Micah: Unmitigated

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Posts Tagged ‘WWOOF’

Que Sera Sera

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

We have always looked to the stories of those who have gone before us for answers. Specifically, I would like to reference the writings of a young man, not unlike myself, named Warren Griffin III. He came to a crossroads in his life back in 1990, and is now very successful thanks to choosing the right path. The following passage is taken from one of his works titled “Do you see?” and was performed as sort of a spoken word backed up by musical sounds.

“Should I A: Go back to slangin’ dope?
Or should I B: Maintain and try to cope?
Or should I C: Just get crazy and wild?
But no I chose D: Create the G-Child”

That “G child” he created went on to become the twice grammy nominated rapper known as “Warren G”. Now, I may not have the same exact options to mull over, but I believe there is a common thread that ties us together.

Look at how Warren's livin'

Look how Warren is livin'

His A) “Go back to slangin’ dope”: For me that would be going back to FedEx. Sure, I wasn’t actually dealing drugs, but I did work in a distribution center. The money was good, I had my own crew, and I once handled a package that was going to Damon Stoudamire. Remembering all of the reasons I quit, assures me that going back to “slangin’ dope” would be the wrong decision for me as well.

His B) “Maintain and try to cope”: I think for both of us, this would be searching for a 9 to 5 job that neither of us wants. The one thing I really enjoyed about my last occupation was the uniqueness of it. A casual night shift with a sprinkling of vulgar truck drivers. An office job where I may have to shave and wear a clean shirt sounds like prison. Most likely the time will come, when I will have to just “maintain and try to cope”, but I am not giving in yet.

His C) “Just get crazy and wild”: I have a friend who has chosen this path, and so far he is having a blast. He believes in his exit strategy and we hope that he has a smooth landing back into a sedentary life, if he decides to come back.
For me, it would be buying a one way ticket to a region (India, SE Asia, or South America) and then wandering the earth until deported or broke. Sure, I could get crazier and wilder, but I have to keep these options somewhat reasonable. I like the sound of this one except for the broke part. A few adjustments and this could be a winner.
(Alternate option C: Spend the next 5 months trying to win an entry into the “World Series of Poker”.)

His D) “Create the G child”: Despite the fact that “H child” doesn’t sound near as cool, the idea is solid. Creating another identity helps build the illusion of a clean slate and a new life. Now, I am not going to change my name and start spitting some dope lyrics, but I can choose a new career path. What that is, I don’t know yet. Part of the reason for traveling is to hopefully find that spark and opportunity. A job overseas or anything that has a positive impact on others and myself, is what I am looking for.

In conclusion, the “H child” is leaning toward an 8 month journey through South America. Using frequent flyer mileage, roundtrip to Bogota, Colombia would only be about $150. Venturing all the way down south and then back up again, 3-4 months of free lodging by WWOOFing, I can’t afford not to go! Que todos ustedes encontrar su “G niño”



Time To Say Goodbye

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Last post from Thailand. My time here has gone by at a rate of 60 min/hr, so today being the end of my 2 month adventure, seems about right. Here is how this post will go down: First will be a brief catch up, followed by some reflections and final business.

Wednesday: In the morning, I hit the beach one last time before my day of transit to Bangkok. With low tide in full effect, I decided to walk along the rocks and see the smaller cove to the north.  Turned out to be a brilliant decision, as it may be the best on Koh Lanta and was empty. The beach is called Ao Nui and has no resorts due to it’s topography. It has one soda shack in the middle and most people get here by motorbike and a short hike. I had it all to myself, a great way to start the day.

My journey back up north involved 6 vehicles and 18 hours. Nice personal truck from one travel agency to another, then another nice truck, minivan to small Krabi bus station, sorng-taa-ou to bigger station, big “VIP” bus to BKK, finished with meterless taxi to guesthouse and sleep.

Thursday: Staying away from the main tourist part and near the skytrain, my plan was to shop. I have been holding myself back from making purchases due to concerns about lugging stuff around. No more, I bought a $20 backpack and exchanged my baht for varying items that shall be wrapped and placed under a tree. I am not the best shopper but figured that I can buy anything and it will be cool because it’s from another country. We shall see how my theory holds up on the 25th.

While shopping I got my first glimpse of Christmas, at the mega mall. Huge trees and other symbols were all around and the music was just like home. Also, I hit McD’s for the first time, Samurai Pork burger was enjoyed, but after ordering I couldn’t stop staring at the Double Big Mac. Now that I have typed those words, I am planning my route back to the guesthouse around 1 more stop.

Friday: More shopping with another visit to the Chatachuk Market. Since it wasn’t the weekend, only a few stall were open and a lot were just setting up shop. Still able to find what I wanted. I let the skytrain whisk me around to more malls and markets the rest of the afternoon, while I politely turned down offers for bootleg DVD porn. (“No thanks” , “Not interested”, “I already have that one”) And now I sit here, surrounded by gamers, using my fingers to press keys on a peripheral. 02:30am Saturday is the scheduled launch for my plane, so I have some time to kill. The total transit time will be 29hrs with 11 hours of layovers. Well, I think that you should all be up to speed now.

Reflections and Thoughts: I have really enjoyed writing this blog. After a long day of walking or biking around, I looked forward to sitting in a comfortable computer chair, relaxing, drinking a beer, going through photos, and recapping my activity. Also, with a semi-long trip like this, having all of these words to look back on will help me remember.

My favorite parts are tough to pinpoint. Obviously, the time on beaches was joyous and the Full Moon party will not be forgotten. On the flip side, that time was like I left Thailand, due to the number of tourist and accompanying shops. I rarely used my Thai greetings, for some reason it just felt fake when everyone spoke English clearly. My thinking may be way off base, and I do have a history of rejecting the popular thing to do (ie: Harry Potter, Farmville, Coffee, Pogs, smoking, and working), but it felt more right in the small towns.

The WWOOFing was great and I will be doing it again, hopefully soon. Both farms offered a unique look at Thai life away from the tour route. Every Thai person I met on the farms was kind and funny, and looking back realize how important it is to meet those that are not after your Baht. I have even had thoughts about return visits to both hosts.

I would say that my highlight would be the bike rides around the country sides. Big cities have never been my thing, although my current time in BKK has been filled with markets and street food, which I love. But, getting the looks and waves while riding around, seeing the farm land, and the fresh air are just a winning combination.

Another joy, the bus rides between the small cities with a majority of Thai passengers.  My ride up from the south to BKK was a tourist bus that just didn’t feel right. Stops at the designated rest stops filled with tourist food, the latest “Jacka@#” movie on TV, and everyone exchanging drinking stories from the beach parties on Koh Phi Phi, grows tiresome. The night bus ride I took from Sukhothai to BKK was all Thai’s and the one stop had friendly vendors and bowls of things I did not know. I learned so much about everyday Thai life on my 6 hr ride with revolving clientele. If you can do it, state buses are the way to go.

Anyways, I will continue to write and reflect as time goes on. My unmitigation shall continue as I seek new adventures or as I crash back to reality. Either way, I will try to include pictures.

Last note of business: Mother and Father, I arrive to PDX, Saturday Dec. 12th at 3:50 pm PST. All others, I beg of you, please do not show up at the airport with banners and gifts. I am a shy man and that would be too much. Just thinking of the raucous crowd and the noise and security issues that would create, make me nervous.  So, the rest of you can show your love at one of the many homecoming parties which are disquised as Christmas events. ขอ ขอบคุณ และ พระเจ้า ให้ ศีล ให้ พร อเมริกา

Halfway Home

Friday, November 13th, 2009

I think this is the official midpoint of my trip and today I dug my last ditch. Tomorrow, I cruise into Chiang Mai and become a full time tourist. Many temples await but first let me recap my stay here with this interpretive dance I did.

HPIM2985

I’m not sure if the link will work so I will also add these words and pictures:

Host spent only 3 nights here during my week stay, which was nice. Us WWOOFers were left to hold down the fort and once entertained a young Aussie couple. Many movies, cards, and bottles of Chang during the long periods of darkness. It is odd to have the weather so perfect and yet the sun is gone before 6pm.

Chang

Chang

Very fun group, very good food, and lots of weeding fill the days. I try to speak some French with Jerry Lewis but all I know is from Pink Martini songs. Although, “Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler” turned out to be quite fitting. I apologized to them for Britney Spears and they apologized for Jean Claude Van Damme.

I’ve taken a few more bike rides and mostly just relaxed.

My nap sack on my back

My nap-sack on my back

Our trip today took us through a small town, very peaceful. We stopped at a local shop to get ice cream, Jerry Lewis is addicted to the interesting snacks these Thai shops sell.

Jerry Lewis on bikes

Jerry Lewis on bikes

Some other jobs I’ve done can be seen below:

We got the good stuff out of some passion fruit for the Juice bar.

One for me, one for the pot.

One for me, one for the pot.

I dug up some land for the planting that was to come.

Don't sweat the technique

Don't sweat the technique

A few shots of the farm:

Part of the farm

Some rows

It soon will spread its wings and fly

It soon will spread its wings and fly

Sunset

Sunset

I added more pics this post, since the rest of my blog updates will be via my Ipod and Internet shops. I am excited about what is to come and looking forward to heading up into the mountains. With a very tentative plan in place, I head west, where the towns are small and the scenery should be breathtaking. ด้านตะวันตกเป็นด้านที่ดีที่สุด

The Next Chapter

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I am currently at my next farm, about an hour north of Chiang Mai, here is what you have missed:

13 hr night train ride from BKK. Sleeper train full, window seat next to cockroach family (insects on wall, not meant as racial slur) = no sleep. Met up with the Brit from previous farm, long bus/delivery van ride to farm.

One of many stops

One of many stops

About the farm: New Host has 2 restaurants back in town and a floating cottage on reservior where people pay to stay. Nice wood house, good rooms and beds since some tourists stay here before going out to cottage. Wifi, DVDs, help yourself bar (pricey), cooks, and cleaners. Some Thai farm workers.
Farm is far more developed than previous, most food for us and eateries is picked here. The meals are great with fresh mushrooms every meal that grow in a special room. So far: i’ve been turning dirt, composting, weeding around asparagus, and making strawberry planters out of coconut.  Also, catfish in pond i have tried to catch, but only got one crab. Brit caught 3 fish, fried, we ate for supper.

In rod we trust

In rod we trust

People: Host is retired British military, looks tough, very laid back. Hostess is Thai and stays in town during week to work at their food places. The Brit you already know, he has been traveling and drinking a lot since he left the last farm. He is leaving Wednesday to head back to BKK. 2 girls from Belguim also here WWOOFing, speak French and decent English, fun and good workers, I will refer to them as Jerry Lewis. And I, who will be here until Saturday. After that I go where the buses take me.

Sunday was a day off, so the Brit and I biked around a little then picked up Jerry Lewis and headed to the reservoir. In Srilanna National Park, the area is beautiful and hilly. A nice change from the relatively flat Bang Phra. We swam off some rocks and jumped off a floating dock house.

Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap

I love being away from it all in this very small farming community, with just one small store a 40 minute crab walk away. We take photos of every sunset, weather is perfect, and it’s quiet. A guy could get used to this. ชีวิตของเกษตรกรเป็นง่ายหนึ่ง

The Other Stuff

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I have a few random thoughts and events that I would like to present to you at this time. With no rhyme, reason, or mitigation, here they are:

Took a day trip up to Bangkok with the group to do Chatachuk Market. Host and Co were looking for spa/coffee shop items and the Bikers sought out restaurant serving things (they plan on opening a little place in Chicago when they return to states). I did some browsing but was only serious about food. With 5 weeks left, I don’t want to lug anything around, plus I will be back through BKK 3 more times.

The market is enormous, thus we got lost a few times. Favorites from the food section were: These shrimb/crab balls, they cooked in a pan shaped like an egg carton. They would spin them constantly, top with stuff, and serve. Fantastic.

good eats

Good Eats

Out shining the balls, was my first bowl of Tom Yum. A spicy broth soup with ground pork, fish balls, peanuts, noodles, bean sprouts, and more, finding the best in Thailand will be my chore.

Good Tom Yum

Good Tom Yum

I love the style of spoon you see above and will bring some back to states. Mango made a shrimp Tom Yum for my last supper, equally pleasing.

Last thing of note from the market, random painting of Mark Ruffalo, especially since all other works were regular museum art. I am a fan of his work but did not pull the trigger on the purchase.

Mark

Mark

On the way home from BKK, we stopped at a rest area and patronized a KFC. Tidbits: I sampled the Shrimp Donut, pretty much as you would imagine, shrimp and things molded into donut form, breaded and deep fried. Host ordered the Shrimp and Cheese balls, like the donut just different shape. I figure these are Thailand specific menu items, although I haven’t been to one of the Colonel’s establishments in some time, due to his wee beady eyes and that smug look on his face.

Went on a 15 min bike ride to reservoir last week to swim. Fun being stared and pointed at by Thai’s, saying “look over there, there is a white man in the water” (loose translation, my Thai is still limited). One kid swam up to me with a big smile and said hello, when I replied in kind, he swam back to his friends and told the story of his encounter. Group on the shore waved, laughed and said “Hello!”. I then biked the rest of the way around the reservoir which took an hour. Fun being on small streets, waiting for water buffalo to cross, and getting more stares. No pics, my camera randomly tweaked out on me, saying “card unreadable”. Have enjoyed riding the farm bike around, been years since i’ve rode this much.

Addition to the food pics, a close-up of me chomping on a cricket. I actually enjoyed the taste, although I will eat anything that’s fried.

It was either him or me

It was either him or me

(Note: I was posing for the picture and didn’t really have that rage in my eyes while eating.)

That is about it for the randoms from my stay here. Today I hop a train to my next adventure. I imagine I will come back some day to see how my projects have finished. They say I am welcome anytime. The rest of Thailand awaits, stay tuned to see what crazy adventures Micah gets into next. วันนี้ฉันฉลองวันประกาศอิสรภาพของฉัน

The Holiday

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

The night of the first full moon during the month of November, Thai’s celebrate Loy Krathong. Little boats or discs of banana tree are arranged to float and carry candles and incense. Then, set adrift down rivers or other bodies of water to symbolize letting go of ones troubles and to create good luck for the coming year. Prayers or wishes are also often said before one releases the Krathong.

With family in town, banana parts were collected from the farm, and vessels were constructed. After a amazing meal, we piled into the car and headed down to the reservoir. In the Picture below, the boat in my right hand was designated as mine and made by the Hostess and her parents.

Boat launch

Boat launch

Also part of the celebration: Lanterns of paper called Khom Fai, are set free into the sky like hot air balloons. I received a lantern as part of a bargain my Host made while shopping in Bangkok. Now to set the scene, you need to know this: Lanterns are not allowed to be launched in cities, but Host says that the reservoir site has been approved on the night of Loy Krathong. Also, we witnessed at least 50 take flight while there.

Host had already sent his on a successful flight and now it was my turn to step up. With the Father providing the torch, I held the base of the lantern low to the ground to shield the wind. While we did this, a Policeman came by and said some words in Thai that didn’t seem friendly. Members of the group said some words in reply and pointed to others who were lighting up. The officer moved on. After the paper balloon had filled with warm air, I raised it up and posed for the picture below.

Lantern launch

If you don't like my fire, then don't come around.

I began to gently ease my grip on the wooden base and made sure my launch angle was true and free of obstructions. Out of the darkness, from my left, the Policeman jumped in and ripped the balloon from the air. Hurling it into the water and giving it one good stomp deeper into the mud. He walked off without words and we stood there stunned for a few seconds, not really believing what just happened. Host was upset and my Thai friends were apologetic and told me I did nothing wrong. The event brought our night to a halt as we headed back to the cars, with members occasionally stopping to voice there complaints to men in uniform that would listen. I left feeling disappointed but maybe more stunned than anything. The ritual does not have as much meaning to me as it does to the locals and maybe the man felt that I should not be participating. Maybe he was just having a bad day and decided to pick on some white people. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Overall, I am really glad I got to be apart of this once a year celebration, especially to be able to share it with a local family. The incident is just another story and doesn’t have to be a bad memory or scar on a such a enjoyable trip. Although I do hope that this ends up being my only run-in with a law enforcement officer. ไม่สามารถเราทั้งหมดเพียงเข้ากันได้

The Duties

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

What does one have to do to receive such comforts in Thailand? And, Should one give WWOOFing a try? I will attempt to answer these questions and more in the 700 words or less below.

The jobs have been divided between the House and the Farm (please reference “The Accommodations” post, or actually just reread them all, it will help).

Some of the House projects have been: digging, spreading sand, laying bricks, and then stuffing the brick holes with dirt and sod.

grass in bricks

grass in bricks

This is Japanese style, yo, which fits with the general theme of the Daruma farm/spa/coffee shop. “Daruma” being a hollow Japanese doll, with no arms or legs, that is used to make wishes. Other dots I will connect for you: Host speaks Japanese and lived there for a few years, nearby town of Si Racha has large Japanese population, and there are numerous golf courses in the vicinity.

Other projects at the house have been: grouting the rest of the tile coffee counter, moving furniture around in circles, and sanding a table. All not bad gigs, nice to work in shade and less strenuous.

The Farm work can be creative at times but mostly falls into the manual labor category. Creative: Affix eucalyptus support beams to then add green roof over seed station. Molding a mud and grass wall around chicken coop. Then mixing and applying a mud/concrete/lime plaster onto it (stray dogs nearly wiped out our hens and chicks).

chicken coop

chicken coop

You can see on the right side that we used a different method. The grass/mud wall requires barbed wire to hang from, thus we went with another layer of wire fence lined with bricks. We buried the wire and bricks down a couple inches so that the dogs couldn’t go under.

I also assisted, in a limited fashion, with the formation of a wood burning oven.

Labor: Digging and weeding for new corn field. Operating backpack weed whacker and a heavy mower to cut grass in flooded field (got a wicked burn scar on my right forearm from engine, nice souvenir, and located where I have always wanted a tattoo). Roto tilling and weeding another area to plant stuff.

I dig

I dig

The most enjoyable, cutting down an old banana tree with long machetti, feeding it into the shredder, and then dumping into big barrel for fertilizer. Recipe: add a packet of dry stuff, water, about 4 gallons of molasses, then stir. (note: once a banana tree’s fruit is ripe and removed, it’s life is over)

a piece of land all you need

a piece of land is all you need

The worst job was mowing the field you see above, too many undulations and puddles, it was heavy, and hurt my back. The picture was taken after a 7 day drought, so it looks dry. Plus, I had to dodge young mango and banana trees all while avoiding irrigation pipes. You can also note in the middle of the pic, the duck enclosure: we built another one to the right of it today and herded the ducks over. We also moved the grass roof over and the old pond will become a rice field.

Another painful task was moving old piles of scrap tiles and wood while battling biting ants. I’ve ruined a few articles of clothing so far and drink mass amounts of water working in the hot Thai sun. My farmers tan is progressing nicely and I get new scratches everyday. And to answer the 2nd question I typed in the intro, I would/will do it again, I recommend it, but it depends on the person.

Hostesses parents are in town for Loy Krathong, first full moon of November holiday. It is fun watching them, with the Father lending his expertise on the farm and Mother cooking some sticky rice dessert wrapped in banana leaves. Wednesday I will catch the train to Bangkok and stay for just a single evening, before taking the 12 hour ride up north to Chiang Mai. Internet may not be as accessible, so a lack of writing doesn’t necessarily mean trouble. The code will be: 63 hours without words = capture and ransom money needed, 64 hours = everything is okay. I have to go pour another beer for the Father. น้ำแข็งกับเบียร์โปรด

The Cuisine

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

“Thai good, you like shirt?”  –Homer

I have hinted about the food a few times, but here I will try to provide details. Now, to those who are expecting recipes, I must aologize. My curiosity has not led me to hover over the chef or ask many questions. I will try to do more research in the future.

I have always been a passive fan of Thai food, with a love for Pad Thai and curries of all type. They seem to have the same cooking philosophy as myself, which my brother has described as “everybody in the pool”. Why have a supper plate with chicken, pasta, and broccoli all neatly seperated when they can be cooked together with some creamy cheese sauce and eaten out of a bowl? I dislike plates: food falls off, forks are normally required, and you can’t drink out of them. The only plate positives: dishwasher space and steak cutting. Spoon and bowl meals for me, which leads into the food here.

Below is a picture of how we eat all of our suppers here at the house. A little uncomfortable on the knees, but please note utensils. Counter clockwise from bottom right is fried tofu with a sweet peanut dipping sauce, noodles, and chicken curry. (Rice maker is out of frame)

How all of our suppers are conmsumed

This is how we do it

a closer look

a closer look

Our chef, as I have previosly stated, is Irish and quite the cook. He spent his first 6 months here in Thailand in the northern part, where he purchased a food cart and specialized in pineapple burgers. He figured it would be a good way to meet people and get by. Wanting a change, he came down here as a WWOOFer about 4 weeks ago and brought his Thai female companion. Now he has a job as the chef and she as coffee shop manager, and they have there own room at the farm.

He collects food from the local markets as well as the farm each day and whips up quite a feast. All meals get a full pot of rice from the cooker even when noodles are served. Curries or curry like mixtures are the norm with lots of greens. Main ingredients used are: Thai chillies, garlic, lemon grass, cilantro, Ginger, and chicken or fish. Sides are often cucumber, morning glories, and some squash like thing. He also always makes sauces that can be added to reach ones desired spice level. Examples: a basic chillies in vineger, a peanut sauce, or a ginger garlic sauce.

The following picture, shows a meal at the farm. Starting from the bottom and rising: We have breaded and fried whole sardines (I think), an omelet of some kind, and then I believe some type of pork product with green stuff in it (tasty). (again rice cooker just out of frame)

Meal at the farm

Meal at the farm

I apologize to the chef, if he ever reads this, because the pics don’t do the meals justice. I have tried not to be one of those nerds that take a picture of everything that goes into there mouth. No offense meant toward anyone.

Not all of my sustenance has been received on property. Just last night, we took a walkabout down the street and sampled some foods. No photos, so just use your imaginations, I will try to help with my words. First stop: fried wide noodles, pad thai style, with pork, egg, and greens (90 cents, delicious). Then: barbecued pork with thin noodles and broth (80 cents, good). Later: flavorful pork sausage type thing on a stick, served with cabbage (2 for 60 cents, food on stick, can’t lose).  Dessert: fried bread folded with a frosting type substance (15 cents, crunchy).  More Dessert: 3 spears of pineapple (60 cents, always a favorite, my goal is to purchase each time I see it). Last: 3 different types of little round things that look like fish eggs, or eye balls, but might be soy related, served in steamed soy milk (15 cents, sweet and creamy).

Other food I have put into my body: Beer Chang which is a “full flavoured lager” and the “pride of Thailand”, according to the bottle. (Satisfying and currently being consumed). Fried grubs and cricket legs, Coconut milk banana smoothies, and toast every morning. On the island beach, I had the crab plate seen below, which I would describe as buttery and scrumptious.

food

food

That about sums up my intake so far. I thoroughly enjoyed the cart hoping and plan to do a lot more of that hence forth, while snapping pictures. Life is still smooth and my last day here is fast approaching. Well, time to quit typing, I just got told to go grab my freakin shine box. พวกเขายังไม่ได้ยินว่าฉันไม่เปล่งปลั่งรองเท้าอีก

The Surroundings: part deux

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

If you have not read part one of this 2 part series, I suggest you scroll down now. Otherwise you will be completely lost and confused, so go ahead.

Alright, my Sunday adventure led me to an island about a days swan boat ride from Si Racha. The island goes by the name Ko Si Chang and and is not very flat. To get there, we got dropped off by our host and took a ferry that leaves from the Ko Loi jetty. On the way, we passed numerous ships anchored in the Gulf of Thailand, that I think are waiting for paperwork or further instructions. Interesting to see.

Once on shore, we avoided the tuk-tuks and motorbike drivers, and walked to the Buddhist Tham Yai Phrik Vipassana Manastery, or Typvm for short. Many meditation caves, incense burning, and hand written prayers can be seen in tucked away areas. To get up to the Typvm was a hike unto itself, but we continued up another 300 stairs to see Buddha’s Footprint. The views got even better and were worth the blood, sweat, and tears.

Good looking out

Good looking out

We hiked back down, unable to find any super fun happy slide, and commissioned a tuk-tuk driver to take us to a beach. Hat Tham Phang beach is tucked in a cove on the west coast of the island, and has a small sandy area, lined with umbrellas and water vessel rentals. I enjoyed a large plate of crab, cooked in a butter sauce with some greens, under one of those umbrellas and watched the people frolic fully clothed. After purchasing a $5 swim suit, we headed for a spot on the beach and participated in the ancient thai recreation known as swimming. Large sharp rocks covered much of the cove floor, so we chose our steps wisely and proceeded to wade in the water.

Beach

Beach

Although this beach is reportedly not as beautiful as the star attractions that this country has to offer, I was satisfied. My first thai beach was patronized by mostly regional weekenders with the exception of 4 other farangs.

The post beach activities included: a ride up to see some golden buddhas, a climb down through a small cave, a monkey sighting (no picture, it was too fast), followed by a walk back to the pier.

A Buddha the color gold

A Buddha the color gold

A ferry ride back to Si Racha ended our island excursion. We checked out the mall again, where they happen to be having a special viewing of the Manchester United vs Liverpool soccer match on a big screen outside. For some reason, the area has adopted Liverpool, possibly due to a tour they once did. The day finished with our host picking us up at the mall and taking us to eat at a nice Japanese restaurant. (Si Racha has a large Japanese population)

You can see part of the Host

You can see part of the Host

Host ordered many many dishes and all staff members stopped what they were doing to acknowledged our arrival and departure. My first time eating in a establishment where I had to take off my shoes (which I agreed to because I wasn’t wearing a wire) and where all people receive a warm moist towel upon sitting. Food was delicious.

I get more and more anxious to see the rest of this beautiful country and am now counting down the days till I move on. The group is now down to just the 3 of us that arrived on the same day, the Bikers and I. The next WWOOFers are expected on Nov 1st and I hope they are non-americans. We now have the newly hired spa manager and a masseuse staying with us at the house, which has added some life to the party. I feel like I am settling into a groove and am more relaxed with my surroundings. Time is going by a little faster. Ending communication. หายบาสเกตบอล

The Surroundings: part one

Monday, October 26th, 2009

My fellow Americans, as I have stated before, Bang Phra is the town where my farm is located. It is small and lies on the Bay of Thailand, a short nap on a train from Bangkok. Since it is on the coast, there are some other cool cities and things to see up and down the main highway. With a couple scattered days off, I explored 2 such areas and would now like to report back to you all about my adventures.

The first and closest rad city is called Si Racha, about a 20 minute and 33 cent ride south on the back of a “sorng-taa-ou”(small truck with a roll cage).  Our exploration took us out onto the Ko Loi jetty, where a Buddhist temple and boat dock are.

View of Si Racha from the jetty

View of Si Racha from the jetty

Temple on Ko Loi jetty

Temple on Ko Loi jetty

As we were out there, little droplets of water began to fall from the sky at an incredible rate. We took shelter under the temple roof (seen above, please note that this photo was taken on a different day which will be talked about later, oh what a day that was) and waited about 15 minutes for the shower to subside. This brief downpour was just a foretaste of the feast to come. About 10 minutes later, the sky opened up and didn’t stop for over an hour. Again we took shelter, this time under a small ice cream/coffee shop roof in a park. It was a storm of which I have never seen an equal. The size and frequency of the rain drops, combined with the lightning and volume of the thunder, made for an awesome sight. The following pic sequence should break it all down:

Park early in storm

Park early in storm

Storm at its peak

Storm at its peak

Locals checking out the flooded street

Locals checking out the flooded street

It was fun watching the tuk-tuks get stuck and all the motorbike drivers just hanging outside the 7-eleven. Locals were saying they hadn’t seen it flood this bad which made us feel lucky to have witnessed it.

After making our way around town, taking off sandals to cross the street/rivers, we visited a few covered markets and a large mall. The mall was not very wide, but went up about 6 floors. They have a food market on the bottom floor filled with street vendor food, and the arcade was on the top floor. Sony Playstation’s entertained the kids instead of classic upright systems and I dominated the pop-o-shot.

Scoreboard!

Scoreboard!

It was a good day, which made all the farm work worth while. I realized that I will have the free time to explore and take advantage of my semi-free accommodations. Also, the work is feeling less like slavery now that I am more invested in projects.

On the next post to Micah:Unmitigated –  Micah gets a taste of the infamous Thai beaches. ชีวิตของชายหาด