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Fabian Blandford – Thailand Image Gallery

Via: TrekEarth

‘Teacher Loves Us’

Thailand>North>Chiang Mai>Fang


You can check all of the brilliant photographer’s work, HERE:



Note: I have no doubt the children also love their teacher; as it should be.


June 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re getting Screwed! – No, make that, ‘You’re getting screwed’!


I live in Chiang Mai. Thailand, and the Single Room charge at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital is 900 baht per day ($28 USD).



Q: Yeah, but it’s a shitty 3rd world hospital, right?

A: Actually, it’s a VERY GOOD hospital.


June 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Thailand – the ‘Land of Smiles’

I literally see dozens of smiles like in the photo, each and every day.

They aren’t all as lovely as this hotel (Shangri-La) employee, but they all seem to resonate from deep in their Thai soul; be they from a monk on his early morning walk to collect his daily alms, or from the old lady at the market selling lottery tickets, or from the school kids piling into the back of the bus.

Some Thai people seem not to know how falangs (foreigners) will react to their smiles.

I have found, if I without hesitation, return their smile; the ‘bounce back smile’ will not only ‘light up the room’, but will ‘light up my heart’.


Chiang Mai, Thailand,  a.k.a. ‘The Land of Smiles’


June 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Via: living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Thailand has a population of 60 million, with +95% being Buddhist. I’m guesstimating here, but I believe Chiang Mai might be +/-98% Buddhist.



I love to walk, and I especially love to walk the small streets/alleys (sois) of Chiang Mai.

About a year ago, I was walking down a narrow residential soi, and I passed a small stand; folding table, stool, and a  ratty old beach umbrella to keep away either the hot sun and/or the heavy rain.

The young women smiled at me; and said, ‘Sawadi ka’, which is Thai for hello.

I returned the smile, and said, ‘Sawadi krup’.

Over the next week this rountine was repeated each time I walked by, but I didn’t stop because none of the Thai sweets looked very appetizing, to me anyway.

And then one VERY HOT DAY, I saw her stock an Igloo cooler with bottled water.

I thought, yeah, got to get some of that!

She handed me a bottle, but it wasn’t cold; which meant, I had to ‘Pull a Marcel’.

She was obviously a fan of the late Monsieur Marceau, and understood the, “fold my arms and shiver” thingy.

She reached into the cooler, and pulled out a bottle. It wasn’t to her liking, so she reached in again, this time VERY DEEP.

She presented it to me like a sommelier would seek approval for a, ’1985 – Chateau Gruaud-Larose’.


I gestured ‘how much?’, and she held up eight-fingers (a five and three combination).

I gave her a ten-baht coin ($.30), and indicated she should keep the two-baht ($.06).

She didn’t understand that at all, and continued to look for the two-baht change.

I finally held up ten-fingers (a five and five combination), and indicated the ten-baht was for her.

She was VERY SURPRISED; smiled, wai’d me, and said, “khup khun kaaaaaa”!

The routine became a little more sophisticated because she would spot me coming down the soi 20-30 meters away, point to the cooler, and gesture; “Yes? No? What?”

If I indicate NO; as I pass, we simply exchange, “Sawadi kaaaaaa, Khun Jon“; and, “Sawadi krup, Khun Ae”.

If I indicate YES; she selects the coldest of the cold, dries it on her apron, peel of the little plastic doohickey, and opens it for me.

I recognize this as an example of kindness, in its purest form.


Q: So, what does this have to Buddhism?

A: On the concrete block wall behind her stand she has a small, inexpensive statue of Buddha.

And slightly below Buddha, she has a very inexpensive ‘bud vase’ where she places a fresh-cut flower; sometimes red, sometimes yellow, and sometimes white; seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year.

I believe, it has EVERYTHING to do with her belief in the teachings of Lord Buddha.


“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama; a.k.a. ‘a simple Buddhist monk’



February 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Starbucks’ War on Laptop Hobos Is Paying Off

Via: Gawker

For at least several months now, convenient caffeinated masturbatorium Starbucks has been quietly waging war against the laptop hobos who fill its seats all day to “work on that screenplay” (browse Craigslist sex ads) while nursing a single drink. Now, the evidence is in: busting laptop hobo riff-raff= big buck$$$!

Starbucks’ earnings for the third quarter are in, and looky here:

Starbucks Corp.’s fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 29% as the coffee giant benefited from continued loyalty among U.S. customers and its expansion overseas.

Starbucks said its U.S. stores saw more traffic and higher bills per customer [!!!]. Overall, U.S. same-store sales rose 10% in the fiscal quarter ended Oct. 2

Extra special business performance highlighting is ours, thank you. Guess how you get more traffic circulating through your stores and people spending more than $2 per visit?

By kicking out the laptop hobos, ladies and gents.

Beware, laptop hobos: kicking your ass is a moneymaker.

Learn to love it.




Here in Chaiang Mai, Thailand, Starbucks takes a different tact to the loiterers by charging 150 baht ($4.88 per hour) for WIFI.



November 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Mabuhay, Manila!’

I wrote this in an e-mail several years ago, ok many years ago, after a visit to Manila.


Manila is NOT one of the ‘Most Beautiful Cities in the World’ because it’s crowded, dirty, smelly, etc, etc, etc.

But, Good Gawd Almighty, I love this town.

To me it’s always, “all about the people”, and ah Manila, is absoluetly wonderful!!!

A while back, I took a cab from the airport to Makati, which is the commercial / hotel / entertainment heart of the city.

When I got into the cab, the young Filipino driver was playing the theme to the old TV show ‘Miami Vice’, set fairly high, maybe a 4.

He said, “Sorry Sir, I turn down.”

I always thought there are similarities between Miami and Manila, and the tune could have easily have been called ‘Manila Vice’, so I asked him to ‘pump it up’, maybe to a 8 or 9.

He said, “Sir, did you say UP?”

I said, “o’o, salamat.”

He said, “Yes Sir, Thank You Sir.”

And oh, it just felt ‘so right’!!!

The traffic into the city was terrible as always, but the laughs and beautiful smiles from the young Filipinas in the jeepneys when they first saw the literally “vibratin’ Toyota” was wonderful indeed.

BUT THEN, to see them get into the beat and start dancin’, made it the BEST $7 taxi ride of my life.




I plan on leaving Chiang Mai during the next ‘burning season'(March /April).


I’m thinking about, going to breath the clean air in Manila.

cough, cough cough, cough

Okay, okay, you’re right, there is seldom, if ever, clean air in Manila; so after a few days in Manila, I plan to head up to Baguio.


May 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment