Sunday – Day 5
Woke up at 4:30am today, there’s a dog howling somewhere who decided to beat the roosters to the punch this morning. There’s no point in trying to go back to sleep since the dog is not stopping and soon the roosters will start crowing anyway. I lay there for 10-15 min and then get up and head outside for my morning ice bath and some tai chi practice. I come back in but no breakfast yet so I make some coffee and eat some baked goods that we bought yesterday.
At 6:am we head down to wait for the monks. I don’t know why but I really enjoy this ritual, part of it is the camaraderie with the gathering of many of the villagers and part of it is the solemness and respect shown to the monks.
There are a lot more people here today but I am not sure why. Sunday has no special meaning to Buddhists that I know of.
After the giving of alms we head back to the house for breakfast……..good, because I am starved. Later in the morning we go to visit Maam Won (I think that she’s some relative of my wife’s but I’m not sure). There are construction workers building a new house next door. I am transfixed while watching them work. They are climbing all over the framework structure with no hard hats, no safety equipment, no shoes, no power tools of any kind. One guy is off to the side using a hand planer smoothing out some 20 ft planks for the side of the house. OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) would have a field day here.
After our visit we went back to the house where Thana’s neighbor was making some salad for me to try. Usually I enjoy most of the foods in Thailand but this tamarind salad was very sour and bitter. It was difficult to eat but I just thank them and smiled as I tried to get it down.
We took an hour nap and then headed out for a walk. Thana wanted to take me to the village on the other side of the rice paddies where she went to primary school as a young girl. It was about 1 ½ mi (2.4 k) and she and the other children would walked this route everyday.
It was a very pleasant walk along the old dusty road with a slow moving river on one side and rice paddies on the other giving it a very serene feel. The temperature was in the low 90′s (32′s) but the heat didn’t seem to bother me because of the light breeze coming across the river. I walked along drinking in the tranquility of the scene when up ahead Thana spotted some water buffalo standing on the trail. We stopped in our tracks not sure whether to proceed (these things are huge) when they slowly turned and walked down the bank and into the river to cool themselves. As I looked to where the giant behemoths had just been standing a few moments ago I saw a tiny Thai woman holding 2 ropes. I had thought that the buffalo were running wild because she was hidden behind them and I didn’t see her at first but apparently she was herding these massive beasts.
We walked a little closer and my wife realized that the woman was an old school mate of hers. My wife and her friend, Chien sat around and reminisced for about an hour before we headed on to the nearby village.
We got to her school and my wife and I walked around the area. The first thing that she noticed was that it has grown over the years because she told me that they have added 2 new buildings since she has last been here. But the old buildings were there too, she showed me her old classroom, the playground area, the canteen where they ate lunch. I could tell that she was enjoying herself immensely and was briefly transported back in time to her youth.
After a short visit we headed out and starting walking down the street when we came upon a tuk tuk driver. We asked him to take us to Nonsoong which is the nearby town. They had a night market going on and Thana wanted to go. It was around 6:30pm and the driver didn’t want to take us since it was getting dark. He said that his eyes weren’t as good as they used to be and he didn’t like driving at night. Since it was only about 1.5 mi (2.4k) Thana talked him into it since it wouldn’t take him very long.
The night market is more about merchandise, clothing, dvd’s, shoes and other things than it is about food. There is food but it is snacks or prepared foods that you eat right away like they have at a fair or festival. My wife found some sundresses that she like and bought a few for herself and a couple for some of her friends. You can’t beat the prices, if I remember correctly they were only 199 baht (about $7) and the more you buy the cheaper they get.
While walking we passed a group of “lady boys” (transvestites). Lady boys are a big thing in Thailand, they are shown in movies, TV, plays, nightclubs, etc…but I really don’t understand why. Foreigners will tell you to be careful in nightclubs so that you don’t accidentally end up on a date with a lady boy. I don’t know about that but I can tell you that with these guys there was no doubt that they were not women.
The market started winding down around 9:30pm so we decided that we had better head out before all of the tuk tuk’s were gone. Too late. We looked up and down the street, no one. We walked up one street and down another but could not find anyone to give us a ride back to the village. Her parents don’t have a car and I didn’t want my wife to call and bother others in the village so since it was only 1.5 mi we decided to walk back.