December, 2003: Chiangmai and Pai, Thailand
R & R and R
& R for the R: rest, relaxation, roots and rubber for the road.
Accompanied by the cacophony of roosters
outside my bamboo bungalow near Pai, the morning mist rises with the sun
to become the strips of cotton clouds hanging above the mountains. The
daily goat parade with their hundred clattering wooden bells and one
lonely goat herder clomps down the valley to graze near the rice fields,
dried brown and ripe for harvesting, then burning. T-shirt days and
blanket nights…elephants and their substantial droppings on the
roads…the world’s best food served with the world’s widest, whitest
It’s good to be back in Thailand.
After a two-month whirlwind in the US, I
arrived with a year visa, a box of Dr. Suess books, bike gear all over my
body and great memories of friends and family in my heart. The first
projects are personal: a place to stay and a way to move. Give and Live
directions are in discussion here, fundraising is in discussion over
there, but holidays are in full swing here and there.
dog's a basket case and a basket barely holds the waste.
Here in Pai is where I imagine I'll live, but I’ve temporarily rented a
room at Tewin's Place, a friend’s spanking new apartment building in Chiangmai: bed,
bathroom, balcony, desk, armoire, air-conditioner, fan, fridge, TV,
microwave, plastic leather lounge chair, bedding, flexi reading light,
coffee from the landlords every morning, a petite guard dogette (with a camouflage
sweater so we can't see his tiny torso) who only barks at me and the smallest wastebasket
in Thailand. (If I throw something in it, I have to empty it.) At 3000
baht = $75 per month, it costs about the same to store my stuff in America
as it does to live with it in Asia. I need to get a mattress for
the mattress, absolutely the hardest I’ve ever encountered. I believe
they may have poured it when they did the driveways. Imagine lying on a
teak table with a thin tablecloth. Hey, maybe it is a table. Tables can be
very short over here. Though the area is quite quiet, a neurotic, mezzo-soprano
communicates nightly and consistently with another in the distance,
perhaps in Cambodia, or Indiana. I’ll either have to duct tape the dog
to a passing bus, or a pillow to my head.
Her name is
Sarasaki and she's just a big, old baby.
I'm the proud new father of a wizened
Kawasaki ZX-10 sport/touring bike from somewhere around 1990. Any bike
here that's bigger than 200cc must arrive disassembled, in at least three boxes of parts
and are rarely late models. This one's a 1000cc so it probably took very
large boxes. Purchased from Jake, my TEFL teacher, who's somewhere between a
genius and a lunatic (I like that in a person!), it comes with a personal
guided tour of southern Thailand, a couple of islands, thousands of
mountains, maybe a little Laos, whatever, starting in a couple days until
3 January. Jake's been around the world twice on a bevy of bikes, but he's a
new Harley owner and Davidson addict now. He's guaranteed to buy the ZX back from me if I'm not satisfied or if it breaks
down, so I'm going
to print this page and have him sign it.
year I'll get back to working, giving and living.
In January I'll be observing and evaluating new trainees at the Text and
Talk Academy where I got my teaching certificate. Soon I'll find a place for some volunteer English teaching and necessary
Thai learning. Half the Thai language I barely knew before hitting the States slowly
drained out of me while I was gone. After an arduous but animated food
order in Thai, the waitress told my dining partner, "He doesn't speak
Thai very well, but he says a lot of words that I know."
I hope to have more Give and Live progress
to report soon. Besides trying to decide exactly what to tackle, I'm
having a crash course in The Politics of Giving. You give to one and
another one doesn't get it, or wants to take it or get you.
Sigh, giving sounded so easy. When I have a reasonably permanent address, I’ll let you know so you can send me large amounts of cash, prizes and household items…perhaps a mattress and more duct tape.
Later DAY TO DAY updates:
Give-Live-Ride Thailand Charity
Motorcycle Ride 2007!
January 2007, All Over Northern Thailand
220,000 baht, fireworks,
badminton and love!
16 November 2005, Children's Garden, Doi Saket, Thailand
Srinehru Hmong School Gets New
15 October 2005, Khun Chang Khian, Thailand
FERC Give and Live Benefits USA
Concert Tour 2006
Raises One Million Baht for Thailand's Children
26 August - 6 October, 2005: All across
FERC's 6th Annual Benefit Gala!
19 February 2005, Chiangmai, Thailand
There's more to give than money.
28 November 2004: Children's Garden, Doi Saket,
FERC's First Give and Live Benefit
September - October 2004: Chiangmai,
Two years ago I wasn't sure I'd live two more minutes.
27 July 2004: Sansai, Thailand
Day to Day has become month to month.
21 March 2004: Chiangmai, Thailand