Monthly Archives: February 2010

Why Bangkok?

Posted by on February 21, 2010

When I made up my mind to find a place to work for a few months, I went through a process of trying to figure out what would be the best place. Inside, however, I sort of knew the answer the moment I asked the question: I’d be going to Bangkok.

In the three weeks since I’ve been here I’ve met many expats living in Bangkok and travelers passing through Bangkok who have contacted me via Twitter. While I often meet people in cities I visit, nothing has come close to the volumes of people there are to meet in Bangkok. Every major world city has some expat population, but nothing seems to approach the size of the community I’ve met here in Bangkok. It isn’t just the size of the community either. It seems to have a special draw to bloggers and location independent workers. It is true of Thailand in general, as I know of even more people who are staying in the islands in the south or up in Chiang Mai, but Bangkok is the clearly the center of the action.
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Living is Easy, Bangkok Edition

Posted by on February 17, 2010

@bkkgreg was the MC of TEDxBKK

@bkkgreg was the MC of TEDxBKK

First, let me say I haven’t forgotten about the rest of my street food adventure. Suffice to say I’m still mostly eating street food. My final installments in the series will be video and a photo essay, so I’m taking my time.

I’ve finally caught up on all my photo editing. I haven’t been in this position in over a year where I didn’t have a folder of photos staring at me on my laptop.

Outside of working I’ve been meeting with other bloggers and travelers. Almost every day I’ve been having dinner or drinks with someone passing through town.

On Saturday I attended TEDxBKK, which is a regional TED conference. (If you haven’t watched some of the videos which have come out of past TED conferences, you should.) The conference was speeches on a diverse array of subjects. Several of the presentations which stood out was a woman working in Cambodia who spoke on the effectiveness of giving things to people as a form of aid, Chris Mitchell who spoke about swimming with the Great White Shark, Bruce Poon Tip, CEO of G Adventures, who spoke on how they help the communities they visit, and Prae Sunantaraks, a Thai woman who is slowly losing her sight. (more…)

Operation Street Food – Day 3 & 4 (Khao San Road)

Posted by on February 6, 2010

Pad Thai on Khao San Road

Pad Thai on Khao San Road

Here is my street food breakdown for days 3 and 4:

Day 3

  • 1kg longkong and 1kg rambutan – 200 baht (US$6.02) This lasted two days
  • 1 mystery meat – 20 baht ($0.60)
  • 2 chicken gizzard skewers and 1 roasted fish – 30 baht ($0.90)
  • Pad Thai with chicken – 40 baht ($1.20)
  • Mango with rice – 25 baht ($0.75)

Day 4

  • 3 gizard skewers, 2 pork skewer, 2 grilled fish – 75 baht ($2.25)

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World Heritage Site #110: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Posted by on February 4, 2010

World Heritage Site #110: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

World Heritage Site #110: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

From the World Heritage inscription:

Cahokia Mounds is the largest and earliest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. It was occupied primarily during the Mississippian period (800–1350), when it covered over 1,600 hectares (3,950 acres) and included some 120 mounds. It is the pre-eminent example of a cultural, religious, and economic center of the Mississippian cultural tradition, which extended throughout the Mississippi Valley and the south-eastern United States. This agricultural society may have had a population of 10,000–20,000 at its peak between 1050 and 1150. Cahokia is an early and exceptional example of pre-urban structuring.

Cahokian Mounds is a very odd world heritage site. From a historical standpoint, it is perhaps the most significant settlement north of Mexico in North America. Most native peoples in North America were nomadic so there is little in the way of cities or structures for people to visit today. Cahokian Mounds is the closest thing we have to the ruins of an ancient city above the deserts of the Southwest.

On the other hand, very few people know that this place exists, despite the fact that you can see the St. Louis Arch from the top of the mounds. From a tourist standpoint, there is very little to see other than some dirt hills. As a photographer I had no idea what to take photos of. A few grassy hills in a grassy field. That’s it.

This isn’t my proudest photo, but I didn’t really have a lot to work with.

View all the World Heritage Sites I’ve visited.

Operation Street Food – Day 2 (Tropical Fruits)

Posted by on February 4, 2010

Jackfruit Vendor

Jackfruit Vendor

Another day of street food has come and gone. Here is what I had to eat on Thursday.

Lunch

  • Jackfruit – 20 baht (US$0.60)
  • bag of chicken skin and 2 chicken wings 42 baht ($1.27)
  • bag of longkong – 50 baht ($1.51)

Dinner

  • Skewer of chicken gizzards and grilled fish – 20 baht (US$0.60)

I had a big lunch and not much for dinner. I skipped breakfast totally, which is what I usually do.
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UNESCO World Heritage Site #109: Mammoth Cave National Park

Posted by on February 3, 2010

World Heritage Site #109: Mammoth Cave National Park

UNESCO World Heritage Site #109: Mammoth Cave National Park

From the World Heritage inscription:

Mammoth Cave is the most extensive cave system in the world, with over 285 miles (456 km) of surveyed cave passageways within the property (and at least another 80 miles [128 km] outside the property). The park illustrates a number of stages of the Earth’s evolutionary history and contains ongoing geological processes and unique wildlife. It is renowned for its size and vast network of extremely large horizontal passages and vertical shafts. Nearly every type of cave formation is known within the site, the product of karst topography. The flora and fauna of Mammoth Cave is the richest cave-dwelling wildlife known, with more than 130 species within the cave system.

Mammoth Cave is the biggest cave system in the world. From a photography perspective, it is also the most boring. Given the way the cave system was formed, it doesn’t have much in the way of the majestic stalagmites or stalactites you see in other caves. I took over 200 photos in Mammoth Cave and walked away with 12 that were any good, and 4 of those were taken above ground. As an added kicker, they do not allow you to bring a tripod in the cave, which makes photography just a wee bit tricky.

Click to see a summary of all the World Heritage Sites I’ve visited since March 2007.

Operation Street Food – Day 1 (Food Safety)

Posted by on February 3, 2010

Preparing my lunch

Preparing my lunch

My first day of street food went surprisingly well. I focused on grilled meat products because….well…it was easy to order. Here is how the day broke down:

  • Breakfast – 3 pieces of chicken satay. 15 baht (US$0.45)
  • Lunch – 3 grilled chicken wings and chopped grilled pork. 40 baht ($1.21)
  • Dinner – Chicken with rice, soup and a mango/sticky rice desert and a sprite. 140 bhat ($4.24)

The first thing that should jump out at you is that street food is REALLY cheap. I’m sure if I could speak Thai, could hunt around for deals and haggle, I might be able to pay less. For less than the cost of a Big Mac value meal, you can eat for a day if you stick to the streets. My dinner was actually sort of extravagant and I could have easily eaten for only 40 baht
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