1. The calendar hit one year for me living here in Thailand during the first week of February and to mark the event, I moved to another province. Left for Phang Nga early on Saturday the 9th while still in a drunken state from the farewell drinks consumed the night before. So far, the first week in Khao Lak has turned out to be fantastic in many regards and a real fucking pain in the ass in another regard. Here are some thoughts on the past ten days or so.
2. Stargazing outside of my house has become one of my new favorite hobbies. There are only a couple of streetlights on the dirt road I live on and are hardly enough to drown out the sea of stars that dot the sky around the midnight hour. I drove out into the woods one night to complete darkness and the atmosphere was mesmerizing. I’d love to invest in a telescope or some high-powered binoculars, but the budget doesn’t allow for that at the moment. No worries, the naked eye is perfectly suitable.
3. Snooker is the game of choice for kids around here and I have counted four shops within five minutes of my house that have quality tables. The one shop is a two-minute walk from my house, so, naturally, I went over to be the shark that I am…or should I say, that I thought I was. First of all, it took quite some time to figure out there rules for the game, as I have never played snooker in my life. Additionally, I have only seen it with numerous red balls on the table, yet they had red ones and then the traditional solids from pool, but with no numbers. The kids bet a certain amount on each ball and during the process of learning the game, I ended up getting ruled and walked out of there with 250 baht less in my pocket. Oh well, it was a good trade off to make friends with some of my neighbors and to share some laughs.
4. The mountains surrounding my house are simply awesome and are a blast to explore. I’ve spent much of my free time just driving out along the dirt roads and checking out the scenery. I’m back in the state of mind where every little thing I come across is intriguing and I think my friend Khun Pat was getting a little tired of me constantly asking what this was and what that was every five minutes. Lucky for me, she was kind enough to answer my questions. Can’t wait to trek deeper into the woods for some more awe-inspiring experiences.
5. Started work at The Sarojin on the 11th and everyone there is really nice and welcoming. I think it is going to be one fantastic place to work and I am excited to help them develop their training program for the staff. For now, all is well there and I’ll send out some more feedback once the wheels get turning. Out of nowhere, I received a one-week leave after only two days on the job (…to be explained).
6. Sasso sent me an email in that old-fashion style that we used to spit back in the day and part of it was rubbing in the fact that he was sipping on a frosty pint of Sierra Nevada’s latest brew, Sierra Nevada ESB. I can’t even imagine how my body would react if that hit my lips. I’m sure I’d get a chill or two down my spine and continue gulping away. Much love Squat and likewise on that deep desire to spend a nite chillin’, sippin’, smokin’, and chattin’.
7. I drove my bike down to the temple near my house and it wasn’t anything too overwhelming, but I did stumble across a group of guys putting on a concert/shadow puppet show and the audience consisted of nobody until I showed up with my friend. To set the scene, there were about six guys in a small shack – two on percussion, one on keyboards, and the others on traditional Thai instruments – and on one side of the shack was a white cloth where one person was taking Thai stick puppets and acting out a show. Surely it is difficult to describe the whole thing and audio/video would help, but the sounds they were making were great, the show was interesting to watch, and I loved the fact that they were just there doing it for nobody but themselves. I was told by my friend that the meaning behind such an event was that someone had been praying for a lost item to be returned and his prayers were answered, so they were paying respect. The simple diversion to see the temple turned out to be an amazing hour that evening.
8. It didn’t take long for me to be able to rock my Jahdidas track jacket. The weather up in this area gets somewhat chilly in the evenings and, most especially, in the early mornings. The weather has been absolutely perfect as of late, except for the out-of-season 4-hour downpour last nite, and comes as a welcomed relief from the stagnant Phuket atmosphere that is a tad more scorching than here.
9. I watched Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street the other nite and, well…I had no idea it was going to be a musical. I knew it was coming out, but didn’t bother to read anything about it. It was certainly fantastic and was another stellar film in the Tim Burton catalog, but the singing was a little too much. My friend watched it with me and, after the first 30 minutes when we were both puzzled about the songs, she went to sleep thinking it was an incredibly odd movie. I can only imagine the looks on the faces of Thai people when they went to see it at the cinema. Bet the theater was 25% less full by the time it was over. Adding to the annoying nature of the movie, I went to the barber a couple days ago and the whole time I was singing “Pretty women…pretty women…pretty women”. Fuck me.
10. I found a disc at the bottom of my blank-CD spindle that ended up having a small amount of pictures from the first months that I was here in Thailand. It certainly is not all of them, but better than none I suppose. I’ll share a couple of flyer pictures with you now.
This was found on a wall in a Phuket Town bar. This looks like one hell of a good time to say the least. Next time there is a concert like this one, count me in!
This one was found plastered on a wall in Haad Yai while I was on the way to Malaysia.
11. Here comes the stinger of the first week in Khao Lak and I know anyone reading this will yell â€˜Goo!’. So the reason why the first week here was a fucking pain in the ass in one regard is that I literally had a fucking pain in my ass! On Wednesday the 13th, two days after starting my job, I had to go see the doctor because my ass was in severe pain and I was having difficulties in the ol’ elimination processes. Dropped my pants at the doctor’s office and he immediately told me he could not help me and that I had to go to Takuapa Hospital the next day. I awakened the next day in severe pain and went to the hospital where the doctor diagnosed me with external hemorrhoids with thrombosis (filled with blood), and told me I needed surgery within a few hours. Fuck me!
So off I went to the operation room where I was given local anesthesia and after twenty minutes the procedure was done. I spent the night in their infirmary that reminded me of the set of a 50s-era war movie. I’m gonna spare you the details of the more miserable moments, but luckily they doped me up with morphine at night and it was lights out for The One Nero. Woke up the next day and was actually starting to feel significantly better already (it’s good to be young). The nurses gave me all the medicine I needed and a thong with a pad to protect the wound, and then they told me I could be on my way to recover at home where I needed to take a ‘hot seat bath‘ (which I mistook when they said it to me for ‘hok siph baht’ which means 60 baht…probably only humorous to Khun Ree) two times per day. Oh yeah…the guy next to me in this picture had a one-kilogram kidney stone the size of an average potato inside him. He saved it in a bag and let me check it out, and upon doing so, I immediately asked the doctor what steps I could take in my life to prevent that from ever happening to me. Goo!
12. Top Five Recovery Albums
- Wagram Records – Oriental Lounge
- Bonobo – Days To Come
- Desert Dwellers – Downtemple Dub: Waves
- Caia – The Magic Dragon
- Boozoo Bajou – Satta
13. Feeling significantly better on Friday afternoon, Khun Pat and I ventured out of the house to explore the woods around my house, came back to the house to relax, then went out to eat. I wanted to check out some live music, so we asked the guy at the shop where to go and he recommended the place directly across the street and it’s a great thing he did so. We strolled, or I should say she strolled and I gimped, over to the place and the concert was from a Thai artist named A’Dam. I had never heard any of his tunes, but right when I entered the place I was hooked. His band killed the set and it turned out that the guitarist, Khun Suea, lived down the street from me back in Phuket Town. We chatted it up afterwards and then they came over to my house to smoke a joint and listen to some tunes for a little while. K. Pat took some rudimentary video of the concert on her mobile, but unfortunately she cut off the filming at some inopportune times. Dig the songs below and you’ll see The One Nero lovin’ it the whole time. I think my grin was from ear to ear and I had a refreshed mindset that despite being young, life can change in an instant and that vitality could diminish in just as much time. Here’s to recovery and moving forward.
14. This post would be highly lacking if I didn’t extend my love to my friend Khun Patcharin who assisted me with my move and getting settled around this area during the first weekend, and then came back to help me again when I called her and told her I had to go to the hospital. Generous and kind don’t even come close to describing her wonderful nature. Thank you so much for everything K. Pat, you have no idea how much I cherished your presence this past week.