Sent: 13 Nov 2003
Subject: Poverty and Freedom

Photo Narrative VI and a quick note on mental health

It has been long enough to justify another letter to friends and family. I suppose a letter to my mum is more of what this is about but I enjoy attaching the photos so I will make it a combination letter.
Before I left the States I promised my mother that I would try to write to her at least once a month. I think almost a month has passed and another letter is due.
I am healthy in body and physically safe. I am still living at my father’s. I am pampered every day and it is starting to make me crazy. I must admit that I am not used to this type of lifestyle. In fact I would rather not get used to it. I do very little besides write and rewrite and search the newspapers and magazines for work. I have sent in 6 articles and queries to different periodicals and magazines over the last month. I have applied to some 10 to 15 positions.
By the way, thanks mom, for the “Writers Market” book. It has helped me to understand the economic and professional side of writing. It has provided me with some good templates for submitting material as well as given me a better idea of what to expect on the topic of responses. Still I feel frustrated. I feel I am not doing enough to get a job but don’t know where else to funnel my energies. I have been told quite a few times by people here to be patient and what I am working for will surface. I find this part hard to deal with especially when I am whiling away my time here in Bangkok.
One the pleasurable side, I have made some friends in Bangkok and spend some time with them. It is a long way into the city but is usually a lot of fun to go frolicking around with a bunch of young Thais. I am by far the oldest and sometimes catch myself wondering if I am not trying to prolong my youth.
The 5th of December is the King’s Birthday and I am going to take a little trip down to Bang Pakong and see Pai and Mook the owners of the Korean Bar B Q Restaurant. I have not seen them in months and would like to hang out somewhere else besides this bloody house. It is a palace and a cage at the same time. I must admit that I prefer poverty and freedom.
I think that is enough on my life at present for my mother to be satisfied. I will now move on to the next set of Photos.

Malaysian Coastline, is a great shot that captures what a lot of the coastline was like. Sandy, windblown curve after curve, of beach. It reminded me of the California coast in places. The Photo was taken on one of my stops while motoring against an impossible current. I pulled the dinghy up onto the desolate beach and wandered into the tiny Muslim fishing village. I had a cooler in hand and ice on my mind. I ran into a young man on a motorbike and he voluntarily drove me all over the little town in search of ice. It had been a day or two since the ice truck had come.

Sampans, was taken just up the beach. I loved the colors of their boats and the way they were all lined up. I tried to capture the Wind Spirit in the background but she came out a little small. I departed later that afternoon for another run down the coast.

Perhentians, and what did I come upon but the Perhentian Islands. They were amazingly beautiful both above and below the water. The coral was fantastic and the water visibility was around 15 meters. It was eerie to dive off the boat in the late afternoon and watch the crystal clear water blend from vibrant green to an alien purple. A color and texture one might expect in the atmosphere Pluto. And this was underwater.

Redang Luang, was a tiny island between the Perhentians and the larger island of Redang. It was not much bigger then a football stadium in width and length. I first anchored on the west-facing beach and took this photo. This was what the usual late afternoon calm was like. The island was populated by three large dive hotel operations. I got a free fresh water shower from one and sat and talked with a few local boat drivers. I decided to move around to the other side of the island that afternoon. The next morning I found myself in one of the most beautiful little coves of the entire trip.

Can I Get a Magazine Cover Please, was taken that morning from a nearby bolder. The water was amazingly clear and the coral surrounding the patch of white sand was awesome. I snorkeled for an hour or two and then made a perfect French toast breakfast.

Disneyland, was taken from the side of the boat in that cove. I found it hard to believe how perfect everything looked and it reminded me of something fake that would be put together at an amusement park like Disneyland. In fact it reminded my of the ride called “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” in that submarine. That ride was based on the book we all know with Captain Nemo and I thought it was the coolest thing when I was 12. That cove reminded me of that sort of fake perfection. It was just too much. The illusion was soon dispelled by two boatloads of Taiwanese in bright orange lifejackets snorkeling everywhere.




Dinghy Against the Rocks, was taken that same morning while I was exploring and trying to get some good photos off the boat. I had climbed up a large set of boulders and when I looked down it was a perfect picture opportunity for little miss Dinghy.





Wind Spirit, is just a beautiful photograph of my boat. It makes my heart swell a little to see it. Maybe this photo is a good contrast to all those horror stories I wrote about while traveling down the coast. It does a good job capturing the wonderful side of that trip.





Yellow Hat, was a funny attempt at a self portrait but in some ways it came out pretty good. It definitely captures what I was about during that trip.

Well, that is all for now. I have a few more photos left and will send them along sometime in the next month. I hope everyone had an intolerably stuffed belly after Thanksgiving Dinner.
Much love,
Captain Andy