Friday, Day 3
We exited the bus at the Korat bus station, by this time it is about 5am Friday morning. I am really getting tired but I’m also very hungry so we decided to get some breakfast. We walked over to a tuk tuk driver (3 wheeled motorbike taxi) and had him take us to the nearest restaurant that was open so we could get something to eat.
Many of the restaurants in Thailand are open air or sidewalk vendors. The street vendors may have plastic chairs and tables set up on the sidewalk for you to sit at while you eat. If it is a more permanent food stall you will walk inside a storefront to eat but the store is more like what you would find at a mall or flea market, meaning that the entire front of the building is open. There is no door, no glass, no wall of any type. The “kitchen” is in the front and looks like a kiosk or street vendor setup. Because the front is open sometimes stray dogs or cats will wander in and sit down next to you.
The tuk tuk driver told us that he would wait for us until we finished eating since Thana wanted to get some fresh produce from the open air market to take to her parents. We were essentially hiring him for the morning. At first I didn’t understand that because it seemed to me that he could be out picking up more fares until Thana told me that there weren’t many customers for him this early in the morning and this was sure money in his pocket.
After a tasty meal of rice, chicken, some vegetable that I didn’t recognize and a bowl of noodle soup we were on our way to the market.
I always love going to the markets as they are huge and have every kind of fruit, fish, meat, vegetable and desserts that you could imagine and many that you’ve never seen before.
I like to walk slowly through the market and take in the sights and smells. My wife tends to move a bit quicker because she knows what she is after. Sometimes I stop when I see something unusual and turn to ask Thana what it is only to find that she is nowhere to be found.
We picked up some fish, thai vegetables, thai sausage and my favorite fruit and dessert (dragon fruit and kanom chun). Kanom chun is a layered (1 green, 1 white, 1 green, etc… ) dessert and sort of like jello but sturdier. It won’t fall apart when you pick it up with your hands to eat it and has a slightly sweet lime (or whatever flavor it is) taste.
I had been studying my thai pretty hard (so I thought) for a few months before the trip. I had bought a Thai learning CD, been studying videos on Youtube and asking my wife a lot of questions. I knew that I could only speak simple phrases but thought that I would be able to pick up what people were saying so that at least on this trip I wouldn’t be totally lost. Wrong.
When we were buying the sausage I was trying to listen very closely to what the woman was saying to Thana but couldn’t understand anything. I asked my wife what she had said and after she told me I announced that I had learned those phases and what the woman had just said didn’t sound anything like it did on the CD.
I had failed to realize that native speaking people talk much faster than they do on a language learning video. My wife and the woman laughed but I wasn’t convinced. I asked the woman to repeat it for me very slowly this time. She did and I WAS able to understand her. Now if I could just get everyone in Thailand to speak super slowly I would have it made!
We left the market and went to head back to the bus station (we were still about 45 min-1 hr away from her parents village) when my wife ran into the chief of the village. He was there with his wife and a few others doing some shopping. We were as surprised to see him as he was us. He told us to just wait until they were finished shopping and we could ride to the village with them in the back of his truck. What good luck.
The truck is fairly common in the rural areas but I haven’t seen anything like it in the states since the 1920′s. There is no hood and you have to crank the engine to get it started.
When we got to the village everyone was happy to see us. We went to her parents house but they were not there so we put the food and luggage in the house and went to the rice field. Her parents were there plowing the field to get it ready for the next planting. After a few hours of walking around and visiting some of the people in the village, we went back to the house for lunch. After lunch I got extremely tired and had to lay down.
Usually when we go to Thailand we arrive early morning and I try to stay up all day so that I can sleep that night. Not this time. I crashed about 1 pm in the hammock outside under the house and didn’t wake up until 6pm. The houses are built on stilts because of frequent floods and they spend a lot of time underneath (there are tables, chairs and hammocks) because it is cooler.
Soon after waking we had dinner and I relaxed while Thana and her mother got reacquainted. I walked outside to sit and look at the stars since it was already dark. In Thailand because they are so close to the equator, day and night are pretty equal. Daylight is roughly 6:00am-6:30pm every day. I like to sit and look at the stars when we go there. There are 10′s of thousands of them to see because there is no ambient light like there is in the city where we live. By 9:30pm I am done in and take a quick bath and go to bed. Within minutes I am out like a light.