31 January 2013

Bicycle Race

People will forget
what you said
People will forget 
what you did
But people will never forget
how you made them feel.
- Maya Angelou

We were talking modern and post modern stuff in communication technology. Somewhere in the discussion was a mention of old bicycles. Professor R drew an example of what bicycles were like around the early years of its invention. I thought her drawing was enough to make me recall the same figure I saw on encyclopedias as a kid. Classmates chuckled their amused curiosity.

My own association with this ancient bike model has since been psychological bashing around a paper I presented at a national research conference. It turned out Professor R was chair of the steering committee that decided the fate of my thesis, one of many under Humanities. She launched an eloquent critique looking like she was going to eat me alive in front of those co-presenters. Academically vicious. She is beauty and brains personified.

Mentally comatose from the scholarly beating, my eyes were probably as wide as the rear wheel of this bicycle when I was called up on stage the next day. There was an award for my paper. It had nothing to do with bicycles. I worked my neck on communication apprehension- rolling up and down, waggling right and left. Much like someone learning to ride a bike.

Which brings me to a fact: I can't ride a bike. Really. I marvel at this innate balance on wheels most people possess.  And a deceased older cousin's craze for the Queen. He would play their hits over and over all day long. Another One Bites the Dust, We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions were steady background to those jacks and hopscotch I played with other cousins. It was the late 70s. We were a close family. Amazing how I would sing along a sprinkling of lyrics here and there now well stuck in my head - 

"You say black, I say white; you say Rolls, I say Royce ... give me a choice!... I don't believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman..." and I truly believed in all three of them then. Oh, to be a child! Some childhood. It was the Queen, without Her Majesty, instead of the normal princesses or knights in shining armor. Someone who has zero poise on a wheelset misses Freddie.

29 January 2013

Cabbages and condoms

Cabbages and Condoms is a restaurant "conceptualized in part to promote better understanding and acceptance of family planning and to generate income to support various development activities of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA)" in Thailand. (C&C Restaurant Bangkok)

Mechai Viravaidya, the restaurant founder who is nicknamed Mr Condom, is a former politician and activist who popularised condom use, encouraged family planning and raised AIDS awareness in Thailand. He believes that “birth control should be as accessible and as easy to buy as vegetables in the market.”

Set in a beautiful garden courtyard aglow with fairy lights at night, the restaurant is conveniently located on 10 Sukhumvit Soi 12 and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Everywhere almost everything you see has something to do with birth control. Its unique theme has attracted international attention. A sign around Tiger Woods' condom golf club says, "did you use them Tiger?"

I celebrated my birthday here a couple of years back with a girl friend. We explored fun visuals and items for sale, then peeped at their bar called Captain Condom

They claim their food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy. After paying for our meal I found something in our tab that at first I thought were mints. Chuckling at the condoms, my friend teased the server, "don't these things come with a man?!"

28 January 2013

My Snow White brunch

What could be more delightful
than a day off work
with Snow White and her merry Seven
the witch's apple now nut-laden 
secrets on the pages
waltzing with chocolate kisses?

25 January 2013

Pineapples through a moving window

Dole Food Company, the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, is headquartered in Westlake Village, California. The company has operations in 90 countries, my home country, the Philippines included. A drive from General Santos City to Tupi, a town known as the fruit basket of Mindanao, (international word association: Osama bin Ladin's al Qaeda) would give you pineapples as your major sight during the travel.
Dole Philippines, with offices in Polomolok, is the 3rd largest producer of pineapples globally.

These are private fruit growers putting up shop along the highway. They are also selling some Dole pineapples. Right behind these shops is Dole's vast pineapple plantation. This was one of those yearly trips home when we made a stop (from the GSC airport) at these shops to buy supersweet MG3 pineapples, bananas, jackfruit, guyabano, lanzones, mangoes, avocados, and other tropical fruits.

Find more stories on Sepia Saturday This post is also linked with Time Travel

Scallops and mango strips

A meal that involves something deep fried and a salad is usually an automatic win for me. This was one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions to explore the menu of a restaurant that does not require a reservation. I then naturally chose my favorite combination of tastes in these fried scallops with mango strips in sweet and sour sauce.

I fancy those fresh sea scallops that are 'seared in thyme-infused butter and drenched in white wine.' But while the link for that fancy is broken, here's an alternative recipe from Southern Food, which I think is just as yummy. 

1 cup flour                                                                         1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika                                                             2 eggs
2 tablespoons water                                                           fine dry bread crumbs
2 cups scallops, cut to about 3/4-inch cubes if large

If scallops are large, cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Dry completely with paper towel. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and paprika. In another bowl, whisk eggs with water. Put bread crumbs in a third bowl. Dip scallops in the flour mixture, then dip in egg, then in the bread crumbs. Fry in hot oil at about 370° until nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Serves 6.

21 January 2013

Little blue church

"No spot is so dear to my childhood as the little brown church in the vale."

My first grade class used to sing that song and it kept playing in my head as I approached this church. It's blue though and not in the vale, but along a highway in the South Cotabato countryside. The family who owns the plot of land where it stands built it. It is surrounded by coconuts and fruit trees.

Inside a few of us gathered for dear Miss Arcon's funeral. She was the head of a group of schools run by the SDA church. A good Christian, well-loved by her students, friendly yet professional to us teachers under her leadership, I was grateful for the coincidence of being in the country when she passed away, and for the opportunity to pay my last respects. 

17 January 2013

Escape bickering in a Ford Escape

Early 2000s. They (the then in-laws) were talking about selling their commercial building. The man renting it was having payment issues. They took me along to the place when they sorted paperwork and lawyer stuff. Next thing I remember the BIL had this brand new silver Ford Escape SUV in his parking space at Bangkok's State Tower. As we have language barrier, I would not say the vehicle purchase was related with the building sale. I fancy this old photo though as it shows origin of the vehicle and sends me googling its history.

Ford Model A "was the second huge success for the Ford Motor Company.... First produced on October 20, 1927, but not sold until December 2, it replaced the venerable Model T."  It was well-represented in film and media since it "was one of the most common cars." I find this historical bit interesting: "between October 1992 to December 1994, Hector Quevedo, with his son Hugo, drove a 1928 Model A 22,000 miles from his home in Punta Arenas, Chile to the Ford Motor Company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The car is now housed in the Henry Ford Museum. " (Wikipedia)

The Ford and the woman on the photo seem to be having a break in a countryside setting. That takes me to BIL giving two young nephews and a niece a ride in his new Ford Escape. Few minutes in they started quarreling like jungle monkeys and so he had to tell them to behave or they would have a picnic in the countryside road all by themselves. The brats immediately shut up. :)

Photo Source: Bill's Antique Photo Pages I claim no ownership. Time Travel is hosted over at the Brambleberry Cottage. And after two years thinking of participating in Sepia Saturday I'm finally doing it. I guess I can manage the 'no-rule' rule and updated guidelines fairly well. A love for history or anything that has something to do with antique or vintage, and interest in cherishing memories - wonderful, beautiful, fun or even bad if I could glean a good lesson from it, are major motivators.

14 January 2013

Ambling along Asiatique

Perhaps the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to reach Asiatique is to take the BTS (sky train) to Saphan Taksin and then the free shuttle boat. This was my first visit and as I observed the surrounding sights I took this shot smiling to myself, 'Bangkok has a London Eye.'

When I was little I always wanted a ferris wheel ride, but the overprotective parents insisted a merry-go-round should be enough fun. Yesterday I thought, 'hmn... this time no parents watching like a hawk. What if I'd try? I kept moving toward it but changed my mind upon seeing too many kids queuing at the base.

Ah well... finding a fountain while ambling along isn't so bad

and the shop mascots are cute.

The temperature went down with the sun so I was happy watching business going on. It is what I love about night markets.

Asiatique is part attraction, part shopping. It has many restaurants, several alfresco dining, lots of international cuisine, and the Thai Calypso cabaret show

Goods are more expensive than those in say, Jatujak or MBK. But fine by me. I didn't buy anything except dinner :)

Asiatique business hours: 17:00 - midnight
Address: 2194 Charoenkrung Road 72-74, Wat Phraya Krai, Bangkolaem

Richard Barrow, one of Thailand's most influential bloggers has concise historical description of Asiatique on his Thailand Photo Map site.

Bangkok Post, one of (two) Thailand's major English newspapers, featured an article regarding Asiatique's pricing issues - something foreigners who are visiting for the first time may want to be aware of.    

07 January 2013


Zen is a Japanese restaurant with several branches scattered in Bangkok. This one is in Central Mall, Bangna.

While I was waiting for my food they started putting these on my table

I love Japanese cuisine but I rarely go to Zen and I'm not planning to come back soon. I brunched here last week for only one thing - their crispy fried karaage. And if I ever visit again it would only be to satisfy the curiosity of dining in their mezzanine. I liked the ceiling of autumn red leaves though.

Zen has several positive reviews. But some complain that their steak arrived cold, and took too long to be served. I found what they were talking about when I came last week but didn't mind because I wasn't hungry and John Grisham is such a riveting storyteller. I did mind the fly that fluttered on the teacup. Bummer.

Zen Central Bangna is on the ground floor toward the end of the mall on your left if you get in from the main entrance. Prices are average. I paid around US$15 for a set meal and a dessert, no drinks; taxes included.

Value **  Atmosphere ***  Service ***  Food **

ABCW - Our World - Blue Monday
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