Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today's Engrish

This is a sign on the top of a self serve rice cooker at a Raman shop I went to yesterday. In other words, Obama or Americans eat too much rice!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Cool Links

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Click HERE to see a video report of the Cobra Gold MEDCAP in Thailand. I even get a speaking part. No HERE! (And if you haven't visited for a while, look at the rest of my Thailand Posts).

Here is an excerpt from the Army Website:
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KANCHANABURI PROVINCE, Thailand (Feb. 1, 2010) – U.S. Air Force dentist, Capt. Douglas W, a pediatric dentist assigned to the 35th Dental Squadron, Misawa, Japan, pulls the tooth of a child at the first Medical Civic Assistance Program site at the Baan Kroeng Kra Reaon School, in the Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, in support of Exercise Cobra Gold 2010, Feb. 1. This was the first of seven MEDCAP sites scheduled throughout the course of the exercise. The MEDCAP sites will bring together doctors, dentists and veterinarians from the armed forces of Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and the United States. Cobra Gold is a regularly scheduled joint and coalition multinational exercise hosted annually by the Kingdom of Thailand. This year marks the 29th anniversary for the exercise, which consists of a Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative Exercise, Command Post Exercise, H/CA projects and field training exercises. (Photo by U.S. Army Master Sgt. Christina Bhatti-Madden)

Also, Go here to vote for St Joseph Hospital to win a grant from Tom's of Maine for the pediatric dental clinic! That's where I was training to be the Pediatric Dentist Extraordinaire that I am today! (You can vote once a day if you'd like)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Funny Sign

This was a sign at the Priew Waterfall we went to in Chantaburi.
Any ideas what this medicine is used for? We are still laughing about this!

P.S. Stay tuned I have a few more Thailandish posts coming. Thanks for sharing the trip with me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thailand Last Day

We had a late check-out time for Anantara (which is Sanskrit for "without end") so Emily slept in while I went out to do some flower photography and scope out the breakfast choices.

The breakfast here was the best yet: awesome omelet station, Belgian Waffles, fresh fruit, fried egg station, fresh fruit, fruit smoothies (banana vanilla was the best), fresh pineapple and mango, bacon, breads and cheeses.
I ate A LOT! It was fabulous. Then we headed down to the beach and and relaxed in the sun for an hour and played in the ocean for a long time.
We headed to the pool for some more sun and refreshing swimming.
We then retired to the luxurious bath tub with the provided bath salts--which left a wonderful fragrance in our room.
Alas, we had to pack up and check out and then went to enjoy one last poolside meal, and one last chocolate and banana and whipped cream smoothie by the pool for Em.

We loved Anantara! And luckily we were charged in Bot so we have no idea how much it was!!! (I wish.) Our driver came and took us back to Bangkok were I stayed the night while Em took the red eye back to Tokyo, stopping for the a temple visit and then on to Misawa. Before she left we went across the street to the massage parlor. Em was in heaven and I had a Thai lady walking on my back! Which is actually heaven for me too!

The next morning I uneventfully flew back to Tokyo, I about cried when our plan was landing from happiness to be home! (Weird since it was Japan soil and not US, but I happen to live in Japan.) I stopped by the JAL counter in hopes of running into Em checking into her flight, but was too late. So I headed out to the Temple and and successfully navigated to the correct subway station. As I got off I saw a white man in a suit who looked like he had to be heading toward the temple. So I followed him and realized I had gone the complete wrong direction as he stopped at the New Sanno (military) hotel nearby. Oh well, I went in and got directions to the Temple from the hotel. Shortly I arrived at the temple, which was a block away from my original subway station.

As the Angel Moroni atop the temple came into view I was overwhelmed with joy. I stepped into the temple and my mind was filled with peace and I felt full of light. I had been to many different Thai temple (Wats) and shrines and even felt some holiness at some of them, but nothing compares to the presence of the Holy Ghost I felt as I entered just the lobby of the Tokyo Temple not to mention the rest of the Temple rooms.
I stopped for Raman and then came back to the hotel and now am awaiting my flight the next morning. Can't wait to be home again!!!! I miss my boys!!!

I'm off to check into my flight now!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


We all know that Emily is the better blogger so I just say that Hua Hin is beautiful, or at least the Anantara Resort in Hua Hin is beautiful. We spent the whole day either in the pool or in the ocean! It was fabulous, except that now we are feeling sun drained.
This is the private pool for the lagoon room residents like ourselves. It is right next to a beautiful lagoon.
This place is very luxurious. They brought out cold hand towel to the poolside to refresh yourself. And they came in while we were at dinner and turned down our bed leaving little palm leaves with a happy valentine note on them. Plus there is a pillow menu! You call and tell them which of the eight types of pillows you want. I chose the orthopedic comfort pillow. Good Night

Happy Valentines Day
Happy Chinese New Year

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bangkok Doll Museum

We love Creches, aka nativity scenes. We collect them. So we wanted a Thai Creche. Let me tell you, it is not as simple as you think. I have asked 3 or 4 interpreters. My private interpreter worked hard trying to find me one. We went on a made dash through Chantaburi trying to get one. I found a website, , and they had one on there. But when you go to their directions and contact info there is none! So I kept trying and trying to find out how to get one. Then the other day I found a website for doing things with kids in Bangkok and one of the activities was to visit the Bangkok Doll Museum. I suspected it was the same place since some of the awards matched the awards won by the orginal doll maker on the first website. Still the hotel didn't recognize the address and told me to look in a completely different area. Then last night I found another website that had a map to the museum and then I confirmed that it had the same nativity. The map showed it to be in some out of the way neighborhood.

So today we headed out in a hurry, leaving around 10 am. =) and set off to try and find this place on our way to the weekend market. We got off the skytrain, hired a taxi and wound our way through some very narrow streets deep inside a real Bangkok neighborhood, you know not where tourists go. We eventually found this cute little shop/museum tucked away in this Soi (Thai for side street).
We found the nativity and after trying to understand one of the little doll makers the owner, the son of the famous doll maker came to help us. He has retired from teaching law to care for the company since his mother is old and in the hospital. He was a very kind man and very helpful and even gave us a discount since I was there doing humanitarian work for the Thai people. We were sooo happy.

This lady has been working here for over 50 years and is one of the original workers. It was cool to see this little group of about 6 working over all these dolls!

One Night (and a Day) in Bangkok

Em and I had a great day together. We (she) slept in and then we had a leisurely breakfast, followed by a taxi ride to the Royal Palace, also home to Wat Phra Kaew, you know the one with the Emerald (actually Jade) Buddha. (It was originally covered in plaster til a monk noticed some green where it had flaked off on his nose.) This place was massive and beautiful!!Em took advantage of the dripping flower water blessings. We walked around there for a while and then had our first Tuk Tuk ride. It was crazy, weaving in and out of traffic on this little thing with a loud buzzing motor. It dropped us off at Wat Po. Em was just going to sit and wait since she was tired and feet were hurting (swollen =( ). But when I saw how awesome and ginourmous this reclining Buddha was I went back and had her come in. She was glad. His feet are inlaid with various mother of pearl scenes and designs.Em found us a yummy restaurant on the next street and did her first bits of shopping with the street vendors.

We then took a long traffic jammed taxi ride back to the hotel and relaxed until the Dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River. This was so much fun. It had a live band that was actually not too bad. The river was beautiful at night with the temples and palaces lit up. It was a very romantic and fun way to celebrate Em's birthday, valentines and especially Chinese New Year. Royal Palace at night. Wat Arun or Temple of the Dawn. My favorite one on the river. (Rama (or King) VIII Bridge, I guess he was assassinated and they build it in his name. I love having my new travel buddy!!! (My picture count for today was 172! Mostly used to get good night shots that weren't blurry. Grand total so far is 894.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cobra Gold Endex

I am writing this blog at the Starbucks at the Bangkok Airport waiting for Em. My heart keeps leaping every time I see someone that might be her, even though the last one was Asian and was holding a child. I’m a little jumpy after the crazy taxi rides I’ve had today. I assume the plane that arrived from Tokyo is hers despite the different arrival time and different flight number since the one on her itinerary doesn’t seem to exist.

Today we did half a days work at our last site since we had to high tail it to Bangkok today. Most people are leaving early tomorrow morning. It was the wrong day to cut short, especially for dental. I took out more teeth on my first patient (8) then I did all day yesterday!! My assistant May, Pim my interpreter and I have been doing tooth brushing instructions each morning for all the patients waiting to be triaged and seen. Today’s was a lot of fun. There were a lot of kids that came over to listen. They all laughed when during the brush your tongue demo. I guess I have a rather large tongue and my tech keeps making me show them and laughing! A lady yesterday visibly flinched when I showed them. Good things my self-confidence is made of steel!

While in doing one of these oral hygiene instructions this morning I saw a kid that didn’t look well and had a large swelling. I brought him over afterwards and his teeth were just horrible. I thought the swelling/asymmetry was due to an abscess but it turned out not to be tooth related. The parents claimed it was since birth, along with a history of hydrocephaly. I’m still not sure what is the cause or what it is. I took out four rotted teeth, but didn’t see a dental cause for the englarged area, neither did the physicians. Any ideas?

When we got back to the hotel, I had forgotten how nice it was!, we headed out to the night market. It was pretty cool with lots of cool stuff to buy. I thought I am in trouble if I bring Em here. So I’ll have to make sure she doesn’t know about it! =)

She’s here!!!! Buy!

Here are some of my Singaporean friends. They were two of the many great people I became friends with and worked with.

P.S. The pool party was lots of fun last night! I think we ended up throughing in about 15 people. How many people can say they threw a Thai Army Colonel into a pool and lived to tell about it! Thanks Colonel Pete!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Almost Done...!

Not too eventful of a day. We visited our 6th site today, and have one more left tomorrow. Today was really slow with very few kids; whereas most of the others sites had tons of kids come. We're also in a less rural area.

So, since we had some extra time, I taught one of the physicians how to anesthetize and extract teeth. He did a good job!

I did see one kid who needed a tooth extracted and was very uncooperative. I got her through it, but she cried the whole time. I knew that if I didn't get it out, though, it was destined to become infected/abscessed.

Here is a picture of her after. Looks very happy and grateful don't you think?
I'll throw this one in too...
The traffic is crazy here. They have so many scooters, and they pile the whole family on!
I saw a family of four with two little kids all on the same little scooter driving through the busy streets.

These guys are pretty cute:
Tonight we are having a farewell pool party to say thanks to all the interpreters. They really have been extremely good. My interpreter Pim was great at helping us set up, work with patients, break down our dental stuff, help load the trucks each day and interpret for us, as well as being our tour guide on our excursions! Thanks Pim!

Now just one more day of work and then I get to see my BEAUTIFUL WIFE!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Namtokphlio National Park and Chaolao Beach

First off, this hotel's breakfast is absolutely amazing. A lady is on standby ready to make fresh juice with her juicer. I visited her three times for about seven glasses of juice. Awesome! Pineapple-guava turned out to be the best. There is another station of omelet and fried egg makers: my omelet was fabulous as well. Can't wait until morning!

Following breakfast, a group of us headed out to find the Priew waterfall in a national park. As we approached we saw lots of really long green beans for sale. A few minutes later I found out they were to feed the fish. These fish were insane. You throw a piece of bean in and a hundred fish all dive after it.

Later we dangled our feet in, after seeing people swimming with them, and they nibbled my toes rather innocently. After feeding the fish we went on a trek around the park above and around the water fall. At one point we followed the wrong trail for 20 minutes until we figured out the correct way to go.

Afterwords we went to a little beach town called Chaolao. We had lunch in a little open air hut: lots of yummy Thai seafood. Followed by a some fun in the water.

We couldn't believe how warm the water was. It was as warm as a nice bath! Warmer than our swimming pool, which is really nice. I've never been in ocean water that warm. The beach was beautiful.The afternoon ended with a mad dash through Chantaburi to find the Catholic Church that said they had a Nativity for sale. We finally found it after running across a bridge, around the Church courtyard only to find a very disappointing Nativity you could buy at the Dollar Store. So the search for a nice Thai Nativity is still on!

Now I'm going to go spend the rest of the evening and night at the pool! (After talking to Em via Skype! HAPPY BIRTHDAY EM!!!)

Em is Great

A Few of the many things that make Em the Greatest:

She makes the best chicken noodle soup for me when I am sick
She is the best at folding fitted sheets
She is very playful and "spirited"*
Christmas Tree Decorating skills are most superb
She makes the best whipped cream with ease
Her birthday cake skills are untouchable
She is the best ceramicist or potter I know
She likes to spend time with me
Excellent taste in everything
So very artistic
She is the best and most loyal friend to others and Me
Has a great decorating eye
Is a very tender mother, full of love
She is letting me miss her B-Day to go to Thailand for 3 weeks without her!
She is a hot chocolate connoisseur

*this is what I call it when she tries to pick fights with me and pick on me and/or torment me especially when I am trying to fall alsleep.
**My sister doesn't like it when I talk in the superlative but I can't help it when referring to Em!

The LONG Road to Chantaburi

We left Ratchaburi and headed across Thailand through Bangkok to Chantaburi this morning and about 10 hours later we arrived at the hotel. (This is part of the Bangkok Skyline.)Everytime we drive somewhere the estimated drive time is only half of what the real drive time has been. The first trip was 3 hours=actual time 7 hours. Today was supposed to be 3 or 4 and ended up beign 10. Now today we did take a 2 hour break in Pattaya. The drives during the day is brutal. The "air conditioning" is grossly inadequate for the heat along with the sun beating through the windows. (Except for a couple of the vans, one person even had a blanket on as they drove by us!!!) Even our Thai interpreter is struggling with the heat!

I was quite glad to leave the Golden City Hotel in Ratchaburi. It housed all the smells of Thailand in one place. The rooms smelt bad (as we checked into the rooms a maid was running around spraying air freshener into all the rooms.), and then the hallways had their own aroma as did the lobby. Then all that was compounded by the agriculture smells from outside. The previous motel at the resort was less smelly but we shared rooms and the beds were the hardest substance known to man. This is all meant to lead up to the resort at which we are staying for the last 3 days of our trip. It is nice. There was a lady waiting with glasses of juice as we approached the reception desk and another with cool towels to refresh ourselves. Instead of the film and feathers in the pool at the last place, this pool is perfectly warm and refreshing. The rooms are nice and best of all there are no unpleasant smells so far.

Those 2 hours mentioned above were great hours. We stopped at a Garden Park where you can see different Thai culture shows, elephant shows and rides and the grounds are covered in beautiful plants. My friends and I headed straight for the elephant rides. I'm not sure what our interpreter told the elephants drivers, but we got hooked up. Instead of the quick ride the other tourist had, the drivers took us farther away and then let us get down from the seat and onto the neck of the elephant where the driver had been sitting! It was great and actually a lot more comfortable then the padded bench seat. It was great riding ON the elephant as it lumbered back and forth with its large ears whipping my ears.We followed this awesome experience with an equally awesome meal at one of the restaurants. Then we headed back to the elephants and feed them some bananas. As we gathered for a group photo we jumped at the chance to take one with one of the elephants that came walking by. I asked the driver guy if he would let the elephant lift me up onto its back. Next thing I know he is having the elephant wrap me up in its trunck and hefting me up in the air. It was so fun!!! And look at how cute this little guy is!! This is my disgust after she blew elephant snot all over me. It was worth it though. We had a great great time.