Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy 2018 !

Its a few hours more for us in the Land of Smiles but the celebrations have already started.  The bands at the various Wats in the area are going full blast and one can hear them from miles away.  We are running the final light show tonight and the fireworks are ready for the midnight hour.  A seafood feast is planned for tonight's party and lots of beer for everyone except me.

oops...I didn't know they were illegal 
For me, 2017 was a very eventful year and I have lots to be grateful for.  My heart operation was a big success as well as having a great recovery.  I had a fabulous trip to the Holy Land and celebrated the birth of a new granddaughter.  The '7' in the end digit could only be good for me right?  After all, my handle is sevenwinds.  Great family, friends, and good memories so there is lots to look back on and to look forward to in the coming new year.

So to those readers around the planet, our wishes to you and your loved ones for a very happy, healthy, and prosperous NEW YEAR!    Sawadee Bee Mai 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

What New Years Looks like upcountry

If you are wondering what New Year celebrations look like upcountry instead of the big mango, I have a couple of pictures and a video to share today.  Many people think incorrectly, that its kind of dead and boring if you are not in the big mango during the New Year countdown.  It is boring if you like the traditional western style entertainment, but to the country folks, New Years week/weekend is a chance to visit the local Wat and enjoy country style entertainment.  That means festivals at the Wat and huge Mor Lum bands that have a cast of hundreds.

After last night's fest, we still had 3/4 of the pig remaining
After erecting the tree yesterday and roasting our pig, which incidentally turned out to being 30 kilos and not the 5-7 kilos I posted yesterday, we paid a visit to one of the local Wats that were hosting celebrations.  The pig took hours and hours to cook and you can see by the pictures that it was after dark before it was ready to eat.  It was basted during the entire time and was absolutely finger licking good as we did away with formalities of forks and knives and dived right into the tender meat.  Almost melt in your mouth pork...if that is even possible.

They are one of four in the local area that do this every year and spent a lot of money to bring in one of the best Mor Lum groups in the country to perform the next couple of days.  Rumors are that it cost around 300K baht for the group, paid for by wealthy members of the Wat, and that was not for the prime New Year's eve slot either.  I can see why it cost so much from the productions setup.  It was massive and best of all, it was free to everyone!  

Big crowd and sitting room only

Vegas style show with lots of fancy costumes and pretty girls

The Wat also had food and other stuff for sale from local vendors.  They always seem to be around selling stuff when and wherever there is something going on.  You could buy paper sheets to sit on the ground or rent chairs from the booths.  Most people elected to pay 20 baht for a piece of large paper and made themselves at home.  This show runs for about 8 hours and ends around 4AM, but I only stayed for 30 minutes as the sound system was so loud that my insides were shaking!  I guess I am just too old for all this loud music stuff...

Actually the sound system is pretty good, its just so loud it overpowered by 
phone's mic during this recording

Anyway, here are some photos and a short video of the kind of stuff they had at the show.  More later as the weekend develops.  I have to get back to the mango by Tuesday to pack and get ready for my trip so there is a ton of stuff to do before I leave the resort.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Raising the Holiday Tree

We raised the 'holiday' tree today at the resort.  The reason I call it a 'holiday' tree instead of a 'Christmas Tree' is not to be politically correct, but here in the land of smiles, Santa and his reindeer, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and decorated trees are used to usher in the New Year.  For example, the girls at the check-out registers at the local Makro were still wearing Santa hats and Christmas songs can still be heard at the stores.  TV stations will show decorated trees and wish everyone a happy new year.  Christmas is celebrated here by some companies, but this is a huge weekend as it is New Year's weekend and the highway up to the resort was jammed.  B's sister and her family came up yesterday and it took them eight hours plus from Northern Bangkok.  The area is packed and the resort is full until after the New Year.  The local Wat and others in the area all have New Year festivities planned - it is just a matter of picking where to go.

The PVC pipes/LED strips were all tested prior to install

The tree is made of  PVC pipes which form the frame.  LED strips are zip tied onto the smaller tubes, which are hung from metal loops which I made from another PVC connector.  The bottom of the tree tubes are anchored to the ground with tent stakes and strong bungee chords to give them tension and resistance to winds.  Each tree tube took me about 45 minutes to make so I spent over 10 hours of construction on this one tree alone.  But it will be saved for next year and should last a few seasons before being replaced with newer technology.

Don't have a coordinated musical routine for the tree yet, but there is a 'fun' mode I can run on it so it will be lighted during tonight's show.  I will post pictures tomorrow.  In the meantime, I think we are having Moo Han / (Moo Yang) tonight so I want to see if I can help.   Its not a suckling pig, but it not full sized either, looks like 5-7 kilos, maybe a bit more --1500 baht but you have to slaughter, dress and cook it by yourself.  Yep, its a country style feast for the extended family which has started to drift in over the last few days.  Andrew Zimmern, eat your heart out...555

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Rainy morning at the resort.....

Its one of those strange weather days at the resort.  Its been raining on and off almost since we got up here yesterday.  Evidently, the big killer typhoon that devastated the Philippines and clobbered Vietnam is over Thailand.  Its been downgraded to a tropical storm, but still has quite a punch left over.  In a way, its a relief because we have not had any rain for almost a month.  Its dry season in the land of smiles and that's not unusual.  What is strange is the rain which is mixing with a front from Burma and is causing storms all over the country.  Instead of the big cloud bursts that rain buckets then stop in a short time, this is a sustained light rain with a cool wind.  Drives the locals crazy complaining about cold weather, etc.

Its nice in a way as I get to stay inside, relax a bit because Marina is off to school, and take it easy for the day.  Might work on some new sequences for the New Year light show but as of today, I have shut down the show for safety reasons.  No thunder and lightning so far, but I don't want to wait to hear or see it before I decide to go out and shut things down.  Better early than sorry.

One week to go before the trip to the other bookend so lots to tidy up and get ready.  Don't know if I'm ready for the cold weather, but like it or not, its going to be reality.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Back upcountry for the last time this year...

Going to spend the rest of the year here in the countryside.  Celebrate the New Year with family and friends and then head back to the big mango to catch my flight to Kalifornia on the 4th.  Had a wonderful time and great Christmas in the big mango.  Feasted in style, visited the Christmas displays at the malls, and did some shopping.  Best of all, I had some quality time with my oldest daughter who is just starting to appreciate things like Christmas trees and the magic of lights and displays in the big city.  Hopefully, Ella will be able to join us next year as she will be able to appreciate and understand more.

For Christmas eve, we had dinner at Oishi Grand.  No roast beef or turkey with stuffing and dressing, but there was plenty of other food to fill in the gap.  We had a great time wandering the malls, doing photo ops at the displays, and do what I used to do when I was a kid when we visited the department stores and window displays.  It was much colder back then, but somehow the slightly cooler weather made the mango feel like a different place this time.  Really, really, pleasant to be out and about seeing all the displays down in the main shopping district.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from the Land of Smiles

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, from the cold frigid outback of the Land of Smiles, where its snowing good will and wishes.

From:  Sevenwinds, B, Gaeow, Marina, and Ella

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Picked up a new phone for Marina

Went over to MBK yesterday morning to shop for a cheap phone to give to Marina.  I know its kind of early for her to have her own phone, but I see it as a way for me to stay connected with her when I am away in Kalifornia.  She uses her tablet a lot already, but it can't receive phone calls because its a Amazon fire tablet for kids and they lock in the OS so apps like LINE cannot run on it.  She already knows how to navigate through an android phone and watch YouTube on her own so calling is not going to be a big learning curve.  Kids pick things up so fast it makes us old folks spin around in circles trying to keep up...555

Anyway, decided on a Huawei Y3 2017 edition.  Cost 2,690 baht with a free screen protector.  It also comes with a clear PVC case for very limited drop protection.  Also found her a 12 month unlimited data  package from TrueMove, for 150 baht per month.  The data speeds are not that great after the initial allocation, but its only going to be for those times she is not at the resort where we have free WiFi.  The slow speed is definitely enough for her as she is not trading stocks or doing anything close to that yet.  I am really impressed with the quality and price of the lower end phones today.  Its doesn't make sense anymore for most people to get the latest and greatest phones out when most of the useful features are available on phones 1/10 of the price of a high end one.  Anyway, bought the phone at NASA on the 4th floor of MBK (I think it was the place BB said was one of the cheapest around).

We were going to go out last night to Siam Paragon and Siam Square, but both B and Marina were tired from the bus ride so we decided we will go today instead.  Maybe even throw in a trip to Sea Life Ocean World in the afternoon since Marina has never been there and she is into Mermaids the last few weeks.  Now that we are spending so much time upcountry, coming to the big mango is like going into the big apple (New York) for folks in the upstate areas.  Each time is like a mini vacation, which is a neat feeling.

click on this logo to get to their site

Will do some more shopping in the next couple of days, and this year add some online shopping from Lazada as well.  If you haven't explored their website, its worth a look.  Its like an Amazon site on steriods for all kinds of stuff from Thailand, China, and around the world.  Prices are very competitive and you can find things online without having to run all over the place.  Best of all, they have free delivery and even COD (Cash on Delivery) within the Bangkok metro area.  But its really a godsend for us upcountry as it provides access to all kinds of stuff that we can't buy locally.  I can sit at the resort, order something online, and in a day or two, it comes delivered to my door - cheaper than I can usually buy locally too.

More tomorrow and to all an early Merry Christmas eve.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

Warming up in the big mango

Its really nice in the big mango weather wise compared to being upcountry.  Its noticeably warmer in the morning and was perfect last night when I was out to dinner with Bangkok Buddy.  Met up with BB for dinner at the Sizzler in the Silom CP Tower complex.  Its the building with the McD across from Patpong.  This Sizzler was not as crowded and I thought the overall quality was better food wise.  Was hungry for some real beef as we don't get that too easily upcountry and even in the mango, a great steak is not cheap.  We don't have American beef in the LOS typically, most of the beef is imported from Australia or New Zealand. 

Ended up with the burger and salad bar, plus their unlimited coke refill option.  Afterwards it was time for some coffee at the Amazon Coffee shop in the basement of the building.  I was feeling tired after all of that and driving into the mango in the morning so I headed home to try to order the tickets for the Star Wars 8 movie online.  BB and I agreed to meet up in the afternoon before the free buffet for the movie.  Wanted to see the movie in 4DX at the Paragon Cineplex.  Had some trouble logging into my account so I was not successful.  Looks like we will have to go to the theater a bit early and buy the tickets at the box office.

For those that are not familiar with 4DX, its a theater equipped with seats that give a sensation of motion plus other special effects like wind, water, scent, and even the feeling of bullets flying by.  It was originally developed in Korea and is in several malls in the big mango.  I believe there is only about five theaters in the USA equipped with 4DX located in New York, Los Angeles, and Orlando.  Saw last year's installment in 4DX also and it was great.  Cost here is 500 baht  for 4DX (around the cost of a regular seat in the US).  Typical seats cost anywhere from 100 - 120 baht depending on the kind of screen in the land of smiles.

That's it for today.  More in the weekend as Christmas approaches.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Back to the Mango for a few days

Leaving for the big mango sometime today.  Hopefully spend the weekend in the mango and take in Christmas there as well.  It will give me one more chance to take Marina to see the Christmas lights, this time at Siam Square.  Its doesn't sound like a big deal for grown ups, but to a 4 1/2 year old, a giant light display is just as good as Disneyland - plus you only pass through being at that age once when things like light displays are still magical.

Tree will be run by two 24 channel DMX controllers

Testing 8 of the 16 RGB strips that will be used for the tree

My own Christmas RGB tree is done, but the weather has precluded me from putting it up.  Its been howling 15-20 mph winds the last few days and I don't want to try to hang PVC pipes on top of a ladder in those conditions.  Not a young lad anymore and don't want to risk falling down and getting hurt in the remote part of the country away from a big medical facility.  It will have to wait until I get back.  I have 16, 4 meter long PVC pipes that make up the segments of the tree.  They can change to any color combination and have a rotating effect so it should be quite attractive when its up.

She was very protective of her little puppy

The big news yesterday was the discovery of a new member of the family clan.  Evidently, the family dog has given birth to a new puppy, and she has hidden the puppy for more than a week as it looked quite large.  It was discovered underneath the deck and is a cute little mutt.  The mother has shown little signs of being pregnant nor especially hungry during the last few weeks so she was great at hiding the fact she had a little puppy.  It was discovered only after it began to bark when she wasn't around.  Anyhow, another mouth to feed - but at least we will hopefully have another guard dog (noise maker) for the place...555.  

More from the mango as I am hoping to see the new Star Wars 8 movie, in 4DX sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Another cool morning

If this keeps up, I'm going to have to invest in a fireplace...555  Its a crisp 14C outside with a 12 mph breeze so once again the parka and scarfs were out this morning.  Some of my Thai friends are sending me funny videos of the cold weather, but this one is one of the funniest

Many Thai homes in the country do not have hot water for bathing, etc.  In fact, many cheap apartments in the big mango don't have hot water either.  So when the temperature gets cold like now, what do the locals do?  Aside from having to grind it out and suffer, here is one possible solution.

Please don't try this at home.  

Monday, December 18, 2017

Winter time in the Land of Smiles

There was definitely a chill in the air this morning as I took my morning walk.  The temperature was in the upper 50s and there was a stiff wind blowing from China in the north.  Yep, that means wind chill factor in the low 50s.  Had on a light sweatshirt I found last trip upcountry at the 71Export shop in one of the gas station stops and it was adequate.  

The kids had on their jackets today too, but Marina refused to wear the heavy jacket I got for her as she is getting fashion conscious for a 4 1/2 old.  She wanted her Princess Jacket and didn't mind being cold.  I guess this is where it starts for women, at a very early age when fashion takes precedence over practicality...555

Cold weather really changes the feel and look of the area.  It feels like a totally different place when you don't have to constantly battle the heat, humidity, and sun.  It hasn't rained here for over a month too so the land is dry and the humidity is low.  Almost feels like California's central valley in the late fall.  Last couple of days, we had our air conditioners off at night and its warmer inside the bungalows than outside which is a rarity for us.  Supposed to get even colder tonight and tomorrow so I might have to break down and put on a jacket.

That's all for this morning's report.  Going into town for a new water pump and then more work on the Christmas tree.  Plans are to get into the mango for a few days this week, and maybe spend Chrsitmas there.  

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Break out the Parkas !!!!

Ha ha ha.  Its going to be in the 50s tonight (12C) here in the country.  For most in the colder climates in the world, its break out the shorts weather, and its only in the mid 70s during the afternoon today which feels absolutely great to me.   It will be the perfect weather for Christmas.  All bundled up in parkas and walking outside at night to watch the new Christmas light show....555. 

I don't think I've ever been here when it has been colder.  Supposed to have frost in the upper mountains too in the North.  Its even cold in Hong Kong where people are shaking in the 11C degree weather and warnings are out to take care of the elderly.

In reality though, compared to Canada and parts of the Northeast, where the temps are going into the -20C chill factors, we are so very lucky and you will not see me complain.  Plus it will get me ready for the trip back to Kalifornia in a few weeks. 

Still working on the mega tree display.  Its taking a lot longer than I expected due to the construction of the segments of the trees which are PVC pipes with LED strips attached.  I needed the PVC pipes to give the strips some rigidity so I had to figure out how to mount them safely and handle the strong winds.  Two more days max.

Short post today, as there is lots of work before tonight's snow storm...555

Friday, December 15, 2017

Breaking in new staff

Been really busy the last few days and thus the sparse posting.  Spent the last few days breaking in new staff for the resort.  A couple of workers are leaving in January for new jobs in the big mango and thus it was time to hire some new people and train them.  Getting a good maid is not easy.  Its a thankless job and for us upcountry, the tips are virtually non-existent.  Also our salary, while fair, is nothing compared to the big mango.  But we do offer work and pretty good working conditions.  We usually end up hiring local women who work to help support the husband and have kids.

We hired a lady with grown kids who also is a nanny for her grand kids.  Our arrangement is for her to get the kids ready for school first before coming to work, which is OK for us because we do the same thing here.  Also, she will take a few hours off late afternoons when the kids come home and then will come back in the evening to finish whatever work she has remaining or is assigned.  So far, she is showing that she is a hard worker and will fit in just fine.

Our gardener/helper is someone who helps us with the heavy work outside.  He is used for general cleaning around the resort grounds and will help us with the other jobs in the bamboo plantation and fish ponds.  The man we hired before is ill again and is only working part time. He may have to go the mango for further treatment.

Typical salaries in this area for this kind of work is between 5K and 6K baht per month, with one off day per week.  For some, that seems like peanuts, but for farmers and people in the area, that is a fair salary for work that is not too hard.  By hard, I mean like working outside in the hot sun doing hard labor in the fields.  Paying the right amount is a tricky proposition as paying too little is seen as 'kee newel' (literally translated to gnarly sh*t) and taking advantage of people, and paying too much makes one a buffalo (stupid) in the eyes of the locals.  So we pay the market rate, plus add in things like meals, drinks, work clothes, and polite management.  The last item is the most important because even if people are poor and have to work for you, it doesn't give one the right to treat them badly or disrespect them.  It goes back to relationships - one of the featured posts in my blog from earlier days.

It will be back to working on the much delayed mega tree today and hopefully it will be up by this weekend.  Then next week, I want to spent a few days in the big mango again, shopping for gifts to bring back.  That's it for this edition from our slice of paradise in the land of smiles.  More later in the week.

Lastly, forgot to post the light show for the routine I put in for new year.  This music was special as it was composed by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and performed by the Rangsit University Symphony at the Thailand Cultural Center a couple of years back when he was still alive.  It seems so appropriate at this time with his passing that his music matches much of the mood of the country as we leave behind a sad year of mourning and begin a new chapter in our lives for 2018.  The song is in both Thai and English and after doing the sequencing and hearing it in detail, I have really grown in appreciation of how truly talented the late king was from a musical prospective.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Fun Weekend in the Mango

Had a lot of fun in the mango this weekend.  First of all, with all the shopping and personal chores done, it was great to spend the whole day with B and Marina in the big mango.  The visit to Dinosaur Planet was fun, although on the expensive side.  But as they say, some moments are indeed "priceless" when it comes to children's experiences.  It was our second time to visit the place as we were there last about 2 years ago when they first opened.  B still had Ella in her belly and the trip was uncomfortable and hot for her.  Marina was not into dinosaurs yet so it was kind of a less than fulfilling trip.  This time however, everyone was ready for the park and the park itself had also changed some.  For those going, I recommend looking for promotions online otherwise the price is going to set you back 600 baht per adult.  Children under 90 cm are free, otherwise the cost for kids is 400 baht.  In addition, rides like the Dino Eye (a giant Ferris Wheel), the dino rides, etc. are extra.  In the overall scheme of things, its pricey from a local standpoint, but nothing compared to places like Disney or other theme parks where the price of a single ticket will pay for the entire day's outing here.

We spent the afternoon and early evening at Dinosaur Planet and went to all the shows except the volcano show as we wanted to go to the Central World Plaza for the Christmas lights.  It was also a  place where we could get some dinner.  Turns out that it was a great decision as the display was great.  For Marina, even though she has lived in Bangkok for most of her life, she doesn't remember much of previous visits to places like this as a toddler. This time however, you could see the amazement and excitement in her face and eyes as we wandered through the plaza.  We spent so much time here and was so tired that we left from Central World instead of continuing to Siam Square.  The square can be for the next trip into town.

(See below) Marina getting ready for the new Star Wars Movie that is coming out in a few days with a photo op at one of the displays inside the mall.

Anyway, we are back up in the countryside and in time for her school tomorrow.  For me, its time to work on our Christmas tree for the light show.  More on that in the next few days.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Spending the weekend in the big mango

Got into the big mango late on Thursday afternoon.  After a quick power nap, I went over to Khlong Tom market as planned.  There I found a new audio amplifier for the light show to match my horn speakers which I ordered from Lazada (more on this later).  Also ordered  custom made stars made from LED rope lights to top the two big Christmas trees for the light show.  They were 500 baht apiece and will be ready this morning (Saturday).  The amplifier I wanted was a strong but inexpensive model that could put out a lot of volume with a decent, but not a really great frequency range.  After all, the quality would be limited by the horn speakers anyway.  Found one for 850 baht which puts out 250 Watts and has built in slots for USB and SD cards plus mic jacks.

My decision to remove the resort PA/Karaoke system from the show was based on the fact that its not outdoor rated and is too weak for use in a large area like the market anyway.  Instead, I found some horn speakers online and bought four of them for mounting on the light posts.  After the show, they can be used as part of the market's PA system for announcements and/or background music.  They are outdoor IP65 rated so hopefully they will last a while and survive the rains we get here.  Ordered two different models, the one pictured on the right side above is a larger speaker for the back posts to project more volume with slightly better audio quality.

Spent a full day yesterday shopping and hanging out.  Went to Mega Bangna with Bangkok buddy to vist the IKEA store to redeem some points that were expiring this month.  Turns out that my points were only worth 200 baht after all the stuff I bought over these few years.  Hardly worth the effort, but hey, 200 baht is still 200 baht less for the shopping trip right?  Wasn't too successful in finding a SATA computer cable.  Went to two computer stores in the mall and neither one had them.  One store even sold motherboards and hard drives - you would think that they would sell the cables that connected the two items together right?..nope.  TIT (This is Thailand), and things don't always seem that logical when it comes to shopping.  Ended up getting some extras from BB from his inventory of computer parts.

Afterwards, we visited a neat place nearby called Thai Watsadu.  Its not someplace well known to new expats or tourists who visit the land of smiles because it caters to mainly Thai customers.  Its a major national chain that features a shopping experience like Home Depot in the US, but on steroids.  They have tools, construction materials, home decor items, cookware, and in this particular store, they even have a grocery section (our comments again on logical shopping connections again).  The store use to be very hot inside, but since the last visit, they've added aircon and so the whole shopping experience is very nice.  Its really for guys/girls who like to spend time inside places like Home Depot, Home Pro, etc. looking at all kinds of neat hardware, tools, and building materials.  Home Pro, the more well known store, is like the US equivalent to Loews.  

Ended up buying some nails, a Bosch rotary cutter, some gloves, and seeds.  Wanted to get some really big and long sized nails like they have in the US, but couldn't find it here.  Seems like nails are not that easy to come by here in Thailand.  For what reason, I really don't know.  Our local home improvement store, Global House, doesn't even stock nails.

After getting home from shopping, taking a quick shower, and throwing on some clothes, I had my two  hour foot massage before meeting up with the guys for the Friday night buffet.  Then it was a quick dash over the the lobby before calling it a long day -- except that B and Marina came in last night at 2am from their bus ride.  B wanted to come to the big mango but had to wait for Marina to finish school so they hopped onto the 9PM bus to get here.

Plans are to go back to Khlong Tom this morning to pick up my order and then visit Dinosaur Planet in the afternoon and finally cap the evening off with a trip to the plaza at Central World and Siam Square to see the Christmas displays.  It will be a great place for some pictures with B and Marina for this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Almost perfect weather...

I heard it was cold in the US yesterday and going to be worse today, with snow creeping into the Northeast.  In the Bay Area, I understand its going to be in the 40s (4C) overnight and it reminded me of one of the reasons I liked living here in the land of smiles - especially this time of the year.  Being away from the big mango, and up at around 600 feet (200 meters) altitude, our weather is nice for many parts of the year.  No doubt, during the hottest part of the year near Songkran, it can be horrible up here, but the rest of the time, I find I like it better upcountry than in the mango.  

This morning's walk was in brisk, 69 F, slightly breezy conditions.  I actually felt refreshed after the walk and came back to the resort to see everyone in jackets and parkas...555  

Its looks like the trip to the big mango is going to be delayed one day.  The parking lot guys are not finished yet.  They are about 90% done and ran out of daylight yesterday.  At last count, we were up to 91 truckloads of dirt.  We use a chit system of numbered tickets which we give to the drivers after they deliver each load of dirt.  The drivers get paid by the load, and we pay by the truckload, so it all works out in the end.  

Hopefully it will be done in the morning and will free me up with last minute stuff before going to the mango on Thursday.  Time is racing by really fast and before one realizes, it will be the New Year and time to take a trip to the USA again.

Plans are to hang out for a few days in the mango, do some shopping when I am there and maybe visit a couple of the malls to see their holiday displays.  It seems like such a long time since I visited the mango even though its been just a couple of weeks ago.  So much has happened upcountry for me and I feel more integrated with family and have gotten use to some of the quirks of living is rural Thailand.  But B and I both enjoy the big city for its food, shopping, and culture.  For now, I guess we will have to bounce back and forth when the urge comes up.

The lot runs all the way back to where the tractor is working
They still need to add the top layer of rocky dirt for the hardpack
More later or from the mango tomorrow if all goes well.

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