Oct. 31st, 2016

jbvb: (pic#51664908 hiking)
It was a long time on planes. $500 for Business Class on the 2nd flight was kinda worth it - lie flat seat allowed some sleep, but would have been more comfortable if 5-10 CM wider. But Emirates 'promotional upgrade' didn't allow me in Dubai's lounge. Speaking of Dubai, airport: Squat toilets. Dates appear to be the only locally-made product. But they had nuts and raisins from Iran. Somehow I was out of Bangkok's Immigration & Baggage Claim about 30 min. after the A-380s doors opened.

Hot (28-30C) everywhere I've been, except in a downpour and at 1400m the other day. Either the humidity isn't awful or I'm in for an unpleasant surprise when I get home. Urban air quality is mediocre at best, but out of the cities skies can be quite pretty. Only one episode of the squirts so far, only one dish so hot I got a capsacin buzz. Lots of driving, it's getting less scary as I gain understanding of right-of-way conventions. Up to about 75 usable words, my first try at a tonal language. Not trying to read the alphabet at this time.

Apple's default bloat includes a Health thing which gives step counts and delta elevation. Record so far is about 9 km. one day, 20 flights of stairs another. And I can still exercise at altitude, and swim a pool length or two. But I've wondered if I let the mani-pedi catfish take a little too much of my sandal callous off (just one little blister). 3rd country I've bicycled in this year.

Most of the toilets here are sit-down, but some are squat with a dipper flush. One was bring your own paper. But at that time I didn't understand the 'kitchen sink spray hose' beside each of them: it's a after-the-event butt washer. An idea I'm bringing home.

National mourning for the late king is novel to me: Lese majesty laws aside, almost everyone seems to have admired him greatly. People are lining streets with little pottery candles and lighting them during night markets and the like. We helped one night when the 'lighting' gang was shorthanded. And the entire multi-block night market shut down and sang along with the national anthem.

But TV gone pretty much entirely to B&W retrospectives of his life, his works (including his jazz compositions) and everyone of any note who ever interacted with him will be an interesting experiment. Elsewhere in S. Asia, TV is very noisy, colorful and commercial to the foundations, so I expect it was here too. In a month or two the sociologists and economists will have some interesting data on just how much value all of that was delivering. Meanwhile, the gov't appears to have bought up most of the local stock of 'speakers hidden in plastic rocks' to provide parks with a soundtrack of a few songs composed in his honor, repeating every 7-8 minutes.

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