Random Marine Biology Update

Sometimes I get jealous of my little bro and sis working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium – how cool is that? – and just want to join in on the rampant fish nerdicalism they must be enjoying every day. So here are my suggestions for water cooler/lunch table/apres ski chat today, guys:

This is me, holding my tongue

You know, it really shouldn’t be illegal to shoot a certain number of in-laws in one’s lifetime, say three or so. At the very least, dueling (between in-laws) should be brought back on a trial basis.
That is all.
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On second thought, it sucks to end on such a hopeful note, so here’s a photo of a plate of delicious bugs that a gardener gathered from our backyard forest and asked if I wanted to share for lunch:

Don’t mistake the ant eggs for grains of rice. Homeboy must have dug up an ant colony, among other things – Nam poked around it with a twig and a small dead frog emerged.

Front and center is a queen, I believe. To the left, a soldier tugs on a dead beetle thing. That’s as much as I’ll attempt with identification…. Mm-mmm!

These red ants grow to about half an inch long and when they bite, you can FEEL the pincers sinking in… When they crawl up your pant leg, it’s frantic monkey dance time.
Oh, as an afterthought I might as well admit that this fine meal was just…. too goddamn disgusting to try, even for me.

Tainted by Marriage (Thai Government Bank Discrimination)

Okay, I have a really fucked up situation that needs airing, even if the country in which I am currently residing isn’t being ruled by an elected government and the province we live in is still officially under martial law. I thought long and hard on the porcelain about how to state this and I’ve decided to do it quick and dirty, without being too specific.
Last Friday, Nam went to a government bank to apply for a housing loan (we be moving soon, but that’s another story/rant). The president of this bank refused her application on the grounds that she is – wait for it now – married to a foreigner!
(Cue NWA: MOTHERFUCKER, SAY WHAT?)
Oh, man, that just blew our minds…. We made sure several times, and he came back with the same answer unwaveringly: Thai nationals who are married to foreigners cannot borrow from their bank because they are also considered foreigners. So to be clear: My wife, who went to the pains of getting seriously educated overseas, incurring huge student loans in the process (which are being paid back now with long years of underpaid university work), and who is dedicated to giving back to the system isn’t eligible for a (relatively modest) housing loan because her husband is a foreigner.
So we thought, maybe, you know, this being a rural bank and all that, maybe Mr. Hillbilly Goatfucker bank president just got his wires crossed and was saying some xenophobic shit and refusing to even consider Nam’s loan application – which I understand is his right, but I also know is shit we can call him on, you know? So Nam called up the main bank in Bangkok and guess what? What we ran into isn’t discrimination on the part of our local branch, it’s actual Thai government policy.
Well, fuck me very much.
Not really much else to say, except, hey, if they don’t want our money, any number of private banks are happy to serve us (and take our money).

On the Road 2007 (Part 2)

On a typical road trip, the driver is the big man who calls the shots and ultimately determines whether one arrives safely or stuck in a ditch. The navigator’s main responsibilities include reading maps, changing music, spotting promising meal venues/interesting sights, and taking photos from shotgun position. All of the photos below were taken at high speed (both car and shutter) and the variation in sky color can be attributed to three factors:

  1. Ever-changing weather conditions the week of our trip
  2. Whether the shot was taken through an open or closed side window, or our polarized windshield (BTW, having a tinted windshield is totally awesome because until now I’ve only owned cars in places where it’s both illegal and enforced)
  3. My unwillingness to match them in Photoshop (read: laziness)

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The only Ford tractor we saw in a 1,000km stretch of farmland. It’s sitting next to a patch of newly-planted papaya trees.

This is the kind of truck that I wish could tell its life story..

This is one of the largest stores selling cast concrete lawn animals/spirit houses/earthenware planters I have ever seen (there are countless stores like this on the roadside).

Taken unaimed out the window @ 160kph.

The only petrol station selling “high octane” gas in three counties. We stopped at a whole bunch of others before we found it, so I stretched my legs and took some photos.

The first “goat crossing” sign I’d ever seen.
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All links for the On the Road 2007 series:
On the Road 2007 (Part 1)
On the Road 2007 (Part 2)
On the Road 2007 (Part 3) – Koh Chang
On the Road 2007 (Part 4) – Overloaded
On the Road 2007 (Part 5) – Tamnanpar
On the Road 2007 (Part 6) – The Animatronic Chicken Roasters of Rayong, Thailand