Oh boy! friends visiting! [UPDATED 12 October]

Dear friends, we are excited to welcome you to Thailand to visit us!

Most people will want to meet us in Bangkok, where we can see the sights and eat in actual restaurants. A few hardy souls — some may say insane — will want to visit at our site — but amenities at our home are few. There is no transportation other than our two bicycles. Our living area has a suede(-ish) sofa that can be outfitted with a twin-bed-sized mosquito net. We have fans in that area, but no AC. Unusually, we have a Western-style toilet, which beats squat toilets all to hell. And we have cold running water. There is rice growing in wet season and dirt blowing in dry season. There are no tourist sights, no restaurants, and it is not easy to obtain food. (If you’re happy to eat pork that’s been covered with flies while sitting in the sun at the local market, you’ll be in heaven … but people with other dietary preferences may be disappointed).  All this is pretty predictable: if it were fabulous here, they wouldn’t need us!

So, please take a look at the schedule below and book that airfare now! Let us know when you’d like to visit, and we’ll update it:

schedule-of-visitors-as-of-october-12-2016-v2

>>Click schedule to enlarge it<<

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Some clouds

We arrived here in March and didn’t see a cloud for three months. Every day, a scorching yellow ball sizzled across a white  sky from east to west. Now that rainy season is here, every day is a watercolor.

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Rice

Still nothing growing that looks even remotely edible. No tasty-looking little nodules. It looks like grass growing in puddles. Verrrrry big puddles … puddles with frogs,  aedes and anopheles mosquitos, and plenty of insecticide, herbicide, and fungicide.

The fields are planted. Then flooded. Then drained. Then It rains too much and they need to fire up the pumps and pull the water back into the canals. Some rice needs to be flooded early in the growth cycle, some later. Flood, drain, flood, drain. Back and forth the brown water goes, with fuel expenses each time. The pumps are simple: a doglegged twelve inch tube with a large boat propeller at one end surrounded by a cage, a shaft inside and a V-belt pulley on the water delivery end. A forty-foot fan belt (capable of popping a toddler’s head off like a grape) is snugged up on the pulley and is driven by a big portable engine. 

I asked about harvest time. No, as it turns out, no curved sickle is used in a scenic display of centuries-old methods. Instead, farmers rent a big ole combine just like the ones used on my farm back in Kandiyohi County. 

When that happens, I’ll report on it.

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Indolent ants, industrious ants

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Back home in Minnesota, ants are sluggish, pudgy, indolent things. Not here in the tropics. Walk anywhere and you step over feverish rivers of them, barrelling along high speed ant freeways in both directions. Leave anything outside of sealed tupperware overnight and expect by morning it to have it filled with manic, twitchy blankets of ’em. Once they invaded a bath towel, leading to an extremely uncomfortable outcome for Paul. Now we gas the house whever we’re away for a couple of days. We literally back out of the door holding our breath while the Baygon can fogs-out its neurotoxins. That seems to do the trick.

In Thai they’e called “mote”. We’ve seen the  invade a coffeemaker and a TV. And laptops, especially laptops used by people while munching food, can become so packed with ants that the keys can’t be pressed. For laptop ant invasions, there are many cures on the web. Here’s one: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/497006-ants-in-my-laptop/ 

Please share with your friends!