Since our last writing we have continued to work on our home with MI. The old place is looking really good so we put it on the market to sell. Here is the listing link: CLICK HERE
This is a picture of the area in the house that we use for a garage.
On our last visit with Chom-nom we talked about how most addicts feel they are due a party when they get released. In many cases this starts the whole problems caused by being an addict all over again. So that did not happen we agreed to pick up Chom-nom upon his release.
We did not want to try and do the whole eight hour round trip in one day as we told him we would also go shopping for some clothes with him. May 9th we drove the four hour drive south to the City of Lampang where the prison in located. We spent the night in the Lampang Asia Hotel. CLICK HERE for March 24, 2012 Story.
After breakfast in the hotel we checked out and drove to the prison. It was about 10:00 AM and the guard at the gate told us to wait in an outside waiting area as Chom-nom would be coming out shortly. We sat with some other folks and waited. It was a nice day and Daeng and I talked about our hopes for Chom-nom.
Having used different forms of speed over the years, I can understand some of the problems with the disease of addiction and the "go fast" drugs. The big problem is the disease says it's okay to use "Yaba" or "Ice" or "Meth" as it makes you feel like superman. You can stay up longer, work harder and are not hungry. If you stop doing the drug you do not get sick like you do with opiates, all you do is go to sleep or "crash". So what's wrong with this drug?
"What's wrong?" is after using for a while, if you don't use you do not want to do anything. In some cases it also makes people go completely crazy as with the man that molested this little baby girl and then burned her vagina with a hot frying pan. By the way, that man is in jail and will probably be there for life. When this young mother, from a village along the Myanmar (Burma) border, told us of the story and showed us the baby's burnt vagina it made me sick to my stomach.
After about forty-five minutes Chom-nom was at the entrance and ready to go. We hugged and Daeng took our picture in front of the prison sign. We said a loud "Goodbye" and headed to the City of Chiang Rai and shopping at "Big C" Department Store.
We stopped on the way and had Barbecued Chicken, Som-Tom Papaya Salad and Sticky Rice for lunch. Chom-nom stated that was much nicer then broken rice joke that they feed them in prison. Joke is like a rice stew, kind of like oatmeal but made with rice.
I do not like to shop. When I go to a store I go with a list, buy what I need on the list and get out. We tried to get Chom-nom to commit to what he needed so we could do that but after two years, three months and ten days in prison he wanted to look around. We did get him to commit to two pair of pants (jeans), belt, shirt, underwear, socks, one pair of shoes, shampoo, tooth brush and toothpaste.
One thing that is nice at "Big C" is when you buy your pants them make the length correct right on the spot. That was a great idea and pretty cool, as well. You get the perfect size every time.
It started to rain on the way to Ban AYO. On the way we talked a lot about the disease of addiction and how as addicts we can't take that first drug of any kind. We also talked about alcohol is a drug and it would be hard for anyone to keep from using when our friends and family use. If we drink or use drugs of any kind then we will want other drugs, as well.
It was now raining and just about dark. We came over the hill to the edge of the village and Chom-nom told us to stop. He explained that he had to go through a little ceremony by an elder of the village before he could safely enter the AKHA Village again. They had to put a ring around him and do some blessings to keep the evil spirits out of the village. I kidded that the ring was the circle of love. We all laughed.
It was raining hard now. We had stopped at the village market on the way and bought food for everyone for dinner. We decided to have dinner with the family at his sister, Si's, home.
There were lots of good feelings seeing his family all together with him, again.
I did get discouraged as I watched Mechu, Chom-nom's Mother, pour a shot glass of rice whisky and handed it to Chom-nom. He reached out to take it and Daeng stopped him saying in Thai: "Alcohol is a drug!"
After we ate, the family asked us to stay with them for the night. We explained that we were only forty kilometers from home and would like to sleep in our own bed. We said: "Goodnight" and got back into the car during a period when the rain slacked off a little. We did get really muddy.
We made it home to hot showers and clean sheets. It was a job getting the mud off our shoes and out of and off the car the next day but "This is Thailand!"
It was nice to be home. We went back to work fixing doors, windows, painting and making the old place look like new.
Now, an ongoing problem with me, I am still having trouble accepting folks lying to me to save face or lying for any reason. Folks in this part of the world want to make you happy soooo they will tell you what they think you want to hear regardless if it is the truth or not. That makes me crazy!
Onward through the fog......... This is Thailand!
Daeng's sister-in-law, "Hlong's" cousin, "Newt" who is the second wife of "Aabay" had invited us up into the mountain to a house warming party. It is quite a drive up into the mountains but I told Daeng if she wanted to go, we would go. This is in an area where the opium poppy fields along the Myanmar (Burma) border have been converted to tea plantations.
Most of the invited folks that live in Mae Sai went early in the morning by pick-up trucks. That's correct, maybe 15 people in the back of a pick-up truck. We left mid-day after doing some more work with Mi at the house. It was a two and a half hour drive up the mountain and on roads that my GPS did not show.
This is what a new house usually looks like in this area.
Now here is a picture of Aabay's new home.
It was a big party with lots of food. Everyone helped as there are no catering services here.
Hlong, Daeng's sister-in-law, washing dishes. There were a lot of dishes as they feed almost two hundred folks for the main meal as well as a lot of folks all thru the day for two days.
Then the men chopped up the two pigs that gave their all for the feast.
Daeng helped out were ever she could as she loves to be part of the party.
And then some of us just hung out on the roof and looked beautiful.
Most of the young children had never seen a "farang" (Thai for Westerner) and were afraid of me to start. After an hour or so of kidding they all warmed up to me and then stuck to me like glue.
It was a great meal and a nice party. We turned in early, around 10:00 PM, and the party was still going strong. AaBay's first wife made us a nice bed in one of the downstairs rooms and we slept really well.
We got up around 6:00 AM and had coffee with some of the folks as the kids were getting ready to go to school.
We had a great breakfast and headed down the hill to home. Tun and Hlong road back with us. I felt bad for Tun as he gets motion sickness.
For the next few days we got our part of the home ready to leave for three and a half months while we are in the USA. Tun and Hlong live there also so we just cover our bed and furniture in the master bedroom and put our tools and motorbike in the storage room. When we return in September it's back to home as usual.
On May 24th we had a smooth trip to Pattaya. Easy car rental return at Avis, Air Asia plane was right on time, John, our ride to Pattaya, was waiting at the Bangkok Airport and the folks at Henry's Apartment were happy to see us.
We did have some problems with the noise at Henry's Apartments so yesterday we moved over to the newly remodeled Honey Lodge on the next street. In the past, before it was remodeled, we had stayed there. Here is a little video that was made at the Honey Lodge: CLICK HERE
We are very happy with an artist that was able to take a small newspaper picture of Andrew S. Kinsinger and put it on canvas for us to give his daughter. To our knowledge it is the only picture of him in existence. He was a great man and I am happy to say I knew him. To find out more about him just CLICK HERE.
We will be resting up here in Pattaya until tomorrow when we take the long plane ride back to California. That trip does mess with our heads a little as we leave here at 5:05 PM and land in Los Angeles around 8:00 PM, two hours later. That is after being in the air for over 14 1/2 hours and changing planes in Taipei.
Goodbye Thailand and Hello California!