More small stories of everyday life in Isaan, Thailand this post covering September and some of October 2017:
19 Sept 2017 – Sunset
A beautiful sunny day today giving us hope that the end of the rainy season is about to happen. Here in the north we slip into cool nights and days in the mid 20’s from November to February and the farm produces seasonal crops such as broccoli and cauliflowers. Yummy with a white cheese sauce – very Thai
I was at the farm this evening enjoying a rum and coke or two and captured some lovely photos of the dramatic sunsets we get this time of year.
Earlier in the day this photo below shows Gaun and Peng walking back from the family home to our place. There was something especially joyful in the moment with those big Thai smiles. Mind you we had just finished lunch at the farm with some friends from Udon and in Gaun’s case a few beers had been consumed
21 Sept 2017 – Driving in Thailand
Driving in Thailand is one of those hot topics on expat forums and the sort of thing that is often raised in conversations whenever farang get together. The statistic that Thailand is the second most dangerous country in the world to be on the road is sometimes quoted (not necessarily true as I will prove) and examples of situations seen here that defy the traffic laws in western countries are exchanged. So what is it actually like to drive here? Find out by reading my post HERE
Gaun completely replanted areas of the farm earlier in the year using cuttings taken from older plants and our garden. Her efforts have just now started to pay off in an incredible display of colour at the entrance to the farm.
She has now turned her attention to clearing out a small forest area on her own land so that some beautiful Tamarind trees can be properly displayed. It is a lovely shaded spot and I am thinking on adding a small sala (covered seating platform) to the area as yet another sit and read book option on the farm.
24 Sept 2017 – New Forest Wat
We called into the small forest wat being built down the road from the farm today. The abbot passed our home early this morning and admired Gaun’s hedges, which she was trimming. Later that morning a village elder turned up to collect the trimmings to take and replant at the temple.
This is currently a slightly chaotic building site but the monk in charge (Dit) is working towards a big opening ceremony on 29 Oct so there is progress being made.
A small one and this one, which was a decent size – maybe two metres. Most snakes you see are harmless to humans and keen to get out of your way. With all the digging to form the moat guys like this have been disturbed.
Since identified as Radiated racer – copperhead racer and “This snake is aggressive when threatened and is large enough to inflict some damage with its bite. A recent study has found that it produces some venom, quite similar to the venom of cobras. However, it only produces a small amount of venom and does not have venom-injecting fangs, so effects in humans are limited to redness and mild swelling at worst.” When threatened being the key words here. This one was dead keen to get out of the way.
If you are a resident of Thailand join this excellent Facebook group called the Snakes of Hua Hin. They are super helpful and are happy to answer questions from everywhere, not just Hua Hin HERE
27 Sept 2017 – Cow on Road
In my last post Edition 1 on the topic of driving in Thailand I wrote “Driving through my home village I am well aware of young kids, chickens, dogs, motorbikes, farm vehicles and buffalo all of which can unexpectedly make an appearance onto the small sois (roads).”
That SAME afternoon in our village this happened, which supports my recommendation to drive cha cha (slowly slowly). The calf came close to wiping out a bicycle being ridden by an elder.
An even greater disaster was averted as I had just stopped at the local noodle shop to buy some beer and you can hear the bottles falling over as I quickly slowed. I am happy to report none were broken
5 Oct 2017 – End of Lent
Temples everywhere in Thailand are starting to celebrate the end of the three month Buddhist Lent period. We were up early this morning to go to the small wat just down the road from the family farm. A very local occasion with villagers to feed the six monks currently in residence.
“Pouring water onto the ground (as many times as one feels to do) is a way to share one’s merit and goodwill, to send out positive thoughts, positive energy, loving, and kindness to all beings. It is a practice that embodies the way of Bodhisattvas, to always be kind and merciful. Pouring water is a way of embodying the ideas of giving and of letting go. When the bottle is turned over, the water flows out on its own – there is nothing more one has to do. This is letting go. The water is also a symbol of giving on many levels, and it carries the essence of one’s giving with it, into the earth and to other beings.”
7 Oct 2017 – Street Party
A street party today for a one of my favourite local wats called Wiset Mongkhon to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent and also to start the dedication process for the temple, which is in the final stages of completion.
Normally the villagers would follow a large music truck around the streets but because this is the month of the king’s cremation loud music has been banned and a Lum (Isaan percussion) band was approved for this occasion. A good time was still had by all.
My photos reflect the wonderful opportunity these events provide to capture faces and moments rather than just record the party itself.
11 Oct 2017 – Roadtrip Highlights
We have just got back from a three day drive in the northeast of Thailand with a friend of ours from Brisbane. I have thrown together a few of my favourite photos from the trip to illustrate the variety of sights that are there to be found if you look hard enough in this non-touristy part of the country.
12 Oct 2017 – Farm Party
Our friend Jenny, who is visiting us from Brisbane via Chiang Mai, is leaving tomorrow so that called for a fish BBQ party with the family at the farm this evening.
It was a triple celebration as Peng both had her braces removed today and has been cleared to return to school next term commencing on the 24th having recovered sufficiently from her operation to cope with normal life again. Brilliant news.
13 Oct 2017 – Out in the countryside
With a few hours to spare before we took our friend Jenny to catch a flight back to Chiang Mai we headed out into the countryside for a look-see. As always there were some small happenings ideal to illustrate local life and provide free entertainment
This is a sticky rice and this particular type isn’t widely planted because it needs harvesting now at the end of the wet season. If the rice is damp it will need to be dried before long term storage. Most rice will start being harvested early next month when the farmers hope it will be dry. The rice is feed into the machine on the left and the stalks get discarded (used for mulch) and the rice goes into that bag being held by the guy in green.
Thanks for reading and spending time with us in Isaan.