2012 to 2556 – Hua Hin and The Story of Hot Richard

From Phanomsarakham to Bangkok, then Bangkok to Hua Hin, my conclusionary weekend of 2012 began like any other.

After that, though, it got awesome really, really quick. I didn’t take many pictures cause I was busy having an amazing time (and taking video, but that takes forever to upload), so I apologize in advance.

The first full day of our stay in Hua Hin, Liz had the brilliant of idea of taking a 6km walk along the beach from the Hilton to Khao Takiab (a temple in Hua Hin on a hill). I say brilliant sarcastically because a long walk sounds awful, but it actually turned out to be one of the better ideas any of us had that weekend.

At one point during the walk, we went inland to stop at 7-11 (the American Moses in my head recoils at how casually and frequently I say that) and came across a small dog (we’d seen him earlier harassing horses on the beach). There are more stray dogs in Thailand than there are Bieber fans on Twitter, but he had been chillin outside and looked at us curiously as we came out so, instead of ignoring him, some of us gave him a pat on the head.

Strangely, when we got back on our journey to the temple, the dog seemed to be leading the way:

Our spirit guide animal thing.

Our spirit guide animal thing.

He then proceeded to lead us for several miles, stopping to look back at us when he got to far ahead (four legs are faster than two). I wasn’t sure if he was leading us to some dog wonderland, or if he had decided to join us on our journey to the temple, or if he was a mafia-trained assassin dog until he turned down a street that wasn’t the way to the temple. By now, Taylor had given him the name Hot Richard, so I said to him, “Hot Rich, that’s not the right road. We’re goin this way, dawg.”

So he came back onto the main street and continued leading us.

At this point, I knew that he could understand English, was actually named Hot Richard by his birth parents, and was very likely from a different planet where dogs speak English and are named for British kings (kinda).

Me and the Dog himself.

Me and the Dog himself.

We continued along the beach. We walked, Hot Rich led. When we stopped to take pictures, he’d stop to chill in the shade. We eventually got to the temple, where Hot Rich left us. He said he had a meeting to get to.

IMG_20121230_152020_475  IMG_20121230_152653_655

The temple was full of monkeys, which I didn’t get any pictures of for some reason. Also, monkeys, at least these ones, are jerks. I saw about four people get mugged  by the monkeys at the temple and a number of attempted robberies. The man that ran the ice cream stand had a sling shot that he kept at the ready, and he sent an overly bold monkey scurrying off when he aimed for it.

IMG_20121230_161538_166

On the second day of our trip, we went to get ice cream at a place called Eighteen Below, which was owned by a Belgian chef and his Thai wife. Some of the best ice cream (and apple juice, curiously enough) that I’ve ever had. Then we went into this guy’s house/music store/bookstore  (called Rhythm & Books) and met a Thai writer/photographer who was incredibly inviting and opened his life up to us. A very very remarkable man. He also recommended to us a better, more secluded beach than the Scandanavian tourist-filled main beach.

That beach is where we had the most epic of sand castle building competitions. I ended up winning, Taylor took [a distant] second, Liz kind of got third and Jeff absolutely lost. Only mine and Taylor’s had the proper moat and walls to survive the incoming tide. Jeff’s washed away almost instantly and Liz’s washed away twice. Amateurs.

For a more entertaining, but less accurate recounting of the event’s, see Liz’s blog posts at:

http://lifeisnotacasserole.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/the-fellowships-quest-to-khao-takiab/

http://lifeisnotacasserole.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/sandcastle-wars/

Anyway, that night was New Year’s Eve night, so we went bowling then hit the beach for the midnight countdown. There were fireworks and Scandinavians everywhere, the former of which were exploding about fifty feet from us because Thailand doesn’t bother with nonsense regulations. The result was the most dangerous and spectacular firework show I’ve ever seen.

So here’s to 2013 (Or 2556, to tie in the title. Thailand doesn’t use the Gregorian calendar). With all the memories and progress and happiness that 2012 brought, this new year has a lot to live up to. I’m looking forward to enjoying the remainder of my time here in Thailand and getting back to my family and friends in the States.

Thanks for reading. Miss and love you all!

“May we all live long, may we all be brave, may the bridges we burn only light our way.” –  From Candles in the Sun by Miguel

Moses

What I’m Reading: The Once and Future King by T.H. White

What I’m Writing: Grad Stuff/Songs

What I’m Listening To: Kaleidoscope Dream by Miguel

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