November 8, 2010
Khon Kaen, Thailand
Internet access is limited and spotty here in this new town in the northeastern part of Thailand. English is also pretty limited. The city of Khon Kaen is large and built up, but is not a tourist area of Thailand, and thus barely anyone speaks English here. But the city is nice, and it feels really good to be back down south. I love Thailand. The people are so friendly and hospitable, bending over backwards for visitors of their country. The food is incredible, and you can eat some of the best Thai food you will ever have for less than $5 a day. We are staying in a beautiful hotel, living luxuriously, and paying less than what we would to stay in a roadside motel back in the States. The only drawback of Khon Kaen is the heavy traffic, similar to most big Asian cities. Aggressive drivers and absent-minded motorbike riders fill the roads, and when rush hour hits it’s not uncommon to be sitting still for a half hour or more. It even took us over an hour to get back to our hotel from the tournament site a couple nights ago, and we are only a couple kilometers away!
Unfortunately my good fortunes on the court ended abruptly in Laos, as I was rocked by one of the top players from Thailand, Kittiphong Wachiramanowong, 6-1 6-1 in the quarterfinals. We left almost immediately for Thailand, and upon arrival here learned that I was the only one out of our three-man travel group to not get into the qualifying draw of the tournament the following week. The points I earned in Laos do not enter the computer ranking system for a couple weeks, and thus I still have no ranking for the rest of the tournaments on this circuit. But I’m still trying to get better this week, and have been working out in our hotel gym and have been getting in two or three practices a day with some of the guys that are in the tournament. That was the risk that we took going on this trip with no points, so I knew that not getting into some of the tournaments was a possibility. But oh well! I got my points, and now after this trip I won’t have to run that risk anymore. I have to take my rookie lumps just like the best of them, I guess.
So I’m hoping for better luck next week in the final tournament on this stretch in Bangkok. It looks like we are going to have a couple extra days between tournaments this week, and so we are looking into exploring Khao Yai National Park, the biggest and oldest national park in Thailand. It will give us an opportunity to get our minds off tennis for a couple of days, relax and unwind, and then have ample time to get to Bangkok and prepare for the next tournament.
Stay tuned for updates as I make my way south through the wilderness of northern Thailand, and get ready for the next tournament in Bangkok! Thanks for reading…
PS. It’s my mom’s birthday today, and unfortunately I’m on the other side of the globe and don’t get to be there to celebrate with her…So I’d like to wish her a very happy birthday from the Far East!!