This is a very short edition of “Isaan – the Small Stories” and in fact will be the last edition under this name. In future I will be writing a monthly update of life here in the same format with small stories that give glimpses into the life of a farang living in a rural village in the north east of Thailand. In the past I have published these entries on Facebook and then transferred them to this forum on an ad hoc sort of basis. I have recently become disillusioned with Facebook, it’s increasingly commercial nature and the pretty shallow quality of many entries. As a result I have decided to stop contributing to my timeline there and focus on the blog instead where I get a larger readership.

This brief edition brings us to the end of March 2017 and I will work on publishing April and May under the title “Living in Isaan” shortly if the rain keeps making indoors and the computer look attractive.

18 March 2017 – Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first the chicken or the egg….the egg in this case.

And what did you bring back from your holiday in Phuket, which you can read about HERE and HERE ? A concrete chicken!

For some unknown reason a couple of months ago Gaun bought some plastic eggs at one of those 20 baht shops and ever since we have looked for the chicken that would complete the picture. We have been into many garden statue places but no luck. Then of all places we came across just the right thing in a Phuket backstreet when we were on holiday there with Yuan and Lud. Luckily we had some spare weight allowance and the chicken has now made our garden home and the eggs are coming along nicely.

To add to the oddity the chicken was made in an Isaan city called Korat (full name Nakhon Ratchasima), which is where my brother-in-law Lud was born, and shipped to Phuket.

18 March 2017 – Two more Wats

It is always a pleasure to discover temples worth visiting especially when they are hidden away in the Isaan countryside. We came across two of them on Thursday and you can read about them HERE:

25 March 2017 – Anniversary of House

Two years ago today we moved into our new home in Si Bun Ruang after a five month construction period. What a huge two years it has been. The house and with its beautiful, lush tropical garden has given us the perfect base to live a comfortable and fun life in Isaan. Thank you to Ming, our builder, and all involved.

My Tasmanian coffee table arrives from mama’s house. Yuan and Lud helping.

 

The fridge with more family and Ming.

Some of Gaun’s garden shipped over from Chiang Mai waits for its final move to our land. Gaun’s mama and Peng.

The sla as it was that day. Things sure have changed.

The sala is now hidden away under the mango trees.

The sala hasn’t moved since photo one, which shows just how much the plants have grown around it.

The front garden to be.

Improved.

 

Happy to be at home.

25 Mar 2017 – A Farm Update

Just a quick update on what’s happening on the farm. There’s a lot of activity to plant up for Songkran, Thai New Year in April, which is when everyone returns home to party, eat, drink and thrown water around. It is a very busy time for the farm as they try to keep up with demand at the markets.

In the meantime Yuna and Lud have a variety of ways to keep some money flowing in from sales. Chillies are ready to pick, lettuce, coriander, dill and cucumbers. In the more exact sales ant eggs are in big demand if you can find them, honey combs and leaves picked from trees, which I have no idea other than they would be inedible for me 🙂

Chilli plants.

Harvesting chillis for today’s local markets.

Wonderful colours.

Another day where Yuna and Lud were installing bottles with a sticky substance sprayed on the outside to capture flies that would otherwise attack the chillies.

In place.

Holes drill in the bottle to attract the flies inside as well as have them get stuck to the outside.

Jackfruit anyone? Yuan does sell these for some reason.

Honeycomb.

60 baht or $2.40 each.

Meanwhile Gaun is keeping her flower beds under control. Everything grows well here including the weeds. This is at the entrance to the farm. The flowers are just starting now and will be in full bloom for the wet season.

Never happier than when her hands are dirty.

The entrance to the farm is becoming more impressive. Gaun has hand planted from the entrance to the second power pole in the distance. All are cuttings. This is on the verge of flowering too.

Long beans on Paed and Tham’s farm, the other half of the family estate!

Tham and Paed digging holes for the posts that will support that shade cloth for new seed crops as they grow.

Tham and Paed digging holes for the posts that will support that shade cloth for new seed crops as they grow.

My Aussie garlic is making good progress with new crops under shade in the background.

26 Mar 2017 – A Sweet Rush

An afternoon out at Nong Bua Lamphu brought us past a village opposite ours where we caught up with a wat festival getting underway. This is where a long piece of cloth is taken from outside the moo ban to the temple. I covered our own version of this event recently. Free sweets got everyone’s attention.

26 Mar 2017 – Jetskis in Isaan

I had seen signs for jetski races at our provincial capital of Nong Bua Lamphu this week. Now jetskis going round and round may not appeal to you, as it doesn’t too much for me, but as we have just got back from coastal Phuket I had to make the trip to take a few photos of jetskis 600 km from where were a bit over a week ago.

I had seen signs for jetski races at our provincial capital of Nong Bua Lamphu this week. 

Jetskis aren’t something you see everyday in outback Thailand so they were attracting a bit of interest from young and old.

A viewing area had been set up and you can see one of the local temples in the background. A mix of cultures.

I wish my brother-in-law Lud could have come to see this but he was tied to the farm under instructions from his wife Yuan 🙁

Interesting for 5 minutes and a few photos.

On the way back we called into a local village because they were having their version of the temple festival we had recently where a long piece of cloth is taken from outside the moo ban to the wat with dancing, music and a little bit of drinking.

Later we joined in this festival and it was the usual good natured and relaxed Isaan event. Here the procession has stopped to try and get the monks to slow down their return to the temple when the party slows.

Gaun and friend.

Every moo ban (village ) is different. Here the monks were given bunches of leaves and flowers, which they used to dip into water and bless the villagers and their houses.

Waiting to get wet. Not my camera so the quality isn’t great but you get the idea.

Free refreshments being handed out. This group are relations of Gaun’s mama.

A very young group dancing with the music truck this time. Usually it is a wider mix of ages.

Back at home some young boys were playing soccer outside our gates. 

Our concrete is obviously better than the alternative to sit and chat. A good reason to have gates because otherwise in true Thai fashion they would have wandered in until Gaun found them!

30 Mar 2017 – Big Chang

We have had a large addition to my Thai family in the form of a Nissan pickup to replace the Mazda 2 that’s done such a great job of taking us around Thailand since we bought it in Chiang Mai over three years ago. You can find the full story of Big Chang (Elephant) HERE.

Our new baby elephant (the truck) and Peng who was keen fr the first photo.

It was Peng’s birthday yesterday when we collected the Nissan and the sales staff bought her a cake and sang happy birthday. A nice touch.

Gaun and Yuan prepare the flowers for the car blessing ceremony today.

Dit a friend. A smile that would convert you to Buddhism.

The blessing happening watched by a couple of kids who will become temporary monks for the long summer holidays.

A car well blessed.

The ladies in my life decided that today was dress up time for photos with the new pickup. Finding a location was the challenge but a local forest temple came to the rescue. Very much a Facebook set of images with no story aimed at those of you who know us.

Forest wats provide a welcome break from the very open and shadeless landscape in a lot of Isaan.

As is usually the case a new structure is built and then abandoned. Landscaping would be nice but it will never happen. We had a minor member of Thai royalty open this statue when it was originally completed.

A lake opposite the temple for a few more photos.

Thank you for reading.