last month, when Tok and i went to the local waterfall, i met a Dutchman named Hank and his wife. they were leaving the area as we were going in. i talked with him a few minutes, seemed like a good guy. His wife is thai, she talked with Tok a bit also. Tok said she knew the name of the village where they lived. hank said they had a small gas station, on a corner, in Lom Kow.
we went off to vietnam, and have been back, and i've asked tok a couple of times about going to see them. then she told me she couldn't remember the name of the village. well, i decided it was worth going out there, how many falangs would be running at gas station in the area? surely someone could tell us where to go.
so we got on the motorbike and headed north and west. out in the countryside, passing fields of tobacco, corn, chillies and peas. all the tobacco near our house has wilted and turned yellow from the big rain a few days ago, but a few kilometers away, the tobacco was just fine. no big rain out there. the day was warm, riding the bike is like having the oven door opened into your face, blasts of warm air, then a little cooling, then hot again.
we got to lom kow town, made a couple of stops to ask around, went back and forth a few times, and finally came around a corner and there was an intersection, with a two pump gas station on the corner. we pulled up, i recognized hanks wife Sala, and she called to him, he came running out, thinking something was wrong with the pump. it was just us.
we spent a couple of hours there, sitting around, drinking cold water. hank lives here permanently now. he has a cute story about meeting his wife. she lived in holland, right next door to him. she was divorced, and hanks wife took off for another man. hank would babysit her young daughter, as he was left with two small children of his own when his wife took off. before long, sala's daughter spent more time at hanks house than at hers. he said they were just friends and mutual babysitters for three years, but then, because of the conjoined kids, it got a little friendlier, then romantic. hank said he used to come to thailand for a month two times a year for thirteen years. when holland became part of the European union, and the borders effectively went down, many polish workers came to holland and the jobs dried up. the poles would work harder for less money. (sound familiar?), so hank and his wife decided to pack it up, sold everything in holland and moved here.
hank had a lot of knowledge about various businesses- chicken farming, pig farming, insect farming (for eating). either he's looked into it for himself, or knows other falangs who tried it. he said the gas station was good business for thailand. they were doing okay. one of the most interesting things he told me about was a thai friend of his who flies paragliders and paramotor! hank says he's been up to the mountains with this guy, he'd drive the truck back down the mountain after the guys had launched and flown down to the valley. i thought this was pretty interesting, as i still have my wing, harness and gear. i'd thought about bring it to thailand, but the flying sites i've found online are all far away, but here's a connection right in this area. so we'll see what happens next time. i return to the US next week. i need to get out to tiger mountain and get my wings on again, it's been a few years. then maybe when i come home again.....????
Hank showed us his new jeep, and introduced us to his pet porcupine in a big cage, and a beautiful owl with one wing he rescued from the temple and cares for.
i've been told that one of the ways to keep your sanity and not feel so isolated is 1) learn the language and 2) make friends with other falangs in the area. well, number one is ongoing, but will take me forever, but it seems i may have a start on number two.
have to finish up my jobs list in the next few days- painting under the house, putting up some rain-stopping tin, a little cement work off the porch etc. then, the sadness of departure, and the culture shock of "the good ole USA", where i see on my yahoo weather, the temperature is near freezing and there is still snow!!! %@$%(_Q&#(*^@*Q^%&&*@ whats up with dat???
moving right along..
Nu and Tok
Read my Thailand adventure ::: http://www.thaicountrylife.com