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"Give your horse what he needs and he will give you his heart in return."
He doth nothing but talk of his horses. ~ William Shakespeare
In riding a horse, we borrow freedom. ~ Helen Thompson
I have just bought my third hoof pick, a small, inexpensive (thank goodness!) but indispensable tool. The first two did a less than stellar job digging balled-up Maui red mud out of Kanani's hooves. Did you know that a hoof pick must be well-balanced and fit your hand--giving you digging leverage? AND must be sharp enough and strong enough to actually dig something without bending or breaking? Why should it be so hard to find the perfect one? Here's hoping I found it!
Did I mention that taking on a new horse is a lot like taking on a new kid? They steal your heart. They deplete your money. They induce worry. Sometimes, they're naughty...but they bring a smile to your face every darn time you see 'em or even think of 'em!
New non-slip saddle pad: $$$ Anything to keep my horse happy when I'm trying to mount up!
Dare I hope that one of my granddaughters might want to learn to ride--and hang out with her Grandma and play with a horse?
Okay, how much stuff does a new horse need? Saddle and bridle--yep. Grooming tools, okay. Saddle pad, leg protection boots, fly mask, fly spray, halter, lunge line, lunge whip, mane and tail de-tangler, a book or two to refresh my memory on certain training techniques, maybe a video or two...yikes! Good thing I like rice and beans because that's what I'll be eating from now on!
DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN THAILAND AND NEW HORSE POSTS.
The weather has been extremely steamy and really takes its toll. Everyone says its hotter than usual--but Thailand is heading toward its hottest month of the year: April. Glad I'll be home in Maui by then!
Arrived safely in Phuket, which is waaaay bigger than I thought. Fortunately, I am in Cape Panwa and not Patong, the crazy, wild place where folks go to have a crazy, wild time. Had a half-day tour of Phuket today--more about that tomorrow.
Did you know that elephants are hairy? They have long coarse hairs on their bodies and their skin feels tough and leathery and prickly with hair. (Should make riding one bareback on Sunday rather interesting.)
No two tigers have the exact same coat patterns--or personalities, either. They are as individual and unique as we are.
Okay, we did go to the same gem factory and this time I watched the movie on Thailand's most precious (and plentiful) gems--rubies and sapphires. Tours take people here, Bangkok's largest and most respected gem dealer, to keep them from being ripped off by scam artists taking you to suspect establishments. It actually was quite interesting once I let go of my preconceived notions. If I were in the market for a giant ruby, I'd buy it here.
Another half day of touring Bangkok's most prominent wats and then I'm off to Chiang Mai in the north. (Hope we aren't taken to the same gem factory afterwards; I'm not a gem buyer, thank you very much, especially when they quoted me a price of 50,000 baht for one tiny elephant charm that didn't even have any gems on it.)
The third richest man in Thailand owns over 4,000 Seven Eleven stores scattered throughout the country. The fourth richest owns the company that makes Singha beer. (Our guide today was a fountain of knowledge.)
Why is saying "Goodbye" so very much harder than saying hello?
Tinu just brought me some taro bread from Tesco/Lotus (our biggest store). She knows I am a fan of it. It's not purple in color like what I have had and loved from Molokai--but it's sure darn good slathered with peanut butter at about 6:30 am. (Yes, Jiff Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter. Tesco carries that, too. I never eat it at home but here it's a welcome taste of the familiar--and beats rice for breakfast. If I were really going to "go Thai" here in Trang, I'd have roast pork.)
Wish I could photograph all the interesting things we see everyday just driving in the van to and from school. Motorbikes are used in every conceivable fashion. Just today, I saw a family of four, plus groceries, riding on a single motorbike, a man with his dog perched on the handlebars zipping past us, and another guy with what looked like the entire contents of a furniture store lashed onto his motorbike. Have seen folks hauling a half dozen sacks of grain on a bike, several cages of birds in covered cages and...well...you name it. Amazing what you can figure out how to haul on one. (And never get pulled over by a cop for doing so!)
Bull fight is next week on Wednesday afternoon. My student, Jem, will accompany me and several other volunteers who are eager to see it after school lets out. Tomorrow in class, I am teaching English "bull fighting vocabulary" to my Naughty Boys. (So I have someone to tell me what's happening during the fight!) Jem is very worried about the fight because the bull his family's bull will be fighting in the morning is bigger and has longer horns. That fight is in the a.m. so we'll miss it. But his grandfather's bull is fighting in the afternoon so I hope we get to witness that one.
The teachers brought me yummy banana muffins for lunch today. (It was tough to say no so I ate 'em.) And the day's highlight? One of my Naughty Boys invited me to see a bull fight next week. His family's prize bull is fighting.
Dogs in Thailand: Never have I seen so many sad-looking, mangy, skinny, abandoned dogs. Temples always have dogs because the monks/nuns will not harm them and usually feed them. Many Thais have pampered, well-loved dogs--but the ones on the street are truly sad. Guess spaying/neutering isn't common here.
There's nothing like working to harvest something to make it taste fabulous. (I did already know that--but just never put rice in this category before.)
Lunch today was--surprise!--a triple-decker tunafish sandwich. Made at 7 this morning, eaten at 12:15 pm. Never refrigerated during that time in this 90+ heat. Think I'm developing all kinds of immunities (at least, I sure hope so!) Tasted darn good, too.
When riding in a long-tail boat (or a tuk-tuk) keep hands and elbows inside, especially when maneuvering in traffic. Gerry got her fingers squashed between two boats as we beached. Not fun. Bled all over her shirt. She's okay but we learned a good lesson. (Had already been warned about tuk-tuks. Easy to get your elbow or fingers banged against someone's side-view mirror.)
News Flash: One of the new volunteers (a sweet young thing) actually tried a fried worm from the marketplace! She said it tasted like a "Dorito." Except for the aftertaste which could only be described as...well...wormy.
Gerry (new friend) went to Tesco tonight and bought a cushy beach mat for her bed of concrete (believe I've mentioned that a time or two.) She's trying it out and if it adequately cushions her bones, I'm sure it will cushion mine--and I will buy one, too. (Wish us luck!)
"Teacher Says" Game: Have invented a new game based on "Simon Says" and the students are eating it up--and learning in the process. Of course, I started with self-serving commands like, "Stand up," "Sit down," "Open your book," Close your book," "Write in your notebook,", etc. Even my Naughty Boys are having a blast following commands they didn't understand--or were avoiding--before this game. Winner gets a "sticker from America." (P.S. I have great plans for making it ever more difficult. Nice way to start a class befoe progressing to the real work.)
Junk Food: Whereas Thai children would normally be eating whole grain rice, noodles, lots of veggies/fruit and small portions of protein, they now want junk food and name-brand stuff like KFC chicken, Dunkin Donuts and “bugguhs.” (Translation: “burgers.”) Wan Li laments that her own two daughters are victims of the junk food craze. Big companies whose names you all know—Nestle, Heinz, Lay’s, Coca-cola, etc.—shamelessly fill the shelves of Tesco (our box store) with all manner of non-nutritional “foods.” (What—it isn’t enough that they’ve succeeded in ruining American diets, they have to ruin Thai diets, too?)