Edward's Bangkok Blog

These articles are light-hearted views from 2011 to 2016, when Edward and his wife lived in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Article has image(s) Inhospitable Thailand
(by Edward 2011-10-13)

How Rude

As Thais typically greet you with a smile, the general perception is that Thailand is a very polite, welcoming, and hospitable place. I agree that the Thai people are wonderful, but ThaiLAND--the actual environment and ecosystem where the Thai people live--is exceedingly ill-mannered. The people are delightful, but to the environment I exclaim, "How rude!"

You Don't Know

One of the inside jokes between me and my kids is the "you don't know" joke. They may comment, "I'm tired." I then put on my best grumpy-old-man voice and reply, "You don't know what tired is! When I was young…(blah blah)…" Just yesterday I heard, "I'm stressed." I was obliged to respond, "You don't know what stress is!" And we both laughed.

Today is October 14, 2011, and right now, Thailand is experiencing it's most destructive floods in decades. A few miles north of Bangkok, in Ayutthaya, flood waters have reached over two meters (six-and-a-half feet), wreaking untold destruction. One official this week stated, "one third of Thailand is a disaster area" because of the flood waters. Even the capital city Bangkok is under threat, and parts of the city may become a swimming pool this week. As such, we have been preparing for floods for the past few days. We went to various stores looking for bottled water, and all the shelves were empty. We finally found one pallet of bottled water that was still wrapped in plastic. As the worker was in the process of cutting open the wrapping, there were at least six shopping carts waiting like vultures for the last breath to leave before they alighted on their prey. In fact, as soon as the first cut was made in the plastic, two people rushed the pallet, pulled open the plastic, and began grabbing cases of water. I took my cue, elbowed my way in, and grabbed a few myself. If ever I hear people talk of floods, I'm certain I will say, "You don't know what flooding is!"

Last night, sometime around 2am, I was startled awake by what sounded like a basketball being shot through a window by a cannon. Boom! Crash! Fizzle! Groggy and confused I looked around and listened, and I could also hear battle drums in the distant. It was not the NBA reenacting the War of 1812, it was another thunderstorm. In the U.S., I've lived in the east, the west, and in the middle, and I've never heard thunder like the thunder here in Bangkok. If you think you've ever heard thunder, "You don't know what thunder is!" The most recent episode is at least the third time that Thailand has insisted upon waging its war on silence when most of humanity is asleep. It's like the Foley technician in the sky only works the graveyard shift. (And I thought the 2am boom boxes of El Mirage were bad.) As I attempted to return to Neverland, my lips unconsciously scolded the storm, and I uttered, "How rude!"

The Family Dog

When it comes to the torrential rains, thunderstorms, and flooding, I was surprised to learn that these floods did not come as a surprise to the Thai people. One news commenter even complained that it was getting so much press. "Thailand floods every year," he said, as if people should just get used to having six feet of water in their living room. Of course, he neglected to mention that northern crocodile farms have lost over one hundred of their beasts that are now happily mingling about; and he seemed oblivious that the government is having to drop food boxes via helicopter to support the lives of remote families; not to mention the effect upon the food supply as rice crops have been lost; and let's not forget the disease that floods inevitably leave behind. But I must concede one point: One stroll down Google-lane reveals that this does happen every year. Not to the destructive degree that is occurring now, of course, but every year nonetheless. But this is the Land of Smiles, and this inhospitable land is patiently loved by its people like the family dog that chews its master's shoes.

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Posted by: Mike C. (2011-10-15)

There is nothing better to us information junkies than a balanced, rational perspective from a local (credible) resident. And nothing is more annoying than the biased perspective of the local media - spin doctors, every one. While journalism may not be in your near future, it is always a pleasure to tap on the 'favorites' menu of my Safari web browser and choose 'Eddie's Blog'. Thanks for keeping us updated, educated, and entertained. You rock, my friend! - Charles

Posted by: The Dad (2011-10-17)

Good post . I know that if I need to know how you are doing in Thailand I can see it on your blog.Keep up the good work. "You don't know what good bloggin' is."..............'til you see Eddie's.

Article has image(s) Expletive Deletive
(by Edward 2011-10-23)

Cinderella Story

I grew up in a home where language was an art. The language art in my father had begun to be developed during his months as a trucker, and reached its full expressiveness during his time as a sailor. In the Navy, he also painted the ship. He never explained why, but I suspect it was because at that time he could strip a wall clean with just a few sentences. So by the time I hit double-digits, I had picked up a pretty colorful vocabulary myself, and had a few trips to the principle's office to prove it. After becoming a Christian, I had to learn a new vocabulary for those stubbed-toe knuckle-busted moments when you must say something, but don't want to paint the wall later. We call it "Christian cussing," but the proper term for it (and I'm not making this up) isĀ Expletive Deletive. "Shoot, dang, frizzle frazzle, freaking, Judas Priest," and "blankety-blank" are generally acceptable alternatives to their less attractive equals. And why dance with the ugly step-sisters when Cinderella is available?

Learning The Dance

Living in a foreign country--foreign to me, at least--there is no shortage of opportunities to practice my linguistic dance steps. Every day is a new lesson where "Step-two-three, one-two-three, step," is usually a stomp on the cultural toe! But a couple of "frizzle-frazzle-blankety-blanks" later, you feel all better and do it again. Last week my wife and I walked to a grocery store a block or two away. It was a little overcast, but no big deal. Halfway there, it starts to rain. We've learned to always keep our umbrellas with us, so again, no big deal...except that my wife's umbrella had broken that morning, and we hadn't yet replaced it. So we snuggled under one umbrella, and not only did we stay mostly dry, but I earned a few chivalry points, as well. Minutes later we're returning home, and "raining cats and dogs" cannot begin to describe that storm. It was like three tons of satellite space junk pummeling us in the form of water. Even with an umbrella, we were soaked to the knees as if we were the last fire hydrants in a world of dogs. Then right in front of our apartments came a crunch-time dilemma: the sidewalk was blocked by street signs, and only one of us could fit with the umbrella in hand. One of us had to abandon the umbrella--getting soaked from above--and step into the street, which was now running with about 8 inches of water. I gave my wife a heroic glance and motioning to the umbrella I said, "You take it honey. And remember me when I'm gone." Well, that might need a little elastic around the waist, but it was something like that. The short of it is I ran several yards through nearly a foot of water, and several more fully exposed to the storm to find refuge under a nearby awning. And in those few seconds I was more wet than a living sponge. "A small price to pay for my wife's safety and comfort," says I. Then I turned to see that she was dripping head to toe, too! "What happened?" says I. "Someone else was coming," says she. "So what?" says I. "I didn't want to poke their eyes out with the umbrella," says she. "Why did we even use the frizzle-frazzle-blankety-blank umbrella, then?" says I. And we both felt better drip-drying outside the lobby, all thanks to Expletive Deletive.

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Posted by: Mike C. (2011-10-24)

Flippin' brilliant posting, brother! ;-) I would say, "stay dry". But I know you wouldn't listen. But hey, that's why you still have that enviable head full of hair; to keep the rain out of your eyes. Sure, it's no longer that rock star hair you sported in the early 90's, in the glory days of King's Rite. Oh how I miss those days of our youth, when we could 'do anything' (like race cars, drink endless Big Gulps, and live the dream) until the wee hours of the night and wake up the next day without so many aches and pains. So those of us not blessed with your wavy locks will simply continue being grateful for the wisdom the years have brought - while we apply our spray-on tans, do Pilates, and think up cool Twitter names to convince others (and perhaps ourselves) we're still hip and relevant. Or we'll just shave our heads like we just don't care. But rest assured, while you may no longer CHOOSE to grow your hair like Eddie Van Kidwell, we're jealous just knowing you still could.

Posted by: Ed (2011-10-24)

In my best "hip text-speak": ROTFLOL. [grin]

Posted by: The Dad (2011-10-25)

"And why dance with the ugly step-sisters when Cinderella is available?"

But the stepsisters are so COLORFUL!!! LOL

Posted by: Mike C. (2011-10-25)

@Dad - Stepsisters are colorful, yes. But not nearly as pretty, or intelligent. It's kind of like the difference between the French Riveria and a Louisiana bayou. Both have water, but only one has culture worth traveling to for the experience. One is a destination you love to speak of: fine cuisine, beautiful landscapes, and elegant people. The other is just a stopping point along the highway, good for packet of Slim Jims, a can soda, and a potty break.

Posted by: The Dad (2011-10-26)

The bayou ( was there once)has a unique beauty all it's own...........and some mighty fine food. 

The French Riviera is a big beach filled with rich, hairy, fat guys in speedos.

Intelligence is something that has been severely lacking in this country( which today is run by rich poindexters,con artists and Fox news) for many years.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Article has image(s) Come Hell Or High Water
(by Edward 2011-11-02)

The Panic Button

Last weekend many people evacuated Bangkok because of the reports of possible flooding in the inner city. However, as there was no widespread inner-city flooding (at least in terms of new areas being flooded), I speculated that it was really just an attempt to get people out of their homes and spending money in hotels and restaurants. Thus, an economy stalled by hoarding and panic might be sparked back into some life. It seems ironic to solve panic with panic, but in the words of Sherlock Holmes, "for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination." After all, what better way is there to stimulate spending in hoarders than to pound the panic button--something they are already prone to answer. We decided to stay.

The Boy Who Cried "Wolf!"

I don't consider it heroic to ignore evacuation warnings. My motivations were just practical necessity. First, I don't have a car. And competing with a million people trying to leave the city conflicts with my struggle to be more patient. God promises not to tempt me with evil, so I don't want to tempt myself either. Second, I distrust the news for the same reason I distrust certain people: a pattern of unreliability. That dang kid has cried "wolf!" so many times, I just don't believe him anymore. Would you? Therefore, we stayed put during the so-called "inevitable" flooding coming to our area which just proved to be another midnight cry from that brat on the hill. My personal panic button has been disconnected until further notice.

Staying Put

There is something to be said for the determination to stay put, even if it's not seemingly smart to others. We were not alone in staying home for the "flood holiday." Though the streets and stores were less crowded by Bangkok standards, they were still quite full. And all of us that stayed behind got to enjoy the shorter lines, quick travel times, and emptier trains. The store shelves had been mostly replenished, so we were able to get some essentials: noodles, orange juice, and cookies. We felt rewarded for staying put through the difficulties. For a moment, I couldn't remember…was I talking about the floods or marriage? (We are soon celebrating our 20th anniversary.) Oh well. Either way, we're staying put come hell or high water.

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