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Better late than never

July 20, 2010

Hello there, a spot of exciting news.

Remember several months ago I posted a “Name That Fish” contest, which had a staggering participation rate?  Anyway, in case you missed it there was a picture of a fish which you had to research and properly identify.  The winner was to be awarded premiere access to a personal account of one of my mates who during the legendary Full Moon Party of Ko Pha Ngan, wound up in jail, tangled up with drugs, booze, money and so forth.  Anyway, like all true islanders, nothing gets done quickly or as expected and despite my pestilence, the written account never really got done.  Not until the literal last moments of my time on the island when my ticket is purchased, I’m saying my goodbyes and fighting back the tears, my good mate, Tom finally pulls out of his pocket with a big stupid grin on his face, the letter I had been waiting for all this time.  Wow, I was so happy, I had completely forgotten about it at that point.

I saved reading it until about halfway across the Gulf and at first, reading it in my head I was really struggling to decipher much of what was written.  Tom had admitted he was rushed to finish it in the last few nights and you could certainly tell.  Now it’s important to note that Tom is German, and while his English is excellent, to read his writing, a background in cryptology is quite useful.  I found it was much easier to read it out as if he was speaking the story back to me, in his hilarious German accent and syntax.  In this respect the story came to life and it was simply hysterical.

Now for reasons relating to both comprehension and personal, I’ve decided not to post the verbatim story.  Instead, what I plan to do is write up a similar version from a third person perspective, but I hope to follow the grammar and humor as closely as possible so it sounds like Tom and not me.  When it’s finished, I’ll email it to my brothers first since they actually submitted a reply to the original contest (and were both dead-on, as well) and then I expect to post the new version shortly afterward.  No deadline yet, but at least now I have the letter and it is coming.

You may have noticed two new links under the blogroll section of my web page, here – Dive Video 1 and 2.  This is a video that was shot professionally by an underwater videographer of the last day of an Open Water SCUBA course.  The video features myself, along with my students and Nacho, an American instructor with his class.  You’ll know Nacho when you see him – He’s the one that makes you think of words like ‘fruity pebble’.  Really nice guy, all-in-all.  For the sake of filming, the two groups were rolled into one and Nacho and I split parts of the teaching.
To be honest, I wouldn’t have chosen to feature this particular video since there’s so many students due to the size and everyone was rather *ahem* less than chipper from the night earlier.  However of all the videos made, this was the only one I ever found posted online by one of the students from the course, so this is what we have to work with.
For the seasoned diver, you may notice some irregularities, but in all honesty, Ko Tao has a reputation and this is why. . . Enjoy!

I almost forgot.  So the Elephant. . .

Early when I was getting started with this volunteering business, my first weekend I was invited halfway across the country for a Thai wedding.  Great experience, I’ll talk more about it later.  While having dinner one night before the wedding itself, myself and a group of students who came along for the trip were busy tucking into a marvelous yet baffling buffet when I heard a strange sound.  Sounded like there could have been a band playing somewhere off in the distance, when soon enough, the students sitting across from me start shouting, “Look Teacher, Chang! Chang!” while frantically pointing behind me.  I turn around and sure enough, a giant elephant is standing there with his Mahout, all dressed up and looking like it got lost from a parade that ended 3 years ago.  “Well that’s something you don’t see everyday”, I say sarcastically, looking to see if anyone is nodding their head.  I begin to chuckle at my own dumb joke and the absurdity of it all.  Not just at the Christmas Tree inspired elephant, but about everything going on around me.  “I’m sure as shit not in Kansas anymore”, is another thought that often floats through my mind, but the effect has since worn off.  That’s when I hear the noise again, and I look closer and notice the elephant is blowing tunes through a harmonica held at the end of his trunk!  I could have kept staring but I didn’t want the Mahout to think I had money for a show and he probably didn’t take requests anyway, so I turned back to my meal.
Later I found out these street elephants are actually tragic figures who are more or less beggars, having no other gainful work or a place to go.  There are some programs and habitats designed for reintroducing elephants into the wild, but many slip through the cracks such as that poor guy.
As I looked back down the road I could see the flashing red light tied to the elephants tail disappear around a corner.  Another casualty of a society caught between modernization and traditional practices.


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One Comment
  1. 10 months in…and you finally change your wordpress theme.

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