Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Frisbees are here and they don't taste like Chicken

I had a couple more thoughts that popped into my head that I had to write down before they died of loneliness...

Does anyone know when and where the next household hazardous waste collection is? This is never a question that a person should ask while in the process of cleaning out his refrigerator. But alas...I have some of my older brother's Tab left over from Christmas and some other "stuff" in the fridge that may qualify as hazardous waste. Unlike the individually wrapped slices of "cheese-food" which were intentionally manufactured to be quasi-food, I have found some things here that have...well...kind of grown and developed into food-like things. Naturally, this led me to ponder some of the culinary delights (fried crickets [with celery and blue cheese please], red ant eggs, sauteed spider au jus and marinated monkey brains) that I am going to experience in the next couple of years. I got (very) religious for a brief moment praying that it all, in fact, did taste like chicken....please!

I had eggs for lunch today. Why don't eggs taste like chicken? It seems to me that if anything would taste like chicken it would be...uh...chickens.

Expecting to be assigned somewhere in the remote mountaineous areas of northern Thailand, I thought I would bring something from home that the locals might find intriguing and novel. I settled on a Frisbee. It's lightweight and easy to pack. Unfortunately, not easy to find in Columbus in January. After having several toy store clerks stare blankly at me like I was a two-headed cow for asking "Do you have Frisbees?" ("This time of year? What a moron!"...their blank stares screamed at me)...I went to and hit the motherload! They have more kinds of Frisbees than Thailand has rice. They showed up at my doorstep today. I now have everything I need to I shall.

So, "Sawadee khrup" (good bye) my dear friends and family. Ruk khun mahk mahk. (I love you very very much)....took wun (always).

Eating Cheese-Food and other Mindless Musings

At the time of this writing I am 2 days and 22 hours from being on the plane. (Exactly 3000 sounds longer). I feel like I'm 22 days and 2 hours away from being least as far as logistical and physical preparations are concerned. I remember thinking when I submitted the application in December 2006 how far off January 2008 seemed at the time. In September when I was notified where I was going and when I would be leaving I started marking days off a calendar. I started at 132 days...Then, January 20 still seemed comfortably distant. It was fun to cross another day off every morning I went into the office. Uh...NEWS FLASH...It's not far off anymore! About a week ago, I got thwacked across the forehead with a "2 x 4 of reality" when I was asked a very simple, logical and reasonable question...

I have had this multi-page "to-do" list I've been working on diligently and religiously for the past several months. I was asked "How are you getting to the airport?" My response? "Holy crap!! That is kind of important isn't it?" Making those arrangements hadn't made it on the list...and when I was asked I hadn't yet thought about it and, quite frankly, I didn't know. That's when it really struck me that this is no longer just a really cool thing to talk about doing. I did have to get to the airport and get on a plane and do this. (Not to worry. I recovered...arrangements have been made). Those of you who know me know that a good sized portion of my law practice involved representing about 80% of all the taxi cab drivers in Columbus. You would think this would have been the obvious solution....but for the fact I have seen all of their driving records it would have been. Anyway...

It's been over a month since I lasted posted much has happened and so many words are ready to spew forth. This post will be somewhat lengthy because I'm not sure when I will have the chance to get here again. Some of this might even be useful...

I received my itinerary and a tentative schedule:

Itinerary and Schedule: Sunday January 20 at about 7:00 a.m. I leave Columbus for St. Louis. I have an hour and a half layover there and press on to San Francisco arriving there at 11:30 a.m. local time. (6 hours+ in the air from Columbus) Peace Corps registration starts at 1:00...Orientation starts at 3:00 until 7:00. Monday, orientation continues from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. This all takes place at Hotel Kabuki in Japantown in downtown San Francisco where they are putting us up for a couple of days.

On Tuesday, January 22 we leave San Francisco at 11:30 a.m. 11 hours+ later we touch down in Tokyo for a brief layover. 7 hours+ later in the air, we land in Bangkok at approximately 23:55 local time. (For you non-military and/or mathematically challenged types, that's 5 minutes before midnight BKK [the cool way of writing Bangkok] time.) So, I will be arriving in BKK at 11:55 a.m. Wednesday 1/23/08 Columbus time. All's over 24 hours in the air from Columbus. This fact leads me to my first mindless musing.

Mindless Musing #1: Thailand is 12 hours ahead of us here in Columbus. as I write this it is 9:45 a.m. In Thailand it is 9:45 p.m. Simple, right? If that's the case, why does it take 24+ freekin' bleepin' hours hours to fly there??? Are we taking the scenic route? What in the Wide Wide World of Sports can you see at 30,000 feet?? Since Thailand and Columbus are both north of the Equator, why don't we fly over the top of the earth, wouldn't it be shorter? Maybe we should fly opposite to the planet's rotation instead of trying to "catch up" as it spins underneath us. What in the name of Charles Lindburgh do they teach in "Plane-Flying -School" anyhow??? Better yet, let's just get in a helicopter and hover...Shouldn't the planet spin underneath us? Thailand would magically appear below us in 12 hours. Look at all the time we would save...and we'd have plenty of time to see mountains approaching. It's a much safer way to fly, don't you think? Geez, if only I was King of the World...

...meanwhile...back in the Bat Cave to let the medication wear off (or kick decide)

So I get to BKK after (apparently) wasting 12 hours (see above), we get bussed to a city called Singburi. It is about 100 miles north of BKK. We will be there for about a week. From there, we go to training, but as of now I don't know where that will be.

Mailing and Contacting Me: I am still being told that internet access for me will exist, though it may be sporadic especially during the nomadic first couple of weeks. Posting here or sending me an email will work best.

Eventually, I will be able to receive packages, but not for the first three month training period. During the first three months, snail mail (letters only) can be sent to:

Dale Yurovich (Or, in Thai..."Dale Yurovich")
242 Rajvithi Road
Amphur Dusit
Bangkok 10300, Thailand

(Proper address is sans parentheticals, of course)

Mail takes about 2-3 weeks to make it to Thailand...(Now THAT'S a head scratcher! Doesn't it only take 24 hours to fly there? Never mind...I won't get into that again). Seemingly, the Pachyderm Express doesn't function on weekends or some such nonsense. Once I get to my assigned destination, I will have a permanent address that I will post here and I wll be able to receive care packages and frozen pizzas.

"I-Wish-This-Night-Would-Never-End" Party: In my last post on December 16 I mentioned the party/happy hour that was planned for January 11. It truly was a night I hated to see come to an end. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who made it and to everyone who wanted to but couldn't. For those of you who didn't want to come to the party, it was your loss. It was simply a celebration of the philosophy of living outside the box and I enjoyed sharing "possibilities" with many of you. I will see some of you in Thailand, as promised. I won't forget! Hanging around elephants improves your memory. It was a night I'll always remember. Special thanks to Lorie McCaughan for making it happen and for arranging the food and the fantastic band. They sounded great...and, well, some of them were even better to look at. (Lorie, I have a friend who has some...."interest"... in the back-up singer. If she's available, let me know). Thanks. the "to-do" list is shrinking and I'm down to the things on the list that have to be last or near last, such as cleaning out the refrigerator. I hate to throw away (reasonably) good food so I just eat what's there and not really buy anything else. I'm down to the individually wrapped slices of cheese now...which leads me to:

Mindless Musing #2. So I go to the fridge and I'm hungry for some food. ..Not to worry though, it's nothing that a half dozen or so individually wrapped slices of cheese won't sate...So I open the door grab and read the package and I realize this isn't cheese at all. It's "Cheese Food"...or "Cheese Product". What the hell does that mean??!! Undaunted, I simply sat down, put my feet up on the ottoman-furniture thingy, turned on the television-appliance, drank the beer-drink/product left over from Christmas and let it all kind of fade into sublime oblivion...sort of like flying to the other side of the planet...

Take care everyone.
I love you long time.


(All shaved and ready for the Corps)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bon Voyage Party/Happy Hour

...if you haven't received my emails...if you haven't received the Evite...if you received it but won't open emails from people you don't know....if you've been living in a cave and even if you don't know me and happened upon this blog serendipitously, you are invited to a Bon Voyage Party/Happy Hour on Friday, January 11, 2008 at 5:30 p.m. at C.B.R. Bar, 503 South Front Street, Columbus. Come enjoy some food, drink, music and most importantly, fellowship...

Happy safe.
Go Bucks! (I want to wear an '07 National Championship shirt to Thailand)
Go Browns!? (Yikes...I didn't think I would say that in public again)
Plumock rocks! (If you know what this means, I am very sorry)

Sawadee khrup...for now.

Shadowbox 12/1/07

Thanks to Jim Durham (left) for organizing a night at Bar Louie & Shadowbox with 40 of my closest baseball buddies on December 1. was great fun. Food, drink, great music, great friends and more great memories. Jim, I'm going to miss you...and thanks to everyone who was there...and everyone who wanted to be there.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sawadee khrup and Welcome!

I am as new to creating a blog as I am to Peace Corps service. With luck, I'll be able to create something here that will serve as an effective vehicle to inform those of you who are interested what is going on 8000 +/- miles away, give me a way to post pictures and generally keep in touch with you, my friends and family, back home.

I am about 50 days away from being "wheels up"... on the plane heading toward a 2-day orientation here in the States, followed by 3 months of training in-country and then 2 years of service, all in Thailand. At this point. I am not certain where specifically in Thailand I will be assigned or exactly what my responsibilities will be. I will get this information periodically as my training progresses and I will post it here as circumstances and opportunities permit.

I am being told that while in Thailand I will have internet and email access. It may be at my fingertips on a daily basis...or I may have to ride a bicycle 10 miles to get to it. So, as of now, I have no idea how regular my postings here will be.

Between now and January 20, my tentative departure date, I will post and disseminate other pertinent information here as it comes available to me. Please check back here ocassionally. There is a party being planned in January. I will post information about that here as the details are worked out.

That's it for now. Thanks for visiting. I hope to hear from everyone...often...with word of the Indians' World Series Championship(s), the Browns' Super Bowl triumph(s), the Buckeyes' National Championships and even some non-fiction like how life is in Central Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Lorain, New York and anywhere and everywhere else my friends may be.

Khop khun mahk khrup (Thank you very much) and Pom khit theung khun mahk. (I miss you all very much).

Peace Corps Thailand Group 120