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Today’s post is different than anything that has been published here before. I am taking the opportunity to collaborate with my dear Internet friend Anju, from This Labrynth I Roam! We have been corresponding for quite some time now, electronically as well as by snail mail. Anju is currently living and working in Bangkok, Thailand and I’m here in Lafayette, Indiana. We often share photos that we’ve taken. That is how this blog post came about.

Recently I sent her a picture of a white barn in a bare field. She said that she thought it was beautiful. To me it seemed a far cry from the lovely pictures she sends to me of the colorful places she visits in and around Bangkok. Then it struck me that if each of us took a picture at the same time, and then wrote about the time and place, it would show the contrast between our lives and environments. We could merge them into 0ne blog post that we would both publish. This post is the result…well, kind of. 

Due to a number of factors, we missed taking the pictures at exactly the same time. Blame me for over (or under) thinking the situation. I let little things like the fact that Anju works and that I don’t; we live 12 hours apart except it is now 11 hours because Daylight Savings Time kicked in after our planning; and I was enthralled by the NCAA tournament and was watching basketball most of the day and night. Still, we tried, and I love Anju’s part of this post.

If you like this idea and decide to do something similar, please let us know so that we can see the result. If you would like to collaborate with one of us, let us know and perhaps we can work out the details.

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Going in to be stuck

Going in to be stuck

I admit that this isn’t the most exciting or interesting picture that I’ve ever used in Classical Gasbag, but it was the one available when I was supposed to be taking a picture at the same time as Anju…I think. I was going in to have some blood drawn and to pee in a jar so that new lab work could be done prior to my doctor’s appointment next week. Sometimes you take what you get.

I have to do this once every three months, except I’ll do it again between my June and September quarterly visits. I’ll have different blood work done for a different doctor in August. I really look forward to those annual events when they do, as they call it, a rainbow draw, because the vials for the blood are color coded for different tests. On those days I feel like I’m leaving a donation.

Today wasn’t such a big deal. I spent some time in the waiting area, observing the other people. There was one man who looked so nervous that I thought he might bolt before his name was called. But he manned up. There was a couple who surprised me when they went back for their labs together. What was that about? Soon they emerged and left the building together. There was another couple who were so busy talking that they didn’t hear the woman’s name called.

Then it was my turn. The frazzled young woman (she appeared to be around twenty years old) who was taking my blood spent a little time mentioning how nice the weather was. Then she went on to say that the snowbirds were returning from Florida with their winter tans and smiles. She aspired to become one when she grew older. Then she was finished with me and I left.

I was surprised that she hadn’t asked me to pee for them, but I wasn’t going to argue even though I had prepped for that test by drinking a bottle of water earlier. One tries to think ahead. As I walked to the parking lot I passed the couple who had done their labs together. They were reentering the facility. What was that about? Did one of them forget to bleed? Oh well; not my problem.

I stopped at the grocery to pick up a few things. By the time I was back in the car, that bottle of water was kicking in. I quickly calculated the route home that would involve the fewest traffic lights. One tries to think ahead.

And now, Anju’s picture and post:

The Monitor Lizard Canal
Lunch at the Chid Lom CanalI am used to cheap, fresh, hot meals available just outside your door on street stalls or little ‘hotels’, as we call them in India. Thailand ups the game to levels I have not seen in any where else on the world. They have street stalls for yummy Thai food but also stalls for freshly squeezed juices, for all sorts of exotic fruits, for cold Thai milk tea that is the only respite for the hottest weather in 59 years, for home-made cookies and for expertly mixed cocktails.
One of my favourite spots to have a sit down lunch that doesn’t break the bank is this canal. I have no idea what it’s called and so, obviously, I took the liberty of calling it the Godzilla canal. Sometimes when the weather is good, you have pairs of huge (and if I say huge, they are huge!) monitor lizards that come out to lounge on the canal walls. These are special moments to me and my excitement is dismissed quickly by local Thais to whom this is a daily sight. Just watching the mini-godzillas take in the afternoon sun makes me realise how often we screw up our own priorities as humans.
Lunch is always a feast – a big cup of rice with Thai-styled meat and veggies is only 86 cents. If you prefer noodles instead, they have all sorts of mind-blowing varieties. My favourite is the glass noodles – thin, see through and sucks in all the flavour from the veggies and meat. A 16oz glass of milk tea with ice costs about 60 cents and 200 grams of fresh fruit costs about the same. My favourite currently is the mini pineapple I’ve only seen here.
Despite the heat, it’s such a treat to be able to go out everyday for a nice lunch. We move from an airconditioned homes to an airconditioned train and straight into a 16 degree (Celsius) office. Apart from getting our dose of sun, it’s a rare glimpse into Thai culture that is often in the sidelines when you’re living the city life!
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