An Englishman in a Thai village
Whilst on a recent trip to Thailand I ended up staying in a Thai farmers village for 2 months. While I was there I decided to keep a diary, mainly to keep myself from going insane.
In this the first of two posts I have condensed that massive body of crap to the salient points.
Day 1 – screamed
We arrived at Surin railway station after a long journey from Hua Hin via Bangkok. I had insisted on an air-con sleeper so the journey was at least more tolerable.
We were picked up at the station by a villager and headed off on the 100kms journey to Sanom. It was raining and the roads were wet, but this didn’t stop our young fearless Thai driver from hitting speeds of up to 130kmh.
We rounded a corner on the wrong side of the road and missed two people on a motorbike by inches. I screamed and braced for impact, he just laughed. Sweet god what are these people on. We eventually arrived safely, and I contemplated kissing the ground papal style as I alighted from what was nearly my tomb.
The villagers gathered round to look at the stranger that had just arrived. Some said hello, some just stared. I launched with enthusiastic vim into my best Thai, and was met with glassy eyed looks. They speak a Thailand/Laos dialect in this part of the country, said Joy, they will only understand you a little. Great I thought, I’ve spent years learning to master basic Thai and now I can’t be understood.
It was 07:00 am but I noticed several villagers were drinking ‘Lao Khao’ which is a lethal spirit that can lead to blindness. I also noticed they were giving it to some of the kids!
The day went smoothly but I kept noticing people staring at me from behind dense foliage or a grazing buffalo. It was most unnerving to say the least. Every time I turned around loads of local kids would scream and run?
We were eventually in bed by 18:00, shattered. Day 1 was over and I was still alive.
Day 2 – Thai style
I was rudely awakened at 04:00 by a cockroach that had decided to check out the inside of my boxer shorts. My scream woke Joy up, who swiftly beat it to a pulp with her fist and told me to go back to sleep and not to worry. What! who was she kidding how many more of these bloody things were there.
Eventually I drifted off again. To be woken up 30 minuets later by the shrill cock-a-doodle-doo of the village cockerel.
I showered Thai style (bucket and sloosh) and wandered outside and to join the other villagers clutching my humongous mug of coffee. They stared at me with a look of terrified shock in their eyes. One by one they slunk away until eventually I was sitting on my own. I asked Joy and she said that they felt uncomfortable around me and also wanted to give me some space.
I finished my coffee and wandered back inside to listening to my ipod and read my book. How the hell was I going to fill the time each day?
Day 3 – Bovine callanetics
I have noticed that all the cows and buffalo eye me with particular disdain. Their ears and tails constantly flitting about in a form of bovine callanetics. Joy was busying herself by beating my smalls over a medium sized rock. I could almost hear them cry ‘we’re from Marks and Spencer for gods sake, we don’t deserve this’
I notice some children curiously look on as I scribble this entry in my diary. Think to myself – I’d like to read a Thailand farmers diary of a two week stay in London.
Observation – For some strange reason it seems perfectly normal for various village adults to sporadically beat small kids about the body. Even if they have done nothing wrong. They don’t seem to mind and never cry.
Day 4 – Cows arse
You would not believe how good a bowl of vegetables and rice can taste when washed down with a cold beer, sitting on a bamboo table under a house whilst a monsoon is lashing down. I feel totally at ease and strangely content. Eventually I finish my only meal of the day. Shortly I know the sweats will follow. Food in Thailand can be as hot as hades!
The bloody flies wont go away, you can flail your arms about like a fit victim, but still the tenacious buggers keep coming.
I think I have invented a new noun – a grub of chickens (well I like it)
Observation – I appear to have started to talk to myself.
The elder women are rolling up a white paste in some leaves. Let’s hope this is the beetle nut I have heard about and not cocaine! Bored I spend the next 10 minuets studying a cows arse.
At 13:00 I decide I want to fart. I do and promptly shit myself, so spend the next 10 minuets discreetly washing my underpants. God its hot today.
Day 5 – Russian roulette
Walking between the palm trees I have decided is akin to playing Russian roulette as every now and again a coconut will fall with a giant thud leaving itself embedded 3-4 inches in the ground. That said I gamely go on the odd jaunt and wait for the darkness to descend.
A really old lady has been skulking around the village. I always enjoy seeing her as when I speak to her she just cackles really loudly. Its so funny. I found out today that she’s only 55 years old! Maybe she’s been round the clock and is in fact 155.
I spend the afternoon chasing the kids and teaching them some English games to play, like hop scotch and penny against the wall. I wish I had a bag of marbles.
Day 6 – Chickens grubbing
Up at 06:00 and what a glorious morning it is. The chickens are grubbing about as usual and the kids are splitting nuts open with bloody great machetes. Eventually they get ready for school (the kids that is, not the chickens) and they wave to me as they walk up the lane to school.
I am off to see some old Khmer ruins today, so should get some good pictures.
When we arrive there is a coach load of school kids already there, they are eager to practice their English and even offer us some food. I can’t see school kids in the UK doing that, all you’d get is ‘wot you looking at!’
We walk back to the market to buy some vittles for tea, and arrive back in the village just in time to witness the end of a sporadic kid hitting session. I eat my veggies and rice with relish, consume two bottles of Leo beer, shower and hit the sack at 19:00.