We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
An email from back-country Thailand, from a Medical Friend
I am at the airport on my way back to the USA. I am most excited about the prospect of the Old Country Buffet.
I had my first bout of a non GI illness. My feet were quite battered given diving fins , hiking, rocks, ill fittnig sandals etc. They became both red and painful with ugly drainage from some of the cuts. Another doctor I happened to meet acknowledged that spreading redness is never a good sign. I could no longer use my sandals as they were so painful, so I limped around the town barefoot. Of course, I stepped on a piece of glass. I hailed a French tourist for help, However he looked taken aback by my feet, and did not want to try and pull the glass out of the black sole of my foot, so with the help of a kind hostess and a toothpick we got it out. I was forced to wear shoes for the first time in a month-I felt like Tarzan from the disney movie.
As recommended, I took a cooking course there. Look out mango salad, and thai green curry. Wada and Dee were my teachers and there mantra was, "smile and stir" by the end day they thought it best if I specialized as the taster-good kitchen fun had by all.
I rented a motor bike and cruised around the hills outside the town. I had a helmut that looked like a plastic tupperware bowl-perhaps it was at one point. The winding roads and scorching air made me feel a part of the "motorcycle diaries". gratefully, I only saw a motorbike accident, and wasnt part of one. The roadside police stopped me because I didnt have an international license and asked me to go to drivers bureau and pay a fine. I said no that I would not, and then they let me go. Why can't it be that easy in the US.
One afternoon I was hitchhiking from a distant temple on the outskirts of town. I got a ride from Donald M., a recovering alcoholic, he took to a great AA meeting in the outskirts of of Chang Mai-holy providence! We sang its a small world.
No northern Thailand trip would be complete with out a village hike. I found it ironic that I trekked an hour in Thailand during the heat of the day to see a Hmong village, when there are so many in my back door of ST Paul that I have never seen. I observed one of the elders preparing lunch which consisted of 2 rats. He skinned a dressed them with the precision of a surgeon. Fortunately, no part was wasted. I could not be found around lunchtime. We took bamboo rafts down the river. The locals apparently spend there Tuesday afternoons loaded getting in water fight with the passing tourists-it was great fun. Even though the max depth was 2 feet, I thought for sure I would need to rescitate one of the drowning hmongs not known either for their swimming prowess or their ability to handle alcohol.
I ate more crepes than any man/person should, and added sticky rice and mango to my diet. Phenomenal. It also makes me happy as an adult that we do not have to necessarily eat a balanced diet.
I met a lot of people from abroad that live in Chang mai permanently, and I can see why-for that matter Thailand in general.
Today was the last morning of my trip. I left the hotel at around 7 and walked through the city as it also woke up. It was all ready so hot that just breathing caused a profuse sweat. I had really spicy green curry and rice at 730a at a street market where there was a ton of commerce and characters on the prowl already. I chased it down with 2 kilos of Leeche fruit which is now in season. I gave a couple of the fruits to the monks who were weaving there way through the market clad in their orange monksuits with their alm bowls searching for food, etc. Its just to rich to describe with poor grammar and worse typing skills. I'll be sad to leave, but happy to rejoin all of you.
I'll talk to you all soon. Peace, love and God bless -