Schnuffi / Shnoofy

My neighbors got a cat. It is a cute black, brown and white kitten. Really cute as a button. I like cats when they are on my lap and we cuddle and they purr. The cat is called Schuffi a cuddly-cutesy pet name. But as far as cars go, she is no dog. What I mean by that is that unlike a dog, where the dog and the owner form a real bond, she is a cat and cats have attitude and – by golly – they have their own head.

So, Schnuffi comes meowing for affection, rubs her slender body against my ankle until I pick her up.

Then she rewards me with a few purrs.

Then she gives me this quizzical look that says, “Why don’t we go inside and curl up on the couch?” and I say “No”. Then being a cat she looks at me with some disgust and swaggers away, looking around curiously and ignoring me utterly.

And I, what do I do? I write this entry to share my hurt feelings with you, that I have been rejected by a cat. And that where I really love cats…..just not in my place.

Cheers

Markus \m/

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The Small Things

Kanchanaburi, famous among tourists for is bridge – the bridge on the river Kwai. Popular among Thais because they giggle everytime they hear a tourist mispronounce the word Kwai. You pronounce it Khwae not Kwai. Kwai is Thai slang for what makes a man a man – the drainage pipe through the amusement area. This becomes even funnier when one considers that there is a Khwae Yai and Noi amd big and small River Khwae.
Anyway, small things, easily missbalr things I saw in Kanchanaburi.


Tiny weed growing in the famous bridge between the tracks – nature ALWAYS finds a way to produce life.


Detail of a wheel on a locomotive tbe Japanese supposedly used to transport supplied along the death railway. Good old mechanical engineering is always beautiful.


The Missus and me strolling in the heat.

Cheers

Markus \m/

Social Observation

This weekend we rode to Kanchanaburi to get away from the city. We stopped at a Starbucks near the Porto Chino Mall. There we watched people. I find it fqscinating how different people socialize today than even 10 years ago.

Next to us was a group of five Thais in the late 20s to early 30s. I suppose they were friends. But all of them were staring into their smartphones, typing away frantically. It seems like we are losing the ability to be in the moment and enjoy it. I suppose, the give Thais were texting with their other friends making appointments to meet in the near future so they can then not talk to them while they are with them and text to their friends they are with now. I know this is all a little convoluted and sounds complicated, buy it is not. Because essentially, we are losing the ability to communicate verbally and we enhance our ability to comminicte through emoticons, acronyms and writting language that had been reduced to a very rudimentary level. 

That is a bummer. Because I would not want to miss the boisterous meetings I have with my friends and family when it gets loud, 5 conversations are happening at once and laughter and frustration is actually clearly audible instead of a smiley face, a “ROFL” acronym or a steaming turd emiticon.

Cheers Markus \m/

Unsung Heroes

This morning I fetched water – six six liter jugs. Suffering from “Peter Pan” syndrome, I figured I can carry all 36kg the 16 floors up to my apartment. I brought a backpack to carry said liquid load. After I had paid, I loaded my back pack and raised it on my back…….holy f…ing smokes, Batman, this is heavy. After about five steps, I remembered the porters w saw in the Himalaya.


Like these two guys, who carried plywood boards from Lukla to Görak-Shep. We met theem early in the morning on a breezy high valley. They carried each about 50kg of boards not to mention the sail effect in the wind. To ease the burden a little, they bent theonupper body forward so that the baords on their backs were horizontal. Needless to say, I gained perspective on the comfortable 36kg on my back in a backpack. Then I reached the staircase. I conside myself to be in pretty good shape, but after the first half storey, the prospect of 15 and a half more storeys had my utmost attention. I started to think about the loads I had sampled on our way from Dugla to Lobuche – they almost snapped my neck, I am not kidding.

The porters are scrawny, sinewy men and they lug insame loads through the mountains, just so toursits can have a familiar candy bar or three-plied toilet paper at 5000m above sea level.


These loads were sets of lawn furniture, consisting of tables and assembled chairs, each pack weighed between 40kg to 50kg. That memory, powered me the up the stairs where an AC cooled room and a lemon juice were waiting for me. quite posh compared the reality of a porter on the Himalayan trekking trail. The porters are truly the unsung heroes – try walking for fifteen minutes in their shoes, should you feel the need to gain perspective.

This little post morning workout experiment reminded me once again, that hardship voluntarily chosen ends in comfort, while hardship imposed by circumstances stays hardship. The question is are we fine about it, do we care or are we not bothered by mostly faceless misery. 

Alright, we all need to be able to sleep at night and I am not here to judge. Having said that – Stay Sharp.

Cheers Markus \m/

Thailand….!?

Alright, Thailand is in transition…in one of many transitions. One transition I find fascinating is the fight of a middle class to emerge. And immediately, as soon as there are a few middle class people, there are companies and fairs that want nothing more than to relieve said middle class from their hard earned money.

Enter The Money Expo. What di you make of that? Will there be different currencies on display? What could it be?

 

Better, yet, because Thailab is suffereing from ANYTHING 4.0 fever, the by line of the money expo is:”Financial Innovation 4.0″. I was attending tjis fair, since I was on the premises for another fair. This is what the Money Expo had to offer. – tons of banks throwing credit cards at anybody with a pulse, car companies, a dude selling Chinese made shoes and all other sorts of nick-nacks one can hope to charge money for. It was a lot of hype for nothing.
A few days later then, I was rewarded – although I really don’t know for what – with this view.

 You’ve got to love it. I sometimes wonder if Westerners are just too chicken to pull a “manly staubt” like this? I know I couldn’t. But sau what you want, you’ve got to give the manad props for his cool, calm and courage.

Stay sharp

Markus \m/

Signage

When you see a sign like this – keep eding, you’ll see it – in any city, you know you are not in the US or in Europe anymore. Japanese, Korean cities are also highly improbable, too. Heck, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur do likely not qualify either – OK, maybe around the city limits. The vast majority of Russia and Mongolia is completly out of the question.


A year ago, one felt suicidal and forced a hot date with the front wheel of my road-bike. Nothing serious happened. My bike was fine (most important), I was a bit shaken and the lizard gave me an accusatory “Evil Eye”.

But this is all just a precursor to share the new signage that was installed in the park nearby. This one for example encourages bicyclists the ride their bike without their hands on the handlebar – carefully, though. It is part of the Thailand 4.0 initiative – everybody can try to join the circus.


On second glance, it could also emcourage people to read while exercising on their bike.

This last picture looks to me like a Charlie Brown tie – yellow with black stripes – it would match his yellow shirt with the zigzag black stripe around.


Alright then, stay sharp.

Cheers Markus \m/

Simple Stuff…

…I made or saw makes me happy. I saw this flower, hanging on a wall and I stopped and looked at it and I smiled. I smiled, because of the beautiful colors and the unique shape.


After my morning run, Barbara and I declared this a “Lazy Saturday” – which means, reading until I nap. After which I noticed a paperclip on my desk lying there at a weird angle so it looked like a saddle.


And that was today…..so far. Gotta do something mundane now – towel the dishes.

Appendix:

Barbara has been making handbags for ages and she still does. And thus the paperclip gives an encore performance.


Stay sharp

Markus \m/