Monday, February 21, 2011

Bad News

Monday, February 21 2011
3:44 PM
Pi Eet just came in to inform us that a little boy at the home named Tinji just got sent to the hospital with Malaria. This is not good news for a number of reasons.
  1. It means that the mosquito that was infected with Malaria was from here....something that is pretty rare. Usually people in this area only get infected if they've been traveling many miles away (e.g. NZ Paul got infected by a mosquito in Cambodia).
  2. Disease bearing mosquitos are especially rare in cool season, and numbers tend to go up in hot season. Hot season starts in April which means we've got a couple of months for the disease bearing population of mosquitos to increase.
  3. The other volunteers advised me to stop taking my anti-malaria meeds when I got here, as the side-effects can be aggravating and malaria is so rare in the first place. I followed their advice.
  4. I just read an autobiography wherein the author got malaria twice and nearly died from it both times. Not to mention the symptoms don't sound fun.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kimberella: Part 3 (YES it really happened!)

I cleaned my kitchen this week!!! I feel a rush of joy every time I walk into it =) The floor is even clean enough to walk on in bare feet!

It was an all day job...but totally worth it.

Step 1: Feel totally overwhelmed
by the job ahead of you

Step 2: Start doing it anyway

Step 3:




Step 4: Scrub the table like mad and then find places to store everything.

Step 5: Take a shower. Read a book. Find something refreshing to eat.

Swimming in the Sangkhalia

Last Saturday I went with the kids to go swimming in the Sangkhalia river. About 40-50 of us loaded into the back of the "bus" (really just a pick up with railing along the sides) and set off on the 20 minute drive to the river. On the way there, with a child on each knee, I contemplated the fact that I wasn't at all bothered by the closeness, the heat, and the filth. I've come a long ways from home I guess.

The river was a refreshing treat after the long read in the back of the truck. Most of the kids immediately stripped down to their underwear and hopped right in--some didn't even keep that much clothing on. There were several smaller boys running around completely naked. I was a little more conservative and decided to wade in fully clothed. It felt amazing! The first time I've actually submersed myself in water since being at home. I just sat down in the middle of a shallow portion of the water and soaked it all in.

I was intriguing to notice the ways in which the people used the river. There were several people that waded out with bars of soap and, only partly clothed, washed themselves thoroughly as if no one else were around. About half an hour after we arrived, the kids scattered to opposite banks in order to avoid the pick-up that came barreling in. The driver got out of the car and commenced using the river as his own personal car wash.

The girls thought it was fun to put mud make-up on Amber, Helen and I. Haha...I didn't expect it to feel so good to have someone rub mud on my face. On the left is a picture of my personal make-up artist, Dok Bwa. Yes, this is the same girl that threw my shoe in the garbage can.

On the way home, we made a quick stop to a monastery to visit the monks' pet monkeys. Haha....I never noticed how ironic that is. Monks with MONKeys.....giggle. Anyway, it was kind of cool to see monkeys so close. The kids fed them pieces of orange and couple even got the monkeys to come sit on their shoulders. Kind of dirty little creatures....don't think I'd like one as a pet.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


February 17, 2011

7:11 PM

AAAAAAGH! I was sitting calmly at my computer typing an email, when suddenly I hear a loud frantic squeaking coming from the top of my closet. The word squeak doesn’t sound scary probably…. But when it’s loud and frantic….and you’re not expecting it, it’s almost enough to make you wet your pants!!!! (not quite though, don’t worry).

I sat straight up wondering what kind of rodent or lizard battle was taking place on the top of my wardrobe when a big fat mouse nearly scampered off the edge of it. It’s still up there now…right by my fat suitcase and my bag full of electrolyte packets. I kind of want to look….but not enough to actually do it. What if the mouse was being chased by a tokay! Ick, Ick, Ick. I used to think it was funny that people were afraid of mice….not anymore. I’m officially terrified. Suddenly, my pink mosquito net with the gaping hole in the side doesn’t seem as safe as it once did.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spiders and Parades

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10:32 PM

I just showed Helen and Amber (volunteers who have been here before long term, but are only staying two weeks this time around) a spider that I found in the bathroom. I told them it was big and fast, so they carefully entered the bathroom to take a look. When Helen spotted it she just started laughing and told Amber to come in and look at the “big” spider. Amber took one look and started laughing. “This is not so big,” she said (they’re both from Belgium). It was big--as big as the palm of my hand, fat, and SO fast (I thought it was a large bug flying close to the ground the first time I spotted it that’s how fast it was moving). Amber and Helen said that often when they were living here there were tarantulas much larger that dwelt in the bathroom. Helen said that once there was a GINORMOUS one right next to the toilet that wouldn’t move, and in order to avoid it, Amber had gone to the bathroom in the backyard. Shudder. Looking forward to it =)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

8:37 AM

In the middle of my violin lesson with Chandra and Kamala this morning, some horns started blasting from down in the village accompanied to what sounded like a drum line. We all got up to see what the commotion was about and from the upper room we were in we could see a huge line of people dancing down the street. Kamala explained to me that they were having a celebration for someone who would become a priest today. What a cool culture.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sights of Sangkla Buri

I can't believe how beautiful everyday life is here. I haven't quite gotten used to the routine of seeing monks everywhere I walk--or things like gates carved out of tree trunks. It's like living in some kind of fantasy land. I love the new creatures I get to discover every day. It's like living in a civilized jungle. Incredible.

Missing: electricity and one shoe

Friday, February 11, 2011

9:39 AM

Electricity is out. Throughout the entire town of Sangkhla Buri. AC says this happens fairly often and that most likely we won’t have electricity again until sometime after 5 this evening. So….I don’t know what I’ll be doing this morning. My computer is going to run out of battery in about an hour or two, but it doesn’t really matter because I don’t have access to any of the internet files I need anyway.

Also, the weaving manager here has mysteriously disappeared. She apparently told the weaving center workers she was leaving and not coming back…and then just left without telling Didi or anyone else. This is bad for me because I depend on her to help me manage the weaving center site. I had two orders for products yesterday and between the internet being down, and Uma disappearing, I can’t do anything about it. I hope this all plays out ok.

Saturday, February 12,2011

I just got done chasing a bunch of little kids around for an hour…definitely got my exercise for the day. I stopped because one of the little girls, a minx named Dok-Bua, stole one of my shoes and was last spotted running up the large hill with it. I saw her run off with it and thought that if I didn’t chase her, maybe she would come back with it. Wrong. I REALLY hope she brings it back, or someone can help me find it. She’s new though…she and her siblings are kind of like a cuter, Burmese version of the Herdmans (from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)….for all I know, she threw my shoe into the jungle somewhere. Dang it all…..I have no clue how I’m going to get home with one shoe.

Thank goodness….I started telling people to look for Dok Bua, and one of the boys found her and got her to show him where she threw it: in a garbage can. Hahaha…. I’m glad to have it back.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fabulous Foods of the Week

One beautiful thing about living in Sangkhla Buri is that the food is all heavenly and incredibly cheap. The prices of most food items sit right around $1 (20-45 Baht), and it's difficult to find food that costs more than $3.

Since I don't get much variety at the home (rice and boiled vegetables with tofu for every meal including breakfast), I've taken it upon myself to become a connoisseur of the foods in Sangkhla Buri.

The first featured delicacy on today's list is the BBQ'd Squid Potato Chips. Yes, that's right. I found these at the local 7-11 and just couldn't pass up the opportunity to try something so startlingly....different. To my surprise and delight, they were really good. Like, REALLY good. Possibly my new favorite flavor of Lays. It's almost enough to make me want to buy a real squid at the market come next Thursday. Almost.

Next up, we have corn mixed with shredded coconut and sugar. This is something that I had an opportunity to try the first time I went to Thailand with my family, and I remember loving it. It was still good the second time around, although I highly recommend making sure you get it served hot. The street vendor I got my coconut corn from let the corn get a little cold.

Another favorite Thai dish of mine has always been Lemon Grass Soup. This soup consists of galangal (ginger), mushrooms, lemon grass, and chicken immersed in a steaming coconut milk base. Poor it over rice, and you've got yourself a bowl of comfort. So good. This particular bowl was served to me at the Tea House--I made sure to specify "no chilis" and this time, they followed through on my request.

Finally, may I be the first to introduce you to the peppermint pineapple shake. I tried this at the Tea House for the first time today, and will definitely be back for more. I ordered a pineapple shake, and when Eh asked me if I would like peppermint in it, I consented, telling myself that it's always good to try something once. I was amazed at the result. Fresh pineapple blended with fresh sprigs of peppermint leaf--I doubt that I've ever had something so refreshing.

Mmmmmm......more delicious foods to come. I hope =)

Featured Creature: Toad

I've completed a small bit of research on toads in Thailand and have discovered that eating toads is common enough here that the Thai Ministry of Health has had to issue a warning. It's really kind of interesting. You should check it out. Who know that eating toads as a side to alcohol could be so harmful to your health?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kimberella: Part 2

On my day off this week I decided to spend the day cleaning and doing laundry. I started the day with a yummy Burmese breakfast in town (donuts, samosas, and hot ovaltine), and then armed myself with cleaning supplies at CJ Max, the local convenient store.

While letting my laundry soak and then dry (see Kimberella: part 1), I attempted to clean my house. The following are the before and after images of my efforts.

1.Front Room







4.Spider Webs EVERYWHERE. everywhere.



This is a picture of the board I used to get the spider webs down with.
That's a plethora of spider webs.
And this is not including the ones I couldn't reach on my ceiling.

Join me in Kimberella: Part 3 to see the kitchen clean and sparkly!

(This is wishful thinking....I haven't had the energy to start on the kitchen yet.)