living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – a beautifully written blog about Chinese New Year

“A Little Wonderment . . . A Child’s Journey Though Chinese New Years”

Via: A Little Adrift


Last month’s Chinese New Year celebrations embraced Chiang Mai’s small Chinatown section with wholehearted enthusiasm. The signature red Chinese lanterns adorned every doorway.


Every shop entrance strung crimson bulbs from end to end. And the effect, as evening settled over Little China, was faintly magical. The tinted light tinkling out of the lanterns warred with the harsh street lights for ambient command of the Chinese New Year festivities.


Crowds thronged the main-stage hours before the performances and the long row of stop-light red food stalls offered up mounds of fresh, steaming food for the hungry masses gathering nearby. The mysterious preparations on stage included huge dragon heads, odd without their accompanying long dragon bodies, being unceremoniously hefted into place.


And that’s in that moment I wished I could spend the next hour through the eyes of a child…

Don’t stop now, you can read the rest, HERE:


side story:

This past Chinese New Years, I had just paid my favorite barista, at my favorite Starbucks.

I KNOW she saw me drop my usual 10-baht; but she smile, and tapped the box.

I said, “what??!!”

“She said, “Today, holiday”.

I said, “Are you kidding me, EVERYDAY in Thailand is a holiday; you have January 1st New Year, Thai New Year (Songkran) , and Chinese New Year!”

She laughed, and laughed, and laughed.





May 24, 2011 Posted by | Starbucks | , , , | Leave a comment

a ‘VENTI size’ khup khun krup to my buds at Starbucks

Yesterday morning I was chatting away with my friend Carl at the Taepae Gate branch (see photo); anywhoooo, I got up and left leaving my wallet in the chair.

I mean, damn I hate when that happens!

Carl left it with the baristas; and ’bout an hour later, ‘O the manager’ called and said they had my wallet.



I’m NOT surprised they would do such a kind thing; but I’m STILL very grateful.

Again, thank you.


A relate wordpress blog about ‘Chiang Mai Starbucks – Taepae Rd.’


April 28, 2011 Posted by | Starbucks, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

K. Kong


In Thai, ‘Khun’ is a ‘gender neutral’, honorific title, equivalent to: Mr, Mrs, Miss.

Since my name is Jon, I’m known as, Khun Jon.

Being a Seattle guy, I always feel ‘at home’ in a Starbucks (good coffee, decent music, comfortable chairs, free newspapers, etc, etc).

The one I go to in Chiang Mai meets all the criteria I mentioned above, with one added bonus; I can see my buds, the baristas; who are not only cute, but are so, so, soooo incredibly sweet!

Whenever I go in, I’m always greeted with a loud boisterous chorus of ‘KHUN JON!’ by 2-3 baristas, accompanied of course by beautiful Thai smiles.

I find this very reminiscent of how Norm was greeted by his pals at Cheers, and there’s no way, I can’t help but feel good when I hear it /feel it.

When the movie ‘King Kong’ came out several years go, it was so popular with the Thai people, one of the multiplexes in town had it on four screens in Thai, and one screen in English.

I had just seen a poster for the movie before going into my Starbucks one morning, and I hadn’t planned on doing it, but when I was greeted with the booming ‘KUNG JON!’, I couldn’t help myself:

I made a very, very, very angry face (see photo); and in a deep voice, said:

“Me NO Kung Jon, Me Kung KOOOOONG!!!”

For added emphasis, I jumped around a little, and pounded my chest with my fists.

The reaction: was, well, NONE, NIL, ZERO, ZILCH; and man, I was so incredibly embarrassed for doing such a lame-ass thing.

As it turned out, they were simply surprised, actually extremely surprised; because when they finally ‘got it’, they really ‘GOT IT’!

I mean a couple of them were laughing so hard; they literally had to hold each other up.

And the next few times I went in, they tried, but couldn’t do the ‘Khun Jon thingy’ without screwing it up, BAD; and that made ME laugh!

khun jon

10-Apr-09 price: I don’t know what the Starbucks prices are in the States anymore, but Starbucks grande mocha here isn’t exactly cheap – 120 baht @ 35 = $3.42USD.

I can get a very similar mocha, at an independent coffee place, or a Thai equivalent chain; for half, or even a third.

BUT, I do have loyalty to my Seattle roots, AND, to my barista buds; so hey, it’s worth the little extra.


related wordpress blog: “Catching a ‘flick’ in Chiang Mai’

May 10, 2009 Posted by | cost of living, restaurants, Starbucks | , , , | 2 Comments