I believe that this year is the most Christmasy of any since I have moved to Phuket. Which suits this lover of the holiday very much. The new Central Floresta shopping center adjacent to where I work in the Central Festival mall is particularly festive and I have taken to wandering around the connected buildings each afternoon, discovering new areas of decoration. While I always … Continue reading Signs of Christmas in Phuket 2019 (Part 2)
With less than 10 days until Christmas, I am looking for evidence of the holiday celebration around Phuket in southern Thailand. Certain areas are more heavily decorated than others. Here are a few photos I took last week — at Limelight Avenue, a small shopping center in Phuket Town, and at Jungceylon, a large shopping mall in the main tourist destination of Patong Beach on … Continue reading Signs of Christmas in Phuket 2019 (Part 1)
I have been fairly active over the past week-and-a-bit so I thought this was a good time to post a short update. The first thing I did on my birthday last Thursday was to walk to the Phuket Philatelic Museum (about five minutes from my home). It was the date of release for Thailand’s last stamp of 2019 — a 5-baht commemorative marking the nation’s … Continue reading An Active Week
Greetings, readers! I’m (almost) back to “regular” blogging.
No, I didn’t fall off the edge of the Earth. I am just trying to recover from what was simple exhaustion. My 53-year-old body essentially rebelled against my unrelenting schedule.
For weeks, I had been looking forward to taking a bit of a vacation/holiday break at the end of the school year. That came at the end of the first week of March. However, on Wednesday of that week I was asked to plan for and run a two-week Summer Camp due to start the following week at a Buddhist temple school on the opposite side of the island. While we are normally given much more advanced notice for even the one- or three-day camps, I told my boss, “Sure, no problem!”
In my summary article late last month — “I’m Still Here!” — I mentioned having accumulated a number of photos on the theme of unusual, unexpected or humorous things seen in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is quite common here to see things that leave you scratching your head and the usual expat response is simply, “TIT” — short for “This is Thailand”, meaning “No explanation necessary”. The countless misspellings, odd translations, construction misalignments, entire families (plus the family pet!) riding tiny motorbikes, and so much more become part of the landscape after one has been here awhile. However, if you stop noticing them altogether that may be a sign you’ve stayed too long!
I’ve lived in the “Land of Smiles” for thirteen years and nothing really shocks me anymore. There are still pleasant surprises and for those I am grateful. Nothing here makes me really upset or angry (anymore). The occasional “unfortunate” incidents are dealt with in a more-or-less Thai sabai-sabai (“easy, no problem”) manner and quickly forgotten. I was even able to laugh at my near-arrest (paperwork completed but not filed) for walking on the sidewalk (“impeding traffic” as I couldn’t make room for motorbikes desiring a shortcut rather than using the road) within a day or so of it happening. Most of the “TIT” moments I take in stride and many I find endearing and part of the reason that I love living here. I hope that you find enjoyment in them as well.
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.
This is the first 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.
Ten years ago this week, I made my final trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I’d lived since June 1994, along with my brother-in-law. We were there in order to clean out my home as I was starting a new life here in Phuket. Keith and I spent a couple of days putting my furniture and boxes filled with the memorabilia of a life in music, books, and travel into a large storage unit under the watchful majesty of Sandia Peak. Even my beloved car – a lapis lazuli Dodge Neon – went into storage when we were finished. I thought I’d return to the States within a year or two in order to retrieve my things. Alas, it was never to be.