living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – Hats-off to ‘JoJo and her team’ for the . . .

BEAUTIFUL renovation they did on the Taepae Gate store (SEE PHOTO).



personal thought:

I’ve ALWAYS thought they had the BEST SERVICE of any Starbucks; but now, WOW!

check it out,
khun jon


August 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Buddha Dawgs

I’m crazy about the Thai people for many reasons, not the least of which, is their often devout following of Lord Buddha’s teachings.

Well Bangkok, like all big cities, has got its share of street dogs (soi dogs), but the dogs here are so incredibly mellow. I originally thought it might be a result of the stiffing heat. But then I realized that didn’t make ANY SENSE because they act much different than say the Manila or the Jakarta dogs. I now believe it’s tied directly to how they are treated by the people; i.e. the ‘Buddha thing’.

My fav flea-riddin’ mutt hangs near a Starbucks, and since I’m a ‘Seattle guy’, I often hang near a Starbucks. I figure our meeting, had to be ‘fate’.

Anywhooo, MY dog has a wonderful goofy-ass ‘dawg-grin’ he lays on me every time he sees me. If he could talk, I think he’d say, “Sawadee krup Dude, how ya doin’?”

He VERY PATIENTLY waits for pieces of my almond croissant, and it’s quite easy to see behind the smile, and in the eyes, ‘khup khun krup’.




1. The almond croissant is his preferance, not mine.

2. sawadee krup is hello; in this case, YO

3. khup khun krup is thanks

4. the photo isn’t of MY soi dawg, but ya gotta luv the face, right?


May 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – the FREE Wi-Fi at Starbucks, costs . . .

150-baht ($5.00) per hour.

A bargain, huh?


September 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 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

‘Freeing the Birds’ by Ed Liembacher


((And now here’s the poem that tried to capture my stay in Chiang Mai and the North.))

After the dizzying bus-ride
15 kilometers up and up
both sides of the corkscrew road
to the top of Mt. Doi Suthep,
we emerge through swirling clouds
as giddy as spring birds:

the view falls away for miles,
down tipsy forests and rows
of fields, to Chiang Mai’s walls
and the fleet cloud shadows
scudding toward us. Even the trees
give back glory! So we seize

the day, this day of praise
for the faithful here gathered
in scores, climbing the stairs—
all of us—herded skyward
by tile-encrusted dragons
300 steps to the heavens…

>>> to the balance of the poem >>>


May 19, 2009 – Chiang Mai Mail

‘Visakha Bucha Day celebrated in Chiang Mai’


Visakha Bucha Day is one of the three most important Buddhist days in Thailand and happens during the Full Moon in May. This year, it fell on Thursday May 8. This special day commemorates the birth, the Enlightenment and the passing-away of Buddha. For the occasion, Thai people will make merit and gather in temples to pray.

But the most impressive event happens on the eve of Visakha Bucha Day. On May 7 at 7 p.m., Thai people gathered by the thousands at CMU to walk up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which is said to house relics of the Buddha himself.

The walk was long but never boring. Free food stalls were packed along the way; freshmen from Rajamangala University were running and chanting, led by their senior; monks were strategically located along the way to encourage people to make merit and pray. Even though people didn’t talk so much together, all experienced the feeling of community and belonging that permeated the atmosphere.

Most people arrived at the temple around midnight, after a 3 to 5 hour walk, for the first moments of Visakha Bucha Day. The newly-renovated Chedi was shining and people crowded under its shadow, walking silently around it three times, holding in their hands lotus flowers, candles and incense sticks. Once completed, they were able to make their way back home … walking for the most courageous ones, sitting in a red truck for the rest of us.


Day or night, I can see ‘Wat Phra That Doi Suthep’ out my bedroom window; but at night, WOW!



On May 8, I went to my favorite Starbucks, and received my usual ‘Norm like’, “Sawadi kaaaaa, Khun Jon

As I approached the counter to order my standard, ‘grande, non-fat, no-whip, extra-hot mocha’, “one of my favorite” baristas smiled, and then tapped the tip jar.

I said, “C’mon, every day in Thailand is a holiday; there’s January 1st New Years, Chinese New Years, and Thai New Years!”

She said, with a straight face, “Today is Visaka Bucha Day”

She tried, WITHOUT success to hold the ‘straight face’ when she added, ‘Tomorrow is New Year!”

 laugh, laugh, laugh, good tip


“Every day in every way; it is getting better, and better, and better” – khun jon

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

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