Do, Do Good

My internet is finally back in working order today. I think all this weird weather has been causing havoc to everyone and even disrupting cables. Thailand at the moment is in a strange state indeed. In the north we have earthquakes, in the south we have flooding, high waves of 2-3 meters are causing people to leave the islands, and in the northeast we have drought. Bangkok itself is experiencing abnormally cold weather. People are suffering.

Those in the south of Thailand have had to evacuate their homes due to flooding. Beautiful beaches where once we would dream of laying on the white sandy beaches looking out towards the sea has become a place to stay away from. Entire beaches which were once 25 meters long are now underwater and roads are being destroyed. Now is not a good time to go to the beach.

Who knows what the world will be like in the future? Some say it’ll snow in Bangkok. It’s hard to believe but then we did have hailstorms that are the size of golf balls in the northern part of Thailand earlier this month. Freaky indeed. Whatever happens, my take is this: Who knows what will happen tomorrow. Do what you want to do now so that you won’t regret it later on in life. Don’t let things past by and when it’s too late wish you had done differently. Be a person you’d be proud of. Know how to give and take and understand that there are others too who are suffering, probably even more so than you. If you are reading this, then your life probably isn’t all that bad.

Regrets, Regret Not

Today I read an interesting article in the New York Times entitled “What’s Your Biggest Regret?” it’s interesting that one should study about it, but I suppose to learn and understand human behaviour, we have to take surveys and see what others feel. Interestingly, the most common regreat among American adults involves a lost romantic opportunity. This was from a sample of 370 adults. Second was family issues.

It makes me think about “regret.” Some consider it feeling a deep “remorse” or a sadness for a loss or absence of something. Some define it as the “opportunity lost” or a “sadness one feels after an action one wishes one had not done.” Whatever definition you give it, it is basically a feeling one feels when one wishes one had taken an action rather than the one had.

Then I thought about what my deepest “regret” was. This was not easy as I tell myself not to “regret” any decision I make because I don’t want to spend my life thinking and brooding about the things I “should” have done, the actions I “should” have taken. Easier said than done. Of course there are some things I wish I had done differently.

A few candidates came up and they are things I wish I had done differently. The biggest “regret” I have is I wish I had taken care of my health earlier. I wish I had lost the excess weight a long time ago. If I had known, life would be so much lighter, so much easier, less of a headache. I would have lost the weight a long long time ago.

Of course, at hindsight it is always easier to talk about the way things should have been done. When you’re in the situation, it’s not always that easy.

Nevertheless, whatever regrets you have in life whether it’s about not having pursued that romantic crush or one involving a squabble, I think the biggest lesson one must keep in mind is to learn from them. Know what they are, analyse them, get them out of your system and move on with life. Use the lessons you learn to make the most of what life has left for you. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Don’t spend your life wallowing away at past mistakes that can’t be altered. Your future depends on you now. There is no one else to blame. Go and DO IT!

Earth Hour : Love the Planet

At 8.30pm today we had Earth Hour. An hour when everyone worldwide together turned off unecessary lights and gave the world a much needed rest. I think it’s a wonderful initiative and one that I hope continues on every year. Perhaps it will gather momentum and move to be twice a year. Who knows.. it’s such a simple gesture but one that is a great reminder to us all to take care of this earth we live in.

It always amazes me how simple gestures can be so powerful. This Earth Hour was initally started in Sydney in 2007 and it has since expanded across the globe. Wonderful, thank you for having started this.

One hour we say might seem little, but in reality its effects are much more than we realize. Millions of households simultaneously turning off lights will of course result in energy being saved and thereby having less environmental damage on the earth. The important thing about this Earth Hour though is that it serves as a reminder to us all that energy is precious and that the Earth we live on is precious. It places a spot on our conscience the next time we leave lights on when we don’t need it. Turn off lights you don’t need, help the Earth, help your fellow Earth citizens and save your electricity bill.

In the end we all win 🙂 Thank you Earth Hour for reminding me to turn off my lights. Life is not only about us, it is also about the people we live with on this Earth. Sweet dreams my readers.

Restaurant Trip: Baan Nam Kieng Din

A few weeks ago I went for the first time to a restaurant not far from Bangkok that made me feel like a child again. It’s called Baan Nam Kieng Din (ā¸šāš‰ā¸˛ā¸™ā¸™āš‰ā¸ŗāš€ā¸„ā¸ĩā¸ĸā¸‡ā¸”ā¸´ā¸™), around 45 minutes drive and located on the beautiful Utayan road which is between Nakorn Chaisi and Phuttamonton. It is very near to the Buddhist Park at Phuttamonton which has the highest standing buddha image in the world. Yes, it’s incredibly big. If you combine the dinner with the buddha image it makes a wonderful afternoon out.

Anyways, this restaurant is wonderful in that it caters to people of all ages and when you go there, you feel like you escape the world a little and go on a little holiday. The drive out under the big wide sky relaxes you and the spacious garden greets you upon arrival makes it feel fun and exciting. The garden isn’t just any garden, there are small ponds with a pair of black swans, enclosures with bunny rabbits running around and ducks of all sizes that just make you want to stop and feed them. On one side, they even have about half a dozen pink flamingoes. I love animals, so this is a great place for me. I spent a good deal of time just standing there watching the rabbits and the flamingoes. I suppose the little child inside of me came out that day.

As you walk through the garden, and across bridges in the backgroud are two American styled houses that makes you wonder if you are in the US. I want to go back again. However, you start feeling like you are in an amusement park when you see the waiters and waitresses dressed in German traditional costumes. It’s fun and it adds colour to the place. I immediately like this place. There are half a dozen flags flying on poles to show the international side of this place and kids were all over the place happily feeding ducks and rabbits. Some tables even brought along their dogs. This is an animal friendly restaurant.

Most of the seating is outdoors so you sit by the garden next to ducks and rabbits or next to flamingoes. It’s a big area and I wouldn’t be suprised if on one evening they served a thousand guests. They have tables of all sizes, for couples, for medium families or even larger groups. They also have indoor seating, but I have yet to see what it’s like inside. What amazes me though is the quality of service. At such a large restaurant like this, usually service is slow and you can’t get anything you want. Here, the service was just great. They took care to open up umbrellas to ensure you weren’t sitting in the sun and put them away when it started growing dark. The food all came in quick sucessions and service was never too far for you to grab their attention. Wonderful.

Don’t ask me what nationality the food here is. They have everything from german food, italian food to thai food. I had sausages and crispy pork leg german style. It was served with sauerkraut and all the furnishes. It was just about the right size and not too large though I wished they did give me more sauerkraut. It was good nevertheless. Other tables I noticed ordered Thai food which they also have in abundance, ranging from curries to plates of fish in thai sauce.

What amazes me though is how fast the restaurant fills up. I arrived at around 4.30pm and I thought to myself that I must be one of the first few tables. Who eats dinner at 4.30pm? To my surprise, most of the tables were filled and if you didn’t have reservations you had to sit by the flagpoles (which we did) instead of next to the garden. By 5pm most of the seats were taken and a long queue had started forming by the entrance. Amazing.

Customers ranged from families with young kids to groups of friends who were there for the beer. I suppose in the evenings, this is a good place to go enjoy some cool drinks. They supposedly have some good beer here if you are a beef lover.

Pricewise, it’s very reasonable. The sausages were around 200 thb, the pork leg 350 thb. If you want value for money though, the spaghetti was a bit expensive. It was about three bites worth and was 180thb, though I have to admit it did taste quite good.

Hmm…If you go, I suggest you make reservations in advance so that you’d get a lovely seat by the pond or the ducks. I did notice a couple all dressed up out on a date too as well as large family groups. Whoever you go with, I think its a great place if you want to escape the usual shopping malls and city life of Bangkok. Here, you are less than an hour’s drive yet you are out of Bangkok. Enjoy!

Their number is 02-441-3837 The restaurant opens from 17.00 hours on Mondays to Thursdays and from 16.00 hours. on Fridays to Sundays. The last order is at 22.00 hours.

Running Tip: Breathe from da Belly

This morning I went running and still even though its been over a year since I started running, I still can’t quite get the breathing right. I take short breaths in and long breaths out. I gasp for air and my legs start to go all wobbly. All I can think is when do I next get to stop. Oxygen isn’t getting to me fast enough. I feel like I’m suffocating a little. I can feel my lungs heave against my chest. I reach the end of my minutes and I heave for air.

This is not how my breathing should be and it makes me tire more easily than I should. There has to be a better way to breathe. I can’t quite get over my neighbour who is running along as if he were out on the countryside smiling, looking left and right. His breathing is calm and relaxed. His running looks so easy. His feet are quiet. I take a peak at his speed and he’s running at 10.5 km/hour! Wow. That’s very fit..I’m doing 9km/hour and I’m huffing and puffing like I was a big bad wolf about to blow down houses. My face has turned all red and sweat trickles down my face.

This huffing and puffing has just got to stop. On runner’s world website today I found a great article on “Lung Power.” It mentions how good runners must also train their diaphragms which is a muscle that helps you breathe.

I discover that what I do wrong is breathe from the chest. We are supposed to breathe from the belly. A good way to test according to the article is to have one hand on your chest, and another on your belly. When you take in a deep breath from your belly your belly should expand like a balloon with your chest remaining still. I do the exact opposite when I run. When I inhale, my stomach goes in when its supposed to go out! No wonder…

The best way they say is to practice even when you aren’t running. Pilates is supposed to help. I suppose I’d better start going back to those Pilates lessons I’ve only managed to do a few times. They’re great, but incredibly tiring! I think Yoga should help too. That’s something I keep doing on and off also.

So next time you run, remember to take deep breaths with your belly! 🙂 Happy running!

P.S. The article has some great vdos on Pilates exercises you can do to help your breathing… 🙂

Cherish this Planet Earth: Stop Global Warming

Earlier this morning rain poured down in Bangkok as if the Gods were angry at us. Sounds of thunder roared all over Bangkok alternating with flashes of lightning. Wind gushed against the window, flowing through trees and reorganizing the branches; making them look as if they had just got out of bed. It rained so hard that it could literally be raining cats and dogs. Temperatures dropped from the mid 30’s (celsius) to the mid 20’s.

Last week, temperatures in Bangkok dropped down to 18 degrees celsius and lasted for roughly two days. It was the coldest two days I’ve ever experienced in Bangkok (since I’ve been here on a regular basis since the year 2000). It was strange. I could sleep in my room without opening windows nor turning on the air conditioning and snuggle under my blankets. Even then I was slightly cold. I had gotten used to Bangkok’s sizzling temperatures. Others wore jackets and thick coats to work. It was a chance to use all that winter wear we usually save for trips abroad.

Now, you may wonder what is so strange about all this? So we have intense high pressure from China that is making temperatures drop and the “summer thunderstorm” is a result of the confluence or convection of two air streams. This is what happens when “cold” and “warm” fronts collide. (Doesn’t this remind you of highschool science? ) In addition, from April to October thunderstorms are normal in Thailand. That is when we consider ourselves in the rainy or monsoon season.

We’ve had these thunderstorms before but according to the Thai Metereological Department which has statistics on extreme minimum temperature (only available during the “winter months” the last time temperatures in Bangkok were around 14 celsius was over 30 years ago.

Anyhow, from observing events, I believe that the world as we know it is now experiencing more “extreme” weather conditions. This past winter the western hemisphere experienced one of it’s coldest winters. Belgium, which hardly snowed when I lived there, was hit with so much snowfall flights out of the country had to be delayed. Airports ran out of their anti-ice equipment. Roads were closed and people couldn’t get to work. Now here in Bangkok, temperatures are swinging from high 30’s to mid 20’s within the span of a week. This is not talking about the earthquakes that are happening on a more frequent basis.

What is causing all this extreme weather? I believe the culprit is GLOBAL WARMING! Okay so you say what does global warming have to do with COLD weather? The name has “warming” on it. It means a general rise in the average temperature of the Earth doesn’t it?

Yes, it does, but if you read more details on global warming, it also mentions one side effect as being “more frequent and intense extreme weather events.” Now doesn’t that sound familiar?

We have the Kyoto Protocol which has countries aiming to cut emissions, but is it really enough? It’s better than nothing, but if we don’t all start cherishing this Earth a little more who knows what our lives will be like in ten, twenty years from now. I used to think that the effects of Global Warming would take so long to surface that I’d be off this world by then, but helas I am wrong. I am only mid way through life and already I am seeing drastic changes in climate. How will our children live?

Let’s all try to help this Earth a little. You don’t have to become a full fledged earth lover, but when you take a plastic bag, just think about it a little more. Do you really need it? Use a canvas bag instead or combine bags. Turn off the lights if you don’t need it. Separate your garbage and recycle. If you’re a big business, please don’t pollute even if it lowers costs.

We have but one Earth and we all live on it together. I don’t want to go live elsewhere just yet. Let’s keep the Gods happy. You and Me.

“‘Good” Fats versus “Bad” Fats

We’ve all heard of “Good” fats and “Bad” fats but do we really know how to look out for them? I always get a little loss looking at the label. Sometimes there is the polyunsaturated fat or transfat? Monounsaturated and Saturated. Anything that has the word “fat” in it sounds scary, when in reality some of those “fats” are actually good for you!

Below is a great video explaining how to watch out for “bad” fats on food labels 🙂 Let’s all take care of our health. A little here and there helps a lot. Remember, each little step that brings you closer to good health is a step in the right direction! Remember, eat everything in moderation!