Aegle marmelos

This is a bael or bael fruit AKA Bengal quince, wood apple, stone apple or seer phael (head-fruit). In Thai it’s known as matum.

The size is between an orange and a grapefruit.

In Thailand, bael is usually found in the form of dried slices, which are reconstituted in water to make juice. Our housekeeper brought over a few from her tree and I was surprised at how hard and heavy they were. We did as she said and boiled them, but then accidentally left them out on a hot night and the next day, they had fermented in the shell and burst, oozing a heavy syrup onto our counters. I threw them into the pond out front as an offering to Shiva, although he seems to favor the leaves instead of the fruit.

A Tribute to Buildings 1&2, Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University

They are knocking down our “Little House on the Prairie” schoolhouses and will soon replace them with new facilities. They were probably the oldest buildings on campus with solid wood construction, and were a lot cooler than the concrete buildings that have come to represent typical SE Asian construction… In recent years, some of the rooms had been upgraded with whiteboards and sound systems, but there was nothing like going into class every morning and asking students to clean the blackboard erasers.

They would knock the erasers on the outside wall below the window sills, which is how students coming in late could hear that class was starting. These classrooms were a pain to teach in on the hottest days, but were still more comfortable than their modern uncooled counterparts in our newest buildings (one of which is the tallest building in Sarakham yet boasts classrooms with no AC, broken desks, and in the ghettoiest rooms, blackboards as well).

Photo by Aj. Manoon; used with his sister's permission <-- SE Asian due diligence

These were mostly used as auxiliary classrooms and our English program will eventually move from our home in an old administration building (Building 4) to the new buildings whenever they are finished. Reversely, the prior occupants of Buildings 1&2 (including Thai Dance, Music, and Thai Language departments) have come to replace the Law department in our building, so instead of meeting aspiring ambulance chasers in our hallways, we are now serenaded by glorious band practice sessions and Thai dancing below the stairwells. We’re so used to it. it’s hardly even surreal anymore..

Last Dinner in Bangkok

yukke - hopefully a non-lethal variety
Korean ribeye
oh my tontoro

This meal was so good, it cannot be described properly with words… Suffice to say, it knocked us all out with a quantity/quality double combo.

@ one of the numerous Korean BBQ joints near Sukhumvit Soi 12

BooksThailand.com

A few weeks ago, my bathroom reading materials had dwindled down to the point of having to reread some old favorites. Then, while browsing a Thai-related forum, I spotted a banner for booksthailand.com. They are apparently a used bookstore on Koh Chang that have started selling online.

Long story short, they are my new go-to place for books here in Thailand. They accept PayPal or bank transfers and the prices are very reasonable considering the price of new English language books here.

They are currently running a “buy 3 get 1 free” promotion that I used for my first order. I paid via PayPal and quickly got an email from one of the staff stating that one of the books I’d ordered was out of stock… So when I had time, I chose another instead. Then, they hustled to get the delivery out before the long holiday starting the next day. In short, the service was excellent.

Now, to top it off, I’ve won two free books in their latest monthly competition! (I’m so sad I have so little time to read these days.)

In short, if you are living in Thailand and have a need for books, you should definitely try them out.

Wat Ban Donnad

A couple months ago, when it was still “cold,” we visited a temple that we’d been hearing of for a while, Wat Ban Donnad (Wat Ban Don Nad?). At the end of a long, broken dirt road that runs through several villages, we ended up here:

You can see our destination out on the island:

We honked our horn, and a young monk on a small outboard came putt-putting out. Max saw the boat and it was on.

Max was wearing his inflatable life jacket all day in anticipation of riding on a boat.

The monk was shy, so I spared him the embarrassment of  a face shot.

There’s no electricity on the island, so we brought yard-long candles in addition to the usual food offerings. Giving these to a temple is the most popular form of making merit in Thailand. We talked to the monk that greeted us on the other side for a while, and he seemed to enjoy playing with the kids. Then he showed us the new temple they are building with massive slabs of timber floated down the river from Laos.

We walked around the island for a bit, then headed back to the boat.

We’ve since visited the landing again, but didn’t cross over because there was a temple festival with crowds of people, and they were packing themselves onto the tiny boats to cross over and back. In typical Thai fashion, the people sitting on the edge of the boats were half-heartedly bailing them out until the water inside reached their ankles, at which time the rate of bailing doubled or tripled – this would repeat until the boats reached their destination. When we saw this was happening, we decided it would be okay to pay our respects from the shore on this side.

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