Monday, May 27, 2013

Meet Puna, our new dog

Say Hi to Puna

And then we were five. It all started with Sacool, a paralysed dog I saw at All about Dog when I went there for Yodas swimming therapy. Sacool was hit by a car and lives now at the Ekkamai Pet Hospital, Thonglor 55, Soi 23. I was told he doesn't have an owner, and that the clinic takes care of him. But that wan't the whole story. It turned out that a lovely woman named Khun Noy, who has 13 dogs at home, also sponsor some dogs at the Ekkamai Pet Hospital. This place is apparently known for taking care of handicapped dogs (they still call them crippled). Most of them were hit by a car and left somewhere. and they are all street dogs. Currently they have 20 dogs in care, some sponsored, some not.

After talking with Khun Noy, I got the impression that she doesn't really want to give up Sacool. That was totally fine for us, because we were just concerned about his well being. Know he has a sponsor and someone who regularly visits him was good enough. But no animal shelter in the world would let two foreigners leave empty handed, and so the staff showed us Puna. Her name given by the staff was Noo Dang, Small Rat, but we decided to rename her - to be in line with Pimmy, Pixie and Pipa.

Punas story, as told by the doctors is, that she was hit by a car during the red shirt protests at Ratchathewi, and left untreated. Someone finally brought her to the Pet Hospital, and she is there since. She is about 5-6 years old and a Thai mix. They neutered her and gave vaccines, but for some reason never made an x-ray of her leg. It is broken above the wrist, the paw is totally numb. Since there is no connection between the bones, the paw is flapping around and be dragged when she is walking.

The doctors put a cast around the leg to support it, but that doesn't improve her movement much. After we picked her up, we went straight to Thonglor Pets to at least get a second opinion. Their X-Ray was broken (new appointment for Wednesday), but after removing the cast we could see, that she has a big open wound under it. She also was licking her paw a lot, so it was also open and bleeding.

She gets antibiotics and cream now for the wounds, but will get X-ray on Wednesday. We really want to see if there is any way to get the bones together again. If not, we may have to consider to take the leg of. We saw already that with three legs she is walking fine (she had the broken leg in a sling).

What is quite important for us is that she gets along with our four other dogs. They are still adjusting each other, but very peacefully and respectful. Today they will have their first test being alone for four hours when I have Thai cla,, but I am not much concerned.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

K-Ville: A very dog friendly place

In case you want to spend some time window shopping, having a Iced Latte, but you need to take care of you dog, go to K-Ville. It is a dog friendly shopping place. They offer poo bags and a dog toilet. Not sure if you can enter the shops with dogs, but the public area in the ground floor is open for dogs - on a leash of course.
I also saw signs at the Paradise Park shopping mall that in certain areas inside dogs are not allowed, what brought me to the conclusion that in general dogs are ok. But better ask before.

Farmers market - or what they call it

I saw it on meetup first, and then Richard Barrow reminded me about the farmers market today at K-Ville. As we eat a lot of vegetarian and healthy food, we thought it might be a good idea to see the latest developments in going green. You have to know that we are new in town, so we had no idea what K-Ville is and that it is actually located in a quite upscale area. We also didn't really know that K-Ville is mainly an expat place. So, coming from Samut Prakan, where foreigners are a minority, we were a bit shocked about the massive falang gathering.

K-Ville is a small but neat shopping area, not really a mall - thats why it's called village (or ville) I guess. So, the farmers market. I was expecting a lot of vegetables, and maybe even animals. The latter was there in form of mini-pigs, just for display, not for eating.

Vegetable-wise there was some selection, but I wouldn't call it a farmers market. It was more an going-green-and-organic market. Nice breads indeed, grilled sausages (no, you can't eat them raw), some japanese rice balls, more bread, Lao coffee, jeans, organic (?) jewellery, and more stuff to eat. Everything delicious and quite expensive. But hey, it's organic, no animal were harmed during the baking of the bread, and no pesticide. At least that's what they say. You can't proof it anyway, and with the lack of independent organisations and instituts nearly everyone sells organic food now. It will get difficult soon to buy good old arsenic-and-cadmium-rich spinach.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What a digital assitant really needs to do

I've played with Siri, Google Now, Sherpa and others around. I like the idea of ​​a digital secretary who reminds me of things and helps me to find information. Only the existing apps are far from it.

The reasons are also because developers do not understand us people. Google Now is essentially limited to travel, sports and news - and calendar entries. Above all, travel is overrated, as if the majority of people boards a plane every day or has appointments outside the office.

What a digital assistant has to do is remind me of things I forget. For example, to go to the gym. To water the garden. Healthy eating. To buy flowers. The important things I have in my head. The fact that Google Now shows the gate at the airport is great, but that is either on my boarding pass at the airport or on a board.

Maybe it's because I'm now house man, who, you believe it or not, has a lot of tasks that are quickly forgotten. Dusting, washing clothes, shopping, all things which I will make more or less every day, but I forget sometimes because something has come up.

I think digital assistants need to put much more emphasis on tasks and what we really do on that. It should read the Facebook status to know when I like to drink coffee, where I exercise, etc. The data are available, they just need to be brought together. (Google has not made it to today to build a decent task app and integrate)

One possibility would be that you create a list of tasks, which serves as the basis for the wizard, as we do it in the office with a secretary (e.g. department heads report every Monday). And then you have the app to know your habits, read and understand check-ins and activities. Maybe you can also use hashtags to feed them.

If that were all already possible, I would not have to buy milk today, because I forgot it yesterday.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


A friend said recently what she likes so much on Bangkok is that things are so convenient. From delivery service to credit card acceptance, BTS and a trillion of restaurants and shopping malls just around the corner, all you did Bangkok offers. Nearly forgot world class hospitals.

My questions is: Does it make people lazy then. Now you can order groceries via an iPhone or Android app from Big C and Tesco. Your water gets delivered to you house, your pizza or even Mc Donald's fast food. Will people stop shopping and cooking? Even those with lower incomes can rely on cheap street food.

Coming for countries where non of this existed, Bangkok is indeed a consumers paradise. And yes, I was way more often in Laos at the local market than here in Bangkok. it for a reason: the small minimarts rarely have fresh fruits and veggies in Laos, and they are overpriced. In Thailand, I get even organic vegetables at Foodland or Tesco Lotus. And it's proper stored, clean and still for a fair price.

Since I love cooking, we don't use delivery too much, and compared to Laos we are going out less. I usually cook dinner for us at home (and did this already back in Germany). But it is still nice to have endless options for restaurants. I loved Aria Mixay in Vientiane a lot, but sometimes you just want to have another Italian restaurant worth going.

So yes, Bangkok is convenient, in particular for the office workers, who rarely have time to cook at home, doing their laundry or walk the dog (yes, you can hire someone to walk your dog). Because we have no car yet, Yoda get picked up twice a week to go to his swimming therapy. Comes with a price of course.

Coming from a country where service isn't really existing or understood in many places, Bangkok is a paradise. We still love it - although it's only a month since we arrived.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Living behind closed walls

We live in Bangkok behind walls. The essential reason to move to a compound were our dogs. If you live in Bangkok, then you can actually forget to walk your dogs. Either you live on a main road, where the sidewalks are packed by vendors, or you live in a side street, having 300000000 with you in. For most dog owners only options are big garden or compound.

Unser Haus in Bangkok

The advantage here is that we can walk our four dogs without the racing cars passing by or just street dogs make our lives difficult. Not that it is understood here wrong: We have nothing against street dogs, three of our dogs are such. Only the soi dogs here just extremely territorial, and we have little desire every morning to settle any disputes. In Laos, the number of dogs was less, and above all, they were not all in one place.

Another reason for the compound is the rest. We live in Samut Prakan, what is technically the neighboring province of Bangkok. Still, life here is lively enough, and if we leave our Muu Ban, we are right in the city life. But in here, behind the walls, it's quiet. Exactly what you need if you live in Bangkok. (This is why we loved Phu My Hung in Saigon , because it was similar).

Pool area
And finally, there is the security. A Muu Ban has a large gate with security and barriers. Who wants in here and does not live here, must give his ID. Distributed in the compound are four more security guards. They even call me a taxi or moto taxi. (One comes from Isaan, northeast Thailand. With him I can show off my Lao skills.)

That we have a very nice pool area and fitness center that everything is clean, are further plus points.

Some expats may say that it is not authentic (although I wonder if they say so to the predominantly Thai neighbors here), or it is not in the middle of the city. The latter is intentional: it is cheaper, more quiet, and we can be with the train in 30 minutes in downtown Bangkok.

Oh, by the way, the location is also good: Central Bangna, Paradise Park and Mega Bangna shopping Smalls are in close proximity to the airport is 30 minutes away, hospitals, supermarkets, vets and Starbucks we have around us. Who needs Thong Lor ?