What a difference a week makes ...

We were off to an early start. Our hopes, dreams, memories and the remainder of our worldly possessions, all neatly packed into our truck. It was a beautiful mourning that turned into an even better day and the best long haul drive I have ever had in Thailand. The roads were nearly deserted, due to it being election day. They had repaired the worst parts of the highway since our last trip and we cruised along at a moderate 120 kilometers an hour. All was good.

As we hit the mountains on highway 103 the trees were casting dazzling patterns on the road. The loss of foliage allowed for more light to pass through and the angle of the sun added to the effect. And yes, there is a semblance of Fall in the mountains of Thailand. Not the multi colored hues of latitudes further North but a subtle move from green to brown. The patterns were interesting to look at, even if a little distracting from the immediate task of avoiding the few drivers on the road and their tendency to cut corners on right hand bends. We even had time to stop and buy some garden tools on the roadside near Phrae and food at the market in Thoeng while still arriving home before dark.

Alas I started this at the wrong end of the week, so to make sense of things for you, I should perhaps go back to the beginning. I had let it slip to the manager of the condo in Bangkok, that next year we might be interested in “considering” the sale of our unit. Well, she jumped the gun a bit and said she had a buyer. We needed to retrieve more stuff if we were going to let her have a key, to show the unit, so we relented and made plans for a trip to Bangkok. It was not convenient but necessary at some point, so... Got the sister to come up and watch the house and dogs for us and hit the road on a Sunday morning.

Being a bit of a cynic and skeptic, to my surprise, the buyer really did want our unit and handed us a cashiers check and that was that. Check in the bank, we sat having dinner in a restaurant at Paragon just looking at each other. Had this really happened or was it some strange dream? The sale put into motion a cascade of other events. We had to cancel our internet connection, clear bills, close bank accounts, surrender my wife’s Green Card, visit friends, pack and shop...shop...shop. I had previously agreed to put off getting a new “Mia Noi” until after the condo sale, so now was free to do so.

This entry is in essence an introduction to my little miss iMac. She is 24 and a real beauty to behold. Sleek and stylish, yet extremely powerful and she does things for me that, quite simply, my wife cannot do.  Even off in the village one endeavors to keep up. With the new satellite set up, I now have my VOIP up and running, too. First day I was on Skype for 3 hours catching up with friends and family. Mainly holiday greetings and the like. That reminds me. I want to thank all of you who wrote in recently by way of comment or email and hope you had a good Christmas, if you celebrate it, and wish you the very best in the New Year!

Considering this was all well thought out, I found the twinge I felt as we drove away from the condo for the last time, quite moving. The condo was the first place I owned and we lived there for nearly 10 years. Now we are the owners of our first real HOME. Well, technically she owns it, but it was after all my money. The condo paid for the basic house and Apple stock paid for all the rest. It is interesting how things work out.

The first night back in the village was a vision of the Kuwait oil fields from the scorched earth days after the first gulf war. The moon hung low over the mountains but ones eyes were drawn to the dozen fires scattered around the valley. They were huge and menacing but eerily beautiful at the same time. The smell of smoke permeated the air but I found myself thinking how I preferred it, to the smell of industrial pollution in Bangkok. Surely there will be things about Bangkok that we miss. Some thirty years in a place leaves its mark but I’m not one to let that hold me back from new experiences.

My wife will miss the restaurants and shopping. She is not the greatest cook and having to prepare all the meals for us and the dogs is something new for her. We are looking into hiring a neighbor to help out with the cooking and cleaning. As I write this, one of the prospects and her sister are discussing things with my wife in the other room. It was pointed out that where I am right now, sitting with my Mia Noi, is probably where one should look first when trying to find me. They giggled as village women do and surely find it strange the way we live our life. We have always taken care of ourselves, so having help will take a little getting used to. It will provide a job or two for villagers who might otherwise be struggling to get by or might have to leave the village to find work. Hopefully, it will workout for all concerned.

I haven’t forgotten those of you who had questions and will make an effort to craft a post that addresses your queries.