Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Note From Malaysia
By Matt Salleh

Sitting here drinking my Jittery Joes freshly ground coffee... Seth
brought me a pound-o-beans from the states.. man.. excellent stuff... Also
listening to Radiohead.. a new purchase from Chinatown upon Seth's
recommendation.. for US$1 I coudn't argue!

Seth also brought a nice bottle of single malt scotch from the Isle of
Jura somewhere off the coast of Scotland I presume.. living it up!

We made it back from Phuket and Krabi with no hitches..

We flew in.. stayed in Phuket town for the night, next morning caught a
ferry to the mainland.. Ao Nang.. hired another boat after lunch to
take us out snorkeling. Came back, stared at the gorgeous waitress for dinner,
had a few beer Chang and caught a taxi to the Holy Land Bungalow, a
secluded little private beach and bungalow about 10 minutes from Ao Nang.. which
is also about as close to Railey Beach etc (never made it to Railey
etc..)we met up with Thom Henley and discussed the Reefs to Rainforest trip for
April, ironed out some details..

next morning we got a truck taxi to the coast and did some sea kayaking
on Hong Island.. white bellied sea eagles, crabs, tons of fish,
epiphytes.. gorgeous scenery.. we kayaked to a 'hidden' cove with our guides,
bought some freshly caught squid and crab from the local fisherman and headed
to the beach.. smoked the fresh catch on the beach... ate, had a few beer
Chang and clove cigarrettes, snorkeled a bit more and headed back home.. went
back to Ao Nang and ate some pancakes from a street vendor before dinner..
went back to the same restaraunt and stared at the same tall, dark, long
haired gorgeous waitress.. who,by now, was friendly and smiling back.. more
beer chang, bought some Mekong whiskey and got a taxi back to the Holy

we were the only guests that night.. so we ate yet another dinner with the
owners.. fresh fish, sticky rice and rice noodles.. they also had some
plants on the table they were eating.. when we asked what it was they
said 'PAK' which means vegetable.. there were several kinds unidentifiable..
but damn good.. we ended up getting drunk with the owner who is a 33 year
old Thai woman.. she's pretty wealthy and a rarity by SE Asian standards (
a woman in charge).. she was sweet, but the conversation was awkward and
broken.. Seth and I drifted off to blissful, Mekong whiskey sleep after
we stumbled back to our bungalows..

the next morning we caught a ride into Krabi town and serendipity
smiled on us as we wandered into a restaruant.. none of them understood my best
Thai, which consists of asking for water, Pad Thai, Som Tom or Tom Yam.. it
turns out they were Chinese-Thai and only spoke Chinese.. and it was a dim
sum house.. man it was the best food of the trip.. since they couldn't
understand us they just brought us the works.. about 10 types of dim
sum (mostly pork).. so damn tasty! Next we bussed back to Phuket town..
got a foot massage and caught the plane back to KL..

not bad for a 4 day adventure huh?

Now I'm back to school.. Seth has caught a train back to Thailand.. up
to Chang Mai.. he spent a few days here exploring KL (China Town, Little
India, KL towers etc..).. I envy that trip..

I've got a trip up to Cameron Highlands planned.. another stay at
Father's Guest House.. and a trip to Tasek Bera planned.. both planned for the
last 2 weekends this month..

I learned a good lesson the other day...

we took the 1st grade out to the outdoor classroom.. we got rained on..
we live in a rainforest right? It's tropical..

well, the elementary principal FREAKED OUT! He couldn't believe I used
such bad judgement and took the kids out and got wet! WEll.. the kids LOVED
it! So did the moms who went.. how often do they get to go out into the
rainforest in the rain? It was,in fact, a defining moment for some
kids.. when they do something out of the ordinary.. something fun... something

Anyway, the bottom line was.. he was wrong.. he himself was judging the
situation from a perception (that it was dangerous).. not a reality..
there NEVER was any danger.. getting wet isn't dangerous, it's FUN.. the kind
of fun kids crave!! it was the end of the day.. and there was no harm

I realized a few things..

1) He needs a little re-education himself.. as well as some experiences
outdoors.. I think he doesn't have any background in that..

2) I'm no longer working with other outdoor oriented professionals.. to
any of us.. it wouldn't have been worth a mention.. just another day at
work.. getting rained on, snowed on.. fallling down.. getting back up.. it's
all part of it..

3) my mission to get kids outside, get them to expand their comfort
zone.. has to start with the adults.. only 1 mom complained (she wasn't out
on the trail with us.. and she's the type that would wear high heels and
lipstick out hiking..) I made a point to talk to all the other mom's that were
actually on the trail.. they praised the experience..

so go figure..

then I wondered?

1) would he have freaked out if we were out playing soccer and it
rained on us and we had to leave the field and we got wet in the process?
Probably not.. but because we were in the forest.. he FREAKED OUT! (the outdoor
classroom and 'forest' are only 150 meters from the school I might

Anyway, I thought that was the purpose of the outdoor classroom.. to
see and do things you can't do in the safety and comfort of the box...

something to think about!

take care!

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