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A good day to try and write an update:  it's a lazy Saturday afternoon and Tim has gone to Kathu to pay a visit with Lek and Jum while I'm happily taking a break from various computer-related research projects.  My soundtrack at the moment is also one condusive to writing:  a recording of Roger Waters performing Dark Side Of The Moon in Berlin earlier this month.  Still, I'll try to keep it relatively brief.

We stayed at home on Tuesday as it poured rain throughout the day.  I was also tired from my long day of "acting" the day before.  I once again reported for work on the set of "The Aftermath" early Wednesday morning.  This was an even earlier casting call as Franz and I left for the Royal Merlin at 4:30 a.m. and the bus took us to the airport at 5:00.  Once there, we were assigned to group B and sent to the makeup tent where I they applied a nasty bruise over my left eye and a large, bloody wound on my left arm.  This was to be "day 6" after the tsunami and we were finally going to be flying out of Phuket.  After makeup, I settled down to what turned out to be a VERY long wait.  Group A — the ones who didn't need makeup but had to wear prop clothing (my shirt and shorts were suitable for my scene) — filmed their scene first (which was their arrival in Bangkok with the International Terminal of HKT (Phuket) standing in for the Domestic Terminal of BKK (Bangkok).

While waiting back at the trailers & tents, I met several other expats and fell into conversation with Mike from Carlsbad, California, and Derek from Ottawa, Ontario.  Both were very interesting; we talked about food and television shows we missed from home, shared interests in music and American football, and complaints about politics (Mike has similar views as I do, although I'm not very knowledgeable about politics).  They both live in Phuket Town — Derek owns a bar inside of a bowling alley (where he currently has a special on Heineken with two bottles at 100 baht) while Mike is thinking about going to Japan to teach in order to raise enough money to stay in Thailand longer.

Finally, around 2:00 in the afternoon, our group was mini-bussed over to the terminal (it had begun to rain) where we spent the next two hours enduring almost twenty takes of our scene.  It was yet another long-shot/travelling-camera (StediCam) scene; we were set up in front of the check-in counters once again, a press conference was taking place in the center with the camera traveling from one end of the counters to the other.  I was close to the far end and when the camera turned towards me I was to walk from the front of the line (ticket and passport in-hand with backpack upon my back) and the camera would track me and several other passengers as we joined the queue at the security checkpoint leading into the International Departures area.  I must have been walking pretty good because the AD's or director never gave me any further direction after the first run-through; I suppose there were other mishaps along the route of this very long shot as they shot take after take after take.

Shortly after four, all of the extras were dismissed (although a few were picked to be bussed to another location for yet another scene).  Several coach busses took us back to the tents at the edge of the parking lot where our makeup was removed and we were given the release forms to fill out.  Once again, the payment line was pure chaos (don't these people know how to organize a proper line?) and it was a little while before I was able to muscle my way up to the table to receive my 1,500 baht.  I was told to make sure I had my current address and phone number on the form as they wanted to use me for the next production as well — a Hollywood production is coming to Phuket in a few weeks to film a new one starring Steven Seagal.

I also found out a bit more about "The Aftermath."  It's a joint HBO/BBC production and will air on both of these networks as a two-part (90-minute each) television movie.  Sometime after that, it will be shown in theatres in Thailand and other SE Asian nations.  No word yet on a release date...

Our home felt like Grand Central Station on Friday with virtually all of Tim's local friends showing up at one time or another.  First, La came for a visit with two of her friends in tow.  They sat on the side patio while Tim and I tried to be gracious hosts (we'd wanted to spend the day together, alone with each other).  Shortly after La & company departed (a mere two-hour visit, imagine that!), Lek and Jum arrived.  We were both a little happier to see them (Jum's my favorite of all of Tim's friends); and, of course, Jum brought her laundry.  They weren't there for very long before Puk knocked on the door.  That caused some problems because everyone pretty much dislikes her although they won't say it to her face.  There was some tension (and Lek hid in the second bedroom); Puk got the hint and soon left.  Jum's laundry done, they too departed after three hours or so.  Tim and I was just getting ready to go and get something to eat when La returned with a bag of (very fresh) crabs and some Leo Beer.  We had dinner and then I retreated to the master bedroom while Tim and La had a long visit (she finially went home shortly after 10 p.m.).  Tim kept apologizing ("I'm sorry everyone love me too much") and I told her "no worry", that we'd spend the next day just the two of us.

We were lucky in that the rain held off on Friday as well (there had just been intermittent showers on Thursday).  We began planning our forthcoming trip up north so we can be there when Tim's daughter has her baby (I've been kidding Tim about becoming a grandmother and then she calls me "grandfather").  Since Bangpa-In is only 20km (12.5 miles) from Ahyutthaya, I've convinced Tim that we stay in the larger city and just rent a motorbike to travel back-and-forth on.  I found a couple of nice ones (the most expensive one is 600 baht per night) but we can't book in advance since we don't yet know when we'll be going up.  I want to time it so we don't get there before the baby is born and we don't miss the birth, either.  I can't get a straight answer out of Tim as to the due date but it appears that it could be next week or the week after (which might be a slight problem because I have to do my visa run next Sunday or Monday).  We're going up by air-conditioned bus which takes 12-14 hours so we can save some money (300-600 baht, depending on how many seats are on the bus).

Yesterday afternoon, we did some shopping at Tesco-Lotus.  In addition to a few shirts and the usual groceries, we bought a couple of Carabao concert VCD's.  This is Thailand's best rock group (they sort of remind me of Santana) and we'd been disappointed that we couldn't attend their concert in Phuket Town on Monday (I'd worked late on the movie, plus the heavy rainstorm forced the concert's cancellation).  We watched the first one last night and I enjoyed it very much (particularly a song called "Refugee" and the encore track which Tim couldn't translate for me).  After the Carabao VCD, we watched a DVD of "Around The World In 80 Days" (the remake starring Jackie Chan, part of which was filmed on Phuket I found out the other day).

We've been fairly lazy most of today.  It rained fairly stronly throughout the morning and I continued doing some things on the computer (I've been reading a number of Wikipedia entries on various aspects of Thai history, figuring out how to convert VCD's to DVD's, and trying to find free downloads of music by Coldplay and Keane — two other bands I've recently "discovered" and become a fan of).  After lunch (fried pork strips and rice), Tim and I watched disc one of the second Carabao VCD (this one seems to be a benefit show with that band's lead singer and many other Thailand musicians).  I began to fall asleep and told Tim that I was going to take a nap.  She wanted to pick up something from her old place in Kathu (she'd left a Buddha amulet there and La left yesterday to go to her family's home in Phang Nga Province) and I suggested she should go and visit Jum while over there.  Since I was going to take a nap and it wasn't raining, she decided this was a good time to go.  I slept for a half-hour or so and thought it was a good time to get caught up on this blog without any interruptions.

I'm not sure what we'll do tomorrow.  I'm hoping it's fairly sunny in the middle of the day so we can get out of the house, perhaps even go swimming at a nearby public pool Franz told me about.  If nothing Earth-shattering occurs, it may be a few days before I'll feel like writing again...