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Along The Silk Road Vol. 14 (Cont'd from June 4 Edition) By Scott Tate Getting to Thailand from the US is a marathon. Getting there from Afghani- stan is about the same. From Dubai to Doha, then to Kuala Lumpur and finally Phuket the unexpected stay in Malaysia stretched the joumey into a two-day event through four countries. But every turn in the road leads to new stories and look what I would have missed out on and the people I would not have met. My exhaus- tion was overcome with relief by finally arriving in Thailand. Down on the southwestern coast of Thailand lays the resort town of Phuket. On the ride from the airport to the town it has the feel of Panama City Beach, Florida. A low key coastal town almost at the bottom of the hemisphere that seems to be the beach place of choice for Aus- tralians, a place where the Australians are almost as friendly as the locals. Then again a Caucasian man with a ponytail is an anomaly in this part of the world so the hair thing was quite the icebreaker. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that has never been colonized and it has a culture that can only begin to be understood through expenence versus use of the written word. The land of Buddhist temples, jungles and elephants is rich in history and like the US; its dif- ferent parts of the country vary greatly in their ways. Like many resort towns throughout the world, Phuket is a place for employment for Thais throughout the country and relies heavily on tourism. Unlike other places I have been, the Thais love Americans. It's a laid back town with plenty of fresh seafood. Thai food is good, the por- tions generous and the prices much better than reasonable. The open-air bars are numerous and live bands with American music can be experienced nightly and cover charges are non-existent. Haircuts are maybe $6 and include a shampoo and dry. A load of pressed laundry is another bargain for $3. I went light on the haircut. I had to protect my combination disguise and conversation piece. Like other places I had been, the hair made locals think I was Canadian or Aus- tralian unless I spoke. Trips to the salon did give me the opportunity to become acquainted with the salon's guardian, a female fawn colored Pug named Cookie whose owners were convinced she pre- ferred the attentions of men over the women customers. Like other tourist areas, it has a pleth- ora of stores and sidewalk vendors. The tailors are a dime a dozen and custom made clothes can be had for a fraction of the price paid elsewhere. Sitting in the open-air bars makes you an ideal candidate for the mobile vendors, pushing everything from sunglasses to flowers or bugs. The onslaught is never ending as are the novelties available. The bugs are roasted and seasoned. It was hard to beat the BBQ flavored grasshop- pers or the oversized salted June bugs. Much better than the chocolate covered ants so common in the US years ago everything I ate was good. The trick to eating the grasshoppers was to first remove the spiked back legs. My favorite-vendor of all was a young girl who came by every night selling pink teddy bears. What made her so special was she couldn't speak and carried a printed sign around stating this and her teddy bear price. Every night she stopped with a smile on her face and left with the same smile even when no one bought a bear. On my last night there her optimism finally over- whelmed me and it felt like a privilege to help her with her cause. The white sand beach is breathtaking and the water in the Andaman Sea like temperate bath water. As in the town itself, the beach area contains a constant parade of roving salesmen. Drinks, fresh fruit and food are always a hand gesture away from your lounge chair. Suffering from sunburn I was approached one day by an elderly Thai woman carrying a bucket. She was packing around large pieces of aloe vera plants and after her sales job of an aloe vera rub to one of my red shoulders she gave me a treatment that had me cured by that night. The beauty part about the Thai vendors is they will take no for an answer the first time. You have to appreciate the fact that they have no government support system in place for their sustenance. The dole doesn't exist here and they hustle to make a living and survive one day at a time. The line between survival and not is thin. Besides the daily financial struggle, Thais live m an area susceptible to the affects from the Pacific ring of fire. A local spoke of surviving the tsunami of 2004 by being able to access a high ris- ethat sustained itself through the storm's impact. Every day is precious and Thais realize this. Rather than being embittered they have used these struggles as sources of empowerment. Years ago I met a Thai who brought me canned lychees from Thailand on a regular basisbecause he liked to give and he knew I liked them. Little did I know then I would one day travel to his homeland and find his coun- trymen as positive and respectful as he was consistently to me. To Be Continued Next Issue... Big Sport June 18, 2011 "Band" lorence's orner We did enjoy the Vintage Brass Civil War band concert held in the bandstand uptown on the afternoon of Memo- rial Day. We sat in the car on the east side of the square. The speakers were turned so we did enjoy the music and the speaker as well. They played music from that era . There also was a nice crowd people who sat on the lawn. The bandstand is certainly an asset to the community. From the looks of the agenda coming up, everybody should enjoy our 175th celebration. On the Lighter Side - Mary's tomcat was scampering all over the neighborhood---down alleys, up fire escapes, into cellars. A disturbed neighbor knocked on Mary's door and said to her, "your cat is rushing around like mad." "I know," said Mary. "Butch has just been neutered, and he's running around cancelling all of his engagements." Food for Thought- Jeremiah 10:10 But the Lord is the true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King. P.S. Thanks to all who put flags on the square, in the cemeteries and those people who did the same in their homes. PS.S. Congratulations to Jeff and Sherry on the birth of my fifth great grandchild, Ava Jane. Jeff is the son of Marc and Kathie Dumonceaux of New Hope, Min- nesota. Last time there were some quotations about education. There are also quotations about government. There are volumes of those, but only a few will be offered here. "We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who par- ticipate." M. Tait's Jus' Thinkin' The quotes above are aU from Thomas Jefferson. Maybe, just maybe, they tell us, that to be a free cinzen in a democratic republic, it is necessary that each person be watchful and participate. Being knowledgeable about the founding principles, in their original form, and measuring think- ing and actions by that standard, and "The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors. " "Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in rune, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny" "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people Of good conscience to remain silent." "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." speaking out and discussing where they match and where they do not match can accomplish this. Lincoln said this nation was a government of, by and for the people. If the people are silenced, ren- dered non-participatory, by ignorance, inaccurate information, intimidation, distraction, or being over-burdened by other responsibilities, does it then allow the "governors" to operate unchecked. uncensored and unmeasured? How then, does the democratic republic fare? Jus' sornethin' on which you can be thinkin'. . . M. TaR Looking Back By Mike Lakin The Illinois Central Railroad inaugurated its Green Diamond pas- senger train on May 17, 1936. The all-green passenger train, in addi- tion to a conductor, also had stewardesses and a registered nurse to see to passengers needs. The train ran from Chicago and made stops in Mt. Pulaski before heading south to New Orleans. In May 1941, the Green Diamond had a scheduled stop at Mt. t'ulaski at 7:29 pm. The trip from Chicago to Mt. Pulaski 2 hours and 29 minutes. On April 30, 1971 the Green Diamond made its final run and ceased to e st on May 1, 1971. .:..:..-. Mickey Phillips of Mt. Pulaski arrived in Hawaii on June 19, 1941 with the 46th Pursuit Squadron, Wheeler Field. Ph lips wrote that Hawaii was a land of eternal Spring. It was a great assignment for a military mechanic. o:. o:.o:. In June 1941 a Mrs. Speers from Michigan visited the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse. Her father had made all the iron- work hinges and door latches for the courthouse when it was restored. .:..:..:. During 1961 Mt. -Pulaski 125th Celebra- tion, a Big Beef Barbecue was held. The price for the meal was a pioneer price of 50-Cents per person, It was a huge success. Mt. Pulaski Times 15