Friday, April 1, 2016

Yea, Back to Thailand - March 2016

Please forgive my spelling and punctuation; I'm a plumber and not a English major. Just read and have fun.
You can click on any of the pictures and they become larger.  

Yea, we are back in Thailand.  

18 hours in the air but we made it. 

Our driver, Jon, picked us up at the Bangkok airport and drove us to the hotel in Pattaya, about 120 KM south.

The hotel was sold out and did not have the room we book online so they put us in the penthouse. I like the room we booked better so we will change later today.

The “Penthouse” sounds nice but in this hotel it was added on the roof and only has air conditioning in the 
one bedroom.

Well, we showered and slept a few hours. We got up about 10:00 AM, changed rooms and unpacked.

I am going for a 2 hour massage, rest a little and then go to a meeting with some friends at 5:30 PM.

Daeng is going shopping.

Then, it will be early to bed so we can beat jet-lag, we hope.

Had a 2 hour Thai massage, it was an oil massage but her name is "Thai".

I was really hungry so flipped a coin about what to eat.

Now a 1 1/2 hour rest before the 5:30 PM meeting

March 17 - We slept until about 4:00 AM. We had coffee in our room and answered a few emails.

Then we took a “Baht bus” to the little family owned Thai breakfast place.

A Baht bus here is a pickup that you can sit in the back that makes a continuing circle down two streets and returns. You pay 10 Baht (about 29 cents USD) when you get off.

We gave the sweet lady, the Mother and chief cook of the place, a box of candy we brought from USA. She was very happy to see us.

Now a little rest at our hotel room before we rent a motorcycle and see the dentist at 10:30 AM.

We rested a little and then rented a motorbike.

On the way to the dentist, a mini bus ran us almost off the road. Because I was beside it I banged on the side of the mini bus. The driver then pulled over to the curb, blocking our way, so we had to stop. Then the driver wanted to beat me up like it was my fault.

We just drove on to the dentist. TIT. (TIT = This Is Thailand)

While I am typing, Daeng is having a broken tooth repaired. The dentist is going to coat the exposed surface of the tooth she was complaining about being sensitive.

For the last two years Daeng has been complaining about that tooth. Today it doesn't hurt, go figure.
I'm next in the chair.

After Daeng finished, I got in the chair and had the bottom jaw deep cleaned. I did need some fillings (4), to look beautiful. I came back at 3:00 PM and Dr. Bo finished my teeth.

Total bill, with 2 x-rays, one cavity filled for Daeng and a tooth rebuilt (the one in the x-ray in last post) and 2 quadrants deep cleaned along with 4 fillings for me, was 7,700 Thai Baht or $220 USD.

We love Thailand!

March 18th - Last night,  I went to an International meeting. It was very cool as you could share for a few minutes, about anything that was bothering you, in whatever language you spoke.

I am, still after 19 years, amazed at the power of the NA groups.

Hugs from the Holy City of Pattaya, Thailand.
Here is a list of a lot of things you can do and see in the Holy City.  CLICK HERE

We went for a little ride to a meeting in Jomtien Beach.

It's Friday night and time to party!

March 19th - Oh no, it's 5:30 AM and the hotel Internet is down until later this morning. 

What will we ever do?

We had breakfast and went for a little walk.

I find myself drifting back and forth between the second and third stage of being an expat in Thailand.

Here are the stages: First, we come to Thailand and love everything about it. We love the people, we love the culture, we love the food and we just love everything.

In the second stage we start to see things that aren't right and need to be changed. We progress into thinking that everything is wrong and should be changed.

In the third and happy stage we give up our 2nd stage thinking and again love everything about Thailand.

By the way, many of us never make it to the third stage.

The pictures from this morning show many things from: don't use ice in your drinks to be careful where you eat as well as pictures of the wonderful people here. 

Cool meeting at noon today. It was another international speaking meeting; you can talk about anything that is bothering you in your native language.

Beside the English speaking folks there was one Icelander, one Russian, one Fin and one fellow from Baltimore. I could not understand the fellow from Baltimore, MD.

March 21st - Yesterday, I went to four meetings while Daeng went shopping. We were going to go for a walk down Pattaya's Walking Street last night but decided to go to bed early and get some sleep (code word) as we travel today. 

Here is a link to over 10 stories we wrote, that have 'Walking Street" mentioned several times with pictures. When you get to the bottom of a page in the blog, just click on "next posts" for more.

We travel to Bangkok, by car, today. Jon is picking us up at 11:00 for the 150 km trip north. We will rest tonight and go visit Daeng's brother early Tuesday morning. 

He is staying at the Bangkok Hilton. 

Jon picked us up on time in Pattaya and we stopped halfway for a little lunch.

We are checked into our favorite room at the White Orchard Guest House in Nana Soi on Sukhamvit Road.

Yes, this is one of the three major fun zones in Bangkok but with the Sky Train it is easy to get to just about any place in Bangkok.

Daeng went shopping and I may go for a massage before my nap.

Up early, 5:00 AM, motorcycle taxi ride to FoodLand for breakfast.

We did see one of Daeng's brothers in front of the 7-11. (It’s a joke.) 

We  kiddingly speak of fat people as the other person's brother of sister. ) He makes me look skinny.

I did speak with him later in the day and yes, he has some health issues. 

If you like shopping, Bangkok is the place.

This shiny, sequined dress in the window is $10.00 USD.

Jon picked us up early and registered for a visit at the Bangkok Hilton. It was only a 45 minute drive and a short walk across the moat.

We were in the que for a 10:00 AM visit. We will have to hang out for the next hour and a half.

This is a busy hotel, the Hilton family would be proud.

We were informed that we can't take anything into the hotel, except the clothes we are wearing, so we bought a lock for the lock boxes furnished when we enter.

I was also told that I could not enter the Bangkok Hilton in shorts. It's a high class place. We rented some long pants.

They only had pink. How do I look?

Here is a picture of the nice ladies that helped us. 

They come to visit regularly.

Daeng says there is something superstitious about leaving the locks. There are hundreds of them around the grounds by this entrance.

Well, they let us back out.  He just said he screwed up and will be there a long, long time.  He just told the family a few years so his mother would not worry.

We are now in que to buy things for him by ordering from a prison store.

I'm glad we we're just visiting and I never want to come back. 

We are happily saying "Goodbye" to the Bangkok Hilton!
Jon, our driver, laughed at us!

On the way back we stopped to eat in the Tobacco Monopoly.  

CLICK HERE to learn more about the tobacco Monopoly. 

We have done everything we need to do in this part of Thailand. Our teeth are good; we visited our brother so it's time to head north.

I booked our flight north along with 65 km (143 pounds ) of checked baggage for Thursday at 12:35 PM on Nok Airlines out of the old Bangkok airport.  Cost on Nok airlines, with baggage was just a little under $120 USD.

I am going to go to a 6:00 PM meeting while Daeng is still shopping and tomorrow at 7:00 AM we are headed to see something we have only seen in videos.

March 23rd - 5:20 AM, breakfast at "Took Lae Dee" at FoodLand Soi 5 on Sukhamvit Road in Bangkok.

We also got a note from Jenifer with her BRAND NEW!!! Thai language song w/great video
performed by Yui Karlberg ( Yui Karlberg Music ) & friends, writers: j divine, Waritsara Karlberg , "Bpoo" from Udon Thani

Title is "WASTE OF TIME! CLICK HERE for it. 

We are a little sad as after the hour and a half ride to get here we are told the train won't run again until April.

Here is the link so you can see what we wanted to see: CLICKHERE!

After the disappointing trip to see the train run through the Maeklong Railway Market, we stopped to see how sea salt is harvested.

It is quite a simple process; sea water evaporates and leaves the salt. 

Of course it has to happen many times to get much salt.

March 24th- It's the "Took Lae Dee" restaurant at FoodLand for American Breakfast. Took Lae Dee translates to "Good and Cheap".

This will also be the last American Breakfast for a couple of months. 

Thais eat the same things for all meals.

Daeng says: “Poor fellow got his eye pocked out.”

We fly north today. Jon is picking us up for ride to airport at 10:30 AM.

Jon picked us up at guest house and we arrived at Don Mueng Airport without any complications.

We checked in, made it to gate without stopping at McDonald's or Burger King and are now waiting for plane. 

The old airport has been fixed up a lot over the last few years.

We take off at 12:35 PM and land at 1:50 PM. Guy, a neighbor in Mae Sai, is picking us up at Chiang Rai Airport for the 60 km ride north to our home.

When we landed there was a band waiting for us.

I will admit, it is a little scary to smell smoke on the plane. It is not the plane, the jungle is on fire.

It is also a little warm, 105°F.

We made it home.

Both motorbikes and the pickup started right up.

We are half unpacked and will be happy to sleep in our own bed.

March 26th - I stayed in bed all day yesterday. 

Daeng did send San-la, one of my favorite massage ladies, to give me a 2 hour Thai massage.

We got up this morning and had breakfast at the Ban Pa Mueat morning market.

It was great to see everyone, especially the kids. 

Yiu is happy with Mom, too.

This is also a perfect picture of working mother's child care. 

They teach pole dancing at a young age. 

On the way home, after breakfast at the market, it's time for a little workout. 

We may have another interesting chapter of the story of Ban AYO. Today, Chom-nom came to visit us and have lunch. 

He has eight children in the shelter now. The official Grand Opening and his wedding will be April 10th. He came to invite us personally.

We will visit him in the next few days.

You can read of the many stories by CLICKING HERE

March 27th - Happy Easter to everyone. We got up early, went shopping and then church.

 It was great to see and hear a little fire and brimstone in Rev. Sunit's sermon.

My sister, Diane, sent me this picture of the Easter of 1961.  

From left to right is Suzy, Diane, BJ (my 1st wife), me, Mother and Sylvana. 

From the look on Sylvana's face she was not having fun at that moment. 

March 28th - After coffee and fruit for a little breakfast we installed some vinyl bumper molding to cover the small ding I put in it.

I have to remind myself: "If I am backing up I am looking for an accident."

It's time to renew our pickup's registration and insurance. We bought it two years ago, yesterday.

We had it serviced and put 100% synthetic oil in it. It has only 8,018 km on it. Next oil change will be 18,000 km. Oil change, 7 liter and service 3,443 THB ($99 US).

The registration with tax was 2,027 THB (about $58 USD) and the best insurance we can buy was 17,802 THB ($509 USD) for the year. It covers the vehicle completely with a 1,000 THB ($29 USD) deductible.

The bodily injury only pays 100,000 THB (about $2,900 USD). We tried to buy more but were told that is the maximum.

That whole process made us hungry so we stopped for soup.

After lunch, I spent a little time replacing one of the butt spray hoses and fixed a shower head in another bathroom.

A plumber's work in never done. The nice part of being a plumber is we never die, we just smell that way.

After fixing a few things around the house, Daeng and I went to look at a Luan style house that is for sale.

A Luan style is masonry walls on first floor and then wood for second floor.

This one is a big house with two apartments in a side building all placed on a huge lot. It also has a guest apartment on 1st floor, 4 living quarter’s total.

The down side is has been let go and the termites have been hungry.

The price is over 4,000,000 THB, $114,000 USD. Gut feeling is it is too much work for us.

March 29th - Busy morning, called China Airlines for seats on return flight in June, picked up money at ATM, picked up registration for car at Toyota Dealer and stopped for breakfast, chicken in Huai Khrai.

We are going to Chiang Rai to have some joint lubricant shot into my knees.

It's cheaper here, total cost about $100 USD a shot, which is less than my co-pay if I could get insurance company to approve it.

We made it to the hospital, checked in and did blood pressure.

Pretty nurses always make my blood pressure go up.

Well, saw the doctor, gave some blood for a liver panel because I am also taking Terbinafine and gave a 50% deposit on the drugs that will be injected in my knees.

It is an expensive drug for Thailand folks, about $77 USD for 25 mg ( 1 injection ). Because I have a good tolerance we are going to double up and inject 50 mg a knee at one time.

It will take about a week to get the drug.

After this visit to the hospital it's time for ice cream sandwiches. That's right, ice cream between two slices of bread.

Next stop is Ban AYO.

We had a wonderful afternoon. 

We visited Chom-nom and some of the kids in Ban AYO.

I am going to keep this short as the pictures should tell the story. It did our hearts good to see that a project we started helping with, 10 years ago, is working. 

Sometimes good things take time. Many folks refer to it as God's time.

The place is livable with water, electricity, restrooms, beds, cooking area and will get better from here.

We are returning April 9th for the pre-wedding function and then the Grand Opening and Chom-nom's Wedding on April 10th.

Ingrid Allen, as you can see in the picture, your "Love Bears" are loved.

It is redundant but if you want to read of some of the past of Ban AYO just click on this link: CLICK HERE! 

March 31st - We rested yesterday. Today wstarted in the Mae Sai Morning Market, it's coffee, Pa Thong Ko and prayer.

After coffee and Pa Thong Ko in the morning market, we went to look at the house and land on the hill and then stopped by the river.

I really like the view on the mountain property but to build or repair anything, all supplies and materials would have to be packed in from road, about 500 meters from bottom road and 450 meters from top road.

I think we will keep looking for house for Daeng's Mother.

Then there is always time for exercise.

I like the back roller machine and after I do it 40 or 50 times, I have less back pain.

After exercising we stopped at the 7-11 for another coffee and to make some folks laugh.

We were told this little ladies’ daughter or family member came and got her, while we were in California, so she would not have to live on the street.

She ran away and came back here.

It was a great morning. We made 47 folks smile, 23 laugh and at least one girl pee her pants.

We, on the way home, stopped to see an old friend. His wife passed away while we were in California.

We also took another look at the house on the hill.

After another look we think we can get materials, by motorbike trailer, within 4 or 5 meters of property.

Here are lots of pictures but it is still hard to show the terrain.

I guess the question is: "Are we ready for this challenge?"

We need to spend a few moons thinking about this.

Daeng talked to a few friends on this hill and was told this pinkish house was for sale for just a little more than the other property.

We will have to make arrangements to see it.

All that house shopping and picture taking made us hungry for chicken feet soup.

While we were on the hill looking at other houses we just stumbled into this brown house (plumber's brown) that is also for sale.

It's to smokey for a good view today but on a clear day should be able to see forever.

The asking price is double the other places, 700,000 THB, about $20,000 USD.

The nice part is it can be lived in now, "as is", and can get here on a motorbike.

It has two small bedrooms, larger master bedroom, two restrooms (One with western style toilet.), living room and kitchen.

There are a few things that need fixing but nothing really major.

We will need to think about it, sleep on it and talk it over again, tomorrow. 

That will be another story as today is the last day of March, 2016