The purpose of this publication is:

to provide young people in the United States with information, impressions, and insights into the Thai culture that are not normally available to Westerners and

to promote global understanding and appreciation for differences in values, culturals, and human environments.

A chicken’s best friend

The focus of this publication is Thai people and their daily lives. It is about those people who live in villages more than about those in towns, cities, or resort areas. This is because our own deepest sense of what it means to be Thai came to us from a village, from those who were willing to take us in and to allow us to be a part of their lives and their communities.

With them, we discovered a most wonderful bit of humanity, rich in generosity, warmth, and humor. We also discovered what we consider to be most central to the life of Thai people, in short: religion, rice and

daily life. While Thai culture is much more complex than these three elements, we’ve found no others to have more ancient roots than these, so, for this first edition, this is where we begin. We hope you enjoy what we have to share with you.


We would like to thank members of our family and friends for their support and, at times, patience for our adventuresome spirit; our Thai and American Peace Corps program administrators and trainers for their care and diligence in teaching us about Thai language and culture; nurse Malee whose constant concern was our safety and well-being; the government of Thailand for allowing us to be here; Boon Jing and members of her family who fed, sheltered and worried about us during our time in their village; all the Thai and hill tribe teachers, students, monks, taxi drivers, tour guides, neighbors and friends who have listened to our questions, offered their perspectives, and corrected our pronunciation; Ajan Jerapa Ananta, Ajan Pattraporn Polyiam, Sukanya Baramee and all the fellow volunteers who kept contact with us during our time back in the United States; Pattinee Na Bangchang who tutored us in Thai and made for us delicious Thai food; Ashish Bantia, Chinmay Gupte and all those involved in the Colorado State University International Club for keeping alive our interest in world cultures; Supachai Watanangura for providing us a place to call home; Tulsa and Poudre Public School Districts and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and St. Olaf College for keeping alive our interest in learning;  Kathleen Crocker and other E.S.L. teachers for their enthusiasm and inspiration; the United Methodist Women of Grove, OK for their generosity through scholarship contributions; Carol Valenti for her indirect yet constant presence in this project; last but not least, to our precious grandchildren, those now and those yet to be, who make us want to leave this world a better place for them.

We welcome questions and feedback. Contact us at:  

Chicken-sitting in Na Lau








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Text and all images not otherwise identified are the sole property of Bluemarble Consulting.


Thai, meaning free, is a good name for a kingdom where its citizens have never been subjected to rule by a foreign power. This is one subject Thai people talk about when the word freedom comes up. Another is their freedom of religion. Although this is a Buddhist country, individuals here may practice whatever religion they choose. Along with this freedom, however, comes responsiblity to show respect and tolerance for the beliefs of others.

Thailand is a kingdom with a democratically elected legislature. Her leader, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej or King Rama IX provides both political and spiritual vision for this nation.  His Majesty’s style sets a tone of compassion and acceptance found in every sector of this society.  A strong supporter of improvements in education, health, and the environmental, His Majesty often recommends programs in these areas.  His recommendations have led to projects that bring greater wellness and pride to communities, that raise the level of education of Thai citizens, and that nurture and protect the environment.

Many special projects have been funded directly by His Majesty.  One has resulted in the creation of environmental research stations to find alternative energy sources.  Another has successfully identified new crops that now replace opium poppies, bringing higher living standards to once impoverished areas.  Fighting drug dealers, offering support and treatment for addicts, increasing access to free education and innovations in teaching style all have the strong support of His Majesty who is both honored and loved by the Thai people.

We first came to Thailand in 2001 as volunteers with the United States Peace Corps.  In addition to fostering cross-cultural understanding, our job was part of the education reform plan, to help train Thai teachers.   After completing language, skills, and cultural training that included experiences teaching in Thai elementary schools and offering workshops for teachers, our time was cut short by an accident and by family needs.

Disappointed by this early departure, we returned to Thailand in 2002 not as Peace Corps Volunteers but certainly in the spirit of that program. Our hope is to fulfill, at least partially, that earlier commitment.  In addition to writing this and other items for publication, our time here is spent reading about Thailand and experiencing her first hand. We also do volunteer work with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) providing English and management training to Thai people and to those from various hill tribes. 

Source: Rajani, H.S.H. Prince Bhisatej Royal Projects Foundation brochure & conversations with presenters at the December 2002 Chiangmai Hilltribe Expo - Chiangmai Art Museum


Bernstein, Richard. 2001. Ultimate Journey, New York: Vintage Books.
Bhumichitr, Vatcharin. 1988. The Taste of Thailand, London: Pavillion Books Ltd.
CIA World Fact Book. 2002.
Crump, Vivian, ed. 1999. Thailand, New York: DK Publishing, Inc.
Cummings, Joe. 2002. Chiang Mai & Northern Thailand, Footscray: Lonely Planet   Publications Pty Ltd.
Gray, Paul and Lucy Ridout. 2001. The Rough Guide to Thailand, New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc.
Haas, E.J. 2002, “ The Rice Cycle,” Guidelines Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai & The North 9:6.
Hagen, Steve. 1997. Buddhism Plain and Simple, Boston: Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc.
Hongwiwat, Nidda. 1998. Chiang Mai & The Hill Tribes, Bangkok: Sangdad Publishing Co.,Ltd.
Maitree, Ouan. 2002, “The Bare Facts,” Guidelines Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai & The North 9:12.
Monaghan, Graeme. 2002, “When the Spirit Moves,” Chiang Mai & Northern Thailand 4:12.
Pannapadipo, Phra Peter. 1998, One Step at a Time, Bangkok: The Post Publishing Plc.
________. 2001, Little Angels, Bangkok: The Post Publishing Plc.
Rajani, H.S.H. Prince Bhisatej. From the Royal Trip to Remote Highlands: Came the Royal Project, (as well as publications on specific research stations) Chiangmai: The Royal Project Foundation.
Segaller, Denis. 1980, Thai Ways, Bangkok: The Post Publishing Plc.
_______. 1982, More Thai Ways, Bangkok: The Post Publishing, Plc.

    Sudham, Pira. 2002, Tales of Thailand, Bangkok: Shire Asia Publishers

Walton, Geoffrey. 2003, “ Lacquer Remains,” Guidelines Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai & The North 10:1.
Walton, Geoffrey, ed. 1989, A Northern Miscellany, Chiang Mai: Jareuk Publications Ltd.
Witthayanathee, Danai, ed. 2002, “H.M. The King’s Birthday and National Father’s Day,”  Passport to Suvannaphoum, 2:2.

Photographs & Clip Art

Portraits of Thailand. 2001, Thai Lifestyle - Genesis Stock Photo Thailand:Genesis MediaCom Ltd.
Bluemarble Photos Thailand. 2000-2003 Fort Collins: Bluemarble Consulting.
Microsoft Clip Gallery 0.5. 1998, Seattle: Microsoft Corporation

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