Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Kohn Kaen And the 6 Week Tweak

So now that I am no longer a fugitive from the Thailand Authorities, I decided it was time to carry on with my trekking. Monkey had been planning a trip to see her parents in Khon Kaen for some time. It was supposed to be 12 talkative women crammed in a Van for 6 hours. So naturally when Monkey asked Dennis and me to join them we said yes. At the last minute, the plans fell apart and it ended up being just the four of us. I should add here that the flash on my camera bit the dust as we arrived so the pictures in dark rooms will not be the same for a while.

Monkey's Dad is 'Sit' and his wife is 'Stay'. No they are not. I just did that to make my sister laugh again. She's still getting over the fact that Jook's two sisters are 'Red' and 'Green'. Sit's wife's name is Nu. Sit is a retired colonel in the Tank Corps of Thailand. His job was to fix the equipment when if broke down in the field. That means that when everyone was busy shooting at the tank, his job was to crawl underneath and fix it while becoming a target for everything that can crack off a shot at him. Nice work if you can get it.

this is us arriving at 1am Saturday morning. Sit and Nu casually came out and made us a late night snack while we relaxed. I kept thinking all weekend long about Melissa's 6 week tweak as I looked at how these people live.

Notice the walls. Very simple. The living room where Dennis and I slept, just a couple of fold up mattresses on a straw mat.

How about this for a complete kitchen Meliss?

I wanted to show all of you something that I just never got it through my head until now. The people in Thailand keep their homes very simple. But I always assumed it was because they didn't have the money to have more. But that's not the case at all. They keep their places simple because they don't need fortresses of stuff. They have each other and the home is a place to wash, do some simple cooking, and sleep. There is no one upmanship in the Thai home. They do not define their lives by what they own. When they visit each other, they bring food for everyone to share; like here where Monkey brought something that tastes like a cross between wheat and cotton Candie. It gets rolled up in soft sweet tortilla type wrap and and that's how we ate it. That and water. We drink lots and lots of water.

Washing the dishes. The dishes don't need to match. They are for eating on.

(This is Kow and Sit having breakfast)
Here's the other thing about the Thai people. They keep themselves very clean. They keep their clothes fresh and neat and they wash themselves often. You might think that because of the scenes I show from Bangkok, that they don't care about sanitation. It's just that they don't need to sterilize their world to live in it. The are like many aboriginal people. They adapt to their world. They don't destroy it like we do and build something totally alien. When I ask Monkey or Jook about it they simply say: "Is way of Buddha."

And here is the secret to them keeping from becoming obese. They don't eat dairy products and they don't eat much sugar. They automatically have avoided the two strongest addictions in Western Culture. I'm sure many of you will write me to correct my thinking on this, but I find that with all the food they eat, they eat a lot of vegetables, a lot of fish and very little meat.

So as you can see, it's not that they don't have the money, because almost every Thai has a Cellular phone, and a sophisticated one at that. It's that they choose what technology they will take on.

Ramses IV is venerated as the King who brought Thailand into the technological world while at the same time, keeping the balance with traditional Buddhist values.

One other question I had for Monkey. Why are there so few bicycles and so many motorcycles in Thailand. Why don't you do what China does? Her answer was: "China is poor. We are not."


pmelissa said...

I love this post. They are well-tweaked people. I love the simplicity.

When I think about how different it is here, I wonder how much we are held back by our cold environment and hence the need to build complicated warm houses and cars etc.

Sorry to hear your flash died. On that topic, how much do digital cameras cost there?

I agree regarding sugar and dairy.


Anonymous said...

Steve, reading this post was like a waking dream.
Absolutely surreal.
You seemed to know you could trust the people who took you to so many places.
That's a lot of whiskey. Not your thing as I recall.
Please don't smuggle home a snake.

Steven said...

J.P.:No, I could go the rest of my life without ever drinking. Fortuntely I have a very strong body and I actually felt no ill effects the next morning.
And yes, I am very trusting. But to survive as a traveller, you must trust someone. There is no other way.

Anonymous said...

message to Sarah from Steve--he is out of range but says he received your message and sends his love.
I could do with your email address at times like this!