Saturday, 2 April 2016

No Electric - but it cometh.

Chiang Mai

The 21st March 2016 marked 7 full years in Thailand. I remember watching Fulham beat ManUre in a late-night coffee shop in Trang on that day in 2009. Little did I know I'd be destined to stay here in perpetuity. This pie chart shows where I've lived during the last 10 years in Asia. I've been in CM 2.5 years - the longest I've lived anywhere since leaving home at 17!


School

This last academic year has been the most enjoyable since I started teaching in 2007. I'm finally teaching challenging material to capable students. They've just sat their A level Mock exams in preparation for the real deal in May. I'm feeling incredibly nervous about the whole thing - more so than the students. I'm hoping our effort pays off.

Our A Level Physics students designed and built a Parabolic Solar Kettle inspired by my trip to Nepal. We didn't manage to get the water to 'boil' but it did get 'bloody hot'. We organised a 'field trip' to the local DIY warehouse where we got to fiddle with compressors and laser distance measurers. I'll miss these lads when they go to University.

Valentine's Day

Involved a romantic 300km round trip to DoiTao with Alex and his 500cc. I rode his bike about 30km enjoying the fact that it cruises at 100mph while my little 250cc screams at 90mph. Could be time to dip into this year's savings? In the evening I took Wan to watch Arsenal scrape past Leicester. Who says romance is dead?

Village of the damned

Another day we rode 100km towards WatChan on wonderfully windy tarmacked roads. We turned left at an unmarked junction and rode a further 13km on treacherous jungle tracks before reaching BanMaeDaLaGlang - Wan's home.

I loved the fact that there's no electricity or phone signal here. They were busy digging holes to receive the poles that will bring electricity to the village in around three months. I quickly got in the queue for a haircut.





I like the simple life in these places. The pig gave birth to 8 piglets while I was there although two of them died shortly afterwards.

There are no 7/11s or ATMs here. All houses are built by the community. Everything we ate they'd made themselves. They're a largely self-sufficient lot and the only time I saw money was when I bought some booze.



Booze? I bought all this shop's piss. All 6 bottles of it. I had a choice of Chang or Chang. We drank it warm - sans ice. These ladies wasted no time asking how much I earn and when I'm going to marry Wan. I reckon I responded politically - saying a lot without really saying anything at all.

This is a Bagayo village (the Bagayo are a subset of the Karen people) and it was interesting to see that the older members of the community couldn't communicate in Thai. Their questions were translated into Thai for me to reply. I learned a few words of Bagayo - my favourite being GorlaKeeBuSu = black-arsed Farang!! Hehe.


DoiPui

It's a nice ride up to DoiPui - the tourist Hmong village 20km west of CM. I've been up here dozens of times but this time was the best. Wan swapped her traditional Karen attire for some Hmong silver.







Wat Chalerm Phrakiat

We spent a night in Phayao eating dancing shrimp by the lake. However, on the way home we decided to ride through northern Lampang Province. We were having coffee at the foot of this mountain when we noticed temples and stupas strewn across the pinnacles.



The coffee lass explained how it's possible to get up there. So off we went. To Chae Hom district and the ticket office at the foot of this impossibly steep mountain. It's 100B/person to travel up in the back of a pick up - I was gutted they wouldn't allow us to ride up solo - would've been a blast. You have to walk the last 800m to the peak but it's definitely worth the effort.





Looking down at the plains below is like the view from an airplane. You're left wondering 'Who built these things here? And why'? I've been to hundreds of tourist attractions in Thailand but this one's the best. Might want to visit before it gets famous.







CMFC

In the last post I mentioned that CMFC got relegated to Thailand's regional 3rd tier. I was talking bollicks. Some other teams collapsed during the close season and CMFC were saved. They've played three home games in this season's Yahama League One. They beat Khon Kaen 2-1, lost 1-3 to PTT Rayong before beating AngThong 2-0. There were around 7000 fans at the first game! They look like a much more solid team than they did last year. We might be watching Thai Premier League football next year.

Girlfriends

I've been seeing Wan for around three months (after two years of blissful singledom). It got me thinking about all the relationships I've had ..... so I made a list of all girlfriends > 3 months:


After all these relationships and countless other encounters, what have I learnt about the opposite sex? The square root of f*ck all.

However, Wan must be having some kind of impact as she coerced me into wearing these matching Tshirts. She bought them having no idea it's a massive no-no in the west. I couldn't say no after seeing her puppy dog eyes.

Are there advantages and disadvantages to having a girlfriend? Of course there are. Each man must decide what they are for himself and set boundaries accordingly.




Dengue

I went through the dengue fever cycle for the third time in my life. If someone had have handed me a cyanide capsule at the height of the suffering, I might have taken it, as death would've been a release. Hideous experience. 

To compound the misfortune I came off the bike last night. Riding slowly through a market I leaned slightly to turn left. It was then that we rode over some electrical cables powering a noodle cart. The cable slid and we fell immediately. Luckily there was nothing else involved. Wan got off OK but the bike fell awkwardly on my leg leaving me limping. I've got a few more Thai Tattoos (scars) to add to the collection. Elbows, arse and knees.

Lingo 

Thai
PatanaGan = Development
KrongGanLuang = Royal Project
SaiFai = Electrical Cable

Bagayo
KolaKeeBuSu = Black-arsed Farang
OrMaeLia = Have you eaten?
ZaEtNa = I love you

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