Friday, October 31, 2014

At Home on the Myanmar (Burma) Border - November 2014

Please forgive my spelling and punctuation, I'm a plumber and not an English major. Just read and have fun

It has been almost a month since we have adding anything to our blog.  We post almost daily at but wanted to keep our blog up to date for our firends that don't use FaceBook. 

I am going to try and post the same way I would in my journal, a day or two at a time. 

After plastering and painting the wall in the kitchen we settled into our normal routine of sleeping, breakfast at morning market, fixing stuff around the house and just taking it easy, so to speak. 

Sometimes we even stop and smell the flowers. 

For those of you that missed the lunar eclipse here is a link that condenses it into one minute.  CLICK HERE

We watched it here and it was amazing to see the "blood moon".

Another cool thing to see here tonight, is the release of hundreds of hot air balloons into the sky. 

The full moon, the stars and the hot air balloons makes the night sky beautiful!

I like to do the laundry as Daeng tells me it makes me look sexy.  If I fold them and put them away I may get lucky. 

We usually go to the Ban Pa Mueat morning market each morning. More than the coffee and Pa Thong Ko, we love the kids. They are usually smiley and happy. We love happy kids!

Time to do a little exercise. Daeng gave me a little incentive to lose weight. She told me if I lose 20 more pounds I can be on top. 

Also, after eating the fat food, Pa Thong Ko, we need to stop and do some exercise. 

After breakfast it's a haircut at the Soi 3 Ban Pa Mueat Barber. His rate is still 50 THB, about $1.56 USD.

Tipping is not usually done in this area but he cuts every hair on my head so I tip him 50 THB, also. Total, a little over $3 USD. 

I laughed at Daeng as she carried on a conversation with a neighbor, roof to roof. It reminded me of my younger days in New York. 

Some bad news, on October 11th, Daeng's sister-in-law fell while she was cooking for a real estate showing of some new shophouses. 

She went to a local cash clinic and they did x-rays and bandaged it up. They told her to go the hospital on Monday and have it operated on.  

We will take her to the government hospital in Chiang Rai, about 60 kilometers south of us, on Monday. 

Well, we are going big town with a Swenson’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Okay, we had to try it. It was a two scoop strawberry sundae for us. By the way, the price was about the same as in the USA, we think. Our sundae was 89 THB, about $2.78 US.

October 13th, it's 5:30 AM and coffee is brewing. Daeng, Kit and I are going to take Hlong to the government hospital in Chiang Rai for treatment on her leg and knee. I don't know much more than that. 

Hlong is not a Thai National so I don't know how things will turn out at the government hospital. It will definitely be a learning and adventure day for me. We are leaving at 7:00 AM for the 60 km trip south.

We heard a noise and looked up, these are power parachutists. (I think that is the correct name.) They have small motors with propellers that keep them aloft. 

We made the trip without any complications, check points just waived us through as soon as they saw it was me. I guess, I'm unforgettable.  I don't know it that is good or bad. That is one of the reasons Daeng tells me I need to be nice ALL THE TIME!

We dropped Hlong and Kit off at the hospital and told them to call us as soon as they knew anything more. 

First stop for us was the Toyota body shop. I had backed into a pole at the last Songkran.  That is when I learned there is a very small blind spot on my backup camera and right side view mirror. It put a ding in the bumper and the bumper moved forward and put a dent in the fender.  

We have the best insurance money can buy in Thailand and we're told to have it fixed.  When we got there, a nice young man took our pictures, along with pictures of the damage. He told me that if my vehicle was hit in a parking lot I would have to pay 1,000 THB (about $31 USD) but if I did the accident it would be no charge.  

I told him I was impressed as this was like a reward for being honest. I asked him if the insurance would go up due to the accident. He said: "No, you are just a driver, not the owner. You're wife owns the car." We agreed and he said to bring it in for 4 days on Wednesday.

We left there and picked up 22 pounds of pineapple for $5.00 USD at the wholesale market next door to Toyota.  

We than stopped and had some vegetarian lunch.  

About the time we finished lunch, Hlong called us and she is ready to be picked up. They did not do anything except take another xray, remove some of the fluid on the knee, wrapped it tightly, gave her crutches and some Tylenol.  

We drove back to Mae Sai.  She is in pretty good spirits and was laughing while she tried to change her pants. 

Next day, October 14th, without getting too
complicated, we went to the Mae Sai Records Office for me to apply for a residence book, usually called a house book. Thais get a blue book but non-Thais can get a yellow book. 

They both do the same thing, they say you are a
resident. Anyway, we were told we needed to jump through hoops on fire, backwards to get one. An expat friend, Peter, had gotten his a year or so ago without much trouble.

We called an attorney
that we have used in the past and he said since the military had taken over the procedure had changed. We made an appointment to see him in Chiang Rai at 10:00 AM. More will be revealed on this, our next adventure. Although things have changed there is more information here: 

October 15th, Well, today we ran around in circles for a while. Yesterday, Daeng had called one of the two numbers we had for attorneys. One of the attorneys had done property leases for us about 4 years ago and we liked him. When she called the first number she ask if this was the lawyer that did the leases for us and he replied: "Yes." She told him we wanted his help in gaining a yellow residence book for me. He said come to his office with all our papers.

We asked for his address and he texted us his email
address. I email him back asking for his physical address so we could meet with him at 10:00 AM as Daeng scheduled on the telephone. This morning when we got ready to leave the house for the 60 km drive to his office, I realized he had not responded with an address.

We called him at his office and ask if it was the same as
 4 years ago. He said it was. We told him is we got lost we would call.

We made the trip to the area we remembered but could
not find his office. We called and asked for directions. He gave us some directions that were on the other side of town. We tried to get him to give us an address so I could put it it our car's GPS. He just kept giving us directions like come by the school and I'm on the right. Anyway, after about 10 more phone calls we found his office.

When we arrive he was not the same
attorney that we had done business with in the past. I ask him if he knew "Jack", the other lawyers English nickname, and he said yes. We explained what had happened and he gave us Jack's cellular number. We called and made an appointment with him at 1:00 PM and he gave us an exact address. We went and had lunch. 

When we met with Jack he told us
everything has changed with the military take over but he could get me a "Yellow Book" within a month. We agreed on 8000 THB, about $250 USD with half now and the other half when I have the book.

We did all the copies of every record he needed. that was every page of my passport showing retirement visas and entry stamps, my 30 year lease to the property, the deed to the property showing the lease was recorded, 3 pictures of me, Daeng's house book, Daeng's Thai ID, our marriage license from our marriage in California and a signed sheet stating we wanted him to represent us.

He said he would do everything with the records office
and then call me to sign for the "Yellow Book".

I feel good about doing business with him and the folks
in his office. Daeng asked me if I will sleep okay now and I stated I would. 

October 19th, It is raining very hard this morning. That is
a good thing as it hasn't rained here in about a week.
It seems like we just got here but we have been in 
Thailand for a month.

Daeng reminded me to have fun as we go back to California in 49 days. I wonder why she is counting the days to return to California? More will be revealed.

Although Daeng looks 19, 

her son, Boonreang, will be 19 tomorrow. Yea, more cake.

October 20th, We did a dy trip to see our Akha friend, Meechu, up in the mountains. 

It was wonderful to see her.  

I rode the bicycle with no tires, you never get a flat that way. 

Everyone laughed at me. 

She also has bananas growing right in her yard.

Now, we need the ice cream to make banana splits. 

October 21st, to help keep me off the streets and out of the bars, opium dens and brothels we keep working on our home.  

It gives us a feeling of accomplishment, also. One of the things we wanted to do was seal the concrete roof over the staircase to the 3rd floor roof.  

Over about two weeks, we put three coats of green roof sealer on this roof.  It looks good and will probably seal it well. Next trip we'll repaint the ceiling inside as the paint is peeling from the moisture. 

By the way, other than not taking off my shoes before standing on the stools, this is the Thai way of reaching stuff.  I kind of like it as I stood on one while Daeng moved the other one. I painted the whole trim with only having to go up and down one time. 

One of the other projects was repairing the wooden door jambs for the small restroom in the part of our home where we park our motorbikes and pick-up.

That was a lot of work with some emotional strife with bad varnish and other problems with doing it. 

I would say we probably will have 40 hours of time involved over a four week period. First we had to cut out the old, bug eating wood.  

Then we had to match the new pieces to the old area, fasten and sand down to match. 

The nice part was we had lot's of help! These kids just wanted to be part of it.  The boy on the right is Daeng's nephew, Gala. Even at age 8, he is a great worker. 

He lives in Chiang Mai but was spending some of his school break with us.  He also has a birthday here so we had cake. 

And ice cream, of course. 

It's birthday soup. It has everything you can think of, pork, chicken, crab, fish, noodles, mushrooms, all kinds of vegetables, secret spicy sause and chili peppers, of course. 

On a spice level of 1 to 10 with 10 being burn your face off, this is an 8. The birthday boy, Gala age 8, wants it hotter.

For me, I'll be happy when the ice cream cake gets here at 6:30. Come on ice cream!


One more thing before I put on clothes to go our into the world, (Did that give you a visual of me sitting naked at the keyboard?) the party last night feeding over 40 people, candles and ice cream cake was about 2000 THB, about $62 USD. It is cheap to party here. Yea, let's have more parties. 

By the way, Thailand rates in the top 5 countries in the world for work day holidays a year. CLICK HERE for more information.

October 22nd, on our way to the Toyota body shop in Chiang Rai we stopped for a rest stop. We love the ventilation of the restrooms.

We dropped off the car at the Toyota Dealer's Body Shop.  

The lady marked off the spots to be repaired and told us she would call us on Monday morning to let us know if we could pick it up Monday. 

They gave us a ride to the bus station.  

We did stop to see our friend Jan at her coffee shop. 

We didn't stay long as she was finished for the day and tired.  She starts out at about 2:00 AM each morning. 

We are going to take the short bus to Mae Sai. That is an air conditioned 17 passenger van for 42 THB ($1.31 US) each.

It is a much better ride than the regular bus. 

A good friend, that does a lot of things to help the Burmese people, had a nice birthday party.  He asked, for the safety of himself and his family, that I not post any pictures of him. 

We had a great time, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, again.

Yes, those are rabbits in the background.  As the party went on some of the girls got pretty rowdy. I do have video to watch, in private. 

I have to make amends here as I am always talking about Daeng's Mother never washing her hands. And that, in eight years,  I have never seen her wash her hands. 

Well, I caught her washing her hands so I can never say that again. 

I almost got her to smile, too. 

October 27th, Since this is where we park our pick-up, I got up at 4:00 AM, had coffee and finished sanding the door jambs so we could clean the place up before picking up our vehicle at the Toyota body shop 

It was a big job cleaning up all the dust on two floors of this side of our home. We also washed the glass. 

We got everything cleaned up by noon and the body shop called to tell us it would be ready in about two hours. 

Now it's motorbike to bus station, short bus to Chiang Rai 60 km south and Tuk-Tuk to Toyota dealer. We always think of it as an adventure. 

Oh, I almost forget, yesterday we bought Sage Red Delicious apples from the USA for $1.35 USD a pound.  I think they cost more than that in the USA. 

October 28th, Our pick-up is back in its home. It slept well last night.

Yesterday, we rode to the Mae Sai bus station on Daeng's motorbike and parked it in a private parking spot for 10 THB (30 cents US). 

We got on the short bus and had an uneventful trip to Chiang Rai. Tuk-Tuk to the Toyota Dealer and looked at truck. 

The bumper had to be readjusted twice so it was straight. I know, farangs (westerners) are so picky.

We stopped and bought 10 kg of pineapple and drove home, stopping on the way to pick up Daeng's motorbike.

I'm going to eat, take another shower and call it a day.

When I said an "uneventful trip", we were stopped at the first checkpoint and the officer that entered the mini-van asked three people to get off. 

Because where Daeng was sitting she got off to allow the three other folks ease of getting out. I could see a lady officer starting to ask Daeng questions so I got off and ask what was going on. 

As soon as she realized I was Daeng's husband she just said: "Okay, get back in the minivan." Things like that seem to happen a lot, maybe because Daeng is Akha. 

The Akha are not always treated or addressed as equals by the people whose countries they now inhabit. 

To read more about the Akha people just click on this link:

Last year, Daeng was stopped at the Mae Chan check point and cavity searched because see was wearing a down jacket.  I was not with her, which may have been a good thing as I would have brought up "Resonable Cause" and "Rule of Law". 

This morning I see a very small mark on the truck bed that I did not think was there before.  It is very small and probably I'm the only one that would notice. Oh well, we all need one little mark so we will have personalities. 

Moving right along with the door jambs repair, I set the door hinges deeper and got the door ready to varnish. 

In this part of the world the jambs are set in concrete so they do not recess the hinges in the door jambs. They flush mount the door hinges to the jambs and deep set the hinges in the door. That way you can replace the door without replacing the jambs.

After that I put a coat of marine varnish on one side of the door. This is a wet room so we use marine varnish.

October 29th, of all things, our toaster broke. Me: "Poor me. My life is so bad. What will I do with no toast."

Daeng: "Get your lazy ass dressed and we'll go to Makro as new toasters are on sale for 199 THB" 

Did you get a visual of me naked at the keyboard? 

I love it when she talks to me like that. 199 Thai Baht is about $6.20 US.

I also bought a pair of shoes for $1.75 US. They didn't feel good when I put them on at home. Daeng told me to cross my legs. They did feel better. 

October 30th, for a leak in the piping, Daeng and I removed the leaking tee and installed a shut off valve in the piping to help with future problems. 

It was a little tricky to do because to the angle of the existing piping in the concrete. 

This small leak may have been caused my the 6.8 earthquake we had a while back. TiT (This is Thailand)

I guess we have to add painting all the piping to our "To Do" list, also.

Next is the leak in the bathroom flooring. We have it down to the corner by the cement support post.

A plumber's work is never done; the leak is coming down into the outside kitchen when the boys take long showers in the third floor bathroom.

Daeng and I dried the area with a large fan, used bleach to kill any mold and re-grouted the area we think is leaking water. 

With guests, there are 5 people sleeping in the three bedrooms on that floor so I'm going to eat and go to bed.
I'll get up early, clean it up and install a new butt sprayer before they get up. 

October 31st, Hey, I had an all nighter, I slept 11 hours without getting up to pee. 

It's 5 AM. I'm up and had a half a cup of high octane coffee. I need to get dressed and go to work finishing the 3rd floor wet room. 

It is funny because I love doing things around our home when I don't have to do things. Now that I have to do this I just can't get behind doing it. (Sounds like to may "do's.) 

In any case, we have this restroom on the remodel list. When we remodel it we'll put back in a western toilet. 

As we get older it becomes a little harder to use this style toilet. 

Here is direction for use of this style toilet: 

I find the elbows on the knees works best.

Myanmar (Burma) has a lot of history.  \Here is an interesting story about the "Flying Tigers in Burma".…/…/flying_tigers.html

I was three months old when this story was in LIFE magazine. 

On the door jambs we put the first coat of enamel. It looks great. 

 A little coffee break and back to painting.

I also, while I had brush in hand put another coat of paint on the small outside fence. 

Happy Halloween! 

Please, don't text and fly!

And always remember: "Say NO to Crack!"