Saturday, February 23, 2008

J Should be Taking Off as I Post

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008 11:15am
The advantage of an early Sunday morning flight is that there's no traffic, it's cool (it says 66F/19C), the monks are out with their alms bowls, and you get to see the sun rise. Our cab was waiting for us when we got downstairs 15 minutes early.

Here's J at the airport. Isn't she beautiful? Even squinting into the rising sun.

From getting into the cab to saying goodbye at the passenger lounge entrance, even getting a lot of red lights, and not taking the short cut through the air force compound, to the passenger lounge took 20 minutes total. It's a three hour flight to Singapore on Tiger Airways, an Australian discount airline I found online. Our son has school break next week so they should have a good time.

I was going to walk back in the cool morning air. If you have the right decal on your windshield, you can go through the air force compound to the airport. It's a direct shot, maybe a couple of kilometers at the most. But the cab didn't so we had to go around the long way, compounded by one way streets that take you out of the way around the moat of the old city center. But the cab driver thought pedestrians didn't need a pass. He was wrong. I thought about hitching a ride with someone who had a pass, but decided to walk the other way.

But I got pestered by tuk tuk drivers and song tao drivers and finally said ok. He dropped me off at the entrance to the soi. A soi is a street off a main street. Alley isn't the right translation. The main street here is Suthep (the name of the mountain, means angel in Thai, and was the Thai name I was given long ago because it is close to Steve.) So we live on Tanon (road) Suthep, Soi 4.

I had the song tao driver (I looked, but don't seem to have a picture of a song tao - it means two rows. It's a pickup truck with a covered bed and in the back are two rows of benches for passengers to sit on. In some places they go on regular routes. I'm not sure if that's the case here, most seem to be for hire like taxis here) drop me off where at the soi entrance on Suthep Road.
After getting most of the way up the soi, I saw the sign announcing our place - Baan Nai lek - and thought I should take some pictures in the early morning light. (It's the white sign on the pole on the left that says 300 meters to go.) It's about a seven minute slow walk up from the main road.

And a little further is the sign for Mi Casa. We're told this is an expensive Mediterranean restaurant. Expensive is a relative term - dishes are B200 - B500 (about $12-15) I was told. One day.

Here's the old house it's in and the hours it's open. Maybe we'll try it for lunch one day.

They're still working on this, though there are people inside in the afternoon. (You could see this building and the white fence in the pic with the yellow Mi Casa sign) Not sure what it is. There's what seems to be a recording studio back closer to the road. You can see our building in the background.

A little closer. Just after I took this picture, a huge rotweiler threw itself against the gate next to me. He was inside the fence.

And here at the entrance to my building are three members of the welcoming committee. There are dogs all over. The ones that bark the most are inside a closed gate. Most just move out of the way. A couple of times dogs have chased the bike a little, but those times people called them back.

And since I haven't posted a picture of my bike yet, I thought I'd get our parking lot. My bike is the green one on the other side of the white barrier.

I was going to have this posted before J's plane took off, but my daughter got skype and called and we talked for over an hour. If you don't know about skype and you make long distance calls, especially overseas, you should know. Two people with skype can chat, talk, and video for free. If you have skype you can also call regular phones for very low rates. The sound quality is usually better and I'm told the encryption is very good too. I'm sure the CIA and FBI will be working on skype calls before long if they haven't already though.

I've got a seminar to give next week some time, so that's what I'll work on today. More on that later.

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