April 2010 through June 2010

Second quarter 2010

This and That from re Thai r ment. May 20, 2010

News from the frontlines:

Two days ago I travelled by bus to Bangkok to try to get some documents notarized and perhaps get a peek at the contending forces in the protest. When I arrived, I discovered that the US Consulate was closed and the Bangkok mass transit system shut down. So, that night I stayed at the house of a friend in one of the suburbs of the city. The next morning I returned to PSOMDROH. As the bus left the Mo Chit bus terminal and travelled along the elevated highways leaving the city I could she the black smoke of the burning tire fires spreading over the central portion of the city and smell its acrid stench.

(For purposes of comparison, everyone should understand that the protest here in Bangkok occupies a smaller area than the Rodney King riots in LA; that the protestors are far less heavily armed than the LA rioters; and, that the property damage is substantially less here.)

In my younger days, I could not have resisted the urge to get a close up look at things, but at my age, comfort is more compelling than sightseeing. I, however, did not know that day was to be the day of the great push of the military against the protesters. Had I known, I am sure curiosity would have gotten the better of my current need for comfort.

I used to attend all the riots and confrontations I could get to. Like the general in “Apocalypse Now” who loved “the smell of Napalm in the morning,” I guess I must love the smell of fear when the protestors first catch sight of police advancing on them. While in Italy during the 1968 turmoil, I tried to attend every march and protest I could. It did not matter whether the protestors were communists, fascists or whatever (In Italy at that time is was difficult to tell who was who). Once I marched with the Communists. I could tell they were Communists because they began their march in front of the Lateran Palace in Rome were the Communists usually begin their marches. They also carried a lot of big red flags. Anyway I took my son Jason with me to that march, wanting to get him an early education of protest and its futility. I ended shielding him with my body from a hail of rocks thrown at the protesters and limped home long before we arrived at the protestors destination.

Another time, also in Rome, I attended a protest by the Fascists against something they believed the government was doing wrong (At this time, 1968, all protests had something to do with the Viet Nam war). The Fascists were much better dressed than the Communists. They were all young men (the commies had a few women and old people along) with slicked back hair in the style of the time, designer pants and fashionable shirts. They had gathered in Piazza Venezia, fittingly the location of the balcony from which Mussolini would harangue the crowds.

The police in jeeps formed a round-about whereby they drove around the plaza in ever-widening circles forcing the protestors from the plaza and on to the sidewalks. One of the protest leaders, a tall burley man very expensively dressed, refused to move from the street. Instead he held his ground and shouted whatever it is that Fascists would shout at the police. One of the jeeps suddenly peeled off from the round about and headed directly at him. As he ran, the jeep followed him across the sidewalk and up some steps where it caught him, ran over him, backed up over him again and returned to the anonymity of the round-about leaving him bloody and broken not five feet from where I was standing. Later that same evening, I had the great pleasure of saving myself from a police beating by shouting “Don’t hit me I’m a Canadian”.

I tell you all this in compensation for the fact that I avoided the action yesterday and returned home to my apartment so I have nothing exciting to report.

Today, the country is pretty much shut down, the banks are closed and what is more interesting all the atm machines are shut down, probably to try to mitigate any run on the baht. Also this morning they shut down the internet so I do not know when I will be able to post this. I assume the shut down of the internet was intended to make it more difficult for “Thaksin the omnipresent” to contact his followers. The Thai TV channels all show the same pictures of waving Thai flags and martial music.

It appears that the hard-line military is in firm control of the government. “Abisit the clueless,” the current prime minister is back into hiding and will be brought out by the military at an appropriate time. I would expect we would see several of the protest leaders who were taken into custody yesterday, “disappear”.

Meanwhile here in POSOMROH it remains as though everything happened in another country.

More whenever….

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Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 17, 2010

More from the front…

I have to go to Bangkok soon to get some documents notarized. I will go either today or Saturday. Since the US Consulate is right in the middle of the major conflict, I should be able to get a first hand look at the actual fighting. As I have said before there is no real danger to the non-combatant unless you go looking for it.

As for now, it appears that shortly after my remarks here regarding the role of the general staff on the conduct of the opposition to the protest movement, the press (mostly the BBC and CNN) independently have picked up on that idea and have filed stories exploring the internal workings of the upper levels of the Thai military and its influence on the government’s response.

What I have gleaned from reading these reports is the following:

The general staff. The general staff is divided between the so-called Hardliners and Soft-liners. The Soft-liners are represented by the current military Chief of Staff. He, interestingly, retires in October, two months prior to the proposed new elections suggested by the government under their peace plan. He is more or less opposed by the general who is slated to replace him once he retires. This Hardliner is also commander of the elite troops including the snipers. There are reports that many of the other divisions of the military are wary of these elite troops and resent them. These ordinary troops contain most of the “watermelons” since they are composed primarily of recruits from the rural provinces and urban poor. It has been reported that some of these troops have been reluctant to take up arms against the protesters and have actually provided intelligence and resources to them.

The most recent action in the conflict has followed pretty much the strategy I outlined a few days ago. The snipers (loyalist troops) have eliminated the Red Commander threat to the hardliners and are spreading terror among the protestors by firing at anyone moving within the protest zone. (The protest zone however is large enough for the snipers to actually reach the rebel encampment located in the center of the zone.) The elite troops are poised to sweep away the protestors once their number fall to a level where the elite troops could crush them with little opposition. This final push was supposed to occur on Saturday or Sunday evening but was cancelled on the orders of the Chief of Staff, ostensibly to allow time for additional negotiations to resolve the conflict to occur and to minimize bloodshed.

The demonstrators strategy has been for the young men (the “troops”) to disappear from the encampment and engage in guerilla actions against the government in other parts of the city leaving behind in the encampment the committed women, children, monks and other non-combatants. According to published reports the numbers within the rebel encampment have dwindled from 5000 before this current round of violence to about 3000 now. The missing 2000, I believe, are those troops melting into the urban background. In short, the protestors are at least as many now as before.

During this hiatus there have been increased calls for a negotiated resolution of the conflict most often under the auspices of a so-called independent third-party, like the UN, ASEAN or the King. I do not see either the government or the hardliners agreeing to a non-Thai mediator. That leaves the King who so far has been neutral.

On this latter point, because the King is in his late 80’s the question of succession complicates his role. It has been reported that the Crown Prince, who is not very well liked in the country for a number of reasons, is a friend and admirer of the deposed prime minister Thaksin.

More tomorrow…….

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 16, 2010

News from the front:

In 1964 during the great Harlem riots in New York City, I was a clerk in the Legal Aid office located at the very heart of riot, on the corner of 125th St. and Lennox Ave. I would spend most of the day standing unmolested outside on the corner below the office, observing the ebb and flow of the battle. I was unmolested because as a white man the police and national guard troops could clearly see I was not one of the insurgents. On the other hand as a white man standing under the legal aid office sign the insurgents knew that I would be one of those working at Riker’s Island to free them from the abandoned football stadium where they would be thrown if and when they were caught up in one of the police and guard sweeps of the areas.

More or less across the street from me, in the same hotel used a few years ago by Fidel Castro and his compatriots to roast chickens on the floor of the hallways during their attendance at a meeting of the UN, there was a reporter holed up in his room writing about the riots. He won a Pulitzer for his reporting. Years later it turned out that he was so frightened for his safety that he would not even look out the window and just made everything up. I got to know him in San Francisco during the height of his fame (he was there to report on the counter-culture) and before his fall from grace. He was an arrogant asshole.

I tell this story because here I sit safely in a condo in Paradise by the Sea, One Mile Down the Road from the Outskirts of Hell (PSOMDROH) about 100 miles from the action, receiving the same media feeds as everyone else, trying to write a description of events. Nevertheless:

Now that they appear to have disposed of the military leader of the Red Shirts, Seh Daeng (I found out it means something like Red Leader) the military’s general staff appears to have adopted a two-pronged strategy . The first is to terrorize the protesters and keep them off the streets by suppression fire from snipers stationed on the roofs of the high-rises surrounding the area barricaded by the protesters. Most of the injuries of the last day or so are the results of sniper fire. The second is to keep additional protestors from the North and Northwest of Thailand from moving down to Bangkok and reenforcing those already there. The removal of Seh Daeng eliminates the threat to the general staff should the contretemps result in a new election with the likely victory of the Red Shirts. The Sniper and interdiction strategy deals to some extent with the issue of the loyalty of the troops. The snipers can be chosen for their loyalty to the military as well as their skill with a rifle. The interdiction and terror works to reduce the numbers of protestors to a size that can be handled by the more reliable divisions of the military.

This may or may not work, at least in so far as a military end to the conflict. If in fact the protestors are reenforced and hold for another few weeks, then the pressure from the Chinese-Thai business community will force the government to concede and call for new elections ahead of schedule.

The government itself is not in the driver’s seat despite the appearance of the prime minister on television calling for even greater pressure on the rebels. It really depends on whether the general staff believes it is in their interest to move quickly and crush the uprising. Their interest is to assure their continued independence and security for the current members of the general staff. Since, absent a coup, an election will occur sooner or later and the Red Shirts stand a better that even chance of wining, they must have ether a detant with the Red Shirts or assurance that they are so utterly crushed that they could not return to power in the foreseeable future. I have heard that the behind the scene negotiations between the government and the rebels that has been ongoing continues, each side foot-dragging until it is clearer what the military intends to do. The general staff is in a position of power in negotiating with both sides. I would be surprised if their choice would be the military crushing of the Red Shirts without confidence that the police will, at the request of the government, eradicate the Red Shirt leadership. Since the police, like the military, is a law onto its own, and generally opposes the military’s political pretensions, I find it hard to conceive a circumstance that would give the general staff adequate comfort. Again barring extreme stupidity I see a military general staff negotiated solution at this time, probably within the next week or so.

The King officially remains neutral and calls for negotiations to bring peace. He probably leans toward the general staff as the interest group most likely to leave the monarchy unmolested.

The Chinese-Thai business class while clearly supporting a quick resolution of the conflict and generally supportive of the government over which they have great influence, are concerned that any response that produces significant bloodshed could cause the conflict to continue indefinitely absent a military coup which they definitely do not want. This group is primarily commercial and not industrial oriented and therefore depend upon Thailand’s good international reputation.

Thaksin, the populist ex-prime-minister whose ouster and subsequent loss of much of his fortune in a political contest waged in the courts who has bankrolled the protest movement appears to have been overtaken by events and escalating costs. He is reputed to be behind the hard-line faction within the protestors opposing any settlement not including the return of his fortune.

And what about the people you might ask? After all wasn’t this all about a conflict supposed to be between the rural poor and the urban middle class? What about their role? What about their interests?

You have got to be kidding….

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 15, 2010

Of all my posts over the past four months, the one about my relationship with short pants has received the most response. I have no comment.

Some of you have expressed concern about and interest in the latest flare-up of violence in the long simmering stand-off between the Yellow Shirts, supporters of the existing elected government and the Red Shirts, the opposition. The following is the best I can figure out from the information I have been able to put together here.

But first, I should let you all know that the violence, for the most part, is restricted to the Thai capital city Bangkok. Here in Paradise by the Sea One Mile Down the Road from the Outskirts of Hell (PSOMDROH), while I am sure protection is still in use, there is no evidence of military personnel anywhere (except for the soldier returning home that sat next to me on the bus to Rayong). In fact, the only color shirts that I see on the streets here are the multi-colored flowered shirts of the typical beach goer. It appears that the beach resorts of the country are off-limits to military of any kind.

Now back to the action. A few weeks ago, I wrote in response to a similar concern that I expected the government would concede and offer new elections somewhat before the date of the elections currently scheduled and that, BARRING ACTIONS OF EXTREME STUPIDITY on either side, after a brief period of negotiations over issues like amnesty, the confrontation would be resolved. As I predicted, last week the government offered to dissolve parliament and hold new elections in November. The opposition responded positively but with the expected counter-offer regarding amnesty for its leaders and the dissolution of parliament prior to their disbanding of the protest. All well and good.

Among the Red Shirt leaders there was a renegade army general nick-named “Seh Daeng”. I do not know what that nick-name means but he appears to strike terror into the hearts of the government and the more or less loyal general staff. He is reputed to have either organized, led at one time, heard about or imagined (it was never clear which) a feared para-military group called “Red Ronin” after the Japanese legendary ninja warriors. In fact, for the most part he strutted alone within and just outside the barriers giving interviews to the press hinting of secret defense strategies should the government be so fool-hardy as to attack the lightly armed protestors with their overwhelming military force. I thought he was a bit nuts, but he obviously was taken very seriously by the government and the Army and so the day before yesterday he was gunned down by a sniper during one of his daily press interviews and the current round of violence broke out. The injuries and deaths usually occurred when a group of soldiers came upon an isolated protester or two, or when a group of protesters came upon one or a few soldiers in the wrong place at the wrong time and set upon them.

Now because those who have been to Thailand understand that nothing in Thailand is what it appears to be, and because both the government and the military deny responsibility for the attack on Seh Daeng, I will venture my guess as to what actually happened.

The Thai general staff is faced with uncertainty over the loyalty of its troops, most of whom are from the countryside and sympathize with the Red Shirts. Also, with a government led by the Thai version of George Bush without Dick Cheney, that is he looks pretty good on TV but lacks…subtlety, they feared that in any election the Red Shirts would win again. The military in Thailand, although a law onto itself and not subject to King or government, saw that a victory by the Red Shirts and the Red Shirt leanings of the troops could sweep into power the feared Seh Daeng as leader of the military. The loyalist general staff reasoned that in that case hey could find themselves terminated one way or another. So they decided to permanently remove Seh Daeng, and the clueless prime minister went along with it, persuaded by his generals that removal of Seh Daeng was a necessary first step to clearing the area of the rebels.

Now you may wonder why it was so imperative to clear the area of the Red Shirts encampment now given the fact that they have occupied that area for two months now. As best as I can figure out, the two large Chinese-Thai families that own most of the land occupied by the protestors are fed up and have threatened to support the protest demands that the government step down and new elections held. The clueless government’s response to the threats was to make the, what now appears to be a phony, peace offer, agree to the clearance program and offer to reimburse the two families for the loss of profits hey have suffered during the siege. Now mind you the individuals and families on either side also injured by the situation will get nothing. Ha, you may say, at least the workers in the establishments owned by two families would receive some compensation from the governmental hand out of their tax money. But no, in political cynicism worthy of Carl Rove the money is only to be used to compensate the families for lost profits. Oops, there I go again, I promised in a previous email that I would not do this, that I would be “fair and balanced”…, God its hard to stop once you get started. I apologize. Anyway, I believe the argument was that the laid off workers were too lazy to find other work so they do not deserve a share of the tax money to which they also contributed, or maybe they were illegal Burmese… Dammit, I can’t help myself. Let me stop here before I do it again.

More tomorrow……

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 13, 2010

A SHORT’S TALE OR BURNT BRITCHES

I was not allowed to wear long pants until I was eight years old. That was a southern Italian custom imposed upon me by my Sicilian mom. So while other children romped in the playground in their jeans, I stood by watching them enviously, dressed in my pressed and starched short pants. As a result of that trauma, I have with few exceptions (e.g., bathing suit) avoided appearing in public bare-legged.

Here in Paradise by the Sea, a Mile from the Outskirts of Hell, the prevailing male attire consists of the much hated shorts, and a T-shirt, polo shirt or dress shirt hanging loose outside the shorts. I on the other hand am a fashion renegade, resplendent in my khaki trousers, flowered shirt and straw hat.

Last week when I opened the bag with my returned laundry, I found therein a pair of khaki shorts with cargo pockets that fit me perfectly but they were not mine. My attempts to return them failed when the clerk at the laundry angrily denied they could ever have made such a mistake.

Now the dreaded attire sits at the bottom of a drawer in my wardrobe calling to me daily with its siren’s song of sartorial conformity. The question I now wrestle with every day is will I or will I not appear in public with bare knees.

Ciao

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EXCERPTS FROM DIARY ENTRIES PRIOR TO POST:

SUNDAY MAY 9, 2010 7 PM

Stayed close to home today. Breakfast at Cafe Le Mar and return to apartment for a nap and to write some emails to those that I have fallen behind on. Tried to nap. Felt horny, did not want to pay to relieve myself so I did it myself in the shower. I am still resistant to being with a woman right now although I hope one will call me. That depresses me more because it reinforces the syndrome.

Went down to pool and swam and returned to apt. to work some more on the computer. Looked at the email, diary combination for January and began to see some possibilities. Wrote a long email to Irwin.

MONDAY MAY 10 2010 5:30 PM

Stayed close to home again today. Worked on Jessica’s birthday present. It is looking pretty good. Lek called, but I did not answer. I do not know what to do.

10:30 PM

Went to buy out Lek. Nervous because I fantasized, as usual, that there was something personal going on. Went to Central food court. Good buy only 160 baht for two. Then to Apt.. She watched TV. I showered. She jerked me off. Would not get totally naked. Finished and I paid 1000 baht.

THURSDAY MAY 13, 2010 2PM

I am almost certain that I wrote in here within the last three days. Could I mistakenly have erased it?

Anyway, Tuesday I think I spent almost the entire day in my room. Doing what? I think I completed draft of Jessica’s Birthday Dream.

Wednesday, I went to the BBQ. I had to call Gary a few times for directions and then walk around a bit to find it. Gary was busy and so I went alone.

Jade is a bar and a guest house with several open air sitting and eating spaces along the side and the back. The bar is a small enclosed space in the back, separate from the guest house. I went in there to get out of the heat. There were a lot of bar girls around and one showed me to my seat and hung around me until I ordered a coke and told her I wanted to be alone. There were about 5 or so customers in the bar. They appeared to be American they were all grossly overweight. More customers arrived (I had gotten there at 1:30 but the BBQ would not start until 2). A bar girl I had been observing because she seemed especially outgoing approached me and attached herself to me like glue, rubbing against me and grabbing my crotch. I asked her how much. She told me the short time room was 300 baht and she was 1000 baht. That she would take me into the room give me a massage and a blow job before the BBQ began. I said that I wanted to eat first and would consider her offer after. The BBQ was not too bad. Several large bowls of potato and other salads, BBQ pork and beef, sausages, chicken legs and ribs were set out on a table outside of the bar. I got my food, ate, found out that my drinks were included in my 200 baht entrance fee, gave the glue lady a 100 baht tip and left. Bought some fruit and peanut butter at the supermarket and came home.

Today after breakfast, I finished another KOS Diary, This and that.. email and emails to Anthony, Nikki, Ariane and others.

8 PM

Sent off Kos diary and other emails. email Kesorn. Email May tomorrow. Decide on writing project for tomorrow. Joe, Genesis, Biondi, T. Rhapsody, something else??? Sleep on it…

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 9, 2010

Last night I was awoken by the sound of loud music, laughter and singing. I left my apartment and went into the hall to see what was going on. I realized it was coming from a unit a few doors down from me. It appeared that some of the Russian women on vacation here were having a party and singing along to a stringed instrument of some kind. I stood there listening to their singing and laughter for a while. A man, a little younger than I, joined me at the balcony. He had an accent I could not place. He said to me, “They should not be making all that noise this late at night and keeping the rest of us up.”

“Oh I don’t know,” I responded, “They’re here on vacation let them have some fun, I don’t expect that their life back home in Russia is all that good.”

“Yeah,” he said, “what if everyone who came here on vacation did that, what then”?

“Well,” I said moving off back to my apartment door, “I guess the world would be a little better place then.” I stopped and turned back to him and added, “I would however, have to move out.”

He laughed.

” Life is funny that way” I thought, “sometimes we just have to accept some inconvenience to make things better.”

Still, I could not get back to sleep.

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EXCERPTS FROM DIARY ENTRIES PRIOR TO POST:

SATURDAY MAY 8 2010 5 PM

Still troubled by yesterday’s realization. Unbidden my mind repeatedly focusses on Tai as a helpless victim of something, drugs, sexual slavery whatever and me heroically saving her. And again knowing that if she calls, I will go along with it again. Shit.

Spent most of the day working on my emails (Irwin and Re Thai r ment), Kos (You Must be a Republican) and personal finance. Wrote to Ann, Anthony, Terry, Irwin–who else ??? Need to write to Nikki. Why? To defend myself again. Decided not to go to dinner with Lek tonight. Sent phone msg. rescheduling for tomorrow. What about May. Do I feel like paying 1000 baht for what she has to offer. What do I want now that I know I cannot trust my own emotions or decisions. Ugh!!

8 PM

Went for a walk along the beach at sunset then long the beach road aways in to opposite direction to Pattaya, then back to Cafe Le Mar for pizza and home again.

I think based upon my insecurity in dealing with personal relationships especially with women, that I try to keep to myself near home a bit more and avoid new interpersonal relationships. I do not know if it will help, but I feel so helpless it is probably a good idea for the time being. But can I avoid depression. Writing helps.

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 7, 2010

I received a few emails from some of you commenting that my recent emails dwelled too much on the difficulties of my ex-pat life and were becoming a bit of a downer. Although I thought I was just providing a humorous take on the foibles of my current situation, I take the criticism seriously and I realize that I may have fallen into a rut. So this morning when I awoke I decided to do something different and declared today May 8, Punday.

I got the idea for this, as I usually get most of my ideas, from one of my favorite authors William Kotzwinkle. As with Henry David he is a favorite of mine not necessarily because of his literary output (Although he did write the screenplay for “ET the Extraterrestrial” and the stories for the “Walter the Farting Dog” series) but for the audacity of attempting a literary career with a name like Kotzwinkle.

Anyway, in his novel “The Fan Man,” about an archetypical New Yorker who, during the hot sticky days of the New York City summer, travelled about the City holding in front of him one of those little battery operated fans to cool himself off (Hence “The Fan Man” in case you have not already guessed). In one of the chapters of the book our Fan Man wakes up and declares that day to be “Dorkey Day” in which he would only speak the word Dorkey throughout the day [By the way for those with interest is such things Dork is a common and respected name for boys in Armenia]. The remainder of the chapter, for about 10 to 12 pages, consists exclusively of the word Dorkey repeated endlessly (Dorkey,Dorkey, Dorkey… for those who may need help visualizing) broken only by the variously perplexed or angry responses of the other citizens of the City whose paths may have crossed that of our hero that day.

Shakespeare must be eating his heart out. Can you imagine what the world of the theater would have been if Hamlet had instead of “The play’s the thing, in which we’ll catch the conscience of the King” our prince of Denmark announced, “Today is Dorkey day.”

Anyway, Punday comes also from one of my other literary mentors, cuzin Irwin (to whom I beg forgiveness) who sent me the following:

its Snow White’s birthday.
The dwarves buy her a camera as a present.
She is ecstatic and takes pictures of every thing she sees.

She takes the film in to be developed.
She goes back the next day to pick the pictures up.
The man behind the counter shakes his head as if to say, “No”.

Snow White cries.
the man behind the counter says
“Don’t worry Snow White, someday your prints will come”.

And for all you Snow Whites out there, may you prints come soon, but please always use protection or you may end up with a Kotzwinkle.

Have Pun.

Ciao…

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EXCERPTS FROM DIARY ENTRIES PRIOR TO POST:

THURSDAY MAY 6, 2010 1 PM

Yesterday after arriving back at my condo, I called Tai. She said she was back at her apt in BKK. We agreed that after she has a chance to shower she will come to JBPC. She did not and did not return phone calls.

yesterday’s return trip was almost as long as the trip out, more expensive, less comfortable and more boring.

FRIDAY MAY 7 2010 9 AM

Woke up early. Went down to lobby to work on internet at about 7 am. Tried to write a new KOs piece with little success. Tai called. Phone was disconnected several times.
Returned to apt. Tai called said she was leaving to BKK to come to see me. Asked if I was alone. I asked why did it matter. She said please do not give me more problems. I have a lot of problems. I said ok but I do not know which Tai to expect. She said please can she come. I said ok since you said please. I will see you later, I am not going anywhere. Asked how she planned to travel. She answered by taxi. Can you afford it I said. Yes she responded, I have enough money now.

11 AM

Finishing up breakfast. Lots of good ideas for KOS post, but having difficulty executing.

Too hot to work. Should return to condo, put on AC, shower and nap. Again…

9 PM

I have come to an awareness and it makes me feel dirty and ashamed. I have the male equivalent of the battered wife syndrome. Of course there is no direct physical violence, but I maintain the arrogant belief that it is somehow my fault how a woman treats me and so I give myself and others many excuses for not simply stopping it and withdraw. Most recently with Tai, that I just want to see how far she would go and that there might be a story in it. The shame is that I cannot seem to be able to stop it or even want to. I need help.

Tai called a few times today to tell me she was coming here today, first in the morning and then in the afternoon promising she will be here tonight. Then no answer to my calls.

I went out tonight. hoping she would come and not find me here and feel bad–ah the syndrome. Called Lek could not figure out how to hook up. A man answered and I hung up. Ate Falafel and the place I like. Then sat at a bar by good fellows and watched the working girls walk by. Many white girls. Are they working the street also. A few children. Good fellows a tranny bar?

Gary walked by. Called him over. Accompanied him to the Tables for dinner. Tables closed down. Went to P-72 Gary had dinner with the tall guy from San Jose. I had a chocolate sunday. Gary asked about my marriages.

They went catting, I went home.

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 6, 2010

I have just returned from a two-day stay on an island called Koh Samet located about half way between my current residence and the Cambodian border. I had been to Koh Samet a few years previously and that trip proved to be one of those life altering events, bringing with it a lot of pain and changing my expectations about the rest of my life. But that is another story for another time and place.

Anyway, I always liked Koh Samet. It is, to those who grew up on the East Coast of the US, often referred to as a working man’s resort. No amusement park style pools, no health spas, no starred restaurants, just jungle and small beaches with white sand the consistency of talcum and tiny bungalows adjacent to each beach and a nights stay costing about $25-50. There is no tearing down of structures as they grow old. They just build new structures nearby and let the jungle take back the buildings, or local artists and beach performers move into them as squatters.

I travelled to Koh Samet to visit with Choti Lambert the principal of the school in Chiang Mai that Hayden had attended until his mother took him away to travel with her in Italy. Choti, her husband Jerry and their son Leo were vacationing there during the hiatus between school semesters.

Being unsure about where you’re going and not knowing how to get there makes even a simple trip an adventure. After all, if you know where you’re going and how to get there, there are usually, unless you are unbelievably stupid, no decisions left that would impede your progress towards your goal. But an adventure by its very nature means most decisions you make, if wrong, could force abandonment of the voyage and require you to return home.

Anyway, I left the condo at about 8:30 AM and took a songtheuw to a breakfast place. After finishing breakfast I took another songtheuw to a stop not far from the spot on the map I had that identified a bus station for transportation to Rayong the largest city near the ferry terminal to the island. After walking for some time in the heat, I soon realized that there was no bus station at the location corresponding to that on the map. So with a certain amount of good grace, I took another songtheuw to the bus station that I departed from to Chiang Mai a week or so ago. I reasoned, a bus station is a bus station and someone there would know where the Rayong bus departed from. As I speak virtually no Thai and the bus station ticket people very little english, there was a lot of gesticulations and I was sent across the road to another bus station on that side. The people there sent me back to where I had started. So, exhausted, hot and covered with sweat, I decided to buy a bottle of water to quench my thirst, call the trip a failure and return home. It had been about two hours since I had left my apt. and I had still not gotten out of Pattaya.

So, I sat on the curb beside the road to drink my water before returning home and while sitting there a bus pulled up and the conductor jumped out and said, “Rayong?” I jumped up pleased at my good fortune and responded “Rayong? Koh Samet?” so that he knew my ultimate destination. “Yes, Yes, Rayong,” the conductor responded and ushered me on to the bus and collected $1.50 for the ticket. (In Thailand long distance busses have conductors as well as drivers.)

The ride to Rayong took 2 1/2 hours. Instead of napping, I stared out of the window the entire trip in anxiety that I may miss my stop or something. My nervousness was not helped by my seat mate an overly large Thai soldier in his jungle fatigues who was probably just returning home but that did not make me feel any better.

We arrived in due course at the Rayong bus terminal. I got off the bus and started asking for “Koh Samet” and the gesticulating began again. I followed the pointing that led me out of the terminal and hope began to ebb again. At the curb ,however, was a songtheuw and an old man pointing me into it saying the magic words, “Koh Samet.”

I was not home free yet because I still had to find the ferry terminal when I reached the shore. Upon arriving at the shore, we drove along it for a while until I spotted a sign, “Koh Samet Information” that looked familiar. It was the ferry terminal. I left the songtheuw , paid $2.50 for the ferry ride and was escorted to a small wooden, top-heavy, overloaded ferryboat standing a short way off the wharf. To get on to the ferry I had to climb onto the roof of another ferry that was tied directly to the wharf, climb part way down the other side and then leap about two or so feet onto the very overloaded ferry, no mean feat for an out of shape 70-year-old. But leap I did, and fortunately I was caught by a large australian man and two of his friends. They said, “Ere you go mate,” and “you aright mate,” and a lot of “mate” this and “mate” that. Actually, it sounded more like “might” this and “might” that, or it could have been “mite” which is what I felt like. Anyway, this “mite” was thankful for the “might” of my “mates.” I cannot believe I just wrote that. I shall sleep sounder this evening for it.

Anyway, the mates or mights cleared a seat for me. Actually it wasn’t a seat, it was more of a ledge on which several Thais were asleep on those colored plastic bags one sees throughout Asia in which the locals carry just about everything from place to place. I snuggled into my spot, cut off from any sea breezes and sweated my way across the bay.

I arrived on the island after an otherwise uneventful crossing and found my friends. That night we went to one of the restaurants on the beach where fire jugglers entertained us.

I have attached photographs of the beach where I stayed and the ferry terminal on the island.

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EXCERPTS FROM DIARY ENTRIES PRIOR TO POST:

MONDAY MAY 3 2010 10 AM.

Spent yesterday in my room in bed in the hope that a day of rest will clear up my cough. It does not appear to have done so. I have two more days of antibiotics to go before making a decision on whether to continue self-medication or check myself into a hospital.

No response to my latest KOS diary. That is disappointing.

Sent out a “This and that…” mostly a re hash of Thoreau.

Need to pick up passport today.

TUESDAY MAY 4 2010 7 PM

Traveled to Koh Samet to visit with Jerry, Choti and their son Leo where they were vacationing. I had been to Koh Samet a few years previously and that trip proved to be one of those life altering events, bringing a lot of pain and changing my expectations about what the rest of my life.

Anyway, I always liked Koh Samet. It is, to those who grew up on the east coast often referred to as a working man’s resort. No amusement park pools, no health spa’s no starred restaurants, just jungle and small beaches with sand the consistency of talcum and tiny bungalows adjacent to each beach costing about $25-50 per night. No tearing down of structures as they grow old just build new structures nearby and let the jungle take it back,or artist and beach performers move in the derelict buildings as squatters.

Got out of condo at about 8:30 AM. Being unsure about where your going and not knowing how to get there makes even a simple trip an adventure. After all if you know where your going and how no get there there are usually, unless you are unbelievably stupid, no decisions left that would impede your goal. But an adventure by its very nature means most decisions you make could force abandonment of the voyage and require you to return home.

Anyway, I took a songtheuw to a breakfast place. After finishing breakfast I took another songtheuw to a stop not far from the spot on the map I had that identified a bus station for transportation to Rayong. After walking in the heat for some time I soon realized that there was no bus station at the location corresponding to that on the map. So with a certain amount of good grace I took another songtheuw to the bus station that I departed to Chiang Mai a week or so ago. I reasoned, a bus station is a bus station and someone there would know where the Rayong bus departed from. As I speak virtually no Thai and the bus station ticket people very little english there was a lot of gesticulations and I was sent across the road to another bus station on that side that sent me back to where I had started. So exhausted, hot and covered with sweat, I decided to buy a bottle of water to quench my thirst, call the trip a failure and return home since it had been about two hours since I had left my apt. and I had still not gotten out of Pattaya. So I sat on the curb beside the road to drink my water before returning home and while sitting there a bus pulled up and the conductor jumped out and said Rayong?. I jumped up pleased at my good fortune and Rayong? Koh Samet? so that he knew my ultimate destination. Yes, Yes, Rayong the responded and ushered me on to the bus and collected $1.50 for the ticket. The ride to Rayong took 2 and 1/2 hours. Instead of napping I stared out of the window the entire trip in anxiety that I may miss my stop or something. My nervousness was not helped by my seat mate an overly large Thai soldier in his jungle fatigues who was probably returning home but that did not make me feel any better. We arrived in due course at the Rayong bus terminal. I got off the bus and started asking for “Koh Samet” and the gesticulating began again. I followed the pointing that led me out of the terminal and hope began to ebb again. At the curb was a songtheuw and an old man pointing me into is with the magic words, “Koh Samet”. I was not home free yet because I still had to find the ferry terminal when I reached the shore. Upon arriving at the shore we drove along it for a while until I spotted a sign “Koh Samet Information that looked familiar. It was the ferry terminal. I left the songtheuw , paid 2.50 for the ferry ride and was escorted to a small wooden top heave, overloaded ferryboat standing a short way off the wharf. to get on to the ferry I had to climb onto the roof of another ferry tied to the wharf, climb part way down the other side and then leap about two of so feet onto the very overloaded ferry, no mead feat for a 70-year-old man. But leap I did and was caught by a large australian man. Who said “ere you go mate’, you aright mate’ and a lot of mate this and mate that. Actually act it sounded more like might this and might that, or it could have been mite which is what I felt light. Anyway I was thankful for the might of these mates for safety of this mite. I cannot believe I just wrote that. I shall sleep sounder this evening for that,

Anyway, the mates cleared a seat for me. Actually is wasn’t a seat, it was more of a ledge on which several we sleeping on those colored plastic bags one sees throughput asia in which the locals carry just about everything from place to place.

I arrived and found my friends. That night we went to one of the restaurants on the beach where fire jugglers entertained us.

WEDNESDAY MAY 5 2010 10 AM

Last night at dinner, I texted Tai that I was at Koh Samet. She called back. Said she was with mom, had lost phone and my number. Returning to BKK tomorrow and visiting me thereafter. This morning at breakfast, Lek texted me regarding my whereabouts. Coincidence?

Am sitting in cafe waiting for ferry. Cost Koh Samet-Pattaya 300 baht. Yesterday cost. Pattaya- Koh Samet: Bus 50 baht; songtheuw 20 baht; ferry 100 baht. Total 170 baht.
Time yesterday 3.5 hours. Today ??

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 2, 2010

It has been a few days since I wrote last and while a lot has happened (dinners and visits from new and old friends, nights on the outskirts of hell and things like that) but little that can be wrapped into a simple tale. As you know from my previous emails one of my favorite writers is Thoreau, not because of his insight or style, but because he was an amusingly truly strange dude (Remember he thought getting thrown in jail was…well..cool). He believed the minutia of life represent the archetypes for the big things in life and by paying close attention to those little things you will learn something about something. He once spent a better part of a week at Walden Pond observing and writing about two gangs of ants who had decided to fight over something in the dirt in front of the door to his cottage. Thoreau seemed to see in their tussle a metaphor and analogue of the larger conflicts between nations, people and within ones own spirit. I really couldn’t understand what he was talking about. If I were to choose a metaphor for life from his experiences I prefer the one I mentioned in an earlier email, Thoreau standing at the back of his boat traveling down the Connecticut River, spittle dripping off the end of his nose, passing under the bridge on which the spittee stands. Think about it. Put yourself in Henry David’s flip-flops. Do you, staring at the smirk on the face of your adversary, feel the spirit of unity and oneness with the universe well up inside you as Henry David claimed he did, or do you decide to head the boat into the bank, jump off and beat the SOB to within an inch of his life or continue on forever questioning the nature of your experience and of your response. Now, that’s life.

Anyway, although the monsoons have arrived, so has the heat of “mad dogs and Englishmen” and so after walking to the cafe for breakfast, I return to my apartment turn on the AC, take a cold shower and nap until the shadows of the building cover the pool and I go for a swim and then at night perhaps walk along the beach in hopes of catching some ocean breezes.

Tomorrow, or the next day, I plan to travel down the coast to the next Provence called Rayong where the principal of the pre-school Hayden recently attended in Chiang Mai is vacationing with her husband and family.

I sill have a wracking cough, if the medicines I am taking do not clear it up in a few days, I probably will have to check myself into hospital.

Ciao

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EXCERPTS FROM DIARY PRIOR TO POST:

FRIDAY APRIL 30 2010 11 AM

Went to immigration for retirement visa. Done by 10AM. Cost about 2200 baht. Need to get reentry permit next. Go to pick up passport on Monday. See this and that.. for discussion

SATURDAY MAY I 2010 11 AM

Received 2 mails for May. She must need money. No word from Tai. Money must not be an issue yet.

Checked KOS for reaction to my diary. Only one commenting on my typo in the title. I guess you cannot follow-up. Should I send them to my list???

Hot again. Got to be a high misery index. Finished IRS submittal. Need print out and envelope.

Cannot recall what internet research I need to do. Write it down.

Should I do a pseudo travelogue made up of a pastiche of my emails and diary etc?

1 PM

Just received a call from Jerry. They will be in Rayong tomorrow. I must call them and arrange to meet with them.

2 PM

Received a call from Nikki in Italy. He was with Hayden. Hayden got on the phone and told me about his new batman watch that Nikki bought him. Hr also asked me why I did not pay Pi Newan and the electricity. Nikki told me he had been brainwashed on that matter. Nikki was returning to Zürich today and his course will finish mid-month. Does not know if they will be coming back to Thailand, but Natalie said something about returning to Chiang Mai for Hayden’s school. We will see…

7:30

Preparing to leave to join Gates and friends for his last night in Thailand.
Finished a draft of a new diary for Kos. I think it may be too histrionic and inflammatory for most readers. Maybe after I sleep on it I will reconsider its publication.

I have renamed the diary, Trenz Pruca’s Journal. Catchy eh?

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. April 30, 2010

Today I left my condo early to go the Thai immigration office to apply for my one year retirement visa. The morning was one of those mornings that break as hot as midday.

I arrived at the immigration office bathed in sweat from the heat and the anxiety. So much sweat was pouring off of me that the application form I was filling out turned into the wrinkled tissue paper and I imagined that I would be soon deported because of it. But no, I think I received approval of my application. At least there was enough shuffling of paper and stamping of stamps to offer me some assurance. The stamping of the documents created a sort of hypnotic rhythm while I sat there slack-jawed and confused. You know, pick up a stamp, smash it on an ink pad, pound it onto the document, drop it on to the desk, pick up a different stamp and so on. While all this stamping was going on, I noticed that not only was each desk equipped with a great number of different stamps, they also had ink pads in four different colors, black, blue, red and orange. I marveled at the training they must have received to be able to select the correct stamp, color, document and page all while maintaining what could only have been the agency required official rhythm. I also noticed that these were not ordinary bureaucrats, my immigration officer’s desk tag identified him as Sergeant Major so and so of the Royal Thai Police Force who following his stamping and so on sent me on to the desk of a dour woman identified as Captain so and so of the Royal Thai Police Force who appeared to me to repeat the Sergeant Major’s shuffling of my papers and stamping of my documents.

Anyway, I paid my fee and it soon was over. The Captain nodded to me and I left, somewhat relieved but no more informed about what had just happened. As I returned to my condo I thought of what it must have been like for the uneducated peasants of southern and eastern Europe at the turn of the century or the latino immigrants of today presented with the mysterious immigration process in a foreign language. At least I have had umpteen million years of schooling and a full career in administrative law to shelter my confusion behind bemusement. No wonder why they turn to coyotes and the like or are willing to take a chance as an illegal.

They have coyotes here. Usually ex-pats trying to augment their meager pensions by offering to assist the new comer through the process. Their experience being that they have gone through the process one more time than you. Well, at least here we do not have to fear being shut up into unventilated trucks or if we are a woman, raped at some remote border crossing.

All I can say is if one is going to deal with immigration in any country it would be a good thing to have gotten as much education, and experience as possible.

Consider Victor Laszlo in Casablanca, what would have happened if he were just a hungarian laborer instead of an anti nazi communist or hungarian, anti-Semitic nationalist (it was never quite clear to me which) journalist. As it was everyone was stumbling over one another to get him his “letters of transit” except of course the Nazis’ and Rick. In Ricks case he saw the LOT’s as an opportunity for another night in Paris with Ingrid, instead all he got was a night in the desert with Claude Rains.

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EXCERPTS FROM DIARY PRIOR TO POST.

THURSDAY APRIL 29 2010 9AM

In lobby of condo. Need to work on publications. Got to pee.

10 AM

At Cafe le Mar. wi-fi down. Weather great. Spirits medium.

5:00 PM

Tai called at about 2 PM. Said she wanted to come to Pattaya on Sunday. Said she had to leave Aslon with mother then come here. Said she will tell me everything, all the truth when she get’s here. Asked if I still wanted her to come. Tempted to say no but smell a story in it. Suspect she thinks she can get money from me for Aslon, promising to return with him and leave. It would not be me not to play it out. I wonder, is it loneliness that makes me not cut and run, curiosity, guilt. I do not know.

Paid the rent and maid service. Will go to Pattaya to meet Bill and others for dinner.

Began work on Jessica’s Birthday Dream and completed first draft of Kos diary #2.

11 PM

Returned from night out with Gates and Gary. Dinner at “tables.” Thought I saw Tranny model from the tranny sites. Went to Windmill Club. Pretty raunchy, then to _______. Raunchy also. then I left and came home.

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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