As you know, I’m computer phobic, techno-challenged, or as my Italian friend Katia suggested: “Techno-pigra.” (Pigra means lazy. lol.) Anyway, last week this subject heading and about 250 words were written and “saved as draft.” Haven’t been able to recover or find the draft. Darn it! When/if it’s discovered—after this is written—you’ll get the original also.
Anyway, this post’s subject is my approximate score from one day last week. Yes, at least 178 ants were killed by me and only 4 got away. I feel like the a character in the fairy tale about the tailor who killed “7 in one blow.” Not sure if my memory serves me correctly since it’s been decades since that story has been read by me. He killed 7 flies but gained the reputation of killing 7 enemies and, thus, the giant was frightened. (Any corrections on this re-telling are welcomed.)
Also, did I report on the smashing of a Honda Civic-sized arachnid? Dianna, who’s lived here for several years, shared her description of Buick-sized spiders. But this one wasn’t as large as the one I saw during my first week here, more than a month ago. She also warned that it would create a big mess if squashed. Happy to report–blood and guts were limited.
While we’re on the subject of wildlife, yesterday there were two crabs on the lawn near the dining room/reception area. Jake said they wander over from the rice paddies, not from his duck pond. Two other “creatures from nature” were observed at the outdoor produce/meat market that opens every day on a long street at 4 p.m. The first was funny, the second disgusting from our Western perspective but delicious to some locals. OKAY–#1 was a frog leaping down the street. It had escaped from a vendor and a man chased it, picked it up and returned it to the food stand. No doubt it was part of someone’s dinner later that night. #2 was identifiable by me thanks to a previous viewing years ago on TV of a story about Australian Aborigines. One vendor had small “baggies” filled with wiggly white grubs or worms of some sort. Not sure, but think some of the Hill Tribes (ethnic minorities) fry them for protein. In the USA they’d be dipped in egg, then flour with spices, and deep fat-fried (in palm oil to make it unhealthy????).
Weather improved greatly. Jake explained by saying, “Of course it stopped raining–you finally bought high rubber boots.” Shucks, if I’d known about the cause and effect they would been purchased much earlier even though the shops were out of my correct size. It’s raining lightly now but the past two mornings have had viewable sunrises. We’ve had about 5.5 days of sun or partial sun in the past 11 or so. Best weather since my arrival in Thailand on July 26.
The house hunt continues. We start paying rent on our school house (3 bedroom home) on September 1. If it’s suitable, I hope to stay there until at least early or mid-October to help our project save money. Meanwhile, have looked at five homes so far. As a result, my criteria has developed: 1) screens on windows. 2) located in town or Mae Hee, the hamlet where the school house is and where Dianna lives as does her son’s family at Ing Doi Guest House where I’ve been staying. 3) Western-style toilet (saw one place with squat toilet (hole in floor)). Air-conditioning in bedroom would be nice but not 100% required. Rents are unbelievably low by Woodstock or NY standards: we’re paying about $210 a month for the school house, our intern’s lovely little one-bedroom home in town is about $155 a month. Of course, salaries and cost of living are low compared to USA or Europe.
Finally, living in a tourist town has advantages. This past week I’ve made 3 sets of temporary friends. The first was a friend of a friend who had lived in Poughkeepsie for nearly 30 years before IBM laid her off. She’s teaching English in Indonesia and visited Pai for two days of her two-week Thailand vacation. Her visit was the perfect excuse for my first elephant ride since 1999. Next, an Australian couple about my age crossed my path and had lunch together and coffee together at another time. Finally, two nights ago I stopped at my favorite fruit shake stand and plopped down onto the vacant stool (there are only two). By chance, the man–who was over 40, a rarity in this tourist town, was Italian. So we both enjoyed speaking his native language as we sipped our dragonfruit shake (his) and papaya/lime shake (mine). He liked speaking Italian so much that we wound up having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants owned by a friend of Jake’s and Mink’s. Her mother is Vietnamese and she owns the only Vietnamese restaurant in Pai. It was my third time there. His first time trying that cuisine. Yum.
Progress continues on the school project. The lengthy business plan (10 pages) and financial statement (20+ pages) are finished. Hopefully, they will attract a rich donor who will help us reach our goal of $250,000 so we can buy the land and build The Banyan School.
Stay tuned for the latest from Pai, Mae Hong Son Province, in northwest Thailand.