Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sawatdee kaa!

Greetings from Phuket, Thailand and sa-wat dee which means Hello! Thank you all for the last minute send offs, I made it safely after leaving Monday evening from Portland and I'm now writing to you Thursday morning Thai time.

My takeoff from Portland was an epic, long romantic goodbye, and no I'm not referring to Steve. I've never seen anything quite like it. As we climbed into flying altitude, I put my headphones on to relax after airport chaos only to find Portland had brewed up a special farewell for me. To my left among the empty seats on this tiny jet liner headed to Vancouver, was the most beautiful coral, pink and purpuled horizon sunset shinning in, to light up the plane. To my right out my window was Mt St. Helens so close I wanted to step out the window and sit on it. In the back of Helens sat Mt. Hood enormous both glowing from the pinks and golds in the sky from the west. Gig In The Sky roared in my ears selected at random by my ipod as if the moment couldn't have gotten any more glorious. Then the Giant Mt. Rainier came rolling in at what seemed like an arms length distance. Cheers to the North West in all her beauty she is truly Magnificent!!

It took a whole 27 hours between layovers and 4 flights to get here and although I lost both my bags along the way, I wouldn't trade it for the unforgettable scenery when I flew over Hong Kong, or my meeting with my final destination, which has already exceeded my expectations. Phuket is adorable, tropical, underdeveloped, friendly and relaxed. The people smile and greet you everywhere you go. My bosses Tina and Carl picked we up from the airport which is approximately an hour from my home and our office in Kamala (pronounced cam-a-la). Driving for my first hour on the island was hilly, winding and beautiful. Palm trees mixed in with giant tall shady pine looking trees and blooming flowers. The normal 3rd world unregulated road rage frenzy is well in place here although I must say they are quite more upscale having paved concrete, designated parking spots and sometimes even yellow lines. I think I saw a handful of people use their blinkers on my drive in.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays there is a local farmers market, lucky for me since I arrived on a Wednesday I could pick up some groceries before heading to my new home. The market is a ghetto structured layout of vendor booth after vendor booth clustered together in a zig-zag format. The smells are so aromatic it will make you hungry even if you just ate a feast. People passed me with coconuts split in half filled with the milk, some nuts, lime and some spices which they ate with a spoon. I followed Tina to her fruit man where mangos came in three varieties all for 1.75 per kilo. Tina said this was considered expensive and most often the varieties were different week to week. I saw about 4 different varieties of lychees, passion fruit watermelon, papaya, limes etc... Off to the Vegetable woman where I bought 2 carrots bigger than any carrots I've ever seen, fresh mint, coriander, scallions, ginger with the stalk still on in, fresh lettuce, cherry tomatoes, baby sweet cucumbers and large cucumbers, fresh broccoli rab, huge golden yukon potatoes, yellow onion, sugar snap peas and limes all for 120 baht (thats like 3.50). Then I went to the meat stand where I saw the freshest, cleanest looking chicken I've ever seen. You pick out your own meat from the different cuts lying out on on a huge table and put them in your tray which they then charge you like 50 baht for a couple kilos (1.50). There were shrimp, prawns, fish, pork, coconut milk, rice, eggs for 1 baht, egg noodles made the day of, and in case you get hungry from all the beautiful colors there's people frying the ingredients around you in huge woks making beautiful food everywhere you turn. It's a farmers market heaven out here- all they need is a bakery ; )

My apartment is quaint, and larger than I expected (so quite nice). So far I'm enjoying it very much. I have a big bed, basic kitchen amenities for cooking, two bedrooms, a shower, an air conditioner, a nice balcony and my wonderful neighbors downstairs of course (My office) : Phuket Has Been Good To Us.

Today I'll take some pix of work and apartment for you and try to find me a motorbike!
La gon!


Nick said...

What a great description of the journey there...except that now I'm really hungry!!

- Hugs from the Portland 4!

Anonymous said...

What an adventure you have begun! Good for you. Your journal entry makes me want to hop a plane to visit Thailand! Many blessings on your time there. Take good care, and God bless.

Fr. Heric

Leslie said...

Sawatdee Kaa Ryanne!

I wen to Thailand 4 years ago and loved every minute of it. Once you get used to the hot weather; it is the friendliest place on earth. I look forward to following your year long adventure. I'm will be in Ireland for the coming year as well… follow my blog.

Peace my friend,


Molly said...


I had no idea you were in Thailand, that's so awesome. Your descriptions of the farmers market sounded amazing (and made me hungry!) Have an amazing year, I look forward to reading more about it!