Stickman Readers' Submissions September 20th, 2008

Happy in Thailand (Well almost) Parts 8 & 9

About this time because E was dependant on me for transport I told her that if she got a driving license I'd buy her a scooter. First driving test? Failed, not very good with these technical things like brakes and accelerators but she passed on the second time. So I bought her a new scooter, 42,000 baht, automatic (technical things again), she was over the moon, her beautiful bike. Three weeks later she fell off it in town but the main thing was that she was ok, just a few scratches but her beautiful bike was scraped down one side and she was most upset and wanted it to look beautiful again. The mudguard, leg shield, front fairing and exhaust were scraped. We took it back to the shop where we bought it and they did the exhaust but couldn't do the red bits and told her to take it to the shop who repaired mine (see below, downsides). I warned her about this and told her they'd probably paint it blue. The result is in downsides below.

We stocked 2 of the smallest ponds with catfish on a buy back when mature basis and we never saw the guy again, we had 15,000 in one pond and 16,000 in the other. We tried selling at the market and sold so many but they want a standard size, about 10 or 12 to a kilo, and to starve them for 2 days before they bought but they only want 50 to 100 kilos at a time. We stocked 1 pond with red tilapia and 1 pond with black. The last pond nearest the house I wanted to make decorative and my idea was to build a pagoda in the middle with rope bridges to it but we had to fill all the ponds from the canal through that one so it is on hold. We stocked it with carp and later with 10 Mekong catfish. We also put a few fresh water prawns in.

In October 2007 the river flooded and the pig sty at her sister's was in water so we had to move Mama Chang. How do you move a 200 kg pig without a cattle truck? In the end we moved her piglets first because they were in most danger and then walked her home in the dark when it was quiet. It was a bit much for her and I thought she was going to lie down on us at one point but we coaxed and cajoled and she made it.

My sister was visiting at the time and E and she loved each other. She was taken aback by the pigs and cows in the village and I realised that, as I had moved into the country when I left home and knew an old farmer, I was familiar with farm animals, she was always in a big town and had only seen them in fields when travelling. We showed her the sights around K and Mukdahan and then took her to Bangkok before putting her on the plane home with the promise that she can visit again any time. She has arranged to visit again in October this year. She looks after my mother who is 97, blind, bed-ridden, forgetful and now incontinent. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. She also has glaucoma herself and is losing her sight so it's nice to show her something while she can still see and it gives her a break from looking after mother.

To be continued.

Happy in Thailand (Well almost) Part 9.

In October I was contacted by an old work mate about doing a job in Jordan so I said I might be interested depending on the terms. Well the terms were about a grand a week sterling plus about 10 quid a day for living expenses and accommodation and car provided. I agreed because I had laid quite a bit out in Thailand and it would be a nice top up for the bank account. I left in November and have been here ever since. E has been complaining ever since I got here that she misses me and wants me to go home. Her father died in March and I said to give him a good send off, I daren't ask how much that cost. Since I've been here E is planting sweetcorn, peanuts and vegetables around the ponds and since I mentioned it might be a good idea to grow rice she has planted 2 Rai on land that her aunt has let her use and 5 Rai on land that a woman let us use that owed us money and couldn't pay. She is a worker and loves what she does. I brought her out for 3 weeks in April and showed her the sights, Aqaba, Petra, Madaba, Mount Nebo, Dead Sea, Jordan River, Jerash and Amman. The first time she had travelled apart from a trip to Singapore with her company and she loved interacting with the people. During the 10 months I've been here I haven't sent her any money but there was about 70,000 in a bank account and she has between 30 and 40,000 a month coming in from the loans. The capital on the loans has dropped from 650,000 to 520,000 and she has been selling mature pigs but has bought piglets. I asked her recently how much money we have in the bank and she says none but she hasn't wasted it and hasn't spent it on herself.

Spending since I've been in Jordan.

Another pig sty completed in the garden. I'd started it before I left but you can't get any work done when they're planting or harvesting rice.

The roof on the house extended at the eves to cover the pathway and drive.

A satellite dish. Actually 2 I think because she has put one on the guest room in the garden. She cancelled True.

3,000 baht in expenses to her aunt to sign the land over.

50,000 baht for 1 rai of land at the bottom of the garden. Cheap because it's not good land and sometimes floods.

The patio extended at the front.

The front of the house extended to cover the patio at the front.

Louvered doors fitted in the gable ends.

50mm polystyrene bats fitted above all the ceilings

A wall with balustrades built at the front of the patio.

The steps at the front altered and retiled to suit the alterations to the patio.

Gates fitted to the front of the house to the patio and the drive.

The house painted pink (I'll never live that one down in UK)

The grout in all the tiles changed from cream to pink in the kitchen, front room and on the patio.

Gates put on the back of the house to the garden.

Chain link put on the side of the house between the roof and the wall (I haven't worked this one out, there's a 2.4 metre drop over the wall and it's made it look like a chicken house).

Her fathers funeral.

Dentists bills for her

Dentists bills for her daughter (she has canine teeth growing behind her others. About 30,000 baht so far).

Spending money to come see me in Jordan.

I'm going home in September with the bank balance replenished and plans for the future including a Thai wedding when my sister is here. All E talks about is having me home to talk to and walk hand in hand and companionship into old age.

Do I believe in her? Yes, if I didn't I wouldn't have parted with so much money.

To be continued.

He Clinic Bangkok

Stickman's thoughts:

It's good to hear that she has managed to create a way to make money. I hear good things about pig farming and there is good money to be made from loan sharking too although there are serious ethical issues involved…

nana plaza