Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Thank-you, Mr Pratchett

I've been listening to a novel where one of the central characters is a Tourist. That is, he arrives in the city for the sole purpose of Looking At It, he has a book that tells him how to talk and he has no concept that is money is worth as much as people's houses.

His reluctant tour guide learns some new words from this man.

Picturesque means "highly precipitous".

Quaint means "tumbledown and fever-ridden".

This book has given me some giggles whilst driving between our clinics.

But if you or I had a palm-leaf roof to withstand monsoonal rains in an area where malaria, dengue and cholera are endemic, we'd all live in Quaint villages too.

Albino fish in a pot at the house.  Posted by Hello

The lotus flowers at Jim Thompson's House. He collected ancient Thai treasures, rejuvenated the silk industry and in 1967 went for a walk in Malaysia and hasn't been seen since. Posted by Hello

And now for another virtual tour, this time of my weekend in Bangkok. This picture sums it up - highrises, construction, a temple and a slum. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005


After an intense few days, we can relax a little. We had pasta. With real pasta sauce. And bacon. And Australian red wine.

And the three French people currently in my house commented that the French wine industry is in trouble.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Chilling out

Geckoes are odd creatures. There's the little house lizard ones, which look rather amphibian. And there the huge ones with bright red and blue knobbles, which are loud enough to wake you up and in Thailand are called "Tokays". There's a whole nother story about me being secretly shocked that otherwise normal French people keep turkeys in the house.

A couple of days ago I met a tiny baby amphibian-like one in the kitchen. It was obviously terrified at the sight of me, and ran to the nearest dark hiding place.

Unfortunately this was the fridge I just opened.

Now, it hid quite effectively in behind the crisper drawer. The problem, if you happen to be a tiny amphibian-like creature, is that a refridgerator is not a place to spend much time. Its initially zippy running style slowed in the space of about 20 seconds to a sleepy plod, and then stopped.

By this time I had removed the crisper drawer and most of the fridge contents (eek). This baby lizard managed to slowly manouvre a eye around to look at the huge lumbering thing about to kill it as it froze to death.

I poked it. It fell upside down in a foetal curl and lay, still staring at me with one eye.

What else could I do?

I put in on the floor, got down on hands and knees and resuscitated it.

Thankfully this only involved a few (one-two-three-four-five rescue) breaths in its general direction and it perked up enough to stand up. Two more and it could lift its head, another and it scuttled away from this odd giant breathing on it. I closed the fridge to prevent a replay.

Even more thankfully, none of my colleagues chose that moment to walk into the kitchen.

An experience of one minute, yet a most satisfying result.

The gecko in the toaster did not do so well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How not to get a visa extension

I wore: long sleeved shirt, foundation for the first time in months, earrings and my most polite professional smile.

She wore: camo jacket, black leggings, bleached blonde hair, plastic straw through her left earlobe, at least 10 other (visible) piercings and the faintest whiff of dope.

I said: Sawasdee kaa. I'd like to apply for a visa extension.

She said: Visa - how much?

I got thirty days (I was hoping for 90).

She got advised to go to Cambodia.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Our nearest city, our nearest spot to relax for the weekend, an important historical site and our nearest source of cheese, gin and proper chocolate. We made the trip to Kanchana about a months ago now... here's some of the photos.

The city was known as Camburi to my grandfather when he went through here to further up the railway. It's the official Aussie memorial centre and the cemetery is beautifully kept, with rows and rows of headstones of Australian, British and Dutch troops. I've never been interested in war history, but now I'm in the same spot as my Grandfather was 63 years ago, and beginning to read some of the personal experiences of the prisoners along the railway, its meaning is very different.

The spectacular street lamps in part of Kanchanaburi. Fish seem to be a recurring theme, as I'll try to show you later. Posted by Hello

Water lilies around our hotel room - a raft house on the river. Posted by Hello

You may not able to read the fine print. It says, "Yokogawa Bridge Works, Tokyo, Japan." Posted by Hello

The Famous Bridge on the River Kwai. Or at least the latest reconstruction of the Famous Bridge on the River Kwai. With a monsoonal thunderstorm coming in, I didn't spend too long on it, for fear of lightning strikes, and anyway no matter how Famous it may be I'm not that into bridges. Posted by Hello

ANZAC graves extending into the distance. Posted by Hello

View from the memorial pavillion in Kanchanaburi cemetery - the flame tree overhanging a pillar from the adjacent Chinese cemetery. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Oh, joy!

There is an ice-cream parlour in Sangkhla!!!

Tucked away in the concrete shops, behind a big pile of dirt, there is a real true ice-cream shop, with a gaudy menu, tall glasses, chocolate sauce and cherries. I just had a cappucino parfait!

To think it took me 3 months to discover this.