Sorry for the rather long breaks between transmissions. Since arriving back in Australia things have been rather busy and as I finally fall into some kind of routine I hope to speed the blog postings up a little bit. I still have quite a few posts I want to share of our time in Thailand so please keep checking back.
In the mean time please indulge me as I post a few happy snaps of my son.
I have been meaning to share these photos since I took them about two months ago. He had finally worked out how to sit up right for more then a few seconds so I decided to give him a bucket bath where he could be by himself while I sat opposite him with my baby catching glove firmly secured on my left hand.
Like most houses in Thailand we do not have a bath but given the amount of buckets swapped for unwanted dogs there are plenty of make shift baths of various sizes, shapes and colours always available.
He was a bit apprehensive at first….
… but then he discovered that he could splash. It made noise, made a mess and made Dad laugh so it went on for ages and he had a blast.
Dogs are plentiful in Thailand. Many homeless ones (soi dogs) can be found in Bangkok but in the country they generally do belong to someone.
In my village just about every house hold would have at least two, some people like my brother in law have four of them. Some households look after them to what would be considered an average standard in the west but many don’t look after them at all. They don’t have them as companions they have them simply for security and no other reason that I can work out.
Dogs fights are common (many a day) and most morning I wake up to dogs barking before the loudspeaker drowns them out. Basically they are a pain in the butt and a real nuisance. They survive on what ever they can scrounge and any left over sticky rice that the family might throw their way at the end of the night. They always look sick and many die a long and painful death due to disease and malnutrition. From my limited knowledge of Buddhism I understand it is wrong to personally take the life of any animal and therefore these sick dogs are never ‘put down’.
One way around that problem is by using the bucket truck. Every few days a ute (they call them pick ups here) drives around all the villages. In the cage on the back are many dogs and on top of the cage are many buckets. If you want to get rid of your dog you wave the driver down and depending on the size and quality of your dog you will receive a bucket or buckets as a trade.
Once the cage is full (one more dog and they will all die from suffocation) the truck returns to the border with Laos. Here it seems they are moved onto a bigger truck for the long journey to Vietnam and eventually onto some famished Vietnamese dinner plate.
In Lak Sao where I work sometimes in Laos I am only 30kms from the Vietnamese border and every day we see many of these trucks driving past.
A friend and I saw one parked up one day so he got out and took some photos.
*Edit* January, 2011. Here is a video that I took last year of the dog truck climbing through the mountains near Lak Sao, close to the border between Laos and Vietnam.