Journal from Thailand (general thoughts)

Sunrise on the Gulf of ThailandMarch 22, 2003

I found that I want to keep a log of my journey here in Thailand.

So much has happened already that I am forgetting things and will try to remember what I can here today.
Once again it is a beautiful day here in Thailand as I sit on my porch of my small bungalow here in Nai Harn Beach at Ao Sane bungalows.

What a beautiful place although it was not easy to find. Luckily I ran into my old friend from 2000 here, “Arturo” from Italy who owns the Banale shop in Zurich and travels 9 months out of the year. He is the guy who brought the birthday cake with the writing on it to my 50th birthday party that year along with the huge bottle of wine.

Anyway, I went to my old place at Lam Sai on Peach Hill between Kata and Karon beaches and found that my little bungalow by the water has been ripped down and they are in the process of building a 4 star Hotel there in it’s place. What a bummer as this was my favorite place in the whole world and one in which I was never bothered and felt a real peace there.

So, I stayed in Phuket town for a week and had a good life there with my friend “Chai” the Thai man who I rented my motor bike from right across the street from the Imperial Hotel. We became great friends and would meet every morning at 5 AM to go jogging. Well, he would mostly walk and I would jog. We would do this at the beach in Phuket town where the sunrise can first be seen. First we would do our exercise and then go and watch the sun come up. I would do my “salute to the sun” and always wish that I had brought along the video camera as every day was a different scene. So, this is the 1st I’ve jogged since the Leadville race last year! I started slow and built up to 45 minutes of non stop jogging.
Now that I am here at Nai Harn beach, I have extended that to 1 hour a day. But that includes a walk up to the windmills on top of the big hill here. What a view from up there! After I come back down, I always go for a swim in the beach to cool off as it is really hot here and I am still not used to it.
Today when I was doing my swim, (the sun had just come up) I noticed a girl and guy with a camera near the waves by me, and after swimming a bit, I noticed that she was totally naked and they were shooting lots of film that must’ve been a porn shoot for some skin magazine. Well, the guys who rent the lounge chairs and were all out cleaning them for the day, got wind of this and started yelling to each other and all their buddies and they were getting pretty riled up, to say the least.
So, a bit about my first 2 weeks here: I stayed in Bangkok for 3 days at the Shanti Lodge in Thewet (about 1 mile north of Kao San Road) where I always stay as I like the neighborhood with it’s market, and closeness to the water taxi stop which is the way I like to travel around Bangkok. (traffic is crazy) I met a Brit there who spends a lot of time traveling and used to be a Musician (as was my friend Chai from Phuket town) He spends a lot of time in Africa and was telling me all kinds of stories about it and some of the diseases there. Amazing that he goes back!

We did some shopping and I went to this huge (7 floor) mall that sold nothing but electronic equipment including; laptops, accessories, cameras (digital) and almost any bootleg MP3 files of any group, for 100 baht each, or 6 for 500 B. I bought everything Pink Floyd ever did on 2 discs for 200 B. And I bought a wide angle lens for my video camera for 1200 B ($27.00) 42Baht to the dollar.
Anyway, I left Bangkok and came on the night bus to Phuket. The day that I arrived, I got an email from Joe Sieck saying he and his 2 friends from Scranton, were going to arrive in Phuket that very day! So, I went over to Patong Beach were they were staying and here they were staying in a most beautiful place with a beautiful pool that had a bar in the pool where the guests could sit in the water and get served drinks there (really livin’) I said; “Joe, how much does this place cost?” and he said $86.00 a night! Well, it sure was nice but WAY out of my budget as I am here for 5 months! I stay in places that cost anywhere between 170B a night and 300B (Bangkok) my bungalow here is 200B. ($4 to 5 a night)

But it was nice. So, Joe and I hung out a bit after his friends left in Phuket town and then he went to Malaysia to watch the Grand Prix race there, hoping that the war wouldn’t start while he was there.

And then the day after he left, the war DID start. I have been pretty much staying away from newspapers but the other day when I was at the dentist office, my dentist, “Oot” told me to not tell anyone where I was from anymore.

So, I checked out the newspapers and found out that not only did the war start, but public outcry around the world was strongly against this war! So much that there was an article in the Bangkok Post saying that some hotel owners in Thailand were refusing American tourists! So, I am keeping a low profile and saying I am from Barbados. Joe is telling people he is from “world village” and that tends to confuse them enough that they don’t ask again.

So, I’ve been hangin out with some new friends here I met through Arturo. They are Italians and I must say, the nicest Italians I ever met.

One of them is Tony and he is about 58 years old with a Phillipine wife. He tells me the most awesome stories about when he was younger, he used to be a pirate! He would transport (illegally) camels from Somalia up the red sea to Saudi Arabia and sell them. He says camels are the worst animals for fighting amongst themselves and it was tough work, but paid really well.

He is now looking to buy a house here in Thailand and we went out last night with his friend Ellbe who lives in London and is really into music and is a bass player. He lives in the Jamaican part of London and listens to lots of reggae but is into Psychedelic music big time. Interesting man who builds websites for big companies like British Air.
One more thing I want to say to get me up to date here, the night I moved into my bungalow here on the beach, I didn’t know anyone and after checking in and bringing my stuff and unpacking, I heard this load crackling noise constantly and went out to see. Well here it’s the time of year when they burn the grasses and this huge line of fire was coming down the hill behind us and advancing towards our group of bungalows!

Everyone was down on the beach taking pictures and talking about it, so I went down and joined them. They all seemed pretty scared as it was getting dark and the wind supposedly changes direction at that time and blows out to sea so that it would blow this fire down on us. Well, we all went to bed hoping we wouldn’t sleep too sound as it was loud and our roofs are thatch and we didn’t know how much under control this fire was.

Well, here about an hour after complete darkness, the first hard rain that we’ve had since I got to Thailand started, and it rained most all night! We were all pretty happy about THAT!
Today I go to the dentist again as he is doing some extensive work on me again. I am getting 2 root canals and 5 crowns as well as a new lower partial as I lost a tooth last year and the clasp that they added in America, sucks to say the least. My dentist here cannot believe the poor quality of work he sees in my mouth that was done back home.

Anyway, I trust him completely and all of this is going to cost me about $900 to $1000. I go 3 times a week and it’s about a 30 minute ride on my motorbike. Also I got 2 ugly sunspots removed in the ultra modern hospital here that cost me $150 including the lab work to see if they are cancerous or not. I find out next week. It’s healing nicely. I told someone the other day that I get all my maintenance done here in Thailand!