Photo Of The Day: Some Som Tom Salad

Photo of the day - Som Tam salad
I don’t mind food photos, even when they clog up my Instagram feed or distract me from my dinner companion. As long as they are interesting and tell me something I don’t know or might not have experienced otherwise, I think they are a great expression of social networking. I spotted today’s Photo of the Day in the Gadling Flickr pool taken by Ladyexpat of a Som Tom Salad. This turns out to be the Thai version of a green papaya salad. Not sure how she grated those amazing shapes that look like waffle fries, but the dish is a combination of the four local flavors: hot chili, tart lime, sweet sugar and savory fish sauce. The photo is full of color, texture, and the brightly painted nails and jewelry give it character. I’ll have what she’s having!

Share your favorite travel food discoveries for the Photo of the Day by adding to Gadling Flickr pool.

[Photo credit: Nancie (Ladyexpat)]

Photo Of The Day: Monks In A Line

There are few visuals more familiar to the Southeast Asian traveler than a line of brightly robed monks passing down a local street. This particular monk image comes to us from the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya at the Wat Niwet Thammaprawat courtesy of Flickr user Mark Fischer. I love the bright saffron/orange color of the robes and the repeated pattern of the line of men as they stroll purposefully by.

Taken any great travel photos of your own? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

The Most Useful Useless Phrasebook Phrases

broken heartI’ve frequently touted Lonely Planet’s Phrasebooks on Gadling (about as often as I’ve truthfully stated that I receive no kickbacks from them). They’ve saved my butt countless times, helping me do everything from getting on the right train platform to finding out what obscure ingredient is in a dish.

There’s another reason I love these indispensible travel companions, however, and that’s for their entertainment value. Like all LP books, the personality and preferences (and sometimes the nationality) of the authors shine through, although the content is consistent. Whether Czech, Hmong, or Mexican Spanish, you’ll find the layout and categories the same, barring cultural or geographical improbabilities: don’t expect to learn how to get your car tuned up in a Karen hill tribe dialect, for example.

I confess I’ve used my phrasebooks as icebreakers on more than one occasion because they make the ideal bar prop or conversation starter. Whip one out of your daypack, and I guarantee within minutes you’ll have attracted the attention of someone…so wield and use their power carefully.

The following are some of my favorite useful useless phrases culled from my collection. Disclaimer alert: May be offensive (or just plain stupid) to some readers. Also note that phrasebooks, unless written by native-speakers, will always have some errors or inconsistencies in grammar or dialect, especially when transliterated, so I won’t vouch for the complete accuracy of the following:

French
“No, it isn’t the alcohol talking.” Non, c’est moi qui dis ça, ce n’est pas l’alcool qui parle.

“Maybe a Bloody Mary will make me feel better.” Peut-être qu’un Bloody Mary me fera du bien. Unsurprisingly, many LP phrasebooks are written by Australians.

Spanish (Spain/Basque version)
“I’m sorry, I’ve got better things to do.” Lo siento, pero tengo otras cosa más importantes que hacer. Trust me, this comes in very handy if you’re a female traveling in Latin America.

“Do you have a methadone program in this country?” ¿Hay algún programa de metadona en este pais? Because savvy travelers are always prepared for the unexpected.

womanItalian
Under a heading called “Street Life” comes this handy phrase: “What do you charge? Quanto fa pagare?

And because Italians are romantics at heart, you’ll do well to learn the following exchange:
“Would you like to come inside for a while?” Vuoi entrare per un po?
“Let’s go to bed/the bathroom.” Andiamo a letto/in bagno.
“I’d like you to use a condom.” Voglio che ti metta il preservativo.
“Would you like a cigarette?” Prendi una sigaretta?
“You can’t stay here tonight.” Non puoi restare qui stanotte.

German
“I have my own syringe.” Ich habe meine eigene Spritze. This is actually useful, but not so much in German. If you’re traveling to developing nations and have a condition such as diabetes, definitely take the time to learn this. As for carrying syringes and hypodermics in developing nations if you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition, do so at your own risk. I’ve debated it and to me, I’d rather not be caught with “drug paraphernalia” on my person.

Portuguese
“I may be in a wheelchair but I’m able to live independently!” Posso andar de cadeira de rodas mas consigo ter uma vida independente! This isn’t so much funny as it is totally random. And I like the exclamation point.

“Oh baby, don’t stop.” Nao pares, amor! Better have this memorized or you’ll defeat the purpose of looking it up when needed.

Japanese
“Sorry, I can’t sing.” Go men na sai, u tai nam des [phonetic]. Very “Lost in Translation.”
tasmania map
Australian
“I’m feeling lonely/depressed.” “Miserable as a shag on a rock.”
My favorite ‘Strine phrases – not found in the LP book; I just know a lot of Aussies – include “leg opener” (a bottle of cheap wine) and “mappa Tassie” (map of Tasmania, referring to a woman’s pubic region, although I suppose this made more sense before Brazilians became the norm).

Vietnamese
“Do you want a massage? mát-xa không? Not a cliché at all.

“You’re just using me for sex (male speaker).” Am jeé moo úhn laám ding ver eé aang toy [phonetic]. Talk about progress.

Thai: “Where can I buy some gay/lesbian magazines?” mii nang seu keh/khaai thîi nai? Emergency!

[Photo credits: heart, Flickr user Toronja Azul; woman, Flickr user http://heatherbuckley.co.uk;Tasmania, Flickr user NeilsPhotography]

Language Learning Tips

Photo of the Day – Thai monk

Religious ritual is closely connected to everyday life in Southeast Asia, even in the confines of a modern city like Bangkok. Today’s photo, by Flickr user Mark Fischer, is of a monk with an alms bowl, a frequent sight throughout Thailand. The man holds the shiny metal bowl in his hands while a distorted reflection of his face stares up from the bottom. The soft orange folds of the man’s robe and scripty tattoos on his forearm lend further personality to this elusive figure. Interestingly enough, Mark caught this photo during a special ceremony in support of the monks of Southern Thailand, who have been subject to threats of violence by a local insurgency.

Taken any great photos during your travels? Why not add them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Thailand Part 11: Red Shirts


Gadling TV’s Travel Talk, episode 41 – Click above to watch video after the jump

After riding elephants, eating scorpions, walking through Hellfire Pass, and visiting the famous bridge at the River Kwai, one of the only items left on our to-do list in Thailand was to speak with people that were passionate about the sensitive political environment. As we arrived back into the city, we caught word that a “Red Shirt” protest was taking place in Bangkok’s shopping district; so we went straight to where the action was.

To give some brief context, last year’s political events in Thailand resulted from clashes between two opposing camps; Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts. The Red Shirts (formally known as the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship) are mostly middle-class and rural citizens in favor of the progressive former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Shinawatra was removed by a military coup in 2006 (organized by the Yellow Shirts), which many Thais believe is due to the fact that Thailand’s Royal Family was threatened by Shinawatra’s success.

While Bangkok is currently stable and nearly all demonstrations have disappeared since the late summer of 2010, we felt privileged to be on the ground during this event, speak with those that had risked their lives for their beliefs, and share it with you here.

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.


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Hosts: Stephen Greenwood & Aaron Murphy-Crews

Special guests: Sean Boompracong, International Media Director for the UDD.
Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood & Aaron Murphy-Crews
Special thanks: Tourism Authority of Thailand, Trikaya Tours

Travel Talk took Thailand by storm on invitation from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. No editorial content was guaranteed and Aaron & Stephen were free to openly share all adventures that they embarked upon.