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Monday, February 27, 2006


Pictures time… finally.
Ok go.

Part One: Sriracha

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When you’re thirsty, there’s bound to be a vendor close by. When you’re really thirsty, they’re all closed.

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Dubbed ‘the Ethical Addictions of Sriracha’ by Yours Truly along with Miss Andrea Dirks. Good coffee. Decent english.

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Wat Wang Hin, close to where I stayed while I was in Sriracha.

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Wat Wang Hin at sunset.

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Nobody really knows where Sriracha ends and where the water starts. I figure it’s about two blocks inland from where the Gulf of Thailand becomes visible.

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A genuinely suave-looking cowboy construction worker in Sriracha.

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These chaps make ice. It’s their job, and they love their job. All smiles on the day I met them.

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Punks in Pattaya.

Part Two: The Beautiful Andaman Coast

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Jess checks out a waterfall near Bang Niang. Mighty fun day that was.

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Remember that crazy hike in the jungle? On the left there, that’s the path. It’s pretty easy to see at this point in the game. Oh, but be careful, cause there’s a slippering there.

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What photo journey of Thailand would be complete without the token Buddha photo. I got permission to take this photo, incase you were wondering. That’s why it’s one of the very few Buddha pictures I have.

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Man… tough life I have here.

Part Three: Rebuilding after the Tsunami

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Self explanatory. That’s Bang Niang, the place I lived until I moved to the village.

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Part of the village of Nam Khem.

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Ruins line the shores in Bang Niang.

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An swimming pool from a resort that is no longer standing.

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Rebuilding the gateway to a wat along the highway on the way from Bang Niang to Nam Khem.

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Laying bricks in one of the houses we are working on.

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Our worksite during the time that the soccer team and Noi Na were here. It looks a little different now.

Part Four: People in the South

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The Legend himself. Gaan. Good friend, and cell phone addict. Just joking. He rules.

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An employee at a boat yard, which is building boats to rebuild the livelihood of the people in Nam Khem.

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Jess and I got invited to a fire on the beach with the Swiss soccer team before they left.

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When we finally got through the jungle on that sketchy gravel road on the island, we ended up in a picturesque fishing village. (Picturesque excepting of course the heaps of rubble left by the tsunami). This girl was playing beside a house, so I took some pics.

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Eating at our favorite sticky rice vendor near the YWAM base with Gaan and Jepsikwa.

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One of the Thai workers I have spent time with at the job site.

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Every night in the village there are mad, mad games of Pick Up Soccer. Amazing.
I love the village.

So there you have it... my time so far in photos. No worries, I have about another 1300 photos so far, so there's plenty more to show... but only if you want. And only when I get home.
Ok, I'm off....

Whiner's Bio

Blistered feet from sandals that don't fit right.
Well over 100 mosquito bites.
Attacked by fire-ants on 3 seperate occasions.
Attacked by 3 leachs all at once.
Multiple chasings by rabid dogs.
Flown at by all sorts of large flying exoskeletal creatures.
Stung by a bee.
Blistered hands from shovelling.
Swollen ankle from spider bite.
Wrecked elbows from shovelling.
Cuts on feet from construction.
Road rash.
Sore back from hard mattresses.
Neck problems from high speeds and faulty aerodynamics of helmet.
All sorts of digestions issues.

You know what? I love Thailand.
I'm enjoying this place so much. And I'm already thinking about when I should come back. But whatever. I have to go now.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Everything Gets Cheaper

I have done it. Success. This morning I went out for Khao Tom Kai, and I found a place in Takuapa that sells it for 7 baht. Yup, 7. Seven. So, for those of you in Coldnada, that's not quite a quarter for a very satisfying breakfast. Now, let's see... 7 baht for breakfast, lunches free, supper between 20-30 baht... that's a total of 37 baht, lets say 50 cause I snack during the day, and have a drink with dinner... Uhm... ok, so we're looking at about 50 baht... $1.50 Canadian for food each day. Wow. And that's eating out every meal... take that.
Uhm, I have nothing left to say. They're welding the beams at the job site today, so there's nothing for us to do, so after a half-hearted morning of shovelling sand, we got let off, and now I will go find a coffee and then go explore Takuapa some more... maybe go to Old Takuapa again, check out the mid-day scene there.
uhm, later?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Old Takuapa

Takuapa is a pretty rad place. But Old Takuapa...
So it's Sunday Morning here in Thailand, and I decided to go get some food before church. Now, Friday on our way to Phang Nga we passed through what I knew to be Takuapa, past the soccer field where those swiss guys won the Championship, and down the road a bit further to this little city that was completely old looking and out of the way of anything. I asked the ajarn what it was, and he said it was Old Takuapa. It was beautiful. So, I decided that my next adventure needed to take place in Old Takuapa. What better way to have an adventure than to go look for Sunday morning Khao Tom Kai in a new city. So, this morning I drove out to Old Takuapa in search of my favorite Thai breakfast, Rice Soup with Chicken. I stopped on the way to watch the sunrise from this old ricketty metal suspention bridge build just wide enough for a motorcycle to pass onother motorcycle, and after a few photos, I continued on my way to breakfast. Upon arriving in Old Takuapa I set about looking for a place to eat. Now, in any other town, this would have been no problem. Probably every block has a few places to eat, to you just stop at the first one you see. This city did not though. It was like everyone in te world was probably still asleep. Finally, like, an entire 4 blocks later I found a place that was open. I went and asked the lady if they had Khao Tom Kai, and she said no, but they'd surely have it at the morning market. Morning market? She gave me directions, and upon turning the last corner I realized that everyone was infact awake, and that everyone was infact at this market. So I parked Mio and Set about finding my rice soup. OK, now, I've been places before that they don't often see white people, but this place was just wierd. I walked in to the section that apparently had rice soup, and everyone at all the tables stopped talking and stared at me. I could hear them whispering 'farong!' 'there's a farong here!!! look!!' and so on. The only empty chair was at a table with this man who looked kinda creepy. Well, I sat down, and it was ok, cause he left in 5 minutes. AS soon as I sat down, the place returned to it's previous, semi-chaotic state, and all was well. A few minutes later I was joined by these two amazingly awesome and hilarious old men. Seriously, like, the Thai version of Walter Mathau and Jack Lemon in teh movie... Grumpy Old Men. These guys ruled, and they were hilarious to sit with. I mostly ate while they talked to eachother, and I generally couldn't understand too much of what they were saying, but they were very animated in both their gestures and their tones, so it was a riot. Upon completion of my meal, I paid the 50 cents it cost me and bid farewell to Walt and Jack, and was on my way.
So, another day, another adventure.
Until next time...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Nam Khem Nights

Good day again. I’ve been getting complaints from people saying that I should update my site again… I didn’t even know you guys were reading this! (Besides my mom, and I guess Noi Na, and of course Jepsikwa)…
So anyways, here goes!!!
Uhm, where to start from. Ok, as you know I moved to the Village. I love it here.
Ok, the village is called Ban Pru Teaw and it before the Tsunami it was just a big section of jungle/forrest that was owned by the government. The gravel road I take to get here from the highway has a few houses along it, kinda old-skool Thai farm houses, one even has a fighting bull parked out front… Angry one, that. Anyways, these people had been renting land from the government and so their houses are legally situated, and there’s a number of coconut and rubber tree farms around. After the Tsunami, there was an immediate need to build temporary shelters for the thousands of families that had lost their houses to the wave. This area was one of those chosen. As I drive off the highway and onto the gravel road, the first thing I come across are the remainders of these temporary houses. Uhm, about half of them are empty and are almost falling apart, with huge holes in the particle board walls and supports collapsing at certain places. They’re thrown up in a hurry, and are definitely only a temporary measure. But what surprises me is that here, along with all the other sites of temporary houses I have seen, about half the houses still have people living in them. It’s amazing, and kinda sad too. They’ve been living in these little cardboard shacks for over a year!!! Uhm, I’ll take some pics of the shelters to show you all what I mean. Ok, so anyways, back to the village. Organizations such as ‘Rotary International’ or the ‘Angels Wings Foundation’ (I live in one of their houses), have come and cleared land behind the temporary shelters and have built permanent houses. Now, they’re not fancy by any means and they are all pretty small, but they do the job, and so far in this village over 300 units have been built and there are more still under construction. The Pastor I’m staying with says that by the time they’re done there will be over 500 houses in this village. The village is basically rows of houses, right close to each other. People here all know each other and seem to be all friends. This may come from three reasons, or a blending of them. One, many of them are from the same villages before; two, They share a common reason for living there, that being their houses were wiped out; and three, living in such close quarters, you get to know everyone pretty well. So yeah, I join a tightly knit community of people, as one of maybe 3-4 white people (Farong) out of possibly 1200 people. I love it here, as I already said. I love to sit out in the front in the morning with a fresh made coffee (Ajarn Wassan has coffee made and ready to go just when I wake up every morning – it’s uncanny), and just watch people drive by or more often walk by, or kids play before school, or people chilling just like me on their respective front decks. It’s great.
Uhm, but sleeping has been an issue. My first night here I was way too hot to even sleep cause in order to keep out the mosquitos, the door to our room (I have an American room-mate from Taiwan… MK… awesome guy, more on that later maybe), uhm oh yeah, the door to our room has primarily been kept closed. Meaning, that as hot as it gets in the mid afternoon, it kinda stays like that till about 3 in the morning. No sleep.
Secondly, keeping the door closed does nothing to stop mosquitos from living there, and I got eaten alive that first night. I seriously have a really bad foot right now. I got about 15-16 (hard to count) bites on the top of my foot, right near the ankle, and then to top it all off, today I got a spider bite there as well, meaning my foot is uber itchy, and uber swollen… especially after today’s work (but I’ll get to today’s work later as well… haha, MAN!!!!). No sleep.
So yeah, that was my first night. Wow, sorry for making that so complicated. Uhm, I’m a little bit tired, so maybe it’s just me, but when I re-read what I just wrote it doesn’t make any sense. So, I’ll recap. First night in the village: #1, hot like stink, and #2, mosquito’s, also like stink. No sleep.
Second night in the village… Hot like stink. The Ajarn (Thai for Pastor/Teacher) hooked me up with a mosquito net from one of our neighbors, so after sweating like mad in the stupid hot room, I managed to rig up a nice little cage for me to sleep in, with the net surrounding my cage, keeping me safe from Malaria, Denge, and who knows what else those blood suckers carry. So… less, or maybe no mosquitos, but still crazy hot in that stifling room. Tough to sleep on a bed that’s soaked with sweat. You kinda stick to it, and it’s all gross… (Dear Noi Na and Crystal, it was warmy gross). Still, more sleep that the night before.
Ok, so tonight, since we don’t need to have the door closed cause we both have mosquito nets, Josh and I are watching a movie right now (we’re taking a break cause he’s talking to his mom on the phone, and so I’m typing this now…) and we have the door and windows to our room open, and fans blowing in there, so I’m hoping that tonight will be the best night yet. No mosquito’s, and a more comfortable temperature. Here’s to hoping. I’ll likely have to finish this post tomorrow, so I’ll let you know how it went when I do. Uhm… What to talk of next…
Work has been pretty great lately. We’ve been starting to accomplish a lot, now that the rain has slowed. For the last week we’ve had very little work, because we were about ready to lay the foundations for the walls at the house we are currently working on (foundations here are a bit shady, mostly about 2 feet deep and a bit of cement thrown around some bricks, but I guess they do the job). However, we only got about half the foundations done before a gigantonormous rain storm occurred, and flooded the whole place. Then for the next week it rained consistently, (like… set your watch type-consistent) from 4:00-6:00pm every day, and we could not pour them properly cause there was just pools of water (Big pools, cause it rains like crazy out here and we’re trying to build just above layers of clay, meaning water sticks around until it evaporates). Uhm, So yeah, finally we had two days of no rain and got the rest of the foundations built. Uhm… Then today happened. But I’ll talk about today tomorrow, cause Josh is off the phone and we’re gonna finish the movie now.
I’m back, it’s morning, just finished my coffee and I’m good to go. I slept gooder last night, just so you know, I think I have the problem solved now. If only my foot wasn’t swollen and painful from yesterday’s work. Ok, so about my yesterday…
Woke up and drank coffee as usual, but decided that on this particular day I would go eat breakfast elsewhere. So I drove Mio to the city of Takuapa and looked around for a place I could get some Rice Soup. I found one almost immediately, cause this country has no shortage of places to eat. The owners were Muslim, and they were very happy to serve me, after asking me if I was Muslim. I mean, like they didn’t mind that I wasn’t, it’s was just kind of a truth test I guess. NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!! I passed. I was the first customer that day, and so I got to eat rice soup while visiting with their son who was waiting to go to school. He was learning English, so I responded to his English questions… “Hello!”, “I am fine thanks”, “My name is Kyle”, etc… The food was pretty good, but I definitely miss Khao Tom Kai back in Bang Niang. Those people loved me… (and I have the sneaking suspicion they were trying to set their daughters up with me, but that’s kinda normal in Thailand I have found. It’s like they assume I’m a white male and so I must be attracted to Thai females. Well, sorry Thailand, I’m not). Anyways, after that I drove to work and there found Josh by himself, waiting for people to arrive. Our foreman wasn’t there either, and that was a bit weird. But within 15 minutes we found out why. He was approaching in his little red car and was being followed by two enormous dumptrucks (they’re a lot bigger than the typical American dumptruck, they’re like semi-trucks). These trucks then commenced-a-dumpin’, and two giant piles of sand were left… one within the foundation of the house, and one maybe 1/3rd in. Su Thep (our foreman) then told us that it was our job to shovel it all into the foundation to make a floor up to the 3rd level of bricks. Oh my gosh. Insane. So, he gave us each a shovel, and we began. But wait, oh-no, it doesn’t look like we have enough sand! Oh, ok, it’s alright, here comes two more freaking dump-trucks… Oh, ok, we’re ok now. NOPE!!!!!!!! Three more are coming tomorrow morning!!! (that’s today), and so we shoveled all day out in the heat, and I swear it was hotter today than the days past, even before we started shoveling. So uhm, yeah, we started to get a bit done, us out there in bare feet and bare-backs and drinking water like nobody’s business. But after working all morning (and mighty hard too, my arms are dead), we had only a little bit accomplished. Lunch break was interesting. While sitting at the restaurant of the lady for whom we’re building the house, we were joined by a man from a commune of sorts. He’s a white missionary, and he says that he lives by Acts 2 and 4… something about how he and his family share common things and live together, and so on…So he had some interesting things to say, most of which contradicted itself, I wish I could remember the perfect example, but I can’t. Also, he went off about bashing Bush’s war and that Jesus was a man of peace… I think he was a US-style menno of some sort. I mean, good on him, but he was bashing other missionaries in the area, calling them hypocrites and so on, some of which I work with. Why are they hypocrites, cause they’re sinners? Cause they’re human? Sorry dude…
Our next guest was the opposite. A smoking swearing English teacher from SoCal… Huntington beach to be precise. We had a lot more fun conversing with him, and I think in a lot of ways (to me anyways), there was more Christ in his words than that of the other man. So anyways, that was lunch, then back to work.
We nearly completed about 2 of the 4 piles, when a group of Korean short term missionaries showed up. Now I don’t know how many Korean people you know, especially 20-27 year old girls, but God bless-em, they work so hard (for a good 10 minutes at a time). And even though they get hardly anything done, (like a handful of dirt on each shovel load, they do keep working (in 10 minute shifts), and because there were so many of them (Su Thep showed up with more shovels), a lot actually ended up getting done. If the soccer players could have worked that hard, the house would be built by now. But they had soccer to worry about, and that’s no problem, cause that’s half why they were here. Love you guys!!!! Uhm-k, so yeah, most of it got leveled out, my back got burnt, and I got some sort of sand-spider bite on my foot (mentioned above, for those who weren’t paying attention) meaning I can’t sleep as good My foot is all colorful and pained… and swollen. We went out to the market for food, Josh and I. I had a lot of fun conversing in Thai with the lady that made our food, until she tried to set me up with her friend cause her friend spoke like 5 more English words than she did (totaling about 7 words). Then things just got weird, and even though Josh couldn’t understand our conversation, he knew that it was kinda awkward for both me, and the 7-word lady. But whatever. We finished, and left, and came back home. As soon as we got here we saw a farong playing Soccer with a bunch of Thai guys in an empty lot, and we decided to play as well. I suddenly recognized him as this guy I had met previously, so I was actually a bit psyched about playing. That is, until I put on my shoes and remembered (thanks to a shooting pain in my foot) that I had a nasty spider bit on my foot, and could barely walk, let alone play soccer. Shoot… Can’t not now, already said I would… so I went out there and embarrassed myself. One cause I couldn’t run, but two, cause even if I could, those Thai guys would have schooled me. I got checked by a 10 year old. Serious. Okok, but once my foot gets better, it’s game on!!!!
Ok, now it’s off to work since it’s that time again, so I’m gonna go shovel another 3 monster piles of sand into that house now, with a bummed foot and arms that I can’t even lift above my shoulders cause of the work yesterday. So, I’ll finish this when I return.
Here I am. Alright… Uhm, so remember all that shoveling I did yesterday? Yeah? Uhm, I couldn’t even lift my arms today. Josh and I over our day of work completed about one pile and were like jellyfish out there. Walking like we were drunk, and having problems lifting a full shovel. We couldn’t do very much today. Where’s those spunky Koreans when you need them? Besides, they all had a crush on Josh, (calling him, Joshi, like that rhymes with Yoshi… amazing), so that made the day even more hilarious. But today, no have.
Uhm, so yeah, we quit about half an hour early, cause I think we couldn’t see straight (I still can’t), and now here I am typing.
Now, I will talk about Ban Nam Khem, the village in which I work. I love this place. More than Pru Teaw, even. We are building a house just outside of the main downtown area, and it’s pretty open and plain where we are, since the reconstruction process has been a lot slower than in the downtown core. The downtown has so much character. Uhm Dan Bryce, if you’re reading this, you’d love this place, I’m sure. Historically, Nam Khem used to thrive on its two major resources. Fish, and Tin. The entire downtown area was once a tin mine, and the land is riddled with gullies (now ponds), and dips. However, the tin extraction process was causing significant amounts of pollution, meaning that beaches all down-current from Nam Khem’s outlet into the ocean were very dirty. Because of this, the tin mining got closed down, leaving fish as the primary source of income for the people. This was great for the environment, but terrible for the people. No money. However, the town grew because of the intensification of the fishing practice, and also because of the new access to land in and around the tin mines. So, because of the extremely varied topography from the mining, the downtown roads are all twisty and crooked, and completely awesome. It’s kinda like the subdivisions in Abbotsford, but on a much smaller and much tighter scale, and more urban with more buildings built closer together, and no giant parking-lots or yards separating the buildings from the roads. It’s all nice and close. The next thing that I noticed is how beautiful they had made the place. Not only by planting flowers or trees, but I guess in a big way, because they have rebuilt almost every house, because next to nothing was left standing after the wave. So, there’s a whole bunch of neatly trimmed and freshly painted buildings without the crud from aging found in most other cities. So, this town is just fun to be in, and every street has its own unique feeling. Now, after how impressed I am, consider that it is only half rebuilt. I seriously would love to come back and see this place after it’s fully rebuilt. Now here’s the coolest part. I have become fairly familiar with the layout and feel of the streets there, but a few days ago Josh and I decided to go there after dark to go swimming. It was amazing how different the place looked at night. It was something completely different, and I basically didn’t know where I was, or where I was going. I can’t figure it out, but it’s different… by a lot. Still great… totally great, but totally different. A different sort of charm. Yeah, if I ever came to live in Thailand, I’d move to Nam Khem.
So, uhm, yeah, that’s about as much as I can say right now, since I’m tired of typing, and I should post this pretty quick. Uhm, I am having fun, taking lots of pictures, and working a lot as well. So, thanks for reading, and now I will disappear.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Moving to the village...

I've had a hectic couple of days, between a trip to Burma and a few 'coincidental meetings' and conversations with people either at church or just around wherever, and I've done a lot of thinking about my situation here, and what I'm doing. So I have made a decision.
Uhm, I moving. Moving to the village. Getting further away from the tourists and hectic small-city-wants-to-be-big-city life. I work out in the village, and my closest connections are with people from the village, and the village is much cheaper to live in, (especially since I just found out that I'm being charged 50% more than I was told for my hotel room, though that may be rectified cause I've recruited a Khon Thai to represent me in the dealings with the hotel manager, seeing as he can communicate in Thai a mite better than I can...) But still, the village is cheaper everything... food, email (1/3 the price), and room. So, I'm outtie!!! See ya later Ban Bang Niang, I'm off to Ban Pru Theaw for the duration of my stay in the south. Kind of a split-second decision, but since making it I have felt a lot better. Gonna go pack my bag tonight, then scram tomorrow morning.
I will remember you always... Bang Niang, so much better than Khao Lak, but still so much worse than Pru Theaw.
Love you all... I'm moving to the village.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Of Burma, Food, and... more food.

Ok, so it's a good thing that thai food is so healthy, cause I am up to an average of 4 large meals a day, all of them meat and veggies and rice. Thailand is all about the food. So good... so much... so full... but then 1 hour later, so hungry again cause the food is so amazing that I smell it and want it.
Went to Burma today. Hectic. Did a visa run... Don't know what else to say. I guess I could tell you about my trip, but maybe I should save some stories for my arrival in Canada... Needless to say it was an adventure, and it was fun. And I'm back home safe and sound, so it was good.
However, the border run also brought to my attention that my trip is more than half over. This fact is more than somewhat disconcerting...
I will go now please.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Very Kafka Valentines

Just a quick update, cause it's about to rain, and I wanna get home before that.
Valentines: hung out with some Thai guys, then went to a Thai church function that was truly all in Thai, I was the only Farong. I basically spent two hours trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Just when I started to understand, it ended and we went and ate food (we had already eaten, this was our second supper... I do that alot).
Kafka: I'm told that it can't hurt me, and that it's not even the biggest, but I refuse to believe either of those statements. That fly was a monolith. Seriously, it was 3 inches long and its body was a solid 1.5 inches wide. Pii Term at the hotel caught it in his hand after I couldn't get past it to my room. Sissy farong... it made a trmendous growling sound (no lie), and I was more than a little on edge. (I hear thunder, I'll make this short...)
Rain: It rains like mad. Last night I decided to venture out to Takuapa to hang out with a friend that I work with. (it's about 30 mins away at 100kph). While eating a fantastic meal at a small vendor on the side of the road it started to rain. I'm prepared for this now. I have plastic bags in my backpack to wrap my camera and books in. I also had a rain cover with me. Driving back to his place was the most fun I have had since Noi Na left. So dark outside, since he lives way off the highway on a twisting gravel road... monstrous raindrops falling were illuminated by my headlight, and through puddles and streams and under constant flashes of lightening we made our way to his house. I was seriously laughing the entire time, it was ridiculous... I can't even describe it, I wish you could have taken a look through my eyes, it was straight out of a movie, and just surreal. We watched Garden State on his computer while waiting for the rain to stop. It did, but then by the time the movie ended it had started again, and I reluctantly, but somewhat adventursomely (is that a word?) headed out on a journey that I probably won't make again. I mean, I was never really scared or anything, it was just kinda sketchy, and I was quite sick of sitting on a bike after the hour long trek with eyes squinting and rain cover blowing behind me like some kind of cape. I got back to Bang Niang and went straight to bed, safe and sound, and actually nice and cool for once.
Now I will go eat with those Thai guys again. And then?...
Another adventure, I'm sure.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pot grows wild here

I was riding my bike through the jungle yesterday on a very narrow and winding stretch or road. It was a lot of fun. All of a sudden I caught a whiff of something... "That smells like my neighbor's house!" said I to myself, (since the 2 ft. long lizard on the side of the road probably didn't understand me). Indeed, I stopped the bike and there onteh side of the road was a wild marijuana plant. A passerby (yes, this particular part of the jungle has passer-by's) noted that the plant grows all over the jungle, making southern Thailand a chioce destination for hippies from all over the globe. As for me, I got back onthe bike, and set off to see what else I could see.
Another adventure in the life of Kyle's In Thailand.
Oh yeah, then on the highway today on the way to church, I was doing about 80 kph when I hit a bug. It slammed into me right below the adams apple, and was a fair size of a bug too!... I coughed and thought it was over but then it got worse. the wind forced it right down my shirt, where it got caught inthe cavity of my chest, right below my sternum. I tried to get it out, (all the while maintaining a solid 80 kph) but I was unable to do so before the little devil stung me, right there in the cavity of my chest. I slapped it. I never saw the whites of his eyes, or the bug itself infact, so I'll never know what kind of cool looking insect attacked me this time, but rest assured, it was a small bit because he was dying while he attacked, so it's not too bad, and the bug is dead, somewhere around Ban Saek. So then, until our next adventure, (which will probably be in about an hour when I attempt to drive 30 km in the pouring Thai rain on a motosai with no rain gear) I bid you farewell.
Dear Noi-Na, you warrant a section to yourself. You fly away today to visit friends for a while. I am at your home. I will take care of your home while you are away. I will go to Calvary Chapel tonight for a concert. Ajarn Jem will be there. I will meet with him and go for coffee. All is well, never fear, how's the foot? Missing you.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A day in the life of...

Ok greetings.
I guess I haven't updated my blog in quite a while. I've been mostly running around doing things is why. Today I have a chill day though, so blog I do.
Uhm, so where to start??? so much has happened...
Uhm, I start with the accident, though I don't even remember what day it was (not cause of any sort of concussion though, just it was more than a few days ago). I was riding my motosai at night, doing about 25 around a sort of corner (not blind corner kind, just normal kind), and three kids in black on a bicycle were crossing the road at an angle, riding towards me and coming into my lane. I have a headlight, and so they saw me coming for sure, but I guess they decided not to change course, and by the time I saw them they were right in my path and I was going to fast to stop, but to slow to negotiate a fast turn, and the front wheel slipped out cause I was on gravel and I bit it. Not hard though. The little cuts on my leg are almost gone already. Mom, I was wearing a helmet. I'm fine, the bike is fine, we're all fine, and the kids are fine... they continued on as if I was not even there, didn't change course or anything... just one of them turned non-chalantly to look at me with a blank stare as they passed. It was kinda surreal. I picked up the bike and drove on.
Uhm... Ok, the waterfall. There's a story as to why I was looking for this waterfall, but I choose not to tell it, cause it's too long, and I pay by the minute here...
I found a beautiful waterfall, and my friend Jess was at home sleeping. She had desperately wanted to see one, but our earlier attempt had failed. That one was a bit small... like tiny small... warmy tiny small... So I happened to chance upon a massively huge and authentically beautiful waterfall in the jungle, and decided to surprise Jess by taking her there, since the last one was kind of a let down. I basically told her that on monday afternoon she should not make any plans, then I told her what to bring and we 'song-farong on a motosai'-ed it there. She absolutely snapped, she was so excited. Then we hiked for a good 3 hours, since there are 7 levels adn we wanted to reach the top. On the way, each level had its own special charm, it's own character. It was awesome. One of the levels had a tarzan swing. It was a real vine, hung from a real tree in the real jungle. No lies. I swung on it, and it is seriously hilariously fun. Plus we saw lots of wildlife. And then we got attacked by lots of wildlife. It started with us trying to find the path (since I guess no one every really hikes up there). We got to this really steep part and I climbed up, barely making it cause I used a rotten log as a hand-hold. I then stoon on the narrow ridge and we talked about wehre to go for a second before I felt something on my hand. Fire-ants. I tried to brush them off but the little rascals have a pretty good grip, and you basically need to pick them off one by one. I was in the process of finishing clearing my hand when I felt something on my feet. I looked down. I was covered in fire-ants up to my mid-shin. For a solid suare meter the ground around me was moving with ants. I don't like fire-ants very much. They bite, and it hurts. Like lots... so my ankles are covered in bites adn they don't feel good. Then on the way back down, (it turns out that the path doesn't go that way) I was walking on another rotten log and fel through right before reaching the bamboo forest. (real bamboo, real clump of wild bamboo... awesome). One of the bamboo trees had fallen over, and I smacked my chin on it while I was falling through the rotten log. My head snapped back and I bit it and almost rolled down the whole hill. Jess just stood there and laughed at me.
Then a bit later we got up to what we decided was going to be the end of the hike, since we lost the trail, and we sat on some rocks to eat a mite and drink some water. I looked down at my leg and sawa that I had a new wound. I didn't remember aquiring it, and it was bleeding a lot, so I leaned down to inspect it. then I saw the culprit. A leach. I got leached on three times, and those stupid creatures spit into you so you keep bleeding. I was seriously bleeding for a good 3 hours. Sucky!!!! no pun intended, but it was appreciated (on this end anyways, since I have been laughing at my own jokes lately, seeing as I am surrounded by Thai's who rarely understand my jokes). Ok, so I pulled the only remaining sucker off my leg, and we hiked back down. Then at one part of the trail we needed to squeeze by a vine that had fallen across our narrow and steep mountain trail, and I grabbed the vine to push it out of the way and realized that the leaf right below my hand had a spider on it. Now, I'm not one to be too afraid of a spider, but this sucker was about as big as a coaster at the bar. (sorry, I couldn't think of anything better to describe it.) Anyways, it was huge!!!! and thick too, not just all legs... it had a massive body, and it's fangs were a good centimeter long each. I held the vine much higher, trying not to disturb it's sleep, and Jess rushed by under my arm, and then I tried to do the same... I barely made it. Shelob crawled around and probably wanted to eat me, having heard from the leaches how tasty I am. But she missed, and we got out the cameras to take a picture. Then got the heck out of there. So yeah, that little hike turned out to be quite an adventure. But the amount of fun we had more than makes up for the amount of wildlife we were attacked by and the amount of blood I lost.
Uhm... ok, what else... I can't think of anything else special. Just midnight swims in the ocean to see the Phosforescence (I don't know how to say that word). Uhm, the swiss football team left yesterday, and later that evening Jessica left as well, so I'm all alone now. Just Me and the Thai's and I kinda like that. I mean, I will definitly miss the swiss clowns and their antics, and of course I will miss Jepsikwa, but it's nice to be here still. Uhm, so on that note, i will finally get to the point of this post: A Day in the Life of Kyle in Thailand! (or atleast a mon-fri day, cause the weekends are way to random to put down).

7:15 - I wake up. Usually barely, adn usually somewhat unhappily. I like sleeping, cause I'm really tired. Also, the bed is actually really comfortable. I usually just get up and get dressed and go, cause there's no point showering or doing my hair (not that I do my hair anyways, but ... you know).
7:30 - drive the motorbike to Happy Lagoon, where I eat a hearty rice soup (Khao Tom Kai) breakfast before heading off to work.
8:30-9:00 - travel to work on the highway... past various temples and fruit stands and restaurants and construction sites and bus stops and the gas station (the only one around) and so on and so forth, and of course past a lot of slow moving Thai traffic (all the while getting passed by the fast moving Thai traffic, cause nobody goes the same speed here).
9:00 - start work. Kinda... it's sort of Thai style here, kinda slow and relaxed, I like it. I work with 5 Thai guys since all the whitey's are gone now. Crazy Thai's at that, none of which speak more than a few words of English, and the only one who does is the pastor, and he is usually gone. I love it. Seriously, I learn a lot more Thai this way, adn I get to help them build houses their way. So far I have done all sorts of different jobs, such as:
Mixing cement
Passing or carrying buckets of cement
Buildig brick walls
Taking down brick walls cause I built them too crooked
Rebuilding brick walls
Pouring water on Brick walls
Plastering the walls
Digging ditches
Laying foundations
Raising support collumns
And today I spent most of the day lifting giant (1m x .5m) roof tiles to the Thais on the roof, buillding the roof.
It's hard work, multiplied by the heat and humidity, but I drink lots of water, and we laugh a lot at eachother's mis-pronounciation and silly grammar. Basically our lack of clear communicability (I made that up, I don't think it's a word) has become a great joke to us, and we laugh heartily all day long.
12:00 - Lunch!!! Eating home made Thai food on the gtround with Thai's is pretty much the awesomestest (again, made up word) experience. The food is good, and the company better. I like those people a lot.
1:00 - back to work!!!
3:00-3:30 - Finished Work!!! I drive back to Bang Niang, past various temples and fruit stands and restaurants and construction sites and bus stops and the gas station (the only one around) and so on...
3:30 - the second half of the reason I'm here starts. Hanging out with people. Tahi people. Today I got back and teh cleaning ladies at my hotel noticed that I had two pineapples in my fridge (I had already eaten one, they were three for 10 baht... that like (are you ready for this?)... that's three pineapples for about 30 cents. HA!). I said, yeah, I had them but I didn't know where to get them cut to eat, and they offered to, so we sat outside and they cut the saparot while I watched and we chatted in Thai. Then they left and I went and sat with Term, the facilities manager at the little hotel I am at. He pretty much sits at a small table underneath a palm tree in the courtyard/entrance to teh hotel all day, and chills. So, today I went and chilled with him. I drank some coffee, and we talked about the rain, since it had started lightly. Then suddenly it started not-so-lightly. Wow, when it rains here, it really goes all out. So we sat under the deck and continued our simple converstation (simple cause I don't know much thai yet). Then the owner of the hotel showed up with snacks. Pii Term offered some to me, and I took what I thought was meat on a stick. Upon putting it in my mouth (I was hesitant, but didn't want to offend my host), I realized that it probably wasn't meat, but it was still animal. I litterally gagged a few times before swallowing, and rushing inside to buy a coke to wash it down. I came back out and Khrue Term was laughing at me. It turns out I consumed raw pig intestines. Hmmm. Right now I'm pretty proud of myself, even though I know I'll never eat that again. But I did it! Haha.. oi!
So yeah, then I came here to check the email, and now having done that and typed this I think I am going to finish my day in the life of...
I will likely go eat supper at a small thai hole-in-the-wall restaurant for a solid 75 cents (my 3 meals for the day total about $2.75 Canadian), and then go back to the hotel to chill for a bit before going to visit friends at their stores in Khao Lak. I will then retire after a brief midnight swim (alone this time) barring any unforseen thunder storms like the one that just passed over, and get to sleep before another great day.
I do hope you guys are having as much fun as I am, (though I doubt it... suckers!!)
Take care.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The sun will come out, tomorrow... Bet your bottom dollar, cause it comes out every day...

Hi. It's sunny today.
Is it still raining back home?
I'm done working for the day, so I'm going to the beach.

Mio, the wonder bike.

OK, so it's official. I'm better. I went to work today. Jess let me drive. Man that Bike is awesome. It looks just like a scooter, but it's fast as a cheetah. It kinda hits some wierd kinda wobbles at 100kph, so I pretty much stay between 80 and 100. Plus driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and only on the shoulder has a wierd feeling to me from time to time, but I'm not too un-used to it by now. I've been whipping around all day. Fun.
We work about 30 mins away, (at 100kph), so it's well out of the tourist area, and I like it. Today I dug holes for supports, passed cement, and then spent part of the afternoon engaging in masonry. The brick kind. I've never done that before, but it's a good thing that Thai people have lower standards as far as brick work goes. THey plaster over it all anyways. So yeah, it was fun, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
The coolest part is that we work with the most outrageous group of guys you could ever imagine. An entire team and staff of a professional Swiss Soccer team. No joke, there's like national and euro-class football players passing me buckets of cement. They're video taping it too, adn news agencies from europe are going to be airing it once the story is complete. THe guys work half days, then have soccer practice on the beach, (and to their credit, they actually do work very hard at practice, even though it is on a Thai beach...) Oh yeah, and one of them is dating Miss Swiss 2003, and she's here right along side them, digging holes and covered in cement. Real down to earth girl for a pageant winner. So yeah, the days are seriously filled with laughter as these guys yell at eachother in swiss across the yard and make jokes and just yelling more. Can't understand a word. More fun. Oh yeah, and today there was created a mystery word. Nobody knows where it came from. It's not english, but the THai people say it to the Swiss to mean it's time to eat, thinking it's Swiss for eat, and the Swiss think it's Thai for time to eat, and try to repeat it. THen when the Thai repeat it and it goes back and forth and so on, each side thinks that they're being corrected and they try to pronounce it differently. As a native english speaker who speaks enough Thai to know that this word is not Thai, I do find the whole thing quite comical, and Jess and I stood there laughing for quite some time at this group of burly soccer players and little thai men talking at each other in a language that belongs to niether.
So to recap...
Fast bike.
Feel better.
Fun building.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Travelling with sick.

Hey guys…I’m listening to Thrice again. Seriously, so much. But I ran out of batteries for my discman, so I haven’t listened to music in a while. And then right now when I was given an opportunity to write a blog post, I had the urge to listen to Thrice again, and so here it is.
We got on the bus in Sriracha, and took a trip to Bangkok. I got a nosebleed. Serious. A nose bleed. I was eating an orange, and it just started bleeding... my nose, not the orange, unless you consider orange juice the blood of an orange, since it was bleeding when I bit into it. Uhm... So, I had to deal with that bloody nose while trying to eat orange on bumpy road with few kleenex's on a bus with no bathroom. Fun. After like 20 minutes, it stopped. That was good, cause it was right when we got to the bus station. We got off, walked a block or two to the Sky train station, bought a day pass, and got on. Yeah Bangkok has a skytrain, and yeah, it's way nicer than Vancouver's, no lie. OK, like man, I was hungry so we stopped at Emporium, this monster huge rich people fancy-pants Bangkok mall that has a western food court. Still western food cause I was still feeling uber-sick. Not down with sketchy food when I feel like I wanna toss it. So I ate a big fat burger at Burger King. Yup, nothing like corporate fat to calm a sore gut. I guess it’s a question of which hurts worse at the time, your gut or your conscious. Sorry Dan, my gut won on account of a flagrant disregard for my well-being.
So yeah, oddly enough, I felt much better after eating that, so it was off to try and accomplish our goal. Find a hotel to stay at close to the airport. We got off the sky train at its northernliestest stop, the one called Mo Chit, and got into a taxi with hopes of finding a certain hotel that I had seen that morning on the internet. Our taxi driver was hilarious, seriously. Didn’t speak much English, but that made it all the more fun. I kinda got him pointed in the right direction, since I had only a vague idea of where it was. Eventually the taxi driver pulled over to a police officer and asked him where it was, and after making some joke about being arrested, he accepted the cop’s directions and we found it. So close. Like, almost right around the corner. HA!!! Porice Goor!! Yelled the asian cabby with a cheer and a laugh from us. Amazing. So yeah, we got out, walked up the monster huge rich people fancy-pants hotel entrance on polished marble floors, past a crystal clear swimming pool, with a bell-boy escorting us and carrying our bags up to the reception desk. It was there that we quickly found out that they had just booked the last room, and we carried our own bags down some back hall to the parking lot. We asked the guys there where we could stay, and they mentioned a place with the word Palace in its name. I asked if it was expensive, but they said no. We got in a new taxi, and told him where we wanted to go. He told us that maybe he had a better idea. Now I had heard that taxi drivers in BKK like to take customers on crazy rides to weird places and make them buy things from their friends in the meanwhile, only to drop them off miles from their longed-for destination. I was a bit nervous that this guy was of this nature, especially cause he was less fun than our last cabby. But I decided to go check it out, and as it turns out it was exactly what we were looking for, and even closer to the airport than I had expected. So close, that the next morning we walked there. What a great driver!!! Spoke some English too, so that was a bonus.
The place was nice, and relatively cheap, and like I said, right beside the airport. I went for a walk that evening, while Andrea just stayed there and ordered food to the room. I went to four 7-11’s within 3 blocks, and watched a muay-thai match on TV with some motosai drivers near a market. Then walking back to the hotel I heard a sound from amidst the crowds of people. Instantly an image of a big tree with a flag on the top came into my mind, and a bunch of Thai guys in white stood there looking at it. The sound from the opening scene of Ong Bak. I don’t know what the name of the instrument is, but it’s like a giant pan flute or something that this old man was holding between his hands playing a beautiful traditional Thai song that seemed to float around and hide between people passing and dance with the sound of cars and motorcycles racing by. I found him squatting in an old lot beside the sidewalk, his wife beside him holding a cup. I stopped and listened for a few before throwing a 10 baht coin into the cup and saying God Bless in my best and most respectful Thai. I went back to the hotel and ate, then slept.
The next morning I woke up feeling a bit more rested than the last few sick-days I had had, but still a bit nauseas and woozy. Walked to the airport and boarded a plane after a fast-food airport breakfast and a farewell to Andrea who would later that day board a train to Buriram. I felt still a bit gross, but mostly better, and so with a positive demeanour I drank like 4 cups of coffee on the one hour plane ride to Phuket. (remember though, plane cups are tiny!!!) Flying over Phuket was amazing. The Andaman shore of Thailand was a straight long strip of white sand and palm trees, calling out for me to come down and play. And eventually the plane bent its path to my will and that of the beach. We headed for the beach. No lie. The plane headed right for the beach. We first flew out over the water, and then turned towards shore, where there waited a landing strip with its close end not more than 40 meters past the edge of the beach. So we flew in probably nomore than 20 meters above the beach and onto the landing strip past brightly coloured flower bushes. Phuket airport is one of the most beautifully situated airports I have ever been to in my life. Amazing. Then I remembered that the south is like that. Beautiful. Southern Thailand is gorgeous. Gaan, a worker with YWAM and my friend Jessica were there to pick me up, and on the way to Khao Lak we stopped for food. Then Khao Lak.
Beautiful, and new!! Because of the Tsunami most of the buildings in the area are new, or actually most of them are still being built. But it is very much alive. The people are making the most of their situation, and I enter the scene with memorials being built or designed and hotels in various stages, from planned to finished, like the amazing one I am staying at in a small village just outside Khao Lak proper, called Bang Niang. The place is beautiful, and cheap!!! There’s still not many tourists about, so places are pretty cheap. Jess and I have rented a motosai to get around, so we whip about from here to there, scooting around. By the time we got in yesterday it was already too late to get in on the work, which was fine with me, being sick, and really tired too, so we went to the beach, the next best thing to work. OK, seriously, I’ve never been to a beach that nice… wait, I’ll just stop there. I’m on a missions trip after all, hahaha… AAAAAAAAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!
OK, so later that night I woke up at like 3:00am and threw up like I never have before. Amazing, I got soooooo sick. It sucked, but at the same time, I think (hope) that whatever was in my stomach making me sick is gone now, so I should be better. We’ll see how tonight is. I woke up this morning almost excited to go to work, but still a little wary about my gut, so I stayed back from the group, and walked around and checked out this little village. Fun. Took some pics, and yes, went swimming in the water named ANDAMAN!!!!!! It’s a sea you know…
So yeah, I am looking forward to working tomorrow, since I’ve been feeling good all day mostly. It’ll be nice to get down to it though. So yeah, uhm, I must be getting tired cause I seem to be running out of things to say. See you later?