Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kimber and Laura Throw a Dinner Party

So....sorry about the long Blog-break. I've just been having such a fun time with Laura, I haven't really had the time to blog about it all. However SHE has written a bit about the last couple of weeks, so, I'm going to let you hear it from her point of view. Here is her last blog post (pictures by ME):
Overall an excellent first week! Both the work and the social scene are a lot of fun, if a little exhausting. Weaving-wise, it's a slow burner but there is a lot of potential - a very exciting little project! Our main issue is having minimal staff; our weavers weave away merrily but the management side of things is all rather messy. Ohma is the main woman and seems to be pretty on the ball but unfortunately has a tendency to disappear off the ball back to Burma without prior warning. The last time she did this they recruited in Akka, who was originally a maths teacher, but he isn't so on the ball and speaks very little English. And he's gone awry this week too.

While Ohma is lovely and does speak very good English communication is often still strained. A conversation will go something like this:

"Here is the children's range that a previous volunteer designed before he left." Ohma shows me the children's range.
"Oh wow these are fantastic, can we still make these?" I admire the children's range.
"Swinn designed them before he left."
"great, so could we reproduce these if we were to advertise them online and in the shop?"
"We got rid of all of the patterns."
"Oh... so we can't make these again?"
"These are the only versions"
"Ok. So we can't make them again? Can we contact Swinn to ask if he still has the patterns?"
"Yes I have his email address."

The following day:
"I'm sending an email to Swinn to ask for the patterns for the children's clothes."
"Oh we don't need patterns - the women can make them without."

Tuesday I attempted to hold a photo shoot. Momoa, one of my favourites (am I allowed to have favourites??) agreed to model some of the new children's range for me. I think she looks a lot like Kate Hudson; a Burmese version. She, and everyone else, thinks I'm mad.

So she was very excited; did her hair specially and came and found me on the dot, ready and raring to go. A couple of shots in she got bored and ran off. Well, that's my opinion anyway. she maintained that she was shy and didn't want to model the dresses that revealed her shoulders; a problem that I was apparently going to encounter a lot (even though a lot of thegirls here do reveal their shoulders and knees regardless...). so I was told I should model the dresses myself as apparently I have the body of a child..! I personally think I look a bit weird, but you can judge for yourself (and have a good laugh) once they're up on the site anyway. They're currently waiting to
be photoshopped (how I am going to navigate my way around this I have no idea) - We're cutting off my old-looking head.

Unfortunately my English teaching arrangement has come to a close, after one lesson. My beautiful 23 year-old Burmese student has run off with her boyfriend! Apparently he was a bit of a rude boy, with tattoos, and not popular with the family so they were planning on shipping her off to Bangkok. She obviously wasn't all that keen on the idea so vacated... This is a shame. Obviously because it's all scandalous and such like but also because I was very much enjoying the reading exercises! I was learning some invaluable pub quiz knowledge - about giant treetrunks and the typewriter for example. One of the subjects (about Chicago's tallest building swaying in the wind) has already come up in conversation since reading about it. Imagine all of the fascinating topics I am (and you are) missing out on!

But I am not without things to do. My latest interest is the Circus performance that the children are preparing for. I introduced myself to the founder Jerry as having some tap and ballet knowledge and he said that they are currently working on sticking bottle tops to shoes to create a sort of urban, Stomp-style affair. Needless to say he was very interested in my tap abilities. We are having a meeting tomorrow to sort something out. I'm also trying to involve some Baan Unrak Weaving handiwork, having suggested that we provide the costumes (ooh promotion), but this might be a little ambitious. Time will tell...

This morning I had another meeting with hippy Terrance about the art and dance therapy. It basically involved plugging my ipod into the speaker on the roof and flitting around in a sort of free-style contemporary ballet duet to Kate Bush. Invigorating!

You'll be pleased to hear I've been spreading the pun love all the way over here; and have picked up some keen punters already. I think our finest was Thursday evening... Because I've (obviously) become such a frequenter of the Tea House I was among the group invited along to sample the owner's new range of herbal tea and toast selection. We were discussing the use of Thyme in tea as well as thinking of a name for the new tea shop; and suddenly it came to us: Tea THAIyme! Yes a TRIPPLE PUN! Perhaps a competitor could open ThaIRED of Tea Total(ly?) in the form of a bar... Perhaps not.

The House Boat party was a lot of fun - lots of sitting around chatting and meeting fellow volunteers - culminating in cocktails and sambucca shots in the Home Garden (one of the town's two bars) for those with the most stamina (the English obviously). But I have decided to try not to drink while I'm here. That's what I was expecting so I'm kind of in the mindset for it anyway. Let's see how long it lasts...

Tuesday Kimber and I hosted a dinner party at our wooden house (which I've realised reminds me of the one in Three Little Pigs; especially when the dogs bark on our porch like the wolf). With ten guests, two hot plates and no kitchen sink this was perhaps a little ambitious, but we made a reasonable success of it... After 6am yoga We hit the market, foraging through the crazy Thai ingredients and guessing which would be suitable for sweet and savoury pancakes. We cleaned (disturbing toads, spiders, lizards and all sorts) and decorated the place with candles, scarves and flowers - it looked really pretty once we were done with it.

The food wasn't quite such a success. (This is a note from Kimber: I thought we did AWESOME. Everyone really liked the food, and we made it all with such limited ingredients!) Savoury pancakes turned to Spanish omelette, which turned to egg stir fry(!) thanks to a non-non-stick pan. This part was actually quite nice though - a bit like pad Thai with lots of veg' and went down really well.

Dessert was the interesting part - having purchased rice flour instead of the standard plain variety (not because that wasn't available but because it was cheaper and more Thai) the concoction fried into a gooey, sticky splodge. Very much like a really thick sheet of rice paper. Which I suppose is kind of understandable with hindsight... But never mind. What it lacked in taste it certainly made up for in comedy value.

I've come to terms with the giant spider that lives in our bathroom - We like to think of him as our pet. He generally keeps out of the way and must eat a lot of mosquitoes so he can stay. I think he's also less frightening because he only seems to have six legs.

I was feeling similarly about the mice. Having seen one peering out from behind my bedroom door during the dinner party I thought he looked quite sweet, and ensuring my mosquito net covers all possible entrances seems to have prevented them from getting in my bed. However, when rushing to leave the house this morning I went to pick up a carton of soya milk, only to find that the little pests had chewed not only through the cardboard container but through the outer plastic too... They'd even squirmed into my bag and chewed through a carton in there! Perhaps if they'd actually drank the soya milk I would have had more sympathy (it is of course rather hard to resist) but no, they'd just wasted it and spilled it all over my things.

Immediately after this little episode, on visiting our friends at another volunteer house, Scott produced a "present" - a proper old-fashioned snappy mouse trap along with some sticky rodent glue. I'm still reluctant to kill them but We tried and failed with the humane traps. The devious little mites somehow disabled them, stole the food and deposited it in a corner (as if to say "Look I don't even want your food, I'm just showing you how clever I am") so I'm definitely considering it...

The dogs are still howling at various intervals throughout the night, but melodically - like something out of a Disney film! And a few of them here have that funny wheels-instead-of-hind-legs contraption which I still find hilarious. I tried to take a picture of one the other day but it didn't take too kindly to me laughing at its disability and chased me down the road snarling... luckily it couldn't quite lug its speedy wheels up the hill so I managed to get away.

Tonight I'm choosing whether to watch the children (and Kimber) in an end-of-term presentation, or attend a "healing" concert involving some sort of giant crystal ball chimey band! I know where my loyalties should lie...

SO, there you have it! And, for those of you who are wondering, she DID come to the presentation--although she wasn't able to stay long enough to watch me rock out on my violin with the Baan Dada boys band... Too bad. I also got to sing "Zombie" by the Cranberries for everyone--THAT was a new experience. I'm pretty much a rocker chick now...


I'm not alone anymore!!! My new housemate, Laura arrived last Tuesday. Laura is from London, and has already expanded my vocabulary in the short amount of time that she's been here. She uses three words pretty consistently and I think I've got them down:
  • Peckered=Hungry
  • Nackered=Tired
  • Shattered=Exhausted
Laura is helping Baan Unrak in the capacity of Marketing Coordinator--she's helping out with getting our weaving center on the map. We've had a fun week--life is SO much better when you have someone to do things with! And the days go by SO much faster. I've laughed more this week than I have in the two months preceding this week put together. I'm happy =)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I've finally been getting my long wished-for experience of meditation and yoga in Thailand. I had my first private yoga lesson with the new Italian Didi this morning in the upper Baba room. It was kind of embarrassing that a fifty some odd woman is more flexible than I am, but she says that I'm pretty flexible for a twenty-one year old. Cool. She thought perhaps I'd done yoga before--I told her, "not really," not deigning to admit that I've done a bit of "video yoga."

Luckily the yoga that the Didi's practice don't require TOO much flexibility--I never had to wrap my leg around my neck like a scarf. It was more like a really good stretching session with 5-10 minutes of relaxation at the end. I could DEFINITELY get used to starting everyday that way. I think it's the first time in my life that I've gone through a day without my eyebrows feeling furrowed.

I've also taken to doing meditation with the teenagers in the evenings on some days. It lasts for
about half an hour and comes in three stages. The first stage we all lift our arms toward the sky and sway back and forth while singing "Baba Nam Keba Lam"--which means something like Love is all around or Love is all there is. In the second stage we all sit cross legged on the floor focusing on our breathing--for probably about 10 minutes. The point is to be in the present moment and not worry about the past or the future. In the final stage we move to our knees and sit for another 10 minutes. Everyone but me chants some cool Buddhist sounding song, but I, for the life of me, can't figure out the words OR the tune. However, I DO enjoy listening to it while I continue in my silent meditation.

Yeah, I'm pretty much living the authentic oriental dream. Machima even asked me to be part of a Yoga photo shoot for her new business (See above photos). I'm on her pamphlet wearing Thai Pants and everything!

Jai Garu Deva....Om.....

(Not Triangle of David)


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kimber's Violin Debut

I played the violin for an art exhibition at Graph Cafe yesterday. I really loved it. I was able to secure some free sheet music online and Pi-Ton and her brother Poom helped me to locate a printer and paper to use yesterday morning. I taped up all of the music along the walls of my house and practiced for a good two hours before heading over to the Cafe.

I had a whole group of fans there waiting to watch me play. Diana had brought some of the kids down from the home to watch me (about 15 of them). The two new volunteers (a fruity social worker and his slightly less crazy wife) were there as well as Paul, Machima, and Machima's new French boyfriend, Matthew. The new Mongolian home Didi came down along with Chandra, and I was especially pleased to see Pi Sai and her English Husband Charlie (I met them a few weeks ago and really hit it off with Sai who owns a violin and would like to learn how to play better). The owner of the teahouse, Pi Ton was also there along with her niece (?) Meem, and brother, Poom. A Belgian girl named Greta that I met a few days ago came, and in the very back was one of the school teacher's, Grace. The only people I didn't know included an older couple volunteering at another children's home in the area (I met them after my performance), and a lady from Hungary who clapped enthusiastically after every song.

I used the kids as my music stand--each of them would hold up one or two sheets of music for me--I felt bad for their arms, which must have grown tired after awhile. I played some simple minuets, a few concerto movements (Seitz and Vivaldi), and then finished grandly with a fiddle tune (Boil them cabbages Down). It was SO much fun, and just like playing for family or maybe a ward get together.

Today as I walked past Graph Cafe, Wat (at least I THINK that's the owner's name) ran out to give me a Graph Cafe T-shirt to thank me for playing. I'm touched. I probably won't wear this t-shirt much at home since it's bright orange and talks about coffee...but I'll wear it out here the best I can.

Kimber goes to Church

I decided to attend church today. There is a Christian church located just a couple of blocks away from my house, so this morning, I dressed up, grabbed my scriptures and headed over a few minutes before 10:00.

I was greeted warmly at the door ("Welcome!") by a blue-shirted gentleman, and then led to a chair by a sweet lady with a baby. Half-way through the service, the lady I was sitting next to traded places with a woman named Talaung who speaks decent English and was able to translate for me (I caught about half of her English...but I nodded at all of it).

I really enjoyed myself. I liked that the first hour of the meeting was just a lot of singing and clapping and smiling. Definitely different from the more subdued LDS meetings I'm used to, but you could still feel the Christian spirit. I was surprised that the meeting lasted over two hours...I thought our church was the only one with such long meetings. The first hour consisted of singing, something akin to a testimony meeting, scripture readings, and a song/scripture from the children's sunday school. They also had me stand up and introduce myself along with two Karen girls who were new this week. The second hour and a half of the meeting consisted of a sermon given by the local pastor, and lots of prayers...

If I grasped what Talaung was telling me, the sermon talked a lot about the problems and violence that Burma is facing right now, as well as the earthquakes that have been occurring all over the world. The pastor asserted that the people have turned away from God and so he is showing his wrath to the people. As Christian's it is our duty to spread the truth and call God's children to repentance. We also need to make sure that WE are choosing to follow the word of God so that we can have eternal life. The pastor had us turning to scriptures all over the Bible--it felt a little strange to never open the Book of Mormon. Over all it was a good meeting, and everyone was incredibly friendly.

After the meeting the pastor invited me to sit as a guest with he and his family and the two Karen girls for the after meeting luncheon. I felt honored. The spicy fish soup with rice was a little much for me--not only was it spicy, it had random pieces of fish and squid? floating around in it....with skin and everything on it. I ate some anyways, but was thankful that the pastor's wife cooked me some eggs knowing that farang often don't like fish. The eggs were DELICIOUS and the company was lovely. I've been invited to come to their pastor training session this week--it's an all day thing this Tuesday-Thursday. When they found out that I teach music at Baan Unrak, they were also anxious to invite me to there weekly music practice sessions on Saturday at 1:00--saying I could sing some solos in their meetings or perhaps even teach music to the kids. Haha....I don't know if I'll be attending everything they've invited me to, but it felt nice to be welcomed so openly.

More than anything, it made me want to drive up to Bangkok to attend the LDS ward....I really miss church. I wish it weren't an 8 hour drive one-way....
Hopefully, my new found Christian friends will hold me over until I can make it to Bangkok.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Movie Night

Last week I joined Paul and Machima for movie night at the house they’re renting together. Paul prepared his room to be the official “cinema room” and Machima lit candles around Paul’s Macbook to create a relaxing ambience. I’ve never watched a movie by candlelight before, but I rather enjoyed it. We boiled some ginger tea to enjoy while we watched, and right before the movie started, Machima presented me with what remained of a container of chocolate ice-cream she had purchased the day before. I could have cried with happiness--she knows that I covet her fridge/freezer for it’s melt-preventing capabilities. I really could have cried. But I didn’t. Even though the movie was definitely cry-worthy material. It’s called A Mighty Heart and it’s a true story about a pregnant French journalist in the middle-east trying to find the kidnappers of her Jewish husband. The movie ends with her delivering her baby just a couple of months after receiving a video from the kidnappers in which her husband was brutally murdered before her eyes. Absolutely horrifying—I was truly hoping for a happy ending. I was glad that Paul and Machima walked me home through the rain that night.


So, for those of you that haven’t heard, the past couple of weeks have been a struggle. I’ve emailed my mom to ask her to buy me a ticket home a couple of times. It’s not that anything bad happened, but I’ve just felt pressing loneliness and discouragement to the point that I thought I couldn’t stand it any more, and I desperately wanted to go home.

But miracle of miracles, I’ve been re-enchanted by the country this week, and I’ve decided to stay (even though I know that most likely the loneliness and discouragement will be keeping me company on and off for the next four months). The rain here seems to make everything ok. Everything feels fresh and alive—even the food here tastes better in the rain. I’ve been soaking in the moist air and walking around all smiles inside all day.

Teaching has been going pretty well for the kids. I think that my music classes are definitely one of the most popular at the school—second to computers and sometimes art. I have kids that I can’t get to go to lunch because they want to stay and talk to me or watch musical youtube videos on my computer. When kids from my classes see me, often they’ll break into a smile and loudly sing one of the songs I’ve taught them. I’m really enjoying teaching this week—except for my Tuesday boy’s class. I’ve about given them up as hopeless. I kicked a kid out of my class yesterday because he simply refused to participate in ANYTHING we were doing. Grrrrr…….turns out that inspiring kids to learn is a lot easier in theory than it is in practice.

I took a group of girls from the home to go watch a movie at the teahouse yesterday. They voted on Confessions of a Shopaholic. When the movie ended, a couple of girls proclaimed they wanted to go shopping—I think they missed the point of the movie…

I’m getting pretty good at remembering the names of the kids. I feel rather proud of myself. Let me list some of the names for you, so you can understand why I feel my pride is justified: Dok-Bua, Chan-Pen, Kong, Ko-Ko, Sanda-so, Attataya, Chandra, Kamala, Ahong, Kaisa-oo, Sanda-eh, Mi-mi, Chamu, Wannapa, Metapui, Winnai, Monkila, Minareppa, Saw-dwice, Bupah, Momo-eh, Tirawat….etc….etc…. Not your typical “Scott” or “Emily.”

What makes me even more happy is that many of the kids are starting to remember my name—even though no one here really pronounces it correctly. To most, I’m “Kim-buh,” with emphasis on “buh.” NO one here calls me “Kimber,” because even the Europeans around the place don’t pronounce there “r”s. At the teahouse I’m “Keem,” at the home I’m “Kim-bah” or “Kim-BUH” (“Kimberly” with a French accent if it’s AC), and at the school I’m simply “tee-chuh.” I don’t mind the variety =)

I apologize to any avid readers for not posting for awhile….I just didn’t want to post about how lonely I felt. Also, the internet hasn’t been particularly reliable….so let’s just blame that.

Dinner for Two

I went to the restaurant on the bridge today with images of Pad Thai and ice-cream in my head. This local eatery is located on the small intersection between the modern paved bridge and the old wooden one. As I stepped onto the first bridge, an un-abashed Thai (or perhaps Burmese?) boy, perhaps about 10 or 11 years old, stared at me openly. I greeted him with “Sawa dee Ka.” He replied with the standard “Krup,” and then gave me a toothy grin showing off the bottle-rot apparent in his front teeth and incredibly common in these parts of the country. I smiled and nodded back and continued past him, sliding my hand along the rail as I went. It wasn’t long at all before I noticed the sound of someone else’s hand sliding and bumping along behind mine. RIGHT behind mine. The boy was following me at an uncomfortably close distance. If I went faster, he matched my pace. I crossed to the other side of the bridge and he followed. I hugged my bag closer to me in case he was a pick-pocket, and practically power walked the remaining distance to the restaurant. I ordered my Pad-Thai quickly and sat down at the far table by the rail over-looking the river. I had thought that he had stopped following me at the edge of the bridge, perhaps to follow other bridge-walkers like the bridge guarding troll in Billy-Goats-Grugg, but no sooner had I opened the book I had brought along then I spotted a small hand pulling a chair out on the side of the table kitty-corner from me. Before I could say anything the waiter had come along to poor both of us a glass of ice-water. The boy smiled at me before gulping his water down and then looking at me for more. I used the pitcher the waiter had set at our table to pour him another glass. And another. And another. By the third glass, I guessed he would be sticking around for a while.

He pointed across the bridge several times saying something I couldn’t understand. Even if I COULD speak Thai, I think I would have had trouble understanding him, because his speech was slurred, and it appeared to me that he was slightly mentally disabled. I just smiled at him and kept pouring him more glasses of water. I had given up reading my book. A couple of times he went to the side overlooking the river and dumped (or spit) his water over the edge. I told him “Mai-Au” –Thai for “Not want”; in English we would say “Don’t do that,” but Thai’s are more sparing with there use of words. He would usually just look back at me, smile, and then come sit back down.

Before long, my Pad Thai came and he didn’t take his eyes off of it as I lifted my fork to start eating. I couldn’t very well enjoy my Pad Thai while he was staring at me, so I pushed it over to him and ordered another one for myself. Now it was I who was staring as he ate. He didn’t eat as hungrily as I’d expected him to, which assured me that he probably had someone looking after him--at least when he wasn’t following people around on the bridge, but boy was he a messy eater. He’d use his fork to get a huge pile of noodles half-way into his mouth, and then would proceed to slurp and use his left hand to get the noodles the rest of the way in. I said “Mai-Au” several times and tried to show him how to wrap his noodles around his fork and eat smaller bites. It was to no avail. My one success was to convnince him not to throw his napkin over the side of the wall—“Mai-Au!!! Tee-nee!” Not want! Here! (as I pointed to where he should place his used napkin on the table.) It wasn’t long before my second plate of Pad Thai arrived, and I was embarrassed to discover that I was no better at politely eating the dish than he was. I tried my best to set a good example, though I felt like a hypocrite every time I had noodles hanging sloppily out of my mouth, and I used whatever means I could to stuff them inside of me before he could see.

I ate as fast as I could worrying that if I didn’t leave before he was finished with his food, he would just follow me home, and what would I do with him then? I won the race, and hurried over to pay the bill while he was still working on his plate. I couldn’t leave without a little ice-cream though, so I ordered two-scoops to go, glancing over at him to make sure he wasn’t looking. Unfortunately, he was, and he immediately came over and stood hovering over the cone as the cashier scooped first a chocolate-chip, and then a chocolate scoop into my cone. I smiled at him and pointed at the table where his unfinished plate of Pad Thai was waiting for him. He happily went back to work on it, perhaps hoping that I would return with ice-cream for him as well.

I didn’t.

I paid the 75 Baht and walked quickly out of there, hoping that he wouldn’t follow me, and hoping that the management knew I didn’t have a clue who the kid was and that they had a better chance of communicating with him than I did. He didn’t follow me. I felt guilty all the way home as the ice-cream dripped


Dripped, and I wiped the drips off the cone with my tongue and off my face with the back of my hand.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tiger Dog and Iguana

Here are some more pics of the cool creatures here in Thailand.

This is one of a few dogs throughout the town with a coat like this. If I didn't know that there aren't tigers in this neck of the woods, I would have guessed that this dog was some kind of dog-tiger cross breed. Look at that striped orange fur!

This is an iguana I nearly stepped on on my way home from Baan Unrak one day. It stood pretty still while I took a few pictures.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bugs kind of Bug Me

If you ever decide to move to Thailand, realize that insects just become an integral part of
your life. There is no escape. I'm used to feeling like an ant-hill by now...used to watching tiny bugs navigate there way through the maze on my key board...used to picking ants and mosquitos out of my water...etc.

I have a constellation of bug bites on my arm. I’ve named it “The Boomerang.”

If there is a Greek or Latin name that fits it better, I’m open to suggestions. You know, you’d think that after practically bathing in bug-repellent cream in the morning and then periodically spraying myself with mosquito spray throughout the day that the bugs would leave me alone. They don’t. I have another bug-bite on my foot that almost looks like an extra appendage sprouting—a rather oozy appendage.

On top of it all, last night I could NOT stop scratching my head—it was itching like CRAZY. I woke up this morning with a sinking feeling in my stomach and the memory of something Diana whispered in my ear on Valentine’s Day during the Baan Unrak celebration:

One of the girls that I was sitting next to that night had jokingly taken her hat off and placed it on my head. I posed in it for her and pulled a couple of silly faces before handing it back. Diana leaned over from her seat across from me and whispered, “Now you have lice too!” and then sat back, laughing. I looked at her, wide-eyed, wondering if she was serious, but because she looked so jovial, I assumed she was only teasing me. This morning, I realized she probably wasn’t.

Having an itchy scalp is pretty bad….but knowing that the itchiness is being caused by a community of tiny crawling biting bugs in your hair is about 100 times worse. I told Diana about my suspicions today, and she said that it’s hard to avoid getting lice out here since about 80% of the kids have lice and no one does anything to get rid of them (the lice not the kids…though we don’t get rid of the kids either). Diana says when she first got here she would try to avoid getting to close to the children for fear of getting lice or some other ailment, but after awhile she just gave up and learned to live with it. She says that lice usually just go away after awhile—awhile for her meaning two months after going home to Holland.

I don’t WANT to wait for them to “go away.” I want to get rid of them! I did some research on how to get rid of them…and it looks like it’s going to take a bit of work. Especially since I don’t have access to many of the suggested remedies: hot water, mayonnaise, anti-lice shampoo…. I went to town today and couldn’t find ANYTHING that I thought might help me. I couldn’t even find a fine-tooth comb to help me comb them out. Right now, my game plan is to head to the local pharmacy first thing in the morning and PRAY that he has something. After that…I’m at a loss.

I ate my first bug-infested bowl of rice today. Luckily all of the bugs were boiled until dead, and they were pretty tiny, so I was able to get the rice down by just telling myself I was getting extra protein. I wonder what Didi’s philosophy is about eating bugs. Can you eat bugs and still consider yourself vegetarian?

I think the bug problem is just going to multiply as we get deeper into the hot season and then into the rainy season. Adventure, here I come!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Going on A Tokay hunt! I'm not afraid! (well...maybe a little)

I finally found a tokay that stayed in one place long enough for me to take a picture. This guy was on the side of my house...I went hunting for him and shot him with my camera before he new what hit him. It was pitch black outside and I only saw his silhouette...he looks even scarier in this picture! I'm not sure if his eyes really look like that or if it's just a bad case of red-eye--but either way he looks creepy.

This one was about a foot long--give or take a couple of inches.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kimber goes Bohemian

I'm slowly discovering the bohemian in me. And
what better way to express it than by what I wear! Here are a few of the pieces that I've found over the last several weeks:

My first buy included two sets of earrings I found at the teahouse.

A simple elegant set of silver earrings for about 99Baht (approx. $3)

And a hand carved black set for 29 Baht (approx. $1.)

Last week I went into town and decided to stop in a small shop right by the local 7-11. They had some gorgeous items, and I kind of went crazy. The rest of my new look came from there.

A hemp anklet with some fun beads and bells worked in--35 Baht (approx. $1). I feel like a rebel when I wear it because I'm always reminded of that "tinkling of feet" scripture. It's slightly embarrassing to sound like a walking tambourine--but I love this anklet anyway.

A handmade turquoise bracelet--99 baht (approx. $3). I LOVE this bracelet, unfortunately it's already coming a bit undone...I'm hoping that maybe someone at the Teahouse can help me fix it.

A pair of light-weight fisherman pants--200 baht (approx. $6). Again, an AWESOME buy--not to mention this is
the first time I can remember owning orange pants. I almost bought the turquoise pair, but thought that perhaps I would be too closely copying a certain disney princess. The best thing about these pants is that I can actually wear them in this heat without feeling like I'm wearing a sauna. Bonus that they make me look arabian (as a arabian as a milky-white Blonde person can look).

And finally, my favorite purchase so far, my Thai Elephant bag. I wouldn't have bought a bag at all except this one kept yelling at me. I adore the colors and the textures of this bag. It reminded me of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, and I couldn't resist it. I cherish this bag. It cost me about 250 Baht (approx. $7)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thai Massage

No Thai experience is complete without one of their famed massages, so I decided to go get one last week. I went the conservative route and chose to get the shoulder/back massage rather than the full body Thai massage, but it was something of an experience nonetheless.

After giving me a towel and making gestures indicating that I was to remove my upper garments, my masseuse hurried off to go poor me some green tea (to no avail, since I don’t drink tea), and I was left in a thinly veiled room feeling VERY glad that I had opted out of the full body experience. I had managed to discreetly cover myself with a towel and was lying face-down on the mat she had indicated before she came back in, set my tea down, and sat on my legs. Hm. Wasn’t expecting that. She then proceeded to bend my legs back toward her so that she could massage my feet. It felt AMAZING. After she was done with my feet, she began using her knees to work on my calf muscles…then my thigh muscles…when she reached the muscles above that I started thinking, Wait! Wait! Doesn’t she know that I only wanted a shoulder massage?! And then, Woah! Who knew my butt was so ticklish? I’ll just have to grit my teeth through it….I don’t want to laugh….how embarrassing would THAT be?

Luckily, the lower body massage didn’t last long—apparently it was a complimentary sample of the REAL Thai massage. Which, frankly, I don’t have a huge desire to ever get. The shoulder/back massage was plenty for me. The masseuse bent my arms into strange contortions behind my back and then...beat me. I don't know how else to describe it. I didn’t find her harsh slaps up and down my arms and back NEARLY as relaxing as the slow shoulder rub that Diana had given me earlier in the week. But….it was certainly an experience. And….I have to admit, I DID feel relaxed after; though as a result of the massage or as a result of feeling relieved that I was no longer BEING massaged, I couldn’t tell you.

I think next time I’ll just go in for a foot-rub and facial.


Tuesday, March 1 2011

7:30 PM

I’m sitting in on the floor of my house, listening to some incredibly loud thunder and to the wind throwing rocks at my house, wondering how safe a wooden house with a corrugated tin roof is in lightning storms. Walking here from the teahouse was probably the scariest experience I’ve had yet in Thailand.

I’d been watching the lightning light up the sky for about 7 minutes when I decided I’d better hurry home before I got caught in the rain without a jacket, umbrella, or flashlight. I bid Paul and Machima goodnight, and quickly slipped on my flip-flops before I walked into the street. I had been walking for about thirty seconds when all of the street lamps went out and the wind began to pick up. Sparks were flying from the side of the road—I honestly don’t know where they came from—and the wind began to blow dirt straight into my eyes. I had to walk blindly for several seconds before daring to open them again with my hand as a shield. A rather large dog started trailing me with a low growl in his throat—I honestly felt like I had walked into the movie Something Wicked This Way Comes. Luckily I made it back home safely—though I can’t say I necessarily feel safe.

Hmmm….Ok….the power just went out here and I can’t find my flashlight… And I just saw a mouse run into my room by the light of my computer. I can see the lightning through the slats in my house….and I can’t hear anything but pelting rain and thunder. This is terrifying. I keep telling myself it’s just a good adventure.—all alone in a wooden house….without a cell phone or a flashlight. What a cool thing to write about right? And a mouse on the loose only makes things more exciting. OK…..I’m going to go search for my flashlight by the light of my computer.

7:55 Found it…and I have now discovered that my house leaks. There’s an ever growing puddle by my front door and I can hear the constant drip…drip….drip….from the ceiling above. I can’t tell you how eerie it is to be able to see lightning through the walls of one’s house. The lights started flickering on and off a few minutes ago—I turned them off deciding that maybe the darkness wasn’t so bad after all. I’m really thankful for computers with batteries.

Earlier today I came home early from the home due to lack of internet access—by the time I got here I felt incredibly achy and woozy. I tried to drink a couple bottles of water (assuming I was just dehydrated), but it didn’t seem to help. Finally I opted for lying on my floor by a fan after taking a nice cold shower (PS no sarcasm is intended by nice cold shower, I really HAVE grown to appreciate them in this heat). After lying down for a few minutes I felt my floor start shaking and heard someone making strange moaning noises outside. I took this as a sign that someone was outside on the side porch, and after prepping myself, opened up the door to peer out. I was slightly startled to find an adult Thai man wearing nothing but a purple sarong like garment around his waist. He was several feet away from me on the porch and beckoned for me to

GAH! I hate this thunder. I’m thinking I should have just stayed at the teahouse. Thunder is so much more frightening when you’re alone.

Anyways, he beckoned for me to come out. He kept making strange noises and pointing to his throat. I knew from the stories of other volunteers that one of my neighbors had a mentally disabled older son—I assumed this was he. I asked what he was doing at my house, and he just kept making strange noises and pointing to his throat. He said something in Thai and motioned for me to come toward him again. I just shook my head and told him that he’d better go home. I popped my head back inside my little wooden shell and locked the door. I decided just to hope that he would go away, and I commenced with reading The Da Vinci Code while I waited. A few minutes later I looked outside again and he was gone.

What an eerie day this has been….

More Creatures

February 24, 2011


I can’t sleep….and I’ve decided to make myself some hot Milo to see if it will lull me a little bit. When I was putting the powder mix back on the shelf out ran a HUGE mouse from behind the peanuts. Not very lulling….my heart is still racing. At least I know that I didn’t hear it get murdered by a tokay yesterday like I thought I did….that must have been a different mouse.

Speaking of tokays., look what I found yesterday:

I tried to go around the house to get a better picture, but to no avail. I didn’t want to step into my jungle of a yard, and it was difficult to get the right angle from the back patio. I took a few pictures of this little guy...

…only to look up and find a giant mama tokay starting at me from just a few feet away from my head. Talk about frightening. It ran away before I could even attempt getting a good picture.