Opposites

I rode my bike in Khao Yai today. It was great as usual. In my finL descent, a park ranger was waving his arms frantically at me. Since his truck block my view from the obstacle in the road, I didn’t brake immediately. But it hit the brakes extra hard when I saw the reason for his warning.
20140223-235847.jpg This would have been a fine mess, if i would have crashed into an elephant. The opposite to this encounter followed a few hours later in Ratchadaphisek and Sukhumvit – a tent city, reminiscent of Everest Base Camp at high season.

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Reminiscent, right. Replace blacktop with snow, flipflops with expedition boots and Thai people for an international community as well as 3m above sealevel with 5300m and there you have it.

So long stay sharp
Markus \m/

Good Bye To An Icon Of Bangkok

On February 7th 2014 Lumphinee boxing stadium hosted it’s last fight night. While each night there were winners and losers, in the end Lumphinee lost its last fight. Lumphinee boxing stadium was an icon of Bangkok and place of pilgrimage for any Muay Thai fighter in the world. While little boys in Germany dream of being a Bundesliga footballer, and American boys dream of wearing the Yankee pinstripes, Thai boys dream of mKing it to Lumphinee and winning world championships. But work on the destruction of the stadium has already starters and will be finished soon. The stadium will make way to…..more premium condominiums. A new boxing stadium also called Lumphinee has been built on the fringes of Bangkok, lacking the easy accessibility of the old stadium on Rama 4 roads. The new stadium also features more luxury / VIP boxes. For me it’s a shame that people sell out that what once made up part of their cultural DNA for short term profits. When we are lacking the imagination and vision of how to integrate the old within the new and may be even pay respect with the new to the old.
And now without further ado a few last shots of Lumphinee Boxing Stadium before the wrecking ball has completed its work.
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The entrance to the stadium. This is what spectators and athletes alike saw when they arrived at Lumphinee.
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The ticket counter with the board of champions of the Lumphinee. You can see, Lumphinee was old, but it had charme and grit – grit that had been acquired literally through blood and sweat of the fights and the exhaust sud from the cars, motorcycles and trucks passing by on congested Rama 4 Road.
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A mural of a traditional Muay Thai fighter has greeted the spectators for the last time as they entered the stadium.
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The entry to the training facilities at Lumphinee. They are still open, but I wonder how long.

And this concludes our farewell to Lumphinee Boxing Stadium. Take care and stay sharp.

Sayonara from still protest handicapped, yet peaceful Bangkok
Markus \m/

Out Sailing

This weekend, although half over already, is pretty great. I am sailing off Pattaya. We left Saturday late morning for Ko Pai – the Bamboo Island. It’s an uninhabited island under administration of the Thai Navy. Its beaches are perfect white sand and there is great snorkeling in the warm clear waters, too.
Since, neither my camera nor my phone are water resistant, I cannot show any images from he island, but I have a few from the trip.
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Rigging, mast and sails wee all present and fit for use.
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A man with the eye on the horizon.
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Anchorage for the night just before sunset.
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Under full sails on the way back to port.

More tonight. Until then stay sharp.
Markus \m/ from the sea

World’s Biggest Rollercoster

Today, Barbara took me on a bike tour. The woman was in charge. We crossed the river by ferry and low and behold we had left the big city on the other river shore and had arrived in what the locals call the green lung of Bangkok. It’s all swamp land with elevated concrete paths running through the swamp like veins and arteries in a living body. I will talk more about that in a separate entry. Today, I want to tell you what we found at the end of the green lung – the mother of all bridges. It almost appears as if the designers of the bridges were locked up in a room where they had a toy set to play around with. While the people who were expected to build the bridge were kept outside that room…maybe even outside the zip code of that room. The guys in the room, though, arguably have had a lot of fun.
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Lanes separate, lanes merge, long sweeping curves, there is something for everyone – and all about 20 meters off the ground.
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To me, this is what happens when you let engineers and architects run free – beauty! May be they went a little overboard, but I always think:”Anything that’s worthwhile doing, is worthwhile doing in excess.”

Stay sharp and contemplate what things you find worthwhile doing. Would they still be worthwhile doing if you did them in excess?

Markus \m/

Highlight @ Dusk

After my rant from yesterday, I was happy to see nature step it up and lighten the mood with a beautiful sunset today. Even my building participated with nice reflections off the windows. Yeah, Bangkok can sometimes rub me the wrong way, but like a good girl-friend it knows how to make up.
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Regarding the protest caused situation in Bangkok – it’s not all bad. I mean, the air quality is honestly significantly better – the best it has ever been, since we moved here 3 1/2 years ago. With Sukhumvit more or less closed, I have created a 10minute candy before bed for myself: I take my skateboard and skate down to Sukhumvit and make use of the open and smooth road at night. No cars, no pedestrians, the occasional bicyclist, that’s all….it’s awesome. Once the protests are over, it’ll surely be back to pollution levels at 11, noise and congestion also on 11 and quality of life at down from it’s current 7.5 (scratching at 8) at a 4 on bad days hovering just above a 3 and of course, no more late night skating.

So, I will inhale and exhale deeply and try to live in the fu%#+ng moment – Oooom, bitches.

Take care and stay sharp.

Yours Markus \m/

Highlights And Lowlights

We are entering the fifth week of the Shutdown Bangkok Initiative. I really don’t want to call it nonsense….and I was very much tempted to call it just that, like calling a spade a godddam spade…..but I am not doing that.
Going to and from work is alright, if ( and that s a giant IF) you do not want to enter the city. But I live IN Bangkok and work OUTSIDE of Bangkok. Usually, I am being dropped off at a tollway U-turn from where I compress myself with a million other people into a BTS train. But on those days when I actually have to drive myself (I am well aware of how snobbish and spoilt that sounds, but it’s the truth), so when I have to drive myself, I need to caress my car through the stuffed streets and sois of Bangkok, like getting a thread through a needle at dusk. People have suggested to bring some good music, which I have Appetite For Destruction and Use Your Illusion I&II all by the same band. BUT Guns’n’Roses is not found soothing traffic jam section of your local record store, heck, even on iTunes it’s not in that section. So unless I wanted to tear someone’s head off and defecate down the now open throat after the first four songs, this is not an option.
No the solution is much simpler, the two knucklehead opponent parties MUST finally act like human and talk to each other. You have long enough and successfully and very believable demonstrated that we still have monkey DNA in us ( sorry creationists), now it’s time to fast forward evolution and act like people with a brain and faculties, empathy, emotions, analytical skills and ideas to solve problems – how hard can it be. If it is too hard, I have a friend in Minneapolis, her name is Katie! she is a great mediator! she will set everyone straight! she is resolute….come to think of it, may be just ask her to run the country while you sort things out. So, there I just gave you a twofer – one person providing two solution paths. I can make that connection, but something needs to happen to remove the stalemate to move the country forward again.
This is what’s left of the protests – a bunch of signs, a high school band playing the big protest stages, where the protest leaders and not giving speeches anymore and a few hangers on. Yet, Bangkok streets stay locked up, hindering traffic.
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Not a good position for the so-called caretaker government. People don’t like you, don’t agree with you.
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So please both parties, get your heads out of the sand and start talking to each other.
Evidently, even the most casual reader identified the preceding rant as the lowlight – and not just my own.
Now, the highlight is fortunately for me, unfortunately for the rest of the globe, just my own personal highlight. Barbara made magic in the kitchen. passion fruit Cupcakes, with homemade passion fruit syrup – in the words of a Homer Simpson:”Hmmmmmm Passionfruit Cupcakes With Homemade Passionfru-huh-u-huitsyrup, aaaaaarrrrrgghh “.
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The only word that comes to my mind to describe what the first bit was for me is actually two words – orgiastic revelation!

And with that image I bid farewell today.Stay sharp. Katie pack a suitcase and get a babysitter.

Markus \m/

The Election Is Over – Long Live Uncertainty

Hello my dears. So, the election in Thailand came and went and …now….crickets, nada. Likely there will be another election in 3 months time. Of course, no word about actually addressing the divide the nation faces or any of the other problems, that would be uncomfortable. Shit, it could require such alien concepts as reflection, introspective and all that could come from these might as well be real change and who wants that. There are too many interests dug in deeply and the only change they can accept and fully support is that of the opposing side with absolutely no change on their own.
Next a few images of the evening protest concerts at Asok. It’s got a real festival mood and if there was reflection, one would determine easily, that such stages and sound systems should be used by acts that can fully use them. Bring on a few rock acts – invite Guns N Roses for a one off, Van Halen for a retirement farewell and while we’re at at, Tina Turner and the Stones. I actually believe Keith Richards could broker a complete reconciliation deal by himself. Think about it.
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The crowd in front of the stage bored by whoever is trying to entertain them. Bring in the big guns!
20140203-200729.jpg The sparse cloud in the back stage area. In case of proper rock acts as per my suggestion, this area would likely be R if not X rated – Bangkok and debauchery go together nicely.
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Me on my way home sulking, that my most excellent suggestions in this matter will once again not be implemented post haste – it is incomprehensible and a little outrageous!

Stay sharp and at least sulk with me for a short bit.
Markus \m/