What about if you go to Lumpini or Rajdamnern stadium and are asked to pay 2000 baht ($62.50) versus 500 baht ($15.62)? How do you feel about paying more than Thais? Is it racist? The bottom line is we can pay more and get what we pay for or we can choose not to pay. Frankly, I think it stinks no matter how you cook it.
The first of several videos shot at the Tha Phae Waterfall in Nakorn Si Thammarat. This short clip was actually shot on our way out to go home. When we first arrived, we had the place completely to ourselves. My wife and kids went swimming in one of the pools at the bottom of the waterfall, and I walked up to the first waterfall to take some photos.
As we left, we noticed a group of several Thai kids playing at the tip of the last waterfall. One decided to slide down to the bottom of the falls and his friends soon followed. There are rarely more than a handful of people at this waterfall and if you're in the Nakorn Si Thammarat area, the Tha Phae Waterfall makes for a great half day trip.
The seats on Thai sprinter trains recline but alas, there are no beds. If the seats were first class size, plush, and covered in crushed black velvet, sleeping would be a joy. These seats were average, with average lumps, and greater than average stickiness. Thus, they provided a place for average sleep.
The trip seemed much shorter than usual and we arrived as the first signs of darkness replaced the afternoon sun. My wife had arranged for her cousin to pick us up from the station, and fortunately, she was waiting for us on the platform when we disembarked. I was tired and wanted a long, cold drink and a cool shower. Then I would lie down on the tile floor, watch The Sopranos or one of the movies I put on my phone, and slowly drift off to never-never land.
Upon arrival in Suratthani though, I am no longer the King of my castle. I am no longer the boss and without a struggle, I relinquish control. I am at the mercy of my wife.
"We need to stop at my sisters house," she said. "There is no electricity now so I think we'll just sleep here."
I don't know about anyone else, but my mind works overtime, and always selfishly.
I have to take a shower. I need to shit. I just want to stretch out in my underwear. I want to relax!
"There's no electricity?" I ask. "Can't we just sleep at the house?"
"Honey, we can't see anything and we need to clean the place up. Stay here for the night," she said.
There is no doubt where I'll be sleeping. On the floor, at someone else's house, not in my underwear. Not my idea of a great start to my relaxing Songkran vacation. But as Scarlet O'Hara said in Gone with the Wind, "Tomorrow, is another day." And tomorrow, I'm going to lie around on the cool tile floor in my underwear.
There is no internet or cell signal at our home in Surat. It's great to relax and get off the grid but it's also nice to have periodic moments where I can connect to the outside world. This is one of those times.
Right now I'm on my way to the airport to drop off my wife's brother who is returning to Bangkok.
In the past few days we've went to two beaches in Krabi and a waterfall in Nakorn Si Thammarat. I am relaxed, having fun, and have been working on my book in moments of quiet. I'll be back in 4-5 days and while leaving here is always difficult, it will be good to be home.
Anyhow, I am going to relax and although I may post a few words here and there, I may not. It depends on what I am doing and how I feel. One thing I do want to do, leisurely of course, is continuing my project on rubber tree farmers and how they go about tapping the rubber trees and getting the rubber to market. With any luck, I'll get some great landscape shots too.
Videos will continue going up as I have them scheduled up to go live until I return. Once I'm back, I'll have footage from everywhere we went. Every time I go down south, I come back recharged. So I am really looking forward to this trip.
I need to go to the Central African Republic - this is what I have been dreaming of photographing for years and it is the ultimate challenge. I know it's a bit crazy but...not to me. I have whittled the budget down to $10,000 for 20 days including airfare, which is much cheaper than past estimates.
If you have any spare Delta miles or want to help me fund my expedition to the C.A.R., click here. I can certainly use the help.
I can come up with a a few grand so I am approximately $7000 shy of meeting what I need to get there. The sooner I get there, the better, if I start an IndieGoGo campaign it will be at least 2 months before I can make the trip. If I cannot raise the funds in the next few weeks, I will go to either Hong Kong or Tokyo instead. But I will get to Africa eventually.
Time Magazine article on the Central African Republic