Archive for February, 2008

Pak Se, Laos

Arriving in Pak Se

Joi, one of the teachers at Ban Kumuong school in Ubon, Thailand, accompanied me on my weekend trip to Pak Se, Laos. As an Ubon native, she spoke Lao, so she had no problem communicating with the locals. The hard part was communicating with each other — I speak only a few words of Thai, and her English is basic.

We pulled into the bus station in Pak Se, and as soon as we got off the bus, several people hurried up to us to take us to a hotel — not necessarily one we would want to stay at, but one which would pay them a commission. Surprisingly, Joi was ready to go with them, and although since she is more of a native than I, I would usually defer to her, this time I didn’t. Instead we got a songtau (small jeep-like vehicle with a bench on either side) with a French couple and headed into town. Aidan had suggested that we look at the rooms before agreeing to check in, and he was right on. The Lonely Planet guide suggested the Pakse Hotel, so we started there. I looked at the rooms, and wow, what a neat place. $23 for a very nice room, including buffet breakfast. Humble but beautiful decor too.

The Falls



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Ubon Ratchatani

Ubon Ratchatani is a small city in northeast Thailand, about an hour from the Lao border.

English Crazy Club


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27 January 2008

barcamp-geeks-this-way.jpgYesterday was a great success at the Barcamp (http://www.barcampbangkok.org). It was all in all a great day, starting with a very pleasant half hour walk in the morning cool along Sukhumvit Road to the restaurant where the event was held. It’s quite a place, a large, expensive Indian restaurant (lunch was great, by the way). You can see pictures of it at http://www.indusbangkok.com/.


There were about 150 people there, of which about 15 were Indian, European, and American, with the rest Thais. Presentations were about a half hour each. I presented “Unix Command Line Productivity Tips”. We wrote our prospective subjects on papers which we affixed to the wall, and then voted on them. As you can see, each subject posted specified which language would be spoken in that session.
I also chaired a discussion on “Software Development in Thailand”, not to offer any information, but to learn and facilitate discussion. At the Barcamp I attended in Charlottesville, a similar discussion had been one of my favorites. It was a fascinating exchange between the Thai and foreign business owners/managers/consultants and the Thai software developers, most of whom had been out of school for only a few years and were junior in the field.

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