A couple of very minor changes to this regular posting of everyday stories about life in a small Esan rural village, in the northeast of Thailand. Firstly I have changed the title again and it will now be Esan Village Life. The previous title was Living in Isaan (17 editions) and the original series was called Isaan – the Small Stories (31 posts). Most of my stories are nothing more than sharing life spent living in the village so it seems appropriate to match the header with the content.
I have also decided to also adopted a spelling of Esan, rather than my previous spelling of Isaan that I have used in the blog up to now. As I have written before there is no formally correct English spelling for Thai language. The spelling you see is phonetic (how it sounds) so your guess is as correct as anyone else’s. However there are more generally accepted spellings for many words, although place names are very hit and miss. Back to the spelling of Isaan/Isan/Esan. I have always spelt it Isaan, picked up from something I read in the early days. However, the more popularly recognised spelling, based on Google search terms, is Esan, which from the way it is pronounced with a more ‘E” than ‘I’ sound makes sense.
I will be changing to Esan from now on because when running a website search terms are important. Better late than never. If you are interested in comparing search words then the service offered by Google Trends is invaluable and you can find it HERE. Once you have entered your terms remember to change it to worldwide, from the default US, if you want a broader spread of results.
Introduction – Skip if you are a regular reader
You will find many expats writing blogs about life in the coastal centres and places like Chiang Mai, which for the many westerners with connection via their Thai partner to Esan is not very helpful. There are some excellent Facebook resources as well as blogs I am sure that focus on Esan life in the bigger centres and focus more on answering questions and exchanging tops and tricks, but not so many writing as regularly as I do on what village life actually looks like from the inside.
None of my stories are spectacular and will never be found in the search results of tourists looking for adventure. However, most of the readers who follow this blog, and there are some who have become “virtual ” friends over the years, are people who have a much more committed and personal connection to Thailand and have moved well beyond elephant riding, zip-lining and bar hopping. For them, these little insights help maintain that connection to village life if they are living elsewhere, and for those who are newer to the scene maybe help with understanding what a life in rural Thailand might look like if that ever happens for them.
This edition covers all of July 2108. These stories are extracted from my Facebook page HERE, which I use as a mini-blog to give me an everyday outlet for my enjoyment of words, photography and of course the wonderful lifestyle I am privileged to enjoy. I haven’t included topics in this edition that I have already published on the blog in July, so the dates of these stories will jump around. They are very day by day accounts as a result. I hope you enjoy them.
The blog posts I wrote for July were:
Renovating an Isaan Rice Hut 6th July HERE
The Dan Sai Ghost Mask Festival 8thy July HERE
Wat Pa See Vichi 8th July HERE
A Thailand Tropical Garden – Update 3 16th July HERE
Wat Pa Keson Sin Khun Thamma Chedi 21st July HERE
and finally Mushrooms & Monks 28th July HERE
6 July 2018 – R & B Cafe Si Bun Ruang
One for locals with kids and for you outsiders another small insight into life here
There are four newish, or new to me, cafes that have opened in Si Bun Ruang, our local town. As part of my unselfish dedication to Isaan life I will try them all out and report the good and ugly.
R&B Cafe may have been there forever, or I have just noticed it. It had a slightly rundown feel but that could be just as a result of the standard poor maintenance. However, leaving that aside, it does have a decent pool out the back, which had spotless water, and for any locals with kids you could sit and have a cool drink while the young folk had a splash or vice versa. I don’t know if there is a charge for use of the pool but even if there was it is still a good option.
Inside is air conditioned and funky. I especially liked the Christmas decorations! The drinks are more expensive at about A$2.00 for a large mango and banana shake but it is upmarket for SBR.
R&B is located shortly after the SBR hospital heading out on the right. On Google Maps you’ll find it here: https://goo.gl/1Tokmy
7 July 2018 – A Timber House in Prayao
I know there are a few of you who are Thai timber house enthusiasts and I thought I would share this one with you. It belongs to Shane, an Aussie, and his wife Kannika who bought an old timber house and then used that as the basis for a merged western/Thai home in Phayao, in the far north of Thailand (Chiang Rai way).
Shane originally contacted me via this blog was kind enough to update me with regular photos of their build. Shane and Kannika recently completed the main work and moved into the house and I think it looks brilliant. This is five star timber house living – comfort with style.
Shane is a keen Jim Thompson House person (a must see in Bangkok HERE) and is wanting to develop their garden along the same lines as Jim and myself. Sadly in more recent news Shane and Kannika informed me they had to return to Australia for a while so they didn’t have too much time to enjoy their newly completed home. It will be patiently waiting for their return.
11 July 2018 – Guttering and Buffalos
One of the joys of village living is that if you wait long enough everything you ever desire will pass by your front gate! I heard the advertising for gutters this morning (I do have some Thai words) and sure enough on their next sweep through the village they came down our road.
I wanted guttering for the rice hut to keep roof rain off the decking and at the back water pouring into the clothes drying area and garden shed. I also thought guttering would finish off the look of the hut at the front. 45 minutes later 12 metres of guttering had been installed at a cost of $70.00 (150 baht a metre supplied and installed).
11 July 2018 – Time Spent with a Friend
We had a Gary Emms a friend from Australia recently visit us for three days and I thought I would show you some of the range of simple but uniquely Isaan things we did during his time here.
21 Oct update – it did nothing but I stayed my normal rather pale colour – so not all bad news.
13 July 2018 – Longan
Every Friday Si Bun Ruang has markets, which Yaun attends to sell whatever is growing at the farm. Today Peng is spending the day with her because for some strange reason army cadets have moved into her school for an extended training session and 3,000 students have been given a ten day holiday as a result!
Peng decided that she’d make some pocket money at the markets too, plus she enjoys spending time with Yaun her second mum, so our garden was raided for papaya and longan fruit.
A bit like a lychee. We are currently harvesting the following from the garden: papaya, longan, mangos (only a few left), chillies, mint, custard apples, lemongrass, basil – Thai and Isaan, ginger, galangal and a couple of other things that I have no idea of their name!
18 July 2018 – Timber and Farmhouse Extensions
Not much is happening today at the farm crop-wise because the rice is planted and new vegetables are still at the pre-harvesting stage. Everything is also very wet after two days of light but steady rain. So the project for the day is to extend the farmhouse to ensure the main “living” areas are better protected from sun and rain.
Yuan and Lud have lived in this farmhouse, which is in itself an extension of Gaun’s mama’s farm hut, for over twenty years now, so this is a cha cha (slowly slowly) Isaan-time project!
By this evening the timber structure for the farm extension was finished. I want to put some insulation underneath the roofing before it goes on tomorrow as it faces west (setting sun) so we will be doing a quick drive to Global House (a DIY place) in Nong Bua Lamphu early morning. My contribution to the project.
20 July 2018 – Extensions Complete
The farmhouse extension was finished yesterday complete with insulation – an Isaan first for a farmhouse I suspect. Total cost for all the materials for a 7 x 2.5 metre ‘veranda’ was about $150.00.
A warning for locals planting fruit trees included in this post.
23 July 2018 – Searching for Timber
A search for Mai Dang hardwood led us into the wilds of Isaan on motorbikes this morning. And also a few photos of the other side of Gaun that we don’t see too often.
I want to have a more dramatic entrance to this area by making a timber doorway separating old from new. Do you see the wooden post on the right. There’s a matching one on the left and I just need to replace that bamboo crosspiece with the same timber to create a gateway. Funnily I also need a crosspiece because my 80 kbps fibre optic internet line runs across the back of that piece of bamboo!
Thanks for reading and if you need any more information about any of these topics or anything else please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org