Drought, competition and my cat family


I’m not sure if it’s the long hot, dry, muggy spell we’ve been going through, or if the bed bugs have given me a bug, but I’ve been super-lethargic the past week or so. Took two naps one day alone. Really haven’t felt like doing much at all, at least not until the sun goes down.

At least we had a little rain Tuesday evening, even though it was barely a sprinkle on my street. I stood out in it for a few minutes just to feel what rain was like again. We should be getting more wet weather now that we’re in the monsoon season, so I will probably be complaining about it never stops raining.

Update on my new website

Had an interesting email exchange this week with the managing editor of Hua Hin Today. He was looking for work, saying his boss was driving him crazy. It was interesting that he even knew about my site and also that he thought my operation was big enough to be paying people for contributions. (If he had actually analyzed what I am doing, he would have realized there is no original content in my news feeds, and thus no need for freelancers or staff to generate content. Maybe somewhere down the road.) When he found out there was no pay involved, I never heard from him again.

BTW, Hua Hin Today is one of the potential competitors I evaluated before starting my project. My initial reaction to their site was “What a waste of time.”

Also heard from an Indonesian web developer I worked with on a project in Batam. He wanted to know if I was still interested in writing web copy and plans to use me as his content partner as he tries to find western customers for his service. (He’s good on the technical end but can’t do the English content part.) Maybe some work down the road for a little extra cash.

hhenAs to HuaHinExpatNews.com, the plan is coming along nicely. My original intent was to slowly build the audience, mostly through Hua Hin Facebook forums, until the site started averaging 200-250 page views daily, and had 150-180 subscribers. As part of the startup, I offered free advertising, which I thought might create a more robust, successful-looking site, and increase readership. Ten companies took advantage of that offer.

The free ad offer ends May 31, at which point I plan to start charging for advertising. We’ll see how that goes.

As to the original goals: the site is now above 200 page views daily for the past two weeks on week days, topping 300 twice last week and about to go above 300 today, as well. Subscribers have been a little slower, as many people seem content at just clicking on the Facebook forum links rather than subscribing. Those forums boast a total of more than 32,000 members, probably with a great deal of overlap. That said, we now have 140 subscribers.

Cats, cats everywhere

As my friends know, I am a cat person. Love dogs but they are high maintenance and dirty. Unfortunately, this road trip isn’t the best idea for cat ownership.

I did try to befriend a stray in Costa Rica, but didn’t really encounter any cats in Europe. Indonesia was different, as cats are preferred and dogs are eaten. There, I did adopt a stray who I named Hati and kept for two years before he disappeared somewhere in Nagoya.

Then I adopted a black male from the street, literally took it from its mother, and named it Spock, since Leonard Nimoy died about the same time. Before I left Batam, I found Spock a good home with my taxi driver and his family (2 kids).

In Thailand so far, I’ve been reluctant to adopt as I’m just not sure how long I will be here. But have no fear, the cat gods are here. Man, are they ever.

We have a pack of dogs in the neighborhood and my cul de sac has a family of cats, all feral. This seems to be normal for Thailand. The Buddhists, in fact, regularly put out food for the strays in their neighborhoods. Of course, that determines that they will stay in the area.

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The brown tiger on the left is the offspring of the gray/white cat to its right; the creamy white next to him is his father and the father of the two white kittens at right who are flanking her mother. Missing are the red tiger, brother of the brown, and the black orphan. Yes, that’s my doorstep.

The cat family on my street, when I arrived, consisted of two white females, a white male who was taking care of the females, two kittens (one red tiger and one brown tiger), and a black male that seems to just have adopted himself to the family. Then one of the females had another litter of at least four white kittens. Two of them have survived, the other two being torn apart, literally, by the dogs. So now our pack is eight.

My neighbor Ben upstairs started feeding one of the females because it had a litter in his apartment or on his deck. I told him that was not a good idea because he would never get rid of them. He kept feeding them.

Ben is in Laos now, seeing about an English teaching job, and will probably move there permanently. In his absence, he left me the cat food.

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Little Mama will let me pet her and comes inside to visit daily.

Now, in the morning, the cats are screaming at my door for food. In the evening, again. In fact, whenever I cook they are letting me know they are outside. But when the food is gone, it is gone. Any place that sells cat food will be too far to walk and carry back heavy bags and I’m not going on any cat food runs.

But at least I’m getting my daily cat fixes.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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