Around the City

Saturday morning so I’ll wrap up the week with some bits from around the town:

Several of our friends here work for the UN, various non-government organizations (NGOs), or are attached to various embassies.  They find themselves attending any number of conferences that seem to exist for no purpose other than to keep all these governmental and non-governmental actors busy.  Here’s the title sign for a meeting one friend recently found himself in:

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The International Orientation Conference on UN and ASEAN Mechanisms and Conditions for a National Plan on Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Co-hosted by the Ministry of Defence, Kingdom of Thailand and German-Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance (CPG). 

Whew!  Pause for a deep breath after saying that.  I’m just curious how the German-Southeast Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance managed to have only “CPG” for its initials.  Shouldn’t it be GSCEPPGG?

Needless to say, I have great sympathy for my friends and should probably buy them Starbucks gift cards for their upcoming birthdays.

. . .

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With a population of somewhere around 7 million, Bangkok has a fair number of parks and playgrounds.  The city does a decent job of this, although many of them are under flyovers and in the center of cloverleafs (cloverleaves?), which exposes them to pollution from passing vehicles.  This one is located at the intersection of Petchaburi (on the right) and Ekkamai (the high ground on which I’m standing) Roads, as Ekkamai flies over Petchaburi.  It contains several basketball, football, and takraw courts.

This particular playground has been adopted by Muang Thai Life Assurance, what in the US we would call an “insurance” company.  This is all well and good, but sadly their company color is a shade of pink that reminds me of nothing more than pepto bismol.  And they painted all the walls, benches, planters, and fences in this shade.

. . .

7-11 Trivia time: The three countries with the most 7-11 stores are the Thailand, the United States, and Japan, but not in that order.  What is the correct order?  Scroll down to find out.  

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Finally, I spotted this sign while driving in the Silom-Surawongse area.  The Bangrak district government (districts being a subset of the larger city of Bangkok) has partnered with the ubiquitous 7-11 stores and you can now lodge comments and complaints directly at the 7-11 stores.  While the sign is unclear in both Thai and English, I would assume that the poor cashiers at 7-11 stores are only trained to handle complaints related to the civic governance of the district.  They will not be dispensing relationship advice, handling landlord-tennant conflicts, or doing the work that police through be doing.

As for the 7-11s themselves, there are approximately 13,000 stores in Japan, 8,200 stores in the United States, and 5,800 in Thailand.  One Thai friend recounted to us after his first trip to the US his surprise at discovering that there are 7-11s in the United States, too.  We didn’t have the heart to tell him that 7-11 is not a Thai company.

Have a wonderful weekend.