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  • hardie karges 1:53 pm on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , night market, ,   

    Part 2, Street-Food Crisis in Bangkok: Panic, Hoarding and General Pandemonium :-) 

    IMG_0750

    Let there be food on the street…

     

    Continued from previous…

    Solution: Ever heard of ‘night markets’? That’s what occurs when a few food vendors gather in the same area, after sundown, and it becomes a kind of makeshift food court, or much much more, and far preferable to sidewalk usurpers who become our—the pedestrian’s—mediator between life and death. Whenever these stalls are organized, everyone benefits, in hygiene, safety, diversity and organization. Apparently that’s what the Bangkok government wants to do…

    But the idea that street food is Bangkok’s best food is ludicrous. That’s like saying that America’s best food is KFC. Of course, part of the problem is definition. What passes for ‘street food’ in CNN’s next ’23 best’ are nothing like Bangkok, including New Orleans, which by Bangkok standards has NO street food, ditto Istanbul, or Paris, or Cairo, Marrakesh or Mexico City, all places that I know personally. Their sidewalks aren’t taken over by sidewalk seating and eating, just Bangkok, and much of Asia… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:41 pm on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Yaowarat   

    Part 1: Street Food Crisis in Bangkok, City of Angels, L-O-S… 

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    Best northern food in Chiang Mai, but not on the sidewalk…

    Land of Smiles, that is, until you f*ck with the food, just one spoonful short of the prized phrik (hot pepper) or sacred sugar, and you’re in real trouble, Thai food something of a gustatory dialectic wending its way between the extremes of spicy and jeut, sour and sweet, hot and cold flavors, filling or not. And now the military government wants to clean up the sidewalks of street vendors, including food vendors…

    Well, you’d think North Korea had begun launching missiles down south, the way the Twitter-verse and Facebookers are responding to Bangkok’s crackdown on ‘street food’ this week. Now everybody is Anthony Freaking Bourdain, with epicurean DNA, a favorite street chef in Bangkok, a culinary stiffie and a golden thumb for golden drum-sticks, browned and crisped to smoky perfection and ready for prime time… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 9:06 pm on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      My son has just returned from Thailand and he and his family enjoyed the street food … will show him this when I see him next. Wonder if he had that som tam …

  • hardie karges 1:07 pm on April 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Manila, Philippines, ,   

    Looking for Buddha in Transit: Despite the Spite, There’s Danger in Anger… 

     

    IMG_2338A seven-hour layover is no fun anywhere any time and certainly not Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, where the idea of fun for an extended layover is to put you in a dark dank ‘transit lounge’ holding cell with fellow miscreants where at least the Internet is good, and they brought me some free food, better than I’ve ever gotten elsewhere, TBH, but still no fun…

    So when the flight is further delayed another hour, the news is even less welcome than usual, given the constraints on my time in destination Bangkok, where I already have only ten-and-a-half hours to pass through Immigration and Customs, sleep, cross town and check in at the other airport before my flight to southern Thailand departs, rush rush hurry hurry… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 2:56 pm on April 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Your patience is astounding.

  • hardie karges 2:41 pm on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , International Buddhist College, Sadao, ,   

    Looking for Buddha in Southern Thailand… 

     

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    Intl. Buddhist College at Sadao

    Thailand may be famous for its Buddhism, but in southern Thailand Islam is king, in exact proportion to the percentage of persons of Malay ethnicity resident there, that being a crucial part of the definition of ‘Malay’, that and the language, usually referred to in Thai as ‘Melayu’ or ‘Yawi’, the latter better known as the name of the ancient Arabic script, but never as ‘Bahasa Malaysia’, the national language of Malaysia, and which, together with the dialects of Brunei and Indonesia, constitute a major international language…

    But such are the vaguenesses and vagaries of politics, and culture, especially in a region largely defined by outside influences, DNA betwixt and between them largely identical, I suspect, from the Philippines through, over and around China, to India, by land and thousands of islands no more than superficial dressing to their primordial differences, almost all of which came after, first from the Indians, then the Arabs, then Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, French English American, in no certain order of dishonor…
    (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 4:04 pm on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! Sharing. What a writer!

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:10 pm on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Once a Baptist in Brandon. And what a writer!!

      Esther

  • hardie karges 12:29 pm on April 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hualien, , Yilan   

    Taiwan: Looking for Buddha in Yilan and Hualien, and… 

    IMG_2290…nobody’s eyes, because you won’t find anything there, not somebody else’s, anyway, though maybe your own, if you’re capable of turning the mirror inward. But the outer world is always handy for a clue or two, a clean well-lighted place for books, or adoration, or something similar, like a good place to place a cushion in meditation, or a good place to witness in awe the indescribable majesty and magnitude of creation, the ineluctable modality of this slow cool world…

    Taiwan may have a population slightly larger than Sri Lanka’s twenty-plus million, but it’s only a little over half the size, and much more developed, including high-speed trains that California would drool over, so that means you can zip down the west side of the island in little more than a half-day—but not the east side, not quite, not yet, almost. That’s the more nature-laden indigenous-peopled sparser half of the island, with not too much in between, except along those same coasts… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 12:46 pm on April 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What can I say – except you are a hoot – taking it all in.

  • hardie karges 11:53 am on April 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Taipei,   

    Taipei 101, Introduction to Taiwan: Eat Drink Man Woman… 

    IMG_2219Taiwan has a bit of a strange reputation, something like a poor man’s Japan, or a renegade province of China, or an Asian wannabe-Amerika, or none of the above, or all of the above. And the reality itself is a little bit different. In fact it’s some of the above, neither all nor none, but parts of each in selected proportions, and parts entirely unique…

    In fact Taiwan is hardly known outside its own borders and somewhat patchy even there. Most famous as last refuge for Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang in 1948, after their defeat by the Communists of Mao Zedong, it was once almost as famous for the phrase ‘Made in Taiwan’ somewhere around the 1980’s, long after ‘Made in Japan’ was forgotten and shortly before ‘Made in China’ became the norm… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 11:14 am on March 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American Airlines, , , , ,   

    PayPal, AA, BofA, HW, and: the Sh*t-List Winner Is… 

    img_0982continued from previous…

    Next there’s Bank of America, one of the USA’s largest banks and no stranger to the bottom-line profit margin. So why then do they need to plunder your hard-earned and hard-saved travel miles that you accumulate by using their credit card? Like Telestial (see above), they changed the rules in the middle of the game, like you’ve got nothing better to do, so they slip in the proviso that ALL miles accumulated have an expiration date, REGARDLESS of whether the account is active or not—SUX! Shame on you, BofA…

    Then there’s American Airlines, whose own frequent-flyer program is not so bad—as long as the flights are within the US. If you’re traveling overseas, then the taxes alone will—supposedly—cost you almost as much as a new ticket on a budget airline! I’ve never been able to verify taxes of that magnitude elsewhere…

    But the Big Winner of Hardie’s Sh*t-L*st award would have to be Pay Pal, which, like Uber and Air BnB and other dot-com conglomerates we’d like to think are above the shenanigans of the previous era of rapists and robber barons, BUT—not. In fact, they are probably worse. When someone hacked my account where almost a thousand dollars lay idle, charging until they could charge no more, Pay Pal informed me they found no malfeasance, and if I wasn’t satisfied with the product, then I should contact the seller… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 7:31 pm on March 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Useful for those who come after, I’m sure! Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, though I’m not about to break my lifetime practise of sticking put after your slightly scary account! The philosophy and travel writing are what I come back for, anyway, so all power to your elbow with those areas.

      • hardie karges 10:31 pm on March 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Elbow at the ready, indeed ! I just wrote 300+ words long-hand (neatly and for submission), the first time in years, and all I can say is: “Thank God for keyboards!” Thanx as always, Dave, I persevere…

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:02 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Keep on ‘keeping on.’ A marvel, you are.

  • hardie karges 12:59 pm on March 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air Asia, , , , budget, cell phones, , , ,   

    W*sh Lists and Sh*t Lists: E-kit, Hostel World, Air Asia, B of A… 

    IMG_0549Every once in a while, when travel and inspiration are slow, I feel like I should update my publicly accessed info just once for the record, and one for the road. For one thing, companies and businesses that I once supported and promoted, for free, no longer provide the service that I once endorsed. For another thing, I myself may no longer provide the service(s) that I once worked so hard for. Things change. Get over it. Life goes on. It’s a big world. Good luck out there…

    First, the bad news—my sh*t list. It gives me no pleasure, I assure you, to diss companies that once provided a valuable service at a reasonable price, and there’s no reason why they can’t do so again. But sometimes they’re slow to get the message and change their business plan, so there needs to be a public airing of grievances…

    Now if this just seems like a way to get back at companies that I feel may have done me wrong, I should mention that sometimes I patronize companies just for the purpose of testing their waters, whether I truly need them or not, and many times far beyond the bounds of necessity, just for the sake of loyalty, curiosity and convenience… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 2:06 pm on March 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Trouble, trouble. I’m staying home – as you already knew.

  • hardie karges 3:14 pm on March 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Buddhism and the Art of Pickup Maintenance: Tale of the drunken hitch-hiker… 

    streaming consciousness...

    img_1401 Reflections in the rear-view mirror

    Back Story: In a previous life I used to sell folk art at a trade show in Dallas, TX, while living in Flagstaff, AZ, a distance of approximately 1000 miles, so within the purview of my limits for driving the distance, and supposedly saving money, rather than flying and renting cars and all that rap, running around town when I’d rather just load up the truck, put in a tape and fire up some Doobie (Brothers), find my cozy little hundred-buck-a-week crib out by Love Field, and take it from there…

    Of course it doesn’t always work out so smoothly, so when it’s time to beat a hasty retreat, I once got the brilliant idea of trying a new route, bored as Hell from Hwy. 287 diagonalizing NW up through Wichita Falls (“as falls Wichita…”), former home of my father, and lots of empty space.

    View original post 882 more words

     
  • hardie karges 1:59 pm on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Patpong, Soi Ngam Duphli, ,   

    Bangkok on a Budget: Time Travel and Second Thoughts… 

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    Soi Ngam Duphli today

    Every budget traveler in SE Asia has heard of Khaosarn Road, in Bangkok, that warren of creepy-crawlers, that rookery of high-fliers, that underbelly of bottom-feeders that all identify as backpackers, or maybe even ‘flashpackers’, travelers—generally young, at heart if not calendar—who’ve made a date with fate and a pact with no backtrack to see it all…

    …or die trying, including beaches, mountains, cities and villages, but especially beaches, as famously immortalized by Leonardo, DiCaprio not Da Vinci, wherever the beer is cold, the bud has flowers, the prices are low, the English language has taken root and at least one enterprising local has mastered the recipe for banana pancakes, sweeten to taste and allow to settle… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 2:11 pm on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Sharing with my granddaughter and her husband who are planning a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam.

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