Sunday, May 15, 2005

Whose Refugee Where

Whose Refugee Where

No need for moisturizer down here. Nobody complaining of cracked and dry skin. Open sores and raw skin ulcers, yes, but not dry skin.

Just missed a torrential downpour, warm and dry at the cafe Arthit, the system up, then down, now up again after a second cup of strong coffee. A mere splattering upon leaving the jungalow, south to Lam Kaen for petro in a drizzle, log truck spray up the mountain, sunshine at the top, then ominous black clouds coming back down the other side.

Nodding at the impenetrable torrent lashing at the street, "A nice day for the beach," said Kathy, the wife of Kirt, ceramic water filter makers from the north of Thailand seven years and previously from, I had to pry it from them, Colorado, embarrassingly, yes, I could have guessed, Boulder, no shit? yes, before that. Then Portland. Yes, I could have guessed.

Eventually, the propulsion toward revelation would have emerged naturally, but then, who knew how long the rain would last. Forgive me for asking.

Waiting for the system to pop back up, they gave me a quick run-down offering under the outside awning on what they're doing for the refugees, to counteract any stereotypical impression that may have been formed by their admitting their time spent in Boulder.

And weren't the summer music festivals in Lyons just wonderful?

Once you've acheived, or ascended Boulder and explored its multitudinous transcendental higher healing holistic helping therapies, then where can you go to feel good about yourself? Aspen? Costa Rica? South of France? Nepal? Northern Thailand? The Rez? There must be someplace.

Michael, from Belgium, says Morroco. Festival in the Desert.

Maybe the International Space Station.

And the t-shirt that says, 'I've been to the International Space Station, and You Haven't.'


Digger says we should initiate a Mexican infrastructure. Start up a Mexican restaurant, which is badly needed here, and before you'd know it, they'd be competing with the Burmese over jobs, the low-paying and menial nature of which the Thai refuse.

"Same same U.S. America," we tell the Thai when they talk about the influx of Burmese.

A huge vaccum would be felt in every American city north of the Rio Grande. Tens of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans immigrating to Thailand with their extended families, Spanish replacing English as the lingo of commerce.

Enchiladas, Burritos, and Tex Mex.

"You should tell Lupe," said Digger. "The weather's about the same. Lots of low-paying jobs. They'd love it."


I should tell you something about the projects.

There's the housing, the major efforts toward housing the thousands of displaced people. There's three that are directly affilated with the Vol. Ctr., I think, then others up and down the line, run by Thai, Japanese, and the 'Happy Clapper' Southern Babtists, as they are dubbed by the Europeans, from Oklahoma or South Carolina or somewhere, who always occupied a table for twelve or more at the restaurants and wore yellow T-shirts proclaiming their volunteer service and their faith. Big brown cross on the back.

They managed to piss off people from a number of nations around the world with their prosletizing, Bibical analogies, impatient pushy Jesus, and guilt trip in the busom of a billion buddhas, telling orphans the reason their parents are gone is because they failed to accept Christ in their lives.

"It seems exploitative with ulterior motives attached to the help," said Myra. "If their God is so weak he can't control the universe without their active help, then I'm not interested."

And the Mormons are starting a church down in Phuket, the advance team said. And a family of four Quakers, or Amish, pity the kids, all of ém wearing that hot, black, long, traditional garb, settled into Lam Kaen refugee camp, Helen said in astonishment, going to try to make it on 20 baht a day, Digger said.

"It takes a minimum of 600 baht to renew your visa," said Mel. "Per person. What will they do in thirty days? They'll be kicked out of the country."

They planned to come here and live in the camps with the refugees. "Don't they know the camps are for the refugees?" she asked.

Maybe they are.


Then there's the arts & crafts project, the English language project, beach clean-up, landscaping, the wood shop, underwater diving cleanup, the web site, the big, 4 Kali community development project organized by some people who lost their daughter, and the boathouse/boatyard/boatshed project at Pakarang.

You can't really call it a boatshed. Some call it a cathedral, and others call it many things. As having 'funding up the ass', as James said yesterday, this long-term and ongoing project (as many are) was established early after The Wave with independent funding from a variety of sources with the intention of rebuilding the three dozen fishing boats lost in the immediate area.

"Just remember one thing," I was forever telling Terry, from Austrailia, with actual, measurable carpentry skills, in a British-accented language he could understand. "You're not building Her Majesty's Royal Buckingham Palace."

To which Terry would reply, "You're not building the fucking Taj Mahal."

It's been called that, too. The Taj Mahal. Lots of people have asked when we're going to finish it.

We've got Thai and Burmese boatbuilders working alongside us since the roof, and T-shirts I'll show you later, and a web site. Three bays with three boats going, one painted and complete, and all sorts of folks coming around to check it out.

"This is my house," I told those people from Seattle, who emerged slowly from their rented land rover like they all do, eyeing the massive, impressive structure sitting in the bay of the Cape, and addressing me, probably because of my size, obvious foreigner, smile, and recognition of their arrival. Upon prior inquiry they most probably had been told to speak with the project manager, Scott, from North Carolina.

"Scott?"they ask.

"I've got three boats in my living room right now," I told them, "but that's only temporary. They'll be out of here soon."

When they realize I'm just bullshitting, I tell them, "You'll probably want to talk with Scott, the project manager. I'm just the applied physics consultant."

- end