Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reno(vate) or Relo(cate)?

It's one of the few shows I watch on the boob tube and I'm applying that question to my blog.

I have a 17-year history with keeping an online journal. I was blogging before it was called "blogging". I also have a long history of packing up and moving house... not unlike my online blogging history. Somewhere out there is another blog I've abandoned.

While I don't treat my personal relationships this way, I do have a reason for the repeated jumping of ships. You see, a blog is an online extension of myself. It presents a real, albeit very incomplete, part of me. When I evolve (so Pokemon-ish), I stop being the person who used to write the entries. Her struggles are no longer mine. I have moved on, and I think so must the blog.

Staying on, for me, is like wearing a pair of old jeans - they are comfy, but they have ceased to represent your old style.

That said, I am at a point in my life when I seek some semblance of permanence. Moving away is too taxing on the body, mind, and spirit.

So, after that long attention-seeking intro that is so typical of me, I now face my latest choice: do I renovate this blog to match my current evolution (still homo sapiens), or do I do as I usually do: pack up and run?

Waiter, I'll have another beer, please. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Dogs of Bangkok

Soi dogs. Soi means "street" so these gentle creatures are literally street dogs.

Most look like mixes - Husky meets Labrador meets Poodle meets Shar-pei. There is also an occasional pure-breed. There is one common thing: they are all (among those I've seen anyway) well-fed.

Street carts and hole-in-the-wall eateries are everywhere - they line the main roads, populate the narrowest sois, and exist even under stairs leading to the BTS stations.

Where there are carts, there is food. Where there is food, there are customers. At the end of the day, there are leftovers, and - in the case of the gai tom (chicken soup - actually like HCR) stalls - lots of leftovers. These leftovers inevitably find their way to the dogs.

A short-snouted medium-sized brown dog at the Sathorn Pier (near Saphan Taksin BTS station)
eats out of a plastic bag
Some of the dogs (and a few cats as well) actually have collars. These are usually put on by the people who become the primary caregivers for the animals.

They are simple folk. There is a large dog near Popsie's condo who lies in front of his master, a security guard for a condo building under construction. His master speaks no English; I speak no Thai (yet) but I understand in the way that he (the security guard) coaxes the dog to get up and look at my camera (he doesn't) that he loves the animal. He has another one under his care, a lush-haired black medium dog that looks like a Husky-Labrador cross.

He lives on soi Anuman Radjamon with another dog; they both have collars
and are cared for by a security guard
Outside a shop across Naradhiwas lies a medium-sized black dog. He looks like a mix of Rottie and Lab. It was almost dusk and he is taking a nap on the warm concrete. His guardian owns the gai tom stall a few meters from where he reposes. With my broken Thai and the stall owner's broken English (and a lot of mutual hand-gestures), I discover this dog found his way here a couple of years prior - with a broken leg and ticks. He is healthy now and gets as much leftover rice and chicken as he wants at the end of the business day.
The darling black dog who raised his head to look at me while I took his picture
I couldn't help but think how much better off our homeless animals could be if we Pinoys could be as compassionate and care about life as much as Thais. Sure, the Thai guardians may not give adequate vet care. The dogs may not have the concept of "home" that the Western world does, but they do have a home. They do have owners.

They do have good lives - and it is SO much better than the lives of the dogs I see in Metro Manila.

What we Pinoys need to feel is not merely pity, but to be moved to do something. Anything.

What we need is compassion, and to
be the spark that ignites the flame of change.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to get wet safely during Songkran

It is the year 2556! Hurray!

Thais celebrate the new year in style: getting soaked head to foot and plastering gooey flesh-colored paste on people's faces.

No one is exempted. Everyone gets wet and gets flesh-colored warpaint on their faces. Whether you are on foot, in a van, in a tuktuk, or just going to 7-Eleven to buy ice.

You look like you need a cold shower!
Your camera won't save you!
It is extremely crowded so be very mindful of your possessions - even the ones attached to your body (harhar). The crowds are massive. Think of it as EDSA Dos...but with water. Lots of it. Mostly icy.
The crowd on Thanon Silom corner Thanon Naradiwas - this is the thinnest part, trust me!

So if you do decide to join the craziness, come prepared. We did!
Don't mess with the Pinoy Songkran Warriors!
I skipped today's craziness and went to Nichada Thani for another face-stuffing of Pinoy food.
There's still tomorrow - the last and most bonggaceous day of Songkran.

Sawasdee Pi Mai Kha!

 All pictures courtesy of Larry Castro

Khai Thoon, my four-legged Thai friend

Today I made a new friend.

This is Khai Thoon. He is a 2-year old Rhodesian Ridgeback owned by a Caucasian couple two houses down from my dad's boss' place in Nichada Thani.

He is lovely, rambunctious... and left outside when his people are not home. Just like today.

It made me very sad and a bit angry at his owners, frankly, but he is so cute and friendly that I could not help but warm up to him.

He is, after all, the first Ridger I've seen in person (in dog?)

Just look at him!

I think he's a mix, though - his ears are too small and his coat a bit too lush but what the heck. He was affectionate... and hungry! I think it's no accident his name translates to "tender chicken"... or at least that's what it sounds like.

Good thing a group of 20+ Pinoys and Thais were having a feast in the same courtyard he was frolicking in. He was well fed today.

Now... if I could only have a word with his owners...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Never say "hoy" in Thailand and other useful (less) information

HELLO Bangkok!

Me, my Momsie, Tito Nico, and his son Joel
After a 45-minute delay, a gate change, a short bus ride on the tarmac, a thunderstorm (complete with lots of lightning) viewed from above, a bit of turbulence, a chatty German fellow for a seatmate, a nice Taiwanese guy offering me his dinner (he claimed he was full, but I think he thought I was starving), and 3 and quarter hours in the air 5J 931 made it to Suvarnabhumi.

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am to be here. For one, I've missed my Dad... and I missed the food. Hey, at least I'm honest!

Pop had a feast waiting for us back at the condo. I was too hungry to take more pictures. The shrimp was succulent and sweet, the lumpia-thing refreshingly herby, and the crab sticks firm and crabby (eh?).

Boiled shrimp, crab sticks, fresh lumpia reminiscent of popiah and fiery dips

Woke up a couple of hours ago after 6 glorious hours of horizontal sleep (I can never sleep in moving vehicles - can you?) and started eating again. Sliced up a whole honeydew melon and ate it (still am) while surfing the Net.

Later on, the water madness of Songkran begins... I got my high-powered water gun and my bikini ready!

Oh, and today's lesson? Pinoys, never say "hoy!" around here... It may be the quintessential greeting/beckoning utterance back home but here it refers to the vajayjay. ;-) 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Does everything really happen for a reason or is that just a way for us humans to attempt to comprehend something incomprehensible - the new opiate for the masses?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Daily (Doggy) Grind: It's a Dog Eat Dog World Part 1 - Taste Test

When I felt Nikka has recovered enough to be put on a real carnivore's diet, we dove in head-first. Well, she did anyway. It was into a meal of raw meaty bones (equivalent to 2% of her ideal body weight (not a very active dog to begin with - strange for a Beagle).

We started off with a quarter chicken - also her humans' favorite chicken part - the thigh and leg. The meat was ribboned and the skin scored. The leg was frozen for 24 hours then thawed in the chiller overnight and put on the counter for the ten minutes it took me to scrub her food bowl clean, sanitize her eating space, and put the whole(!) chicken slab in her dish.

At first, she gave me a look that said "Mom, have you gone insane? Where's my kibble with wet dog food?" before walking away (her siblings had all finished their kibble meals so she had nowhere to forage). A few minutes later, she came back and licked at the skin. A few more licks later, she took the first bite.

She bit, chewed and chewed and chewed then swallowed. It took her thirty whole minutes to finish her meal - she had plenty of leftovers. I was so proud of her.

I still am!

I am happier still that Deedee the Basset Girl and Hunter the Cocker Spaniel lil man have gone the Nikka way and are on RMBs now. The proud momma (yours truly) has started giving them bits of liver with their chicken. Douglas and Lilly have followed suit and I am ecstatic! Soon we're going into the uncharted territory of pork ribs, beef heart and bull pen*ses. Oh yes, you read that right!