Dive Bombers of Seattle

I’ve recently read BRITT SKRABANEK’s blog about a visit she took recently to Seattle and it brought back memories of some funny trips I’ve taken there. I’ve been to Seattle several times with my family to enjoy the people, sights and sound of a great city by the sea.

Of course we went to all the must see sights but also went to a few out of the way places. It seems every time I go somewhere I have odd experiences that are funny—to me—and they always bring a smile.

Seattle

Seattle

My kids were young at the time of our first visit and we started off in the pier area. I decided we would walk up to Pike’s Market and found a long stairway up to the next street level. We were about halfway up when my oldest son grabbed my arm and said, “Daddy. There’s a dead man down there!” My younger son and daughter agreed, so I stopped the precession and made my way down to the bottom hoping I wouldn’t find what my son thought he saw. I looked around and found no one that might be dead and my son yelled down, “Under the steps.”

I went around under the steps and there was a man sleeping, I hoped. I called out to him and he mumbled a few disparaging words, which was a great relief. He tightened his grip on his bottle of wine and went back to sleep. I left him with a few dollars and laughed as I re-climbed the stairs. I told my son. “It’s okay. He’s not dead, but he will feel like it when he wakes up.”

After visiting the market and watching the workers throw big fish to one another we made our way to the park at the end of the street. Here was my second surprise. There were a number of homeless people and they were all of Asian descent. I was amazed. For some reason it never occurred to me that there were Asians who were homeless. I’m from the South and at the time Asian weren’t that common. Yes, my wife is from Thailand but 2 and 2 does not always equal 4 with me.

Throwing fish at the market

Throwing fish at the market

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

They were a happy group and my kids went over to see what they were doing. They treated my children as part of the family and I had to drag them away to go on to our next adventure. We all waved as we left.

On a company trip I had been working for 36 hours straight and I was tired. So I went outside to look around and it was so foggy I couldn’t see five feet away. A big blob flew passed my head missing me by only a few feet and I ducked, wondering if they threw fish in the fog. As I stood up another blob whizzed by but this time I caught a glimpse of it. It was a seagull! I found out that they fly low to the ground when the fog is so thick. Sounds kind of dangerous for either party.

Fog in Seattle

Fog in Seattle

Seattle is one of my favorite places to visit. There are days so clear Mount Rainier seems close enough to touch and the sea shimmers in the bay. There are also many days of rain and fog and it’s like exploring the unknown as you go forth on your adventure. And the seafood is wonderful.

Check out Britt’s blog. She’s a very nice person to know and quite talented!

All photo’s were borrowed from the internet for this blog only.

Have you had any crazy things happen while in a strange place?

Back Home?

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since March of this year and people are still following me. Thank you all.

My wonderful wife and I purchased a house in South Florida July of last year and tried to settle in to Floridian life. Julee took to it with a smile and a feeling of ownership. One of her goals has been to have her name on property in the States, if only to show others that she is an American. The concept is a bit foreign—no pun intended—to me, but I’ve learned that when she’s happy I’m happy.

After 10 years in Thailand I too was ready to try life back in the States, but not with her zeal. To be honest, it didn’t work for me. Please understand that I love America and the people. One thing I missed in Thailand was the diversity of people that the States offer. I just couldn’t get my head around all the… rules of engagement and so I slowly slipped back into my hole, looking for the day I returned to Thailand. This post is a bit of a rehash of a previous one, but I do hope you’ll forgive me as I learn to blog again.

Well, we made it back to Thailand for three months and it was pure joy for me. For my wife, not so much. The weight of the world—and family— came off my shoulders. But as intended it was only a visit. I stepped off the plane back in the States and the bad leaped at me. I sought my hole, but my wife wouldn’t allow it.

It’s been four months now and I finally have found enjoyment with all the rules of play, family, expenses and those damn taxes, insurance, cable TV and the rest. I’ve also broke my addiction of watching TV too much. The best news is I’ve finally started writing again and it feels good. It may not be good writing but it’s good for me. I’m still an early morning writer which interferes with fishing, but I can do both—just not at the same time.

My first starfish

My first starfish

Big Snook

Big Snook

At the beach with our daughter at the beach

At the beach with our daughter at the beach

My blogging friends and fellow writers have been an inspiration to me and several have published new books that I hope to help promote in the coming days. Eden Baylee and Britt Skrabanek are two writers that will impress you with their talent.

I’m amazed at the people I’ve come to know through social media. All of you who read this simple blog have filled in the hole and I’ve thrown away the  shovel!

sas_2kindle Nola Fran Evie Cover Large

I’ll also be promoting my latest book as well. Not that many readers, so far, but it’s a great story with great reviews, take a look.

I hope those that follow my blog will continue and I’ll try to do my happy blogs.

About a few of the pictures of me holding fish. First, the big one was released and second; it isn’t cold. One friend commented that she didn’t know it was so cold in Florida, ha! It’s my Thai style sunblock. That day reached 95 degrees. I had no idea you can catch starfish with a hook. They’re a bit crunchy as sushi–joke.

THAILAND TIME

Thailand

Thailand

 

 

Our time in Thailand is almost over. My wife and I have been busy at the farm. My plan was to get back to Thailand and take it easy—best laid plans and all that. We’ve both had a great time and can’t decide if we’re excited to go back to the States or not. Time will tell. I’ve made up my mind that if things get crazy or my mind wanders then it’s back to Thailand for us. I may make my way back via sailboat.

My mind and body have been recharging and relaxing. That’s not how it had been in our nearly yearlong stay in the States, but I’ve made some decisions that will hopefully carry over when we return. One thing I did quite early in our visit is stop smoking. Notice I didn’t say quit. We’ll see how it goes in the States, but I’m in the right frame of mind now.

Two of my many projects

Two of my many projects

My wife and I are looking forward to getting back to the ocean and do some fishing. We have two small ponds on our farm where we raise fish. I enjoy watching my wife try and net some for supper, but being near the ocean is what I need.

Julee gathering supper and having fun

Julee gathering supper and having fun

We’ve gotten along with Julee’s family better than we ever have before. I’m not sure if it’s the knowing we’ll be leaving again or we’re just so happy to visit family without the stress. It’s been fun. My brother-in-law is a hoot. He’s in his 70’s and I can’t keep up with him. His fashion sense is impeccable, as you can see from the photo( mine needs a bit of work).  He’ll be looking after things while we are away. We’ve given him a few acres to plant as thanks for helping out. We can’t stop him from working so we thought that letting him plant tapioca will do him good. Not too labor intensive, but just enough to keep you moving. And the profit is all his. He’s a happy man.

Brother-in-law and me

Brother-in-law and me

It will be good to get back to the high speed world so I can watch Youtube without waiting and of course fishing, working on my boat, looking for a sailboat, American TV, Mexican food and well, that’s about it.

Here’s just a few pics from our visit. Enjoy

Nephew and son helping out

Nephew and son helping out

 

Niece and her grandchild

Niece and her grandchild

 

Dream a little dream

Dream a little dream

Return to Thailand

Dannie and Julee

Dannie and Julee

I had been in the States for almost a year and fully intended to write about the differences between the States and Thailand. For those that don’t know, my wife and I had lived in Thailand for the previous 10 years.

Love that last

Love that last

I, along with my lovely wife, are now back in Thailand for a visit and to tie up some loose ends. I must say from the moment I stepped off the plane my body relaxed to a point it almost brought tears.

In the beginning of our journey, my wife was not that excited to move to Thailand—the place of her birth. She loves America, as do I, but I needed a change. It was nearly a matter of life and death. I have said this before but my wife has looked after me all our married life and even before. I’m a lucky man to have someone who understands my needs better than I.

I’ll admit I enjoy many parts of life in the States; food; conveniences; the ocean and being able to speak and perceive that people understand me. I do speak Thai but am often unsure if my point is interpreted correctly. But the States also brings back the sucking of the soul feeling I had when I left. Not the people—I do enjoy the mixture of people, but the rules, rules and more rules: from taxes, politics, insurance and electronics that seems to consume everyone. I’ve always felt that a cell phone is for making and receiving calls. That now seems the least of their purposes.

Being near my family—I thought would be the biggest plus. I once again became the head of the family—in my eyes—and it was an obligation I didn’t cherish. In my early life I was a decision maker and now that I can look back I see I put myself at a distance, what with work, caring for my family and providing for their needs. There’s much more that goes on, but that is personal.

One thing that came back to me was the sea. I have a small fishing boat and sitting at anchor or blasting through passes puts my mind at ease. My true love is sailing but the cost of docking is holding me back. I honestly think I am a thing of the ocean. When on the water my cares are far away—no matter the problems I face. Being on the incessant sea gives me the desire to write again. I haven’t written a word towards a manuscript in many months and I miss it so. It’s not writer’s block it’s the lack of desire. I’m still selling books, much to my amazement. I have done little to encourage readers to buy. I love them for helping me.

So, now, here I sit in Thailand soaking up the heat, the smiles, the beautiful people and with a feeling of contentment. My wife is also happier in Thailand than our past year in the States. She went through hell for reasons of her own and others. So we have decision to make.

After being here for over a month we both want to return to the States, but with changes that will benefit us. If I lose it again then I have a home here in Thailand. I went to the immigration office we visited so many times before and the officers were so happy to see us again. The lady in charge didn’t want to give me a 30 day extension—she wanted me to stay and offered another 1 year visa. Hard to imagine how wonderful the people are we come in contact with.

I’m getting old—yes, it’s true—and I still have dreams of crossing oceans. It might not happen but if it does I have to be in the States to make it a reality.

Sorry to drag this on. I should break it up but the thrill of writing, even this little post, is so exciting and I know you’ll forgive me. There are so many people in the reading and writing world that have touched me and I love you all.

My American Dream

Captain Bob and Beowulf

Captain Bob and Beowulf

Well we made it to the States and talk about culture shock! I’ll post about my reintroduction to the racing rats later. This post is more about a daydream I’ve been holding on to for years now.

Most of you know I’m a sailor and the ocean calls me, even from the mountains of Thailand. Actually I’ve enjoyed almost everything about living in Thailand.

Cabin looking forward

Cabin looking forward

I was invited—I may have given my friend a few suggestive hints—to go sailing on a boat type I’m seriously considering for my next purchase. That is if we ever get a house—that’s another post as well.

The boat is an older, well-built and ocean capable Alberg 30, Beowulf. I had never been on one and looked forward to riding along in a sailing regatta(race).

Cabin looking aft

Cabin looking aft

A few weeks ago I arrived at my friend’s house early and we headed for the marina to meet Captain Bob and his boat. Captain Bob looked like the consummate sailor: puka shell necklace, deep tan and a happy kind of guy. The boat looked to be everything I thought I might see. It is 40 years old and show a bit of wear and tear but sturdy, and well founded.

As we motored out to the Indian River Lagoon I could feel the weight and balance of the boat. Once out of the channel we raised the sails and made our way towards the starting line. As soon as the engine was off and the sails pulling Beowulf took to her heels. I could feel the power of her and knew that this was a boat to cross the oceans. She also let me know that I was welcomed back to the sea—what a feeling.

Sailing

Sailing

If for no other reason my trip back to the States has been worth it. I told my wife—gently of course—that if we didn’t find a house I would buy a boat and sail back to Thailand. I’m a bit unsure of the look she gave me. I know my first obligation—and the most important one—is to make her happy. Then comes the boat.

I’ve been away for a while and still feel like a stranger to blogging but I do hope you enjoyed this little story.

Oh. We didn’t win the race but we weren’t last either. I’m ready for blue water!

Mainsail

Mainsail

In the hunt

Listening To Dolphins

 I’ve been missing the sea more and more and I thought I’d tell you about a trip my family took many years ago.

I rented a small house at Mexico Beach in the Florida panhandle but I towed our 26 foot sailboat down two weeks early. My family, three young children and my wife, spend over a week sailing in the Gulf of Mexico but each night we would return to the isolated tip of Cape San Blas peninsula that encloses the large St Joseph Bay to anchor. Not another boat in sight.

Our small boat was cramped for sleeping but I never heard a complaint and that in itself was a miracle with three young (pre-teen) children on board. During the day we would sail the clear, sparkling blue of the gulf or explore the coastline of the deserted peninsula. Some days we would anchor and snorkel or fish, or we would head out into the blue and enjoy being out of sight of land.

St Joseph Bay is known as a breeding ground for nurse sharks and we would swim among baby sharks without a worry. In the shallow grass beds far up in the bay we would walk in knee deep water picking up bay scallops off the sea grass like eggs in a nest. If I haven’t said before; my wife is an extraordinary cook—even on a two burner alcohol stove top.

Night was my favorite time. We were completely alone at anchor with no lights to disturb our little world. The Milky Way lay across the sky like a belt of diamonds. The water would glow like shooting stars as larger fish streaked by in search of food. But what I enjoyed the most were the dolphins. I think we found a resting place they used to take a break from their endless travels. We would sit in the cockpit in total darkness and listen to these amazing mammals as they would come lazily to the surface beside our boat and to breathe. The dolphins didn’t chatter at night so hearing them blow and feel the mist of their breath was magical for us all. It is a moment one could never forget.

During the day dolphins would ride the bow wave and if we were quite we could hear their chitters and cheeps through the hull of our boat. The kids loved to stand in the pulpit—the bow of the sailboat—and look down on them. The dolphins would turn on their sides and look up at the children and the kids would run back to the cockpit and say, “Dad, they were looking at us!”

Those were days my family will never forget. As my mind turns to the sea again I may post more about sailing far from land or the two years I spent in the Marshall Islands. I hope you enjoyed this little interlude.

I don’t have any digital images of our trips but it is something I must attend to. I do have one shot of my wife, oldest son and me enjoying a day fishing—back when we were all very young.