wander project taking the family to Thailand!

When my dad retired from the University, he and mom wintered in Bangkok. I always wanted to say that. I winter somewhere other than where I summer. In their case the Thai Government hired dad as a consultant and flew him over to Thailand, they, mom and dad, selected to go during the winter months to reduce the amount of time they had to shovel snow and things like that. During one of those first years (I think they went to 5 or 6 consulting events in Bangkok) mom and dad decided they wanted to have the grandchildren all see Bangkok. Each of the families flew over to stay at IPST and hang out in Bangkok (my one sister went to Chang Mai, we went to Pattaya as well as Bangkok).

It was a chance for all of us to see Thailand. My wife, by then was probably sick of stories of Bangkok. Of the Sunday Market and the kites. The food, and of course my constant complaints about Pineapple and Mangos in the US. She got to experience the food that I love! She developed a few rules about Thai food, no slimy, and NO SPICY. She did try lots of different things. Of the twins, one of them loves food and was willing to try just about anything once. We ate at a variety of places, and they were fine with most of the food we got. The other twin and his sister were not as comfortable with the food; they ended up eating rice and breakfast cereal.

We decided to see if we could take them to the US Restaurant Kentucky Fried chicken one day, just to get some protein in the two of them. Mom and I ordered the one Thai rice dish they had on the menu. It was, without a doubt, the hottest meal I ate in Bangkok. Not US hot, Thai hot in a US Fried Chicken chain, a little well disconcerting.  We, my wife and I were a little nervous about this trip. We were concerned that 24 hours on an airplane would be tough on the twins. They did better than my wife and I. They slept, played video games and had a great time the entire trip over and back on the airplane. I guess all the concern we had upfront ended up being good planning!


wander project what my father saw

When we lived in Indiana July 4th was a party at my folk’s house. We would wander down from Greenwood; my sister would also wander down from Greenwood. My little sister (who is much younger than me) still lives in Monroe Country where Bloomington is. We would all drive down, and then head out to watch the 4th of July parade. Then it was back to mom and dad’s house for burgers, brats and other 4th of July traditions. Now, it is a bit of a drive to get there, but the memories are still there. We would head to my sister’s office in town and sitting on the curb, watching the parade roll by. The parade was always about the city of Bloomington and the university.

It was a majestic display of fire trucks and marching bands. There was always a float with surviving veterans from various wars. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Veterans celebrated as they rode by. There were also various organizations that would walk by. Politicians would also walk by shaking hands with people. I remember my dad not shaking hands of GOP candidates as they walked by. Dad was a liberal his whole life! We would watch as the kids dived for candy. One of the parts of the parade for some reason I never understood, was throwing candy to the crowd. They would throw tootsie rolls, which made sense, but they would also throw hard dandy.

The Hard candy would shatter and open, but the Tootsie rolls were soft and survived. The other things were bubble gum. That ended up being a problem on the way home, with ten pieces of bubble gum in twins mouths. But the Bubble gum usually went into the ag that they gave out early in the parade. I used to wonder about that, who thought of giving out bags. And then, did organizers think about the impact of pockets full of candy and put the bag providers at the beginning of the parade? The mini-flash providers were early in the parade on purpose. They would have out the mini-flags so they could be waved for the veterans. All, in a magical day sometimes raining, sometimes hot. But always fun with the family!


wander project what my dad saw

Happy July 4th, if you celebrate American Independence. If you don’t, Happy Thursday! No, as a resident of Washington DC, I am not going anywhere near the parade. It is a 3 hour plus drive, and finding a parking space is insane.

(this blog is published 3 days after).

Today my dad’s bird, ultimately squirrel feeders. I remember, my grandfather had bird feeders at the lake house.  One of my jobs, when I visited, was making sure the squirrels stayed away. I have to say overall; it was one of the most amazing things. Two of my grandfather’s birdhouses couldn’t be entered without literally flying in. So the squirrels jumped. Only one of the feeders could they easily jump. The other two feeders required considerable effort.  I wonder how many squirrels were injured in the process of getting the bird seed.

My dad had feeders all around his yard. I remember, spending a day taking pictures in the winter of the many birds that called his back yard home. The state of Indiana gave him a wildlife designation for the back yard. He didn’t use pesticides, nor did he do much other than mulch and mow. Bamboo was planted in the very center of the backyard, by five years later, the entire center of the backyard was bamboo. The dogs loved it; they had a place to run through and play. I remember watching the dogs run around in the back yard. Now, at mom’s house, they have a huge back yard and no Bamboo. But, back in the day, it was a bamboo jungle.

The other part of the pictures today is the snow. After 10 out of 12 days of 90 degrees, it is nice to see snow. Snow doesn’t often offer reflections. Ice does, water does, but snow not often. It, the snow, shows off the shadows around us and of us. Snow is a brilliant white view of the pristine untouched world. But, now, snow is a distant memory.

We went for a triple-digit walk yesterday (not air temperature, feels like temperature) I soaked through my shirt with sweat.


Wander project what my father saw

Rivers have been the lifeblood for human civilization. The origin of humans comes from an area where their rivers meet. Humans have used rivers for transportation, cities as the basis of life. The great rivers are taught in school. The Amazon, and Nile rivers long and evolving throughout their longs runs. The Amazon is starting in the mountains and rolling across all of South America. The Nile, beginning in a lake now, but once deep inside of Africa, moving into Egypt and flowing past the great pyramids. Rivers have long been the lifeblood of human civilization. Some rivers are even considered holy, their very water rising above simple drinking, simple transportation to holy status.

The Chao Phraya river in Bangkok is such a river. A bathtub and water supply that flows through the city. A provider of watercress. Watercress is eaten but also used to make baskets. It is more; it was once the great highway of the original water city. Some call Bangkok the Venice of the East. But that is a misnomer, the waters, Klongs, and rivers of Bangkok were used for goods, people, bathing and water supply 400 years before Venice was founded. Venice is the Bangkok of the West. Our world, too focused on western history. Outside the city of Bangkok, there is a brewery that uses the River Water to make Singha. Singha is the better of Thailand. Cold is a great beer.

(ok, it is an average beer).

The river that flows through the city of Bangkok to the harbor and thus the world beyond.  Bangkok is a big harbor; it is not Singapore (one of the world’s largest) but an important harbor. It does not have the ancient legacy of Tokyo and Shanghai. The English arrived in Thailand, but it remained independent. The king, Chula Long Korn is offering president Lincoln war elephants during the America Civil War in the 1860s. An offer that was declined, but welcomingly declined with thanks, but no thanks Elephants would not do well in Snow! OH, the might river. Its water is flowing to the Gulf of Siam, and then comingling with the Pacific and Indian Oceans to join the greater body throughout the world.

Oh, the mighty river that brings life and destruction.


wander project what dad saw

Each of us brings light to the world. We are the bearers of that light. Each light is on a spectrum with billions upon billions of colors. We are unique. The light we bring fills the world around us and makes the world a new color each day. Later in life, my father moved towards Buddhism. He found peace in the philosophy and teachings of the religion. I suspect, the loving pictures he captured (shared today) show that transition. The light my father brought to the world, beyond the light he captured in his pictures was Adjan. Adjan is Thai for the honored teacher. It doesn’t mean the same thing as a teacher. In the US, a teacher is a job and often forgotten. Who taught you to read?

Do you remember the name of the teacher that introduced you to reading? To the concept of shooting a basketball or swinging a golf club? Do you honor that person quietly each time you stop, swing, stop the shoot, paint a picture, or capture the perfect picture? Do you remember the person that opened that door for you? That first teacher? The second teacher? The teacher that reached out and found you where you were?  Adjan is an honorific. It means more than the person that taught me to read. Although an Adjan could teach you to read, and many that do, are given the honorific. It is an honor to be called Adjan, and my father loved that honor.

None of us, solo and alone make ourselves. We certainly can believe that, that we made us. We made who we are without help. But that is vanity. The truth is, no one makes themselves. Be it negative or positive; we all grow from influence. We are a compilation of the lessons taught. We are the memories of reading Dick and Jane. See spot run! Dr. Seuss or many others. The door that teachers opened for us. But all of us also know that there is adjacent in our life. Adjan is an honored teacher that made us who we wanted to be. For me, it was my father, my grandfather, my mother all Adjani for me. But it was also two separate teachers in high school and several professors at college.

Those who open doors that are never closed should be honored with Adjan. It is more than merely being a teacher.


wander project what dad saw

Time stops for no one. It, time, marches on. They say, in professional sports that only Father Time is undefeated. In the best sense of being PC, time isn’t male or female. It doesn’t care if you need more time. It doesn’t care if you are short of time. Time is the one thing we never have enough of.  You can’t, realizing you’ve ordered pizza and only have 8 dollars in your wallet shake the couch cushions to get the other five bucks for the pizza in the couch. Time doesn’t work that way. It begins every day as if it is a new day. 12:00:00 changes yesterday to today. We write songs, books, and poems about time. Jim Croce talked about keeping time in a Bottle.

Dorian Gray stopped time until he wasn’t able to any longer. We measure Olympic events in time. The 100-meter dash is measured in seconds. We do not measure the long jump in seconds. It is measured in feet, but we schedule the long jump event with time — 2 pm for the long jump. Noon for the pole vault and don’t forget the prime time 100-meter butterfly event in the pool. We measure days as 24 hours (and a few seconds). We stack days based on the time it takes Earth to move around the sun. Galileo was right, excommunicated, but right that the Earth moves around the sun. That period we call a year. 365.25 days. Every fourth year we add a day to the calendar.

Time is the one thing we don’t have. Time is the one thing that we find hard to deal with when it is wasted. Waste not, want not the adage that applies most to time. Don’t waste my time! Don’t waste time. Time doesn’t create river valleys. Water cuts through stone to create rivers, caves. But water isn’t bound to the same time as human beings. A year to water is nothing. It can take water a century to go from the rain too well water. It can take a million years to cut through 100 feet of rock. Water doesn’t care; water has time. She is the universal equalizer mother time. You can’t have more than was given to you. You can’t build time in an alchemists lab. The time it took you to read this is gone.

Time is the one thing there is never enough of.


wander project what dad saw

The pictures today, from what my father saw series. In particular, these are from his MISC folder. But, I recognize the pictures. Not that I was there, rather I recognize where the pictures were taken. The first few pictures are of a Thai market. There are many Thai markets. My all-time personal favorite as a child was the Sunday Market. These pictures are not of the Sunday market. That was a magical outdoor ride. I remember approaching the Sunday market in the car. You could tell from the rising smoke from the food vendors that we were coming near the market. We would need part of the car, an Opal as a side note. And then we would venture into the market.

We often shopped the Sunday market for a fun dinner or holiday meal. As you walked towards the many tents, the world was opened before you. In the sky, the kites were flying. Around you were the myriad of things available. It was sensory overload. I remember because before I lived in Thailand, my experience with fish was that I liked it at my grandparents, but in Indiana, I didn’t like fish much. Now, suddenly, the smoked fish smelled delightful. The food vendors were sprinkled through the tents. As you walked, there were hawkers selling wares. Everything was there, fish, beef, lamb, and many other ocean creatures. Chickens are hanging in the window of the display case.

Everything was available, but there were no prices. You bartered for everything you got. Everything was a negotiation. The price 10 baht, you then argued, bartered. Sometimes the vendor would say, “I must feed my children.”  The art of the deal played out every single week. I loved watching, listening, and smelling. The world of possibilities lay in front of us as we walked through the market. Oh, I recall the Sunday Market. Dad, on a mission, walking to the place he had already determined had what he wanted. Mom, usually holding my little sister ( I guess she was a flight risk then). Me between mom and dad (I was a flight risk or posed a wander off risk). My middle sister is holding my mom’s hand as we changed past the many vendors to the perfect spot.

I remember the Sunday market well!