Exodus Phuket-Back up to Central Thailand: 2007’s final phase

It’s been a while since the Siamerican Wanderer’s last blog updates, so here is the last week plus in a nutshell.

Last Thursday, October 29, I waved goodbye to my son, who was in his grandma’s arms crying–assuming I was just going out for fun, as he loves to ‘go out’, usually which has been on the bicycle or walking around the neighborhood pointing at the large trucks and machines that mesmerize him. Continue reading

Back Road Bike Venture: Northwestern coast of Gulf of Thailand’s Northeastern Isthmus of Kra

Expecting to go wake boarding this Sunday, the Wanderer found himself spontaneously changing the plan when all his friends ended up backing out at the last moment. After doing some work on the computer all Sunday morning, the Wanderer finally got himself together, showered, packed a bag and set out by 4 pm.

the Siamerican Wanderer decked out, posing on a Mae Klong bridgeBike Mileage at 2770 kilometers;(how far driven since obtaining new bike) Destination: Phetchburi, an expected 50 plus kilometers to the south west of Samut Songkhram–in seek of a peaceful, scenic back road drive, the route ahead was an uncertain short cut.

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Central Thailand Motorbike drive photos: Samut Songkhram – Bangkok shortcut

As mentioned in this blog entry of the most recent trip to Bangkok on the motorbike, the wanderer chose a different, more scenic route to/from the capital. On this particular trip, instead of taking the straightforward route along Rama II expressway-freeway, sharing the road with various 2 to 12 wheeled industrial, private, and transport vehicles, swerving and racing about through one of Thailand’s least scenic stretches of industrial highway, the Wanderer choose back roads of Samut Songkhram and Samut Sakhon provinces, amidst lush green fruit orchards, richly dissected with various tropical canals that have served Thai country folk for centuries.

From Samut Songkhram, some 30 kilometers of relaxing, smooth curving country highway ultimately brought the Wanderer to Ban Paew district of Samut Sakorn province, where he continued east for 12 kilometers on a straight 2 lane modern rural road before reaching Gra-toom-Ben district just after crossing the Tah Jeen river, just on the outskirts of Krungthep Maha Nakorn (Bangkok metropolitan). A few turns later, the Wanderer found himself in a completely different world from the trees, orchards, and canals only kilometers back in the direction which he had come, contrasted now with crowded and lively city on the congested Phetkasem road. Continuing on Kanjana-Pisek road northward, the Wanderer eventually split off towards Rama V bridge which crossed over the Chao Phraya river in Nontaburi.

Following are some pictures:

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Stepping down as a teacher to become a student, transition crossroads and struggles

I have until October 31 to reinstate my student status if I am to continue University studies come January. The current teaching phase for the Siamerican Wanderer in Samut Songkhram is in its waning days. As of Tuesday, the schedule will be free from teaching, remaining only a few content writing projects on my plate over the next month. I have yet to be told if I will be required to teach anything in November, for which I signed the current contract until.

Flowing amidst yet another transition of adapting environments, the Wanderer finds himself at a cross roads with vital decisions to be made.

The question lingers: What will the wanderer do next?

The Micro Picture

Of course, getting back to my family in Phuket is top priority. However, to relocate fully–self and belongings — back to Phuket, will require some thoughtful logistics planning. The material belongings and tools that are exercising attachment and dependency include a laptop computer, digital camera, mobile phone, guitar, printer-scanner, lots of clothes, books, documents and of course the beloved motorbike.

One of the aspirations that’s been lingering over the last month would be to drive the motorbike down to Phuket. Just the thought of such a courageous, venturous, risky adventure gets the adrenaline pumping. Across vast Jungle Coastlands and tropical mountains, Phuket is some 800 kilometers away on Thailand’s Isthmus of Kra, in Thailand’s second sea, the mighty Andaman.

But before he can figure out if and how he’s going to commit everything at once in the small picture, he still has to figure out the big picture and make a commitment, plan, and confirm the necessary arrangements.

The Macro Picture

To return to University or Not?

If he is to reinstate his student status and register for January classes, it must be all or nothing for at least two years of hard core academics. If he commits to the first term and come out with a high GPA (the highest in the entire Communication Arts faculty that is), there is a chance to receive a tuition wavering scholarship from the University or at least will have bought time to look into some other Student Loan programs. When he left University, his GPA was steadily around 3.9. He’d really need straight As his term back if he is to have any chance at the ‘top’ scholarship.

Scholarship or no scholarship, he needs to gather tuition for at least the first term.

Registration, course, and other tuitions costs will require a sum of ATLEAST 34,000 baht or about 1000 USD$ (not including books), which sounds cheap compared to Western higher learning tuition costs, though, in his situation, is quite a burden considering that he still has to survive and support his family for three more months before the term begins–and without any guaranteed pay check or income for that matter.

Even with the money he has in the bank now, he is barely capable to commit half of tuition but he’s willing to eat nails once/if he fully commits to the higher learning route, for in the long run, it can and shall payoff 10 fold.

As far as the other half, he needs to wait on confirmation from a benefactor source which previously agreed to loan him half of his tuition costs over the next two years, on a term by term basis.

Assuming he can gather the tuition in time, that would have been only the first burden passed. The next will be figuring out how to make ends meet for living /eating/transport expenses (luckily, he’ll at least have the fuel efficient motorbike) when/if he’s a student again, he’d have to find various part time jobs teaching and perhaps writing-editing, but can for-see difficult times ahead if he plans to be a full time straight A student all the while.

However, if it turns out that his benefactor is not in a position to follow through on the loan, within the next month or two, than the horizon will be clearer. He’d have to go on with his unstable income existence, making ends meet, day by day, week by week, month by month, with no real security to offer himself, and his family.

…As the world turns…Stay tuned

A scenic drive and day off/out in central Thailand

Left the house just after 9 am to meet up with a senior teacher, Ms. Payongse at a petrol station near bye. Our appointment was for a Saturday drive up to Ratchaburi city , about 35 kilometers north of Samut Songkhram city along the Mae Klong river.

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To/Fro Bangkok: 200 kilometer roundtrip on motorcycle

Samut Songkhram - Samut Sakhon roadDrove to Bangkok on Thursday afternoon, roughly 15.00. From Samut Songkhram, took Ekachai road as far as it would go through richly irrigated salt fields some 15 kilometers before joining up with Rama II expressway.

15 minutes later, I crossed the Tah Jeen river at Samut Sakhorn-Mahachai. Parked my bike to the side halfway across to get a few pictures of the river before continuing on to Bangkok.

Reached the pier at Pra-bpra-daeng about 45 minutes later. I made sure to park on the edge of the motor ferry so that I could take pictures of the passenger ferry crossing the Jao Phraya river with the Mega Bridge in the background.
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Thai American dual citizenship: two passports; two nationalities

In April of 2007, the Siamerican finally achieved his birth right of Thai American dual nationality and recieved his Thai house regestration and identification. After several months, he decided to seal the deal and apply for his Thai passport. After using only an American passport in Thailand for several years with many immigration and visa headaches, it was time to bring home what was his…

Read more about Thai American dual nationality at the Cyber Journal here