Kaffeeklatsch (Nr. 95)


in gut einer Woche haben wir schon wieder den April rum... ich weiß ja nicht, wie's bei Euch so ausschaut, aber bei uns hat der April seinem Ruf alle Ehre gemacht. Gerade noch das herrlichste Frühlingswetter und Du denkst, hach, ist das Leben schön, ab in den Garten... schwupp... kommen dunkle Wolken und ein Hagelschauer vom Feinsten, dass Du Dich gerade noch so eben ins Haus retten kannst... Aber immerhin haben meine Menschen hier die trockenen Phasen schon ganz gut nutzen können und den Garten schon frühlingsfit gemacht, selbst der Rasen wurde bereits vertikutiert (nicht unbedingt selbstverständlich *grins*).
... just a few days more and April is already over... I don't know how the weather is at your places, but as far as we are concerned April did everything to prove its reputation. One moment we were enjoying the sweetest spring weather and you were thinking, wow, life is great, let's go gardening... woooops... black clouds are coming and an impressing hail shower leaves you no other choice than to escape into the house. But nevertheless my humans managed to take advantage of the dry phases and made the garden fit for spring, even the lawn got a treatment against filthy moss (which is not so very common around here *grin*)

Nun, jedenfalls waren wir heute dran mit dem Auftritt in der Kaffeeklatschtasse, gestatten: Ele und Fant. Und wie immer ist mir nicht ganz wohl dabei, denn Fant hält sich bei diesen Fototerminen immer für einen Zirkuselefanten und fängt mit allen möglichen Kunststücken an. Es ist gar nicht so einfach, auf einen so kleinen Elefanten aufzupassen, das könnt Ihr mir glauben, da hat man alle Pfoten voll mit zu tun. Aber ich mach's ja gerne... dafür sind Freunde ja da!
Well, today it was our time to appear in the "Kaffeeklatsch"-mug, may I introduce us: Ele and Fant (a little joking with the word "elephant" which is written "Elefant" in German *wink*). As usual I'm feeling a little uncomfortable with this fotoshooting because Fant starts to behave as a circus elephant doing tricks whenever the camera is in sight. It's not that easy to take care of such a tiny elephant, believe me, I have my paws full. But I have no regrets... that's what friends are for!

Um so schöner, wenn sich die Nerven nachher bei einem gemütlichen Sonntagsnachmittagskaffeeklatsch wieder beruhigen können, mit ein, zwei Tässchen leckerem Sonntagsnachmittagskaffee und ein, zwei, drei, vier Stückchen leckerem Sonntagsnachmittagskuchen. Und genau dabei wünschen wir Euch nachher viel Spaß - und eine tolle Woche, die wünschen wir Euch auch!
But isn't it nice when the nerves can calm down later on when having a cozy Sundayafternoon-"Kaffeeklatsch" with one, two cups of tasty Sundayafternooncoffee and with one, two, three, four pieces of tasty Sundayafternooncake. We wish you loads of fun - an a great week, too!

Liebe Grüße / Hugs
Ele & Fant

My new daily prayer

Chuck Lorre has helped me realize few things. So here is my new daily prayer.

Prose is the new poem
Blog is the new literature
Google is the new publisher
'Share' is the new Nobel

Facebook is the new media
Wall is the new Page 3
You and I are the new celebreties
Status update is the new 'exposing'
Like is the new 15 minute fame

So Help me, God!
Make everyone like and share this.
Amen/Inshah Allah/Om Shanti Om/Whatever

Blogging About Thailand ...

One would assume most first time readers of this blog stumbled upon it while doing a search related to Thailand.  As pictures have grown to be a more significant part of the blog, image searches also bring viewer here.  Whether they read after viewing the image they were looking for, is anyone’s guess.

Now that I have a presence on Google+ my images are more accessible to the 1500+ individuals who have me in their circles.  There, people are not typically searching for anything to do with Thailand but are looking for interesting photographs.

I would guess that many if not most of those first time Thai searches would be focussed on relationship topics, to put it politely, and touristy things like where to go, what to do and see, where to stay or how to get there, and of course how much things cost.  Politicos and news buffs are often intrigued by what plays out in the world and local new of Thailand and search for additional sources.  Buddhism perhaps attracts some though one suspects it is the more worldly and carnal things of Thailand that attract more searches.

Having been bitten by the Thailand bug, the search for many might then trend toward how to live here with your new “true love” or how to get her back to your own country.  Many find Thailand late in life after some life-altering event such as being put out to pasture from their career, divorce or even more tragically the passing of their lifelong partner.  For them, retirement and cost of living, may be forefront in their minds and searches.

Clearly this blog does not deal directly with any of these interest absorbing topics and has me questioning how relevant my blog is in a Thai oriented search.  As much as I might like to appeal to a broader range of readers and not be limited to this small niche market of Thailand, and all the negative imagery that accompanies it, the truth is that I am who I am because of living in Thailand for so many years.  There is no denying the influence Thailand has had on me nor that my daily life is painted on the exotic canvas that is Northern Thailand.

I would find it difficult to blog about most high interest topics about Thailand because I am no longer interested in or current on those subjects.  Dredging up what things were like 20 or 30 years ago and trying to relate them to the up-to-the-minute detail of the modern digital world, holds no practical value for me or the reader I would assume.

I seem to remember a post early on, where a female reader asked me what it was about Thai culture that kept me in Thailand, or something to that effect.  I believe I told her it had little or nothing to do with Thai culture and was all about my lifestyle.  To be fair my early years here in Thailand were spent pealing away the onionskin of Thai culture and insinuating myself into every strata of Thai social class I could.  At some point you simply internalize what you have learned and no longer focus on it so much.  As a child it takes great effort and focus on your feet and the ground below them to keep upright.  Later in life running is effortless and one is able to traverse difficult terrain with little thought.  One does need to go through the learning process but I suppose some move on to other tasks while others get stuck.
I guess this blog ends up being a personal journal written by someone who just happens to reside in Thailand.  The telling of my tale can sometimes draw distant people closer to Thailand and to me as a writer.  I truly relish the many relationships that have developed here over the years.  An interesting flip-side is that my blog can, on occasion, drive a wedge between me and other residents of Chiang Rai or Thailand.  They may see themselves in my words and personalize what is meant to be a generalized discussion of a relevant topic.

An undesired side-effect to be sure, but nothing to bring about a major change in the way I view life in general, the way I live my own life or what I write about.  Its a big world out there and I cannot possibly take into account every possible interpretation of what I write.  I cannot guess at what sensitivities and triggers lurk in the delicate egos of those who struggle with their sometimes difficult relationship with Thailand.  At first reading sometimes my words leave the reader feeling uncomfortable only to realize, much later, they were well intended and could have been beneficial if heeded.

I am no fan of aggression or vulgarity but grudgingly accept there can and will be casualties as a result of brutal honesty.  I can accept that some are put off and no longer seek out my company but I can be but honest and truthful with myself and others.

Flutterbys Erdbeer-Cottage - Teil 4: Ch-ch-changes

hier ist er nun, der versprochene (oder angedrohte) 4. Teil der Geschichte, wie ich mein Erdbeer-Cottage bezogen habe. Allerdings, eigentlich ist dies mehr ein Ausblick in die Zukunft... deshalb verzichten wir heute auch mal auf die "Es war einmal"-Vergangenheitsform... *zwinker*
... hier it is, the promised (or threatened) 4th part of the story how I moved into my Strawberry-Cottage. But this time it's more a little view into the future... so we're doing this without using the usual"Once upon a time"-storytelling in pastform... *wink*
Tja, kaum bin ich eingezogen und habe mich häuslich eingerichtet, all die schönen Geschenke haben ihr Plätzchen gefunden - da kommt Birgit und wirft alles wieder um, nur um zu zeigen, wie wandelbar mein Cottage ist. Aber bitte - ich bin ja auch flexibel! *schmunzel* Wie Ihr vermutlich bemerkt habt, haben wir die Rückwand mit dem Erdbeermotiv für dieses Foto abgedeckt. Birgit hat dafür extra eine Pappe passend zugeschnitten. Die wird dann natürlich noch mit Papier beklebt.
Yes, I've just moved in and made myself comfy, all those beautiful gifts found their places - and now Birgit comes and changes everything, just to show how flexible my cottage is. But she's welcome, I'm flexible, too! *smile* As you may have noticed, we covered the backwall's strawberry design for this photo. Birgit cut curdboard in form for this purpose. This will be covered with paper.
Noch haben wir uns nicht für einen Hintergrund entschieden, deshalb habe ich einfach mal irgendein thematisch passendes Scrapbookpapier geholt, damit Ihr einen Eindruck bekommen könnt, wie das mal werden wird. Wenn man dann noch einige der Dekoartikel austauscht, die Kissen, den Tisch und den Teppich wechselt... dann... ja dann...
We haven't decided about a new background yet, so I took just one piece of scrapbookpaper to give you an impression how this is meant to be. If you change some of the decoration, the pillows, the table and the carpet... then... yes then...
...wird aus einem Erdbeer-Cottage ein Weihnachts-Cottage! Ist das nicht toll? Diese Adventszeit werde ich mich nicht nur auf dem BiWuBären-Weihnachtsmarkt amüsieren, sondern die Weihnachtszeit in meinem heimeligen, weihnachtlich dekorierten Cottage verbringen. Ach, ich bin eben doch das glücklichste Flatterbärchen auf der Welt! ;O)
... a Strawberry-Cottage turns into a Christmas-Cottage! Isn't this great? This year's christmas season I will not only be having fun at our BiWuBear's Christmasmarket but will also spend the season in my cozy, christmassy decorated cottage. Yes, I really am the happiest flutterybeary in the world! ;O)
Aber bis dahin ist's ja noch eine Weile hin, da muss ja vorher noch die Erdbeersaison ausgiebig genossen werden. Also... alles wieder auf Erdbeere! Und auch wenn das nun der 4. und letzte Teil vom Einzug in mein Erdbeer-Cottage war... es wird weiterhin viel zu berichten geben. Denn wie ich schon mal sagte, ein Dach über'm Kopf wäre schon ganz nett... und einen Garten bekomme ich ja auch noch... Also, es gibt viel zu tun für Birgit und viel zu berichten für mich!
But until then it's still a while, before that I will be fully enjoying the strawberry season. So now... everything back to strawberry! Und even though this was the 4th and last part of me moving into my Strawberry Cottage... there will still be a lot of stuff to report about. As I've said before, a roof above my head would be quite nice... and there will be a garden for me, too... So, there's still a lot to do for Birgit and a lot to report about for me!
Liebe Grüße / Hugs

Nguan Choon Tong Herb Shop in Phuket Town

There's a place on Thalang Road in the heart of Old Phuket Town that always turns heads. If you walk past this place, you are bound to notice the smell. And certainly not a bad smell. Something kind of ancient and magical. I can't help but walk in. Outside is a sign that says "Oldest Herbs Shop". The name of the shop is Nguan Choon Tong. Stop outside. Inhale deeply.

Oldest Herb(s) shop on Thalang Road, Phuket Town

Thalang Road is my favourite street in Phuket, I like the old town, there's history here, and a very different kind of Phuket exists here away from the beaches. Tourism does have some influence, there are more little cafes and guesthouses than there were 10 years ago, but a lot of the tourists that come here are Thai. Thalang Road has been spruced up, with the most noticeable thing being the lack of overhead cables. I do like the old shophouses, the wooden shutters, the mix of Muslim and Chinese businesses, some of which have been on the street since the early 20th century when this part of Phuket Town was built. The herb shop opened in 1917, opened by the grandfather of the current proprietor. It's a family business run by the Bumrungwong family who also own the buildings either side of the herb shop, both of which are restaurants. On one side is Wilai restaurant, the other side is Kopitiam. I was in Kopitiam a couple of weeks ago. One of the family running Kopitiam is Wiwan, great granddaughter of the man who opened the herb shop. Her uncle, Wisit Bumrungwong, runs Nguan Choon Tong now.

Oldest herb shop in Phuket

I asked Wiwan to ask her uncle for permission to take some photos. He's not overly keen on tourists snapping away in his face really. It was a good time to take photos, as Khun Wisit, assisted by his wife and son, was preparing medicines. Portions of herbs were being weighed on the old scales and added to piles of herbal mixes, ready for sale. I am quite amazed that business is still strong. Doesn't everyone use modern pharmacies now? Well, at least in the old town, the Chinese herbal medicine is still popular.

Preparing the herbs

Family business

The knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine has to be handed down to the next generation. Khun Wisit sometimes still asks his father, Khun Narong Bumrungwong, for advice. Khun Narong lives next door, at Kopitiam. Only a few of the family live here now, but until 30 years ago, the herb shop was a home and business. It was a typical shophouse. No commuting necessary! I have friends in Phuket now who have bought brand new shophouses and live above their business. The herb shop on Thalang Road is now just a business, nobody lives there, though several of the family live next door.

Family photos at the herb shop on Thalang Road

(above) Photo on the wall at the herb shop. This is the founder of the shop, his name was "Yan Keng". Photos like this are common in the old shops in Phuket town. He is the father of Sodsri Bumrungwong, wife of Narong. The shophouse that is now Kopitiam was bought by Narong and Sodsri about 30 years ago to use as a house. So they did have to commute a few meters to work :)

The old herbal medicine shop in Phuket Town

(above) Khun Wisit Bumrungwong at the Nguan Choon Tong herb shop.

In the Nguan Choon Tong herb shop

Old Phuket Town is not really so old. Most of the older buildings were constructed in the early 20th century as Phuket Town became the new center of commerce for the island, with business driven by the tin mining industry and the rubber industry. That's when Phuket became important. And the Nguan Choon Tong herb shop was right there to catch the wave. The old Chinese traditions are very evident today. There are Chinese shrines all over town, and festivals like the Phuket Vegetarian Festival and Hungry Ghost Festival show that the traditions are not lost. And the herbs live on too.

Nguan Choon Tong Herb Shop - Location Map

View The Old Herb Shop in Phuket Town in a larger map

Ein Ü mit Ü...

heute muss ich Euch unbedingt das tolle Ü zeigen, das wir letzte Woche bekommen haben, Birgit und ich... dafür muss Teil 4 der Cottage-Geschichte dann mal wieder warten (daran ist er ja inzwischen gewöhnt... *grins*)
... today I have to show you the wonderful surprise we received last week, Birgit and I... part 4 of the cottage story has to wait a little bit longer for that reason (but in the meantime it should be used to that... *grin*)
Tja, ein kleines Päckchen von der lieben Sandra haben wir bekommen - das ist die liebe Bloggerin, die eine Miniaturausgabe von mir gebastelt hat *immernochganzstolzbin*. Für diejenigen, die sich nicht mehr daran erinnern, geht es hier zu dem entsprechenden Post auf Sandras Blog. Leider waren wir bereits in Hut und Mantel und auf dem Weg zu einem Geburtstagskaffee, aber Neugierde siegt ja immer, deshalb mussten wir noch mal einen ganz kurzen Blick in das Päckchen werfen, um zu schauen, was uns die Sandra da Schönes geschickt haben könnte. Allein die Verpackung war schon ein Augenschmaus:
Yes, we got a little packet from dear Sandra - that's the lovely blogger who made a mini-version of me *stillbeingveryproud* For those who don't remember anymore, here is the link to that post on Sandra's blog. To our regrets we were in a hurry, being invited to a birthday party, but that poisoning curiousity... of course we had to have a very quick look at what was inside the packet to see what treasures Sandra may have sent to us. The packaging alone was a feast for the eye:
Und was sie uns erst für Schönheiten geschickt hat, schaut mal:
And what beauties she gave to us, have a look:
Einen magischen Pflanzentopf, einen Mini-Eiffelturm und einen fantastischen Koffer mit Paris-Stickern drauf. Alles einfach klasse gemacht und wunderwunderschön. Wie toll ist das denn? Eine Nachricht war auch dabei, aber die konnten wir nur überfliegen, weil wir los mussten... was haben wir uns gefreut!
A magical plantpot, a mini-Eiffeltower and a fantastic suitcase with Paris-stickers on it. Everything so well done and drop-dead-beautiful. How cool is that? A message was included, but due to being in a hurry we only had a short look... oh, we've been so very happy!
Als wir nach Hause kamen, mussten wir natürlich erst mal in aller Ruhe die schönen Geschenke anschauen und das Brieflein lesen. Und dann kam die Verblüffung... denn Sandra schrieb uns eine nette Geschichte über den Mini-Me-Flutterby, der nun seine große Liebe, das Au-Bär-Mädchen Ninette, spontan geheiratet habe, und nach den Flitterwochen in Paris hätten alle miteinander beschlossen, dass das junge Paar zukünftig beim großen Flutterby (Ich bin gemeint... groß... Ich... *seufz*) wohnen sollten, Sandra fügte noch an, ihr würden auch langsam die Süßigkeiten im Haus ausgehen. Wie jetzt... sie hat uns den Mini-Me-Flutterby geschickt? Hatten wir denn was beim Auspacken übersehen??? Kurze Nachkontrolle... nee... noch mal die Nachricht gecheckt, doch ja, wir hatten das schon richtig verstanden. *grübelgrübel* Dann erst fiel der Groschen... äh... Cent: Der Koffer!!! Das Teil ließ sich tatsächlich öffnen, und drinnen waren sie - Mini-Me-Flutterby und Ninette, ganz liebevoll als Neuvermählte in Szene gesetzt. Zum Niederknien süß!!! Und sooooooo winzig!!!
After returning to our home, we sat down at first to read the note and to have a closer look at those wonderful gifts. And then came the total amazement... because Sandra wrote a lovely story about the Mini-Me-Flutteby who married his dear love, the Au-Bear-Girl Ninette, and after returning from their honeymoon in Paris they all decided the young couple should live together with the big Flutterby (That means me... big... ME... *sigh*), Sandra added, she was seriously running out of sweets in her house. Wait a minute... she sent us the Mini-Me-Flutterby? Did we miss something? Quick check... hmmmm... another check of the message, yes, for sure, we did read that right *thinkthink* Than we were struck by lightning: The suitcase!!! It could be opened and inside there they were - Mini-Me-Flutterby and Ninette, in a lovely newlywed-scene. So cute!!! And soooooo tiny!!!
Liebe Sandra, auch von dieser Stelle aus noch einmal tausendfachen Dank für dieses wundervolle Geschenk. Im Traum hätten wir damit nicht gerechnet - und wir haben uns furchtbar darüber gefreut, und das sogar 2 x! Die beiden Süßen werden es richtig gut haben bei uns!
Inzwischen muss ich tatsächlich etwas auf meine Erdbeer- und Goodiesvorräte im Cottage aufpassen. Vielleicht frage ich einfach mal Draco, ob er das Erdbeerkörbchen noch einmal so verzaubert, dass es sich 2 x täglich wieder auffüllt und nicht nur einmal... wo ich doch nun so viele Mäuler zu stopfen habe... *zwinker* Übrigens hat auch das Pflänzchen noch eine Hintergrundgeschichte, aber die muss ein anderes Mal erzählt werden... ;O)
In the meantime I got to have an eye (or two) on my strawberry- and goodies-supplies in the cottage. Maybe I should ask Draco to put another spell on the strawberry basket, so it refills itself twice a day and not only once... having so many mouthes to fill now... *wink* Btw - there's a background story to the plant, too - but this has to be told another time... ;O)
Euch allen einen guten Wochenstart!
A good start of the week to you all!


The Waiting Game ...

Sometimes I find myself waiting.  Take the other day for example, I was wandering around the Chiang Rai Mall as I call it, waiting for my wife who was having a treatment at a popular skin clinic.  I dare say my wife spends far less time waiting on me than I do on her.  That is a good thing I suppose, as I am much better at waiting than she is.

Now we all have our own little ways of coping with the wait.  Some read a book, or a newspaper, listen to music on their iPod, play games, use Facebook or chat on their iPhone.  In Thailand another option comes to mind as one can always find a foot massage or Thai massage, even in a mall.  I prefer to get lost in my own thoughts.  Sure I can’t help but notice what is going on around me and I can read volumes in the faces and interactions that unfold in social settings.  Still the main focus of my attention is inward.

I guess you could say I am no longer at a time in my life where I seek to read, absorb or explore the thoughts of others.  This is a time to form, explore and record my own thoughts and ideas.  For some there is no higher goal than to follow someone else.  Granted there were times in my past when I was taken somewhere I may not have discovered on my own. 

I was shown a door or two I hadn’t previously known existed but I walked through them on my own.  The idea of the modern GPS unit barking out detailed commands that keep me on a narrow path, guiding me to an unwavering destination, I find frightening.  An occasional wrong turn is what keeps life fresh and surprising. 

Some strive to build a life resembling a tower with one brick or accomplishment placed upon another reaching higher and higher.  As long as circumstances don’t cause it to come tumbling down, crushing us and perhaps others in the process, then one can claim to be the proud owner of that towering edifice. 

I imagine my own life to be more like a small stream following the contours of the earth as it meanders from its place of conception to its final resting place.  Will that will be a dry and desolate place or will I add a drop or two indistinguishable from the other drops that make up a more sizable body of water?  Most likely I will leave a faint path that will fade with time and eventually leave no mark at all.

Sometimes I ponder topics to write about and in the process of working through the ideas get to the end and realize I am not really all that interested in writing them down.  Before things would gnaw at me until I put it on the page.  Now it feels as though it is me who is gnawing on an idea trying to make something out of it.

Sometimes I find waiting is just another word for procrastination and putting off things we are afraid to do or just too lazy to do.  I was waiting for our pollution to get to an acceptable level so I could resume outdoor exercise.  At first the waiting was excruciating as my body ached to be outdoors.  After making the adjustment to being indoors and inactive it was hard to get started again when the weather changed.

Sometimes I suppose, waiting is the prudent thing to do.  Waiting for the light to turn green is clearly safer than the alternative.  Waiting for things to be just right, however, often leads to inertia and a wasted life spent dreaming of someday that never arrives.  I started writing this post thinking it was going to be about something different.  As I have waited for the main topic to come up the words have steadily crept down the page leaving me little room to expand on my original idea.

I thought I would be writing today about something more Thai in focus or dealing with my relationship to Thailand but I find that harder to do the longer I live here and the longer I pen this blog.  While other bloggers might focus on the minutia of all things uniquely and strangely Thai, I find that Thailand is simply the backdrop for my life and not the focus of it.

So now I am thinking perhaps I should wait for another day to ponder the Thainess of my blog.  After all I am good at waiting and perhaps by waiting I can find better words with which to express myself on what might be a fuzzy subject.

Kaffeeklatsch (Nr. 94)


heute werden wir beim Kaffeeklatsch wieder chronologisch... deshalb bin ich heute an der Reihe, in die Kaffeeklatschtasse zu klettern. Gestatten, Sally - meines Zeichens das BiWuBärchen mit dem härtesten Schicksal. Birgit hat damals noch so ein bisschen ihren Stil gesucht und einfach mal ausprobiert, wie ihre Bärchen mit kleineren Augen aussehen würden. Nun, ich bin nach wie vor überzeugt, dass hätte sie auch durch reines Anhalten der 2mm-Augen herausfinden können - nämlich nicht so gut. Aber nein, sie hat mir die winzigen Augen angenäht, und nun muss ich damit leben - na gut, es gibt Schlimmeres. Aber wenn die anderen BiWuBärchen mich ärgern wollen, dann fragen sie mich immer, wo denn mein Kermit sei... phhhhh, Gesindel! Nebenbei bemerkt - mein Fell ist nicht rosa, sondern orange! Jawoll, ein Frosted Orange Long Pile, um genau zu sein. Nix Schweinchenrosa!!! *grins*
... today at the "Kaffeklatsch" we're back to making it chronologically... so it's my turn to enter the coffeemug today. May I introduce me, Sally is my name, I'm the BiWuBear with the toughest fate. Birgit was yet searching for her own style when making me and tried to find out how her bearys would look like with smaller eyes. Well, as far as I am concerned she could have found that out by just holding the 2mm-eyes to my head - not good. But poor me, she had to sew those tiny eyes in my head and now I have to cope with that - well, things coud be worse. But whenever the other BiWuBearys feel like annoying me, the ask me where my Kermit is... phhhhhh, those rascals! Btw - my fur isn't pink, it's orange! Yes, a Frosted Orange Long Pile, to be exact. No piggie-pink!!! *grin*
Aber was soll's - ich bin eben ich, wer ist schon perfekt? Und so bin ich halt ganz was Besonderes... *zwinker* Und a propos besonders - so ein schöner Sonntagsnachmittagskaffeeklatsch ist doch auch etwas ganz Besonderes - und dabei wünsche ich Euch nachher viel Spaß... bei  ein, zwei Tässchen leckerem Sonntagsnachmittagskaffee und ein, zwei, drei, vier Stückchen leckerem Sonntagsnachmittagskuchen. Und eine schöne Woche, die wünsche ich Euch natürlich auch!
But who cares - I am what I am, and is there anybody who is perfect? At least I am something special this way... *wink* And speaking of being special - a nice Sundayafternoon-"Kaffeeklatsch" is something very special for sure - and I'm wishing you much fun with this later on... having one, two cups of tasty Sundayafternooncoffee and one, two, three, four pieces of tasty Sundayafternooncake. And a wonderful week, that's what I'm wishing you on top!
Liebe Grüße / Hugs
Eure Sally

Post für Iris


stellt Euch mal vor - da hat uns die Post doch gestern noch eine Ostergrußkarte zugestellt. Aber nicht irgendeine Osterkarte, sondern unsere eigene Osterkarte, die wir eigentlich Iris ins Bärendorf schicken wollten, kam wieder zu uns zurück. Mit einem Vermerk "Empfänger unter der angegebenen Anschrift nicht zu ermitteln." Ähhhh... wie jetzt?
... picture this - yesterday our mail service delivered an easter greeting card. And not only an easter card but our own easter greeting card we've sent to Iris from the Bear's Village, it was returned to sender. With a note on it, the adress could not be found. Ehhhhh... pardon?

Eigentlich hatten wir die Anschrift von Iris Homepage - und Birgit schreibt weder in Sütterlin noch in Altphönizischer Keilschrift sondern eigentlich recht leserlich. Und eine Nachfrage bei Iris ergab: Die Anschrift ist genau so richtig - und kein Zahlendreher drin, kein nix. Da stellt sich mir doch wieder mal die Frage: Muss ich kleines Flatterbärchen das verstehen? Muss ich? Nee, muss ich nicht... kann ich nicht... will ich auch nicht!  Also, Ihr lieben Gelben, wenn Ihr - trotz in Form einer Briefmarke entrichteten Entgelts - unsere Briefe ins Bärendorf nicht zustellen wollt, könnt, wie auch immer, dann stelle ich die jetzt eben zu. *zungerausstreck*
We found the adress at Iris' homepage - and Birgit's handwriting is quite readable and she's far away from writing in "Sütterlin" (Old German writing) or in Phoenician Cuneiform. And Iris told us the adress was exact - no mixing of numbers, nothing. Which leads me just one more time to the question: Must I - being a little flutterybeary - understand something like this? Must I? No, I don't have to... I can't... and I don't want to! So, dear mail company, if you refuse to deliver our mail to the Bear's Village although we paid in form of a stamp for your delivery service, I'll have to do that on my own now. *grumble*
Tja, liebe Iris, wenn alles normal gelaufen wäre, dann hättest Du am Ostersamstag einen Brief von uns im Briefkasten gefunden, hättest den Umschlag geöffnet und DAS hier vorgefunden (natürlich ohne Bär *kicher*):
If delivery would have been normal, Iris would have found a letter from us in her mailbox at Easter Sunday, she would have opened the envelope and would have found THIS (of course without a bear *giggle*):
Beachte bitte die Berücksichtigung Deiner Lieblingsfarbe bei der Auswahl des Kartenpapieres! *grins* Und drinnen hättest Du dann das hier gefunden (allerdings wieder ohne Bär):
   Iris would have noticed we've chosen her favourite colour for the card! *grin* And this is what she would have seen inside (again without a bear):
All das hat die Post Dir nicht gegönnt. Wie ich das finde? Nun ja: *Zensierte Ausdrücke* Genau, so finde ich das! ;O)
All of this wasn't granted to Iris by the mail service. How I think about that? Well: *Censored Expressions* That's exactly what I think about that! ;O)

Euch allen wünsche ich ein wunderschönes Wochenende!
Have a great weekend!

Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) in Phuket Town

Phuket, as I keep trying to say on this blog, has lots of history and culture, lots of festivals, a wide variety of people and religions, which is not surprising when you look on a map. Phuket is on the Andaman coast, would have made an ideal stopping off point on sea journeys with sheltered anchorages on the east coast, and then there was the tin mining boom and finally, in the last 30 years, the tourism explosion. All manner of people live here, work here, travel here. I am happy to say that Phuket is melting pot of different peoples and different religions. Most of the local people are either Buddhist or Muslim, with a large minority of people who are Buddhist but who also believe in old Chinese gods which becomes apparent during such events as the Vegetarian Festival or the Hungry Ghost Festival. Phuket is full of Buddhist temples, Chinese shrines and Muslim Mosques, and having lived here for 12 years, and unless any local can offer me a hint to the contrary, I have to say there is no religious tension here. And let's not even start with the "Buddhism is not really a religion" argument. Everyone seems to get on just fine, no matter if they are Chelsea or Man Utd fans.

Sikh Temple, Phuket

I noticed the Sikh temple (Gurdwara) in Phuket Town many years ago. It was opened in 2001 (according to the Thai Sikh Organisation website, from which I will also quote other gems of information), though the very first Sikh Gurdwara was built back in 1939 by "Sikhs who had come to Phuket to do Tin Mining and Railway Engineering under the supervision of the British". Tin Mining I can see, but there is no railway in Phuket :)

For some reason, while driving around town a couple of weeks ago, I decided to stop and take a couple of photos of the Gurdwara. It's on the north side of town with "Monkey Hill" (Khao To Sae) as a backdrop. And there's a Hindu shrine just 100m south on the same road which I also visited (it was open, but there was nobody around). This new Gurdwara was built in 2001. There are quite a few Sikhs living in Phuket these days, many coming here to work in the hotel and tourism industry.

Sikh Gurdwara, Phuket Town

Actually, I had no intention of going inside, and the gate facing the street was shut .. but the door was open and someone was inside. Probably a little surprised to see my nose poking around. But I tell you what, if Thailand is the land of Smiles, then India is the land of "Come in!" .. the Sikh man who invited me inside was from India, but he said he'd been in Phuket for 6 years. Thanks for letting me inside. I asked to take a few photos. No problem. The ceiling was amazing.

Ceiling of Sikh Temple, Phuket

And then I found out that the Gurdwara has an elevator! An oddly modern contraption to be found in the worship place of ancient religion. Well, beats the stairs and fits neatly into a small building. I enjoyed the signs on the wall. Another sign said "Give a lot of time to improvement of yourself, then there is no time to criticize others". I like that. Well, I guess all religions have the same theme of basically being nice to people. Judge ye not. Not that you have to be religious to be a nice person. Debate ends here.

Inside the Sikh Gurdwara, Phuket

I was escorted in the elevator up to the Darbar Sahib (Prayer Hall).

Prayer Room in the Sikh Temple, Phuket

We only stayed here a few minutes, after which I was asked to hold out both hands to receive a piece of sweet food, which I have found to be called Kara Parshad - a whole section on the guidelines for visiting a Gurdwara is in the SikhWiki website. Wish I'd read this before! And by complete coincidence, I have just right now (by looking at the aforementioned Sikhwiki website) found that tomorrow (April 13th) is International Turban Day!

After visiting the Darbar Sahib, we descended to the downstairs hall where 2 other Sikh guys (who were very quiet) went to make tea. I was told they had only been in Phuket for 1 month and had only been out of the Gurdwara once, on a quick drive around Phuket. They were also from India. The tea they made brought back some memories. I went to India for 1 month when I was 16, part of a "cultural exchange visit" organised between my school and a youth group in Bombay. The sweet, milky tea was a daily ritual. The tea in this Sikh Gurdwara in Phuket tasted just the same. Memories and new experiences. Such friendly guys. Sometimes a treasure can be found by looking more carefully at your own doorstep. Not sure if Confucius said that, maybe I just made it up, or maybe it was in a movie. But it's true.

In the Sikh temple, Phuket

I only poked my head around the corner, but was invited inside as a (clearly) non Sikh, and indeed a self confessed infidel and non-believer. Thank you to the volunteers at the Sikh Gurdwara in Phuket. Thank you for 30 minutes of peace. Something new and 25 year old memories of sweet tea. And yes, I did not realise that the cloth they gave me to cover my head made me look so silly. But you do have to cover your head in a Gurdwara. This was an unexpected experience, but you can only find something new by exploring. Even your own back yard has places you have not seen. And Phuket is a big back yard!

Sikh Gurdwara in Phuket - Location Map

View Sikh Gurdwara in Phuket in a larger map

Flutterbys Erdbeer-Cottage - Teil 3: Rundgang mit Freunden

so langsam wird es ja wohl allerhöchste Zeit, den versprochenen 3. Teil von meinem Einzug ins Erdbeer-Cottage zu posten... obwohl, von Einzug kann mittlerweile ja längst nicht mehr die Rede sein. Tja, bedingt durch unsere Computer-Probleme, lieben Besuch, tolle Geschenke usw. sind wir einfach vorher nicht dazu gekommen. Aber wir sind ja flexibel, deshalb lassen wir den Einzug einfach mal weg und bringen nun Teil 3 der Cottage-Geschichte. Auf geht's!
Meanwhile it's about highest time to post the promised third part about moving-in into my strawberry cottage... but moving day was long, long time ago. Yep, due to our computer problems, dear visitors, fantastic presents etc. we didn't manage to tell this story earlier. But we're very flexible, so we let go the moving part and head straight to part 3 of the cottage-story. Let's go!
Flutterby hatte lieben Besuch seiner neuen Freunde Youenn und Hoppler und zeigte beiden voller Stolz den Koffergarten, den er von Sans! bekommen hatte. Beide waren total begeistert von dem außergewöhnlichen Stück, allerdings meinte Hoppler, ein Karottenthema hätte er sich auch gut vorstellen können. Jedem das Seine, dachte Flutterby bei sich... da fragte Youenn plötzlich: "Sag' mal, wie sitzt es sich eigentlich auf so einem Erdbeerbett?" Flutterby grinste: "Sehr gut. Aber probiert es selbst aus!"
Flutterby was visited by his new friends Youenn and Hoppler and presented them with pride the suitcase-garden he received as a precious gift from Sans!. Both were thrilled with this extraordinary piece, only Hoppler said he could have imagined a carrot theme being nice, too. Tastes are different, Flutterby thought by himself... as Youenn was suddenly asking: "I'd like to know, how does sitting on a strawberry bed feels like?" Flutterby grinned: "Very well. But have a try!"
 Die beiden machten es sich auf dem Bett bequem, da entdeckte Youenn einen kleinen Bilderrahmen. "Hey, das bist ja Du mit Sophie, Flutterby! Ich wusste gar nicht, dass Ihr beide Euch überhaupt schon mal bärsönlich getroffen habt." Flutterby war knallrot geworden. "Äh... ja doch... ist aber schon lange her..." Youenn grinste von einem Bärchenohr zum anderen: "Du hast aber einen exquisiten Geschmack... meine große Schwester ist schon eine extrem süße Bärchendame." Hoppler lachte: "Ja, und sie bricht die Herzen der Bärenwelt reihenweise." Flutterby überlegte fieberhaft, das war ihm jetzt entschieden zu privat und zu peinlich... wie konnte er die beiden von dem Foto von ihm und Sophie abbringen...? "Ich hab' Euch ja noch gar nicht die vielen schönen Geschenke gezeigt, die ich bekommen habe, habt Ihr Lust?" fragte er hastig. Youenn und Hoppler stimmten begeistert zu. "Beginnen wir einfach mal mit dem Regal" schlug Flutterby vor...
The two had just made themselves comfortable on the bed as Youenn spotted a little picture-frame. "Hey, that's you, Flutterby, with Sophie! I didn't know you two did ever met bearsonally." Flutterby blushed: "Eh... yes... but that was quite some time ago..." Youenn grinned from one bear's ear to the other one: "You have an exquisite taste... my big sister is quite a pretty bear lady." Hoppler laughed: "Yes, she's breaking a lot of bearie hearts." Flutterby tried to think quick, this was way too private and delicate... how could he manage to make them forget about the photo showing him with Sophie...? "I haven't shown you all the wonderful gifts I received, are you interested?" he asked hastily. Of course Youenn and Hoppler were interested. "We shall start with the shelf" Flutterby suggested...
* * *
Geschenke von / Gifts from:
Weitere Links / Other Links:
Geschenke von / Gifts from:
(alles überarbeitet von Birgit / all modified by Birgit)
Geschenke von / Gifts from:
Weitere Links / Other Links:
Die Photocollagen zeigen rechts verschiedene BiWuBären (das Bild hängt auch im Hexenturm und ist auf der Startseite unserer Homepage zu finden) und links einige besonders wichtige Schnappschüsse:
The photocollages are showing on the right different BiWuBears (this pics can be found in the witch tower and on the start side of our homepage, too) and on the left some very important snapshots:
Gruppenfoto / group photo Sans! , Rosanna + Flutterby - Flutterby trifft / meets Ulrike - Flutterby's Miniversion von / by Sandra - Flutterby mit / with Sophie - Flutterby mit seinem Bruder / with his brother Flutterbee - ein Ostergruß von Flutterbys Lieblingseisprinzessin Shania / an easter greeting by Flutterby's dearest Iceskating-Princess Shania
Tassenrohling Geschenk von / cup model gift from:
Weiterer Link / Other link:
Geschenke von / Gifts from:
Weiterer Link / Other Link:
Geschenke von / Gifts from:
Geschenke von / Gifts from:
Weitere / Other Credits:
Youenn + Sophie - von / by Tine (FrechBären)
Hoppler - von / by Melli (Pippibärenbande)
Koffergarten / Suitcasegarden - von / by Sans!
Alles andere / everything else - von / by Birgit
Falls wir jemanden vergessen haben, bitten wir ganz herzlich um Entschuldigung!
In case we forgot somebody, please forgive us!
* * *
"Wow, so viele tolle Geschenke!" rief Hoppler begeistert am Ende der Führung. Youenn nickte. "Deine ganze Einrichtung besteht ja fast nur aus Geschenken. Du bist echt ein glückliches Flatterbärchen." Flutterby strahlte. "Ich bin sogar das glücklichste Flatterbärchen auf der Welt!"
"Wow, so many gorgeous gifts!" Hoppler shouted enthusiastically at the end of the tour. Youenn nodded. "Nearly your whole interior is from gifts. You're really a very happy flutterybeary." Flutterby beamed with joy. "In fact I am the happiest flutterybeary in the whole wide world!"


Tja, etwas Link-lastig, dieser 3. Teil... *grins* Aber das musste sein - schließlich wollten wir unbedingt noch einmal "Danke" sagen für all die wunderbaren Dinge, die wir so bekommen haben. Ich hoffe, man hat ein klein wenig gemerkt, wie glücklich und stolz ich darüber bin... *zwinker* Wir hoffen, der Rundgang durch mein Erdbeer-Cottage hat Euch ein wenig gefallen!
Yes, very link-heavy, this third part... *grin* But this was necessary - we absolutely wanted to say "Thank you" for all those wonderful things we received lately. I hope you got an impression how happy and proud I am... *wink* We hope, you've liked our little Strawberry Cottage-tour!

Liebe Grüße / Hugs

Mango " the King of fruits

More mango's are eaten fresh
all over the world than any other fruit!

    I thought that was quite a statement, but after going on line and checking different web sites about mango's , I now firmly believe it to be a somewhat true statement.

This is mango season in Thailand and almost everyone I know has a tree or two in their yard . We wait for the winter season to end so that the trees will flower and then watch, with amazement and anticipation as we see the fruit develop from a little pea size,  to a full grown ,baseball size, ripe fruit ,to be relished and enjoyed . I say relished and enjoyed because since moving to Thailand I have come to love the flavor and smell and taste of this fruit. It starts to get ripe about the middle of March here in our village and around the area , tho some parts of Thailand have Mango's growing all the time and you can really enjoy them year round , But they do get pricey when out of season in our local area. I really don't care how pricey they get I have to have my Mango Fix as many days a week as possible . We here in Wang Pho are in the middle of our Mango season now and the folks that eat theirs green and in green salads and with  sugar,chili peppers crushed, and a touch of salt  have already raided the trees and  what they couldn't reach or left on the trees are for us folks who like ours ripe and juicy. We have 4 mango trees (3 different varieties ) in our yard and get lots from them , and the neighbor has about 50 trees that they sell the green mango, every year to folks from Bangkok and they tell us to eat all we want once they have moved on. They have a couple of different varieties that I don't have , one being a mango called black gold and the fruit inside the green peel is as golden as can be and the taste is to kill for . The season here in Wang Pho starts in mid March and will run till April end, with a few varieties that hang on till May or mid May , we have a tree with a mango called a Gaull that will last clear up till mid June , they are a last resort mango for me as they are not as sweet as most . But they are better than no mango at all . And as my Mother use to say "beggars can't be choosy."
   I only knew of the great taste of the mango and never really thought of the health benefits , till I did this research , and now I know that they are not only good to eat  -- but they are Good for you and your body and can promote good health.
  The follow information was Googled and  gleamed from the net and as far as I know is not copyrighted , so I am going to copy and paste for your reading enjoyment and enlightenment . I hope you enjoy  the read .
  I know I always say it, BUT!!!!!!  this is just another reason why we're "Retired in Thailand and Loving It."

Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall.
The mango originated in Southeast Asia where it has been grown for over 4,000 years. Over the years mango groves have spread to many parts of the tropical and sub-tropical world, where the climate allows the mango to grow best. Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall. The mango tree will fruit 4 to 6 years after planting. Mango trees require hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop. Most of the mangos sold in the United States are imported from Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean and South America. Today there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos throughout the world.

A comfort food. Mangos really can make you feel better! Beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, mangos contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to papain found in papayas. These comforting enzymes act as a digestive aid and can be held partially responsible for that feeling of contentment we experience during and after our daily mango ritual. Yes, it is quite natural to crave those mangos!
Mango, both in its green and ripe form is a very good tenderizing agent due to these same enzymes, therefore ideal to include in any marinade (see Mango Marinade under Sauces category in our Recipe Guide). In India they use a sour mango powder containing ground up green mangos called Amchur, both as a seasoning and tenderizing aid.
We all know the importance of fiber in our diets. If you are eating your mango-a-day, irregularity is not a problem for you and so we'll spare the gruesome details regarding constipation, piles and spastic colon. Research has shown that dietary fiber has a protective effect against degenerative diseases, especially with regards to the heart; may help prevent certain types of cancer, as well as lowering blood cholesterol levels. An average sized mango can contain up to 40% of your daily fiber requirement. For those of you who are physically active, whether working out or constantly on the go, mangos are also a great way to replenish that lost potassium. Deliciously rich in anti-oxidants, potassium and fiber - the mango is the perfect fruit! Truly 'the king of fruit'