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Friday, July 9, 2010

"The Rounds" -- Just Touching Base, Friday, July 9, 2010

Not a whole lot to report for now, as I've not been *anywhere* since weekend-before-last (unless you count a stroll to the Rama 4 Road Tesco Lotus Superstore to get some food I can't get around here as a thrilling event).

Anyway, I did manage to meet up with Ba Bert and his daughter Jan on June 25th, my birthday -- Burt's is the 26th -- for awhile that evening. We meant to get together a bit earlier, but Burt and Jan got caught in horrendous traffic and didn't make it until around 6:00 o'clock -- after a nearly three-hour trek from the wilds of Samut Phrakan, where they live. Well, where Burt lives and from where they departed; I don't know where Jan's house is except "somewhere over there towards the airport"!!! Since Jan was on call at practically the crack of dawn the following day, it was a rather calm and abbreviated evening, but we had a nice time anyway.

So now I'm 59, with the Big 60 rolling around next -- my 5th-Cycle Birthday, the real biggie of a lifetime on the Asian lunar calendar, next year. As for Ba Burt, he is happy to announce he's now (mumble-mumble-muble-mind-your-own-damned-business!) years old and going strong. (Jan, of course, is still a young whippersnapper, and in any case, her birthday's remote -- February.)

As for July 4th, I stayed home. Fact is that while I honor my country's birthday, I've never been that big on actually going *out* to celebrate it. That's probably because I dislike heat, despite growing up in Texas, especially if I drink a lot of beer and eat a bunch of hot dogs and chili dogs, hamburgers, etc., which is always an iffy proposition for me, as the whole lot may decide to reverse course later. Not fun. I assume the annual 4th of July celebration went well, though I don't know, which brings me to my next point, . . .

. . . which is that I've not spoken with one single, solitary soul in any way connected with Washington Square since my last visit there nearly two weeks ago. Obviously, I have no current news. But the fact I've *not* heard means, I hope, that everyone's just fine.

Good news for Thailand on placing well in the tourism world. It has down VERY well in some surveys, specifically on the city level (Bangkok and Chiang Mai), in hotels (the Peninsula Bangkok), and internatinal airlines (THAI Inter), Here are the links to two stories with details:

http://www.cnngo.com/bangkok/visit/bangkok-named-worlds-best-city-travel-leisure-magazine-984449#

http://www.cnngo.com/bangkok/play/worlds-greatest-city-50-reasons-why-bangkok-no-1-466745

I also recently read that Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International) and Samui Airport both ranked in the top 10 airports in the world in a survey, the one by Skytrax, I think, which is the most prestigious in the world, because they get input from many thousands of people. I'm not sure I quite understand why Cobra Swamp, as Bangkok International used to be called (there's a story there, yes).

I'm quite sure the folks at the Tourism Authority of Thailand are beside themselves, likely unable to work as they spasm around the floor in delight! ;-)

The rainy season is here, though we've had no flooding (that I know of) in Bangkok. In fact, it rained, lightly, for about an hour a little while ago, ending maybe half an hour ago, cooling things off nicely. I haven't used my aircon in I don't know when.

Bangkok remains under a decree, though it has no effect on ordinary life. This past week the Cabinet took five provinces off the list, but 16 remain. No curfews, which was the main thing to watch out for when it was in effect. In short, life's back to normal.

Well, that's about it for this time, but I did want to touch base. I hope this finds everyone well.

Until next time --

Mekhong Kurt