Rice life

Rice paddy fields as far as the eye can see. Carefully tended by a dedicated band of workers. Its back breaking stuff as most of the work is done in the stoop position and of course a big floppy hat is de-rigueur to fend off the raging afternoon sun.
The normal rice growing period is between July and September but can vary between regions. The above picture was actually taken out of that season bracket and as a consequence is not as green and picturesque as it will be in a few months time. I won't be there then so you'll just have to be make do with this picture instead.

Meanwhile back in les village all is deathly quite. It appears I am the only one crazy enough to be wandering around with my camera in the midday heat. I am eyed suspiciously by drowsy eyes peering from within shady hollows. I can hear snigger's and the words 'ting tong ferrang' (crazy foreigner) being whispered. But being stout of trouser I soldier on regardless, oblivious to all around me, searching for that all important National Geographic front page picture. A scorpion bringing down a fully grown bull elephant or the fabled (only by me) all female nude marathon run.  If only...!

Cock fighting

Whilst in n/e Thailand I was invited to view some cock fighting. Now I don't advocate such an event but having never seen anything like it before and seeing as it was sort of put on for my benefit it seemed churlish not to at least take a peek.

The cocks in question were preened for ages and I mean preened. They were washed down with some sort of lime water they had their throats cleaned out with a feather? and generally given a sort of bird spa pampering.

They didn't (thank god) have the usual knives attached to their feet as this was I guess used as a training event. Although I don't suppose the birds knew the difference.

Once thrown together they seemed to know what was expected of them and began pecking at each others backs (you can see the raw flesh in the above picture).

To be honest I got a bit bored after a while but the villagers seemed enthralled to the max. I suppose they don't get to watch much TV and certainly don't have a PS3 or an Xbox.

The thing that struck me the most was that the birds never backed off from each other. They just kept on pecking and pecking. Even if one seemed to be loosing it never seemed to occur to it to run away! It would just keep on attacking and get more bloodied. Maybe the birds were drugged? All the villagers were certainly well sozzled by the end of the first fight. I had to be quite resolute in refusing the kindly offered home brewed Lao Khao (lethal rice spirit).

All in all I found it all a bit pointless and cruel. I suspect with the razor sharp blades attached the fights are a lot shorter but that's defiantly not for me.

Plates of pure pleasure

One of the many meals consumed by my good self during my recent sojourn to the Land Of Smells. I never get fed up with eating vegetables, rice, fish etc. These little plates of pure pleasure (as I refer to them) each contain spices and flavours in abundance. Each mouthful is an explosion of pure ecstasy. Take the dish bottom left. I won't attempt the Thai translation but in English its called 'morning glory'. The dish has been cooked with chilli's in an oyster sauce and as I type this I can literally taste it. Hmmm wonderful.

After a few weeks of I start to feel so much better. The food must have something to do with it? Oh and the nice hot weather.

This time I brought back a big jar of crushed chili powder and find myself adding it to almost everything I cook. I now crave the heat like a drug!


During an early morning market jaunt near Surin I caught this wistful glance from a young market worker. I wonder what she's thinking? Probably that it's too cold and early to be up!

Sadly this picture can't convey the smells, noise and colours of the ensuing cacophony that is an early morning market in Thailand. Needless to say its organised chaos.

I've never seen so many chicken heads (who buys these and why?) buckets of various living crustaceans and animal body parts in any one place before. Everywhere you look there is something interesting to point the lens at.

I wish veggies and meat were as cheap in the UK...!


Some of the menue translations always make me laugh when I go out to dine. I try not to laugh too loud because they really are trying to please and English must be as hard for them as Thai is for us westerners. Still sometimes its hard not to.

Offensive odour anyone? or perhaps a little something burnt?

Mcdonald wai

At what lengths will a corporate giant prostitute itself in order to entice hungry diners to enter it's hallowed portals and dine on pure shit. The picture on the left may help to answer the question.

I'm inclined to think McDonald's are taking the piss. Seeing an over sized plastic clown sporting red hair, a gay yellow romper suit and a sinister sarcastic smile wai me every time i pass causes me to wince.

The very fact the welcome sign is in English only tells me their target market is not the Thais. Would they eat poo? No! their palette is far more discerning. Its only the supposedly educated westerner that has a diet akin to Beelzebub's bottom.

I can promise you one thing I have definitely not been inside. If I'd wanted to dine on a piece of damp cardboard draped with a sheet of limp yellow plastic  I'd probably eat the Bangkok Post. At least it would be educational.

All the photographs on this site were taken by me and as a result come with copyright conditions attached. Please ask before downloading anything. Thx.