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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Annie in Canada

Annie is a 4 year old spayed female "lemon" (white with tan patches) basset hound. She is a survivor from a basset puppy mill in the US Midwest. She had been bred to the point of herniating, and deemed unfit to breed, so she was found at a dog auction, where she was being auctioned for medical research. She came to us through the kindness of Pat and the people of the Washington Basset Hound Rescue in Spokane Washington USA. In rescue she had been named Lady, but we decided that with a new life should come a new name, so she became Annie. She has had developmental issues with humans, and of course, self confidence. I have been chronically her journey from abused,in a near-feral state, fearful of any movement or sound, to making such small but significant steps to actually taking food from my hand.  From someone who would dig and hide under the house, to jumping up and barking orders to get her into her halter and get Thunderbird to the beach, NOW. This Annie however can disappear as quickly as it surfaces and she will bolt to her safe haven behind the water tower where she will stay for hours. The she will suddenly decide to be sociable and want to get her belly rubbed and ears scratched until she dozes off with a snore. Miles to go, but miles have already been crossed in less than 2 years. She has adapted to moving to Thailand well. Her favorite things are going for a ride in Thunderbird three, off her halter and running free as fast as she can. Her adoption information and photos are at this link,

Annie in Thailand


Byron in Canada

Byron is a 4 year old tri coloured neutered male Basset Hound. He came to live with us in Canada through a newspaper ad, from people who could not keep him.  His best friend in the world and his playmate is a female red Basset Hound of the same age, named Lucy. They used to have frequent sleep-overs and loved to race 2 acres of property to the point of exhaustion. The constant basset howling scared any wildlife within 10 kilometers of the property. The move has caused them to have a long distance cyber relationship through the magic of Skype. If Byron or Lucy hear each other bark through the computer speakers, all hell breaks loose, ending with Byron at the yard gate barking and three bassets behind him howling their support in the belief she is walking up the moo any minute. In his spare time he likes to sleep, go chasing crabs on Palai beach riding on Thunderbird 3 spraying slobber all over the driver, sleep, have treats and eat, sleep and then go to bed for the night. He prefers to go to the bathroom privately, except for when he wants a drink of water out of the toilet. This requires one to go open the door, turn on the light, lift the lid, flush and then he will drink. It is easy to follow this routine, as he will stare at you and look at the action required, as if to say, "i'd do it myself if I had opposing thumbs". It works not only with us, but he has company trained as well. He avoids baths at all costs, as he is usually the one who found the dead rotten fish on the beach and rolled in it and seems to think is scent is great.
Byron, Crab Fishing at Palai Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Byron, Annie, Dixie and Grace

Byron, Annie, Dixie and Grace are our four basset hounds, who moved from Canada to live on the tropical island of Phuket in Thailand. They feature prominently in the kites.

Soi Dogs

A Soi Dog is basically a dog that lives loose for the most part on the streets. The Thai word for street is Soi, hence, Soi Dog or Street Dog. You will find ocassional references to Soi Dogs in the kites. At some point I will dedicate an entry to Soi Dogs, but until then, I would appreciate it if you checked out this link to a very worthwhile foundation Soi Dog Foundation

Back to School

One of the things we had decided was that we needed to be able to speak and understand the Thai language. We live in an area where we are very much a minority in skin colour and language. Our neighbours do not speak English and the local store use a calculator to show us what the bill is when we buy anything there. Early on we had some difficulties with some repair work that needed to be done and deliveries to be made, where the trade person or delivery man could not speak English and our Thai was limited to sa-wa-dee (hello/good morning/good evening) and check bin (bring us the bill). We had managed the word Nam quickly as well, which means water. If we wanted the large size or we wanted it cold, we made gesticulated and tried various forms of sign language. Clive did his homework and found a language school in Patong. So off we went on our trusty Scooy-i’s to register for the 5 day intensive “foundation” course.

The Moo Shop

Friday evening, and the shop at the end of the moo is bustling with people. We refer to this very local corner store as the Moo Shop. We live on what is called a Moo in Thai. In English we would probably call it a lane way. Wide enough for a car and a half lined on one side by a cinder block wall about 6 feet high on one side with one opening to the driveway of one house and on the other side of the moo it is lined with a variety of housing. A small cottage type structure at the end, then a duplex type cottage. Next door is a massive new home, two stories high, with huge gardens, silver and gold coloured gateway and 2 luxury vehicles a large HAM radio mast antenna and servants.  I have nicknamed this the big house. They also house three small dogs, who tend to bark at any movement on the moo. Normally ignited by our approach on Thunderbird 3 as Dixie whines and barks in uncontrollable excitement of another ride to the beach.

The informed voice of whats happening on Phuket

Phuket Word

Thunderbird 3

Clive and I have been long-time fans of a marionette television show of the late 60’s called the Thunderbirds. The fact that you could clearly see the marionette strings and the special effects leave much to the imagination when viewed in 2010, it was still imagination gripping TV, and after a few episodes, you tended to not notice the strings anyway. I know as we spend a rainy Sunday a few years ago renting the TV series and sat and watched episode after episode.

When we bought out Scoopy-i’s we named them Thunderbird One and Thunderbird Two. One afternoon as we cavorted through a massive empty parking lot, it felt like we were on the Thunderbirds water crafts, as we swooshed through the area, calling out “Thunderbirds are GO”. As in the TV series, everyday here in Phuket is an adventure and a learning experience. We knew that at some point we needed to add a Thunderbird three to the fleet, so that we could transport larger items, but more importantly take the dogs to the beach. Dogs are welcome at the beach here and the salt water is great for their skin, but walking there is not a good idea. Given that the trip in the hot sun would probably wear the dogs out before they got to the water and most assuredly we would be a sight to the local people as they watched the two of us try and carry 4 basset hounds back home.

Essentials for Motorbikes in Phuket

Off to the market with mom
Shortly after arrival, we needed to get transportation and then learn how to operate a motor vehicle on the opposite side of the road to what we had been accustomed. On Monday we decided that we need to have transportation, but also to get my named added to the house lease, as you cannot do much of anything here unless you have a work permit or on a lease agreement. Clive had come earlier and arranged the house. That was fine, but if I wanted to open a bank account or buy a vehicle I needed to be on the lease. The house agency is about 3 KM away and we began a walk, looking for a tuk-tuk or a motorcycle taxi. They are on the roads frequently and you simply waive or better yet as they approach you from behind they toot their horn and if you want them you simply wave them over and negotiate the fee. The first one was a motorcycle taxi so Clive suggested that I take that one and he get another, but the rider insisted he could take both of us. Picture the two of us perched on the back seat of a Honda 100 cc motorbike. The driver managed to get us there, I was amazed I did not have graze marks on my butt from the overhang of sitting on the back, with Clive pushed between me and the driver, but 100 Baht later there we were.

Why Kites From Phuket?

I have been fortunate enough to have had a favourable career as a federal civil servant in Canada. Having retired after 29 years of service to the Correctional Service of Canada. During that time I worked in Kosovo under the auspices of the United Nations Mission In Kosovo (UNMIK) and I began to chronicle my personal experiences and observations of being in a post war country as an outsider in Kites from Kosovo. In many ways the inside of a prison is a place that most will never experience, but many have opinions of what they think it is like. In a prison environment the ability to communicate information inside and sometimes out of a prison was by a written note or letter. The prison colloquialism for this note or letter is a kite.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kites From Phuket

This is my first ever posting for a blog. I am somewhat hesitant to do this, but have been encouraged to put this out for people to see. I hope it is helpful and entertaining at the same time.