A few weeks ago, I uploaded a video to YouTube about how Thailand has changed. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from a long-time subscriber telling me of several of his experiences and how he thought Thailand had changed and why. Thailand definitely has changed, but is it all bad? In a word, no. You do need to be careful though, and while some are cautious and mistrusting, others believe every word they're told, making them easy marks. As P.T. Barnum once said, "There's a sucker born every minute." Being a sucker in Thailand can be devastating. Far too many men find this out when it's already too late.
It's been about a month since we returned from the US, and the time away was good not only for me, but for my wife and sons. I started walking, testing my hip, and I am now walking from 5 to 7 miles a day. In addition, I went on a pescatarian diet and drastically cut down on bread and pasta. As of today, I've dropped eight kilograms. I feel better and once again I am considering walking from the most southern point in Thailand to the most northern point. It's 6 - 7 weeks of solid walking, so it's no easy feat, but I am prepping for it and researching the costs.
In a few weeks I should learn whether or not I'll be going to Ecuador. If so, I'm outta here in late June, early July. I'll also be going several other places in the next six months; Vietnam and Cambodia, Hong Kong, and possibly Japan and Myanmar. Plus, my latest book will be completed by the end of July.
My oldest son Alex is now 15 and is growing and getting stronger every day. He does between 25 and 50 push-ups a day, hits the punching mitts once in a while, and also runs every so often. In Thailand, military service is mandatory, although there are a few ways to get out of it. One way is to qualify and join the Thai Marines program while in M-4 (10th grade). To qualify, the student needs to do 34 sit-ups in two minutes, 22 push-ups in two minutes and run 800 meters in 3:15. I knew he could easily do the push ups and sit-ups, but he has always been a little lazy when it came to running. Ten days before the testing, we all went to the Huamark Stadium and he ran twice around the track. His time was 4:22.
The next time he ran for time, he ran a 3:56. Better, but I wasn't so sure if he could knock off another 30 seconds to qualify. By the test date, he was in a little better shape and he had learned how to pace himself and prepare for the final lap, changed his running form, and he knew to keep running through the finish line. I told him to do the best he could and crossed my fingers. On the afternoon of the test day, he called me and told me he had good news -- he had qualified with a 3:02. I was surprised, but he told me he gave his all and I was so proud of him. Turns out the track at Huamark is 440 meters, not 400. So now Alex is in the Thai Marine program and if anything, he should become a little more disciplined and physically fit. Knowing how hard he worked to run faster made his qualifying even more satisfying both for him and for me.
R.I.P. Muhammad Ali
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