Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bangkok Marathon 2014...errrrrr

I was supposed to have a really difficult time sleeping last night.

I was supposed to have been pounding pasta and rice and fruit juices for the past 96 hours.

I was supposed to go get my finisher medal last week at the race pack pick up. (The Bangkok Marathon is the only one I'm aware of that gives the finisher medal to the participants a week before they even toe the line!)

Last night, or 2:00AM this morning to be more exact, was this year's Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon...which I did not participate in as I missed the registration date cutoff!!

I've been okay with missing it this year, even though it is sort of a tradition since it was our first (Eric's and mine), until all of the chatter this weekend and the buildup to the starting horn! HAHAHAHA!

Sad to have missed it, but it's seriously probably for the best as I have the Ayutthaya Marathon in four weeks (which I haven't registered for yet!) and three races in the first 60 days of 2015.

Registered and paid already for TNF100 and Koh Chang 66, still need to get registered for Ayutthaya and the TNF final training event, Columbia Trail 25K.

I'll try not to miss the registration date next year!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One chapter closes as another one begins - Nok Pae, Cabin Leader

Pae has recently changed airlines to a Thai airline called Nok Air. She got a job there as a Cabin Leader (CL).   "Nok" is the Thai word for bird. As such, after they graduate from training, they are called with "Nok" preceding their name ;) So, now Pae is "Nok Pae".
A quick work history before showing some photos of Pae's Nok Air graduation (really quick training this time around).
The night before graduation, decorating the room
After Pae graduated from University, she decided to try to become a flight attendant and began learning about the process of applying for such a position. Over the years, she has been to many interviews with many airlines. She has "made the cut" on many occasions. She hasn't always taken the jobs when offered though.
We went to a late dinner with Pae's fellow "Noks" after graduation. It just happened to be Pae's birthday too! Her friends got her a cake.
Her first airline job was a seasonal cabin crew position with a three month contract with a local domestic/charter carrier Orient Thai Airlines (OX). Actually, OX had a Hong Kong flight, so more regional than domestic. She chose not to sign a permanent contract once her three months was up and she moved on.
Is it weird that I find this moustached girl in yellow attractive ? ;)
Her first big move was to Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) where she would have to live in Amman, Jordan and fly regional (Middle Eastern), South East Asian and European (eventually US) routes. This was before we got married and we only were able to see each other for a week or so monthly, either when she had Bangkok flights or when she got her monthly days off.
The new CLs and their trainers
She left Jordan when her contract expired because we decided that she would come home. At the time, we were deciding whether or not to leave Thailand to go make a life in the States or not. We eventually decided to stay in Thailand and Pae got a three year contract with Jetstar (JQ). Her JQ contract labeled her as "Bangkok Base", but she spent the majority of each month, for the past three years, in Australia.
Give yourself a pat on the back
We did well, I ran, we got BunBun, we both worked hard and things worked out with lots of patience, love, understanding, communication and everything else that helps a relationship to grow and flourish.
The good thing about the "circus" theme was the concession stand (free snacks!)
Eventually, JQ started to talk about downsizing. JQ is a budget (low cost) airline; the low cost sister of Australia's flagship airline Qantas. There, the bottom line was everything. There started to be talk of all Bangkok Base flight attendants being sent to Phuket, a tropical paradise island (touristy) in the southern reaches of the Kingdom. This caused us to have to rethink her renewing her contract. If she was forced to do a six month rotation based out of Phuket, then we would either have to keep two homes or I'd have to quit my job and find one down there, only to be sent back to Bangkok after six months...so, we played it safe and Pae started looking for another airline during her days off (and days sick) and even when she was in Australia.
She ended up not renewing her contract after she applied for a Cabin Leader position (Purser) at Nok. She accepted the position, resigned from JQ and now she's home forever! Yay! She started training for the Cabin Leader position almost immediately. With four years of experience, the training was a lot more familiar to her although she would have to learn new aircraft (mostly OJT familiarization, etc.)
Graduation selfie, why not
Now, after the flight crew of course (Captain and FO), she is pretty much in charge of every flight she is on as the Cabin Leader. Based on her stories after finishing work every night, she is doing a great job.
Although the graduating group was twenty plus new CLs, as tends to happen in any larger group, several smaller close-knit groups of girls formed by the end of training.
 It was the second of her graduations that I was able to attend. I was at her OX graduation as well. She puts so much effort into knowing the things she needs to know to keep the passengers and cargo of her flights safe and happy. But she doesn't just KNOW it...she OWNS it. I'm very proud of her for her commitment, diligence and hard work. She should be an example to others. I hope all of the "Little Noks" have their eyes on her and will learn from her and benefit from her good example.
I think the trainers had the new Cabin Leaders spend more time with a choreographer and  rehearsals than they did studying things like, say...safety? Hahaha!
As part of her graduation from training, she and the other twenty something newly hired Cabin Leaders had to put on a show. They chose a circus theme. These are photos of her graduation. We not only did the graduation, but I also got to go to their rehearsals and help set up the room where the show was held. The senior trainers added a special five minute, candle-lit song to what the graduates thought was the whole show. It was to give each Cabin Leader her wings. It was a nice touch and there were many "wet eyes" as each of the girls got her wings pinned on by a trainer. The graduation was attended by many family members, young and old. Proud moments for all.
Photo taking after the group photo was pure melee, but I was lucky to jump right in the middle with Pae
I'll just post some of the photos, which probably hold more meaning to us, and let the captions tell a little more about them. Previously, some of Pae's airlines had certain rules about posting photos in uniform, etc., so we didn't post too many pictures of her. I think Nok is a little more relaxed...or at least I hope so ;)
Attention passengers- Introducing Nok Pae, Cabin Leader
Congratulations again, Pae, and as always, wishing you on-time departures, smooth "sailing", limited flight attendant call buttons and safe arrivals. I'm always waiting for you!
A friend snuck this photo while a slide show played. Perhaps the only time it will be okay to show any public display of affection in uniform ;)
**okay, I know, on-time departures rarely exist anymore...but fly well ;)

Engrish - November 5, 2014

I tend to have my days or weeks where I feel the need to blog this and that and then there are months where there will be nothing. I'm trying to stay motivated to post so decided to give this a try; starting a subject called "Engrish" which will have signage and such that is funny, misspelled, awkward or awful grammar or just your basic lost in translation type of stuff.

The term "Engrish" is in no way meant to be derogatory even though the term is based on the way many Asian languages have difficulty pronouncing the letters "l" and "r". Every language has its differences. For example, sometimes in Korea you will see "French Fries" spelled on a menu  (in Korean language) "Hurenchi huraisu" or "Purenchi puraisu" and that's just because we have different alphabets and different ways of speaking as far as meter and tone, etc.

Thais call Facebook "Fatebook" only because that's how the "s" sound comes out in the middle of a word sometimes. Thais have a horrible time with past tense because the "s" sound at the end of a word is almost never pronounced...so they just drop the pluralizing "s" and even drop the "ed" at the end of a past tense verb. Here, "V" sounds like "W" because they have no "V" sound...

The list goes on and I'm sure you could make a list in every language, and even something Americans or speakers of Western English forget (since we tend think we are the center of the universe and everyone should revolve around us) is that when we go abroad and try (if there is even any effort) to speak the local language, we are making just as many or more horrible mistakes, saying some of the funniest things and being misunderstood in general, not because we are stupid or ignorant, but because languages are different ;) Thai is a tonal language, similar to the tones in Chinese, and I'll probably never get the tones correct. My horrible attempt at saying words ends up with me getting blank stares and confused looks more often than not.

So here is the "Engrish" photo of the day, week, month (who knows)...From a menu at a seafood restaurant.
Obviously a case of the ending consonant being similar, "b" vs. "p"...similar sound here. At least, I hope it's not really fried crap! Although, the lime makes it seem a little more palatable.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bunbun's trip to the park

Bun had a chance about a month ago to get out of the house and run around at a nearby park. We used to take him to a bunny park by Pae's old school, but now that we've moved to our current house, we don't go there anymore...horrible traffic really.

He used to like going to the park, meeting other rabbits, getting his same-sex humping on and laying in holes in the ground and digging in the grass.

**About the humping other male bunnies...not sure he knows that they are male...all the rabbits there just hump anything that moves to tell you the truth. It's just one giant rabbit orgy, but in a good, natural, National Geographic/Animal Planet kinda way.**

So anyway, we took him to the park where we had seen people bring some prairie dogs to. There is a large group of people who bring their small (non-dog, non-cat) pets there every weekend in the evening. The previous time that we walked by, there were just a bunch of prairie dogs, in the buff tied to leashes. This time however, they were all dressed up in shorts, shirts, skirts and hats! There was one other rabbit that we saw that Bun eventually round, but the other rabbit started to jump over Bun in a very aggressive way. When they attack each other, they jump over and on the way over they kick their feet. The whole time Bun stayed just curious and innocent. He eventually got a hind paw in the eye and nose area so I pulled him away from the aggressive rabbit as to avoid him getting hurt.

The prairie dogs were cute and well behaved. There was only one that was holding a sign that said that he bites toes. And sure enough, every time someone got near it, feet were bitten. It actually hurts!

Bun wasn't exactly explorer boy at the new park. I think he was just happy to be outside although a little unsure of his surroundings, and happy to chill with Mommy and Daddy (and watch the sunset). The bats flying around eating insects didn't seem to bother him and tell you the truth, he seemed to take absolutely no interest in the 15-20 prairie dogs that were there.

Ultra & Trail Unseen Koh Chang 2015 (66km) Route and elevation

Just a quick update as the route map and elevation profile for the 66km trail ultra (Ultra & Trail Unseen Koh Chang 2015) in February just came out. I'll probably need to find a better photo than this, but this one will do for now.

All I can say is "Wow!"

This probably doesn't look too bad to many people, especially experienced trail ultra runners. To me though, knowing how I handle going up hills...This has some pretty steep ups and equally steep downs! This is gonna be a challenge and I'm greatly looking forward to it.

More on this race as information is made available by race organizers. Excited!

Uda Family photos from a few years back

Pae and Guy
A couple years ago, Pae and I visited the States for the first time together and the first time for me in over 7 years. We were able to spend time in Florida with Bill and Trudy and Mom Betsy and Katie's family. We spent time alone in New York and then we also went to Chicago where we were able to meet Dad Carl, Naomi's family and Rebecca's family, Sarah, Rachel and Liz (Wow, we almost met the whole Uda family minus Mom Cindy, and the two boys; Josh and Jacob).
R-L Rachel, Naomi, Rebecca, Liz, Pae, Sarah
The trip was Pae's first time meeting family. We were lucky to have Dad Carl attend our wedding in Ubon, so she had met Dad already.
The boys, R-L Guy, Kevin, Manti, Taber (missing Munro, Jacob, Tau, Tony and Dad)
While in Chicago, staying at Becca's home, we got some photos taken by a friend of the family. Original copies were distributed to the kids but when I put mine in my computer, nothing was there.
Girls will be girls...
I think I somehow deleted it or wiped the DVD...maybe it was formatted as a rewritable disc and I rewrote it by mistake, who knows...BUT...I did steal all of these sample photos from either Facebook or other places online.
But, boys will be boys...
Just thought I'd stick them up here for fun. Let's hope it's not another 7 years before we are able to get together again. I know that the Uda family is having a family reunion in July of 2015. We'll have to try to join via Skype or something!
...and then some **note: I didn't actually lick Manti, although it really looks like it! Taber may have taken a couple toes though ;)
It's okay to have a "favorite person in the world" right?
All of the Uda girls minus Mom, Erin and Scarlet
These are the only photos that I have although I know there are more. There are more of individual families and more of the group of us. I think Dad must have gone to the airport the morning of the pictures, that's why he isn't in them. Also Becca's and Naomi's kids aren't in the pix either. Stupid me for accidentally deleting that DVD!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Add another big race to the calendar

I'm a little excited right now because I just signed up (registered and paid) for my February race! The race is another Ultra Trail Marathon. This time it is on the beautiful island of Koh Chang here in Thailand! It's a place that Pae and I have been several times and we really like it there; great beaches, so green.
The race is called Ultra & Trail Unseen Koh Chang. It is 66 kilometers of mountain, jungle, beach, waterfalls and mangrove forest! It's not going to be easy and I'm probably gonna have to call sick one or both days of final exams at my school. We'll figure that out when the time comes though :)
This may cause me to need to reconsider some of my races leading up to this one. Scheduled I have the Ayutthaya Marathon in December, Columbia Trail 25k down in Pattaya mid-January and The North Face, 50K variety, on January 31st. Can I recover from the punishing TNF course in four weeks or should I change it to the 25K for TNF? All things I'll figure out hopefully soon so I can register for those as well.
I only registered for this one so fast as the 66km race has a limit of 200 runners. Most people would probably wait for more information on the race; route, elevation gain, accommodation, etc., but as soon as I start waiting for that stuff, I'll procrastinate and end up missing out on registration and the experience. This looks to be another beauty in the trail running calendar here. It also has a 35km and a 10km race, both with only a limited amount of slots for participants. Great thing is that the 66km is a single loop!

I hope I can somehow prepare for sand, water, mud and hills while training in the concrete jungle that is Bangkok ;) I have a feeling that I'll be winging it. I can put in the distance (long runs) here in Bangkok, but really can't prepare for trail.

This will certainly end up being the most difficult race/run I've ever participated in. I got a taste for running in sand earlier this year (as well as in the Marines) and can't say that it's easy or fun. I know my legs aren't made for the big elevation gains (as proven at TNF and Khao Yai Trail) and if you look at the map, Koh Chang is basically a big rock sticking out of the water and quite mountainous. Not tall mountains or hills, but just so many! Mud, river crossings...and all in under 13 hours (time limit). I'll trade the discomfort though, for the beauty of the run.
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