Hello, it's Rick Armstrong here
If you go scratching around you can dig up a lot of dirt in Thailand and you'll soon discover that just below the surface, things aren't what they seem. Recently my wife and I moved into a rented seaside cottage in a quiet part of southern Thailand, well off the beaten track.
My Thai landlord's house is on the same large lot, around 15 acres of land. That's a very big parcel of dirt by Thailand standards, especially for prime beachfront with stunning views to some islands across the South China Sea.
I decided it would be nice to start a little flower bed next to my front verandah steps. Nothing too strenuous, mind you. After all this is the tropics, but something to brighten up the drab cement exterior of the house, and complement the nearby row of coconut palms.
Trouble is, the ground right in front of my house is building foundation material, compacted and rock hard, and no way suitable for growing anything. But on most other parts of the 15-acre property, the soil is rich and dark, most likely from years of careful cultivation by generations gone by.
I figured that with all that dirt around, Somboon the owner wouldn't mind me using a bit for my little garden. After all, it's still his land, I can't take it with me, and my horticultural efforts just might improve and add to the value of his property.
Now it so happened that very same day my landlord inherited a mini bulldozer grader, like the kind that construction gangs use to build roads, only much, much smaller. He was zipping around all over the place, practising driving the thing, getting the hang of scooping and dumping, wheeling and turning.
If opportunity was gonna knock, this was surely the time. Why not ask the dude for a load of dirt and 'ol Green Thumbs' flower garden would be on its way?
My request was met with a broad grin as Somboon pointed and stared fixedly at a huge pile of sand about 50 meters away. It was a sand and gravel pit that his laborers used for mixing cement.
Oh no, not that stuff, I tried to tell him. But my explanation that I wanted some fertile black dirt -- "din dum" I guess you'd call it - seemed to fall on deaf ears as he gleefully rolled the dozer towards the sand pit.
For the next half hour, Somboon brought me load after load of sand and gravel, dumping it right in front of my house, despite my pleas to stop. The more I waved my hands above the roar of the dozer, the more he smiled and the harder he worked. I realised I had no choice, remembering that in Thailand, you must never loose your cool.
Finally he headed off, well pleased and satisfied with his efforts and leaving me a mountain of sand to deal with. It was only later, when my wife explained the situation to his family, that he realized the dirt was not exactly the kind I wanted.
That night my wife and I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night after we heard some strange scratching noises outside. Tip-toeing quietly and armed with a kitchen cleaver, I peered through the front window to see what was going on. It was the landlord's wife digging up the sand and scooping it into a plastic bucket. She was making trip after trip carrying the dirt back to where it came from!
Ah, the concept of saving face. Go figure.
Best wishes from
Didn't you post this same story years ago?
Or is it deja vu all over again?
I sleep in the daytime, I
Work in the night time, I
Might not ever get home
It's guys like this that really give farangs in Thailand a bad name. What an odd fellow.
Anyone who'd choose "Chula" as a nik is fucked in the head to begin with...I appreciate the heads up that stupid people give you...saves you reading their dribble...
"You really want to save the planet?...the next time you see a hybrid car with a childseat... smash the window, remove the childseat and replace it with a box of condoms..." Doug Stanhope
is this desert exile?
No, it's Rick Armstrong you illiterate
And what was the whole point of that story? Saving face?!!