20 September 2006

Coup d'etat

Yesterday there was a military coup d’etat against the current government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. I’ve been meaning to start this blog for a few days now, and today is certainly the most news worthy, the most auspicious. As newcomers and foreigners we have yet to get a real handle on the Thai people’s complaints against Thaksin (pronounced “toxin”), but we suspect that he and his cronies in parliament are responsible for the recent stupidity over visa status (now you not only have to leave the country every thirty days, but after you've done that twice, the next time you have to leave for ninety days--don’t worry, we’ll get it worked out). For the most part the coup doesn’t affect us, or most people, for that matter. As we all sat in the studio this morning, JR said it felt a bit like Christmas. I agreed. Nationwide strikes in the Dominican Republic felt the same way, like an unexpected day, or week, off.

Today is also the day that JR left for Barcelona. J and I were sad to see him go, he was our own personal tour guide, and a nifty fella for brother and brother in-law. But he should be back soon, we hope, we hope. I dropped him off at the Chiang Mai airport, and despite the coup he left with out a hitch. Then I drove around in search of tanks (AS saw some just out of town), stopping at Wat Jedyod (“temple with seven spires”) along the way. No tanks, but Jedyod was nice. It still has a lot of the original plaster on the Bothi Throne (representing the place where the Buddha achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree), and white painted sticks, like crutches, leaning against the Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa, a type of fig).

To catch up on us, J is plugging away on TOEFL certification; we’ve been reading lots of Murakami, just finished Kafka on the Shore; and I’ve been drawing. Monday we got our first Thai massage, and visited Wat Umong, which has nifty caves. We eat almost every day at a place we call the Kitchen. It has no sign, no walls, and a meal is about 50 cents. Our branch at church meets near the center of town, and the missionaries think it’s one of the best in the country. Last week we got settled in, rearranged our room, cleaned the kitchen (unfortunately the drain still backs up, and gets sewer water on part of the floor), and began coveting a kitten (from the Kitchen). I managed to learn how to operate a scooter and drive left handed last week (if only I could learn Thai that fast). JR actually complimented my driving this morning. The Thai driving style is much livelier, much more intuitive than in the states. I like it, though we did see a pretty bad accident involving two motorbikes on Saturday. A farang (foreigner) going way too fast hit a Thai kid who was pulling out in to traffic. The Thai was knocked off his bike while the farang slid about 20 feet.

It’s raining right now. The rainy season is slowly ending, and the weather has been cooler. We are learning our numbers

Recent drawing: I hope to make sculptures of these.

Chedi at Wat Jedyod, the larger one contains the ashes
of Phya Tilokaraja King of Lanna.

Plaster on the Bothi Throne.

Crutches on the Bodhi tree.

The Bothi Throne.


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  4. Wow, you're there like two days and you've already caused a military takeover! I knew you'd be causing a ruckus, they said "Get out the tanks, Dane's coming and the nofoletes are restless" I'm jealous of the scenery already. By the way Jami is "making" me take her to Spain next summer.

  5. Ah, gee, I'm really sorry about that, Rob.