Monday, December 29, 2008

Let There Be Light

I remember as a child one of the fun things that we use to do to keep from getting bored out in the country was to lay on our backs out in the back yard and look up at the sky and look at clouds or the sun rises or sunsets or the evening moon and see what kind of images we could make out in our minds eye , I had a real imagination and I could see all sorts of things . Did you ever play this simple game as a kid growing up. and I must still be a kid at heart because I find myself still doing it today, like this sunrise that we saw on our way to Kanchanaburi yesterday, is it just me or can anyone else see an Angel flying across the sky , bringing us the Hope of a New Day and a New Dawning . Malcolm

Friday, December 26, 2008

Something To Be Proud About

All my life,everywhere I have lived, I have always looked for things to be proud of ,rather than looking for things to critize or complain about or find fault with,and here in my adopted home of Thailand I try to do the same. I am proud of the fact that here in Thailand we have to freedom to live and love and enjoy all that life has to offer , as long as we live by the rules.I am proud of the fact that most expat folks who make Thailand their home and realize their dreams come true ,are very decent people. I could go on and on about things that I am proud of here in the Land Of Smiles And Gentle People . I would like to say that the thing that I am most proud of is the little village that I call home , all of our local leaders do all they possibly can to make sure that all the people that call Sai Yok their home ,live in the cleanest , safest,and most enjoyable place they can make it . I have even notice that they pay close attention to even the smallest detail to make sure that it looks good and not a eye sore , and the thing that amazes me the most, is that they seen to understand the meaning of maintainence.

This coming year , my goal is to look for all I can be proud of and if at all possible to thank the person or persons responsible and give them a big pat on the back, and to remind myself that  This is Thailand. Lets all give it a try. Just one more reason why We're Retired in Thailand and Loving It.  Malcolm and Ciejay

Saturday, December 6, 2008


All the local dignateries were on hand to show their respect and well wishes
A great fireworks display by our village City Hall

I loved the colors in this one

We all held candles and sang the song for the king's birthday

LONG LIVE THE KING ----This was really neat

My Thai wife Ciejay and La La our local English teacher and our adopted daughter

Everyone making speechs and talking about the King and all His good deeds for the country

Our local village and ampore showing their respect and wishing the King a HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Our village is really small, but when everyone comes out from all the little villages in the Ampore, there is big gathering of folks both young and old , everyone loves a party and the Kings birthday comes at just the right time of the year for folks to get together for a time of fun, food ,music, dance and did I say Food ,and I almost forgot ten matches of Thai kick boxing. Some times I think we have the greatest cooks in all of Thailand living in our small village of Wang Pho .This is my fourth year to celebrate the Kings birthday and for the first time I really felt like I was really at home and celebrating my Kings birthday ( and yet still very much an American). It feels good being a expat here in Thailand , and yet feeling at home ,and very happy and content. That feeling doesn't happen over night and it takes a while for us to adjust our minds and lifestyles to the Thai way of thinking and customs. Have you gotten there yet , I'd like to know.
I'm sure most of you had a celebration in your own villages and towns , and I hope you had as much fun as me and Ciejay did .

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beautiful Temple Art in Secret Places

So Beautiful and Peaceful
A Very Rare Sight

Breath Taking

Is This Budda ?

Maybe The First Loy Kra Tong

Budda In All His Glory

Don't Mess With These Guys

My wife and me decided to go for a day drive , we started toward Nam Tok about 14 miles from home and thats when I saw a small sign that said Hot Springs. What the heck , I turned off on a small and narrow dirt road ,thinking it was only a skip and a hop down the road, well after riding thru four small villages and having traveled at least 30 miles along the mountain side and across several small streams , we finally saw another sign saying the springs had dried up. now why could'nt they have put that sign about 25 miles back , T I T .Not even a place on the road to buy a coke or water . While turning the pick-up around on a very narrow road , I happened to look thru the trees and in a field with nothing else around was this beautiful temple. Ciejay being an ex- Buddist was afraid to get out of the car and kept saying honey lets go , I'm a scared, so I decided to go it alone . She rolled up the windows and locked the doors . I walked slowly and with reverance over to the building , that I could see was going thru an outside restoration . I walked around it to take in all the splender and beauty. snapping pictures as I went and for some reason or another feeling a little spooked myself. there was not another soul around. When I got to the back side I noticed that a small tall narrow door was cracked open, I walked up slow and shouted out (not to loud) any body home ?. no one answered so I slowly pushed the door open and walked in . All of a sudden it was if I was in another world , here was a huge Budda up in the front and from top to bottom and overhead and on all the walls was the most beautiful Buddish folk art or stories or icons ,I have ever seen in my life and I'm as sure that not many others have either.I snapped a few pictures of the closes one and it was almost if I had come upon something not meant for all to see. It felt like the Holy of Holies in the Bible to me,like something out of the movie Raiders of The Lost Ark and my whole body was covered with goose pimples, what a strange feeling . I had to leave out of respect for the( and because I was shaking like a leaf) Spirits represented in some of the most beautiful art my eyes have ever seen. I quitely closed the door , and said to myself "lets get out of here "
This experience I will never forget, and was such as I forgot all about not getting to see the Hot Springs . Hope you like the pictures I did get . Malcolm

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Boat Load of Fish and Nicky Boys Birthday

Grilled Rats anyone

Ciejay's family,Son-in -law's parents and aunt
The Ark aka The Aquarium The Gateway

This is one big boat

Nicky Boy or The Ultra Man

Our Thai family A,Nu,Nicky, Ciejay (toon) and Me

This is one long Dragon

Feeding Time

What a great job

Now thats a big fish
We took a trip to visit our Thai family and their relatives a couple weeks ago and to be with our Thai grandson to celebrate his 4th birthday. they live in Nakhon Sawan ,which is about a four hour drive from Sai Yok ,a place not on the list of places for tourist to visit,as it mainly a industrial town, and I was told that they grow a lot of rice also, and from what I could tell a bedroom community for folks from Bangkok. We had planned only a quick week-in trip and then back home , but we saw lots of stuff that we wanted to check out and places to explore. Also on my list of things was to eat at a couple famous restaurants there and to check out this great Thai band my son-in -law told me about ,they have this lady singer that is out of this world, I can't belive she's not cutting records , opps I mean making cd's. think I just dated myself . We booked a private room and had Nicky boys birthday there and did a lot of karoke singing and wine drinking, well thats what partys are for and did I say karoke singing, Thai folks favorite past time , but thats another post .
Nu told us they had just opened a new attraction in town and would we like to go , I thought, ok, a neat little scaled down Dream World, but no to my amazement as we came thru the gates of this park, perched on the banks of the river , was this huge boat, right in the middle of nowhere . I ask what it was because all the signs were in Thai, and they said "wait and see".To my surprise in side this huge ARK was the most beautiful aquarium I had ever seen. it had huge displays tanks along each side and all sorts of fresh and saltwater fish and right down the middle was a huge tunnel made of glass and on both sides of you and everywhere you looked there was fish. What a wonderful experience it was to walk with the fish, and they knew you were there and got up close and personal to interact thru the glass. I loved it . Ciejay did too.
So I thought what a good topic for a post, then ,I read on My Thai Friend's post that they have a great one in Prachuap down south, and then the TV had a special about the one in Chang-mai , that someone told me was the largest in the world, I want to see that one . It will have to go a long way to beat this one in Nakhon Sawan, if you ever get a chance it will be well worth you drive . I think everyone loves a good aquarium, at least I do.
By the way we ended up spending a week there just enjoying the sights and family .Hope you get a chance to see it for yourself. Malcolm
I almost forgot on our way out of town I saw this lady grilling something on the side of the road , I thought was chicken and I was a tad bit hungry so we stopped to see, thats when I saw all these traps and there was huge rats in them and a grill full on the bar b que grilling in their jucies and covered with this special sauce, and in a little box was a bunch of little babies she had rescued and was bottle feeding them. I thought to myself who would eat these things and before you could blink a eye a big black BMW stopped and a lady and man (Thai ) came up and bought them all. I could'nt belive it . I had Ciejay ask her if that was unusual and she said "no" as soon as she has them cooked they sell very fast , and it's off to the rice fields to catch more RATS.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

QUEEN of the DESERT or Ugly Leaf

Like fellow blogger ,Don ,at My Thai Friend ,I love all the varietys of flowers we can enjoy here in Thailand without much effort.By the way Don congratulations on # 200 and hope you continue for 200 more . A friend gave me this ugly leaf as we left his house and said "stick this in a pot ." I almost threw it out the window , but said "what the heck I'll give it a try." I put it in a clay pot and set it on a shelve in our gazbo, and forgot it . Well to my surprise other leaves begin to grow , just as ugly as the first , a pot full of ugly long leaves. I watered it every once in a while and one nite right before turning in about 1 :am ,I looked out the window and there was the most beautiful flower , only one, I had ever seen , and to top it off it smelled like heaven. I woke Ciejay and we went outside and adored it for almost a hour , I could'nt wait to show my sister- in-law. But much to my disapointment it had closed up and dried up and fell off the next morning, Luckly we had taken a picture of it, so I sent it to a friend of mine in Oregon ,who knows everything there is to know about flowers. she sent back a e-mail with pictures she had researched , and she called it the "Queen of the Desert,"it states that it is found mostly in the desert and that it blooms only once a year at midnite and only for only one night . Well this year I waited and waited,then one day I saw little buds and watched them get bigger and bigger, and this time there was three,about 2 weeks I looked out as I was doing every nite at midnite and there they were ,three of the most beautiful flowers again . and what a show they put on as you can see by the pictures. I woke up Ciejay and we adored them for a hour and also took lots of pictures this time to send to friends and family. We can hardly wait till next year.
Has anyone else seen or have this flower and do I have the name right ? Did you enjoy it as much as we did ? And do you look foward to it's ,once a year midnite appearance. Also if you would like a leaf to start you own ,come on over to Wang Pho and we'll be glad to share one of the ugly leaves with you .

Friday, November 14, 2008


I have a friend ,B-Bie , whose friend is the director of the Kanchanaburi Conservation Elephant Camp, and we were invited to spend the day  interacting with the elephants ,Molee , Tom Moon , and Tom Boon. We were to walk in the fields and jungle , cut corn, and feed them , and take them to the river for their daily bath. We did all this and what a great day we had , never in my life have I had such a experience. So , to make a long story short, I was standing on the bank of the river watching folks and the trainers giving the elephants a bath , when all of a sudden, I don't know what come over me , I pull off my cloths and jumped in the river and swim out to Molee and she let me on her back ,and then and there I was swimming with the elephants, what a RUSH.
If ever you get a chance to do the same " do it " I felt just like Tarzan of the movies, and comic books of my childhood . Have you ever done a something so all of a sudden? I hope so . Life is full of surprises. Malcolm

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Market

w It's thursday morning and I can hardly wait to finish my cup of 1,2,3 coffee and jump on the Honda Wave, and head on down to the edge of our little village near the rail road tracks, to a open field and watch it transform into a unbeliveable fresh food and sellers market.Vendors will come from all over the country to set up their tables of food and wares,and bar-b-que grills,and fry pots,and fresh fish stands and pork and beef butcher tables. What a sight to behold , just like a well orchestrated band all tuned and set up and ready to go at the same time .I have spent many a hour just watching them do the same old thing everyday of their lives to make a living for themselves and their families moving from village to village on certain ,set days , bringing with them all the necessities of life to the people who look foward to them every week. and the most amazing thing is that they do it with a smile.
Ciejay and me had already decided that market day would be my housewhole duty. She hates the dirt and dust and almost everytime you just get there it will start to rain.
But what she does'nt know is that market day are the high-lite of my week.
I am amazed at the never ending variety of food and anything else you can think of for sale. Fruits,vegetables,meats,cloths, cell phones , dvd's ,pots and pans and furniture and tools of all sorts , just to name a few of the things for sale or trade.
Pork and beef cut to order right before your eyes, fish cleaned and scaled for you on the spot.All of this done without any worry about the hot weather or the flys and bugs, not to mention the half dozen or so dogs wondering around under foot looking for a handout.
I remember my first trip to the market, Ciejay went with me to translate(really a little hand signs and a few fingers 1 or 2 and tow rai and you're all set)Well I saw this really fresh ,live, big fish on a table in front of me and commented to Ciejay that we could'nt take the whole fish , but I would love to have a couple center cut steaks . Ciejay said something in Thai to the lady behind the table and the next thing I know , I see this big knife coming from under the table and with a chop ,chop I had 2 of the nicest center cut steaks you have ever seen and the head of the fish was still alive and flopping around on the table.Something you would never see in the good ole US of A.
There are live eels , and live frogs and birds and fried and dried bugs and insects , and anything else you can think of . I even saw one vendor with roasted scorpions on a stick , and to my udder amazment people were buying them. All of this to cook ,clean, fry ,grill, boil , whatever ,and put in a plastic bag or on a stick for you to take home and enjoy.
I can't belive that back home we use to worry so much about sanitation, temperatures,refrigeration and fifty other things so much. We had to worry about salmonela, e-coli and anything else that they our friends and family and the good ole health department could scare us with. Why is it that no one seems to worry about those things here in Thailand , it does'nt take long till all us transplants stop worrying too, or knowing things are not going to change in the near future , just go with the flow or so it seems to me. I don't hear to many complaints, just a lot of" man this Thai food sure is good."
Did'nt take me long to figure out that a good hot stove and lots of spices and a whole lot of praying that all that worrying was a big waste of time .
The market I love it , the vendors , I love them, and what a great place to see and meet people. And maybe just maybe if I'm lucky , there just might be a visting tourist that speaks english and I can loosen up my tongue and get my brain back in the right gear and have a good ole english conversation, what a real treat that would be .And who knows what new surprises might be in store for me next week at THE MARKET.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Town,My Town

This is Wang Pho our town , my town. Finally I feel a part of this small village. For two years the people really treated me like a falang, and a short timer ,even tho I volunteered to teach english 2 days a week in our local high school. Wanting to do everything I could do to fit in,I decided after two years that it was a waste of time in our small village, as the students could not see the importance of learning english, no one else spoke english and therefore nobody to practise speaking with, and they forgot this week what you taught them last week , after one year they still cannot remember the words to the song You Are My Sunshine, or anything else you have tryed to teach them, ha ha . But the biggest problem as in most thai schools is that the english Thai teachers cannot speak english themselves, after a hello how are you and a I am fine thank you , and you.From that moment on they look at you and at each other hoping someone will understand something that you have said (but no one does ) and they look at you like you just dropped out of the sky, and what is that strange sound coming from your lips, even tho they are suppose to be english majors and the elite of the local school ," english school teachers ". I cannot to save me figure out how they can call themselves english majors, some even call themselves doctor, where does that come from.Lots of Thai families have ask me to teach their kids english (of course for free) which I don't mind at all , but after a few lessons, when the magic english speaking fairy does not touch them and they don't start babbling in english or you ask them to study something, and because there is no ones paper to copy , they don't show up any more , no phone call, no visit , no thank you for your time , just no show . Now my pat answer is I don't teach english , for pay or for free , I felt I was being a good person,in trying to help them , but I found out I was wasteing my time , after all I came to Thailand to retire not work, am I being selfish?
Now after four years they have decided I am a long stay and now treat me as a member of the village and a part of the Thai family.I really felt good a couple weeks ago when we went out to a local restaurant(any place with a red plastic table and four blue plastic chairs ) and the lady who cooks, serves, and cleans,everything ,says to me "you almost thai man". I felt like I had fullfilled my right of passage. Maybe she said it because I ate some of the hottest dang food I have ever put in my mouth(only because I was hungry) and did not want to eat the famous falang stand-by fried rice, an I had a big smile on my face ,and a big alloe ma. Ciejay is happy that I feel at home here now and I tell my friends from America who ask "how do you like it there " I say just like Mc Donalds We're Loving It, and as my Dad would say " it don't get any better than this ".
This the first of many post to come concerning my town, I really
hope you enjoy and look foward to reading them . let me know . Malcolm