Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Work, birds, running, French movie, laundry, NY symphony in Pyongyang

Spent most of the day working on my seminar. Preparing a presentation in Thai and English with pictures to help get the points across. My Thai is frustrating. On a basic level - market Thai - I’m fine. But when I wander off to try to explain things of a more complex level (and some things not so complex) I stumble, my tones are terrible, and I feel kind of stupid. I really need a good teacher who can diagnose my Thai and design a lingual and cognitive therapy that will get the most improvement in the shortest time.

At lunch, Bun and I walked over to Wat Ramphoeng and ate in the lovely garden. A pair of striking white crested birds with a black band through the eye hopped around in the trees around us taunting my Canon.
My shots are great, but you can see them. It appears that one was much more black and white, the other had a lot more brown. After going through the Thai bird book, I’ve decided that they must have been White Crested Laughing Thrushes. (And in the lobby with internet connection, I've confirmed it.)

The temple dragon was much a more cooperative photo model.

After work, I rode my bike over to the track at Chiengmai University - maybe a kilometer a way at most - and finally ran. Time, traffic, heat, and particularly dogs have been my excuses for not running. But I pushed myself over there and did eight slow laps around the track. I’m guessing I did a little over two miles. That’s ok for the first time in weeks. And I hate going around the track - it’s so easy to stop. When you go off on a run, once you get out there, you have to come back. But going around the track you can stop at any time. But it was very pretty. Here’s a shakey picture of Doi Suthep from the track.

Rode through the campus afterward to the main gate and had dinner at the vegetarian restuarant we ate at yesterday for lunch. Very good. When I got back to the southern gate, it was locked. There was enough room to walk through between the posts, but the handle bars wouldn’t fit. I was seeing if I could lift the bike high enough for the handle bars over the poles - I could but I couldn’t get through the narrow opening holding the bike - when a guard showed up and unlocked the gate to let me out.

Did some laundry and watched a French movie with English subtitles. I’ll post about television here soon. We have a wide choice of national televisions. Watched Hong Kong television with Japanese news programing in English covering the New York Philharmonic Orchestra playing in Pyongyang. This was a very political event, with the announcer speculating on the timing a day after the new, hard-line toward North Korea, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak's inauguration. With China, the first event was ping-pong, here it’s the symphony. Who says orchestras are apolitical?

The internet isn’t working again, so I’ll go downstairs and use the wifi and then go to bed. It’s Tuesday and J won’t be back until Friday morning. The manager offered me his car to go pick her up, but I don’t think it’s worth it for that one short trip. The soi is very narrow and you drive on the left side. But it was a very nice offer. He has a sticker to go through the Air Force compound so it’s just a quick shot.

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