Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sawaadi bi mai!

Happy New Year, that is! Well, as is obvious to everyone, I did not post a word from Thailand. We weren't too terribly busy, but with limited internet access and abundant shopping and pad thai all around, blogging did not happen. Our trip was fabulous, the weather perfect (not too hot or humid, but very pleasant), and we met--and met up with--several friends. We are eager to return, maybe as soon as next Christmas. In the meantime I'll wear my Thai scarves, lather up with mangosteen soap on my new loofah and just enjoy lots of happy memories.

Cole and Nora both give Chiang Mai a thumbs-up. They loved the hotel room and big hotel breakfast (although Nora's usual choice was chocolate cereal, which she dubbed Cocoa Deluxe--a fitting name for a US$4.oo bowl of brown corn flakes). They were good sports through all the shopping, and had plenty of their own adventures: riding an elephant, birding in the jungle, swimming in the icy hotel pool... they loved it all. They particularly enjoyed our jaunts across town, whether in a tuk-tuk or a song-taew (a motorized surrey and a red pick-up truck, respectively), the chief modes of transportation in Chiang Mai.It has been so long since we've traveled anywhere besides the U.S., I'd kind of forgotten what fun it is to see new places. Taiwan is an adventure, but a more familiar one to us now. Thailand was full of new sights and sounds, all quite pleasant, and we are grateful for the chance to ring out the old year and welcome the new in such a relaxed and friendly place.

The new year is already presenting some interesting opportunities. I will be speaking later this month in Taipei to the local Amnesty International group about the situation in Burma (I'll be sure to get you an A.I. bumper sticker, Marc). One of our new friends in Chiang Mai is Alex, who coordinates the relief team efforts for the Free Burma Rangers. Please check out their website ( and support them if you can. The FBR is the only aid group sending teams into Burma to provide humanitarian relief. The need is great, and the Rangers put themselves in great danger by crossing the Burma border and remaining there for weeks or months at a time.

I will also be writing more regularly this year. I have been given a cooking feature in a local magazine, and will be writing other articles for them as well. I'm looking forward to working with other writers and photographers, and meeting some people outside of our usual circle.

I hope 2oo8 is off to a good start for you, too. Please drop me a line and share your New Year's news.