Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vegetables

Now for something a little more light-hearted.  The last few days in school we have been learning nouns.  Today was names of vegetables.  Yesterday was names of household things and fruit.  Tuesday was names of body parts.  Some of the names I find amusing because of their literal translation.  And some of the other words I find amusing for childish reasons.  Here are a few examples.

  1. Foot = เท้า (taao) (falling tone).  No humor here but remember this for later.
  2. Bag = ถุง (toong) (low tone).  Still not funny.  Wait for it.
  3. Sock = ถุงเท้า (toong-taao) (low, falling tone).  Yes.  That’s right.  The literal translation of “sock” is “foot bag”.

Foreigners (specifically westerners) are called “Farang” or sometimes “Falang” in Thailand.  It’s just a different pronunciation of the same word.  Anyways, it’s a term that can have negative connotations.  Here’s where it starts to get funny.

  1. Guava = ฝรั่ง (farang) (low tone).  The inside of a guava is white so I guess that’s where the name for westerners with white skin comes from.
  2. Potato = มันฝรั่ง (man farang) (low or maybe falling, low tone).  And the ‘a’ in “man” is somewhere between an ‘a’ and a ‘u’ sound but transliterated to English it’s an ‘a’.  So I guess I’m a potato.

Now for something childish.

  1. Pumpkin = ฟักทอง.  Lets go over the letters to sound this out.
    1. ฟั, faw fan (tooth) with mai han-aa-gaat.  Makes ‘f’ sound followed by ‘a’ as in “alaska” sound.
    2.  ก, gaw gai (chicken). The mai han-aa-gaat means this is a stop consonant and makes a ‘k’ sound instead of a ‘g’ sound.
    3. ท, taw ta-haan (soldier).  Makes a ‘t’ sound.
    4. อ, sara-oo.  Vowel makes a longish ‘o’ sound.
    5. ง, ngaw nguu.  Makes a “ng” sound which I can not pronounce properly.

In Thai, “pumpkin” is transliterated as “fuk-tong”.  Told you it was childish.  Also interesting is that ทอง (tong) is the word for the color “gold” and ฟัก (fuk) is the word for “case” so literally pumpkin is “gold case”.

One more with a bad word in it.

  1. Long Green Beans = ถั่วฟักยาว
    1. ถั่ว (tua) means peanut or nut.
    2. ฟัก (fuk) see above.
    3. ยาว (yaow) means long.  Almost sounds like “you”.  So this one literally means “long nut case”.  I will resist making more childish jokes.

Saving Face

There is this concept in Thailand about “saving face”.  It’s not something I became aware of until being here several weeks.  My understanding of the concept is this: Thai people don’t like to be embarrassed and try to avoid confrontation.  If you embarrass someone, perhaps by pointing out their stupid selfish behavior, or challenging their lies, then you cause them to lose face at which point they will become extremely angry with you and could quickly escalate to physical violence.

Whoever came up with “The Land of Smiles” is full of BS.  I’m still enjoying my time here but do not have a desire to live here permanently.  Since coming to Thailand, I’ve learned the following:

  1. Corruption in all levels of society and government is a huge problem.
  2. The police will not help you.
  3. Extreme nationalism which leads to
  4. Overt racism.
  5. Thais are very self centered and never consider / don’t care how their actions affect the people around them.
  6. Thai people (especially men) have very big and fragile egos.
  7. Everywhere, someone is trying to scam you.

Funny, people are like this in a country that places such a high value on the teachings of Buddha.  I guess I could add hypocritical to the list too.  Luckily, not everyone is like this but I get the sense it’s 80 to 90 percent of people here and except for restaurants and the grocery store, I don’t have to interact with many Thai people.

Chong Phli – Day 22 & 23

Nothing much exciting to report.  2 days ago I tried Round the Bend 6a+.  Sadly I could not even make it to the second bolt.  I need to watch somebody climb this to see how it’s done.  It’s only a 6a+.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  After giving up on Round the Bend 6a+, I climbed EFZ 6a+ a few times then did Mad Skills 6b but needed one take on that since I was getting tired.   I led it without pre hanging the quickdraws like I did previously and it was interesting because I ended up climbing it a little differently.

Today I climbed Chutzpah 6a+.  Leading it was easier than last time and then I did several laps on top rope.

After climbing we ate lunch at Khow Soy Restaurant.  I think this is one of the best Thai restaurants in Ao Nang.  They have a good variety of food from all over Thailand and Laos.  The dishes are done well and always delicious.  The only downside to this restaurant is that it’s a bit more expensive than the others.  But it’s worth it for the good service and food.

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Coconut shake. Arroy Mak Mak! Means very delicious in Thai. It was so good I had another one for dessert. Last time in Thailand I had more than one of these in a day I was peeing out of my butt for 3 days.

No school today meant I had some time to kill before going to yoga.  So I took a little nap back in the room then left for yoga about an hour early to go for a bike ride.  Not sure how far I went but I was really tired and hot when I got to yoga.  Didn’t do so well in yoga and spent a lot of time in childs pose.  It was a pretty good multi-sport day today!

Chong Phli – Day 19, 20, and 21 but mostly 21

I went climbing yesterday and I think on Tuesday too.  I didn’t write about those days because nothing interesting happened.  My left elbow started hurting a lot so I climbed some really easy stuff and took a couple days off, then climbed some more really easy stuff.  So I’ve been taking it easy and doing some exercises to help my elbow.  There is still a little pain but it’s not bad and it’s much better from earlier in the week.

So today I’m feeling pretty good and wanted to go climbing.  Got a bit of a late start since something from dinner or breakfast did not agree with my stomach.  Luckily it was not food poisoning or anything like that.  Around 10:30 we finally got to the crag.  Chutzpah 6a+ has been my project lately.  I’ve been working on sending all the 6a+’s and this is one of the last ones.  Lucky for me nobody was on the route when I got there so I gave it a go.  I climbed the first half of the route pretty good but I was feeling anxious and not very confident so about halfway up I started getting out of sequence and my beta was not good and had to take a couple times.  But I got to the top then on my way down, climbed the section that gave me trouble and found a better sequence.

Then Anong climbed it and only needed a little help.  We also met Martin and his wife there so Martin climbed it next.  Now it was my turn.  I was feeling well rested and a little more confident.  I was going to try it on top rope to refine the beta but decided I should just lead it and ended up sending it.  Yay for small improvements!  There is one more 6a+ at Chong Phli.  I wasn’t going to climb it since I never see anybody on it but a guy I met at the yoga studio who also climbs says it’s pretty good so I guess I’ll try it now.  It’s called Round the Bend 6a+.  Once I finish that one then I’ll have to start trying more 6b’s.

So after sending Chutzpah 6a+, I moved the rope over one anchor to try a route on top rope some other guys were climbing earlier in the day.  The route is Hunting Shrooms 6c+.  It was rather difficult.  The crux was very thin and balancy with bad feet.  I couldn’t get through it so had to cheat a little and climb off route but after many takes, I eventually got to the top.  After that, my toes were very unhappy with me and the sun was hitting the wall so we called it a day.  Got some coconuts and ate lunch.

p.s. my toes are still unhappy with me.

Wine

It’s funny how some things in Thailand are really cheap.  Other things, not so cheap.  For example, bicycles and bicycle parts are the same price or more in Thailand as in America.  A pint of Black Cock, White Spirit is $2.37.  Pretty cheap.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen booze that cheap back home.  This bottle of wine on the other hand that I’ve been drinking is ฿580 or about $18.  Now $18 for a bottle of wine isn’t very much but a quick google search shows this bottle of wine goes for about $10 in America.  Beer, even Thai produced beer also isn’t that cheap.  I can get a six pack of Rainier in America for less than I pay for an equivalent amount of Chang.  I guess the Thai government doesn’t want people to drink a lot of alcohol.  Seems reasonable since most Thais drive like they are drunk.  Half of them probably are.

So, about this $10 bottle of wine that cost me $18.  It’s a 2011 Long Neck Shiraz, from Australia.  When I poured my first glass, I took a moment to wonder what this wine would taste like.  You see, I really like wine and it’s been over two months since I’ve had any.  The best wine tasting experience I ever had.  Not joking.  Was while playing a game of round rossi with a gallon of Carlo Rossi Hearty Burgundy with friends and co workers after a day of hiking and ice climbing on Mt. Hood.  I was wondering, could this wine top that?  Sadly it did not.  My first thought was this tastes like cheap wine.  Not sure how to describe the taste but all cheap wine has it.  But now that I’m most of the way though the bottle, here’s a tasting note:

Deep, slightly brickish red color.  Initially very closed.  After some time there are faint aromas of leather and some dried cherry or blueberries.  If I try hard enough, I could trick myself into thinking I was drinking a Rhone wine.  On the palate, the wine is tart with underripe flavors.  Almost medium body.  I can say there is some tannin.  And there is a finish.  Overall, this wine is drinkable but that’s about it.  It also does not pair well with spicy Thai food.  But it was ok with grilled chicken.  I give it a score of 77 points.  I think I paid $12 too much 😦

But, it is wine and it’s been a long time since I had any.  So I am still enjoying the bottle.