Posted from: Hua Hin, Thailand
Christmas approaches, and I hardly notice its coming. This is my second year blissfully removed from the commercialization that is the western holidays. The only real run ins I’ve had with the X-mas spirit have consisted of a decorated tree at the Hua Hin Hilton and a wince-inducing tape of some Thai girl band singing Christmas carols over the loudspeaker of the local grocery store.
Not that it matters one way or the other. This Christmas morning I’ll wake up on a train headed for Sungei Kolok, just this side of the Malaysian border on a Visa-renewal trip. I’m making the trip with the son of my trainer’s girlfriend, who’s currently taking the TEFL course in Bangkok. As it’s turned out, we’ll be marooned in Malaysia for four or five days, which I’m secretly pleased about.
I’ve become as settled as I feel I’m going to be here. Life is too easy for me to feel at home, and since I can’t be bothered to buy things I’ll hardly be needing much longer, my house remains as sparsely furnished as the day I moved in. I still don’t have chairs or tables in any of the bedrooms, and I have only a hard, wooden couch downstairs, and a bed upstairs. I feel I’m not forced to think enough for my liking, to acknowledge the process by which food arrives at my table, to question how it is that I can afford such things here, and the economic status quo that will restrict most Asians to their own countries while Westerners have more ample opportunities to experience the rest of the world.
I’m anxious to get to Chiang Mai and set off into uncertainty again.
I feel most comfortable doing things in the Thai way, spending time in Thai neighborhoods – I love riding the motorbike taxis – 20 baht to be sped around with the pleasant air blowing through your thin clothes. And the number of people Thais pile on those bikes! I’ve seen a family of five putt-putting around and hanging off a little two-seater.
some news: the dog center has begun renting a charity shop in the Hua Hin mall, on the third floor. Dawn and I spent the weekend pricing donations for re-sale, and we plan to move in just as soon as the center’s status as a registered charity becomes official.
I continue to train five days a week, and still enjoy it. My footwork needs the most improvement. I stumble and stutter and take baby steps when I should be bouncing and light of foot and stepping decisively. My push-kicks are hopeless and I judge distance badly. Other than that, things look up. Lanna Muay Thai in Chiang Mai, better known here as Kiat Busaba, sent me several welcoming emails, sounding like everything that the Academy in China was not.