Brightness on a murky day

My days in Hua Hin are pretty ordinary, mundane. I wake up late, have some coffee while I scan my Internet connections, before working on my daily news feed. Then maybe the end of the day on the beach and then dinner. On occasion, I will make the walk to find dinner.

Yesterday was more of the same – until beach time.

The previous day, I had been on the beach, fishing for no reason as usual (there are no fish out there!). What this involves is walking my rod and bait out into the surf for about 80 yards before casting, and then anchoring the rod on shore in a sand spike. I use a small, metal spike I found locally. Cheap but effective.

Yesterday, as I was preparing my gear to go to the beach, I realized I had left the sand spike on the beach the night before. Oh well, I thought, I’ll just have to hold the rod myself until I can buy a new one. The thought even occurred to me that my sand spike was so cheap that it might still be out there, still stuck in the sand or perhaps thrown up to the edge of the beach out of the water’s way.

yatLike any place, the section of beach I use has its regular customers, like me. There are a number of Thais who recognize me, and vice versa, although we rarely talk except to say hello. It would be a useless exercise anyway. One of those Thais works at one of the boutique hotels along the beach and frequently sits on the sea wall in the evening. He is a friend of my fishing buddy Yat.

Yesterday, as I was walking to what looked like a good area to fish, this man came out waving at me. I waved back, and then realized he was waving my sand spike at me.

He had recovered the spike from the sand after I left the day before, put it away for safe keeping and brought it out as soon as he saw me. I gave him a hearty “kop kun, khap” (thank you) and he beamed me a wide, gap-tooth smile.

Certainly, a bit of brightness in an otherwise unremarkable day.

It got a little better, as I actually caught one small needle nose fish in my new cast net, so I had some bait to fish with. The kids on the beach got a kick out of it, but it did not result in catching anything bigger. Like I said, there are no fish here.

It’s so bad I’m even considering spending $80-100 to go to one of the fish farms they have here, where you can catch very big freshwater species, mostly catfish.

Google sucks for Hua Hin

I have now used Google maps for 4-5 searches to see where I needed to go for meetings. They have all been wrong. More on that later.

It was a long day made more difficult by the fact I couldn’t sleep and lay in the bed from 3 am dissecting what needed to be done today. The first order of business was sending money to a friend via Western Union. I’ve now done this in three different countries, so you would think it would be routine, but it’s not.

I was “awakened” at 7 am by a message from a local woman who wanted me to pay for her return trip to Hua Hin from wherever she had gone to. That was an easy no, since we had barely met and merely exchanged phone numbers. Go figure.

The WU office didn’t open until 10 am, per Google, which had me going to an alley not far from my apartment. I was suspicious of the location on the map since the past four times I’ve used Google here have been incredibly wrong. But I trudged on, finding what should have been the location and asking Thais in the area if Western Union was nearby. In one case, the locals literally fled because they didn’t know what I was asking. Finally, a shop owner told me it was the nearby bank office, which I had guessed but they didn’t have a WU sign out front.

Anyway, the transfer went fine and the Krangsri Bank lady was super efficient.

Then, I had my first HuaHinExpatNews.com business meeting. This also had a decidedly Google component. A company I had contacted about my new website responded to a marketing proposal and wanted to meet, so yeah. They weren’t even close to where Google placed them. But I eventually found them, after a good, long walk in the heat. Took care of my daily walk.

Go Kart Hua Hin owner

Go Kart Hua Hin owner

This meeting was super helpful, as the expat (Brit, here 10 years and in Thailand 22 years) filled me in on a lot of local stuff. He runs a go-cart operation, as well as a guest house with 12 rooms. He also plays pool and suggested that a good way for me to meet other expats living here was at the pool league matches (duh). He plays tonight at his guest house and I plan to attend to meet some of the expats attending.

I did an interview, took some pictures, and will feature his company on my new website shortly.

Yat

Yat

Back home, I did my usual of going to the beach to do some unproductive fishing. My new friend, now with a name of Yat, showed up and bracketed my lone fishing rod with both of his rods. I was surrounded! We now are drawing interest from others on the beach I guess because there are two of us, and we had several people just watching us watch our rods.

Yat informed me that his wife loved the photos I gave him but asked why I would do that. “Because we’re fishing friends,” I think he told her. He also checked my bait, which he had given me three days ago and decided it was unfit to use. So he gave me new bait.

There were large schools of fingerling mullet swimming by, the breezes were mild, the insects incessant, the surf sometimes high, an occasional egret flying by. No fish. No problem.

Making friends

Some people might prefer to make friends in foreign lands with people from their own countries, or similar cultures. Myself, I want to make friends with the locals, including when it comes to fishing.

I have been in Hua Hin for more than a month and fishing on the beach at the end of each day for most of those days. No luck so far but I have been trying to tap the expertise of a local who also fishes on the beach. He and I are the only two people fishing a half-mile stretch of beach fronting the main area of the city. That might suggest that we are both tilting at windmills but he says he is catching fish, although not that many.

Until now, our interaction has been limited, with me asking stuff like how his end tackle is set up, how far he goes out to cast, and what he is catching. He likes to draw pictures of the fish he is after, in full size, in the sand. Appears to be snake fish and catfish. He told me that the fishing would improve in February. It is February. He says he has only caught two fish this month, a 20-pound sting ray and a 10-pound catfish.

Usually, we fish about 100 meters apart, with him often walking the beach in search of bait. He uses a 6-meter cast net that does not have a rope pulley retrieve that gathers the bait as is done in Florida. I may order one soon from Amazon, but it is expensive to ship here and will take some time in the mail.

He has taken to sharing his bait with me, since I have no way of catching my own. Instead, I purchase small fish at the market and use as cut bait.

Yesterday, I took a couple of pictures of him with his rod. Today, I had 8×10 color prints made (55 baht -$1.50). They were a hit. I also showed him a picture of me with a 25-pound drum I caught on Turtle Beach, Sarasota, that impressed him.

He showed the pictures to a friend standing there and then walked about 100 yards to show them to another friend who was cast netting. Then he set up his two poles right next to mine, instead of 100 yards away. We had some limited conversation and later he re-baited my hook with his interpretation of how the cut bait should be presented.

We fished past sundown and caught nothing. But it didn’t mater.fishing buddy2