Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Family Affair

The one thing that I love about Thailand and the LOS and Gentle People is the closeness and comaradery of the Thai families . Wheither it be at home , the yard , the garden, the rice fields, catching fish or the harvesting of a money crop, and some of these money crops are free for the picking ( I was to learn about one such crop today ), but it takes a lot of work and togetherness to make it a profitable venture. Today I was riding my Honda back from the market and was taking a short cut thru the trees , when something started to fall on my head and all around , I heard laughter and looked up to see a Thai man high up in a tamarinnd tree shaking it with all his might , just as I passed under (he didn't see me coming or did he ?) I stopped to see what the heck was happening and was greeted by the whole family with a friendly Wai and also a" Sawadee Kop" , "how are you " , "where you live ?", "how long you stay Thailand"?We pick tamarinnd for to sell, you like to eat?, We sell to a restaurant in Kanchanaburi. After struggling to answer the questions and taking a cuuple pictures, I bid them good-by and went home to take dinner to Ciejay and share my story with her. She then told me that there are two kinds of tamarinnd trees , one is sweet and the other is bitter . the sweet one they sell for you to eat shelled and coated with either sugar or peppered sugar also they use the sweet kind to make lots of different kinds of Thai desserts , the bitter one they take out of the shell (brown and dry) and remove the seeds and squeeze it into balls the size of softballs , they put this ball in a plastic bag and it will last for a whole year . Now the bitter tamarinnd is used by the restaurant to add to soups and to make tum yum and all shorts of cooked dishes . My son ,who is a chef in America said that they had to order from an Asian market , and that it was very expensive, but he said you can not prepare an authentic Thai dish without it. With all that said , today I got to see a family working together for their lively hood , I also learned about the tamarinnd tree and the different kinds and uses of this pod I had seen all over the road on the way to the market and back home for a few weeks out of the year , without really knowing what I was seeing. You know every day is a new experience and I learn something new every day, here in this paradise called Thailand , and I only hope I'm around for a long time to experience and learn all I can about this place called, LOS and it's Gentle People. Malcolm

Have you ever eaten sweet tamarinnd ?, I have ,I like it , but it sticks to my plastic teeth, ha ha

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


A Visit To The Doctors

Ciejay says it's time for her monthly visit to the Dr.Well we have to drive all the way to Kanchanaburi as our small hospital here in Wang Pho can't do a Pt blood test . Ciejay takes Warfarin, as she has had a valve transplant and this keeps her blood thin , but have to be careful not to thin , therefore a PT blood test every month. Which means every month a trip that starts at 6 o'clock am till 6 o'clock pm before getting home .If you have ever been to a Thai hospital you will know what I mean by all day affair, if not I will try to explain a little , . No you don't call for an appointment , you just show up and it's first come first served and I can asure you thats it's always crowded,and it's as if it's every man or woman for himself to get in the place . But to my surprise no matter how many or how busy it seems, the nurses and staff seem, cool, calm ,and collect and with that smile ,that Thai's are so famous for. They have every thing under control. get in line , start here , go ,there , finally sit here and wait till they call your name , then proceed to that area, and take this nunber, and sit in these chairs, till the nurse tell you to go in and see the Dr. Hello how are you ?. how do you feel ?where does it hurt ?. ok this medicine will fix you right up . go sit outside till I write the prescribed medicine for you, then take it to that window and wait for them to call your name and give you your medicine, and if it does not make you better, when it runs out come back, and we'll try something. It goes something like that , since I can't speak Thai , this is my interpretation of the whole thing , I know it sounds like it happens in a few minutes time , but let me asure you it can take all day. as a general rule there are only three or four doctors to see the general public , and when there is at least a couple hundred people there you sometimes wonder if they will ever call your name , then there it is that wonderful sound "Ciejay Burgess" and in you go and finish you run of the gountlet and you're on your way home , of course not without a stop at Tesco Lotus to shop for a few things you need , and a stop at a road side market to buy dinner in a plastic bag to go , all this in a day at the hospital and another day in the LOS.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Malcolm's Bucket List and Ramblings

I know you've heard the ole saying "been there , done that ". well, I'm reminded of a song that a group of young men from Australia sang in a church service that I was in in Alaska in 1968, one of the lines was like this " I've been a lot of places and I've seen a lot of faces , but there's still a lot of things that I want to do ."They were know as the Gospel Firebrands .And I never forgot those words and I have tried to cram as much places and as many faces into this life of mine that I could . but at 72, I find that I have still come up short of all the things I want to see and do and some faces that I want to see before I leave this old world. I guess that was the idea behind the hit movie The Bucket List , staring Jack Nikelson and Morgan Freeman, two ole farts each dying of incurable diseases, and each regretting , that there were things that they always wanted to do, so they made up a list and set about doing and seeing all of them they could before the kicked ,THE BUCKET, so to speak.

"I've been there and done that", we hear people say that all the time ,and if they were really truthful about half of the time it's just wishful thinking and not reality. and the same goes for me . I think sometimes we all embellish the truth , when we are together with old and new friends and sometimes it gets into a Bigger , Better, Best contest and pretty soon a little exaggerating here and there, and down right tell of lies. Ever happen to any of you ?, be truthful now
I lived in Alaska for 25 years and there are two kinds of folks in Alaska , sourdoughs and cheechakos, the later being simply put , a newbie or a new comer to the last frontier , and life ain't easy being a tender foot in this great frontier land,and to be a full fledged sourdough you had to do three thing before you could claim this right of passage .Everyone after all those years of living there considered me a Sourdough ,and all thought for sure that I had done them all.

1.--kill a grizzly bear
2.-ride a caribou
3- take a pee in the Yukon River.

Well, before I die, I want to take a pee in the Yukon River , I want to walk , not just see , but walk on the Great China Wall, I want to go Camping in the Out Back of Australia, I want to float down the great Amazon River,I want to fly a ultra-lite airplane, I want to hang glide off a mountain top somewhere in Thailand or (anywhere). And last ,I want to get together with all my ,Sizzler, buddies face to face , and swap life's stories.

I'm not dying of any incurable disease that I know of, and I don't have one foot on my the grave and one foot on a banana peel as they say, and I'm not quite over the hill yet(getting close to be sure ),But from time to time I do find myself making a mental list of things I would like to do., call it a Bucket List , if you want to , I just hope I'm a long ways from kicking it yet.

But, if Ciejay has a say in any of this ,about as far as I will get will be out to the Hammock and with my mind and thoughts in the clouds over Wang Pho ville, and not in a ultra-light or a hang glider . So don't bother looking up.

Maybe , just maybe , I can skip down to the very bottom of my list and and get to see a Buddy or two, anyway I hope so. Malcolm

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I was reading a blog last night about a fence, and the building of a fence and how important it was to this person to get this done, before they could go any father with their project . And for some reason, to save me I could not go to sleep all night , the word fences keep going around in my head like a roller coaster at a county fair.Before I continue my rant , I would like to give you a few quotes about fences from some notable people.

1.- "A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you from over the back fence and doesen't climb over."----Arthur Baer

2.-"Fear is the highest fence."------Duddly Nichols

3.- "Good fences make good neighbors.-"----Robert Frost

4.-"Don't fence me in. song: "Cole Porter

5.-" What have they done to the earth,what have they done to our sister?/Ravaged and plundered /and ripped her/and bit her/stuck her with knives/in the side of the dawn,and tied her with fences and dragged her down."---Jim Morrison of the Doors.

Now for some strange reason ,fences and me just don't get along , I know, they are there for different reasons , to keep things in , to keep things out , to protect and to make feel secure the fearful , to claim a boundry, and to say with a bold (most of the time . but not always) statement, and ugly FENCE that says" this is mine, stay out, unless I tell you otherwise, no tresspassing, violaters will be shoot.
I guess this all stems from experiences from my childhood, and some in my adult live as well. In my child hood ,I had my favorite fishing and hunting places and secert places to just go and dream about what it was going to be like when I got big. Then one day I go out to hunt or fish or day dream,and there in front of me is a fence with a big sign that read NO TRESSPASSING , now I had been going there for a few years, and had never harmed anything or anyone , and could not understand what had changed, well to make a long story short , the land had sold and the new owners , even tho they never hunted , or fished , or even took a walk to my secret place , they did'nt want anyone else to either. It didn't matter to them ,that I was their neighbor and had lived and hunted and fished, there all my young life, sometimes with my friends, those days were over and done.,gone forever.

I remember when I was living in that great frontier state of Alaska , that a old homesteader told me , to see for myself, that if a Texan bought a piece of land ,large or small ,the first thing they will do, is to fence it in, and put up a NO TRESSPASSING sign, and you know he was right , I would have to drive miles , down the road just to get to my favorite fishing place because , they had put a FENCE across the path that I took thru the woods to get to the creek.

I guess all this has left a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to fences. And now that I am here in the LOS and Gentle People , what is their obsession with fences ???. When we bought our little piece of land and house, way out in a small village ,on a dead end road , at the foot of a mountain, on a private road too, that the first thing my sister -in -law ask me was when was I going to put up the fence , well , when I got thru telling her my point of view about fences , my Thai wife was in tears and my sister-in -law did'nt speak to me for six months .NO, I will not put a fence around my house , I don't want to have to raise my head to see down the road to my neighbors and when I look up to only be able to see the tops of the trees and half of the sky ,sunsets,and sunrises , and have to run outside and open the gate ,and do I have to decide whether I'm going to let them in or not,eveytime someone wants to visit , and I dont mind a little cow or dog poop in the yard sometimes , makes for good fertilizer, and a good sling shot to the back side will get them at bay. I love the wide open spaces and the clear view down the road, and the frendship and smiles of our neighbors as they walk by ," sawadee kop," and I respond "sabi de mai , kop". If you have a fence already well , ok , I understand , I really do , but if not ,don't sweat the small stuff, and I've been here in our village for 4/1/2 years and have yet to see the BAD PEOPLE , they say the FENCE is suppose to keep out .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Visit To A Coconut Farm

A Visit To A Coconut Farm and Factory

My best friend B-Bie , manager of the Big Sheep Resort here in Wang Pho , was raised in Prachuap Khiri Khan, he still has a Mom and brother and lots of family that live there now . We were talking one day and he was telling me about growing up in Prachuap and that his family owned a coconut farm and that his childhood was spent on a coconut farm , well this was all very interesting to me as I had no idea about raising coconuts for commercial use.And all the many uses of the coconut and the tree and all the bi-products made from it. I guess I was asking to many questions , and B-Bie said ," next week we go to Prachuap and see my Mom and the coconut farm and my friend coconut factory and then you see for yourself and don't have to ask , and you can stay at my friends little resort on the beach and we will drive around the country and you can take lots of pictures."Well I could hardly wait till time to go , it is a seven hour drive from Wang Pho and a very beautiful drive to say the least . Was a easy drive, as far as directions go , from Wang Pho 321 to right before Bangkok turn right on Hwy. # 4 and away you go .We left home about six o'clock a.m.and,we got there just in time for lunch . We checked in at the resort and headed straight for a little beach side restaurant , that was one of B-Bie's favorite , and as it turned out will be #one on my list on our next visit also.From there we went to the country side for a beautiful drive and then , a long trip down a dirt road to the family coconut farm , you will not believe it, but it was harvest time on the farm and they were cutting the coconuts from the tall and I mean tall trees and bringing them to the house to be sorted and counted and ready for the factory truck to pick up the next day. I thought that you got coconuts once a year like any other crop , but nooooo they can harvest them every month , and lots of them too,as you will see in the pictures . After the harvest and show and tell and join in the work time ,it was time to eat and our little resort had a great cook ,and we ate our dinner right on the beach again. Now the great thing about this beach is there was noone else and no other resorts around for miles we, were just like on a Island all to our selves . What a great and relaxing evening we had . At night the squid boats were out in force, right in front of the resort a couple of hundred yards,. out , but we could see their lights and watch them pulling in their nets. it was breath taking to say the least , next morning breakfast at another restaurant right on the beach again with very few folks around, and a great view as you will see in the pictures. and then off to the coconut factory, but not before a great foot massage , to watch the process from start to finish .I could almost write a mini book about the experience there , but will just show pictures and let you see it in action.I would like to say that it was a high light of times in my travels around Thailand.That afternoon ,after it cooled down we were off to a Thai Temple that was located way up on a mountain top , were you could really as they say "see for miles ". so much to tell , but again will let the pictures speak for themselves . Then before going back to the resort B-Bie suggested we go to his favorite spot , known by few , and have a cup of coffee before dinner .I tried to buy a small little house that was empty , just so I could live there part of the year and have it for friends, the rest of the time . But they have big plans for the area if the economy picks up again , and said no , I hope somehow it never happens for this beautiful place as it would be a shame to spoil it at all , even tho they have started a little already . Then off to the resort for dinner and , this evening a swim in the ocean for me and feet wet for Ciejay, a good nites sleep and then breakfast and a nice drive back home . Needless to say this place called Prachuap is a beautiful place to visit and on our list for a longer stay this summer . Thanks to my friend B-Bie for this wonder ful experience and for being a great tour guide. Malcolm

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentines Day 2009

I have been celebrating Valentines day since I was in the first grade in elementry school , way back when.I can remember cutting out heart shaped red construction paper and writing I LOVE YOU on lots of them and ,we would give them out to all our friends , the most popular kids got the most cards. And there was always that bigger and special card for that cute girl that sit in the front row near the teachers desk. And as always the special card would say "I love you," and then on the back was "do you love me???" You know , no mater how old we are we are still asking this same question of all our friends and folks we know and meet on this journey thru life ,"I love you", " do you love me?" , and our joy and happiness in life seem to rise and fall on these simple questions, and the answer.
TAKE FOR INSTANCE: St. Valentine , who started this whole thing many ,many, years ago., he was rejected by his mistress and was so heart broken ,that he took a knife to his chest and sent to her, his still beating heart, as a token of his undying love for her. Hence heart shaped cards (the card companys say this is the second biggest seller , Christmas being the number one ) are now sent, as a tribute to his passion and suffering.
I think he went a bit to far myself, but who can fully understand LOVE, and to all of you blooger buddies and friends and family and folks from (maybe ) around the world,that will read this post YES !!!!!! I DO LOVE YOU , sometimes I may not like you , and sometimes I may not understand your point of view and question the things you do , but I will always love you , I want cut out my heart to show you how much , but I would ,(if the need should ever arise) lay down my life to show how important you are to me and how much I care .
Greater love hath no man than this , that he lay down his life for a friend. JESUS said that.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Visitors To My Backyard

Visitors To My Backyard and Memories

Inspiration for this post comes from the latest post by My Thai Friend,about birds and dogs .I have always loved birds as long as I can remember, altho some of my memories or not from just seeing them and taking pictures as I do today .My first memory comes from as a five year old kid growing up in rural South Carolina, in the 40's . My dad was always teaching my Brother and me about life and living, every occasion he got , this time he was showing us how to make a sling shot from a tree branch and rubber from a old tire inter tube, he made a good one and to show us how it worked he said" see that bird in that tree" ,he shot a rock and Bonk, he hit the bird and killed it , now another lesson in life comes quickly , and "remember that whatever you shoot and kill you have to eat" well we ate that little bird after Mom cooked it , and cried the whole time . But needless to say we ate lots of little birds and frogs and squirrels,and rabbits.My brother and our friends loved to play in the woods in our forts and tree houses , and we always had our trusty sling shots with us . When we were teens we moved to Florida for a few years and I can clearly remember early in the morning walking or riding to school ,seeing the power lines just filled with wild parakeets of every color ,I read a few years later, where the last male parakeet that was in capitive died ,gone forever. During my adult life I had lived in Oregon for a few years and can remember driving along the country road and seeing ,red winged black birds sitting on all the farm fences, and wild pheasants,running thru the rye grass fields, now they are no more or very few , gone now or soon ,forever.I could talk about memories and birds forever , but then it would be a book and not a post.
Well, you might ask "what happened to all these birds that caused them to disappear",well I have my theory, and here goes > The state road crews used DDT to keep the grass off the sides of the roads and ,farmers use pesticides to kill the bugs from their crops and people use weed killer and pesticides to control the insects and unwanted grass around their house and this has resulted in the killing off off many species of insects, the beautiful butterflys that used to visit your gardens and flowers and many, many birds.We have a beautiful yard and hundreds of plants and flowers growing , if the grass gets to high or in the flower beds or around the rocks for the walkways , I get off my lazy a-- and pull the weeds and cut the grass with a blade , not a mower to kill lots of bugs and insects in the process and never use any kind of pesticides to control anything , and be careful of all the fertilizers you use these can kill too, but if you use these thing go ahead, but don't cry when no birds come around to sing you a love song and you look up in one of my trees and see a bird nest with a couple little heads sticking out saying " the next worm is mine ",and yours are empty of birds, And you look over and my yard is full of birds , butterflys , and my pond has frogs and snakes and winged vistors all the time , and I don't even feed them. they eat the bugs if the population gets out of hand , altho they do love some table scraps every once in a while , and you have no vistors to your yard all I can say to you is SOM NAM NA. And stop being one of the problems and save the birds. Here are a few pictures of a couple vistors to our back-yard hope you enjoy them.
"This is my post and I'm sticking by it" as the song goes Malcolm