Daily Archives: May 27, 2006

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Hey Oakley,

So nice to see you here! 🙂

It’s the story like this that ruins it for the rest of us Thai girls who do fall in love with our farang husbands for the right reasons.

Exactly. Also, female co-workers and friends are affected with this stigma, just because they hang out with a farang guy. I feel sorry for them, and especially for Cherry that she has to put up with all that BS, totally undeserved. All that just because of these losers!

It just sucks that when you and your husband show up together in Thailand, first thought comes: Ah, a farang and his hooker. Then, oh may be it’s the farang and his young money hungry wife. It never ends as, well they are just another married couple.

So it won’t change after marriage either then. 🙁 But of course, what else to expect, when these jerks disgrace the notion of marriage as well! I wonder, do they ever feel any trace of shame during the ceremony that was built upon all the values that they themselves lack? What a hoax! :-/

Also, kinda amusing that the only ones supporting the “trade” are the ones not affected by it personally. It’s soo easy to be non-judgemental on issues where there is no personal backlash on yourself! Talk about the real ignorant outsiders, lol! 😀

Seeking Both The Sublime And The Ridiculous

tat phanom

The other day I came across an old work acquaintance that I hadn’t seen for about 15 years. He asked whether I still spent my annual holidays in Thailand to which I replied yes. To that he asked quite pleasantly, aren’t you bored doing that every year. A bit defensively I said no I’m not.

It was a fair question. Ever since I was a teenager I had always wanted to roam the world and in my early twenties traveled to places in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, North America and one trip behind the Iron Curtain. But since 1977 I have pretty much devoted my foreign travel to Thailand with side trips to its neighbours in South East Asia. A possible lack of Imagination?

But one thing that I am sure of is that from that first hot sticky night in Bangkok in 1977, the Kingdom placed a hook in me that has never let go. To me Thailand has become an ever expanding horizon, which perversely means in some ways that I feel I know less about the place than I did in 1977. Since coming across Thai-Blogs and subsequently a contributor, the many wonderful stories and insights that I have read from other visitors/residents/nationals on this Website has again reinforced how little I do know (so much more to do – so much more to see)

But as usual I am drifting off the subject. The desire to travel, to see whats over the horizon has driven mankind from the beginning. In the main it has been for reasons such as conquest, hunger , curiousity and after the advent of mass tourism – pleasure. Apart from business travel and military invasion, the main reason people seem to board aircraft and ships is the seeking of “a good time”.

Once arriving at their foreign destination, how people seek this “good time” can be done in multiple ways. I once met a complete stranger at a BBQ in Australia who mentioned in passing that he also was a regular traveler to Thailand. I asked him what he liked doing there, to which he replied succinctly “slutting” in Pattaya. My first reaction was to pass him off as simply as a 50 year old male with more testosterone than good taste. But in fairness and with moral and legal considerations pushed to the side, I suppose the horny Farang was entitled to seek his pleasure between the sheets (If that was all that he was after)

One of the things I believe that makes Human Beings interesting is their sometimes simultaneous desire for intellectual stimulation married with simple amusement. Sort of like feeling your spirit soar during a night out at an Italian Opera and whilst driving home , drumming your fingers on the steering wheel listening to “Elevator music” on the car radio.

To be a well balanced individual, I believe that you have to find the synergy between intellectual pursuit, spiritual enrichment and the need to be able to kick back and simply enjoy and be entertained. In terms of travel to Thailand (although its really applicable to all countries) I’ve always believed that to compartmentalize experiences is a bit negative. For example to visit Thailand and only engage in “elevated” activities such as temple tours would be sterile just as at the other end of the scale – to participate in nothing more than Sex Tourism is equally banal.

That wonderful Thai expression “Sanuk” has always captured the positive force of experiencing life and enjoying as much as possible. To “seek both the sublime and the ridiculous” as this Blog is titled.

Of course no matter how much we might try for multiple and varied experience in our travels we tend to orientate towards a favourite. The favourite experience that I not so much seek but do look out for is that of the ridiculous. Not ridiculous in an angry assertive sense but for things that make you laugh and smile and that teach you not to take life or most importantly yourself too seriously.

>mobile phone

I have plucked two random examples from the many bouncing around my ancient and decrepit mind. The first one was a reflection of modern times. We had invited the village monks to our house in the village for a blessing. A few minutes into the ceremony and one of the senior monks ( see photo above) took time out to answer the mobile phone that he had with him. The call as it turned out was from another villager also inviting the monks to his house for a blessing. Hardly breaking his stride, the Monk recorded the fresh invitation in a notebook and then continued with the ceremony.

The second example was when Mali and I were sitting in a roadside restaurant at Pattaya which specialized in Pork dishes. A German family arrived at the entrance of the restaurant – Mum, Dad and their three young kids. What distinguished them was that they all had the same rotund body shape, wore identical rimless “John Lennon” glasses and appeared to be salivating whilst reading the menu. Finally Dad said in an audible “Homer Simpson” accent – “Mmmm!!! Schwein !!!!”

I agree that the above aren’t earth shattering anecdotes with the second probably only amusing because of the two or three Singhas that I had drunk that night. But that’s life – the most adhoc thoughts seem to filter out of our minds

I would like to finish this Blog by offering the following disclaimer:

For anybody who has found this Blog to be confusing or pointless – please remember that I’m on your side

Bill

Peace Corps – My first apartment/room

Peace Corps – Assignment to Khon Kaen

After I completed almost three months of language and cultural training, I was assigned to work in Khon Kaen, in the heart of Isaan. One of the first orders of business after arriving there, after finding my office and supervisor, was to find a place to live. For the first three months I lived in an apartment not far from my office. There were 8-10 rooms at the top of one flight of stairs, and I had one of them. They were not fancy. I had a cot, a desk, and a small wardrobe in which I could hang a few clothes. The upper part of the walls was simply a fine-mesh screen to allow air to circulate freely, but keep the bugs out. It worked well, and I enjoyed watching the geckos near the lights outside the screen. I bought myself a desk lamp, as the lights were not really adequate for reading, and a mirror, since my room didn’t have one.
The restroom was at the end of the hall, and included only Thai toilets and a cistern from which we could dip water to flush the toilets, or to pour over ourselves to bathe. There was no hot water, which was not generally a problem, although I never learned to like shaving with cold water. The toilets were in individual stalls, with doors, and although both men and women rented the rooms and shared the restroom, people there were always modest.
However, a couple of weeks after I arrived, a cold front went through, and for a few days it was very cold, at least for Thailand. The nighttime lows were probably 10-15 degrees C [50-60 degrees F], and perhaps even colder for a night or two, and while I had a decent sleeping bag in which I could sleep comfortably, the Thais who lived in the other rooms suffered.
One of the chief problems that I had was that the water also got cold, and bathing became a real challenge. I would wait until late in the afternoon, when the water was as warm as it was going to get, and then wash off as quickly as I could. Fortunately it was only a week or so before the weather warmed up again to a more comfortable level. I was later told by some American expats in Bangkok that that particular cold spell was the coldest that had been seen in Thailand for over 25 years. They said that the low temperature in Bangkok was 53 degrees F [about 12 degrees C]. Of course, a month later it was getting hot, hot, HOT.
I had no air-conditioning, either in my apartment or at my office, so I quickly became quite acclimated to the heat. When once or twice a month I needed to go to the bank to cash my checks, I found the air-conditioning to be unpleasant. At that time, banks were about the only buildings to be air-conditioned.
I had no cooking facilities, and all my meals were eaten in local restaurants. There was one on the corner just down the block from my apartment where I ate breakfast nearly every morning, and they quickly learned that every morning I wanted two scrambled eggs with rice, such that as soon as I appeared at the door they would start cooking it, and it was served within three minutes or so of when I arrived. Lunch and dinner I ate in a variety of restaurants, depending on my mood and who I was with. At that time I was provided a stipend of $125 per month, plus up to $30 per month as a housing allowance. The exchange rate was about 20 baht to the dollar, and I was able to manage fine on this budget. Meals were usually 5-15 baht, depending on where I ate and what I ordered.
As I was eating breakfast one morning, I saw something that at first outraged me, although after a minute’s reflection, I just said to myself, “That’s Thailand.” In the restaurant there was a little girl, perhaps four years old, and very cute, who helped clear tables, deliver food, and do whatever she was told to help. That morning her older brother came out dressed in his school uniform, and his mother brought out a bowl of rice soup for his breakfast. Although the bowl was right in front of him, with the spoon, he just sat there until his mother returned after a few minutes, and spooned it into his mouth! While his little sister was already working in the family business, he wouldn’t even lift a finger to feed himself.