse of anything right now, Chaz - thunder like I never heard in the UK, visibility zero, and it's hissing down. Just as well, because we've got no water for the next 3 days. I'll make this brief, because the elctricity usually disappears for an hour or two when it's this bad... Paradise? Hmm, every once in a while!
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Tim_MaA_MidB » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:15 pm

There are probably a few people in Thailand who know quite a lot about snakes. Unfortunately not many of them are Thai. To almost all Thai people all snakes are deadly. Well, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that the majority aren’t poisonous, and that of the minority that are, most are far from deadly.
Same attitude to snakes here in Brazil. It's understandable though, when some of them are very poisonous.... if in doubt, kill it.

It is a bit contrary tho' when malaria kills more people than snakes do and people still leave containers of water lying around, or don't cover up their water tanks.
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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by sejintenej » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:34 pm

Ajarn Philip wrote:Another of those 'just a glimpse' moments.

I was walking round the grounds of the estate (okay, the garden) just now, when I saw a plate of food, a glass of water, a handful of incense sticks and some flowers on the ground by a bush. .
No, not Buddha but Iamanjah or other forms of Macumba (black / white magic to you)

The roads around Rio are frequently the site of offerings of food and cachaca (white rum like drink) to the local deities. It is considered dangerous to move / remove such offerings so how the council collects such items I don't know. I suspect that the council employs Maes dos Santos (witch doctors is the closest interpretation) to protect their employees; working in a UK company and in respect of a French employee we had to do that on one occasion!
‘So, still happy you voted for my namesake who took away your health insurance, raised your taxes and should turn out to be a mental patient?’

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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Ajarn Philip » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:03 pm

It's not a glimpse of Thailand, but it's a glimpse of my day, and certainly not worth a thread of its own.

I was translating a medical document today, and one of the doctors mentioned was called - I kid you not, this is the God's honest truth - Dr Legoff...
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by gma » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:54 pm

........thunder like I never heard in the UK, visibility zero, and it's hissing down. Just as well, because we've got no water for the next 3 days. I'll make this brief, because the elctricity usually disappears for an hour or two when it's this bad... Paradise? Hmm, every once in a while!
Feeling quite superior here, NOT!!

Is hissing down with avengence in Berkshire, winds that my grandmother (doughty northener) used to describe as being created by the Devil riding through and swishing his tail, intersperesed with minutes of blazing sunshine. Fetched HWMBI from the station last night in howling gale, thunder, lightning and roads under water as the rain came down so fast and so heavily the drains could not cope.

All apples blown off my apple tree and whilst that does mean that I get away with hawking them around friends trying to get rid of them, it also means that I have to get out there soon and pick them up before the slugs start having a festival in my name. Patio is steaming right now and in few minutes it will be underwater again.

At least the monsoons are a) reasonably predictable and b) reasonably predictable!! :lol:
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Re: Just a glimpse...

Post by Ajarn Philip » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:53 pm

Today's glimpse is an irritant, and by way of example, although I'm hammering the space key, I'mnot going backand correcting eachmistake. I ate pineapple at the computer this afternoon, and some hours later the keyboard was infested with tiny ants. When I was tryingtoclear the little boogers out I dropped the keyboard and the space barfelloff.I've put it back on, butit's not working very well, as you've probably noticed bynow. I wouldn't mind, but I bought this keyboard a month ago,have since had to buy key stickers, as the ink started wearing off the keys within a week,and willnowhave to buyanother. It cost me nearly 5 quid!

Ants are one ofmy major 'irks' of living here. That and hard butter.And no cricket onTV.
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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