Thursday, July 12, 2007

The reason I went to Pattaya

This is a self portrait while wearing a blacked out mask. I was taking pictures as I was practicing being a blind diver. I spent a few hours with this mask on and got a better understanding of what it would be like to scuba dive/aseemble gear and just get around town without any sight.
A background story so you will understand what I did in Pattaya.

My two favorite jobs both out as volunteer positions when I was in college. The first was with Bend Parks and Recreation in Oregon. Mom and dad were paying the bills (thanks for that!) and I found myself with extra time and the itch to do something. I went into Bend P/Rec and asked to volunteer, I did exactly that for a few days when they called me into the office to ask if I would like to be paid for working. hmm....sure, I guess. Anyways, what that job did was it showed me that I could get paid to do exactly what I love to do which is play outside with other people!! It was a perfect fit and I quickly changed my college major from whatever had been written on my paper by some lady behind a counter to my new favorite word "RECREATION".

When it was time to get serious about finishing school a group of us from Bend found a college that advertised great skiing and a recreation program. We quickly made the move to Gunnison, Colorado. The well in the mom/dad bank had run dry but I found the instant money world of student loans. So again, I found myself with free time and wanting to do something....I saw a flyer up for the Adaptive Sports Center was looking for volunteers to ski with disabled people. I thought that sounded pretty interesting and so I went to the meeting and was hooked!!!! You can check them out at

Long story huh?? ok, let me try to sum it all up. I volunteered/worked with the ASC for my 3 years I spent living in Crested Butte/Gunnison and absolutely loved, loved, loved the work, the people & the organization. I skied with people of all types of disabilities and focused most of my training to instruct people in a bi-ski. In early 1999 I left Colorado for a very small island in the central pacific, I thought I would be there 6 months and then return to Crested Butte and the ASC. Its been 8+ years and I have not been back to live in the US and aside from a weekend in Denver have not been back to Colorado. I have missed working outdoors with disabled people very much. I find it really rewarding and interesting, I love figuring out ways for people to be able to do things they love that they otherwise may not be able to do.

In the last 8 years I have become an avid scuba diver and have worked my way up the ranks to being an instructor. I remembered seeing some blind divers in a pool in Colorado once, so I started to look into that and found a program that I could become a certified instructor for disabled divers. PERFECT!! I am now hoping I can find a job that I get to do exactly what I love to do which is be out in the ocean and working with people who want to scuba dive and just need a few adaptations to be able to.

enough are a few pictures from the past few days of my training

We spent the first day at the pool. I practiced being a blind diver, also a parapalegic and quadrapalegic diver.

This is "Slinky" my instructor. He was a PADI instructor before his accident left him in a wheelchair. He is back to instructing and it was great for me to learn from his first hand experience as an avid diver.

Thailand is not accesible! This pictures shows the stairs we had to come down to get to the boat, the distance from the stairs to the boat and then the stairs up the boat. I am hoping there are some places where its going to be more accessible! This is very tough for a wheelchair!!!
Thats it for the course, I wish I had some underwater pictures to share but I dont. It was intersting stuff and hopefulllly I will find somewhere to put to use what I have learned.
Jomtien Beach, Pattaya

I sat on the side of the road this morning waiting for my very late bus. I was entertained by this lady who was very meticously going through this dumpster. I dont know if she found what she wanted but she sure took her time sorting throuough the super smelly trash.

These guys!!! I was on truck taxi going back to my hostel and these 3 super super drunk polish guys got on. When they found out I was from America they went crazy!! Shouting "AMERICA is great, Bush, Poland loves America". This went on for 20 minutes. They were so drunk and so insistent that I understand how much Poland loves America. I missed my stop in the taxi and ended up at a restaruant with these guys. I left when the one in the middle was trying to give me his gun. He said because I was American I should have a gun.

No comments: