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A “Conversation?”

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Amazing things you see. A SE Asian man and an older Thai woman at the next table in the breakfast room of my hotel. For 30 minutes now they both have been talking over each other with no let up. I’m fascinated to see how long they keep it up. Not for one second has either of them stopped talking!

How do they know what to say next?!


Monday, September 30th, 2013

OMG, it’s almost been a year since my last RTW! I am planning my next trip back to Thailand to get some teeth in November and to see my sons in Thailand and Hong Kong. I am beginning to anticipate…and remember…

An expat took his laptop battery to the computer shop opposite Makro in Samui to see if they had one or could order one from Bangkok. He approached the guy at the counter with his carrier bag. (There was no one else in the shop, and the guy was not busy doing anything)

“Sawasdee Krap”


“can you help me?”


“I have a laptop battery” (reaching into carrier bag)

(At this point the battery was still concealed in the bag)

“Can you….?.”


“cannot what?”


“Do you have……?” (producing said battery. He didn’t even look at it)


” I see…..Can you order from Bangkok?”


“Are you saying that there is no shop in the whole of Bangkok where you can get a laptop battery?”


Another expat:
“In Banphai there is a pharmacy, each time I go in, without looking up the man says NO HAVE. Hello I can see what I want on that shelf… NO HAVE…I go outside and get the [Thai] wife and she asks for the same item. He goes to the shelf and passes item to my wife 80 baht please. WTF.”

You may also encounter Mr. NONO and Mrs. SHOO-SHOO

I think there may be several things going on here.

Mrs. NOHAVE may not understand the request and don’t want to admit it to save face. Also may apply to MR. CANNOT, MR. NONO and MRS SHOO-SHOO.
Mr. CANNOT can not speak English in order to answer the request.
This may be followed up by Mrs. SHOO-SHOO
Mr. CANNOT and Mrs. NO HAVE, Mr. NONO and Mrs. SHOO-SHOO may be tired.
Thais are sick of dealing with farangs who don’t speak Thai
Thais are sick of dealing with farangs

Of course it may be true that they really CANNOT or NO HAVE.

New Zealand Next?

Monday, February 18th, 2013
Met a really nice bright young Swiss guy in the breakfast room while at the Sarisanee who has been living in New Zealand. He talked up NZ and of course now I want to go there! He, a self-described punker ... [Continue reading this entry]

Last Days In Jinghong

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
Joe, a gregarious Dai tour guide who hangs out at the tourist haunts looking for business invited me to join him and his family and friends, including a young French couple, at the new BBQ restaurants on the road along ... [Continue reading this entry]

Just Hanging Out

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Yesterday an older woman from Ireland and I tried to find the Night Market at the end of the bridge over the Mekong River where you used to be able to get great BBQ meat cooked over coal fires. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Conversation In The Zocalo

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006
It is creepy odd...the dirty war at night we don't see...the bustling life of the Zocalo by day. Monday was Mike's last day in Oaxaca. Merilla & Peter, expats from Australia, Mike and Gerardo and I met for coffee at ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sunday Morning In Oaxaca

Sunday, August 20th, 2006
I am cranky this morning. I was up all night because of a very noisy wedding party in the courtyard below my apartment window. So I went to my favorite food stall in the Benito Juarez market where I ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lovely Oaxacan Family

Friday, August 18th, 2006
Last night I visited a gentle sincere Oaxacan family that lives about 20 minutes in the mountains northwest of the city in San Andreas Huayapam. The couple roasts fragrant locally grown coffee and delivers it to outlets all over. I ... [Continue reading this entry]

Whats To Love About Oaxaca

Saturday, August 12th, 2006
Juanita, the Mexican-American woman I met at Pachote Market, will ride down here with me in my car in September...a road trip to Las Vegas to see Greg, to Phoenix to see friends and across Texas to the border at ... [Continue reading this entry]

Long Bus Tour

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
Took a tour of Colonial Reforma the northern part of the city. Went to immigration to get my year-long visa and on the way the bus driver got into a stand-off with a car whose driver was yelling ... [Continue reading this entry]


Friday, August 4th, 2006
When I was in China a couple years ago, I met a lovely British woman in her 30's using an internet next to me in the bar at the Camellia Hotel in Kunming. We have kept in touch while ... [Continue reading this entry]

Unexpected Adventures

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006
At Pachote Organic Market while sampling Mezcal, an alcoholic beverage made in Oaxaca from the agave plant, I met Juanita, a lovely Mexican-American woman, who was here visiting her daughter. We connected immediately and it turns out that ... [Continue reading this entry]

Songkran Water Festival

Saturday, April 15th, 2006
Day before yesterday was New Years in Lao. Yesterday was New Years in Thailand, although the celebration continues for several days in these countries. We get it again! Leila took a cheap bus to Kao San Road while I ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tuk Tuk Tour

Saturday, April 15th, 2006
After the Lao Cotton Company party, Villa, the driver, took a nap in his tuk tuk while we rested in our room. Later that night we toured the city under the lights. Villa, it turns out, is not just ... [Continue reading this entry]

Thai Rock Band

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
After dinner with Susan, Leila and I looked for some music and found a night club with a terrific Thai band playing Rod Stewart, Eagles and Pink Floyd's "The Wall." Leila turned into a 15 year old...singing along with ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lao “Disco”

Monday, April 3rd, 2006
ySKKSpbtXBjgyhP6z8LuC0-2006217035001655.gif Last night a lively 50 year old woman that teaches kindergarten in Alberta Canada, a young woman from California who is a consultant to a California educational testing company, an even younger woman from ... [Continue reading this entry]

Luang Prabang Lao

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
DSC00495.JPG Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Breakfast at Smile Guesthouse

Saturday, March 25th, 2006
I have changed hotels. I am now at the brand new Bau-Tong Lodge with free WiFi that is down little soi 3 off Loi Kroh...for half the cost of the Galare Guesthouse where I was for the last three ... [Continue reading this entry]


Tuesday, March 7th, 2006
Yesterday morning I walked to the Post Office around the corner and down the street and then slowly swung a wide path through the city...dawdling in used book stores, Jonesing for all the quality crafts and household items in shop ... [Continue reading this entry]

International Night On Koh Samui

Saturday, February 25th, 2006
We're back on Samui and I have rented a brand new furnished one bedroom house for $12.00 a night at "Solitude Resort" on a mountainside about a mile from Doug and Luk's bungalow. The first evening we were welcomed by our ... [Continue reading this entry]

“11 Minutes” Outranks Mao

Thursday, July 14th, 2005
On my way to my BTS Skytrain station, I stop for lunch at The Emporium, an upscale indoor shopping mall where there is a variety of restaurants on the 5th floor. A young Asian woman sitting next to me ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Talk By Shirin Ebadi

Thursday, April 14th, 2005
Bob has been in the north for the last week so I joined the Foreign Correspondents Club the other day as a way of meeting other English speaking people in Bangkok. Membership is reciprocal with Foreign Correspondents Clubs around ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jazz In Familiar Old Quarter Hanoi

Friday, April 1st, 2005
I had to check out of Thailand...thought my visa was 90 days that I got in Kunming in December but it was only 60 days. So at the end of March I had to pay a hefty fine at ... [Continue reading this entry]

Keeping Body and Soul Together

Friday, April 1st, 2005
In Bangkok we got a good deal for a month in a beautiful completely furnished apartment on a dead-end street in the upscale Saladaeng area...close to the Skytrain and the new subway that is running again after a recent accident. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Miao Village In Guizhou

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171171225701.gif In Shanghai, exploring the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree web site, I noticed a query from a young woman from Kaili in Guizhou Province who was offering to arrange a homestay in a Miao minority ... [Continue reading this entry]


Tuesday, December 7th, 2004
East China.gif Spent about 3 weeks in Shanghai in a lovely small hotel behind the Shanghai Library on a tree-lined street of the former French Concession. The US Embassy was next door to the ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, December 6th, 2004
East China.gif Currently in a delightful city (Yangshau) that is on the Yangtze River about 100 miles north of Shanghai. China's autumn has been fantastic, the people interesting (and challanging) and the food tasty (most of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tai Shan Sacred Mountain

Sunday, November 14th, 2004
East China.gif Located midway between Beijing and Shanghai, "Tai Shan" is probably the most famous of the five sacred mountains of China. According to legend Tai Shan represents the head of Pan Gu, who ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lao Shan Mountain Climb

Sunday, October 31st, 2004
East China.gif Spent 3 days in Quin in new part of town, one in old town and one on a mountain north of town called Lao Shan--subsequently took train to Tai'an and climbed Tai ... [Continue reading this entry]

Kindred Spirits in Quindao

Saturday, October 30th, 2004
East China.gif Walking by the Foreign Language Bookstore in Quindao, just up the street from my comfy clean hotel room that a tout from the railroad station led me to...80 yuan she says..that's about ... [Continue reading this entry]

Overnight Train to Xuindao

Sunday, October 24th, 2004
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171174607989.gif Xuindao is also spelled Quindao From Beijing, I take an overnight train alone to Quindao. Quindao is a weekend getaway for well-to-do Communist party cadres and the train is brand spanking shiny new. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Coffee Taxis & New Friends

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004
East China.gif I take a taxi to the upscale Lufthansa shopping center in Beijing to see if a bookstore had the Lonely Planet "Shanghai." They didn't of course...there were a few Lonely Planets ... [Continue reading this entry]

Far East Youth Hostel

Friday, October 15th, 2004
East China.gif The last time I was in China it was freezing cold in January 2003. The weather is fantastic this October day in 2004. After slogging it out across Russia and Mongolia, we soak ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Tajik and Olga

Thursday, September 30th, 2004
7yBXvp82X2gVlMeZe25DiM-2006198051115673.gif The Tajik and Olga In Irkutsk, when we find our seats on the train to Ulaan Baatar, we find a good-looking 40 year old Muslim man from Tajikistan in our cabin. He has studied ... [Continue reading this entry]

Five Hours to Olkhon Island

Saturday, September 25th, 2004
7yBXvp82X2gVlMeZe25DiM-2006198051115673.gif The next morning we are picked up at our homestay in Irkutsk by a sullen driver who drives us five hours over pot-holes, through the taiga and across a bay of the beautiful blue ... [Continue reading this entry]

To Irkutsk With Vladamir

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004
7yBXvp82X2gVlMeZe25DiM-2006198051115673.gif The evening we are to leave Yekaterinburg on the train, Bob loses his change purse containing a credit card getting out of a mini-bus. Olga's son drives us in his car to the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Free-Wheeling Moscow

Saturday, September 18th, 2004
7yBXvp82X2gVlMeZe25DiM-2006198051115673.gif Video 2004-09 Like in the big Central European cities we visited, there are cranes everywhere... old soviet buildings built during the Stalin era are scheduled to be razed and new one modern ones put up. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Perspective On China

Tuesday, December 31st, 2002
China is big. The population is staggering with a billion and a half people. It's a matter of getting perspective. Our home state of Oregon only has about 1.5 million people. By comparison Hong Kong has 7 million. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Ruili China

Saturday, December 28th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Coming down out of the mountains we were happy to see Ruili lying in the green lush valley below...a larger city than I thought...a Chinese/Burma border town with a mix of Han Chinese, minorities ... [Continue reading this entry]

Christmas At Re Hai Hot Springs 2002

Tuesday, December 24th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif We went to Re Hai Hot Springs..a short half-hour bus ride from Tengchong. The Asian and European continental shift also resulted in over 80 crystalline hot springs...grand Boiling Hot Cauldron...age-old Toad-Mout Hot Spring...Drunk Bird Hot ... [Continue reading this entry]

Volcanos in Tengchong

Saturday, December 21st, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif A young Chinese woman on the bus had struck up a conversation in English...telling us about the sights around Tengchong. We thought that maybe we could pay her to guide us to the ... [Continue reading this entry]

My Name is Zhuy Yu Ping

Friday, December 20th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif On the way to Tengchong, the bus climbed high up into the Gaoligong Shan Mountain Range on a winding narrow two lane road...dropping down and then higher up again...beautiful valleys down below terraced with ... [Continue reading this entry]

Conversation With Roland

Monday, December 16th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Had a final dinner at familiar and cozy Sekura's Cafe in Old Town Lijiang...splurging on Western food...sharing our beer with Roland, a 30 year old economics teacher in a university in Singapore. (Surprisingly and ... [Continue reading this entry]

Conversations In Tiger Leaping Gorge

Saturday, December 14th, 2002
jWLtBzsBGHTUmbHjYHypj0-2006185073225366.gif Wednesday Dec 11 In Old Town Lijiang, Bob joined us for breakfast at our hotel at 9am; met Li at her hotel at 10:30 for minibus trip up the gorge. Bus had no shocks ... [Continue reading this entry]

Zhondian to Baishuitai

Friday, December 6th, 2002
jWLtBzsBGHTUmbHjYHypj0-2006185073225366.gif Friday Dec 6 2002 There were no street lights so we walked the equivalent of several blocks to the Zhongdian bus station in the dark to catch the 7:50am bus for Baishuitai. While waiting for ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Communist Party

Sunday, October 20th, 2002
People everywhere in Viet Nam confided in me, as a foreigner who would not know who to tell anyway, that they hated the corrupt officials in the Communist Party that are entangled in a growing web of organised crime. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tourism Vietnamese Style

Wednesday, October 16th, 2002
7VJvlOW1A5Ali2rnovusuM-2006216180228245.gif From the 200 kilometers of the Cu Chi tunnels, six layers deep just outside Saigon, the Viet Cong (South Vietnamese communist fighters) planned their campaigns on the South Vietnamese and American bases that ringed ... [Continue reading this entry]

Making Friends in Lang Co

Saturday, October 12th, 2002
KtJTxGv4eiozwJxI0Lb6qM-2006216170118412.gif Spent the night in a cheap backpacker hotel before boarding an air conditioned tour bus the next morning for Danang. On the way to Danang though, we pass through Lang Co, a small ... [Continue reading this entry]

Viet Kiew

Saturday, October 5th, 2002
KtJTxGv4eiozwJxI0Lb6qM-2006216170118412.gif In Dong Ha, my motorcycle taxi driver and I talk about Vietnam and America and the Viet Kiew, the Vietnamese Americans that return to visit. He greatly resents these people who come back ... [Continue reading this entry]

Getting Blessed

Thursday, October 3rd, 2002
Getting into Hanoi late on the train after visiting Sapa, I walked into a hotel down the street from the train station because I was going to leave again the next afternoon on the train for Dang Ha in Central ... [Continue reading this entry]