Another Year in Siam

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Coming into Bangkok from Vientiane

I am writing this as I wait for my airplane from Vientiane, Laos back to Thailand.  I thought I would be going back to Bangkok but instead I am going back to Ao Nang.  A lot has happened over the last three months.  I guess most of it is too personal to share here.  I will just say I had moved to Bangkok to be with an amazing woman.  But I made some mistakes.  She made some mistakes.  Despite still loving each other we were unable to move past these mistakes and find a way to stay together.  So I’ve been reflecting the time I’ve spent in Thailand a lot lately.  Figuring out what I want to do.  Thinking about my life.  It is amazing how isolated one can feel in a big city like Bangkok.  I have no friends there so I decided to come back to Ao Nang where I still have a few friends.  Where I can climb, and go diving, etc…  Life is easier in Ao Nang.

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My life in November, 2014

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My life in August, 2017

2 years and 9 months have passed since I first came to Thailand.  It’s weird to see that in writing.  When I first came here I thought I would stay for a year.  Maybe two.  But now it’s almost three years and I’ll most likely stay up to one more year.  But I’m still not sure.  I think these two pictures sum things up pretty well.  2 years and 9 months ago things were nice and tidy with only a little extra baggage.  I still have the old bags but now they are a little dirty and worn.  I also have a few new bags, things are not quite so neat and tidy anymore.  So, what’s taking up so much space in all these extra bags?

  • Diving gear.
  • A foam roller.
  • Running shoes.
  • Climbing shoes and other gear.
  • Some new clothes.
  • Ceramic plates and bowls acquired in Chiang Mai.
  • A handmade blanket also acquired in Chiang Mai.
  • Hardware and other electronics I use for work.
  • Various household items that should make like easier.
  • Several books, mostly for learning Thai.
  • Gopro camera and accessories.

Most of this is stuff I want to keep.  But I don’t really need it.  I also brought a bunch of stuff to Thailand that I don’t really need, I probably only needed three bags.  I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last six months.  I’m going to try to be alone for a little while.  I’ll focus on work, climbing, running, diving, learning Thai, and simplifying my life.  I’ll see if I can get it back down to 4 bags but that might not be possible.  I’ll be happy with 5 too.

Public Service Announcement

Only in Thailand do people have to be told not to drive on the sidewalks.  I came across this video the other day and thought it was pretty funny.  First, the characters:

  • Douchebag – The guy driving on the sidewalk.  You know he’s a douche bag by the shirt he is wearing.
  • Grandma – Almost gets run over by Douchebag.  Lays down the law.
  • Pinkguy – Adds color.  Possibly diabetic and gay.
  • Pologuy – Calm and reasonable.

The translation:

เสียงแตร
Honking

Douchebag: โอ๊ย !! เร็วๆ ดิยาย – Ouch.  Quickly!  Quickly!  Grandma!
Douchebag: เก็บเร็วๆ ดิวะ ! – Hurry up! Pick up (your things) !
Douchebag: โถ่เว้ย ช้าเว้ย – Oh!  Slow!
Douchebag: หลบดิ๊ !! – Move!!

เสียงแตร – Honking

Pinkguy: จะบีบแตรทำไมคะ !? – Why are you honking !?
Douchebag: ก็หลบไปดิ !! – Step aside!!
Pologuy: นี้มันฟุตบาทนะครับคุณ – This is a sidewalk
Douchebag: แล้วไงอะ ? หรือจะให้กูชนไหม !?! – So what? Or you will crash into me!?!
Pinkguy: แล้วทำไมกูต้องหลบด้วย – So why do I need to get out of your way?
Douchebag: ก็กูรีบอะ – I’m in a hurry!
Pinkguy: ก็กูไม่รีบอะ – I’m not in a hurry!
Pinkguy: พี่รีบเหรอคะ You’re in a hurry?
Pologuy: ไม่เลย พี่ไม่รีบเลย – Not at all.  I’m not in a hurry at all

เสียงแตร – Honking

Douchebag: กูรีบ ! มึงเข้าใจไหมกูรีบ!? – I’m in a hurry! Do you understand I’m in a hurry!
Pinkguy: ไม่ !!! No!!!
Douchebag: แล้วมึงจะเอายังไงกับกู ห้ะ !?! อีเบาหวาน! – So what do you want with me !?!  You diabetic!
Pologuy: พวกผมไม่เอายังไงกับคุณหรอกครับ – We don’t want anything with you at all.
Douchebag: มึงก็หลบไปสิ ! มึงขวางทางรถกูอยู่ มึงเข้าใจหรือเปล่าวะ – Then step aside!  You are blocking my road. Do you understand or not?
Pinkguy: ไหนทางรถ !? ก็เห็นแต่ทางคนเดินเนี่ย – Where is the road !?  I see only the sidewalk.
Douchebag: หลบไป! หลบไป! – Step aside ! Step aside!
Pink guy: ไม่ !!! – No!!!
Douchebag: หลบไป !! Step aside!!
Douchebag: หลบไปดิ !! Step aside!!
Grandma: ใจเย็นๆ ลูก Calm down children.
Grandma: นะ ใจเย็นๆ ลูกอย่ามีเรื่องกันเลย – Calm down.  You don’t have any concern with each other.
Grandma: ใจเย็นๆ – Calm down
Pologuy: คุณยายเป็นอะไรไหมครับ – Grandma, are you ok?
Pologuy: ของในถุงไม่เป็นไรนะ? – Your things in the bag are ok?
Grandma: อ๋อไม่เป็นไร ยังอยู่ดีลูก – Oh, don’t worry child.  They are still good.
Grandma: เดินต่อกันเถอะ – Lets move along

เสียงแตร – Honking

Pinkguy: มึงจะบีบทำไมอีก !? – Why are you honking again?
Douchebag: มึงจะคุยกันอีกนานไหมเนี่ย !?! – Are you gonna talk a long time !?!
Douchebag: กูรีบ – I’m in a hurry.
Pinkguy: นานแค่ไหนก็เรื่องของกูไหม !?! – How long i talk is my concern !?!
Pinkguy: กูจะอาบน้ำ แต่งหน้า หล่อเทียนพรรษา มันก็เรื่องของกู – I will shower, put on makeup, making candles.  It is my concern.
Douchebag: มึงหลีกทางให้กูก่อนได้ไหมล่ะ ? – So can you move out of the way for me?
Douchebag: แล้วจะทำกับข้าว จะต้ังเตาบาร์บีคิว ทำอะไรก็เรื่องของมึงเลย! – Then i will cook food, setup the bbq.  Do whatever you need to do!
Pologuy: คุณขี่รถมอเดอร์ไซค์บนนี้ มันผิดกฎจราจร คุณไม่เหรอครับ ? – You are driving a motorcycle on this. It is against the traffic rules. Don’t you know this?
Douchebag: ก็ขี่แบบนี้มาเป็นปีแล้วอะ – I have driven like this for one year already.
Grandma: หนุ่มๆ – Boy.
Grandma: อย่ามีเรื่องกันเลยนะ – Don’t make an issue out of this.
Grandma: นะ อย่ามีเรื่องกันเลยนะ – Don’t make it an issue.
Douchebag: อะไรวะ ? ก็บ้านกูอยู่ทางนู้นอะ – What the fuck?  My house is that way over there.
Douchebag: แล้วกูจะไปทางนี้อะ – So i will go this way.
Douchebag: มึงจะให้กูวนรถอ้อมเสียเวลาเหรออะ !? – You will have me drive all around and waste time !?
Pinkguy: มึงก็ต้องทำไหม !? – You must do that !?
Pinkguy: หรือมึงจะตาย !? Or you will die!?
Pinkguy: กูอยากให้มึงตายตรงเนี้ย ! – I want to let you die right here!
Douchebag: รอมึงมีรถก่อนไง ค่อยทำแล้วกัน – Wait until you have a car.  Then you will do whatever you like.
Pologuy: นี่มันทางเท้าสำหรับคนเดินนะครับ – This is a sidewalk for people to walk on
Pologuy: แล้วถ้าวันนี้คุณไปชนคุณยายเขาเข้าเนี่ย – So if today you go crash into Grandma
Pologuy: คุณจะทำอย่างไง? – What are you going to do?
Douchebag: แล้ววันนี้ยายมึงเป็นอะไรไหม !? – So today is there anything wrong with your Grandma!?
Grandma: เออ..ยายไม่เป็นไรหรอก – No..Nothing wrong with me at all.
Grandma: แต่หนุ่มฟังยายนะ But you listen to me.
Grandma: ขี่รถบนทางเท้าเนี่ยมันผิด – Driving a vehicle on the sidewalk is wrong
Douchebag: อะไรเนี่ย !? นี่กูเสียเวลากับพวกมึงมากเลยนะเนี่ย – What!? This wastes my time so much.
Grandma: ฟังยายแป๊บนึง – Listen to me for a moment
Douchebag: อูยย เสียเวลาคุยเว้ย กูรีบ – Oh! Waste so much time chatting. I’m in a hurry!
Douchebag: มึงหลบทางไปเลย – You are blocking the path. Get out of the way
Pinkguy: ไม่หลบเว้ย! – I’m not moving!
Douchebag: มึงจะหลบไหม !? – Are you going to block the path!?
Douchebag: มึงหลบเลยนะ ทั้งอีตุ๊ด – You are blocking the path completely you faggot!
Douchebag: ทั้งไอ้หนวด! – Completely you fucking mustache guy!
Douchebag: ทั้งอีแก่เนี่ย !! – Completely you old hag!!

Douchebag: อุ๊ยๆ โอ๊ยๆๆๆ – ouch ouch ouch
Grandma: มึงเรียกกูอีแก่ได้ไง – How can you call me an old bag?
Grandma: กูนะรุ่นยายมึงแล้ว – I am of the older generation than you.
Grandma: กูใจเย็น นับ 1 เกือบถึง 1000 มึงยังไม่ยอมหยุด – I am calm.  Count 1 to almost 1000. You still do not accept to stop.
Douchebag: โอ๊ย!! – Ouch!!
Douchebag: ใครๆ เขาก็รีบ – Anybody, They also hurry.
Grandma: กูก็รีบ แต่กูเดินเร็วได้เท่านี้! – I am also in a hurry but i can only walk as fast as this.
Grandma: ถ้ามึงบีบแตรใส่กู – If you honk at me,
Grandma: แล้วกูหัวใจวาย ตายไป Then I will have a heart attack and die.
Grandma: มึงมีปัญญาพากูไปโรงพยาบาลไหม: – Will you take me to the hospital
Pinkguy: หูยย ตัวยายของจริง – Wow!  Grandma is a boss ass bitch!
Grandma: มึงรู้ว่าผิด มึงก็แค่ขอโทษ – You know it’s wrong you are just sorry you got caught.
Grandma: ไม่ใช่ เสือกอันธพาลมาเถียงกูกลับ – No?  You want to mess with being a gangster? Answer me.
Grandma: นะ..มึงจะขอโทษไหม!? – Are you going to be sorry?
Grandma: หรือจะให้กูพาไปส่งตำรวจ – Or are you going to let me take you to the police
Douchebag: ใจ…ใจเย็นยาย ขอโทษจ้ะยาย ขอโทษจ้า – Ca…calm down Grandma.  I’m sorry Grandma.  I’m sorry.
Grandma: ไม่ใช่ขอโทษกู ขอโทษสองคนนี่ – Don’t be sorry to me.  Say sorry to these two people.
Douchebag: อ๋อ.. ได้จ๊ะยาย – Oh.. I can Grandma.
Douchebag: ขอโทษครับ ขอโทษครับ – I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.
Pologuy: กฎจราจรอะ หัดทำตามบ้างนะครับ – The traffic regulations, practice to follow the example of other people.
Pologuy: มักง่ายกันอย่างนี้ แล้วจะอยู่กันอย่างไร!? If careless like this, Then how can we live with each other?
Douchebag: ขอโทษครับ ขอโทษครับ – I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.
Grandma: เรื่องง่ายๆ อย่างนี้ยังไม่ใส่ใจ – Easy issue.  Like this is still not mindful.
Grandma: ที่ลังมึงอย่าทำอีกนะ จำเอาไว้ – Don’t you do this again.  Remember it!
Douchebag: โอ๊ย ขอโทษครับ – Ouch.  I’m sorry!
Grandma: ไป! – Go!  Get out of here before I bust a cap in your ass!
Grandma: นู่น ถนน – There.  The street!
Douchebag: อ๋อ ทางนู้นเหรอยาย – Oh.  The way over there.

 

Laos

I am finishing up my 4th trip to Vientiane Laos.  Thailand is going to let me stay in the country 3 more months.  There’s not much to do in Vientiane.  I’ve seen everything already.  So I passed most of my time thinking about my life, walking along the Mekong River, and watching youtube videos 🙂  I did eat some good food.  I tried a new French restaurant near the hotel I stayed at and visited the Chok Dee Cafe again.

Yesterday was a Thai holiday which means the embassy was closed.  Which means I got my visa a day late.  There was a small chance I would make my flight home.  Right after I got my passport back I headed to the airport.  I got to the airport 20 minutes before my flight left.  But by then the check-in counters were closed already.  So I missed my flight but was able to book a new flight a few hours later.  So now I have some time to kill in the airport.

 

A taxi from the airport to any place in the city center costs 57,000 kip.  The hotel I stayed at books a taxi from the hotel to the airport for 60,000 kip.  I planned to take a tuk tuk from the embassy straight to the airport.  I asked the tuk tuk driver how much.  He said 100,000 kip!  I said why so much?  He said how much do you want to pay?  I said a taxi is 60,000.  He came down to 80,000 then I said 70,000 which the tuk tuk driver agreed to.  I thought I did pretty good.  Don’t let the tuk tuk drivers overcharge.

 

The Benefit of Chanting & Prayer

The benefit of chating and prayer from the book “Buddhist Handbook – Routine Praying with Translations” from the temple Sunantawanaram in Kanchanaburi province.  It is my translation from Thai so I’m sure there are a few mistakes.

  1. It Can make everything have an aesthetic quality if the religious teachings can be considered while praying.
  2. It can quickly make your mind peaceful.
  3. It can easily make your mind wholesome.
  4. It’s practical for preparing the mind to practice Buddhist meditation.
  5. If chant loudly, allowing that there is someone can hear and in a humble manner, then they can also receive the benefit.
  6. If the chant is routine it is considered as if behaving morally, meditation, intelligence, like having order.  Can count on reaching The Triple Gem eternally.
  7. It is considered as if helping each other to take care of the teachings of monks virtuous Buddha animistic spirit can declare it is good.  It can also probably pass the benefit on to your descendents.

The President

So America has a new president.  It’s not the person most people were expecting to win.  I was expecting Clinton to win but was not very excited about it.  Both candidates in my mind were equally poor choices for different reasons.  Somehow both parties picked despicable candidates which could explain Trump’s upset victory.  Despite trumps sexist and racist rhetoric during the campaign, 42% of women voted for him and 21% of non whites voted for him according to exit polls.  Clearly there were larger issues at play here.

Well, there are so many things I could say here but it’s already been said elsewhere.  Hopefully the Democrats learned from this and will pick a candidate for 2020 that will unite people instead of divide them.

I do not think Trump will be the leader America needs.  But I’m hopeful things won’t be as bad as everyone makes him out to be.  Time will tell.  I’m willing to give him a chance.  I think everyone else should to.