Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sufficiency Farming: Random Shots

After visiting Huai Hong Khrai, our group ate a delicious lunch and hustled over to visit a farm which has successfully implemented many of the techniques of the Royal Development Project. The farmer was raising pigs, chickens, cows, frogs, and catfish, growing rice, fruit, and vegetables, and producing organic fertilizer, biofuels, and animal feed on a piece of land smaller than two acres (my estimate). It was beautifully systematic and, as one of my friends said, "inspirational."

Catfish have huge mouths...

... and they are sort of frightening.

Piglets enjoy lunch.

Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Project: Frogs and Mushrooms

The Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Project also holds workshops about various sustainable, sufficiency economy practices, including the raising of frogs for food (and serving as a protective measure for the at risk local frogs) and the growing of mushrooms for food, the protection of forests (which unfortunately are often burnt down to try to spawn mushrooms), and (though this is not part of the project) enterprise.

One of the shelters that holds ten different tubs for the raising of frogs, including local Thai frogs and American bullfrogs.

A tub full with adult frogs.

Our tour guide shows us the technique behind growing mushrooms using materials that are mostly readily available to farmers.

The mushroom shed, where hundreds of various mushroom species are being grown, a testament to the efficacy of the technique.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Project : Agroforestry

Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Project's Agroforestry endeavors at their inception. A picture of King Rama the IX walks in denuded forest area which the project will seek to rehabilitate.

After 27 years, the same plot pictured about is a much healthier forest, but still with much rehabilitation in the area to be done.

Our class listening about the ecology of the agroforestry division of the project.

Birthday Rice!

It was Ajaan Christina's birthday, so to celebrate we ate rice! With mangoes, sesame seeds, and coconut milk! It's called khao niew ma muang (literally, stick rice magoes), and, just in case you were wondering, it's mad tasty.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mork-Fa Waterfall

Naam tok suway means beautiful waterfall.

Huay Tung Tao Reservoir (20.2.09)

Luke and I prior to conveniently completing two tasks simultaneously:
1. Completing our swim test for ISDSI.
2. Doing the Cold Knight Jump (the test landed on the same day!).

Stray cats make me sneeze.
Non-stray ones do, too.
[Not my legs].

Goofing off before taking a dip.

Swimming towards the goal.

Bob Crow in Thailand

During our visit to Chiang Mai International School, we found these two pieces of Calvin College literature hung up near and in the guidance counselor's office. The lower of the these includes Bob Crow (far left). Lol.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rubik's Cube

OK, so apparently, Rubik's Cube are all the rage around here. Everyone, no joke (OK, not everyone, but mad people) does them. Yesterday, I even saw a six year old girl doing one that was mad old and broken up - the point is, it's a craze. The world record for doing it is 7 seconds. Let's just say it is not held by me. My nawng (younger brother) is an expert and holds a personal record of 21 seconds. He's pro, full stop.

This is my first completed Rubik's Cube. I banged it out in 2 minutes, 59 seconds, and 82 milliseconds. Yes, I timed myself.

My ajaan (teacher)!

Useful "how-to" diagrams to aid my Rubifikation process.

Me proudly displaying my first ever Rubik's cube (other than the one I took apart and put back together correctly at the age of about 13 to prove that "I finished it").

p.s. - Check out my new [Thai] haircut.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day from Thailand

One day, I will be able to read this. At that point, I will update this post and translate the message (if I remember).

Puang malaikon.

Ferrer Rocher flower = arroi [delicious]!

"My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose"
Robert Burns

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it ware ten thousand mile.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures

We checked out Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures (CMRCA) today, and I have no problem saying it was awesome. We did rock climbing, tyrolean crossing, rapelling, and caving. It was intense. I can't wait to go again - hopefully, even to CMRCA.

One of our team members switching from the tyrolean crossing to the rapel line, which dangling more than 50 m (164 feet) off the ground.

Two of the amazing CMRCA instuctors demonstrating proper belay technique.

Waiting to hook up to the tyrolean.

A huge stalagmite we saw while caving.

Our group chilling at the base camp.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gad Luang, Post II: Insectfest

What are you holding there Luke? And what do you seem so excited to chomp down on?

One of the loudest, most excited, and best pieces of advice I received when embarking on this Thai journey was to sample all the foods I encountered. At Gad Luang, I encountered a whole bunch of things that used creep and crawl... That's right, meal worms, grubs, crickets, and bigger crickets (the size of cicadas). What is more, our assignment paper encouraged us to sample some fried insects. Could I resist?

A whole bunch of us getting ready to plunge our nibblers into gargantuan fried cricket corpses.

Luke and I glance at each other, knowing that whatever the part that is stuck between our teeth, it sure don't taste like chicken.

Culinary note: While I would consider the meal worms ill-tasting, the crickets - especially the larger ones - actually tasted kind of good. Except for the wings...

Gad Luang [means] Big Market

Rowt dang parked outside of the market. That street, to put it in appropriate terms, was mad bumpin'.

The market was a thriving hub of activity. Our group was split up into 8 teams of 2 and told to find, identify, and, in the case of the food items, buy numerous items. This proved a slightly challenging task given we have three days of Thai class under our belt and the market had seemingly myriad floors (realistically, somewhere between 4 and 6).

After successfully completing most of our tasks in the hour we were given, we meet up on the market bridge, swarming Pi Pookie.

As this picture of various tourist paraphernalia reveals, much of the clothing in the market was targeted at faraang [means "Westerner" or "guava;" I am referring to the former].

Shot from the second floor of the ground floor, packed with food vendors, which sold meats, fruits, vegetables, pastries, and [drum roll, please, to mark foreshadowing] insects.

First Day of School (9 Feb. 2009)

Me in my Thai university student uniform (I was told mine was "very polite"),
standing in front of my host family home.

My neighbor Ben and my Thai Mae [mother] on the Chiangmai Superhighway, going to school [leung lieng]. She walked us on the first day, to make sure we made it there safely.

Neighbor Ben and I nearing the ISDSI campus (pictures of ISDSI will follow... someday).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Flower Festival [Mai Dok Mai Padap Chiang Mai]

These were taken in the annual Chiang Mai Flower festival.

To sum up the whole glorious affair, there were mad flowers (obviously), mad floats (as the pictures show), mad people (even volunteer tourist police from the Netherlands), and mad food. In the end, it was mad chill.