Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Maco and family Nung and family

Now I had to put up one last set of photos about America. We spent a wonderful afternoon with my good friend Maco, his wife and their lovely daughter. He was a wonderful host as he grilled up some hamburgers and brots and we had wine and beer and yes even a little bit of pie. It was kind of fun because we were celebrating the NEW YEAR for Cambodia and Thailand which is on the same day, but we were doing it American style.
Later in the afternoon we were visited by my close friend Nung and his family. Now Nung is Thai, but lives just down the block from Maco so it was great that they could slip over before they headed to the Thai temple to celebrate.
Even Vietnam was represented as Nhu and Dave came along with us to round out the South East Asian experience.
It was great seeing everyone. Nung's brother, Bui, was one of my closest friends when I lived in Denver. Bui was the kind of guy who you didn't call on the phone and chat with, he was the kind of guy who just showed up at my house, let himself in, and started making noodles for himself, me, and anyone else he'd invited over to my place. He was happiest with a couple of beers in him and may have been one of the most honest men I was ever around. In truth Bui really didn't take care of himself so much, but he always was trying to help others. He passed away this last year from cancer and it was not surprising that all of the soccer players who he'd devoted his time to for years came to his funeral. He was the kind of guy who had patience in a sports world consumed with immediate results, Bui offered his athletes a kind word, and an opportunity to work at it again and again. Losing Bui was very hard on everyone who knew him. He is missed, and especially in a gathering like this where there was food and ice cold beer, I could almost hear his laughter.
This day was another reminder to me of the hardest part of living in Thailand, being away fro the friends I spent my time with in Denver. I was blessed with a great group of friends, and sadly a lot of them I didn't find the time to go see. I wish I had more days to track more of them down.
Well, it's time to get back to my life in Thailand. Still, this was a great trip and one I will not soon be forgetting.

Proud Daddy

What is Greg babbling about?

Proud Mommy

Nung, Nick, and I

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The final day in Denver

Well all good things must come to an end I guess. Denver has been a wonderful stop during our journey. Now it is time for us to head back to Bangkok, so I put together a little video footage of our last day in the mile high city. First we went to meet my good friend and once business partner Dan Dinner at his country club. Dan is one of the guys who really taught me about life and business, and it was marvelous just to see him fit and doing so well.

After our visit with him we went down town for a lunch on the 16Th street mall and then we just cruised around the city a bit taking shots of different land marks such as: Tattered Cover Book Store, the train station, the Broncos stadium which used to be Mile High but is now some corporate thing, and lots of other famous places around down town. Then we went back to the Augustine mansion to wile away our day walking around the pond, sipping wine on the back patio, and then cooking a feast to enjoy for our last supper.

We really had a great time in Denver, seeing friends and family and a few familiar sights. Thanks to everyone who either hosted us, met with us, or put up with us during our visit.

Miracle Buerger

Eli,Dave, Michelle, Karen, and Steve -- the Buergers.

Young Mr. Eli Buerger will forever be known as Miracle. Why is that? Well it's because over a decade ago, that's ten years for my readers in the southern states (just kidding Speedy), the doctors told Karen and Steve -- my first cousins -- that children were out of the question. In fact it was this news that set them on the path to financial success. I mean imagine a double income family, no kids, and not even having to spend on birth control. HELLO SUCCESS! It probably explains the giant house they live in out in the suburbs of Denver close to Boulder, it's truly a beautiful place and now it is the happy home it longed to be. Eli has brought a miracle to the Buerger family. As they say, "God works in mysterious ways," especially while in Mexico pounding tequila shots 'ey Steve!

So please watch this short photo slide to see Mr. Eli's www.siminoe.com premier. He loves the camera!

Friday, April 25, 2008

One Denver day

Teo, Greg, Nan and Sim

Denver is the kind of city that it is easy to find a lot to do. It has so much going on most weekends it's easy to get lost in the chaos. I lived in Denver for close to 15 years and in that time I went through a ski phase, mountain bike phase, volleyball phase, Frisbee stint, weight lifting kick, jogging, kick boxing, and well lots of other adventures. One thing Denver has an abundance of is recreation. If you're into sports or into watching sports its hard to imagine a town with more going on than the mile high city.

So while I was visiting my old stomping grounds, we put together a simple Sunday that was certainly a day to remember. We started with breakfast at Centennial airport where we watched the planes coming and going, then hit some driving range golf balls, then off to Red Rocks for some sun shine, and we wrapped up our Sunday with a down town evening which was highlighted with a NUGGETS NBA game.

It was awesome!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Our Denver Hosts Matteo, Nhu, Dave and Chili

Nhu welcomed us into her home after we survived the blizzardy roads. It was wonderful to be out of the car, once I pried my fingers off the wheel. It had been a while since I'd driven in snow and I must say my nerves, especially because I was too cheap to pay for the rental car's rental insurance, were frayed. But the Augustines were amazing hosts. A good friend once told me that health is wealth and I can't disagree, but since I'm a starving writer I do have a belief that wealth is having wonderful friends who will take you in and not complain if you drink their wine and coffee -- you know the good stuff -- and sleep in their guest bedroom for 6 nights because you can't afford American hotel rates. Well, I have not got a fortune of my own to compare this to anything, but I have been blessed with magnificent friendships and I think it is better. Think of it this way, if I had wealth then I'd have pride which would not allow me to sleep at my friend's home. But, I'm basically destitute so this takes away a man's pride and replaces it with need. Having need allows special and magnanimous people, such as the Augustines, to give. We all know how wonderful it is to give. So yes it is true that we were freeloading while staying with our good friends; however, I like to think of it as, instead of freeloading, as giveoffering (offering them an opportunity to give).
It was a magnificent stay. In my next article we will have the inside scoop of DENVER, more photos of friends and the SECRET SEX LIFE OF CHILI the dog! Two Bangkok kids running around in Denver, what could be more interesting. So come see what trouble we managed to find.

Dave and Nan eager for the food.

Teo welcomes us.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Things to love about America

Well far too much has been said about my dislike of one of America's staple foods, Mexican, so I think it is important that I balance this negative stuff with all of the many things that I absolutely loved about my visit to the good young USA. Yes American, you're country is hasn't broken 300 years so it should never be referred to as old. China has vases in their cupboards older than 231 years. Besides, I think it is more fun being the new kids on the block, the upstarts instead of the empire, but perceptions are only as true as those who believe them. Enough of that.

I really loved my journey to the US. Here are some photos of why. I'll start with the Nebraska leg of my trip, which was followed by a journey to Colorado's Rockies which were experiencing a spring blizzard, and of course our one night run out to Vegas.

all my girls at the Kearney art Museum

my mom and daughter and I watching a the sand hill cranes in Nebraska

All the Paris I need, Paris Paris

Vegas strip

snowy vail pass, and I was too cheap to take the rental insurance

Nan relaxin by the pools

Biff and Lake one growing up and one growing -- well we are all getting older

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Still Hate Mexican Food

So I did get a comment on my I hate Mexican food article that made some very valid points about the quality and popularity of Mexican dishes. They said I may have just eaten at a bad restaurant and that I can't judge all Mexican food by one location. I'm open minded, so we tried again.
I now LOATH Mexican food. I can't understand how they believe sour is spicy. Tabasco sauce is nothing but vinegar and vinegar just should not be blended with anything other than a salad. I did enjoy the onions, but when they are caked in dried rice it fails to hold their natural flavor. Over all, frying the taste out of the good stuff and coating it with bland cheeses and less than tasty sauces, just doesn't work for me.
But what really bugged me is this: $47.00 for two people to eat food that can't be enjoyed. That is close to 2,000 baht for fatty, bland food. Ouch!

This was the best I could do to eat this. The food seems to become heavier and heavier once it enters your stomach and then it begins to expand expediently until you find your entire body bloating and stretching like a balloon being pumped full of helium.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I hate Mexican food

You know when people say spicy in the United States, where I am currently traveling, I often hear them follow this up with 'Mexican food you mean' and for years I would nod along and say 'Yeah I guess it is spicy.'

Well, during our journey over here we decided to try a Mexican restaurant while driving through the snowy mountains in Colorado. We asked the waiter, spicy please and please don't spare the peppers. But when our food came out it was so disappointing that we picked at if for a few minutes and then I ran back to our car to get our THAI ground peppers and THAI hot sauce. After we covered their fried dried beans, tasteless cheese, fried to rock like chunks of rice, and flower tortilla made of, you guessed it tasteless flower, with hot sauce we were then able to gag it down.

We tried three or four dishes, but failed to find even one that would qualify as tasty or spicy. I believe the reason people think it is spicy is simply based on appearance. They put big green chilies on the plate and wink at each other and say, 'very spicy you be careful there gringo and chinky girl' but in truth these are just for show. And what is really amazing is when they bring you a sour vinegary sauce and claim that this is HOT SAUCE. My over all take on the food is salty, bland, sour, and vinegary, and well not my style at all. Mexican fans, you want to taste some peppers that actually have flavor and that could actually clear your nose, come on over to Thailand where we pack more punch in one fingernail sized pepper than your jalapenos pack in a pound.
I will say that Mexican restaurants do have one very delicious item on the menu, and I believe it was called a Cadillac Margaretta. Other than the rim of salt which was a bit disgusting, the drink was fabulous.

Bangkok Airport's Helpful Sign

I was in Bangkok's new international airport this last week as I am currently traveling in the United states during my summer break from school. I thought this sign really was kind of funny. I mean talk about emergency exit and the need to find one! If I ever have fire coming out of my ass I hope I find a sign like this so that I can get the EXIT PLAN I need.

For some foreigners who are accustom to eating potatoes and boiled meats, Thai food with it's spicy peppers and so forth can create a little fire down below. I guess this sign was created for them. Thai people are so helpful.