Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To Do-ne List you must know, there are many scary things to do before one leaves on an overseas adventure, trip, debacle.

Bathroom tap - not on the list but it broke anyway. I have no idea why there are so many tooth brushes in that cup, considering there are only two of us living here.

Shower head - not on the list, but came off in my hand the other night while having a shower.

Veranda tiles...OK...they're still lookin' like this a few weeks later.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Snap's Art

Chalk Art, Blackboard Art, is what I do part time, when I’m not at the office, part time. Stray likes to call it playin'. I love it and wish I could afford to do it full time. Most of my work goes to cafes, take aways and restaurants, and mostly interstate to Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

I removed the link to my business websites, because I wanted to keep this blog personal and private and separate...but I'll be uploading some photos of my art from time to time, and putting a link to them all, on the side menu. Can't wait, can you!

This one (below) has removable plaques. Hey presto!

More recently and more often, I've been doing jobs for private home owners who are wanting something different for their kitchens or entertainment areas. It makes a nice change from the usual hamburgers and chips. No, these aren't them.

One of the projects I hope to to complete, while away, is my chalk art course and tutorials...nearly done, but could do more! If you have any questions or suggestions, please send me a cooee!

I'd love to do just art for art's sake, but so far can't seem to find the time. I did however do this painting, intended for an art comp. My inspiration? A photo of a spoonful of hot and sour soup on our kitchen sink.
Funnily enough, no photo shopping was required, these odd colours are actually in the photo I took. Unfortunately I was too slack to get it framed and entered.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's a sign 3

Funny sign (menu) number 3.

As you may or may not know, I am (feeble attempt) learning Thai. No matter how many native Thais we spoke to on our last visit, they pronounced the R as an L. For instance, KanchanabuRi...written in Thai script with a ror rua - ร - or letter R in plain speak, was pronounced KanchanabuLi. No matter how many times we politely questioned it, the locals insisted that the R is pronounced L. OK, so we continue on our holiday doing likewise.

After returning home and investigating the Thai language further, learning resources state I MUST pronounce the R as an R ...even more so, as a rrrrrrrrroooooooooolllllllllliiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnggggg in the Russian language, which is handy, because I am half Russian.

Here it has been reversed....go figure!

The learning resources say that it's just a laziness thing, Thais not pronouncing their R's. But I found this menu particularly funny becuase they had purposely used an English R to create an L sound.

No matter what, Broccori (or is it Bloccoli?) is good for you :) and I'm thankful I didn't have to translate this menu from Thai to English or vice verse. By the way, our meal at the Golden Triangle was delicious and just look at those prices. Something I'll be really appreciating on our long stay.

PS. Also, I'm pretty sure that's meant to read Bitter Gourd, not Bitter Ground.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coffee Art

As an artist, I am always on the look out for new ideas and interesting mediums. I came across Sunshine Platter, a blog by a very talented artist who uses only coffee...yep, coffee, to create her artwork. I had never heard of it before, but apparently it's been around for a while. I suppose it would be similar to using water colours, but creating a sepia tone.

If I had a dollar for every time I put my paintbrush, into my cup of coffee, I'd be sitting pretty. So I'm that how it started? When I get some spare time (hahahaha) I'll have a go at it.

All of the sites had copyright on the pictures, otherwise I'd post one here. I respect artists and their copyright, especially after finding my artwork, along with a fellow chalk artist's, mangled, mish mashed and Photoshopped onto bulk lots of Chinese made blackboards. They finally removed them after I provided proof of ownership.

Coffee and painting seem like a perfect couple to me. I presume that you can vary the tone by how much water you add, but it would be interesting to see the differences by brand e.g. Nescafe or Moccona? What about Decaf? And can I add milk and sugar :) 

Here's a couple of more sites, in case you're interested. Just Coffee Art Coffee On Paper 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Learning Thai

*This used to be a page, but have published it as a post to save blog space.

Apart from a few tourist phrases, I can't speak Thai. ช่วยเหลือ (help).

I will be learning it, there, eventually, but wanted to get a head start. I've found these sites to be invaluable and use them in conjunction with each other.

Thai Language You can search Thai/English in many different ways and many of the words have audio.

Learning Thai I found school books on this site and lessons etc. I am studying Marnee and friends for grade one Students. You can down load the actual book at Josh Sager's Blog, among other things.

Of course there is also good, old Wikipedia for official info on Thai script.

For ALL things Thai look at Paknam Web, chat, forums, news, language, travel, stories etc. etc.

A Thai Online Keyboard can be handy.

Martyn suggested this site, Women Learn Thai, which also looks really helpful and easy to follow.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taxi Shrines 1

Photo 1 Taxi Shrines. Most taxi drivers have their own mobile shrine on the dash of their car. This the first of a few I managed to get photos of.
I am nearly certain that it's the King's face on the swinging fish, for whom the Thai people hold the utmost respect. Possibly made from 20 Baht notes?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's a sign 2

Thank you and Hello! Another of one of many funny signs we have found in our travels.

Yes, you would be correct in assuming that Titbits are exactly what you think they are...not hors d`oeuvres. I was amazed at how cheap they were compared to the price of beer. Stray found this one day on his way to finding a (fair dinkum) massage place in Kuala Lumpur...yes, I know it sounds suss. He thought it was quite amusing and dragged me back there that night, just to show me the sign.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Black Hairy Tongue

It's been 3 weeks since I gave up the cigarettes, four and a half for Stray and I think we've both got a handle on it now. Although I am still reaching for the nicorette gum from time to time, well maybe a little more than that...sometimes my jaw aches.

The odd glass of wine or two or three also helps to take the edge of the nagging withdrawals when they hit, only in the evenings of course. That's fantastic, if you can have one. I have a dry 9 days ahead, no wine, no alcohol, not even a chocolate with cherry liqueur inside :(

I'm on a super duper antibiotic (Metronizadole)...nothing serious, just getting old and have a few...well, don't want to get into that here. Let's just say I'm like an old pirate ship, a few barnacles and some plankton to get rid of. Anyway, the antibiotic is a variation of a drug they use to treat alcoholics. Apparently it's used as an aversion therapy, one drop of booze and it leaves them nauseous to throwing up...great!

hhhhhmmmmmmmm maybe Stray's been talking to my doctor on the sly?

An interesting side effect - High doses and/or long-term systemic treatment with metronidazole is associated with the development of black hairy tongue. And that's one of the least serious of the side effects. Mind you, I'm not on it for long term, only for 7 days, with a 2 day no drinking buffer zone at the end of the course.

PS. thankfully black hairy tongue doesn't actually involve any hair!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Capsule living - Beijing.

'The end of last month, a 78 year old retired engineer Huang Rixin (黄日新) built 8 units of “Capsule Apartment” in Liulangzhuang, Haidian district in Beijing. Each unit is less than 2 square meters and can only fit a single bed.' - China Hush


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's a sign

On our travels we've come across some funny signs and menus...sometimes something gets lost in the translation, or perhaps not?

Here's one of them.

...that's a relief!

Monday, June 7, 2010

TEFL Course update

We (and millions of Thais) are hoping that there aren’t any more outbreaks of political unrest…ever!

Stray and I have had to continue on with our plans regardless, however we (I) did come up with a wishy washy backup plan B, which would have entailed possibly doing the same in Vietnam or even China. All very doable, but not what we had our hearts set on.

Stray is doing his TEFL course via TAT – After paying half of the total payment as a deposit, he can (and does) access the website to study, answer questionnaires and complete his assessments. I think there are a total of twelve in all. I presume this process is to give the language teachers in Thailand an idea of his understanding of the subject and to prepare him for what lies ahead. He’s also finding some great videos on teaching and learning on Youtube. There also seems to be a great amount of free resources on various websites for teachers and students alike.

So far all is going smoothly and he is gaining good results. Although he has not received any back for the last few tests…perhaps that’s due to the start of the university year beginning in June????

I think the idea of doing the online course BEFORE you arrive, is a good one. Some people intending on teaching English abroad have not studied themselves, for quite some time and this gets them back into the swing of it.

Me, I too have enrolled in my course as mentioned earlier, but don’t get to do any pre-learning via the Chiang Mai Uni. I hate to say it, but I have a feeling that some of the students who enroll in this course are only doing it to secure their year long visa (that might be a bit presumptuous of me). Though it certainly does do away with a lot of worry, hassle and border runs. I am genuinely looking forward to it and have started studying already.

Even though my visa is secured and will be paid for in full, I will be required to report to immigration every 90 days. I have read (somewhere) that the officials interview you informally. I am guessing that if one turns up after 90 days and cannot get through a basic conversation in might be in a bit of trouble?

Khun sabaai dii mai :)

From scouring the internet, I have put together lessons for myself using three or four websites. They did all the work, I just had to find them. I just hope I don’t teach myself too many bad habits.