Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead


the tenth in a series of articles about a visit to the fascinating country of Thailand
By Charles N. Stevens

At Ban Boran, near the Mekong River and the border with Laos, we stop at the Le Meridien Hotel. Walking into it is like strolling into a temple. We are shuffled off into the bar area at first where we are presented with a traditional Mai Tai. After the drink we walk to our room, entering luxurious quarters with a magnificent view of the hill country. Across the river lies the hills of Laos. Tree-covered hills and rice paddies are between us and the river. Burma is just to our left. Swallows swirl high over the brush against a background of clouds broken by a few blue patches. Some clouds still hide the mountain tops. Cloud shadows darken the Laotian hills across the Mekong, only two small spots of sunlight illuminating the trees where the sun peeks through the clouds.
After resting, we notice that a tropical shower dims part of the mountains. Out on the veranda we listen to the soft drops of rain on the leaves. Workers in the central part of the hotel scurry to bring in chairs from the outside restaurant tables. Soon the Laotian hills disappear in rain, and so does the Mekong and the hotel close to its shore. Rain rattles through the trees and sweeps in curtains across the hills just outside of our room. We are soon involved in a universe of rain, a mad opalescent wetness that takes away everything, erases all but the nearest trees, the outside smelling thickly of wet earth, clouds and rain. The hotel transformer hums menacingly, and the lights in the room flicker. Muffled thunder booms softly like a bass drum.
Our boat trip on the Mekong is postponed until tomorrow. The tempest moves on, quitting quickly as though it is exhausted, the landscape appearing again, even a few scraps of sun. The fresh blue of the sky gradually returns. White egrets fly along a streambed, their snow-white bodies contrasting with the dark trees. They string out along the Mekong, brilliantly white in the sun. Part of a rainbow hangs over the Mekong, coloring the hills behind it.
I listen to the birdsong twinkle out of the near hills. One bird repeats the words, “I love you”, over and over again. I call Dolores out to the veranda to listen. She agrees that it says, “I love you”. The air is fresh and cool.
A huge thunderhead over the mountains reflects so much of the sun’s last light that it delays darkness. Worn out from all we’ve seen; we watch movies on television and look out at lightning lighting up a thunderhead far over the mountains.
After7:00 pm we go down to dinner, another buffet. We have our choice of salads, cold onion soup and garlic bread. Main dishes are Thai fish with a very long name, spicy pork, vegetables, potatoes in sour cream and chives, basil chicken (the chicken chopped with a cleaver wielded by a mad chef), blueberry pastry and flan.

MONTEREY PARK AUTHOR PUBLISHES 4th BOOK – Seeking More of the Sky: Growing Up in the 1930’s:

Charles “Norm” Stevens, a 49 year resident of Monterey Park has recently published his 4th book: Seeking More of the Sky: Growing Up in the 1930’s. This is the story of a young boy growing up in Inglewood, California in the l930’s. This was a time during the depression when unemployment was affecting many and the banks were closed, while the clouds of war were gathering in Europe. But he was lucky enough to be raised in a loving family, the power of that love reflected throughout his stories.
Stevens is the author of three previous books about his experiences during WWII:
An Innocent at Polebrook: A Memoir of an 8th Air Force Bombardier (Story of his 34 bombing missions from his base at Polebrook, England over Germany and France)
The Innocent Cadet: Becoming A World War II Bombardier (A prequel to the first, telling of his training in the U.S. before going overseas into combat.)
Back from Combat: A WWII Bombardier Faces His Military Future from Combat: (This book details the time from when he returned from combat in England until the end of the war.)
He is known to the readers of The Citizen’s Voice as the author of Travel Log Articles including “Cruising the Rhine and Mosel”,” Best of the West”, “In Search of Snow” ,  “From Paris to Normandy on the Seine”, and “Exploring New York”.  He is retired, having taught for 32 years, primarily in the Montebello Unified School District.
Those interested in purchasing an autographed copy of any of his books, may contact the author at 323-721-8230 or  Normstevens24@gmail.com.

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