15 November 2011

Thai Red cross Flood relief - some heavy lifting

Update: pictures on the flood situation 15Nov2011 here.

 Take a bag walk in a large circle and the bag is filled as you pass different stations.
Give it to the a group of 30 people sitting and tying the bags up.
Then a human chain laods about 100 bags into one of the HUGE trucks.

Load 40 kg bags of rice into a trucks from forklift pallets. Two man job.
I insist its always two men, no heroics, the young ones will try anyway though.
Ok, whatever.

Finally some REAL action and heavy lifting.
Enough sittinig and typing on my computer, I want to DO some REAL work, (yes ok: Writing is real work too.)

I've not seen any real action on the flood relief front - because as a foreigner I wasn't able to find it till now.
It's a'happenin' though, and with real gusto.
About 10 huge trucks needed filling, 130 volunteers mill around the Thai Red Cross.
Students, tiny petite girls, lanky  tall dudes, weatherbeaten veterans, the whole mix is here. Even a farang (foreigner) or two.

Its fun
There is a spirit of adventure and all joining in, everyone just looks for stuff to do and does it.
I only speak a little Thai, but the organization is kind of organic.It's easyto pick up. Monkey see, monkey do, stuff.
I'm the monkey.
People know the drill.
Ok, now we do the bag fill run again.
Then the human chain to fill the truck with water, with boxes, with bags.

The 40kg bags or rice are out of their league. "Da Boiyz" do those. "Two at a time", "Song Khon" I tell them in Thai. It's about the only thing I input into the process and they listen.

Still surprises me that people listen to me.
Then a young Thai explains it to me.
"It's because your old, they'll listen to you."
Ouch... there I have it  !!!
I now have the seniority of age, I finally made it to that level.
I have felt things were kinda easier, people listened to me recently, esp in Asia.
Get older in Asia, seems a wise choice.

A thoroughly  enjoyable day, real action, witnessed first hand.

And I didn't get any funny stares or looks. Just turned up, did it.

I wonder about the process in Australia, I can just imagine it. Kilometers of forms, insurance, legal stuff to sign.
Here you just wander in and help.

Today I've found my balance in work: the recipe is: mental work for half the day, and physical work for the other half. Perfect.

----- Musings:
Why is something like that so enjoyable ? And working in a large bureaucracy/organization  is so deadening ?

This thing today is:
  • Temporary,
  • clear common purpose
  • freedom to choose your activity, 
  • spirit of adventure.
 Large org is:
  • Long term,
  • for money
  • you are a cog in the machine, 
  • caged dogs barking and  snarling at each other.... 
but then: the system is a product of its people. WE created  it. ...

hm... bears thinking about more....
Too tired to do much more now.


14 November 2011

stomach bugs, belly problems

If you ever have a stomach problem like this lady:

Dear Universe please let a truck stop, I think I need help arranging my funeral

My stomach gives up sometime during the night as I am camping during the season’s first frost and I lose track exactly how many times I have hurled. When the sun comes up in the morning, I pack up and decide to pedal into the closest town to look for a pharmacy or a place to die, whichever comes first.

There is an old non chemical way to deal with stomach bugs of all types that I've used in India 1978:

It's called the plunger system, (if you are squeamish stop reading here)  :-)

  1. you eat a lot of dry oats, or the Indians have just dry chaff,
  2. you eat it raw, no fluid, or as little as possible. 
The oats/chaff/dry stuff expands in your stomach, and moves down the system like a "SOAK IT ALL UP" plug.

works wonders (at least in my experience)
works when pills won't anymore

In Thailand they have carbon tablets to do a similar job.

hope you never need to try this


PS: the reason it works when pills and chemicals won't is that it's purely mechanical, you effectively create a big sponge that soaks up all the crud and moves it down and out.

With pills you have to get the right ones. If you get the right ones all is fine. But if you get pills for Amoeba's and you have the 'other' variety of bug, they won't help and vice versa.

Saigon 2011 Tao Da Temple
The Plunger works on anything. If it doesn't - time to call it quits.

11 November 2011

Golden Mount of Bangkok

the HUGE brass Gong fills the whole space around me.
the air shimmers and booms with shifting harmonies.
Booooooooooooooooooom, booooooooooooooooooooooooooom,
it vibrates all of your body, you feel it in your bones,....

The hot tropic air is cool up here, the Golden Mount, the highest natural point in Bangkok.
Thousands upon thousands of people shuffle up centimeter by centimeter, bodies against bodies, hot, human mass of bodies winding its way up and  around in a huge spiral.

I'm at the very top now.
Boooooooooooooooooooooom, boooooooooooooooooooooooom,
something dislodges in me, the deep vibrating sounds loosens something in me. All around is the vast sea of lights of Bangkok. Fireworks going off in the distance.
Boooooooooooooooooooooom, booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, the air shimmers,

I have no idea where the sounds comes from,
its in me and around me and through me.
Why do I feel like crying ?
Who cares, no one would notice and if they did they'd not think it strange.

People kneel in prayer around the most central stupa, - today and only  tonight, it is clothed in read cloth, illuminated by bright lights, it shines like a lighthouse for tense of kilometers.

The smell of cooking, drifts up, the sounds of the fair far off.
Everywhere, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, but up here, it's cool and there is space to walk, on the roof  of Bangkok.

I kneel down, take off shoes, pray.
First issue..... oh... I know what to do.... hm... how come I suddenly just knew what to do ? Great.
Second issue.... I get a picture... about the situation, it describes it and I see what the best path would be... its a clear image, for the next 3-to-4 years ahead.
Third issues..... Yes, that will happen. No problem, it's ok.

Relieved I get up. Something happened, no idea how or why, but I feel different.
And then the long way down, it's much faster.
The path to the road takes 30 minutes,  shuffle, body to body, touching on 4 or 5 sides, squeezy, slow, smoke from the grills on the side drift over us.
Shuffle shuffle, shuffle.... .
But I don't mind, I knew this was the deal.
I knew I HAD to go to the very top tonight.
And that would be the price, I knew that.


I've visited Thailand since 1978, and today was the first time I'd ever gone up the Golden Mount.
The couple who run the Passport bookshop told me about Loy  Kratong there today.
When I saw it shining up there in the distance, I decided to go there, through the crowds and hours of shuffling........

Heiko Rudolph. (c)
Loy Kratong 2011
10Nov11 THursday,
Bangkok, Banglamphuu, Bangkok House.

10 November 2011


Sunday 6th Nov, I joined a group of farangs and Thais to raise money for the flood victims.
We offered to wash windscreens at intersections around Bangkok.

details of how the idea started and what we  did are here
then after a few days they wrote about how it's working, here:

future events by this group on Facebook:


9Nov11 Asoke Junction 13 pax, 3 hours, 33KBaht. :-)

Another group "Baan Arsa Jaidee" also found this method useful and joined in as well. Their blog is on:

tomorrow I"m going to visit their HQ and ask about helping with the flood appeal.
I might be delaying my trip to Laos a little.

Ongoing fund raising from BannARsa Jaidee: by washing car windscreens here http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=242610212466029


More details below for anyone really interested in the nitty gritty:
Baan Arsa Jaidee's Thai langauge main website (The government agency): http://www.arsadusit.com/

videos of windscreen washing in BKK.

What actually happens out on the street:

Talking about the idea:

SUMMARY OF WEBSITES related to fundraising via windscreen washing:

Arsan Jaidee
Home page is:  http://www.arsadusit.com/
Ongoing fund raising by washing cars http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=242610212466029
more info http://www.baanarsajaidee.blogspot.com/

Michael's  idea of washing windscreens :


Flood news and maps: 
Map from CS: thanks to JtG: 


Tourist areas:


Updates on situation in Thailand http://www.thaitravelblogs.com/


1. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.289173864436462.71079.286840474669801&type=3

2. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.291011427586039.71626.286840474669801&type=3

Info in English on Baan Arasa Jaidee: 
- click on pictures for full readable size.

Aswan, Egypt, Tombs of the Nobles