Tag Archives: Chiang Mai

I’m back – But not yet fully functional!

It seems like a lifetime but it is only five months since I posted ‘Taking a break’ on October 17.

Only now do I realise that post was inaptly titled. The five months have been anything but a break; more a physical and mental ordeal I promise myself never to undertake again.

House warming
House warming

I have now built two houses in Thailand which, for an amateur developer, is quite a daunting challenge. Both have been vastly different experiences and I could easily write two books; novels even!!

Forgetting the novels for a moment, my first book would be entitled ‘How NOT to build a house in Thailand’, which would be the ‘go to’ bible for any unsuspecting ex-pat attempting the feat for the first time.

The sequel ‘Second time lucky’ would be a definitive guide on how to learn from your mistakes, proof that miracles do happen and the impossible is not.

From the back garden and Lam Yai farm
From the back garden and Lam Yai farm

I can chuckle now when I recall an American gentleman, a few years younger than me, saying “You are only managing the project, I take it.” Experience has taught me that if you want the house to be built to a reasonable standard you have to roll your sleeves up.

Fortunately I have always benefited from physical activity and am a great believer in the importance of maintaining fitness throughout life. So undertaking the strain, even at the ripe old age of 73, was not actually a consideration. Perhaps it should have been; but I feel fine although 5 kgs lighter and a little weary. No doubt it will pass.

Builders finishing up party. (They had more than one!!)
Builders finishing up party. (They had more than one!!)

For now it’s time to return to a more sedate life, not forsaking daily exercise – walking and swimming – of course. I’m not surprised that the lack of stimulation I get from writing and photography has left me a little flat. Now that my focus is shifting back to my passions I’m sure my creative juices will flow again.

I am ready for action on the writing front; mentally that is. I say that because my PC, despite hours of coaxing, debugging and frustration, has decided to ‘go slow’. It is now about as fast as a one-legged tortoise on Valium! The fix is in the mix and will be done by early May when everything will be up to F1 standard.

After that, I promise that I will be doing my utmost to publish more works of interest for the small but loyal number of readers who seem to enjoy my writing and photography. I’m not sure but maybe I’ll seriously consider those house books!

However, my first job is to complete the publication of Volume Three of ‘Thailand Diaries’. In the meantime I plan to post some poems, some written, some in process, plus some short stuff which my dysfunctional PC may just be able to handle.

For now I’ll leave you with this thought;

“Life is like climbing a mountain. You spend the whole time trying to reach the summit. When you eventually do it’s time to come down and die.”

Fires already?

I have written many times on the subject of atmospheric pollution and although I am taking a break from blogging for a while I cannot contain my emotions when it comes to being exposed to deliberately started forest fires.

While I am managing a building project in Northern Thailand I am staying on the hill slopes of Huai Kaew village, 30 kms north of Chiang Mai, bordering the forests. The climate at this time of year is comfortable. Cool at night and early morning rising to 30c + in the day with no rain except the occasional shower.

But now the burning season starts when the monsoon rains have gone and farmers burn off the dry dead grasses and stubble to stimulate new growth next year around May/June’; then Cutting back excessive growth, clearing land and deforestation for fruit and vegetable farming.

Unfortunately making a living takes preference over self- health and the health of others. The natural environment, habitat and animal life are hardly a consideration.

Despite the annual government warnings and penalties, seldom imposed, slash and burn techniques continue unabated. Ask the locals and they will tell you ‘This is the way it has always been.’

Ask if they think it is OK and you will probably get a shrug of the shoulders or, at best, ‘What can I do’.

In other words, total apathy.

Having nearly choked to death in Phuket, due to the horrendous forest fires in Sumatra, in September/October I have a more than a vested interest in finding a solution to the Global air pollution problem.

Apart from helping to raise awareness in a small way I am virtually powerless.

And so the global problem of Global warming continues on its merry way and we all suffer the consequences.

You may say ‘The Sun will eventually destroy us so what does it matter anyway.’

I say I am thankful I have no grandchildren!!!

I leave you with this hurriedly written poem induced by indignation and wine and would like you to look at my picture of the beautiful forest I am looking at tonight which is burning as I write.

 

Why are you killing us?

Burning our land.

You have no rites of passage.

You have no right to stand

 

I watch in despair,

Each night as I laze.

Your fires that destroy us;

My lungs are ablaze.

 

The world is at war

With natures reaction,

To warming the globe

And our interaction.

 

The ice caps are melting.

The land is enveloped.

Species facing extinction.

No chance to develop.

 

I ask you again,

Please consider your brother.

Remember your learning and

How you treat your mother (Earth).

 

 

Goodbye Chiang Mai

Goodbye Chiang Mai goodbye.

Just for now, maybe forever.

I’ll miss you so goodbye

But ne’er forget you ever.

 

Remember you are where I go.

I’ll see you often afore I die.

Not as before for now t’will be

Forever, always, my mind’s eye.

 

For in my heart you’ll always be.

You took me in and set me free.

Your valleys and your farms.

Your jungle and your mountain charms.

 

Fields of green and gold.

Your fertile earth where seasons play

With scents so subtle sometimes bold.

The food you give us everyday.

 

Your rivers flood and mountains stream

The lifeblood of your garden fare;

Never sleeping ne’er to dream.

The source of life and love laid bare.

 

For in my heart you’ll always be.

You took me in and set me free.

Your valleys and your farms.

Your jungle and your mountains charm.

Misty morning and a yellow hue pervades the valley north of Chiang Mai
Misty morning and a yellow hue pervades the valley north of Chiang Mai

How the Hill-Tribes of Chiang Mai sell their wares

An Akha village, with the traditional thatched...

An example of an Akha village, with the traditional thatched roofs, found in Laos and Northern Thailand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Sunday market at Tha Phae Gate – Chiang Mai. [Jamoroki Art]
Hmong people
Hmong people (Photo credit: rEkOM)

The Hill-Tribes in the north of Thailand are industrious, quiet and respectful people. Theirs is another world away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and rural towns. They live their lives in the mountains, forests and hills that make up most of the landscape of northern Thailand bordering Myanmar and Laos. Continue reading How the Hill-Tribes of Chiang Mai sell their wares