As you have either heard or probably guessed, I have not had internet for some time now. I moved into my new apartment in Nonthaburi and the only company that offers high speed internet is TOT, the National Phone Company of Thailand. To make a long story short, they are a massive third world bureaucracy that still uses hand written ledger books to keep track of all Thailand's accounts and the linemen use bamboo ladders to run the service!! (Actually the ladders are very strong and naturally insulated against electrical shock) Well, it should not be long now...or so they say. I am currently using a church's wifi to put a blog up because I felt it couldn't wait any longer...my friends have waited long enough! JK.
It has been an interesting month. I am getting more familiar with my town and have no trouble getting around and shopping at the various markets. A friend bought me a bicycle so I now have transportation and exercise at the same time. I have lost nearly 25 lbs since arriving here...I am calling it the "Bangkok Diet", and it should be ready for publication by fall. Colleagues are telling me it will be a best seller and that I will be rich beyond my wildest dreams. I don't dare tell them it's due to my occasional dysentery from the local water. So if the book fails, I am going to bottle the water instead. But we'll make that our little secret! Oh, Thai lessons are coming along well...starting to read and write with some proficiency.
I have had occasion to visit the south coast along the Gulf of Thailand. The west coast is where the tsunami hit. Most of the Thais vacation on the gulf side so it is a great place to witness their culture in an unmixed setting verses famous Phuket where all of the foreigners frequent. It was especially nice to see the local fishing villages so active...but then again, they always are! The Thai's love their seafood. The area we visited specialized mostly in dragnet fishing and crabbing. The larger boats on the waterfront have a very asian feel to their design. One morning I was able to see my first asian sunrise which was a treat. We also visited a Buddist temple that was built into a mountain. The caves were the result of limestone erosion and it even provided natural ventilation 100 feet above our heads. Wild monkeys roam the area by the hundreds and many have become almost human. As you might imagine, they have become quite fond of beer nuts, watermelon, cheese curls, and whatever else people can scrounge. It is easy to identify the dominant males...they're the ones that are 40 lbs over weight because they beat the living day-lights out of the little monkeys if they try to take so much as a pumpkin seed away from from them. The half starved little monkeys call it the "Why Can't He Share The Love Diet". At the very least, it was an observation in the evolution of selfishness!
"He will chat with you all soon" TOT, (UPDATE: I have internet now~!)
In His Majesty's Service,