I'm goin to the chapel and i'm gonna get...???????

Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Phangnga,
Saturday, April 30, 2011

This is going to be my first attempt to actually write a blog post while on the boat. It is now the very tail end of the season here in khao lak and to be perfectly frank, I am tired of talking to customers and I have a couple of real pieces of work on this trip.  If I get kicked in the head by one more fin or rammed into a rock by another diver who doesn't know how to control themselves in the water I am going to go absolutely bug shit.  I figure if I look busy typing on my computer, the little fuckers will leave me alone and I can melt into the background and not have to answer their inane questions.

 Living on a 30 meter live aboard boat can be trying sometimes since there is really nowhere to hide when you want to escape for a few hours.  I shouldn’t complain though.  The last few trips have been very lucrative and I am now able to fly back to Alaska to work the summer season.  For most of the year I have been working on the day trips which means much less money.  I have been earning about half of what I did last season which has really put a strain on my finances to say the least.  This whole year has been spent worrying about money and how I am going to make ends meet.  I am really dreading Alaska but I am salivating over the fact that I will be 100x more financially secure after 2 weeks there then I am right now.

It really is quite astonishing how much of our lives are spent chasing after money.  Even someone like me who lives a very simple lifestyle and has close to no personal possessions still finds himself a slave to the quest for MORE.  It’s always MORE no matter how much you may have which seems a bit silly but is human nature at its most basic.  If there is anything that we are known for I think it’s safe to say that the big three would be greed, violence and a remarkable knack to have belief systems that cause more problems than they solve.  I have realized over the years that there is no escape from this hamster wheel.  Human nature will never change no matter how much we hope.

Did I mention I am going to Alaska?  Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!  I am so not looking forward to getting back into the grind.  My flight leaves on May 17th which is the cheapest possible choice.  There was a flight with the exact same price leaving on the 5th but there would not be any work yet in the big AK and I would rather spend that down time doin a little smooch and snuggle with IM.  Get my loving while I can because once I hit the states I am entering the world of celibacy which is daunting in itself.  No one should have to go without nookie for longer than 2 weeks.  After that period of time it’s just not humane to continue with the buildup of resources and energy.  Try and picture Mt. Vesuvius or possibly Krakatoa and you get a general idea of the pressure build up that I am experiencing come September ………MAGMA!!!! ( or to be more exact……PYROCLASTIC FLOW!!!!)

I am thinking about taking IM on a vacation of sorts when I get back from Alaska.  I haven’t really been traveling for a long time and I have the itch to go somewhere.  I would like to revisit India for a month and go over to rajakastan for a desert camel safari but I’m not sure how IM would deal with that.  I love the girl to death but she is a bit of a little princess which is cute and makes her even that much more adorable but it can be a pain sometimes because let’s face it, I am not prince material.  I like walking and going to the beach and don’t mind sweating but IM on the other hand can be quite the lazy little pain in the ass when it comes to getting dirty.  A desert safari in India may be unrealistic.  Maybe a trip to Bali and a bit of diving would be a more realistic aspiration when taking my better half into consideration.

Thailand is very strange sometimes (big news there right?).  For some reason it is nearly impossible to ship your dog on one of the long haul buses even if it’s in a dog carrier etc. etc.  It seems that having a dog in the car or bus is bad luck which just highlights the fact that the level of superstitious dread in this country is mind boggling sometimes.  God help us if anyone ever introduces the Ouija board to these people because then it would just hit a whole new level.  Long story short, IM is trying to book a sort of taxi service for Mimi to make the trek up to issan.  There is a small industry of people who use their personal trucks as a sort of freight moving business, charging people to ship things back up to issan from all over the country.  I’m looking at dropping about $20 to have a personal taxi for Mimi.  The only down side is that there is not exactly a set schedule for this sort of thing and at the moment we have a ride lined up for the 6th of May which is about 10 days before I leave.  My Mimi time has just been cut short and I’m going to miss the little furry bastard.

Like I said, I am writing this as I find free time on the boat which comes and goes at sporadic intervals.  I started the first paragraph on the first day of the trip and it is now 9am on the 3rd day.  Today is the 27th of April which according to my birth certificate is my glorious birthday.  This is the second year in a row that I have been on this boat for this blessed event but it doesn’t really bother me that much since I am not a big celebrator of this personal milestone.  It would be nice to have IM on the boat like we managed last year but no such luck this time around. 

I don’t have anything much as far as profound insights with this birthday of mine.  I have already gone into sufficient detail in past posts how I feel about getting older and my steady march towards the old folk’s home.  36 is a glorious age and I shall revel in it and the spark of life shall burn fiercely in my heart….blah blah blah.  I’m old and getting older, that about sums it up.

I am really starting to look forward to going to Chicago which seems very weird to me.  I have never really been excited to get back to the motherland before.  Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my family but other than this delicious reunion, there has never been that much for me to do there.  Nothing has changed really.  If anything I have grown even more distant from my "home town friends" and I’m not sure how much we have in common any more.  Having been out of the country for almost 7 years does definitely give you a different perspective and life experience from the people who never left the confines of the Chicago area.  I’m not saying either lifestyle is right or wrong or better or worse but there is definitely a wide gulf of experiences between the 2.  It will be nice to see my family for a bit of time and sit and relax and enjoy a few weeks of America before heading back to my adopted homeland of SE. Asia. 

I sometimes read over my past blog entries and have found that at times I accidently skip over momentous points of my life mostly because I forget that the general reader doesn’t already know the details.  Like when I went to Alaska for the first time.  If you were only following my blog I go from Thailand and am suddenly in Alaska with no explanation of how or why which is a pity because it’s a bit of a funny story.  What I am trying to say is that despite my best attempts at full disclosure and trying to include everyone in everything, I sometimes miss some stuff just out of general forgetfulness.  For this one though I think it deserves to be posted for sure, sooooooooooooooo.

ATTENTION!  ATTENTION!  URGENT AND POSSIBLY EARTH SHATTERING NEWS TO FOLLOW…..SIT DOWN BEFORE YOU FALL DOWN WITH THIS ONE FOLKS.  After quite a bit of thought and discussion and years of trials and tribulations I have asked IM to marry me………………please pick yourself up off the floor and close your gaping mouth.  Some of you may have seen this coming with some of my recent posts about IM and our state of relationship and this was sort of the point…to drip feed the idea to the general public because to be perfectly honest, I think my father would have dropped dead of shock if I would have just come out of left field with this and that would not have been cool.

What has brought this about you may ask?  Well in a nutshell I would have to say love.  With all of my other past relationships I always started looking for a way out or for an alternative to the particular girl I happened to be with at the time.  Excuses were made, bad decisions were contemplated and acted upon and in the end I ultimately got what I wanted and that was my freedom from the bondage of the relationship that I had become entangled in.  With IM there are none of these thoughts after 2 years.  We laugh more than we did in the beginning.  We fight less.  We have some nice romantic times when the time allows which is not often enough but is still pretty good.  I won’t get into the sex life bit because its none of your business but again, it follows the general model of improvement and not decline that all other aspects of the relationship exhibit. 

I love the girl and want to be with her which is the easiest way to say it.  There are sure to be ups and downs like in any relationship but probably a bit more so what with the cultural differences that we are faced with daily.  All relationships are based on a bit of up and down and give and take but our ups are much more plentiful then the downs which is nice.  Love……marriage……commitment…..never thought you would live to see the day did you?  There are fairies ice skating in hell right now because it froze over a couple of weeks ago.   I think the Catholic Church may consider this one of the signs of the apocalypse but I’m not sure.  I’m expecting a visit from an inquisitive young priest inquiry about broken seals and rivers of blood any day now so I will let you know if you should be worried about the antichrist walking the earth anytime soon.

So when will this amazing day occur you may be asking yourself.  The tying of the knot and placing of the rings…..the lassoing of the wild stallion that is Neal?  Well IM’s opinion is the sooner the better but I have always been the patient man.  We are looking at either March 21st 2012 or sometime around songkron 2012 (mid April).  The reason for putting it around songkron is if anyone actually comes over for the ceremony then they will be in town for one of the funnest festivals ever.  Where it will be is still in question.  Obviously it will be in Thailand but not sure if it will be up north in the village or if it will be down on a beach near where we live now.  I am rooting for the beach option myself but we shall see yes?

It would be very cool if people could make it out for this “destination wedding” but I am a realist and I am not expecting much of a turn out from my North American contingent.  Don’t worry folks I don’t hold it against you, I understand that it would be quite unfair for me to expect you to come out here for the wedding.  I absolve any and all from any feelings of guilt about not showing up because if the positions were reversed there would be no way in hell I would be able to make that journey no matter how much I desired to. 

Quite the bombshell of a blog post huh? I bet you were expecting the same old drivel about Thailand and my dog but oh no friends and neighbors…..i dropped the nuke on your unsuspecting ass.  I think my dad is still sort of reeling from the news.  I called the parents the other day and told Leah first.  I was met by about 4 seconds of silence which was just unadulterated shock.  When she finally composed herself she was very happy for me but the shock was quite humorous and left me laughing for quite a bit.  My life is about to change its whole axis of rotation to something that I have never experienced or imagined and to be quite honest, it scares the shit out of me but it’s also quite exciting to be starting a new chapter in my life.  It’s as if a great book that I’ve been reading for a long time has taken a very unexpected turn and I’m dying of curiosity to see where it leads.

For many years I have taken the road less traveled and yes it really has made all the difference but that road has now unexpectedly met up with the main thoroughfare that I’ve been avoiding since I was 14.  Let’s see where this leads shall we?
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Dad on

I am so happy for you & Im!!!!!!!

sue on

Congrats to you and IM! I must say, I was in quite a bit of shock when I received the "warning" (just kidding) e-mail from your dad, so by the time I read the blog, I was prepared. I am SO happy for you! How did it go when you called GG? can't wait to hear that story! Safe travels to Alaska! Love, Sue

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