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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1373692-Thailand-Experience
by Kitson
Rated: 13+ · Non-fiction · Biographical · #1373692
A true account of my 15 months in Thailand.
My Thailand Experience

A preliminary to

The return of a loving spirit.

A true account of my 15 months in Thailand.

         I graduated from Inertial Navigation and Radar School, Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi in February of 1970 and was transferred to Homestead AFB, Homestead, Florida. 
         One evening in April, I returned to the base on my Suzuki X6 hustler and stopped to assist another cyclist who was trying to get his Harley restarted. I helped him get it running and we went on into the base. He was Staff Sergeant John Daniels but everyone called him Dan. He was a communications specialist in my squadron but not in my section. Dan was quiet and unobtrusive. He was close to six feet tall and about a hundred and eighty pounds, a ruddy complexion, sandy colored curly blond hair, and blue eyes. We were approximately the same age and had similar interests in cycling. We spent some time together traveling to such places as Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale on our motorcycles when not on weekend duty.
         One afternoon in mid August I stopped by Dan's shop and when I walked in he said, "Guess what! I got orders to Udorn, Thailand; I leave the end of the month.”
         "That's great! I’d sure like to be going with you but I'm not due for any transfer. I haven't even been here a year."
         Two weeks later, I double-timed it to Dan's shop and shouted, "Dan, where did you say you were going?"
         "Thailand, why?"
         "Where in Thailand?”
         I held out my orders and exclaimed, "Look here; Udorn, I'll see you there.” I then jokingly added, "Find me a good looking girl; I'll only be about a month behind you."
         I arrived at Udorn Air Base, Thailand in mid September. After checking and completing the required orientation classes on native culture, customs, and courtesies, I was allowed to leave the base.
         When I called Dan's duty section, it didn’t come as any surprise to learn that he was living off base. I called the Base Locator and got his address.
         About noon on my first non-duty Saturday, I walked to the main gate where I got into a local taxi. Since I had not yet learned to pronounce numbers much less the names of the streets, I handed the driver a paper with the address, #25, Soy Mohonmot. In about ten minutes of the noisiest, bumpiest, wildest ride I have ever had, we arrived. The driver slid to a stop in the middle of the dirt road and pointed to a bungalow set far back from the road. I paid him the five baht ($.25) for the carnival ride and climbed out of the cab.
         Dan's bungalow was a single story structure made of poured concrete slabs. There were two front entrances, one on each end of the dwelling. The building was one of three structures in a two-acre compound surrounded on three sides by enormous trees with a wire fence bordering the road.
         I entered through a gate and followed the smooth dirt path that circled a large open area in the center of the compound. As I walked the path toward Dan’s home, I saw to my left, secluded behind tall green bushes, a large two story wooden home. To my right on the far side of the open area was another large wooden single story house. There was no sign of life anywhere.
         When I knocked, a beautiful young woman opened the door. She possessed the striking beauty that only Thailand can produce.
         I asked, "Does Dan live here?"
         She nodded her head and called to Dan. He came to the door and greeted me like a long lost brother. He invited me in and introduced me to his lady. I don’t remember her name because I couldn’t pronounce it even then. We'll call her ShiTong.
         Dan’s home was decorated in traditional Thailand wicker and bamboo. We spent the afternoon talking over what it was like living in Thailand. ShiTong prepared the dinner meal, from what, I don't know and was afraid to ask. It was my first off base Thailand cuisine; it was delicious and didn't make me sick.
         Along about dusk Dan and I were sitting on the couch in the living room sipping native tea when there was a knock at the door. ShiTong admitted the caller. I thought ShiTong was gorgeous, but the girl that stood by the counter, that divided the dining area from the living room, was breathtaking.
         I didn’t realize I’d stopped breathing until I suddenly couldn’t get my breath. I inhaled like a drowning man breaking the ocean surface. She was about five foot five, slender in stature but with everything in the right place and proportion. Her skin was clear and satiny smooth without a blemish. Her hair was naturally, jet-black; a black with a sheen that glistened in the smallest light reflection. It was cut not quite shoulder length so that it curled gently around her face; a face with high cheekbones and slightly almond shaped eyes that were accentuated by the radiance of her smile. Her eyes were like glowing embers that flashed fire with the joy of life. She was dressed in a white traditional smock-like dress; so white that if we had been in sunshine I would have had to squint to see her. The dress was cinched at the waist with a gold sash and did absolute wonders for her figure.
         When I finally came to my senses, and was able to look away from her and toward Dan, I asked, "Who is she?” Great original question but that is all I could say.
         He smiled at me with his indomitable impish grin and said, "You asked me to find you a girl, and here she is."
         "You've got to be kidding — who is she really."
         "No kidding. This is Pang. She lives in that big house next door; the one you passed on the way in."
         While I am sitting there, still staring and acting very stupid, Pang continued to stand by the edge of the living room looking unbelievably beautiful.
         Dan invited her in to be introduced. Pang walked slowly toward me to within three feet. She placed her palms together with fingers tilted upward under her chin. With her head slightly tipped forward and eyes closed, she said, "Saw-Wa-Dee'-cup."
         I had just received my first Thailand greeting. The word has multiple meanings of greeting but the hand gesture, known as a 'Why', means; 'the goodness and worth of my soul recognizes the goodness and worth of your soul.'
         In the good old-fashioned western tradition I stood and stammered something like — pleased to meet you — an utterly inadequate response.
         She seated herself in a chair opposite the coach and I sat back down next to Dan. I don't remember any of the conversation that took place because I was completely mesmerized by her presence in the room. I do remember that eventually Dan and ShiTong retired. Pang and I spent the rest of the night talking.
         Her name was KomPlang Pontanaboon. She was twenty-seven, recently divorced from a Thai man who treated her miserably, and was living with her mother and three children in the big house next door.
         All squadrons on the base employed local civilians as domestic servants to clean rooms, make beds, shine shoes, and wash and iron clothes, etc. Pang had worked the past two years as a house-girl in one of the squadrons where she learned some GI English.
         Sunday morning found us bleary-eyed and, for the time being, well talked out. Pang went home and I said good-by to Dan and ShiTong. I walked about a half-mile up Soy Mohonmot to the main road, caught a cab back to base, and slept most of the day. The next day was a duty day.
         I visited with Dan as often as our conflicting duty hours would permit which turned out to be seldom. I continued to see Pang whenever I could. We went to dinner and sometimes to the outdoor amphitheater to see a movie. The base Personnel Services Department had set up a good series of sightseeing tours that we took advantage of whenever we could arrange mutual time off.
         The Inertial Navigation and Radar department's duty schedule was divided into two twelve-hour shifts. My shift was from midnight to noon. I didn't mind going to work at midnight. My problem was that when the sun came up in the morning, my body said it was quitting time and those remaining five hours each morning were absolute misery.
         When I got off duty at noon, I would have lunch in the mess hall and then try to get some sleep. The bright spots in this routine were on the days when I awoke to find Pang sitting beside my bed. She didn’t work in my squadron but sometimes, when she got off work, she would come and sit by my bed until I woke up. The first time I woke and saw, I asked her why she was there."
         She said, "I come look you."
         I was too shy to ask her why — I just enjoyed her being Pang.
         When I eventually got up the courage to ask her to share a house with me she said, "GI's come Thailand for good time — you go town — have good time — when you finish — you ask me `gain."
         I said, "I thought you knew me better than that. If sex were all I wanted, I would’ve already gone to town. I am asking you now."
         She confided, "I never bin with GI before. I don't know if can. All girlfriend say I should stay you — I think'ng 'bout it."
         After three months of pleading and coaxing her to share a home with me, she finally decided that she might. However, before she would agree, I had to sit before her mother and request her permission.
         What I didn’t know at the time and have only recently found out was that Pang had to be sure that what she was considering, was truly in her best interests. She went to 'The Old Woman of the Tree' for advice.
         In the Buddhist religion, which is much older, wiser and more comprehensive than the western religions of the occident, the people commune with spirits of all kinds. The 'Old Woman of the Tree' is a hamadryad with whom most all the women of Udorn and surrounding area went for information and guidance.
         I guess I passed muster on both fronts because after I rented a house across the road from her compound, Pang came to live with me the next day.
         There were three basic prices in Udorn. One for me, if I tried to buy something, one for us if we went together to buy something, and one for her if she bought something by herself. Her cost was invariably seventy-five to eighty percent less than my cost.
         Pang suggested that we find a cheaper place to live because I was paying nearly $75.00 a month for the house. She located and rented a brand new, never been occupied, two-bedroom house made of solid teakwood that was built in true Thai fashion. The house itself was supported on solid teakwood pillars that held the house eight feet above the ground. There was a front and rear entrance, a staircase to the rear door and another to a porch balcony in the front. There were shutters on all the windows and a two hundred-gallon cistern that we use to collect rainwater for all our needs. We drank, cooked, and showered with pure rainwater, all this for about $18.00 a month.
         Shortly after we moved into the new house, Pang went to the local Wat (Buddhist temple) and arranged for the monks to visit and perform the New Home Ritual. In the Buddhist tradition, all new dwelling should receive a cleansing ceremony. The ceremony is performed to ward off any negativity that may be present and more importantly to establish the positive vibrations of peace and harmony.
         I didn’t fully understand the significance of each act that was performed but I will relate what I saw. The ritual was held on one of those rare Saturday mornings when I did not have to report for duty. It was a beautiful warm sunny morning, much like most every other morning in Thailand.
         Pang told me of the upcoming celebration and we prepared the house for the festivities. We took a ball of twine and totally encircled the house several times just above the window level. The twine symbolized a barrier to prevent evil or negative spirits from entering the house. I secured a bright white linen cloth along the longest living-room wall directly under the windows; draped it so that it flowed down the wall and onto the floor so that it covered about one quarter of the room. Five large soft throw pillows covered in subdued colors of reds, greens, and browns were placed on the cloth close to the wall under the windows. A silver chalice filled with water was positioned at the left end of the line of pillows. Next to and slightly behind the chalice was a small table upon which she placed a golden Buddha figurine. The figurine was about fourteen inches tall and enclosed in a glass case. There were also two slender crystal vases, each containing several bright yellow flowers, a small cylindrical container holding sticks of incense and a small pile of yellow tapers. In front of the chalice was a low cut box approximately a foot square. Protruding straight upward from each corner of the box were slender sticks about eighteen inches long. The end of the twine that surrounded the house was brought through a window, laid across the pillows, and wound around the upright sticks of the box in the same fashion as the house. An assortment of brightly colored flowers filled the box.
         The neighbors brought trays loaded of specially prepared foods that literally covered the floor of the unused bedroom. The sumptuous staples and delicacies were prepared specifically for this type of festival. The partaking of food was part of finalizing the ceremony.
         Pang's mother and children along with several families of our neighbors came to the house. Pang and I stood on the porch balcony and watched as the Buddhist priests and monks approached. They came on foot, along the dirt road in front of our home. They removed their sandals at the foot of the staircase to the porch and ascended. They greeted us with the traditional 'Why' and 'Sa-Wa-Dee'-cup' as they entered the living room.
         They seated themselves cross-legged on the pillows, placing their hands in the 'Why' position with the twine between their thumb and forefinger. Everyone in the room sat on the floor with their hands in the 'Why' position and observed quietly as priests began to chant, burn incense and tapers. The chanting continued for about twenty minutes and when it ended, all the tapers were extinguished. The final portion of the ceremony commenced as we all feasted on the delicacies of the banquet.
         The people of Thailand are mostly Buddhists and have an entirely different outlook on life. I had always sought what I called the 'Big Picture'. I have always believed there was more to life and beyond than all my religious teachers would have me believe. It was there in Thailand I became aware that life truly exists beyond that which can be realized with our limited senses. I was not then, nor am I now, a Buddhist, but the experience is one that I will never forget. 
         The house cleansing must have been successful because as long as Pang and I lived together in that house there was always peace and tranquility. There was never a voice raised in anger or a cross word between us. Our house was a sanctuary of love and harmony in the midst of the continuing hostilities of the war-makers less than four miles away.
         There are not enough words to describe the remainder of my stay in Thailand other than the time was much too short. I applied for extensions to my tour of duty but only one ninety-day extension was granted. A scant fifteen months after I left the US I was back at Keesler Air Force Base, in Mississippi. Once there, I became an absolute pest to the sergeant in charge of reassignments with my requests to return to Thailand.
         Pang and I wrote letters and sent audiotapes to one another but no request for reassignment to Thailand was ever honored. We corresponded for two years when suddenly her letters stopped. I learned through a mutual friend that she had become ill and shortly thereafter, she had given up the mortal body. My beautiful Pang had crossed over.



         All the dictionaries that I perused gave the same inadequate definition as simply a Wood nymph who inhabits a particular tree.
         A Hamadryad is a living spirit just like all immortal spirits (souls) that inhabit the bodies of all living things. Hamadryads live in a symbiotic relationship with the spirit of the tree in which it dwells. A young dryad spirit joins with the young sapling's spirit and will share the tree for its entire life cycle. The tree grows tall, strong, and healthy from the nourishment it gains from the earth in which its roots burrow. The dryad grows and gains its knowledge by tapping into the well of knowledge that is stored within the very core of the earth and it gains its wisdom from having lived so long.
         The dryad's primary purpose and function is to provide women of the planet access to the knowledge and wisdom of the ages that concern all women. Advice on conception, how to or not to conceive, ways to best raise her children and what to teach them that will assist in fuller, happier, more productive lives. This knowledge is given freely and lovingly to all women who come in a positive seeking way. The symbiotic relation is such that those who seek knowledge and commune with the spirit of the tree can see a visual change in the structure of the bark — a face will appear. The actual communication takes place as the spirit of the tree sings her messages to the recipient. This is a service for women only and has never been observed by males. If the tree is approached in a hostile, bitter, angry or otherwise negative manner no acknowledgment is given — it’s simply a tree.

Old woman of the tree

         The ‘Old Woman of the Tree’ to whom the women of the Udorn area visited, was a Hamadryad that indwelt the Banyan tree that grew a short distance off the end of the runway of the Air Base. She entered the very young Banyan sapling as a young spirit some two hundred years ago. They grew together, the tree to become large and strong, the dryad knowledgeable and wise. They made themselves available to all the women of Udorn and surrounding areas who wished to commune with the spirit.
         At the outbreak of the Vietnamese war, the air base became active and there was a near accident. As one of the fighter planes was making a landing, the pilot came in too low and brushed the top of the Banyan tree. Consequently, the base commander ordered that the top of the tree be cut away.
         I heard the following story from several different sources. When the women of the area learned of the desecration that was about to be done to their tree, they rose in great protest. They tried in vain to explain to the military leaders what the tree meant to them and their culture. The base commander would not honor the customs of the country or its people, for what does an occidental war-maker know or care of wood nymphs. He could have easily ordered his pilots to make their approach slightly higher and avoid the tree altogether. But no! He gave the order to chop out the high center of the ageless tree. The women also warned him that if he did this sacrilege there might be trouble. The order was carried out and the tree was assaulted.
         As the story goes, the first plane to attempt a landing, after the tree was topped, crashed without any discernible cause. Neither pilot nor navigator was seriously injured but neither could they give any explanation why their six million-dollar aircraft’s engine flamed-out during the landing approach. The F4 fighter jet was a total loss.
         The spirit, the very essence of life within the tree, and the dryad did all they could to sustain the life of the tree. Nevertheless, the desecration of the 'being' and the continued bombardment of negativity of the war machines, the tree withered and died. The dryad was forced to evacuate. She tried to find another host tree that would accept her because all those people in the shadow of war sorely needed her. She was not able to sustain her mission, so she returned from whence she came to rejuvenate her soul. She would eventually return to a new sapling, and begin anew. Such is the cycle of life for us all.
         We American warmongers managed to annihilate in seven years what Mother Earth nurtured for more than two hundred years.


         This is not the end of the story, however, some readers may have difficulty believing what they are about to read, but I assure you it’s the truth.

The return of a loving spirit.

         In mid August of 1990 Cathie, my friend and psychic advisor came to me and said. “I have just received a message from her guardian Dominic that a being has arrived and wishes to speak with us.” Dominic is her spirit guardian with whom she converses freely.

          “Who is it? I asked.
         Cathie said, “I sense a yin spirit — a very strong but loving spirit — she calls herself SuLee.”
         My name is Roger and I am privileged to be working with an extremely gifted psychic who has developed her capabilities to freely converse with spirit beings on the other side of the veil. We have worked together for several years exploring many aspects of the paranormal.
         I asked, “Why does she want to speak with us?”
         As Cathie translated, we learned that SuLee had recently crossed over and has resumed her chosen path of destiny. She, as an immortal spirit, has always been a universal healer. She explained that all beings, mortal and immortal, are electrochemical in nature. She traverses the universe administering aid to all who request it and assists in maintaining their proper physical and spiritual electrochemical balance.
         When she finished her explanation I asked, “When did you leave your last mortality?”
         She responded with, “Several of your earth years ago.”
          “Where did you live?
         A chill went up my spine as she responded with, “In Thailand.”
         My mind raced. “Could it be? No…not likely… but not impossible.”
         Then I asked the question, “Who were you? Did we know each other?”
         Cathie paused and took a deep breath and said, “She wants me to tell you… Yes… she was Pang and she has come to affirm her love.”
         I was utterly speechless and before I could develop a coherent response Cathie continued to translate, “SuLee is saying that, as mortals, neither of you had any way of knowing that you had prearranged your meeting in Thailand prior to coming into your present mortality. She is saying that after having crossed over, she learned that you have shared many past lives together and you will share many more in the future.”
         SuLee visits often and assists us in bolstering our immune system in defense of the many new biological diseases that are developing. She is but a thought away.
         Additionally: Remember John Daniels — My Air Force friend from Homestead AFB in Florida who brought Pang and I together in Thailand. After he retired from service, he returned to Thailand where he now resides in a Buddhist monastery.
         This is the end of the related occurrences but not the end of the story — for all life is continuous.

© Copyright 2008 Kitson (kitson at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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