Life in my village

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April 18th 2009
Published: April 18th 2009
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Songkran, the most popular Thai festival of the year, is held between the 13th and 15th of April. It celebrates the lunar New Year and the Buddha images are bathed or cleansed with water. The elders are sprinkled with water on their hands and necks as a show of respect. In the larger cities water battles are the order of the day with truckloads of people, mostly the young, carrying huge pots of water and bazooka water guns. The festival actually started here in Ponethong on Saturday. Five mounds of sand were dumped at the local wat and the village families somehow organized themselves into groups to work on individual mounds forming them into pyramids. They were then decorated with fresh flowers and candles.

My office, the SAO or Sub-district Administrative Office, or in Thai, aw-baa-daw, has been closed all week so I’ve had very little to do. I actually have a desk inside an air-conditioned office! My Thai counterpart, who does speak some English, has been very busy so I’ve not seen much of her. Fortunately, my landlady and her two close friends have befriended me. They DO NOT speak any English but somehow we communicate with my new language ‘Thai-anglish’. These people are so generous and I will probably repeat that quite often. So, the other day I was hanging out at my place all day feeling pretty lonely. Boi came by and asked me something that sounded like gaan-dtok-dteng-lep-muu nai, ka. After all the hand gestures I figured she wanted to know if I liked to get manicures and always trying to be safe answered ‘ka’. She left and I went back inside thinking that was strange. It wasn’t ten minutes and here comes Boi back with a gal on the back of her motorbike with all the equipment for not only a manicure but also a pedicure! It was the best 50 baht I’ve ever spent! ($1.75). Yesterday, the ‘girls’ (Boi, Gang and Tiang, I think those are their names!) picked me up in Boi’s car. It barely starts, there is no air and Boi, who is barely 4 feet tall sits with her chest touching the steering wheel and barely sees over the dash. It’s at least 95degrees outside and 120 inside. The windows are rolled up tight and we’ve got two in the front and two in the back. The sweat is pouring off of me and we’ve just begun my day. I’ve just finished my healthy breakfast of Kellogg’s All Bran and soymilk and we’re not gone 5minutes and stop for…I’m not sure, breakfast, lunch?? But it’s the usual Thai meal, sticky rice and grilled chicken. One does not refuse food, it is just placed in front of you and then everyone keeps putting more pieces in your bowl like you’re a little kid. I’ll be 200 lbs by the time I get back to America. It was an interesting day. We visited Ban Kwao, where 200 families do ‘mat-mii’ a silk weaving process developed 100’s of years ago, then went to the hospital to visit a ‘sister’ who wasn’t even there yet. We were invited into her hospital room by the nursing staff to await her arrival by ambulance. Two men arrive shortly after us and fall into conversation with the ‘girls’. It was a bit surreal. An older women arrives on a gurney with two staff people attending to her, she is obviously in discomfort. There are now six other people in the room who completely ignore her. I feel like a fly on the wall watching, not actively involved. All of a sudden its time to go and the women calls me over and thanks me for being there. Made me feel very weird especially as I didn't realize she even knew I was there. Later that evening, another 'friend' asks me to go to an aerobics class with her in town. Oh how I miss Jazzercise!!! To finish off the evening, a woman I barely remember meeting, came calling thru my windows to give me some mangos (I’m so tired of green mangos…I now have 10 of them and they keep multplying) and some yellow liquid stuff. I’ll try everything once. Have no idea what it is but will try it in the morning.

Hope this wasn’t too lengthy. Just sharing my thoughts and adventures

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I've been Thai-nappedI've been Thai-napped
I've been Thai-napped

My friends, Boi, Tiang, me and Gang

19th December 2009

Marvin emailed me about your adventures , hope you are well;happy holidays.
19th December 2009

Marvin emailed me about your adventures , hope you are well;happy holidays.
26th January 2010

Oh my gosh, it's Bernie!!! Thought you vanished from the planet. Just by accident I checked my blog comments and there you were from Dec. So how have you been? As Marvin mentioned I'm here in Thailand doing a 2 year stint with the Peace Corps. Have just finished my 1st year and enjoying myself. How about giving me your e-mail address and perhaps we can catch up on the last several years. My best, Lynda e-mail

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