Whole lot a shakin goin on...



Just as we sat intertwined on the sofa, deep in our thoughts and conversation, that unmistakable and unforgettable queasiness came over us as we looked at each-other and knew instantly that it was happening again in less than a year. The last time we felt this giddy lightheadedness was last year in Hawaii and we were kind of high at the time. It was much stronger then and because it was out first time, we weren’t instantly sure what was happening or what to do. It didn’t take long to get the idea, though. Don’t get me wrong we had read about it and seen it on National Geographic but had never really, been there, done that.

Maybe I had better start again. As my wife and I sat on the sofa the earth began to move...again. Only this time we were 60 km outside of Chiang Rai, not in Hawaii. It might not have been as strong as Hawaii but that could be due to our ground level location here and being on the 11th floor in Hawaii. The feeling was similar, however. You get instant motion-sickness. Where you're sitting turns into a waterbed, as you slosh around on what you thought was solid ground. Anything freestanding or hanging or balanced on a surface starts to sway or swing or fall.

My wife went straight for the TV to make sure it stayed where it belonged. It seemed to last a very long time and there seemed to be three or four attempts to start up again. In Hawaii we spent the rest of the day with no power, water or telephone. All we could do was sit in the dark and look out at all the other people on their balconies in Waikiki trying figure out what was going on and what to do. This time something happened to the local water supply and the whole village was without water until nearly noon today.

We have a Western style bathroom, so no extra water for a Thai style bath. There was one of those large earthen jars out back, however, so later last night we got naughty and went out in the yard, striped down, and gave each-other a bath. I “felt” like a teenager again, skinny dipping in our backyard pool. And I swear that my svelte little wife “looked” like a teenager standing there naked in the dark.

The water was cold as ice but this time of year that was quite refreshing. Actually, right after the earthquake we headed for the house site to check on the workers and make sure everything was OK. They had been pouring the crossbeams and quickly climbed down when the iron rods, still sticking out of the pillars, started to sway back and forth.


Under normal circumstances, other recent events could have rated separate entries of their own. Like the snake that decided to slither through the kitchen while my wife was doing the dishes. We don’t know enough about snakes to take a chance so we did the unthinkable. I wouldn’t think of hurting the one that likes to swim in our pond and poach the occasional minnow. But trying to takeover my wife’s kitchen was a big mistake.

There was the rocket launching that went on about five kilometers down the road. I’m sure they were too drunk to feel the earthquake. From the safety of the rice fields I saw what must have been the winner of the day. It left a tremendously long and brilliantly white trail across the deep blue sky and in the end disappeared into the top of a massive thunderhead miles away. I would never go to the actual event but it was an interesting distraction, from what I was doing at the time, from a safe distance and without all the noise.

There was the experience of taking the puppy for his first visit to the vet. There was the planting of the grass on the slopes and the subsequent daily watering until it started raining everyday and relieved me of that duty. Happily the grass seemed to take root before the first big rain and didn’t get washed away. So far so good, as it seems to be doing its job.

The pond filled to the brim overnight and the fish started jumping onto the grass. The wife’s mother wasn’t really happy with the thought that somebody else might steal some fish, so easily, so got to work and put this ugly little blue net around the pond. We will have to do something about that next year but right now there are more important tasks at hand.

All in all, it has been an eventful few days since my last entry and I don’t seem to be missing Bangkok at all.