Why I love Thailand

Thailand Buddha

The Thai Buddha

 

For those that aren’t familiar with Thailand, it is a kingdom and probably one of my favorite places on the planet.  The king of Thailand, as of this writing, is King Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX.  If you ever have a chance to read about the king you will find he has given up his life for the betterment of Thailand.

Upon learning he would be king, he immediately changed his major in college Agriculture.  His belief was that this would be what was best for his people, not necessarily what was best for him. He’s an accomplished musician that has played with some of the greatest jazz players of his time. He has written some classic music still beloved by the Thais today and has written books and improved the lives of his people in every way he has been able to.

It’s my opinion that he’s not only one of the greatest leaders to have ever been in power, but could also be one of the greatest men to ever grace our earth.  So with this I would like to say. “Long Live the King.”  So enough with the history lesson. But really if you have a chance spend some time to learn about this man.

So, why is Thailand my favorite place in the world?  Well…  Do you remember the very first episode of Star Trek, where Captain Kirk is taking over the enterprise from his mentor Captain Pike?  Star Fleet command has a meeting and decides not to grant Captain Pike his last dying wish. Mister Spock steps in and has the Enterprise transfer him to a distant star he had encountered during his time as the captain.

The poor man is old and beat up from his life in Star Fleet Command. He’s in a wheel chair with a red light on it that only beeps if he is saying yes or no.  He looks like he could die at anytime. The rest of the episode is spent with Spock disobeying orders on their voyage to this planet.   Do you remember it?

Well, in the end they get him to this planet. As they are leaving they turn on their giant big screen TV that shows Captain Pike. He’s now very young and viral with, two very beautiful ladies in each arm waving good bye.

THIS IS WHAT THAILAND IS TO ME!

The time I spent in Thailand was on the island of Phuket. If you look on a map you will see iit has about the same latitude as southern Florida.  The weather patterns are the same with the same rainy season as well as the same average mien temperature.

The main city on the island is Patong.  If it’s a busy beach and incredible night life you’re after this is the place to stay.  One of the greatest parts of being in Thailand is the cultural diversity you find there. This is the top destination in Asia for people on this side of the world to vacation or holiday in.  It is not uncommon to see ladies from the middle east dressed in their full borques on the beach. And not more than a few chairs down a lady from Europe sitting topless to get the full effects of the sun.

Australians’ love this part of Asia as well as people from India, Russia, Germany, Japan, China, Italy, Lebanon and the list goes on and on.  But, because of this the food and the different arrays of restaurants are countless and all of them have authentic cooks to make the food just like home.  And to me the best part of being there is meeting the people from these different cultures and getting to know and understand how they live.

No matter what food you choose, it’s always delicious. Believe me, no trip would be complete until you sit down at an authentic Thai restaurant and eat some pad thai or pad tsi eu or of course the ever famous Tom Yum Gung.  All Thai food is spicy. But it’s a taste sensation you will never get enough of or ever be able to forget.

The people are friendly. This gives Thailand its nickname of the “land of smiles”.  Likewise, the Bangkok airport has the nickname of the “airport of smiles”.  It all lives up to its name.  English is widely spoken on the island. It’s not hard to get around or communicate your needs to a local even if you don’t speak a word of Thai or understand what sawadee kap means.

The women are beautiful and when they say the “land of smiles” they mean it.  When walking through the malls many of the striking women will look you in the eye and smile. It makes you feel like you still have it and you’re still everything you were when you were young.  It is also the only place in the world that I have ever been where when you introduce your Thai girlfriend or wife you always back it up by saying. “But she’s a good girl.”

There’s plenty to do on the island besides the night life.  There is elephant trekking for an adventure you won’t soon forget.  There’s  boat excursions to some of the neighboring islands. The excursion to Phi Phi Island includes a stop for some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving I’ve ever seen. Another stop is Maya Bay where the movie The Beach was filmed.

Buddhism is the main religion of the Thai people. The temples found there are both extraordinary and fascinating to see.  There are two Buddha’s on this side of the world. One is the Thai Buddha. An amazing statue known as the Big Buddha has been built in his honor. It’s on the southern side of Phuket island. The other is the Big Bellied Buddha. Its the Chinese Buddha and probably the buddha most Americans are familiar with. Many Thai’s have both Chinese and Thai ancestry.  Due to this, both buddha’s have celebrations.  It is not uncommon to see the monks in their orange robes on the street. You can even take part of the ceremonies at the Big Buddha, which is an incredible site to behold.

The Chinese Buddha is celebration is with a Chinese vegetarian festival.  It was from September 27th – October 5th, in 2011.  It’s held once a year through out Chinese temples. The largest of the Chinese temple’s can be found in Phuket Town.  This is an amazing festival to behold. The spirits of the deities posses theThai people and they go into a trance. This allows them to push steel bars through their cheeks and do other forms of self mutilation during the festival.  Fireworks are a main part of this festival so be sure to bring your ear plugs. Without them you ears could be ringing for a very long time.

Songkran is the Thai New Year. Its celebration was April 13th – 15th in 2011.  There are 543 years difference between the Thai calendar and the western calendar. So in Thailand, the year 2012, is the year 2554.  Kind of puts a wrench on this whole Mayan Calendar and the end of the world coming in 2012 when it is hard to distinguish what calendar they might have been talking about.

If you plan to visit Thailand during this time of year make sure to wrap your cell phone, and anything else not water proof, in plastic.  This is a water festival and the people of Thailand turn into children during this time.  On the last day of the festival they giggle all day and wait until everyone is off work. Then the water fight starts and everyone gets soaking wet.

This is why I love Thailand and I hope you all get a chance to visit sometime soon.  I guess the only way to sum up Thailand is in what I have already said.  LONG LIVE THE KING!

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Thailand

©2010 Timeshareadvisor.net

America

Oh, say does that Star – Spangled Banner yet wave
Over the land of the free and the home of the brave?

What can I say about the country I spent the first 40 years of my life in?  Well I guess I would have to say that I, like many Americans are not very happy with the way things are going there now. But that would require a long political discussion and this blog is about travel and not politics.  Unfortunately they do sometime go hand in hand. With a legislative body dedicated to doing nothing but thinking of new laws to pass, some as inane as it is illegal to cut off a cow’s tail, it truly pays to know the laws before traveling there. To elaborate on the laws in America. I don’t think most Americans know all the laws established here.

When I lived  in Thailand a few years ago, I read on the internet about how America passed something like thirty thousand new laws that year.  The thing to remember is that America is a Republic with Democratic overtones. China is a Republic with Communistic overtones. My pledge of allegiance when I was a child was: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the REPUBLIC for which it stands. One nation under god, indivisible, for Liberty and Justice for all.”

Now I think over the years, with the separation of Church and state, the term under God has been removed. But never has this said “and to the DEMOCRACY for which it stands”.  This means it is a police state and as such most Americans will see the inside of a jail cell at least once in their lives.

We have starving children homeless on our streets. Yet we worry about helping the rebels in Libya and of fighting an incredible war in the Middle East that was really never any of our business to begin with.  We spend our time passing laws to make our society equal for everyone and to try to take the hate crimes and the violence out of it. Yet I believe that America is one notch below Mexico in the most dangerous place that I have ever lived.  We have now killed bin Laden and are having debates on how ethical it was to take this man out and to execute him.

My God, violence is a part of the world and these people have no problems taking American Citizens, cutting off their heads and posting it on the internet.  What happened to showing the world that we are strong?  What happened to the Inglorious Basterds way of making these people fear us?  Now we have become the laughing stock of the world and we are losing our position as a super power.  What will happen when these other countries over run us? Even the greatest superpowers of the world have lasted a short time. What happens to all of our laws and the alienation we cause our own?  What will the world be like then?  Isn’t it time to take a lesson from the bible and remove the thorn from our eyes before we attempt to remove the splinter from theirs?

I’ve learned a lot of things the world could live without that America brings with its culture. But that will be a topic for another page.  As dangerous as America can be, and if you read all the news that American media spits out (one of the things I believe the world would be better off without) you will find that America is probably one of the most dangerous countries to live in.  I mean let’s face it, one wrong turn in a city or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could lead to an untimely death, beating, or mental and physical scar for the rest of your life

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Now with all of that being said, I would like to steal 10 cc’s lyrics and say.  “I don’t like America, but I do love her.”  And here is why. America has some of the most diverse and amazing landscapes’ in the world.  From the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean there are some of the most interesting and beautiful places in the world.  Los Angeles, Hollywood and Disneyland in California are something that every one should see.  The diversity in people and languages can not be equaled anywhere else in the world.

One of the man made wonders of the world is Las Vegas Nevada. I say that because its built in a desert most thought could never be inhabited. Bugsy Siegel lost his life proving it could be. However, with the resilience of the American people and some help from the Mafia, the City of Lights is one of the most incredible places in the world that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.

Being situated in a valley with soaring mountains behind it, Salt Lake City is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in the world.

The Grand Canyon in Arizona and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming are two of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Living on this planet without seeing them and learning about them would indeed be a shame.

Colorado is my home state. The Rocky Mountains run through it. Not only does it have some of the greatest snow skiing in the world, it also has some of  the most beautiful scenery anywhere you could travel.  Take the drive from Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek. Cripple Creek’s location is in the bowl of an ancient volcano.  As you drop into that bowl, you can view the entire continental divide stretching from New Mexico to Utah. Tell me that’s not the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

New Mexico hosts Roswell where the conspiracy of space aliens are still in the air and Carlsbad Caverns boasts some of the most impressive underground views in the world.
Texas is the largest State in America, and as such has some of the most diverse scenery there is.  From the western plains and the oil fields to the Hill country outside of Austin, (where you will find Lake Travis, Lake Buchanan, and a string of lakes found on the old LBJ ranch), to the Pine trees of Eastern Texas. There is something here for everyone.

The people of Texas are some of the proudest people in America and proudly display the star of Texas on all the gates leading to their domicile as well as flying the Texas flag in front of their homes. The term “Don’t’ mess with Texas” is taken very seriously in these parts. And its no wonder why these people feel the way they do.  This is a state with large ranches and beautiful countryside. And lets not forget the Alamo. These attractions shouldn’t be missed. If you’ve never tasted Texas Bar-b-Que or Whataburger, might I suggest these taste sensations are worth the trip itself.

Branson Missouri is the Grand Ol Opry capitol of the world. In Memphis Tennessee you will find Elvis Presley’s mansion Graceland. Beal Street, which is where the blues was born, still remains one of the greatest blues music streets in the world. Its also a place that Elvis Presley himself used to spend his time on when he wasn’t on the road or spending time in his beloved home.

New Orleans is the birthplace of American Jazz. A trip down Bourbon Street will give you a taste of what its evolved into. It will also give a special treat to you ears.  It’s also the site of one of the greatest hurricane disasters in American when hurricane Katrina made her way onto their shores. And of course, Its the site of Mardi Gras. One of the greatest festivals you could ever attend.

The Great Smoky Mountains are another beautiful mountain range. They run along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.  It’s the only place I’ve seen a town with the proud and prominent name of “Buck Snort.”

The northern, East Coast is a Mecca of history. With the original 13 colonies being found there, it also has sites of some of the greatest battles of the civil war.  Here you can take tours through these sites and learn about this tumultuous time in our history. A history lesson while you have fun. What a great idea! You can find the original slave quarters in Charleston South Carolina. This is where the slave traders would bring slaves, house them and put them up for auction.  This is indeed a very dark part of American History. But as they say; those who don’t learn from past mistakes are will surely to repeat them.

New York City is of course one of the cities that everyone knows and would like to visit.  And who can blame them?  With amazing architecture, shopping, entertainment, and social diversity its truly one of the greatest cities every built.

Florida houses Disney World which is indeed the happiest and cleanest place on earth.  It also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world found on the Gulf of Mexico side as well as on the Atlantic Ocean side.  Of course it is also home to one of the most famous spring break destinations called Fort Lauderdale. Daytona Beach is the site of the Daytona 500, of one of the greatest car races in America.

The citizens of America are some of the friendliest and most considerate people in the world. When there is a problem or crises we do love to chip in and help.  I still consider America to be one of the most dangerous places in the world to live. But if you watch the neighborhoods you’re in, and use some common sense, you could come away knowing that we are some of the kindest people you will ever meet.

America, America, God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!

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©2010 Timeshareadvisor.net

Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR

So I’m in Thailand and found a job that ensures me I’ll be able to stay for awhile.  The next thing I need to do is fly to Malaysia and visit the Thailand Embassy for a non immigrant B visa.  Consequently, This will allow me to gain my work visa in Thailand.  Not really sure why you have to leave the country in order to accomplish this but it’s the rule and I am up for another adventure. “You can’t do that, they exclaim, It is so easy to get there. Also the adventure is part of the fun.  All you have to do is get the bus at the airport. It will take you to the train station where you can catch a train and it will take you right there.”

“We’ll that’s true.” my brain justified to me even though my heart told me I would be lost forever. “The destination is never the fun of anything in life and its always the journey there that has the most enjoyment. And besides what’s the worst thing that can happen? Right?”

So I grab my back pack and exit the plane. I’m determined I can find the bus and my way to the embassy.  I always try to travel light and I was only going to be there for two days. Bringing a suitcase just seemed cumbersome and too much of a hassle.  I head for the front door. After wandering around for thirty minutes and almost sobbing like a baby, I spot the buses and make my way to them praying that someone speaks English and that I can find the right one.

“Well that was easy.” I thought feeling proud of myself as I climbed the stairs of the bus. I walked down the aisle and a little old man reading a newspaper looked at me and smiled.  I smiled back and sat in the seat across the aisle from him.

The bus roared down the road and I made myself comfortable looking at the scenery that the window offered.  “It’s in English if you would like to read it.” The man said looking at me and smiling.

“No thank you”, I politely declined, I think I’ll just sit here and enjoy the scenery.”

“That’s ok.” he smiled. “Where are you from?”

And thus started a friendship that I wish I had continued for years to come.  I explained to him my plight and what I was doing in Malaysia and how I was lucky to find the bus that would take me to my destination.  I was happy I hadn’t taken the taxi. The bus ride was about 30 minutes from the airport and I was congratulating myself on the money I saved.

The bus pulled into the parking lot of the train station and the passengers started to depart.  “Do you know where you’re going?”  The man asked me as I stood from my chair and swung my back pack onto my shoulder.

“Not really.” I smiled, “But I think I’ll be able to find it.”

“Then follow me and I’ll make sure you get to where you’re going.”

Now I must admit that my mind started racing at this point. I started to wonder what in the world this man was after with me.  Did he need money?  Was he going to take me somewhere and rob me?  I didn’t know, but I did know that if he asked I would give him some money for his troubles. It would have been worth it, because we winded in and out of stores and side streets, making our way to the train station. I knew I would never have made it and that I would have given up by now and been searching for a taxi.

He walked to the window to get a token for the train as I waited my turn behind him.  I stepped up to the window and he looked at me.  “No, no,” he said, “I took care of it.”  He dropped the coin into the turnstile and I walked through with him close behind.  We walked through the maze of the train station and arrived at the train we were taking and climbed aboard.

“Is this the way you usually go?” I asked

“No, my train is on the other side of the station. I go the opposite direction for about 30 minutes but I really have nothing more to do today. The extra 20 minutes won’t make a difference to me.”

Now I must admit that it had been a very long time since someone has touched me with so much kindness.  I’m a very lucky man for meeting people like this on my journeys.  But it does make me sad that as I’ve gotten older my cynicism has grown. I still had doubt in my mind as to why someone like this would be so kind to me.

“This is your stop”, he said as the train slowed and came to a halt.  Follow the stairs and I think you’ll be able to find your way from there.  He nodded and smiled. I thanked him for all he had done for me and exited the train wishing I had asked him for his name or address. I could at least write him a kind note of thanks for his unselfishness and kindness.  That is truly one of my regrets in my life that I didn’t.

Well just to show you that I really am horrible with directions, I did follow the stairs.  After about 10 minutes I gave up trying to find my way and decided to walk around the city and look at the incredible architecture. I hailed a taxi and found the hotel I was going to be staying in for the next two nights. The twin towers located there are indeed one of the marvels of the city and the architecture was amazing.

It’s funny how the small things in life are the ones that stick with you. As beautiful as the city was, it’s because of this one man and his act of kindness that I will always hold Kuala Lumpur so dear to my heart.  Sometimes one person can change the world, even if its only the world of one person that visits the city and has problems with directions.

Thank you sir for the kindness you showed me that day. Believe me, you did touch my heart in a way that no one has in many years.  In addition I wish you and yours well and hope that God enriches you for the things you did for me that day.  I truly hope you get to read this and understand what one act of kindness can do, and how it can make a beautiful city even more magnificent.

©2010 Timeshareadvisor.net

A letter home from China

The View From My Office

In all fairness, I wrote this letter after I had been in China for a couple of months.  That doesn’t change the information contained but the culture shock here was greater than any I have ever experienced. However, now that I have been here for a much longer time, the things in here I complained about are the things that I have grown to love the most.  So here is…

A LETTER HOME FROM CHINA

So I have been giving a lot of thought as to what it is about China that I don’t like.  I mean it is a very beautiful place. And I am one of the most fortunate people in the world to be able to go to the places I go and see the things I’ve seen.  So I’ve decided to document my time here and condense it down to the last two days of my life.  Enjoy…  and I hope you understand.  lol

So it’s Saturday night and I’m sitting in my office.  It’s on the fifteenth floor of a beautiful hotel. I get to overlook the city and the beautiful lights they have up for Chinese New Year.  Chinese New Year is a lot like Christmas is for us. They decorate with beautiful lights similar to the ones we use for Christmas.

The city is incredible.  There are probably 75 skyscrapers here that can be seen from my window. I believe the majority of them are being used for housing.  I haven’t met anyone here that lives in a house as they all live in condos and apartments.  Some are very nice and others look like they have been through a war which isn’t to far out. The Japanese occupied Dalian for a very long time during World War 2 and after. There are still a lot of hard feeling about this. Because of the atrocities the Japanese committed on the Chinese, the hatred is much worse than how we feel about the civil war that occurred in America.

It’s about 7:30 and I just got done doing my 25 minute podium that I give every night. It’s cold out side and the snow that started falling lightly this morning is now getting heavier.  I know this is going to be a problem because when its cold and snowing it’s hard to get a taxi. No one drives their cars in bad weather and everyone takes taxi’s instead.  Driving has only been popular here for about 10 years. First they just don’t have the hang of it yet. And Second the cost of a car here is two to three times as expensive as they are in America.

So 10 o’clock strikes and all of the clients that we had for the night have left.  Rose (my translator) Jacky (my Chinese assistant manager) and I take the elevator downstairs in hopes of finding a taxi.  We walk out the front door and with good fortune on our side a taxi pulls up.  There are people in it and a man jumps out of the back seat and walks behind the taxi where he is right in front of us and the front door.

I guess he has had too much to drink because he starts to vomit all over the driveway.  He doesn’t try to go to the side of the building or to the bushes that are near by.  I guess he would rather have an audience and does it right in front of the front doors.  Rose starts to get sick and goes back inside. The taxi leaves before we have a chance to get it.  It’s cold and we decide to walk to the main road about 3 minutes away to find a taxi because we don’t want to stand there and look at this guys vomit.

We make it to the road and about 15 taxis pass.  A few stop and Rose tells them where we need to go. I don’t speak Chinese and they don’t speak English so she does all my speaking for me. They all look at her and with a “no” and drive off.  So about 20 minutes of standing in the freezing cold we finally find a taxi to accommodate us and take us where we need to go.

All the taxi drivers love to drive down hooker street where all the ladies of the night stand on street corners in the freezing cold. As we drive by them there is a man peeing on the building in front of everyone.  He’s not on the side of the building or even in an alley; because I guess he want‘s an audience as well.  Are we having fun yet?  hehe

So we drop off Rose and she tells the taxi driver where I live.  He refuses to take me but will take me to the escalators that were built where I live.  These will carry me up the steep hill and then I will have to walk the rest of the way.  Now I am in a suit coat, dress shoes and light jacket and really don’t want to make the 20 minute hike it will take me to get home. I tell rose to tell him that I will give him 50 Yuan if he will take me to my home. That would be about 8 dollars.

Taxis are pretty cheap here and for about 10 Yuan I get to work.  So I am willing to pay this man 5 times what he can get, because I’m tired, cold and just want to go home.  He looks at Rose, and they always sound like they are fighting.  Rose looks at me and says  “He said no, you’re just going to have to walk!”

So I make it home and it is always cold in my house. My boss calls me and wants me to go out for a drink with him.  I need to talk to him anyway, but the Chinese love to play a game called “last man standing” when they go out for drinks.  Seriously, when we go out the Chinese will buy about 30 bottles of beer.  Not the small 12 ounce beers, but the big 24 ounce beers and never cold.  It’s almost impossible to find a cold drink here and when you ask for ice they look at you like they have no idea what you are talking about.  So you get warm been and a small glass that hold about 3 ounces of liquid.  The rest of the night is spent pouring beer into that 3 ounce cup, saying cheers and drinking it.

So anyway, I’m not in the mood to go back out in the cold and I’m really not in the mood to go drink until everyone passes out and feels sick the next day. So I decline and choose to curl up in my blanket on the couch. I fall asleep watching DVD’s of the Simpsons. I burn them from an external hard drive that I have because there is only one station on the TV in English and that one is all news.  Thank God for the internet and my link to American movies, music and of course my email.  I just couldn’t imagine being here 50 years ago without any contact from home.

So I wake up this morning and I have to walk about 10 minutes to get a taxi.  When I get to the bottom of the hill I watch a s a taxi driver hits two ladies crossing the street. I decide to walk across the street as it looks like we’re all going to be sitting here for some time. Well, a taxi pulls up and picks me up and there is no wait.  Everyone just drives around them honking like it’s their fault for getting in the way of their day, and believe me, honking the car horn seems to be the favorite hobby of the Chinese people.

With there being no wait for the accident to get cleaned up I get to the office without being late. Now I’m in the office writing this.  I fell like I am living with Attila the Hun and his band of warriors.  lol

The good new is I love my job. I have also learned the benefits of drinking hot water, especially when I’m feeling sick.  There are no cold water dispensers here, so when you use the water dispenser in the office or order a drink it is either hot or really hot.  lol

I’m sure I am going to be here for a long time. I talked to my boss last night and everyone is very happy with me. They call me the only foreign manager that actually works. I just hope that someday I can learn this language and learn how to read it, as there is not one store that has an English sign on it.  Well except the massage parlors.  lol I guess they think that all foreigners are going for massages.

So there you have the last two days of my life in China.  I am starting to love it!  hahahahaha hope you enjoyed.

I love and miss you all very much and hope all is well in the states.

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Shayne

We were living in a small town in California called Atwater. I was trying to be a rock star. After studying and playing in Hollywood for a year, I came to Atwater to be with your mother. So why would I leave Hollywood and move to Atwater if I was trying to be a rock star?  Well, I have asked myself that many times through the years.  The only logical answer I can come up with is that I really didn’t want to be a rock star that bad.

You were actually born in Merced which was a short ways from Atwater.  It was at night and I don’t remember what time we arrived at the hospital. I do remember we were there early and your mother was in labor with you for many hours.  It seemed to be a hard labor.  You are my first child.  I had never seen a baby born and felt as though I was in a trance.

When your head came out the umbilical cord was around your neck twice and you were blue. All of a sudden all hell broke loose in the room and it was urgent that you came out now.  After you finally emerged, a nurse took you over to a table and put a tube down your throat sucking out any liquid that was in your lungs.

It must have taken a few minutes for you to take your first breath as your mother, in a delirious voice started asking why her baby wasn’t breathing. After what seemed like an eternity, you started to cry.  I think everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief with your first breath.  I finally got to hold you and welcome you to the world, and the doctor let me cut a small piece of the umbilical cord that had already been cut.

You spent the first week of your little life in the hospital and finally came home with no further complications. You were my first child and I never knew I could experience the feelings I had that day.  It truly was one of the best days of my life.

Sarah

We were living in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Your mom started going into labor in the evening. It was about a two hour drive to get to the hospital in Colorado Springs. So we left and had a pretty uneventful drive there. Your mother wanted to have a natural delivery so she declined the epidural the nurses offered.   I guess it must have been about three in the morning when the pain got pretty bad. The doctor came in and said she was dilation was almost to ten and she could start pushing.

I don’t remember how long all of this took but it was early in the morning when your little head popped out and you had your first glimpse of the world. I cut the umbilical cord and the nurses cleaned you. The doctor hadn’t left and I knew something was wrong.  I looked over at the doctor.  There was so much blood. The nurses put my attention to you and kept me busy taking care of you. I welcomed you into the world and they wheeled your mother out of the room.  I wasn’t sure what to do so I called my mom and dad and then called your mom’s mother and father.

After about an hour or so my parents arrived and my mother was busy holding you when the doctor came into the room.  “I can’t stop the bleeding”. He said. “I just can’t find where it’s coming from. I need to take her entire reproductive system out and stop it that way.  She won’t be able to have any more children. I’m sorry”

“Do what ever it takes to save her” I said. She had two children and I had two children. We weren’t planning on having more children. But I put on a show like I was sad when inside I was actually very happy.

My mother noticed that you started wheezing and in came the nurses carrying you away too.  I sat there in shock.  I honestly believed I was going to loose you both that night. Your mothers parents showed up and I explained to them what had happened.  Your grandmother on your mothers side was always so calm and with her “bless her heart” accent, it seemed that everything was going to be okay.

I walked out of the room to the nursery and looked at you with an IV sticking out of your head.  I guess it was the only place they could find a vein to put it in. Your mother was put in a hospital room. You were put in neo-natal intensive care in different hospital across town.

They put four pints of blood into your mother.  She was so close to bleeding to death that we almost lost her that night.  I took the next two weeks off of work.  I would go to your mothers room so she could pump milk for your to drink and then I was off to the other hospital to feed you.

One of the saddest places I’ve ever seen is neo-natal intensive care. All of those babies had been born prematurely and some of them you could hold in the palm of your hand.  You looked like a giant compared to them and I used to wonder why they had put you there.

The nurses were very nice to me and always had a rocking chair ready for me to sit in while I held you and fed you.  The also love to pull off my shirt.  Was good for you they would tell me, and the skin to skin contact was something that babies really needed.  I’m sure part of that is true. But it never bothered me. As hard a job that has to be for those girls, I hoped it would bring a little joy into their lives.

The wheezing had stopped but you did have a small hole in your heart that I guess closed as you got older. When we took you home you were on oxygen for like the first six months of your little life. We did live at almost 10,000 feet above sea level and I’m sure it was just a precaution. Your little life started out pretty hard and the strength  you have today shown even then.

On the Day You Were Born

It’s January.  Another new day and another new year. It’s also a time to start celebrating birthdays again.  For those of you that don’t know me, I am the proud father of 4 very beautiful children. I’m a proud father. I’m not a good father. By the same token, I was not a good husband. My Children are from three different ladies.  I was married and divorced to all of them except for my current wife who is the mother of my youngest child.

First is Shayne and he is my only boy.  He will turn 26 this year and is the oldest. Areille is my oldest daughter and she will turn 25 this year. Shayne and Arielle are from the same mother. Next is Sarah. She is my second daughter and will turn 19 this year. (Yay, no more child support)  She is from a different lady than Shayne and Arielle and honestly has had a harder life than any of them.  Finally, there  is Caitlin.  She is my baby and is from my current wife whom I met in China.  She will be 5 this year and is an adorable little half blood baby. She’s my last chance to be the father I wish I could have been to all of them. At the age of 56 I’m afraid I’ll fail again and I pray everyday that I won’t.

The days they were born were the happiest days of my life. Additionally, the memories of them being born are the best memories I have.  Because of this, I feel one of the best gifts I can give them are the events of the day they were born. Consequently, I’ve decided that the best way to do this is to post them on their birthdays. The saddest part is I’m not sure if they will ever read this. Nor do I think they will ever know how much they mean to me.

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Airport Ettiquette

I was reading through some of my papers the other night and found my rules of Airport etiquette I had written about 15 years ago.  I was traveling primarily in America during the time I wrote this. And I think all the planes and hotel rooms had been getting the best of me.  However, as time has passed I have learned that these rules should apply everywhere in the world and decided that this would be a great story to share with you.  So please enjoy and without further adieu I give you…

AIRPORT ETTIQUETTE

So my flight to Minnesota went well today and I already can’t wait to get back home on Saturday.  I’m sitting in my hotel room now waiting for the festivities to get started. I’ve always found it interesting and fun watching people and thinking of my own observations of life and the things around us.  I understand that we as human beings have a very high opinion of ourselves. But it never ceases to amaze me the animalistic behaviors we can exhibit.  We really are not that far from being out of the caves.

Have you ever stopped to think about how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things?  I mean with all of the galaxies and planets out there and the length of time they have been there, why the hell do we still believe that we are the center of the universe?  I mean isn’t this life meant to be fun and for us to create the things we want?  So why are we so hung up with society, money, power and all of the things that cause wars?

Oh well, enough of my ranting and raving.  What I really want to say is that I think when we’re flying we should be required to follow some simple rules of etiquette.  Below is what I believe should be THE LAW.

1. Pushing and shoving through the security gate will not get you through faster. With me in line it could get you punched in the mouth.  If my daughter is with me and you touch her it will. Likewise, yelling at the people that work there because you’re late will not help, and they don’t deserve your hate. They’re only doing their job.  Settle down, or TSA could be informed that you are a known terrorist and you need a full cavity search.

2. If, while waiting for the plane to arrive, I’m talking to someone and there is a seat open between us, don’t just sit down and pretend like we weren’t talking. WE WERE.  It’s rude and you’re an idiot.  Your mama should have taught you better than that.

3. When the plane pulls up to the tarmac, I promise you are not going to get off any faster by being the first one out of your seat and grabbing your luggage from the overhead compartment.  Relax and enjoy the moment!  You’ll get off at the same time regardless of what you do or the desperate look on your face. If an additional thirty seconds really means that much in your life, you’re going to be late anyway. Besides, you standing in the aisle looking like a caged monkey is funny to some of us and an embarrassment to you.

4. If you’re like five foot seven and weigh over three hundred pounds, that third and fourth egg Mcmuffin is not doing you any good. They will make you fatter, clog your arteries and cause you an untimely death.  Besides that, watching you shove those things in your mouth whole and then swallowing them without chewing makes some of us sick and unable to eat.

Do us a favor, step away from the counter and go for a walk.  And on that note, if you’re a man and your belly sticks out so far that you cant see your feet, you’re disgusting, (even to other men like me who are not gay) and you give us all a bad name.  Go on a diet and get on a treadmill, you’ll feel better about yourself and the world will be a better place for us all.

5. If there’s a sign on something that says “out of order”, and someone took the time to tape it up, odds are pretty good it doesn’t work. (Candid camera is not coming here to give you your fifteen minutes of fame and make you miss your plane.)  Trying to use it, or trying to flush toilet paper down it is only going to make the rest of us look at it. We really don’t want to see it, and no one wants to clean it up.  Please leave it the alone.

6 I don’t care how pretty or handsome you think you are, you do not deserve special treatment. When you’re rude you’re ugly anyway, so get over yourself.  If you’re a woman and I’m looking at you it only means that I am fantasizing about getting down your pants and that’s all. It doesn’t mean I will try, or even talk to you. It just means that I’m thinking about it. Accept the compliment and move on.

7 If you are wearing a shirt that is showing off your tits, me, like the rest of the men in the world are going to look at them.  It does you no good to get pissed of at us. Nor does it mean we want you.  WE AS MEN LOVE TITS AND ARE JUST LOOKING.  I understand that women dress to impress other women but good God, men do exist.  I have an idea, cover them up and you won’t have the problem, or accept the compliment that we think they are spectacular and move on.

8 As a man; if you’re a woman and want to look at me while I’m walking down the hall, please do.  Check out my tits if you want.  Lol   I work hard at keeping myself fit and I promise you I will smile and get a little extra happiness in my step.  We as men love compliments and you checking us out is the best we can ever hope for.  Believe me, it doesn’t matter what you look like, if you’re checking us out, you are a ten!

9 If you see me skipping down the hall or doing my John Travolta Saturday Night Fever imitation, lighten up and quit starring at me.  You’ll only encourage me further.  And besides, life is way to short to be that serious.  We will all get to our destination and if you ever really understood the concept of time you would know that fifty years after you die, no one will really care if you were on this planet or not!

10 The rule has always been women and children first.  What happened to looking out for one another and to being a gentleman?  Have we really come to the point where we’re so busy we can’t take the time to help a little old lady struggling with her luggage or a child that is lost and looking for its mother?

Get over yourself!  The world does not revolve around you and your job.  If you can’t take a few minutes to help a fellow human being, you’re a jerk. Remember you actions when it’s you looking for help and the world is trampling you under its feet
.
For the record, I love little old ladies and children. I would miss my plane to help them if it became necessary.  You might be surprised at how heartwarming their smiles are when they realize someone truly cares. So quite starring at me like they’re going to rob me of all my earthly possessions. Mind your own business and move the on with your busy life.  If they need what I have I will happily give it to them. And you can rest assured it won’t cost you anything!

I know you’re all going to think I’m trying to be funny here, but these really are the things I saw at the airport today.  Kind of sad isn’t it?  And for the record the child wasn’t lost, it was just running a little behind her screaming mother.  I did help the little old lady, and I didn’t get robbed or miss my plane.  I guess God was looking out for both of us.  Amazing isn’t it?

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©2010 Timeshareadvisor.net

Thailand – The Journey East

My bags are packed and I’m ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime. I have an airline ticket in one hand and my guitar in the other. I have no idea where I’m going to be staying or what I’m going to do once I get there.

But its ok. The friend that talked me into coming to Thailand assured me there were plenty of inexpensive hotels. He also said the timeshare industry was booming on the island. However, the main reason I’m coming here is to watch him marry to a Thai girl.

He assured me it was something I must see. The reason he gives is because the small village his soon to be wife comes from will all have a part in the wedding. The Buddha found in their town would be covered in gold before the night was over. And I was to witness one of the greatest events I have ever seen. He would be following in a few weeks. We will meet in Phuket and then go to her home town. I decided to go early, have a great vacation and look for work while I am waiting for him.

During my career in the timeshare industry I have often said that the greatest part of my job was the fact that I could show up in any country around the world with nothing more than a suit and some Tommy Bahama Shirts and I could get a job. I had been proving this over the last few years and I wasn’t going to stop now.

My flight would take me from Colorado to Los Angeles for a very long lay over. Then to Taipei for a short layover. Then to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and finally to Phuket Thailand for a grand total of 36 hours. Add in the 15 hour time difference found on the west coast of America and the grand total in time was going to be 51 hours of travel time.

I must admit the worst leg of the trip was the Los Angeles airport. The transfer between the domestic terminal and the international terminal was not that easy. Without the help of a kind soul, that had made the trip before, I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to finally find my way.

I had 8 hours to do it in and I’m sure I would have found it sooner or later, but I’m very happy there are always people willing to help if they can. I have always considered myself fortunate to find these people during my times of need as I’m always willing to give a helping hand if I can assist someone as well.

So, I’m in the international terminal and they won’t let me carry on my guitar. It’s in a soft shell case that offers little to no protection. I watch as they plaster it with fragile stickers written in what I believe to be Malaysian. And I have visions of getting back a case full of tooth picks by the time we reach our destination. I justify that it’s only a guitar and if that happens it can’t be that expensive to find one in Thailand. After all, most of the instruments we play in America are made in Asia.

I make it through customs and ticketing. My plane is on the schedule to leave at like 4 O’clock the next morning. I’m exhausted but don’t want to sleep as the adrenaline and excitement of the experience are still running in my veins. Besides, me sleeping in an airport and leaving myself that vulnerable is just not going to happen. Looking back on it, I’m glad I fought off the urge to sleep. I believe it made the jet leg much easier, as by the time I finally got to sleep I was on Thailand time.

I’m feeling bored and can’t find anywhere to plug in my computer and get wireless so I decide to walk around. In my wandering I find a currency exchange window and decide to exchange some money for when I arrive. I mean after all exchange rates are the same anywhere you go right? Well not really. I think I got 28 Thai baht to the dollar. When I arrived in Thailand I was getting closer to 35. Not a big deal just a lesson learned.

Of course, being a man, one of the first things I notice when boarding the plane are the beautiful uniforms the flight attendants are wearing and what beautiful ladies each and every one of them were. The service on an Asian flight is so much superior to Western airline companies. The quality of service given and the amount of times you’re fed would make even the most seasoned traveler happy and content.

I must have gotten some sleep because as I looked up the flight attendant was standing next to me. She was smiling and handing me an entry/exit form for me to fill out before our arrival. I quickly covered my mouth wishing I had a tooth brush and hoping my morning breath hadn’t ruined her morning.

We touched down in Taipei with the captain announcing that the penalty for smuggling drugs into Taiwan is death. This must have been said four or five times during our arrival and then again during our departure. I remember asking myself “What kind of an idiot would try to smuggle drugs into a foreign country knowing the penalty was so harsh?”  I wondered if other countries embassies would get involved and try to save one of its citizens if they were stupid enough to carry out such a deed.

The passengers conversations changed. Two foreigners had arrested for smuggling a few days before we arrived.  The judicial system is swift in Taiwan. It only took a matter of days for their execution. There was no way any intervention was going to take place to save them. I was coming from Mexico and the drug problems found there. And I thought “Now this is a country I would like to live in.”

We re-board the plane. All I can think about is how much I wish I would have brought my toothbrush. And of how badly I wish I could take a shower. I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to be traveling. But at this point I know if I don’t get a shower soon, no one is going to want to be anywhere close to me. Thank God for Kuala Lumpur.

As we arrived in Kuala Lumpur I remembered my guitar problem in Los Angeles. They had been kind enough to make it up to me by giving me a coupon good for their lounge in this airport. After wandering around the airport for what seemed like hours (my direction problems again) I walked in and looked at the breakfast buffet. A gentleman greeted me and promptly took me into the bathroom showing me where I could find tooth brushes, toothpaste and a hot shower. The long trip had been hard on my body and apparently it was obvious.

I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I don’t think water has ever been hotter or that toothpaste and food has ever tasted as good as it did that day in the Kuala Lumpur airport. Western airlines could really learn a lot from the airline companies like Malaysia air and the other Asian airlines. The service is amazing and they truly do everything they can to make your travel more comfortable. Kuala Lumpur will always hold a special place in my heart because of this and because of another trip I made months later. But this is an entirely different story and I promise I’ll tell you about it in the blogs to come.

So it was back on the plane with our final stop coming soon. It was dark outside as the plane landed. I was finally in Thailand. My heart started to beat a little faster as I realized I still didn’t have any idea where I was going to be staying.

Customs is never much fun going through but after the long flight I was fortunate and the line wasn’t very long so the wait was minimal. I made my way to the taxi stand where they found me a hotel. They then put me in a taxi for the ride there. The ride was almost magical as we drove around the island. I could look out the window and see the night life that’s there. I think the taxi driver was lost. We made a few stops and it seemed like it took hours to get there. But I did get to look around and it was a flat rate taxi so it was part of the journey and fun.

I lived in Thailand for next two years of my life. During those two years I drove around trying to find out where we had driven that night. I never did figure it out.

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©2010 Timeshareadvisor.net

 

A fairy tale of love and happiness

A Fairy Tale of Love and Happiness

Once upon a time in a kingdom far far away there lived the most beautiful princess in the whole land.  This princess lived all alone in the highest tower in the castle. Sometimes she felt she must be a monster as no man in the kingdom had ever seen the beauty she possessed. Nor had they dared to be close to her.

Until one day a mighty dragon swooped down on the kingdom and plucked the beautiful princess from her tower, taking her far away from the only home she had ever known.
The King and Queen screamed in pain “Oh where is our beautiful princess?  How could such a horrible beast take her from us?”

The king summoned all the men of the kingdom. He gave orders to destroy the dragon and bring the beautiful princess back to the kingdom.  With hope in there thoughts and a song in their heart, the men rode into the dark night, never to be seen nor heard from again.

Until one day a handsome prince from another kingdom entered the now empty walls of the castle. His armor shone bright as he sat on his beautiful white horse.  He asked the remaining towns people what had become of the men in the kingdom and where he might find the beautiful princess he had heard so much about.  He informed them he was interested in the rich reward the king had offered for her return.

The townspeople could only point to the castle with tears in their eyes and continue along their way. So, the handsome prince rode into the castle hoping his answers and his fortune lay with the king.

The King, in tears, explained to the handsome prince what had happened to his beautiful princess and also of the men he had sent to look for her.  It had been so long now, he explained, that his kingdom was almost devastated from the losses he had endured. As a result, he feared he would never see his princess or his men again. He was willing to give anything, including his kingdom to anyone that dared to fight the beast and bring his daughter back to him.

The handsome prince vowed to the king that he would rescue the beloved princess. He would bring her back to the kingdom taking her as his bride and saving the kingdom from sure destruction.

Hearing of the handsome prince, the townspeople rallied, cheering his praise. The king waved with an excitement and anticipation he had not felt since the princess had been taken from him. And the handsome prince disappeared from their view.

He followed the trail left by the horses of the men that had been dispatched to find the beautiful princess.  He came to a clearing where an obvious battle had taken place and the trail abruptly ended.  A Rocky Cliff loomed in front of him and he saw a small hole with a figure standing in front of it. This had to be the home of the dreaded beast.

The Sky darkened as the shadow of the Dragon crossed his path. He looked up to find the winged creature looking down upon him.  It continued to the cave as the princess ran inside and took perch on the ledge watching the intruder below.  It appeared to look him in the eyes as it raised its wings and then followed the princess inside the lair.

Night fall quickly approached as the handsome prince reached the bottom of the cliffs. He decided a surprise attack in the middle of the night would be his best weapon against the beast.  It would be his best opportunity to fulfill his promise and bring the beautiful princess back to her father.

As he approached the ledge he had seen from so far below, he could hear movement above him and the sound of falling rocks around him.  He pulled out his sword and stood silently on the small ledge that now held the entire weight of his body. He starred into the darkness trying to detect any movement or sound praying the small ledge would stay sturdy.

A sudden flash of light burned his body as he watched the flames roar from the dragon’s mouth. It circled, hitting him again and disappears into the dark night sky.  He could feel his sword fall from his hands as his foot slipped from the perch. He was falling from the cliff that took him so long to climb. And there was no way of stopping.  He listened as the wind whistled through his ears and breathed in, fearing this would be his last breath.

When he awoke he found himself in the lair of the animal with wooden bars blocking his exit and a large group of men standing around him murmuring, “Is he the one?”  Is he the one of whom she speaks?”

He looked at the men and at the bones left behind from the meals they had eaten. He spied what he thought was the Princess in a separate cell across from them.  Her face seemed to glow from an internal light lurking inside of her as her eyes found his. He could feel his heart inside his chest.  It skipped a beat and then sped up as he saw her face light up with love and happiness.

His thoughts and visions were halted as the Dragon walked in front of his cell standing in front of him. “What are you planning to do with us?”  He yelled.  “And who is this ‘one’ that these men are talking about?”  “Release me from this prison and I will run you through with my sword.”

The Dragon looked at the man and a smile seemed to come to her face as she began to talk.  “My dear man, she said, the ‘one’ they speak of is you.  You see I am the last of my kind and I am no stranger to the feelings of loneliness and despair that the princess has felt her entire life.  I could hear her crying in the night and knew that although I could never fix this pain in my self that I could fix it for her.  I also heard you’re crying and asking for someone to come into your life; someone that you could love forever and would love you back.”

“You, my dear prince, are the man this woman shares a destiny with.  But if I would have waited for you to finally arrive in the kingdom, you both would have been too old to recognize each other.  I knew you would hear of the king’s plight. And I knew you would not be able to resist a challenge such as this.  Look around you dear prince.  Every man the king has ever sent here is with you now.  No harm has ever come to them and they have been well taken care of. If I do say so myself,” she chuckled looking at the men.

“At the mouth of the cave you will find all of your weapons and the climbing material you will require to get home.  You see, my dear prince, you are the one we have been waiting for.  What took you so long?  Make sure you don’t wait so long to make this princess your wife.”

With this the doors of their cells burst open and the dragon flew into the night sky allowing the men as well as the princess to go free.”

“It’s time sire.” The servant reminded the handsome prince as he was looking at his beautiful white suit in the full length mirror in front of him.  He turned smiling at him,  “Okay, I’m ready.”

They walked through the corridor and into the court yard. Both the towns people of his land as well as the towns people of  the princess’s land had gathered to witness this special of days.

He gazed at his princess from across the court yard and smiled as he saw here glowing face next to her father and family.  He had after all kept his promise and brought the princess home safe with all of the men of the kingdom. As word spread, he became known as a hero across the lands. Being a man of his word, the king happily gave his kingdom to the handsome prince.  His marriage to the princess today would merge the two kingdoms into the greatest kingdom ever known and would mark the holy reunions of the lands.

The music began to play and the crowd cheered as he and the princess joined hands. They smiled at each other and began walking down the aisle where they would take their vows.

And they all lived happily ever after.

©2010 Timeshareadvisor.net