This is the sixth of a series of photographic blogs highlighting my last days in the U.S.A. and my first full year as an expat in southern Thailand.
Now that I was a full-time expat in the Land of Smiles, the time came to find a home to live in rather than the dingy but cheap Thai motel in the center of the island. It was important that we have someplace by the Thai New Year (Songkran) holiday on 13 April as this also happened to be my girlfriend’s birthday and she was planning a huge party.
I don’t know why we concentrated our search to the Chalong area (south central Phuket) but we spent all of 9 and the morning of 10 April looking. We took frequent breaks to eat; I had my first experiences with local Thai markets and sitting on the beach enjoying a fish dinner. It wasn’t long before we found a nice home in a small housing development about halfway between Wat Chalong and the roundabout once known as Chalong Circle. Our true landlord was one of the top cops in Bangkok but the leasing agent was from the UK. The village was so new that the road had just recently been paved and the shophouses at the entrance were still being built. Chaofa West Road at the time was a fairly quiet two-lane road for most of it’s length at the time. In another year, they would begin the massive construction that widened it to four lanes and added numerous businesses along its length. The most inconvenient part of this was the complete shutting off of our village’s water for months while they laid new water pipes along the road.
Our house was a semi-detached Western-style home featuring two bedrooms each with their own bathroom, a huge living room, a nicely-appointed kitchen (with a REAL dishwashing machine) and a small rock garden along the open length and at the rear of the house. There was air-conditioning ONLY in the master bedroom so this became my refuge. We paid 15,000 baht per month to rent that house which was about US $360 at the time. We had awesome next door neighbors – Frank from Sweden and his Thai wife; they followed us when we moved up the road to a three-story shophouse a year or so later. Still the bed place I’ve live in Thailand…