RIP Harry Harrison

The Stainless Steel Rat series is one of my all-time favorites. Also, he inspired me to learn a bit of Esperanto when I was quite young. I did a mail-in course I found advertised at the Huntington Beach public library, and ended up wondering why English supplanted French as the international language, instead of Esperanto. Then again, if shit like this was decided by common sense, we might have been playing on 100 meter football fields for the past 50 years.

168 hours of “where’s mommy?”

Nam left for Japan last night and will return in exactly one week. Mina slept like a log, but Max woke up a bunch of times and needed attention… I’m sure they’ll take turns throughout the week, but for today, Mina is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Max is eating and recharging slowly, and daddy needs a lot more sleep. Luckily, our favorite nanny (P’Kaew) is working for us again and comes every day to help out.

First three days back

Day 1: Indoor rock climbing with my little sister

Day 2: First snow for Mina and Max, up at Wrightwood

Day 3: Storytime at the Main St. Branch of the Huntington Beach Public Library. First beach visit – we parked in the state beach lot and started walking to the water, but MAx and Mina got distracted by the sand so we headed back. Still too cold anyway. Got a SIM for my phone (more on this later) at At&T and went indoor climbing again. Pho dac biet for late dinner.

Hin Suay Nam Sai Resort, Rayong

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I’m in Rayong with 110 students and 10 teachers on a business English education project. It’s hot and sunny here, but these are some of my favorite beaches in Thailand.
For me, Rayong is the perfect mix of convenience, desolation, and value for money. You can eat fresh seafood under the tall shade trees running almost all 12 kilometres up the coast, then run down to the water and pretty much be alone for hours, if you’ve chosen a good spot. The one hour separation from the fleshpots of Pattaya keeps most farang away, and Rayong is primarily a resort town for Thais – this fact in itself makes Rayong appealing, but it also serves to keep prices down and keep parasitic vendors, taxis, and ladyboy hordes away.
Anyway, I’m here for work. My unofficial role, as always, is as facilitator, so I’m about to go facilitate the hell out of the breakfast buffet followed by a facilitative facilitation of a morning swim in the sea.
This resort, which literally translates as Pretty Rock Clear Water Resort, is an interesting mix of crusty old failed bubble venture and competent staff. The climb to and from the beach is a bit hard for young kids, otherwise I’d think about bringing the family here some time.

Isan X-mas 2011

I haven’t been home for Christmas for so many years now, I only miss it in theory. Living in Japan and Thailand, I work on western holidays if it falls on work days, and often forget about many of them. Christmas is celebrated (read: utilized for marketing purposes, just like in the west) just enough here that I’ve never forgotten about it, but we don’t celebrate it really. At most, we go out as a family, as we did today… which is of course the most important part of the holidays, anyway.

I’ll be going on a trip to Chonburi and Pattaya from 5 AM tomorrow for a few days, to visit students interning at hotels and resorts, tourist police stations and Tourism of Thailand offices. I might even have time to moblog, which is such a rare occasion for me that even the word itself has almost disappeared.

Breaking the silence

I’ve been away from blogging just taking it easy after the accident, mostly just playing with the kids and waiting for an estimate for my car. We haven’t decided what to do with it yet, it depends on whether it’s worth fixing or not. As I wrote about before, the shop that screwed the brakes wants to pay only half for the repairs… I’m not willing to let them off so easy, but am waiting for the estimate to continue negotiations.

Meanwhile, this is the best thing I’ve watched in ten days:

Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket

We have a room near the kiddie pool. Which means we also have a room near 3 adult pools, the inner tube river, the diving pool, five or six waterslides, a big whirlpool hot tub, a stepped plateau of semi-hidden wading pools, plus this big pond called the Andaman Sea.

I took the kids out to play when I was watching them today; Nam went to her conference. I was careful to slather them down with sunscreen which of course meant I forgot to put any on myself. There is nothing worse than being forced into the hot sun when you have kids screaming for you to come in the pool and the sunscreen is back in the room. I took one for the team and got burned a little — it was worth it, though. Taught the little rascals how to close their mouth and nose and dunk their heads underwater, and little things like that are priceless.

Haven’t taken so many photos yet, and I’m frankly sick of seeing tourists take so many photos of their ugly ass selves, but here are a few shots from our balcony.