| I do remember having a ball in Pepeekeo. I most remember the days
it rained so hard and we did the water slides in the grass. Great
times. I remember the talent show we did, hitchhiking to The Mauna
Kea Hotel for Sunday brunch (they lost money on us!) I remember also
falling in love with Tawitia (incredibly beautiful); how difficult
it was for me to learn Thai; getting lost in the cane fields in back
of the school house, the waterfall near Pepeekeo, Geza Ruska getting
lost on Mona Loa; those ice cold showers.
Additionally, I will never forget the smell of Bangkok getting of
the plane at Don Muang and how much stronger they become getting closer
to the Petchburi hotel. That first morning after arrival questioning
what I had committed myself to.
I am thankful for my superb assignment to the English Language
Center at Mahidol University overlooking the Royal Palace and working
with the Ford Foundation to develop programs.
I also remember my many happy travels on a Honda 90 Scrambler. How
I survived I will never know. I remember others PCVs from earlier
and later programs: David Kalis, Diane Good, Alan Artman and others.
I also remember living on the same soi next to Schmuecker party
house with the constant flow of up-country visitors. I never liked
Mekong, incidentally. Often I think those days were the best, most
innocent and most secure times of my life--even at an impressive
salary of $110 per month with health and dental benefits. I also
remember my appearance on a Thai television soap opera that was
broadcast live all over the country. I had to remember my lines
phonetically (bad at Thai, remember?) and I am sure half of Thailand
watching was wondering what the heck I was saying. I only remember
that my female co-star was the
prettiest woman I had ever met who insisted that I look her in the
eyes when I spoke. I did and forgot my lines each and every time.
Fried rice kept me alive for three years. We often ate at Scarface's
restaurant. The convenience of the SEATO headquarters
c afeteria right next door also sustained me. I lost 55 pounds while
stationed in Thailand. Also remember the boxing stadium area where
we would enjoy Gai Yung, caw neo, lop and ice cold Singha beer.
I met a host of in-country nationals that I still have memories
of: Adjaan Iadsiri (she was in training with us in Hawaii and later
killed in a bus accident in Thailand, Adjaan Mayuri, our headmaster
and many others.
I must be honest, however. I truly think all the while I was in
Thailand I was wishing I wasn't there. I really enjoyed the experience
retrospectively upon returning to the States and reflect on it often.