About Us

We are a married couple who will be retiring in 2014 and moving to Thailand to experience life in another culture and experience adventures we could have only dreamed of a few years ago.

You are welcome to join us on our adventures through this blog. We hope you enjoy the trip as much as we do.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bikes, Fireworks and The King's Royal Guards

Just like in America, when the President of the United States is in your town things change, roads close, barricades are put up and there is a large military presence for their protection. Well.........almost like in America.

From the roof of our condo we have watched the placement of 7 massive statues of the Kings of Thailand in a new park. 

Ratchapakdi Park south of Hua Hin was the start/finish line of a bike ride event lead by Princess Pa to raise funds for completion of the park.  Many of the participants were military and their friends and family.

After the ride there was a concert and fireworks on the beach. 

This was a test firework the night before and is our favorite because of the clear sky and reflection in the ocean and pond on the golf course.

His Royal Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is loved by the people deeply and when a member of the Royal Family is nearby there are also many of the Royal Guard.  We saw a sign in the elevator of our condo that said the military had permission to use the roof for 48 hours. Hmmm.......how are we going to have our morning coffee and watch the sunrise and sunset on the roof ? So we asked in the main office and they said, “No, cannot.”

It is time to watch the sunset and we just had to see if it was at all possible to be on the roof.  Sure enough, there were other people using the pool and lounging around while Sakhon and Noom (More on first names in a minute) were busy with their radios and binoculars watching out over the golf course and beach for any signs of trouble.

They smiled, said hello and we stayed until dark. Sakhon was interested in Vince's pictures and we exchanged looking at each others albums on our phones. We said good night and went downstairs shaking our heads.....”That was different!”

In the morning we made two extra cups of coffee and brought fruit upstairs hoping to be able to have our coffee with the sunrise. It was still dark and when Sakhon saw us he said, “Come! Come!” We gave him the coffee and fruit and he said in a very shocked voice, “For me?” He was genuinely surprised.

As we enjoyed our coffee overlooking the ocean we could hear their spoons gently clinking as they stirred in cream and sugar and it made us very happy. The sun was almost up when Sakhon came over to say thank you. We each managed pretty well with our limited Thai and English. He asked us the usual questions, “Where are you from?” “When do you go back?” “Why do you like Thailand?” “How old are you?” “Can I take your picture?”

At one point he said, “I like Green Bay!? Wow, he knows about the Green Bay Packers? Then he pulled a patch with velcro on the back from under the collar of his uniform and held it next to another patch on the outside of his uniform and said, “Same Same!” “I train with Green Bay they are strong!” Vince and I glanced at each other nearly cocking our head like a dog would.....Huh? So we nodded vigorously to him and gave him the thumbs up sign......which works every time! We realized later in the morning that he meant he trained in America with the GREEN BERETS! Yes, the United States Army Special Forces! And here we are chatting up the Royal Guard Special Forces for the King of Thailand! He told us that on each building on our street there are two soldiers for 48 hours.

Each time we were on the roof we watched as they talked on the radio to the other men in the area and at one point they both ran to the edge of the roof. We looked where their binoculars were pointing and they were checking out a groundskeeper under a tree getting into the irrigation box! They had their eyes everywhere.

We learned his name is Sakhon and he is a Master Sergeant and Noom is a Private. Sakhon is 53 years old and has two grown boys and they are both soldiers. He was born in Prachauap Khiri Khan and now lives in Bangkok. He wanted to take pictures with us and was so happy to meet us. We showed up that same evening for sunset and stayed till after dark waiting for the fireworks show. At 10 pm we decided to go to bed. But promptly at midnight we awoke to the boom of the fireworks and Vince rushed to the window. We were surprised that the fireworks only lasted 5 minutes but glad we saw them from our window. The next morning Sakhon and Noom were gone without a trace.

Vince and I can only compare with what we know, have seen or experienced and we have said many times, “That would have never happened in the US!” Which is not to say it is a good or bad thing, just very different. I imagine the security was tighter around the Princess but our presence on the roof was no cause for concern and they were still doing their job. The relaxed and genuine openness was a nice change.

When Did I Become So Slow?

After moving to Thailand it took a couple of months to slow down because you have no choice. Waiting is something you do here and no one seems to care one way or the other. Except for foreigners on vacation. They make me anxious with their energy of see all the things and do all the things. I too have been known exhibit the same behavior on vacation and my family threatens to tie a balloon to my wrist because I have a tendency to wander off when they are not looking.

There is slow and there is Thai slow. I was sure I had slowed down significantly but that was not the case because only 6 months ago I was still anxious to walk around a Thai that was shuffling their feet slowly in front of me. I just couldn't seem to pace myself to a crawl and I am not even close to being a type A personalty. But in the last couple weeks I have found myself moving slowly no matter what I do. It is always hot and humid and some days are worse than others. 

                              Slower than snail mail (Which in our case is two to three weeks!)

Like watching grass grow
Slower than molasses running uphill in January
Slower than a herd of turtles
Slower than an octogenarian wearing ankle weights
Slower than connecting with a 14.4 modem (It used to take over 30 minutes for 2 MB)

I think I better leave the house a couple hours earlier the next time I have to catch a plane!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Trying To Save A Capsized Fishing Boat

At Khao Takiab Beach there is a small inlet to the fishing village.  We watch the boats come and go early in the morning and as the sun is going down.  We took pictures of a boat anchored outside of the inlet just off the shore.   The next morning we noticed the same boat had capsized overnight due to large swells.  The pictures below shows the struggle and different ways the fishermen tried to salvage their livelihood.

The day before the capsize.

Day One
Several boats came to help and they tied a heavy rope to try and pull the boat upright.....with no success.  They also tied barrels to the sides, also with no luck. There was a lot of pointing and yelling and looks of helplessness.

 They tried pumping the water out.

Some of the barrels broke free and these men were helping bring them to shore.

 The crew of a different fishing boat that tried to help earlier,

 Onlookers from the village.
Day Two
They tried using a pulley, winch and brute force to right the boat with a rope tied to a large boulder on the bank of the hill.   It didn't last long and we watched the boat tip over again as we walked home. This is heartbreaking.

 This is the non-result of their back breaking work.
Day Three
The anchor rope broke and the boat turned during the night.  There was no sign of anyone on the boat throughout the day and early evening.  It appears that they have stripped the rigging.

Day Four
Still no sign of anyone working to save the boat.

Day 5 and 6 
No work on the ghost ship

Day 7
The super structure at the back of the boat broke off during the night of rough waves.

Day 8
Watching as they remove what little fuel and items are left.

Day 9
We see daylight

Parts stuck in the sea floor and the remaining salvage.

Day 10
It was rough again overnight.  Probably because it was gutted and broken it managed to wash up next to the seawall.
High tide

 Low tide

Day 11
We wanted to see this through to the end, but we were hoping for a different outcome.  There is construction going on at the breakwater that we are documenting.  I guess they asked the track-hoe operator to help.