Volume 10, February, 2010

In this edition...

The Coconut Telegraph

McCracken Education Fund




Time flies when you are having fun and this season in Thailand is no exception.  It seems as though I arrived only yesterday, but it turns out that yesterday was more than three months ago.  There has been a flurry of activity, from building the volleyball court, to some construction around the house, lots of wave riding, daily volleyball, endless food and even the occasional party.  Friends have come and gone and more will do the same.

It was only one year ago that "The Fantastic Four" descended upon Sangkhlaburi to visit Daisy and Ni Mar at "Weaving for Women" and spend time aboard a floating house.  Wow!  This town has changed a lot in one year.

On the way to Sangkhlaburi, I spent a few nights in Bangkok.  After three months on Koh Phayam with only three trips to the bustling metropolis of Ranong,  the city seemed an alien planet.  The noise is somewhat overwhelming when compared to the hornbills that are my loudest sounds.  Cars and people rushing everywhere.  Pollution, hucksters, punters and a host of other inputs seem like an acid trip from the future.

I find this perversely pleasurable and I always enjoy a visit to Bangkok.  A whirlwind tour of Sukhumvit, Silom, Pratunam, Chinatown and Khao Sarn districts left me more drained than a full day of wave riding followed by volleyball.  Each night, I fell into bed more exhausted than the last.  Bangkok is also a food junkies dream: from sushi to Indian there is everything you desire.  And we certainly ate all we desired.

And speaking of desire - yes, it is Bangkok.  Walking Sukhumvit Road in the evening is like entering a grand bazaar complete with every knock-off item on the planet, aggressively peddled porn movies, food and drink and the ubiquitous women peddling their bodies.  For sport and education, I took my friend Astrid to the infamous 'Nana Plaza'.  It was not a shock to a Cologne/Berliner and I think she enjoyed the show.

I would like to thank the McCracken family for their incredible support and financial commitment to higher education for members of Daisy's family. Currently, there are four Burmese students attending campuses in the Kanchanaburi district.  The two boys are ready to apply to an accredited university in Bangkok and the girls are not far behind.  Without this support, there would have been no educational opportunities for these young men and women.

The Face of Change

Sangkhlaburi one year later.




Survival Tips

Bangkok by day and night.

Weaving for Women

Despite the economy, WFW endures.