Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birthday Brat!

Em will be turning "28" on February 9th! Unfortunately I will not be able to be with her this year, so since she is such a prolific talented blogger I will dedicated a blog a day until her Birthday! So Em, check each day for your Birthday Blog and maybe I'll bring you back an elephant from Thailand!

Some background on birthday traditions: The original Dubs hang birthday signs in the kitchen. Most of these were drawn with the help of Ed Emberly how to draw books. They were usually a little silly and a bit corny but fun and creative.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fresh Fruit and a Round of Golf

I woke up a bit early, 2 hour time change (nothing this world traveler can't take in-stride). I read for a while then went on a little jog with some of the other people on this trip, we can't go anywhere alone for safety and accountability reasons. Then had a yummy rice soup/porridge for breakfast.

We got briefed on what to expect starting Monday and had my suspicions confirmed that no one knows what we are doing. We are going to two sites on M and Tu. They are at elementary schools and people from the surrounding area will show up for medical, dental, veterinary, and optometry treatment. Its going to be crazy but fun. We sat around a lot waiting for our truck with all the supplies to show up so we could organize it.

I joined a group going into "town" (a main street with some stores) to get make some copies and get some Bot. I went cause my body has been craving fresh fruit. I spotted a little street side fruit vendor and bought a watermelon, pineapple, dragon fruit, mango, mandarins, and a some other little ball of goodness. Not sure what it was. (I just searched, and I mean searched and found that it is called

Sapodilla ละมุด Manilkara zapota.

It was really good. (They are the ones on the bottom right corner). This afternoon Me and a few of the other guys went and played 9 holes of golf here at the resort. It was a great coarse. We paid about 18 bucks for 9 holes, clubs, and a caddy! in the jungles of Thailand!! The caddies were great. They laughed at our poor golf game. Then I had the most fulfilling moment of my life to this point (no not really) when I hit a good shot onto the green and my caddy lady beamed and gave me a thumbs up.Notice the beautiful steep mountain at the end of the hole. These are surrounding us here.I may have spent a good amount of time in the trees. Darn slice!After golf I got some shrimp and rice noodles for dinner. It wasn't spicy so I placed a 2 mm segment of a tiny chili on it which just exploded fire into my mouth. It was great. I had another.

Then I ended the evening with a short swim in the pool and Skype with Em.

A fun day indeed.

Friday, January 29, 2010

So Was dee Krab

I have safely completed my first and second legs of my trip, I'm not sure how many legs this animal has, but they are long legs! Our connecting flight out of Narita, Tokyo, was delayed 2 hours so we had 7+ hours to spend at the Airport. We arrived in Bangkok at 1:30 am (3:30 am Japan time!). Stood in line at customs for over an hour, they were really slow. Got the hotel and made it to bed at about 4:30 am, 23 hours after Gabe woke me up yesterday.

This morning, same morning as check in at the hotel, we had a fabulous buffet breakfast that ranged from french toast to fresh fruit to curry and ramen and back to omlets and potatoes. Maxwell, the lover of all buffets, would have been in heaven and I said as much to May, dental tech accompanying me. We met up with the rest of the MEDCAP, not sure what that means but it is all the medical people on this humanitarian mission, yes I am on a humanitarian mission in Thailand if you didn't know that yet. Then we got into van/buses and took a 3 hour, this is how long the driver said it would take, and arrived some where near Burma 7 hours later. My neck hurts from looking out the window so much!!! Let me interject that the driving here is insane!!! Our driver is driving half in the lane half out to allow faster cars to pass, yet there is a moped on the other side of us approaching a stalled truck on the side of the street!!!! Or there are mopeds weaving through the traffic on the wrong side of the road. Some how it works with some unseen sense of order. Multiple times though we saw little 2 year olds ridding on the mopeds with their mom. Scary!

We eventually made it to our hotel, which is like a motel on a golf course in some mountain valley area near the Burma (Myanmar)/Thai border. And I just finished my spicy chicken over rice which was 25 Bot, about 75 cents!!! I thought I ordered curry but it was still good and spicy despite being assured it was MILD. Loved it.

I have always been fascinated with Thailand and it was the one asian country I've really wanted to visit, yet I had a hard time getting excited since there is a lot of administrative hassle to going on a trip for the AF, and havn't had much clue about what I am going to do. Yet know that I am hear and felt the energy of Bangkok and have traveled through half the country of Thailand I am very excited. Now bring on those rotten teeth!!!! (I assume I'll be pulling lots of teeth, given there are any instruments to use!!!!)

The country side has been pretty. Lots of coconut palms and lots of banana trees. We past a lot of sugar cane fields as well. About 4 hours into the 3 hour drive there were some huge moutains looming on the horizon. We soon entered these and saw some cool rivers here and there. We passed through the area where the Japanese built the Death Railway with all the POWs and slaves in WWII, in Kanchanaburi Province.

Here are a few photos I snapped on the way today.
There are lots of overloaded trucks carrying various items. Here is the egg truck.
Friendly bus patron.
I loved seeing this monk in a coffee shop at one of the pit stops along the way. The pit stops started out nice, but started getting worse and worse til I found myself peeing in an exposed urinal on the side of a building, no walls no privacy just a urinal. Oh, and their squatters are even worse than the jappanese ones. They have a bucket of water for you to wash yourself in and then scoop to wash out the "debris." But I digress here is your monk.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Em and I went out to eat at our first Chinese Restaurant in Japan last night, Karinba. It was pretty good. While waiting to be seated I noted the clock had an airplane on the second hand flying around the clock. Em asked if I had read what it said on it. After reading it I decided to regularly share some good Engrish encounters with you. How regularly? As reuglarly as I fell like. For those of you not familiar with the word engrish, it is english words arranged in a manner as to have the appearance of a profound statement but which has no real meaning, usually the result of a translation from Japanese to English, which just doesn't make it all the way to real English. "Engrish" has an "r" because that is how an L is pronounced in Japanese. So what did the clock say you ask?


So true don't you think!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Best Day of Skiing

I had Friday off and Em was supportive and encouraging of me to go skiing with a couple of buddies, Cole and Brad. We went to Appi, anyone been there it in northern Japan. Very accessible if you live here!
It was awesome. There was about 30 inches of fresh powder. The groomed runs even had 2-4 inches of powder. The longest line was for the gondola, about 6 people! It was a little cold and snowy but not too bad. After we had a great lunch of hot ramen with wontons we headed back out for a couple of runs in some strong winds that almost blew Cole on his snowboard down the wrong run. But we found some sheltered slopes and then finished the day at their jump park. It really was one of the best days of skiing I can remember.

Then today I took Max skiing at a one lift resort 45 minutes from our house where you can buy a lift ticket for 2 hours. The first run was good. Then Max got frustrated and I was so close to vowing to never take him again. Then after forcing him to do one more run he began having lots of fun and did another 4 runs and started getting the hang of it a bit more.