Thai version

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A great love story

A book by Pittsburg author Edwin Kime
Tells of great love and travels
By Olive L. Sullivan
Morning Sun Staff Writer
Plenty of books on the shelves of America’s bookstores and libraries tell great love stories – but a new book by Pittsburg author Edwin Kime goes one better.
The great love story told in “Ten Years to Bangkok” is true.
Kime will be speaking about his book on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Pittsburg Public Library meeting room.
But the book has something for everyone. In addition to telling of his romance with his wife, Poundkeaw, or “Dow,” the volume details Kime’s years of travel all over the glove, including his adventures fishing on every continent. The couple’s Pittsburg home is decorated with souvenirs from their love-trotting days, as well as with mounted fish and hand-made fishing rods that Kime creates.
“I’ve been in over a hundred different countries,” Kime said. “Our house is a museum of all the stuff we’ve collected in our travels.”
The have bottles of sand from Ayers Rock in Australia, Victoria Falls in Africa and the Dead Sea. A collection of perfume bottles comes from countries throughout the Middle East. They have holy water from the Virgin Mary’s birthplace in Ephesus, and a chunk of the Berlin Wall. They even have a piece of marble inlaid like that makes up the Taj Mahal.
While the book starts at the airport in Thailand, Kime’s own journey started on a farm east of Pittsburg, where he was raised. By 1967, he was living in Arizona and going through a divorce, when he suddenly found himself drafted for the Vietnam War. And that changed everything.
It was in Vietnam that he met the man who would eventually lead him to Dow, then years later, in Bangkok.
The man was a Thai solider. Kime helped him obtain toys and other goods for his family in Thailand, and the two men exchanged addresses.
“You know how you do that, buy you never expect to use it,” he said.
Ten years later, Kime was working for an oil company in Saudi Arabia. He had some leave, so he decided to go to Thailand and look up his old comrade.
The book tells of his adventures searching for the man, whom he never found. His time in Thailand running out, Kime decided to order some custom tailored shirts. But when he went to pick them up, they didn’t fit. The shop owner put Kime on the back of a motorcycle driven by a man who spoke no English, and sent him off to the tailor’s to get the shirts altered.
At the tailor’s shop, Kime again found himself surrounded by people who spoke no English, and he spoke very little Thai. “I can order a beer and get in trouble,” he said.
“Then I saw her,” he said. Dow, who spoke some English, came into the store and Kime was able to get his shirts. He also asked her to meet him for dinner. And things progressed from there.
The course of true love wasn’t easy,
however. Kime was still stationed in Saudi Arabia, and Dow wasn’t eager to leave Thailand, even to meet Kime’s parents in the United States.
“The first thing I did was apply for another R&R to go back and see her,” Kime said. It was postponed, and then postponed again.
“By that time I’m sure she thinks I’m just leading her on,” Kime said. Finally, he returned to Bangkok, where she was supposed to meet him at the airport. But there was no sigh of her.
“I expected to ever see her again,” he said. “I just about gave up. I was walking out of the airport when I saw her.”
For her part, Dow said, she was looking for Kime as well, but couldn’t quite remember what he looked like. “I think maybe all Americans look alike,” she joked.
The couple battled through bureaucracy and red tape to get Dow to the U.S. for a visit, and then through more red tape to get her to Panama, where Kime was now working on the release of the canal.
Their adventures included a lost Dow, somewhere in Los Angeles, a police search and a confrontation with some “very dangerous people,” according to the LAPD.
At last the couple made it to Panama – and ran into another roadblock. I was a holiday, and they couldn’t find anyone to witness their marriage. At last Kime recruited a couple of co-workers, they went before a judge, and the couple was married at last.
Kime said people had been asking him to write about his adventures for several years. In 1990, he started writing them out in longhand, but he ended up back in Saudi Arabia working on oil spill recovery at the end of the Gulf War. “I moved around a lot and lost some of the pages, and I kind of shelved it,” Kime said.
Last year, he and Dow went back to Bangkok, where it all began, to visit her mother. He had lots of free time, so he started writing again. Once he had a completed manuscript, he started looking for a publisher.
The book was produced by Cedar Hill Publishing Company in Arizona, and is available locally at Hasting and at Pittsburg Public Library. The book can also be order through major booksellers like Amazon.com and Barns and Noble.

Staff Writer Olive L. Sullivan may be reached at (620) 231-2600, Ext. 134, or by e-mail at olive.sullivan@morningsun.net

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