Friday, 31 August 2007

Am I showing too much cleavage?

I've decided to age 40 or so years overnight cos it seems to me that to be over 70 in rural Thailand you are better able to deal with the heat. Let me neighbour, a lovely lady in her mid 70s, loves to get around wearing a sarong around her waist and a shirt, just bouncing in the breeze. And this is no ordinary bra, it's a raunchorama, red lacy bra (I'm talking nipple action here) and no one bats an eyelid because a) she's old and b) she's not alone in doing this. No no, it seems that once you pass the 70 year threshold, you can suddenly show your bazoomas to the world without consequences. She is the only one I've seen in lacy, racy colours though...the others usually restrict themselves to more demure 6 hooks in the back, off white stunners with a pocket between the breasts for stowing cash! Mrs Free & Easy doesn't just confine herself to around the house either, she'll quite happily go visit people or drop into the local minimart in such attire.

Every time I see her around in this state I always ask my husband "If she can wear that, why can't I wear a singlet?". His exasperated sigh never fails to deliver "Because she's old" I'm the dumbest person on the planet for not knowing the obvious! The thing is, and it's something I've never been able to figure out, is that I can hang out in just a sarong, revealing my shoulders and cleavage, but I'm a hoe if I get around in a singlet (seriously, you should see the looks!). Needless to say that since living in the village I no longer wear singlets/skinny strap shirts, but get me into touristville and I'm living in them! Now, how is it that it's not offensive to show more skin in a sarong, then I do in a confounds me eternally....

So, I've decided that on my 70th birthday I'm going to celebrate my new found freedom and go all out...stuff the bra, I've waited 40 years just to cool down in this oppressive heat...where's the minimart dear?

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Globules of lard....

As I was eating dinner tonight, which consisted of 2 coconut based, spicy curries, a shrimp curry, some vege and fried crispy fish, a weight loss ad came on...very opportune timing just a coincidence I'm sure...this poor "overweight" Thai woman had ballooned up to 55 kg (great inhalation at the horror of it all) and her shame displayed in HUGE, red writing across the screen. She paid this company the large wad of cash and low and behold, she's been transformed into a 49 kg beauty! I laugh, ha ha...if that ad was played in Australia or the US (or pick your other bread munching, pizza loving country) there would be much throwing of food at television, much gnashing of teeth and much chagrin going down. Most of us haven't been 49kg since birth...well, school years anyway....or perhaps I'm just living in my own chubby little bubble of self denial...

I'll never be the same again....

Urghh. I woke up in the night to go to the bathroom, as you do, and my mother-in-law's teeth were floating in a glass on the kitchen table. Not just any glass mind you....MY glass....the only glass I ever use to drink anything out of (yes, it's very special), she is using as her teeth bath at night. I'm pretty traumatised...not by the teeth, that's a natural part of growing old or having bad teeth, it's the fact that it's MY glass, and she knows it.....I have to turn to Buddha in times such as these..."the principle cause of suffering is attachment" Dang right ! If I wasn't attached to that glass, I wouldn't be suffering from nausea this morning thinking that I potentially drank bits of gunk stuck between her teeth...

Anyhoo.....releasing all attachment noooowwww with the out breath....

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

This Ain't Just a Hunk of Wood...

This is my new pet project...."My Beautiful Piece of Wood", highly original, I know. I found it a couple of days ago at the creek where we go swimming and brought it back home on the back of our motorbike! I've started sanding it down by hand to reveal its inner gorgiousity. It's got all these squiggly lines engraved all over it... perhaps some hidden message from the universe? Either that or some bugs or something. Not exactly sure what it's purpose in my life is going to be, I just had to have it...don't be too jealous though, it's just a piece of wood, really...

(one day will get a decent camera - until then run with your imagination on how gorgeous this is in real life)

Monday, 27 August 2007

My Ode to Durian

How I love thy divine fruit, thou art food from the heavens....ok, enough of that. I have just finished eating the sumptuous divinity that is Durian...I love this fruit. I can't get enough of it..and it's in season now and half our village is our family that have trees in their backyard which equates to lots of free durian for me!! It even has an official title bestowed upon it in Thailand - "Durian - King of Fruit". The Queen of fruit is Mangosteen but that will probably get an ode all to itself in another post.

Although I possibly get more pleasure out of eating durian then perhaps some other joyous bedroom past time (!), the stench that emits from them is just beastly. My friend visited me last year from Oz described the taste as a cross between rockmelon (cantaloupe) and onions while trying her best not to spontaneously projectile it back onto me. There really is no in betweens with durian. You love it or you hate it, there's no grey area when dealing with this fruit. This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Opinions are widely divergent ... ranging from highly appreciative to deep disgust.

Writing in 1856, Alfred Russel Wallace provides a much-quoted description of the flavour of the durian:

The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the eatable part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. ... as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed.

Wallace cautions that "the smell of the ripe fruit is certainly at first disagreeable"; more recent descriptions by westerners can be more graphic. Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says:

.... its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished
with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local
popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such
as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast

Both of these descriptions are so accurate I couldn't word it better myself. You're seriously not allowed to take Durian on air-conditioned public transport so as not to offend other passengers. If it weren't for the fact that the smell of durian on your breath makes you repugnant to all fellow beings, the fact that too much makes your stomach burn and too much makes you fat...I could live off this fruit alone for all my days...

Saturday, 25 August 2007

My house has been invaded by lil' elves...

Got woken up again this morning by J's mother yodelling for us to come downstairs at 5 am! Tomorrow will probably be 4:30 at the rate she's going this week! What a surprise when we dragged ourselves downstairs though..our house had been taken over by 8 lil elves! How cute are they, seriously!

Now this photo is J's mother and the typical facial expression she has (click for larger view, if you must).

Just to be fair and balance out my karmic presence, here is one of her smiling. I think it's the first time I've ever seen her smile in nearly 3 years (she has teeth?)!

The oldies in my village have a big parade in town today for a sports carnival.

Eat til you die...

I might rename my blog "Every night's a party"....yet another party last night. Wedding again...I have no idea who these people are! J's parents went to 2 parties in the day time yesterday and were too tired to go to this one, so we went in their place. I was more than happy to go to this one as it was a "Chinese" style dinner - that is, a seven course meal! I love these parties! We get to go to one of these about once every 4 months or so..most parties are just one or two courses (curry and fruit for dessert). Please excuse the quality of the photos, my camera's clapped out and very temperamental. So, first course was nibblies..cashew nuts, fried tofu, fried fish bites,fermented egg with ginger and bacon bits in the middle. Second course was a yummalicious seafood mix with prawns, crispy fried fish, calamari, crab, and tastes sweet, sour and salty all at the same time. I love this dish. Third course was a huge fish with sweet and sour chilli sauce. Fourth course braised duck and vegies (yum!!). Fifth course Pork of some description, sixth course fried rice and seventh course watermelon (usually it's a fruit platter but can't complain really).

How much for all this...a mere donation of 100 baht for the two of us..that's $3.80 ($1.90 each...for 7 courses!). Love this glorious country!

Friday, 24 August 2007

Chill'n with the fishies...

It was a hot one today but it's pissing down with rain now, so it's cooled my world down again. Went to the local creek for a swim today which we do a few times a week to cool down. It's a very rare event that southern Thailand gets below 30 degrees C in the day time, so it's very refreshing to go and lie down in the creek for an hour or so. There's also huge amounts of clay deposits so it's like a free spa..I give my husband and I a clay facial scrub followed up with application of a clay mask(!)...we then lie in the sun for 5 minutes until it dries, then unleash our freshly exfoliated, declayed faces to the world...well, the fish in the creek anyway. I just know one day a group of people are going to bust us in our beauty regime...not sure how J will explain himself. Perhaps they'll just think he's a ghost and run screaming (Thais fear of ghosts surpasses all!!).
This is what J thinks of me taking his photo in the middle of his facial!

No sleep tonight....

Went to another party last night, this time a wedding. Yesterday was obviously a very auspicious day as half the village was having a party. At 9 o'clock last night I could hear karaoke from 3 different parties within a km of my house. The party last night was huge! Probably more than 200 people...and I could actually eat without having to bring my own curry! Of course it was the fish gut curry, but also had spicy yellow fish curry and some burn your ass off dipping that dip! Thais are always so surprised when they see I can eat super spicy food. They seriously think that all foreigners only eat hamburgers, bread and pizza! It does put you off your food a bit when whole tables of people stop what they're doing just to watch you eat though!

The folks have a party hire you can imagine, great business in Thailand. They hire out tents, chairs, tables, plates, cooking stuff...everything you'd need for a party, they hire out. This week is a crazy week for the biz. J was called out of bed by mother dear this morning at 5:45am to go and help his dad pull down tents and go to another party to put them all up again! Did I mention that we're really over living with the parents!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

My love of forums...

I'm a complete convert to forums. I never really realised the joy one could get out of one's computer (although I'm sure this joy is not new for most internet savvy men...anyhoo..). I had been living in Thailand for more than 2 years, sometimes feeling quite down that I just can't have a good conversation with anyone anymore. While J's English is quite good, it's not really the same as being able to have a good D & M with a girl friend or just sit around and shoot the shit, you know? Stimulating conversation was a thing of the past....until one fateful day that I stumbled upon a web forum. All of a sudden my world expanded, the sun was shining, birds were singing (you get the picture?) as I read about other western women married to Thai men..shock horror, gasp gasp. For those who've never visited this lovely land, it is a (phenomenonly) very common occurrence to see western men (usually over 50, but not always) with Thai wives or girlfriends (usually 30 years younger, but not always). In the north-east of Thailand it's quite possible that every 3rd house has a foreigner living there and married to a Thai (pulling that figure out my bum obviously, but not far off the truth).

In the 3 years I've been here I've met 3 white women married to Thai men...and one of those I only met yesterday! Which brings me to my point of how much I love forums. They're bringing people together damn it! I met a lovely Thai/farang couple yesterday who live a measly 70 kms from me, who I "met" on the forum. I am not aloooonnnnneee! Seriously, for a couple of years I honestly thought that in the whole of Thailand there were perhaps 5 couples in my situation. But now I have discovered, in reality, it's more like 50 couples (compared to the 800 000+ farang men/Thai women couples!). Joyous days, I can communicate again!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

She strikes again....

I've gone outside this morning and this is what I see all over the back and side walls of our house! Mother-in-law has struck again! She obviously decided that it would be easier (and more beautiful?) to paint over all the dirty spots (in a very different colour) rather than clean them. This is around our entire house now!! At least she didn't do it with the brown paint!
I'll try to stop complaining about the woman now, can't be good for my karma!

Monday, 20 August 2007

The world spins again...

Hurrah hurrah, Thailand voted YES to the new constitution and no apparent dramas followed. There will now be an election before the year is out to vote in a democratically elected government and all will be well with the world again (cough cough).

For some reason my beloved free aerobics classes haven't been running the last few days..feeling quite bereft, was becoming quite attached to getting down to Thai techno and Bon Jovi remixes.

Spent this morning painting the inside of our house which the folks just added 2 new rooms to. Looking very professionally painted if I do say so myself. J and I had painstakingly detailed the bottom of all the walls in a pale green colour to match the rest of the paint and it was looking pretty swish. Then, late this afternoon, after not seeing motherinlaw for quite some time, she reemerges quiet as a mouse from one of the new bedrooms with paint brush in hand! A BIG DIRTY BROWN paintbrush. I had some pretty unholy thoughts at that moment. She had gone and painted a 20 cm pooh brown border around the entire bottom of every wall.

She hadn't used any type of measuring tool or tape to create straight edges, she just did it from sight (coke bottom glasses sight at that!). Unbelievable! Not sure where to go from here..whether to leave it, in all its hideousness or to pick up that brown brush and fix it. There unfortunately is no option of painting over it...I'm not quite up to facing her wrath!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Thailand says Yay or Nay

It's a big day for Thailand's the day they vote Yay or Nay for a new constitution. There have been dozens of protests leading up to this day in a campaign to "Vote NO". Reasons being that the present government was put in place by an army takeover in a coup to oust the highly corrupt Prime Minister last year. I mean this dude is RICH. Not just rolling in it, but completely screwed his own country to make his way into the Forbes richest people on the planet list! This is Thailand by the way! Anyhoo, it's getting pretty exciting now because they're tallying up the scores and it is a really close race. Most votes from the south (my area) were Yes but most votes from the north (ex-PM's area) are No. Ex PM was quite renowned for paying people to vote for him and considering the areas that voted No are from his home province and the poorest province in Thailand, one only has to read between the lines! Perhaps I'm getting a wee bit too involved!!

The current government was assigned by the army to serve a one year term to attempt to reform the corruption that had become rampant under the previous government. The current PM was royally endorsed by the King, who is probably the most proactive monarch in the world in helping his fellow countrymen fight poverty and improve their lot. This referendum was held to vote for a new constitution before a new election can be held so that Thais can vote for their own government rather than keep the army elected government in place for longer than necessary (that was long winded!!). I think it's probably gonna get messy no matter what the outcome. If it's a Yes, people will claim corruption and riot in the streets. If it's NO, people will start protesting again to oust the current temporary government (who are still there because they didn't vote yes!)....oh it's a complicated situation....currently sitting at 58% Yes 42% No..

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Walking frogs...

I've seen the strangest thing about 4 times now when I'm brushing my teeth outside at night (we don't have running water inside). I'll be brushing away and look at the wall about a metre from the tap and there's a little fat frog walking down the wall. That's right, WALKING DOWN the wall! Face up, bum down, walking step by step backwards down the bloody wall. All 4 times (over the space of about 3 months) I nearly choke on my toothbrush from laughing because it's the funniest, most bizarre thing I think I've ever seen. And it's always at the top of the wall when I see it making it's way to the bottom, strange coincidence. Highly amusing anyhoo...

Thank goodness for Muslim Restaurants!!!

Another party warming this time, not the usual funeral or monk affair. About 100 people and what was on the menu? Moo (that's pork in Thai...seriously!). Nothing else...pork soup, pork curry and grilled pork, that was it! After having about 10 people ask what I was going to eat (because I'm quite famously known to not eat pork - even sellers at the city market know I don't eat it!) something had to be done to alleviate the situation. Luckily for me there was a Muslim restaurant just next door to the party so we went and bought a Panang Chicken Curry and took it back to the party!

The house warming was celebrating J's cousin's new 2 million baht (~100 grand) monstrosity of a house. If only I took my camera! Its 2 levels of fluorescent green paint, floor and curtains are trimmed with a lovely shade of bright pink and the entire mansion contains 5 rooms in total. The bedroom and bathroom upstairs and the kitchen, another bathroom and a tennis court size "lounge" room with nothing in it downstairs, and that's it. The entire block is literally can't even walk around the perimeter of the house because it fills the block on 3 sides!

Thais are big on "show". As long as it's big and people know how much you spent on it, it doesn't really matter if it makes you physically ill to look at it because for 2 million baht everyone automatically tells you it's beautiful! J's parents were devastated when we laid our foundation dirt for our future house about 20 metres from the road behind a huge tree. So much so that they didn't talk to us for the entire day! They were pretty hung up on the whole "show" thing and putting the house right on the roadside and couldn't understand why we wanted to "hide" the house! I am pretty hung up on the privacy, away from loud road thing myself, so I won out...painful foreign daughter-in-law that I am!

Forgot to mention...yes indeed, there was Karaoke! Wasn't very spectacular tonight though as it was quite early and people weren't very intoxicated. Bet it's going off now though! I on the other hand am going to sleep...

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Karaoke rafting...

Last night I spent the night on a floating Karaoke raft being pulled around a lake the size of a small country. Although I've been immersed in the Karaoke Culture for some time now, it just keeps taking me to new levels of "Karaoke Awareness". Their love for the off-key song surpasses all...

30 Thai teachers, J and myself were transported to Karaoke World by a longtail boat in several trips, also hauling along all the food and alcohol supplies for the evening. All on board by about 6pm in time for a not so spectacular sunset due to cloud cover. They got the music cranking before we even alighted ship! After everyone was on board and settled at tables, the Karaoke was immediately cranked up! It was all pretty mediocre until after dark when the teachers went wild! Talk about Jekyll and Hyde!! Those teachers know how to partay. Pretty much everyone is called up one after the other to sing and they're all desperate to be next in line to sing (!!) was inevitable that my name would be up I went, did my little bit of speaking Thai to much applause and laughter, but all they wanted was English (they were all English teachers!) and of course for me to "Sing-a-song, english english". I bitterly disappointed them as I just couldn't bring myself to do it. J on the other hand ran up to the stage, started extravagantly dancing and sang a few Thai classics to get the party rockin' again!!

Amongst the festivities we were served a 5 course meal of snacks, seafood platter, grilled fish, Tom Yum Goong, Curry, Vegies and rice and dessert of fruit! I was so stuffed after this effort I couldn't move for a good hour but the teachers got up again for more singing and dancing all throughout the meal! Crazy cats... Most people crashed about midnight and the boat closes everything down at about 1.30am - everyone has to work in the morning! A few of the men tried to continue gambling by aid of lighters but didn't last long (they were the first to rise int he morning and start gambling again before the sun was up!). With all of us mashed together in the back of the boat there wasn't much space for sleeping...everyone was up at 6am anyway for sunrise and back to the mainland for a quick breakfast before going to work. Thais don't really get the concept of a weekend! They'll do anything, any day of the week! Love it...

The Karaoke Raft

Sleeping area at the back

The lake, the raft, the tow boat

Forgot to mention - all this was for free (courtesy of the teachers)!!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Mother's a Punk Rock star

Public Holiday today as it was Mother's Day yesterday, celebrating the Queen's B'day and people's supposed lovely mothers...not that I'm bitter about not having one of those (talking in-country Thai mother here). My MIL has actually been quite pleasant this week..I think it's because her daughter is visiting, she's on her best behaviour!!

Just finished a 40 minute aerobics in our village, just across the road from our house conveniently enough. They usually do it 5 days a week, there's about 15 of us that do it have to love this country that provides free workouts...where would you get that in western countries I ask you. Yesterday was particularly hilarious because J's mother decided to try it out! She's a pretty spritely 65 year old but her co-ordination leaves a little to be desired, but really, good on her for giving it a whirl! I so wish I had a video recorder though because after trying the routine out for 10 minutes she just couldn't keep up so did her own thing and ended up dancing like she was at a heavy metal concert, hands flailing the air, head wobbling, legs kicking...very amusing to behold to say the least!

I've had the "10 little Indians" song stuck in my head for 3 days now...from school camp, except the kids sang "10 little Indias" know it, go on... 1 little 2 little 3 little Indias, 4 little 5 little 6 little Indias, 7 little 8 little 9 little Indias, 10 little India boys!". Share my pain...

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Trouble in Paradise

What a week! From about Tuesday until last night I've wanted a divorce from my usually fantabulous husband who had completely stabbed me in the back! I might be being a little dramatic, but only slightly. Here I am, innocently working on the computer on Tuesday when we get a couple of visitors - my uncle-in-law and his friend. Both are highly respected School Principals. I should have seen the signs.

A little background....I HATE TEACHING!!! I tried teaching English in a local village school for 3 months and I think it aged me 10 years and has forever traumatised me for teaching again in Thailand. The teachers are lazy, the students lazier and absolutely everything English related is put onto the white gal (because I speak English, I know everything...of course!). In my short stint at teaching I was often placed in front of large groups of students (can be hundreds!) and told to sing or play an English game. Having no previous teacher training, this is no easy task off the top of my head.

Anyway, back to beloved husband....After quite some time of the men talking outside, I finally go out to see what's going on and J has signed me up for a 2 day English Camp! Not happy Jan..Thai's can't say no - this is something that I both love and loathe. J just couldn't say no to the gang up from the teachers, even knowing that I would do something very extreme to his nether regions... I guess in hindsight he was quite brave! Respect for elders is more extreme than fear of loosing one's manhood from wife! Needless to say I've survived it all...and it was quite fun at times, but really, entertaining 200 ten year olds for two days is not really my thing. I'll be having nightmares about singing the Hokey Pokey on a microphone in front of the masses for years to come, I'm sure! So will they come to think of it...

Watching the dozens of crazy monkeys chasing all the children for food was probably the most entertaining part of the camp!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

I'm an addict....

I have become completely addicted to the's definitely an illness, are there support groups for this? I'm sure I'm not alone in this...we got "hi-speed" net put on 2 months ago and it's been a steady downhill for me since. At first I just thought it was the novelty of going from dial up (literally 5 minutes to download some pages) to satellite speeds...OMG I could watch video clips online!! Although they still stop for streaming but it's a step up at least.. but it's gotten so I find it painful to walk away from the computer for fear my husband will steal it when I go to the bathroom. I'm getting headaches...I'm not feeling quite...right. Must wean myself off it..perhaps tomorrow I'll just look for 5 hours instead of....I'm too embarrassed to even say.

Woe is me, but tomorrow's another day...