The King

By now, the whole world should know, the king of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej (Thai:ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช) died on October 13, 2016.  He was the 9th king of Thailand beginning his reign on June 9, 1946.  At the time of his death, he was the longest serving head of state in the world and the longest reigning monarch in Thai history, serving for 70 years and 126 days.  For nearly every Thai person, he was the only king they knew.

The king of Thailand was highly revered.  People considered him a family member, and often he would be referred to as “father”.  He had reached a nearly divine status.  For the first week after his death the entire country was extremely somber.  A 1 year mourning period was declared and overnight wearing black became the new fashion trend.

Thailand has had a turbulent history.  Frequent military coups and 30 prime ministers since the king took the throne.  Like any leader some of the king’s decisions and actions were controversial.  But he did a lot of good for the country.  He helped a lot of people.  He was the one constant in Thailand over all the changes of leadership.  He held the country together and prevented the coups from developing into civil war.  He was an honorable person.  He was a humble person.  He loved Thailand and he loved all Thai people.  He understood his great responsibility and served with pride, dignity, and grace.  For these reasons, he was universally loved by all Thai people.

It is my hope that one day America can have a leader like this.

Change

Things don’t always go they way they are planned.  Several things have gotten in the way of me doing my normal activities.  Which is part of the reason I haven’t written anything here for a few months.  Also, writing about the same thing gets kind of boring.  I’ve been in Bangkok the past week doing some contract work to support a consumer electronic device being manufactured in Ayuthaya which is about an hours drive north of Bangkok.  I’m sitting in the airport and have about 4 hours to kill so thought I would try to write a series of posts to catch up on what I’ve been up to.

 

Hold Me Tight by Job 2 Do

The rain has been making me lazy. Here’s another translation of a Job 2 Do song.

กอดฉันไว้ โดย จ๊อบบรรจบ

Hold Me Tight by Job 2 Do

ลืมไปได้เลย It’s been forgotten
เรื่องที่เคยผ่านมาให้แล้วไป It’s in the past
รู้เธอไม่ตั้งใจ I know you did not intend
ให้มันพลั้งพลาดไปอย่างวันนั้น To make a mistake that day
ฉันไม่เคยแคร์ I never cared
และแม้ว่าใครจะคิดอะไรไม่สำคัญ Even if someone thinks it’s not important
ขอเพียงเธออย่าไหวหวั่น I just ask you to not worry
เรายังเริ่มกันได้ใหม่ We can still start over
สบตากับฉัน เชื่อในฉัน See me eye-to-eye Believe in me
เรื่องของวันวานไม่ต้องมาใส่ใจ We don’t have to worry about the past
ที่เคยเปียกฝนเดี๋ยวก็คงแห้งไป Whenever wet from the rain, should dry off soon
แค่กอดฉันไว้ Just hold me close
เขามองไม่เห็นค่า Unable to appreciate
อย่าไปสนปล่อยเขาช่างเขาไป Let him go
เสียแล้วก็เสียไป It’s already lost
ไม่ต้องคิดสิ่งใดให้หนักหนา Don’t have to give it serious thought
เพราะเรื่องวันวาน Because it’s in the past
จะทำอย่างไรก็ไม่มีทางเรียกคืนมา What would I do, there was no way to recall
คิดถึงวันพรุ่งนี้ดีกว่า I would rather look to the future
วันเวลาที่โลกเป็นของเรา Someday the world will be ours
สบตากับฉัน เชื่อในฉัน See me eye-to-eye Believe in me
เรื่องของวันวานไม่ต้องมาใส่ใจ We don’t have to worry about the past
ที่เคยเปียกฝนเดี๋ยวก็คงแห้งไป Whenever wet from the rain, should dry off soon
แค่กอดฉันไว้ Just hold me close
วันนี้ฉันรักเธอ Today I love you
สบตากับฉัน เชื่อในฉัน See me eye-to-eye Believe in me
เรื่องของวันวานไม่ต้องมาใส่ใจ We don’t have to worry about the past
ที่เคยเปียกฝนเดี๋ยวก็คงแห้งไป Whenever wet from the rain, should dry off soon
แค่กอดฉันไว้ Just hold me close
วันนี้ฉันรักเธอ Today I love you

Hug Me by Job 2 Do

I looked everywhere for the lyrics to this song and could not find them.  So with the help from a couple Thai friends I wrote them down myself.  The translation is all me so I’m sure there are some mistakes but I think it is close.

กอดฉัน โดย จ๊อบบรรจบ

Hug Me by Job 2 Do

อยากให้เธอจงจำไว้ I’d like her to remember
วันที่เธอไม่มีใคร เข้าใจ The days when she did not have anybody to understand
คืนและจันมันเงียบเหงา Night and day it is quiet and lonely
มีแต่เรากับความฝันเรื่อยไป There is only us and continuous dreams
เท่าชีวิตมีพลาดพลั้ง As in life, mistakes are made
เก็บพลังไว้ต่อสู้ฟันฝ่า Save strength and overcome struggles
จะมีใครอีกเล่าหนา Will there ever be anybody again?
เข้าใจเราเท่าตัวเราเอง Understand us, even ourselves
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ยามที่เธอ ไม่เหลือใคร When she did not have anybody remaining
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ลืมมันไปเรื่องเลวร้ายที่ผ่านมา Forget the evils from the past
มองเมฆฝนอยู่บนฟ้า See the rain clouds in the sky
อีกไม่นานฟ้าคงสุดใส Soon the sky will clear
อยากให้เธอจงจำไว้ I’d like her to remember
ว่ายังมีฉันอยู่ ก้บเธอตลอดไป That I am still with her for all time
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ยามที่เธอ ไม่เหลือใคร When she did not have anybody remaining
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ลืมมันไปเรื่องเลวร้ายที่ผ่านมา Forget the evils from the past
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ยามที่เธอ ไม่เหลือใคร When she did not have anybody remaining
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ลืมมันไปเรื่องเลวร้ายที่ผ่านมา Forget the evils from the past
มองเมฆฝนอยู่บนฟ้า See the rain clouds in the sky
อีกไม่นานฟ้าคงสุดใส Soon the sky will clear
อยากให้เธอจงจำไว้ I’d like her to remember
ว่ายังมีฉันอยู่ ก้บเธอตลอดไป That I am still with her for all time
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ยามที่เธอ ไม่เหลือใคร When she did not have anybody remaining
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ลืมมันไปเรื่องเลวร้ายที่ผ่านมา Forget the evils from the past
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ยามที่เธอ ไม่เหลือใคร When she did not have anybody remaining
จงโอบกอดฉันไว้ Please hug me tight
ลืมมันไปเรื่องเลวร้ายที่ผ่านมา Forget the evils from the past

Update – Rainy Season

It’s been awhile.  It’s now the rainy season in Thailand.  It starts a little bit in April then picks up in May and June.  This means sometimes it rains all day every day.  There are strings of good weather for climbing and strings of bad weather.  I’ve also been doing a bit of travelling lately which unfortunately has coincided with strings of good weather for climbing so I’ve only been climbing a handful of times the last couple months.

I’ve been focusing on yoga and trying to stay strong for climbing but I can already feel I am losing strength / confidence.  I climbed Exfoliation a few weeks ago and although I did redpoint it I felt a little shaky on it.

Well, that’s about it.  I’m still around.  Planning to stay in Thailand for about six more months then will come home but depending on what happens over the next few months, I may want to come back sooner rather than later.

Chong Phli -Deflowered Part 2

On the 27th, Anong and I met Greg and his wife at Chong Phli.  We also saw Martin and Dorothea there.  Martin had his rope on Exfoliation 6a+ but wasn’t using it so we climbed that one first on top rope.  Martin was climbing Grace 7a so when he was done there I got to climb Grace two times on top rope.  I’m not ashamed to admit I like climbing on top rope 🙂  The sun was starting to come onto the wall so we went around the corner to climb in the cave.  We did Dude Abides 6a+ and taught Greg’s wife to belay.  Everything went well and nobody got dropped.  Then we did Shady 6b.  Anong wanted to climb it and I hadn’t done it in a while so I put it up.  The beginning is the hardest part.  Very steep and pumpy. The climbing eases off at the top but requires balance and confidence in your feet.

A couple days later on the 30th we went back to Chong Phli.  We got a late start so we just did Exfoliation 6a+.  I led it once then top roped it 5 more times.  For a long time I always felt intimidated by this route and didn’t really enjoy climbing it.  But now that I am much more familiar with it I see it really is a good route and is fun to climb.  Now if I can just get the 6c / 6c+ extension above it.

On the 1st Anong and I were climbing with Bruce and Erica.  I wanted to try Deflowered 6b+ on top rope again.  So we warmed up on EFZ 6a+ and Mad Skills 6b.  I was happy to redpoint Mad Skills.  It’s got a crux that is awkward for me with a small painful pocket.  Last time I tried I cheated through it by pulling on a sling.  But this time I relaxed a bit more and found a better body position to make the hold feel just a little better.  Next, Bruce put up Deflowered for us.  I climbed it on top rope and made it to the top cleanly.

I returned the next day to climb with Bruce and Erica again.  Anong had to go into town to see the doctor.  So we warmed up on Devil’s Backbone 6b.  Bruce led this and I climbed it on top rope.  Bruce climbed this differently than I did last time.  He stuck far to the left but that means skipping the last two clips.  Long runout but he made it to the anchor no problem.  After this, Bruce and Erica did a couple climbs.  I wanted to rest and collect my thoughts before trying to redpoint Deflowered 6b+.  This is a 36 meter long route that climbs up a dihedral and threads through a hole in the rock just before the anchor.  The rock is a little dirty but it’s got some good moves on it.  I wanted Bruce to climb first to hang the draws for me but he was having none of that.  So I loaded up on the quickdraws and headed up.  I was glad to have Bruce belaying.  He knows the route well and was able to give me some Beta when I needed it.  It took awhile with a little complaining but I got to the top and redpointed this impressive route!  I’m glad to have done it because the window for climbing this is quickly closing.  It’s been starting to rain and after a few days rain, this route stays wet for the rest of the year.  Bruce climbed it on top rope then my reward for leading was one more lap on top rope.  Tamryn showed up just as I was heading up.  So I put up EFZ 6a+ for her then we walked over to the new routes on the far right side of the crag and did Humble Pie 5.  Tamryn climbed that then with a little persuading she did the 6a chimney climb from the same anchor.

Yesterday Tamryn and I went for a run on the beach because I needed a rest day from climbing.  But we headed over to Chong Phli after and met Anong and everyone else there to watch them climb.  To my surprise, Anong was getting ready to lead Chutzpah 6a+.  And apparently she had also led Exfoliation 6a+ before that!  Anong was starting to lead the easier routes and doing well on them but she said she was afraid to try some of the harder ones.  Anyways, she led them with style and made it easily to the anchor.

And that brings us to today.  My legs are tired, my feet are sore, and I’m feeling low on energy from yesterday’s run.  The 5 beers I drank last night also might have had something to do with it.  But today Anong was my rope gun.  She did EFZ 6a+.  Then Mad Skills 6b.  She had to rest a bit at the crux but got through it without much trouble.  Then we did Exfoliation 6a+.  I also had her take a few practice falls.  I’m super impressed with her new found ability to lead more than just the easiest route at Chong Phli.

So you want to move to Thailand…

Great!  It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and experience a different reality for a few months or a few years.  Here are some things to consider:

  1. Get everything in order in your home country.  Have a house?  What will you do with it?  Where will your mail go?  Where will you put all your stuff?  How will you pay bills? etc, etc….
  2. How will you access money?  If you end up working in Thailand you can open a Thai bank account and keep your money there.  I don’t work and all my money is in my U.S. bank account which means I pay a fee each time I withdraw money from the ATM.  It’s not too much but it is kind of annoying.
  3. What kind of visa will you get?  I’m not working and wanted lots of leisure time so I went with a student visa.  I think it’s a pretty good balance between cost and convenience, plus I’m learning the language more than most expats who have been here much longer than I have.
    1. A tourist visa is good for 60 days and can be extended once at a local immigration office for 30 days.  I think the initial cost for a tourist visa is 1000 Baht.  The 30 day extension is 1900 Baht.  Total is 2900 Baht per 90 days plus costs to travel to a Thai Embassy / Consular office outside the country.
    2. A student visa to study Thai language (or possibly other subject) is a convenient way to stay in the country for a year at a time.  The initial cost is 2000 Baht plus 1900 Baht for each 90 day extension.  Keep in mind tuition for the school you’ll go to and the requirement to attend classes.
    3. If you have a work permit then you need a different kind of visa.  I’m not sure how much it costs or the process involved but I would guess it is similar to that of a student visa.
    4. There is the relatively new Multiple Entry Tourist Visa.  I don’t know many details but it is supposedly good for up to 6 months stay in Thailand but can only be applied for in your home country.
    5. Starting a business in Thailand is also an option for those motivated to go that route.
  4. Where will you live?  I’m a little biased but I think Krabi is a pretty nice place.  There is of course Bangkok and if one is moving to Thailand to look for work it’s not a bad option.  Phuket is also popular with tourists and expats.  Chiang Mai is to the North and culturally is a very interesting city and also popular with tourists.  Best bet would be to do some research before hand, pick 3 or 4 options and spend a few days to a week at each one to see which place suits you the best.
  5. Will you work?  If so, what kind of work?  Work for foreigners is limited and can be difficult to get unless you are interested in teaching English or becoming a diving instructor.  You could enter Thailand on a tourist visa, find job, then make a visa run to get a new visa / work permit.  People do it but working in Thailand without the proper visa / work permit is not a good idea.
  6. Thai culture.  It’s very different than the West.  How will you adapt?  Thailand isn’t just paradise, beaches, and beautiful women.  There’s a lot to like about Thailand but there’s also a lot to dislike.  I’ve enjoyed my time here but I hate the driving here and also have a hard time accepting the fact that as a foreigner I will never have the same rights and privileges as a Thai citizen.  So I decided awhile ago I won’t be living here permanently.
  7. The transition from tourist to resident.  Enjoy your first few weeks here.  Live it up!  But that gets expensive (even in Thailand) really quick.  Figure out when and how you will transition from a tourist to living a more sustainable daily life.
  8. Cost of living in Thailand can be very cheap to very expensive.  Be realistic about how much you will need to spend to live a lifestyle you are comfortable with and can maintain.
  9. Learn the language.  Learn to read.  English skills of the average Thai person are very poor, especially outside the popular tourist areas.  It’s makes things much easier to speak a bit of Thai.  It also lets you know when you are being overcharged because of the color of your skin.  But speaking the language with a moderate level of proficiency can sometimes get you the Thai price 🙂
  10. Making friends.  I’ve found it hard to make friends with Thai people.  Sure, there are Thai people I am acquaintances with but all the people I’ve met in Thailand that I would consider a friend are foreigners.
  11. Western products in Thailand are very expensive and cost more than you would pay in your home country.  For example, when you tire of drinking Thai beer, a pint of IPA  (if you can even find it) from England or America could cost around $10.
  12. It’s really hot in Thailand.  During the hot season it can regularly be over 40C / 100F.
  13. Sometimes it rains all day, every day.  The rainy season can be kind of depressing.
  14. The cool season is magical.  Perfect weather, hot but not too hot and usually no rain.
  15. There are a lot of weird insects around here.
  16. Transportation.  Everyone has a motorbike.  If you’re sure you’ll be here a long time at least a year or two, consider a car.
  17. Medical insurance.  You should have something.  I got travellers insurance through World Nomads.  Luckily I haven’t had to use it but I assume it will work.  There are also insurance policies foreigners can purchase in Thailand.
  18. Finally, don’t do things in Thailand you wouldn’t do in your home country!  I could write a whole post on this but briefly…
    1. You probably wouldn’t drive a motorcycle without a helmet at home so DON’T DO IT IN THAILAND!  Thailand is one of the most dangerous countries to drive in.  I see near misses multiple times a day.  Minor crashes nearly every day and see or hear about major crashes involving fatalities almost weekly.  When driving leave your ego at home and be extremely defensive.
    2. Meet a beautiful girl who seems perfect and proclaims you the love of her life?  Great, I’m happy for you.  But in a few weeks when she asks you to meet her family or send her a significant amount of money DON’T DO IT!  It sounds stupid but so many foreigners fall for this.  It would seem crazy to give a girl you just met at home a lot of money or meet her family after a few dates.  It’s crazy to do this at home and it’s crazy to do this in Thailand.
    3. Despite what you may have read about in Pattaya, some parts of Bangkok and Phuket, Thai society is for the most part very conservative.
    4. And on and on…  Just because you are in Thailand and it’s new, interesting and exciting, don’t let your guard down.  Educate yourself on the common tourist scams so they can be avoided.  Related to #3, most Thai people are shy.  Be wary of the ones that approach you out of the blue.