February 28, 2003: Headlines: COS - Thailand: Return to our Country of Service - Thailand: The Columbia Star: An RPCV searches for the past in Thailand

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Thailand: Peace Corps Thailand: The Peace Corps in Thailand: February 28, 2003: Headlines: COS - Thailand: Return to our Country of Service - Thailand: The Columbia Star: An RPCV searches for the past in Thailand

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-239-147.balt.east.verizon.net - on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 5:44 pm: Edit Post

An RPCV searches for the past in Thailand

An RPCV searches for the past in Thailand

Searching for the past

Part One: Pickup to Bangsaen


The gateway to the beach resort of Bangsaen

It was a fretful night in Trat, what with Linda minding her scraped foot and Chai sweating in his non–ventilated room. I, on the other hand, slept like a baby dreaming of being shipwrecked on a beautiful tropical beach. Just as I found food, water, and native women, I woke up.

Mun fixed us pancakes for breakfast, a specialty for his American guests. The total bill — two rooms, six meals — came to $27. He even arranged for a taxi, actually a pickup with bench seats in the back, to take us to Bangsaen for $30.

This was preferable to the $5/each bus which left every two hours but took five hours to make the 140 miles.

The three of us piled in the back of the pickup and headed north. It was a fine highway, not the dirt track of 1962. At Pattaya, we stopped at a truck stop for a break, then took the expressway to Siracha. In my Peace Corps days, this was a small fishing village with a government conference center.

I directed the driver to where the center used to be, but all we found was a Chinese hotel–restaurant complex on a pier over the water.

We followed the beach road up to Bangsaen and stopped at the first hotel, the Bangsaen Resort Hotel. Luckily, they had two rooms available before the crush of weekenders from Bangkok. The price corresponded with the demand, too, $30 per room.

After a quick shower and rinsing of a week’s worth of high–tech underwear, we hit the beach. Vendors filled the spaces beneath double rows of palm trees along the shore. Food, clothes, and toys for sale; inner tubes, surfboards, and paddleboats for rent. The surf, however, was waveless and loaded with seaweed and plastic junk. Not a pleasant place to swim.

As we walked around, I tried to remember Bangsaen in 1962, when as a Peace Corps volunteer on a break from teaching I combed the beach, drank milk from the coconuts, and tried to practice my Thai with Thais who wanted to practice their English. Other than the beach and the trees, nothing was the same. Forty years had changed everything.

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: The Columbia Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Thailand; Return to our Country of Service - Thailand



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