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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    Mendip's Avatar
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    A day in the life...

    I may moan occasionally about living in Korat... well most days to be honest, but if I left I think I would miss it a bit.

    There's always something to shake your head at in bemusement when living in Isaan, which I guess is true for anywhere in Thailand. This can be extremely frustrating but is also strangely part of the attraction. Even after fifteen years I don't really know what to expect out of a day which is something I don't find when living in the West.

    I wish I'd written about many of these 'experiences' since we arrived in 2006, but I guess it's never too late and the start of an extended period in Isaan seems like a good enough time to begin this thread. My intention is for this to be a collection of 'happenings' that aren't dog or pond related but we shall see.


    Yesterday when I hooked the dead fish out of the pond I couldn't help noticing that one of our coconut trees was looking decidedly unhealthy. Many of the fronds were brown and dead...



    ... and a few pokes with a stick showed that high up the trunk was soft and rotten.



    To be honest I sometimes wonder WTF the gardener does when I'm away.

    I had my suspicions what was wrong with the tree and decided to chop the it down. Beside, it's good fun chopping trees down.

    I started by chopping off the fronds.



    And while I was doing this I spotted this... but I think it was just a common-in-garden cockroach and not the culprit I had in mind.



    Once the fronds were gone I started on the trunk. The plan was to land it away from the pond.



    With all the noise I was making Anna and Vigo came over to investigate. These two are confined to our pond area for a few days while Anna sees her season through. Vigo was getting run ragged trying to fend of a pack of suitors out the back of our house so I brought them in for a while... rather than face yet more vet bills. He's only small and usually comes off the worst after fighting.

    I don't think Vigo's exclusive access to Anna is going quite how he hoped. He follows her around but whenever he tries to ease up onto her back she snarls and gives him and earful. She may be in season but she certainly ain't easy... I guess we've all been there.



    Anyway, I continued chopping until the tree was ready to go. I was glad Anna and Vigo were watching cos I'd have felt a bit stupid shouting 'timber' to an empty garden.



    Once the top, rotten part of the coconut tree trunk was on the ground I did some investigating and it was as I'd expected... I've seen this before.



    This little bugger didn't want to come out...until I prodded him with a stick from behind.



    He was about two inches long and as fat as a girls finger.



    And a selection of the adults and larvae.



    These are bamboo or palm weevils, I'm not sure which species. The adult beetles must have laid their eggs in the coconut tree and the larvae then munch their way through. The closest I could find on the net was this.



    And of course, this is Isaan... as usual some disgusting bug turns out to be a delicacy. It seems in Malaysia they like to pop them in their mouths while still alive. Now, I'm sure that you Aussies are used to munching down on live Witchetty grubs but the thought of eating these just makes me feel like gagging.



    I had a good haul and it seemed a shame to waste them.





    I offered them to the gardener but he seemed as repulsed as I about eating them... and this from a guy who thinks nothing of hooking out dead fish floating on the pond and cooking them up.

    But of course the wife expressed an interest. I decided to let her lunch alone while I cleaned up outside.

    Anna came to watch me clear up... and it appeared that Vigo was taking some time out to reconsider his tactics.



    The piece of tree trunk was just too heavy to lift so I lay the wheelbarrow on it's side and had to kneel down and tried to manhandle and roll the trunk into it. While I was up close and intimate something moved... and I jumped back screaming like a baby. This bloody thing must have been five inches across. I just can't do spiders and left the gardener to finish up.



    It wasn't much better indoors to be honest.

    I've been asked a few times... and this is why I cook most of my food when I'm home.

    Giant weevil larvae omelette anyone?



    No way did my wife get a good night kiss after that!
    Last edited by Mendip; 11-02-2021 at 11:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    How did you not expect a large hairy assed spider? Or scorpion? Or snake? Or several?


  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    Bogon's Avatar
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    Stuff that.

    If I found a spider that big on my property, I would be selling the place and moving at least 2 provinces away.

    *taking the missus would be optional.

  4. #4
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    Those huntsmen spiders are harmless, at least that's what i think it is. Used to have one lived in the corner where the downstairs roof met the wall and you could hear it running across the roof.

    Re those grubs, that is frustrating as there is a few years invested in those coconut palms. When i first planted some coconuts i screwed up and buried them most of the way to the top of the sprout and they basically grew but incredibly slowly (8 years to get the heart 80 cms high). As i now understand it you are supposed to just bury a bit of them with the root in the ground which thinking about it makes sense. Naturally they'll drop the nut which will sit on the surface and sprout and find its own way to root itself; you live and learn.

  5. #5
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    An expensive way and exhausting effort just for beer snacks [roasted coconut grubs], Mendy.
    Settling in nicely.

  6. #6
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strigils View Post
    Those huntsmen spiders are harmless, at least that's what i think it is. Used to have one lived in the corner where the downstairs roof met the wall and you could hear it running across the roof.

    Re those grubs, that is frustrating as there is a few years invested in those coconut palms. When i first planted some coconuts i screwed up and buried them most of the way to the top of the sprout and they basically grew but incredibly slowly (8 years to get the heart 80 cms high). As i now understand it you are supposed to just bury a bit of them with the root in the ground which thinking about it makes sense. Naturally they'll drop the nut which will sit on the surface and sprout and find its own way to root itself; you live and learn.

    Indeed.
    Coconuts have propagated naturally, for ages, without the aid of human kind.
    The hint might be keen observations as to noticing how they instinctively germinate on the barest of surfaces without being buried/covered.

    Ain't nature grand.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangLao View Post
    An expensive way and exhausting effort just for beer snacks [roasted coconut grubs], Mendy.
    Settling in nicely.


  8. #8
    Praise Jesus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post

    It's pretty cool that your phone takes really great, detailed photos.

    Almost to the point where it looks like it was taken by a digital microscope.




    Then it sees rural Thai food.





    And even the phone says 'Fok that'.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond View Post
    And even the phone says 'Fok that'.


  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
    Mendip's Avatar
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    ^ Yeah, some things are best forgotten about and should never be photographed.

    It was in fact the wife who took that 'food' pic with her inferior phone camera. She uploads stuff like that on this Facebook food page... 'A Thousand Ways to Gag in Isaan', or something like that.

  11. #11
    CCBW JPPR2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    A Thousand Ways to Gag in Isaan', or something like that.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    'A Thousand Ways to Gag in Isaan', or something like that.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    ^^^
    credit where due it's handed down through the ages, so they'll never forget what their warrior ancestors ate.

  14. #14
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    Living the dream... of a bone idle gardener

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Mate, before my Partner's Parent's farm was a fish farm, it was a coconut farm.

    Until the dreaded Coconut beetle ...

    Oryctes rhinoceros (L.), the coconut rhinoceros beetle, is a pest species occurring throughout many tropical regions of the world. Adults can cause extensive damage to economically important wild and plantation palms.
    A day in the life...-life_cycle-png
    Credit

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat
    Buckaroo Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Giant weevil larvae omelette anyone?
    Since they ate your coconut tree,I think it's poetic, justice , and carma that you would eat them.

    Nice story and nice pictures

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat
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    The daughter had a few days off for Chinese New Year and as we didn't get around to going away anywhere we went to Korat Zoo on Monday. We took along one of her class mates who's half Welsh but we try and treat him the same as anyone else.

    Korat Zoo is laid out over a large area and the way to get around is to hire a golf buggy for two hours... maybe three hours if you haven't been before. You can of course cycle around or even walk around, but it was hot so bollox to that.

    They have a very good hornbill collection. I was trying to explain to the kids that they should take in these memories because by the time they're my age most species of hornbill will probably be extinct, such is the Chinese demand for hornbill ivory. To be honest they were more interested in when their first ice cream of the day was coming.



    And here's a peacock. I don't believe these are endangered... yet. The reason this one was running was because it had two kids chasing it in the hopes it would shed a tail feather.



    And one of my favourite animals, the rhino. There was one solitary male standing on a small hill...



    ... but a bit further on there were two what appeared to be youngsters. When we stood by their enclosure they came right up close to us.



    I actually leant over the fence and touched one of the rhinos on the side, and when it looked up at me I touched it's horn... just because I could. Probably not a very good example to set in front of the kids.

    What beautiful animals. I of course gave the kids another lecture about taking in the memory because by the time they're my age the rhino will probably be extinct, yet another animal doomed by Chinese traditional medicine and the complete disregard by the Chinese for anything apart from their own selfish desires. These are white rhinos which have some small chance of survival. The black rhino with a much longer horn has no chance. These kids go to the Anglo Singapore school and have several Chinese teachers so I should maybe be more careful about passing on to them my criticism of the Chinese... but to be sure if China ever does anything good for the survival of endangered species I will let the kids know.



    There was no food available at the zoo so on the way back I popped in to Chez Andy's. Andy has run a Swiss restaurant in Korat for years and anyone from Koh Samui will probably remember his restaurant at Cheweng which he closed a few years ago. He does the best steak in Korat, but no way was I wasting good money on two nine year-olds so it was pizza all round.

    Andy is an old friend but I hadn't seen him for a year and a half due to us both being trapped away from Thailand at different times with Covid travel restrictions. The beer of course flowed and the kids got bored, so off they went for a ride in the Chez Andy tuk-tuk.





    And before I knew it, it was dark and a big fly hatch was on.



    Andy's 95 year-old mother with three attendant nurses joined us while the kids tucked in to their third dessert of the day. My taxi driver waited patiently at the table next to us.



    And just like that it was time to go home... school the next day.

    We went back in a taxi and one of the waiters drove my car home. Good service all round.



    A nice trip to the zoo!

  18. #18
    Praise Jesus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    one of the waiters drove my car home. Good service all round.
    The only way that service can be beaten is if there were JAV waitresses.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat
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    I touched it's horn... just because I could.

    Erm, remember that parrot?


  20. #20
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    I ate surstromming, because I could...

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat
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    Into my third week home and still playing catch-up after nearly 7 months of neglect.

    At the end of every wet season I like to fertilise all the pot plants and top them up with compost. Maybe this would normally fall under the remit of a gardener's duties but the wet season ended three months ago and the plants were looking tired and uncared for, so I decided to get on with it. I must admit that while walking around the garden picking up endless little red and green elastic bands (around 200 now) I do spend a lot of time muttering under my breath, 'WTF does he do all day while I'm away?'.

    I started with the sala. I know that not everyone loves dogs, but I'd be lost without mine to keep me company while doing shit in the garden. There's always five pairs of eyes watching me working.



    The 'no sitting on the furniture' rule seems to have been relaxed while I've been away.



    The top course of bricks of the pool and sala-side barbecue had been twatted by a falling branch during last wet season... and hadn't miraculously repaired itself. Another job waiting, another morning gone.



    And my wife's ridiculous wooden fishing jetty has finally fallen apart. It will take Max's weight but a human foot will go straight through the rotten wood... which no-one has bothered to apply preservative to for several years. I now have to do something as it's dangerous with kids running around. Maybe just a flat bed of strong wood which will be very expensive, or maybe I'll try and lay a slab of reinforced concrete. Either way, a couple of day's work at least.



    Everywhere you look there's jobs. I need stuff to do but this is relentless. It's partly my fault as I like to keep control on all but the simplest tasks to stop them getting completely fukked up... but some compost in the plant pots would have been good.

    It may seem like I'm a bit of a greenhorn spending my days gardening in the baking sun while wondering where my gardener is... but without him this life wouldn't be possible and he keeps things going while I'm away. In fact I even gave him a big present when I arrived home a couple of weeks ago, although I must admit I'm starting to regret that now as he's looking very bleary-eyed lately. He even offered to take me along to this Thai short time place in Korat he uses but despite my curiosity I declined... I think it best not to get too familiar. And besides, the wife would go fukkin mental.

    One tip I do have for long term living in Isaan is to keep a few unavoidable trips to Bangkok up your sleeve for when it all gets too much. One of my passports needs renewing and I'm hoping to sort this next week and get an appointment at Trendy which will mean two days on Sukhumvit. This will of course require a second unavoidable trip a couple of weeks later to pick up the new passport. It all has to be done!

    And just when you think the day's work is done... tonight the daughter says that she has to do a science presentation tomorrow which she'd 'forgotten' about. Something about shadows getting bigger and smaller and light travelling in straight lines.

    Not bad for a moment's notice...



    I wrote some words for her and got her to practice it on the dogs... if she can get them to listen, her classmates will be a piece of cake.


  22. #22
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Haha, good luck to junior for her presentation

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Not bad for a moment's notice...
    Recalling his last ROV search off Ingaya Island when looking for a hidden well head.

    Moving the ROV a little to the left, he located the well head behind a rock.

    Lights, Camera and thoughtful action.

  24. #24
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    It's the way you tell 'em.

  25. #25
    CCBW JPPR2's Avatar
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    Man o Man Mendy. That pond water looks as thick as pea soup. Have you ever just drained it and started over?

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