The food pictured is look chin, or Thai meatballs and hot dogs and other protein shapes on skewers, a common street food either grilled or steamed and sold for 5-10 baht. The darker meatballs are beef and the lighter ones are usually pork or fish. They often contain gristle or cartilage bits that add a crunchy texture.
I may have linked this clip before, it’s one of my favorite Thai CMs for sure.
The model’s name is Woonsen Virithipa.
The biggest COVID wave so far spread through Maha Sarakham from a couple months ago, so my university postponed the new term until this week. I’m teaching four Public Speaking classes per week online. This is what a typical class looks like, with about 2/3 the students:
I tell them they only have to turn on the camera when they speak because some of them are on weak connections or are connecting through mobile data plans, and it might save them money as well as improving performance. Thailand has good connectivity, though, and a lot of businesses share free wifi, so I use the first week to pinpoint who has internet problems and suggest they find a better hotspot or solution.
There are a lot of problems teaching online at a Thai university. The biggest problem is net connectivity and speed. The second biggest problem is that the university staff and teachers are horrible at teaching and doing their jobs. Doing it online just compounds the issues.
One of my current side hustles is teaching teachers how to teach online and helping them get set up at home. Some of these teachers are still doing grades by hand (even when teaching online with every grading management tool available), so you can imagine that the transition is rough. The IT staff are so bad at their jobs, they can’t keep our website up for everyone to register for classes or make class changes, haven’t figured out how to install a security certificate in the ~20 years they’ve had the domain, and can’t even issue student ID numbers or email for freshmen before the term starts (which are necessary to register for classes and to attend online classes). There are also problems on the student side, but now, well into the second year of online classes and lockdowns, most have figured out how to at least attend their teachers’ pathetic online lectures, and that online classes are actually a good way to try and get their parents to pay for an iPad (definitely not required).
Nam and I love teaching online, though. Before we started, I had already set up a Twitch streaming system for Mina with condenser mic and various cameras, so we adapted that and added to it over time. This is what my setup looks like now.
On the vaccine front, I went in to get a Astra Zeneca jab at the vaccination center set up at my university a few weeks ago, and was told at the last stage (there were 3 stages to navigate), “no foreigners!” So, fuck them and their jelly vaccine shots, I guess (a bad batch of vaccines in Thailand was recently found to have turned into gel). Nam and I have paid a private hospital the full price for 2 Moderna jabs each – 3,400 baht/person. No telling when the government will get off its ass and actually get these vaccines delivered, but we are told, “as early as October.” Looks like all of my classes this term will be online!
Can’t remember where this was, but looking at it makes me hungry.
Some guy used his American ID to make a store member’s card in Thailand:
From r/thai: LINK
This is a video from last week. The whole funeral lasted seven days.
I have read online about soil or water being provided from the royal institution for these affairs; in this case it was a candle with a bundle of flowers (made from corn husks and fragrant tree bark) that was eventually lit by a representative from Bangkok. I need to find out more about this, though.
This was my second time at a funeral with these honors, and I learned a lot more this time. It was a fitting and touching sendoff for Nam’s grandmother.
Were in Sangkha, Surin province for Nam’s grandmother’s funeral. We’ve been coming up here to visit her once or twice a year for 15 years. It’s a small town near the border with Laos known for black magic, apparently.. I never saw evidence of that, though. The funeral is going to be a totally recognized 7-day affair, and it’s going to be hot, so we are grateful they made a hotel with a pool here recently. Because of covid, we hadn’t been swimming for a couple of years… Instantly worked out a shoulder pain I’d had for a few months.
And now we are in a Hoetel.
They are cheaper than Japanese models but offer similar performance; parts are ubiquitous and repair is simple if you DIY, and cheap if you take it to a repair shop.
Covered previously. One day, we will travel to nearby Phetchabun province and get some HD video of these guys. I’m not sure if it’s the plastic chair aesthetic, but all the latest videos are in Nokia era resolution – 240/360/480 LOL.
A star egg makes everything better, especially when cooked to crispy bottom/gooey yolk perfection. Also, crispy pork is the way to go as far as Thai basil stir fry goes. I mean, to each their own, but some ingredients are clearly better than others for any given dish. More on this pad krapow hierarchy at a later date.
“The Vietnamese call this insect cà cuống. It is a highly prized food and often boiled and fried whole.” LINK
Here in Thailand, it is called maeng da or malaeng da, and is mostly used ground up in chili paste called nam phrik or jaew bong. The pheromone that so famously attracts the females has a unique and powerful scent, unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. Not unpleasant in and of itself, but very strong. I can eat it, but have never tried it raw… I found the one above freshly dead, in my driveway. It did not smell. It’s the only one I’ve seen in the wild, although they sell them live at the fresh markets and deep-fried at edible insect stalls.
Incidentally, maengda is also slang for “pimp” in Thai.
The ad blurb translated by Googs:
Last day. Golden minute. When it’s gone,
Boiled chicken. Golden minute. Big size. Only 89 Baht each!!!!
One day only. Discount for 60 baht immediately when shopping for fresh food department. 600 baht or more / receipt.
This Chinese food festival!! with valuable quality at Tesco Lotus.
Tesco. Boiled chicken with entrails. Size M. Size 1.4-1.6 kg. Normal item is 189 Baht each.
⏰ Golden minute. Reduced to 89 baht each!!!!
⏰ Golden minute. The last day. 1 July. Year 63
The name of my student’s high school as revealed in her self introduction last week. I can’t immediately find it on Google, though. So I guess this post will come up as the first result from now on.
Pages like this one and this one and this one got me interested in the cold war antenna array known as the “Elephant Cage.” It was built by the US military in Udon Thani province, northeast Thailand, at an air force base used for signals intelligence back in the day, and suspected of housing a CIA black site in more recent years (although it is now apparently a mushroom farm/museum open to the public). Wikipedia describes the Elephant Cage as thus:
The AN/FLR-9 is a type of very large circular “Wullenweber” antenna array, built at eight locations during the cold war for HF/DF direction finding of high priority targets. The worldwide network, known collectively as “Iron Horse”, could locate HF communications almost anywhere on Earth. Because of the exceptionally large size of its outer reflecting screen (1056 vertical steel wires supported by 96 120-foot towers), the FLR-9 was commonly referred to by the nickname “Elephant Cage.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/FLR-9
None of the Elephant cages exist anymore, although parts of the one in Udon might still be found around town, if local stories are to be believed. I just wanted to compile all of the photos I’ve bookmarked in a single post.
Little things like this still blow my mind every day in this country – it’s part of the charm.
Fortune telling is still a huge part of the culture, and for some reason, tarot cards seem to be getting very popular from what I see online.
These are actually the most popular type of tourist attraction in Maha Sarakham, after dark at least. During the day, I would say SermThai Plaza shopping mall wins first prize.