Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I thought I'd post once more before our phone line is disconnected.

The picture below shows a new fruit we tried recently, called Snake fruit. The reason for the name escapes me, but it's probably because of the fruits' skin texture, which is sort of prickly, that I suppose could pass as feeling like a snakeskin.

Once the prickly outer skin is peeled off, the fruit meat inside is arranged in a cluster of two or three oblong pieces, depending on the individual size of the fruit. The fruit tastes comparable to Smarties® candy, or RedBull® energy drink, with a tart-sweet tang. Mam's eyes were bigger than her stomach when she selected a bunch from the vendor, as she wasn't crazy about the fruit, but the two of us did manage to get through a dozen of them.

Read about Snake Fruit HERE.

Although our cottage isn't quite as rustic as the picture above, it's not far from it. Our new landlords are remodeling the cottage as I blog, and it seems we're going to have a very nice, quiet and serene place to live in very soon.

Mam and I have been packing our orchids, varied plants, and flowers, along with some very crude garden tools, into our backpacks and hiking up to our cottage every day to work on the outside grounds. I've managed to almost completely cover the tree trunk outside our bedroom with the orchids I've been growing, fastening them to the tree with shredded coconut husk. I watched a Thai gardening program on T.V. and learned about this handy little orchid growing trick, which sure does work well.

Our orchids are flourishing and blooming to beat the band in the humid environment around the cottage and nearby fruit trees, and will be so beautiful once they start to really take hold. I've been experimenting with growing orchids for well over two years now, and finally have perfected a system that seems to work pretty well. My hope is to expand my collection ten fold, so I have many beautiful specimens to admire and enjoy.

Mam has been clearing brush around the cottage, swearing that she'll never return if she sees a snake. So I'm hoping she's only joking since the change of her seeing a snake is pretty darn high.

Mam saw another Atlas moth on Saturday, when we were returning from our visit to the cottage. She's got an eye for that sort of thing, while my eyes are only getting worse in my old age. There are too many weird and interesting flora and fauna to list here, that we see during our walks, but I have begun assembling a folder on the various bugs, birds, reptiles, and animals we spot, to keep track of what we've spotted and put an official name to all of them, which I'll put up as a link on this blogsite at a later date.

Since our sampling of snake fruit, we've come across another three or four odd varieties of fruit during our walks that neither of us has ever seen before. So this has become another challenging project of mine, to catalog the various names of fruits we encounter, and save them to another folder on my computer to post at a later date. Not an easy task, by any means I must say.

Often we have to ask some of the local villagers what the name of the fruit is and often the name cannot be translated into English, or the villager only knows the name of the fruit in a Southern Thai dialect, which cannot be translated into conventional Thai or English. Difficult yes, but certainly not an impossible task by any means.

My vacation is pretty much over now. Only four more days left before I have to return to the classroom. Mam and I visited the school today and did some work on the classroom itself, cleaning here and there and readying some materials for the new school term. Many of the students were out and about, shouting to us, "Teacher Jeeem! Hallo Jeeem! Khrue Mam! Hallo Mam!" which was a good feeling, as I've missed the kids.

Our rainy season seems to have never stopped here in the South of Thailand. Almost every afternoon we have been deluged with thunderstorms, often severe, leaving our rivers bulging at the seams. The dry season was all but absent this year, replaced by torrential rains and sudden storms. Now we're back to our usual monsoon season and the water table remains at a level much higher than normal.

Floods are certain to be a problem this year.

Mam and I will be moving out of this house by the 31st of this month. We've got a lot of things to do to get situated in our new home, such as putting in a new phone line and getting the mail delivered to the right address, so you probably won't hear from us for a while.

Don't despair; we'll eventually be back like an annoying pimple.

Meanwhile, live good lives and stay happy...

-Jeeem & Mam-
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