July 4-13, 2006
Yikes! Mongo is gone!
PS: Do you remember what our post-"Wilma" palm trees looked like? In January they were completely topless; by late March there was some hope. Now it looks like they are recovering nicely.
PPS: Reader Andy Page shows THOCBDC how easy it is to offend the Catholic church in Scotland.
Bow your heads:
All things dull and ugly
Each little snake that poisons
All things sick and cancerous
Each nasty little hornet
All things scabbed and ulcerous
- Amen -
For 93 days our Florida car has been on life support. This clever 'trickle' charger from Mercedes has kept all of the car's electrical functions working.
Up until about fifteen years ago the only thing you needed to worry about if you left your car sitting for too long a time was resetting the electric clock. To get your machine moving with its dead battery you could either decide to jump start it using battery cables or give the car a push and drop it into low.
It's not so easy now to have a dead battery. Everything on the car's computer has to be reset. Since that is such a complicated procedure on the new Mercedes-Benz's these cars are now fitted with two batteries: one for starting the engine and the other for making sure that the car's complicated electrical system is always kept flowing with juice. This second battery then taps into the crankshaft turning battery if it becomes drained. To prevent both batteries from emptying Mercedes suggests that the engine turning battery be hooked up to a special charger if the car is going to be left standing for a very long time.
I am not very sanguine about the life span of these new cars. Look at it this way: can anyone find parts for an Apple II computer ... or a Radio Shack Model 3? Can you even find a technician who can work on them? Today there are mechanics who can fix a 1986 Ford. What about in 2026 ... will there be any mechanics who can fix a 2006 Mercedes? I am not so sure.
Fort Lauderdale 'soi' food is quite different from Bangkok 'soi' food. OK, it's not strictly 'soi' food but the take-away door was very near the street.
The fish, chicken and crab cakes came from our normal supplier of stone crabs. Stone crabs not being in season, we had to choose from Column B.
Looking north: the calm before the storm.
The storm approaches.
Last hurricane season's Katrina knocked out our power for about three days. This was no fun as the temperature rarely dipped below 85. In October Wilma really sent a devastating punch: our house was without juice for 15 days. OK, we were back in Bangkok when the latter storm hit so we could only follow the misery through the Internet. But, still!
Since we will be in Florida for the bulk of the 2006 hurricane season we have decided to install a natural gas generator that will power the entire house if the electricity goes down. As we have a natural gas line that feeds our pool heater the installation should be pretty straight forward.
A big footnote: Florida experiences lots of power failures when storms (even those less than hurricanes) hit. But, in the six and a half years that I have lived in Bangkok I have experienced but one or two very brief (less than a minute) blackouts. Why? My readers have seen photos of the weird array of wires that wind their way around Bangkok; wouldn't it be safe to guess that this third world wiring network would be subject to countless outages? And that 21st century Florida would have found the answer to trouble free electricity? Not so!
OK, it is just an ordinary Monday in July. Not a weekend...no Spring Break...no real reason to go to the beach.
But, it has been a long time since THOCBDC has been there.
Thanks to Susan we discovered a new Fort Lauderdale restaurant: Trina, in the Atlantic Hotel on the beach. I had the "Gazpacho Soup made with Yellow Tomatoes" and the "Chilean Sea Bass in a bed of White Beans". Watcharee went for the "Spiced Shrimp" and the "Grouper on a bed of Spinach". Susan chose a "Salad" and "Salmon with Mushrooms". They both had desserts; I passed.
Six Thai ladies got together for a little cork pulling (*) in celebration of Ta's birthday. From left to right are Watcharee, Toy, Ta, Su, Jun and Dookghe. Dookghe is a practicing fortune-teller.
But, only three of the imbibers chose to have their fortune 'told'. Any guesses as to who opted out?
(*) Admittedly, one bottle was a screw cap.
GROUND BREAKING NEWS!
Today they poured the concrete slab upon which our generator will sit. Stay tuned for more exciting details.
Next: Part II