I will long remember the year past as one of death. While nobody from my family or circle of friends died in 2016, a number of favorite musicians and actors did. I was also profoundly affected by the mid-October passing of the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej. Over the decade-plus that I’ve lived in Phuket, I’ve become a staunch Royalist and the death of His Majesty came in the midst of my annual courses with Thai bank staff members. Seeing their sadness, as well as the intense mourning that occurred throughout the nation, deeply effected me and I continue to feel a bond with Thai people that is difficult to describe to other foreigners.
As 2017 dawns, I pray that it will be a year of much happiness and light after the darkness that pervaded much of 2016. Don’t misunderstand me: there were quite a few good times and the year is certainly ending on a high note in that I’m in my first “real” relationship in around six or seven years.
Today we celebrate the American holiday of Veterans Day, established back in 1919 to honor those brave men (and, later, women) who have served in our armed forces. It’s one of one of the handful of days each year that I feel especially proud of my American heritage (one of the others — Memorial Day — originally celebrated the end of the American Civil War, in the way that Veterans Day originally marked the end of World War I).
I arrived in Siem Reap during the late afternoon of 11 April. My first impression was that it was quite a dusty little town and reminded me of the many bland Thai provincial towns I’ve zipped through while on buses.
The temperature was rather cool, much more pleasant than it had been in Phuket (which had been experiencing the most severe heatwave it had seen in ten years or more) and began to rain shortly after I’d climbed into a tuk tuk at the bus company’s office. The side road leading to my guesthouse was a muddy quagmire when I arrived at Angkor Wonder.
Upon check-in, the proprietor – Mr. Why Not – gave me a couple of bottles of water and a couple of maps showing Siem Reap (with the guesthouse prominently marked) and the Angkor Archaeological Park. He sat down with me to give me an overview of what to see and suggestions of how to go about seeing the attractions. I explained my plans for the next couple of days and haggled a bit on the prices. Mr. Why Not is a former tuk tuk driver himself and he employs his own drivers for the convenience of his guests and keeps the prices competitive.
2013: The Year That Will Be
Wow! 2013 (2556 on the Thai calendar)! Another year older. Am I any wiser? Time will tell…
As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I don’t like to make traditional resolutions as they are quickly forgotten. Instead, I am planning specific goals that I can track. Today’s entry is visible evidence of my resolve to write more in 2013. We’ll see how that goes…
Reading more is also easily trackable. A few years ago, I created a spreadsheet in which I record the books I read each day along with page counts. Another section computes the totals – cumulative pages and books completed. In 2012, I barely finished 50 books – that’s about half of what I’ve been averaging for the past several years. In the coming year I’d like to at least finish 60 books with quality taking precedence over quantity.