I spent the day running around town with Nati and Golf. Our goals were to find a decent wood lathe and the heavier equipment needed to set up the jewelry studio; namely a small anvil, hammers and a flex-shaft. I got to see the two big hardware stores, Global House (like a Home Depot and a Walmart under one roof), and Lanna Tool (the real industrial tool store in town, totally droolworthy!). I love going to hardware stores in other countries. We looked at wood lathes but ended up only buying a flex-shaft, anvil and hammers. The lathe at Global House was the same one they used to sell at Harbor Freight and was missing some parts because it had been purchased and returned in the past, and the one at Lanna Tool was beefy and awesome but was five times the price. Nati will need to get the go-ahead from Joy to drop that much change on a new tool. I spent the rest of the afternoon grinding and polishing the anvil and hammers. I spent the evening at a Punspace event again and was informed about all the work available in the vein of pyramid schemes, food supplements and passive income, apparently industries full of so-called “digital nomads”, following the sacred teachings of Tim Ferris professed in the haloed book The Four Hour Work Week. Ate food at night food market and turned in.
Breakfast grab at a little place down the street, and stopped at the hardware store on my way to work. Made it to Makerspace by 10am. Spent the whole day tearing apart the wood shop! Disassembled, cleaned, fixed, lubed, and waxed all woodworking machines with Goong, Golf and Ong, and evangelized the benefits of proper dust collection and PPE to protect eyes, ears and lungs, Woody would have been proud! I went with Nati and Mark to a jewelry supply store and another hardware store. The woman who owns the jewelry supply store was lovely and they have most of what we’ll need to set up a shop at Makerspace Thailand. I got conformation about my upcoming 4-day stint at Woodcarving Village, which will begin this weekend after the CNN filming and interviews. I am psyched! I’ll be studying under Master Carver Bua. She has over 40 years of carving under her belt and has been recognized by the Thai government on several occasions for her amazing work. Most recently one of her pieces was chosen as the feature piece in a new branch of the Museum of Cultural Art here in Chiang Mai. The piece is over six feet long and took over six months to carve. She will also be featured in the CNN segment. What an opportunity! Nati also finagled a free membership for me at Punspace, a 24/7 co-working space in the same building as Makerspace, for the time that I’m here. I immediately took the opportunity to attend an event there called Punspace Mastermind #3, billed as “a meeting of highly motivated folks who are looking to encourage and help each other improve in their business and get help on their own work”. A group of about twelve of us went around the room answering three questions:
*Something that is working well for you.
*Something that you would like help with.
*A resource (website, app, service, blog post) to share with the group.
The group would then respond to the individual and try to help them work through their problem by connecting them with resources or people, or giving them direction based on personal experience they gained from managing their own similar problems. All in all a great event! I learned a lot about targeted marketing, freelance software development and working remotely, and it was a great way to get to know other folks working at Punspace and living in Chiang Mai. I continued my nightly ritual of stopping at the street-food market on the way home and went to bed.
Up at 7am and loving this early morning schedule. Grabbed Thai breakfast at a coffee shop near Makerspace. Made it to Makerspace by 10am. Talked with Golf, Goong, and Mark about the projects they have worked on and are currently working on. Golf is creating more content for Makerspace’s social media accounts and has been doing a lot of recording of the paid projects they work on. His biggest decision today was deciding between Jason Mraz and Jensation to use for background music on a time lapse video of the team installing the order-board at Burkta Coffee Shop next door. Inevitably techno won. Techno will always win against Jason Mraz. Goong will primarily be working with me on infrastructure improvements, servicing machines and taking all classes that I’ll be teaching. His goal is to start producing instructional build videos in Thai for Youtube. Mark is diy’ing his own in-ear monitors using balanced-armatures. These are fancy headphones used mostly for stage musicians. Nati took me out to lunch to try Khao Soi at his favorite place and it was delicious!. We made some decisions about the things I will teach while I’m here. Classes will include an intro to jewelry, intro to the wood lathe, and wood block printing and stamp casting, plus we started my bandsaw-box class to use up scrap wood. After lunch I took a field trip with Golf to buy foam-board and check out the used everything store (however it wasn’t open as it happens to be closed on Tuesdays). Taught the first half of my band-saw box class to Goong after the field trip. This was my first opportunity teaching a shop class with a language barrier. It turned out to be not much of an issue. Luckily Goong is super detail oriented, and he picked up the skills in no time. Goong gave me a ride home after we closed up Makerspace at 6pm. We stopped for food at the street food market by my place. I got the Shrimp Tom Yam soup which was the first thing here that was too spicy for me. Goong made fun of me as was appropriate. Silly “farang”. Asleep by 10.
Makerspace Thailand is closed on Mondays so I took the opportunity to wander, mostly aimlessly, around the old town. I visited several Wats (Buddhist temples) and ate as many different kinds of street food as I could find, which I ended up paying for mildly later that evening. Walked around town all day and into the night. 15+ miles by GPS. I explored the portion of the Ping River nearest the Walled City. I’d borrowed a copy of the Creative Chiang Mai book from Nati the day before. The book is basically a catalogue of all the cool creative public and private organizations supporting art production, artists and creativity in the greater Chiang Mai region. I found two sites listed in the book, though both were closed on Mondays as well (didn’t know that was a thing here). I spent the evening checking out the huge night bazaar, where I spoke to artists, learned about Kashmiri silk rugs, wood carving, and the differences between Thai and Burmese silverwork, of which I learned there are many, and ended up getting nice and lost. I ended up making it home a little after ten and hit the hay.
Thanks to jet-lag I was up at 6am. I grabbed breakfast and wandered around the North Gate market, bursting with fresh fruit, meat and fish. I bought a pair of socks and some q-tips at the 7-Eleven. Interesting fact; there are more 7-Elevens per capita in Thailand than anywhere else. Also, they are just as convenient as in the US. After a little exploring I walked, knowing only the general direction, to Makerspace Thailand and eventually made it there by 10:30am. Nati showed me around the space, explained to me about each project he and staff, Golf and Goong, are working on, and took me out to lunch at a Vegan place called Bubbles. I hung out at the makerspace until 5 when Nati got a call from the airport telling us that my bag had arrived. Nati took me back to the airport to collect my just arrived bag. I pointed at the bag and they let me take it, no questions asked or ID required. Nati was also kind enough to drop me off at home. I had planned to check out the big Sunday night market that happens every week near the makerspace but was conquered by jet lag and fell asleep against my own will.
And the journey begins! I left Boston at 8:30pm for NYC. After a three hour layover we left for Guangzhou, China flying right over the northpole, arriving at 5:45am. I spent the next eleven hours on layover, hanging out and eating Chinese food in the airport. Tried to talk my way into the First Class Lounge to no avail. The flight for Chiang Mai departed at 4:45pm and I finally arrived in Chiang Mai at 6:50pm. No bag! It seemed like a pretty long set of flights and plenty of time between flights to move a bag from one plane to another, but no such luck. I filled out the paperwork to report a missing bag and finished clearing customs. Nati and Joy Sang, owners and operators of Makerspace Thailand and all around wonderful and brilliant people, picked me up at the airport. I recognized Nati from his distinctive haircut. We had quick introductions and grabbed dinner at a street food market near my new home; just outside the Old City walls and moat, near the Chang Phuak (white elephant) Gate on the north side. Got checked in with Ong’s (member at Makerspace Thailand and co-owner of Rada Loom, modern handmade storable weaving looms) mother and said goodnight to Nati and Joy. I took my last few moments of consciousness to wash my undies in the sink, as all of my cloths were in my checked bag, washed the two days of travel off of my body and went to bed. Let the adventures begin!