it's been a year and a half since i've been home. long enough to forget most of the few thai words i've learned, and long enough to mis-pronounce the ones i remember. :-) as it is with anyplace you haven't been to for a while, much is the same, some things are different. the virial house paint color of peach, has given way to lime green. they are building a big(ish) Tesco Lotus store in Lom Sak. Tesco is one of the big general department stores like a fred meyers in the states. there's a Makro store in Petchabun now - a big box, quantity discount store similar to costco. there are more roadside noodle shops, people put up a lot more advertising panels beside the big road, things have aged a bit.
one of the fun new things is a walking street in Lom Sak. they closed off one street in the heart of town on saturday nights. down the middle of the street there are awnings where vendors can sell whatever they like, mostly cloths. the vendor booths are free - assigned by lottery. there is a stage for musicians at the entrance, another one in the middle of the row, and at the south end there's a big stage with a band and people dancing. it's great fun. all the food and beverage shops along the street are open, there are hundreds of people walking the lane, looking at the cloths, haggling with the vendors. and the whole thing is free. tok tells me it was the idea of the leader (mayor??) of Lom Sak to have the walking street. noticeably absent were police, "security" forces, ambulances and other government and function watchers. Tok and i danced for a while at the big band stage. that was fun! everybody dances, young people, kids, old people. the katoeys (lady boys) have a blast. everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves. i'm sure its a little less fun during the rainy season, since all the vendors are on the ground, and the music and dancing areas would need to have awnings. i can't think of anyplace in seattle i could go on a saturday night to have the same experience.
the *%^#$% mosquitoes like to hang out where its cool and calm. especially under the dining table on the back porch kitchen. so when i sit there for coffee and breakfast in the morning, my bare feet and ankles invite them to dine also. the little creatures feast on my good tasting falang blood. makes my ankles and lower leg all itchy, and woe is me if i scratch there. feels like my feet are on fire. the only relief is to abstain from touching, and if it's really bad, i rub this green liniment stuff from a jar that makes your skin all warm. supposed to be for muscle or back pain, but it lights up my ankles and i don't notice the 'squitoe bites till they settle down.
a women on a motorbike came to the house and gave Tok about 6300 baht (192$). when someone dies, they collect 30 baht (1$) from each of the houses in the neighborhood. and give it to the family of the deceased. that amount came from two "Moo" (short for Moobhang - a group of houses in an area, part of how your postal address is defined). not only is it remarkable that they have a support system like that, but also notable that there is someone whose job it is to go around on a motorbike and collect 30 baht from each house. if someone in my neighborhood in seattle died, i'd probably not even know.
Tok is busy with her tamarind stand most days. she's set up in a wide spot off the big road, a hundred meters south of our driveway, along with 4 other stands just like it. i stay at the house most of that time, putz aound on the computer and playing guitar. but i'm really supposed to be out cleaning up the yard. thai people don't think anything of just tossing little bits of plastic and paper on the ground, and there's just junk and discards all around the property. sounds awful to our eyes and ears, but it's like this everywhere, so it just looks normal, albiet a bit disconcerting to western eyes. it wasn't that long ago when we were like that in the states. they are catching up slowly tho. there's now a yellow trash bin at the head of the driveway, and a garbage truck came and emptied the bin and took the bags of garbage from the wake. that's new.
i better take shower and get to raking and picking up.
Gorgeous the Life!
before i left for home, i found an amazing boat on craigslist. my partner jeff and i are desperately trying to figure out how to acquire this vessel.
check out our Crowd Funding appeal: http://www.thaikarl.com/dreamboat help us out if you can. please share the link on FB and elsewhere, we don't have much time to make this happen. Thanks!