Friday, April 26, 2013

T-minus 5 days

It's coming to about that time. Thailand out, New Zealand in. Leave on Monday for Hat Yai. Spend the night there, then a bus to Singapore on Tuesday then a flight to Auckland on May 1st. Finished teaching today, finished (hopefully) buying all the last minute little things I think I need. Had lunch with Orry, my first Thai friend and her super cute daughter yesterday. She helped me so much when I first got here, can speak amazing English and made my stay in Nakhon considerably better. 

 If I wasn't such a tough guy, I would have cried after they left. I didn't, because...I'm tough...
I came across a to-do list I made before leaving Canada. Had about twenty things on it and only 2 went incomplete. One was to go to the floating market. I didn't do that because it is super touristy, bit of a trek to get to, and is not an excursion people rave about. Definitely okay with not doing it. The second was get and maintain a tan. I'm worried about the sun, it scares me, so I try and stay a safe distance from it in most cases. 
(speaking of the sun, watch this
Other than that, mission accomplished. Which brings us to now and the upcoming months. If you have been following me from the beginning, please shoot me a Facebook message or e-mail me to let me know what you think. Even if just to say I suck, I would appreciate it, don't get much feedback and would love some. Not sure if I want to change the name of it, go to a different format and possibly put more work into it. Also, I've noticed that people I don't know read what I write for some reason and that fascinates me. Specifically some people who live in Russia and Germany. Who are you and what make you stay? Fascinating. I can only guess you look like all the other Russian girls.

Flying from Singapore on May 1st, apparently a super nice airport with tons of free things to do. Will let you know about that. Feeling that moving on is the right thing to do, if I didn't have a girlfriend it would be incredibly easy. My last post dealt with my goodbyes and my opposition to them. I may have done an airport goodbye the other night to one of my good friends. I'm a hypocrite and I'm sorry. Lesson: Make sure your friends know how to tell military time so they don't almost miss their flight back to America. 0100=1 am not 1 pm.
That should just about do it. I wanted to do a post about how in Thailand almost everything you buy has a whitening element to it. That can't be good for you. Thai people want to be white, white people want to be darker. Sunscreen, body lotion, acne cream, deodorant. There I did it. Was kind of all over the place with this one, sorry for the lack of specificity. Enjoy your weekend, stay in touch, and stick around for posts about life in New Zealand!

Life, Fate, Relationships, Destiny Quotes

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to 
trust them." Ernest Hemingway

Monday, April 15, 2013

The case against goodbyes.

I'm going to make this short and concise. I think goodbyes are unnecessary and should even be avoided when possible. Goodbyes just make people sad. If someone is an important person in your life, it isn't goodbye. Last year at this time I said "goodbye" to Jake, one of my best friends I made in Thailand. Since then, I've seen him in Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia, all within the last year. Skype, Facebook, blogs, phone calls, goodbyes are becoming unnecessary and irrelevant. Oh, I'm having a goodbye dinner because I'm leaving tomorrow, you should come. Or how about I don't and I see you when I see you. 

You might be able to guess I'm even more against the airport goodbye. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? When I left for Thailand, my brothers wife's mom, Maureen (who is very lovely and I miss) dropped me off. I wasn't sad or cried. If my mom had dropped me off, she would have cried and if I was physically able to cry, which I'm not, because I'm a man, I would have. Give it a shot, sometimes it is impossible to duck a goodbye but if you can swing it, do it. Take into account this is a new Bert theory and may not work for you and may be altered in the near future. For right now, I'm sticking with it.
Who doesn't love a cute baby? I mean really. 


Sike! I would never do that...

"It's time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I'd much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure." Ernie Harwell

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What? You don't have a singing bird?

This is a part of Thai culture that I still don't fully understand and if I think about it, really makes me laugh. I will try and explain it the best I can. If you drive around a super Thai town, especially southern Thailand, you will notice men driving with one arm and in the other arm they are carrying a bird cage with a cover over it to make sure there is less wind hitting the bird. And it isn't like it is a rare occurrence. If I left my house right now I would see one in less than 20 minutes. There are birds everywhere. Why? Because Thai men buy them, train them, then put them in bird singing competitions around town. Obviously

These competitions tend to be on the weekend, different cities have different events so maybe one month Phuket has a competition, then Hat Yai then Nakhon has one. Entry fees differ from one hundred baht, to five hundred baht to probably more than one thousand baht for bigger events. The winners can get anywhere from five thousand baht to I honestly don't know how high the prize can be, I'd bet they get close to a hundred thousand baht. How much would it cost to buy a decent bird? One million baht. (Hey, you want to go on a vacation? Sorry can't, all my money is tied up in birds right now...)
Cages can cost you a few hundred baht to thousands of baht. Only male birds can be entered. Women can buy their own bird and train it but from what I understand, women aren't overly interested in the purchasing and training of small birds. I have no clue why then don't....

OK, so once you drive your bird to the competition, you try and find the best spot for your bird. Thai people are pretty superstitious so they probably try and get the same place every time. They also want to position their bird next to an inferior bird to make theirs sound better. From what I understand, it isn't how beautiful your bird is, it is how beautiful they sing. The competition I went to had 3 judges, they blow a whistle and are trying to listen to a specific bird. After about 15 seconds, they mark something down underneath the cage of that bird. The funniest thing about this is that once the whistle blows, the owner of a bird will start to make noises and try to make their bird sing. Sort of like if you wanted a cat or a dog to come into the house, that is the kind of noise they are making to make their small little bird sing. If their bird doesn't sing and the whistle blows, they get all mad and frustrated. Imagine, an older tattooed up old Thai man, driving around town with a bird in his arm, training his bird to sing beautifully then entering him in a competition to try and impress and beat his fellow friends. 

Such a bizarre hobby to me. I think a big reason they do it is just to pass the time, gives them something to look forward to and share with their friends. It was nice seeing a bunch of older Thai men, taking care of their birds, laughing with each other, trying to get their birds to sing. 

A few things I don't understand about bird singing is how do these judges get their jobs and aren't they highly likely to be bribed into letting a certain bird win? I also don't get what is considered singing beautifully? Apparently it is good if they sing in a certain pattern or if they are continuously singing. I found out another reason why you would see birds being driven around town is because if you have a valuable bird, you wouldn't leave it at your home because someone would steal your bird!

I found someone who describes this better than me. If you want to read it go here: 

“It can be coins or sports or politics or horses or music or 

faith... the saddest people I've ever met in life are the ones 

who don't care deeply about anything at all. Passion and 

satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any 

happiness is only temporary, because there's nothing to 

make it last.” Nicholas Sparks