A day in the “Hood”.
Contributed by Hap Hazard
Shortly after I bought my house in a new village I learned that a fellow countryman owned a vacant house across from mine.
Several months later I heard a commotion coming from the vacant house so I looked over and saw that the home owner had returned. I walked over and introduced myself as one would politely do back home. We chatted long enough to understand we had nothing in common and were too separated in lifestyles to be more than a “Hi and “bye” neighbors. We both understood this in a moment. But there he was… a countryman who I could call on if ever I needed anything and he me.
My neighbor left a few days later and all that was left in his wake was the empty house. He had loaded his wife and kids and had departed without a backward glance. I felt like I had lost a connection to the real world.
Two months later they were back. I looked out and there were the kids running around the garden and there was his most beautiful wife. I thought I saw my farang neighbor on the porch so I started walking over to reconnect. Halfway across the street I saw that this man was not the same man who had already told me that he was the father of these kids, husband to this beautiful woman and the owner of this home but this new guys body language told me that he thought he was indeed the owner of all that surrounded him and he looked most anxious for me to get closer so he could watch me salivate over his newly aquired trophies.
I suddenly knew what this man did not. His trophies had already been won and belonged to another.
Should I tell this man or should I not tell this man? Perhaps, I thought, if I keep a straight face I would be given an introduction into this man’s make believe world, get another peep at his most beautiful lady and be able to lay a hint on him at the same time. It was worth a try. So I continued to walk into this convoluted real life situation with every intent of doing the proper neighborly thing. Before I got there, however, I had decided to rock the boat.
I would keep it brief without a hint of drama. I said loud enough for everyone to hear,”You must be really good friends with the home owner…”
The man sat up straight, banged his head on the wall behind him and exclaimed, “I am the home owner!” as though he already harbored doubts about his new marriage, new home and new kids. Then he moved toward me as though he wanted to deny his doubts and take his frustrations out on me. I could see he had no humour and we weren’t going to bond well.
I just wanted another moment of fun before he got to the gate so I played dumb and continued to feign childlike wonderment for a second more before I innocently asked, “Are you the same guy who already told me that he owned this house?” Then I turned and walked toward home. I heard noises behind me that are often associated with bulls rampaging in china cabinets and I swear I heard good china shattering all over his garden as he started to search for his “wife” who had already ducked for cover.
Suddenly none of us were characters in a cartoon strip but participants in a real life scenario where I had just frayed my neighbor’s emotions and had undermined a relationship conveniently built on a fraudulent foundation of cash piled high.
I sashayed back to my house as though I had already mastered all the nuisances of Thai living and the commotion I was leaving behind was none of my doing.
515, 522, 525, 623, 468, 469, 455, 456, 446, 437, 434, 447, 453, 515, 521, 511, 507, 531, 537, 526, 543
I have never played a computer game.
My wife plays computer games and watches T.V. at the same time. I’m not sure playing computer games is a skill but at least she is doing two things at once. I’m short on doing two things at once but I believe if I wanted to learn to multi task my first accomplishment would be to be able to fix a bicycle and to listen to Isan music at the same time.
My son works on F-15’s. One time he let me sit in the pilot’s seat and play with the buttons while he was on the outside working. He told me I could play with any of the knobs or buttons without having to worry about breaking anything. It was one of those times when I realized our roles had been reversed… He was working and he needed me to be close enough to watch yet far enough away not to bother him.
Sitting there I noticed right off how important it is to grow up playing computer games because that is how everything is laid out in the cockpit. To fly, shoot, and know where you are requires that the pilots know how to multi task.
Just about the time I learned what each button did I had to climb out because my son was finished and we were off to the Base Exchange for ice cream. One of us had been well behaved.
243 words, 244
Was Don Quixote the first farang?
By Dhon Thorn Quixote III
I think it is time to take another look at Don Quixote and imagine he was real and another look at us and imagine we are fiction because it is so much easier to believe that Don Quixote did all those things to himself for real, whilst what we have done to ourselves in Thailand can only be imagined and must be far from the truth.
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is considered by some to be the best piece of fiction ever written… with that recommendation I recently read the two books again. I cannot argue their place in history or how close to the top they should be placed with the best. Perhaps the original Spanish version could take its’ place on the top shelf of any library but I suspect the English translation would lack somewhat in the nuances as the original book would be translated from a volatile Romantic Language to a language that continually beats itself over the head and shoulders with rules so dense it is not hard to wonder how Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland made it through its’ first reading.
Isn’t that a title we would all like to have: The Ingenious Gentleman Farang of Pattaya? That was your title when you first landed in Thailand and dragged yourself out of the airport and aimed yourself toward Paradise with a lance in both hands whilst keenly looking about for windmills. You were as sure of yourself then as Don Quixote was sure of himself back in 1605. From windmills brought down, or of Friar Enchanters separated from a lady with no name your quest and Don Quixote’s quest have run parallel.
You have but to pick up another copy of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha and to read on as though you were reading your own diary of misadventure in the fictional Land of Smiles. What was written in 1605 with a scratchy pen guided over heavy paper rot with clumps of pulp has stood the time and has been likened to a very speedy modern day novel where as soon as you think you understand one adventure there is another running off in a direction you must follow. Is that not a description of a Farang in paradise or what?
Ms. Zika is in the house
By Dr. I.B. Agnostic
I am amused when one of my friends asks “What kind of shots will I need before coming over?”
I tell them that they don’t need shots. They are safe from everything except falling in love which is more of a head wound than a disease. I conclude by assuring them that “Thailand is modern and healthy.”
I had been told the same thing before my first trip but I immediately doubted everything I had been told while my first beer was being carfully poured over ice. I wondered what bacteria the waitress was trying to kill with the ice.
Most men are already susceptible to the Thai disease of love but there are ways to keep that bullet hole from becoming infected by learning that it is safer to pet wild dogs than to pet women. It is safer to drink bottled water but not the locally made ice. You can buy a real Rolex watch but don’t pay more than five hundred Baht. You can buy a Rembrandt but don’t forget to get a discount coupon for your free Rolex watch or never learn to enjoy iced beer.
After you have lived here a while it is easy to sit around believing you are immune to all diseases even while sitting on a bar stool knee deep in beautiful local bacterium. If you are not worried about the local diseases you should still be worried about the snakes, bugs, mosquitoes, wild dogs, and imported crud like the dengue fever that came from the Nile River and are here now. In May the first case of the Zika virus from the Zika Forests of Uganda was reported in Chiang Mai.
What’s this country coming to? For the longest time it was safe to come to Thailand. All you were in danger of contracting was gonorrhea, syphilis, AIDs, or Dengue fever. Now we have the new Zika fever from Uganda to contend with? It’s the imported stuff that’ll ruin your health here.
Editor’s Note: I suggest you look up Zika Fever on the internet for real and accurate information.