07 Jan Magical Mystery Tour Thailand – Part 11
Mars and Maem travel on to her home town in Khon Kaen where Mars meets the family. And the village.
Day 19 – Khon Kaen
Friday 28th June – 10am-12 noon
🙂 Maem actually woke up early, I think she was excited about seeing her son and Mum and Dad. I was a bit nervous having never been to her home town before.
(In Thailand, particularly in Issan, it is quite the norm for girls to have a baby with a Thai boy when they are young – there’s no sex education here – the boy then disappears leaving the girl to her fate. Issan is a very rural poor area mainly rice and sugar cane farms where each family has their own plot of land on which they grow rice or sugar cane. So the girls, not wanting to struggle, leave and head to Bangkok or some other city to find work, leaving mum to look after the children and then they send money home every month. So they might only see their parents and children once or twice a year).
🙂 Dual carraigeway all the way to Kumphanapi where we turned right onto a normal 2 lane road for 20 km. We then took another right onto a small but still tarmac road for 3 km then a left onto a red dirt track and there in front of us was Maem’s home town or village. About 25-30 houses surrounded by rice paddies, a beautiful rural setting.
🙂 The village has one dirt track in, one dirt track out and a bit of concrete road for about 100metres through the middle. No bars, no restaurants, just 2 mini mini marts that just seemed to have 2 of everything, but only about 10 things anyway, amazing.
🙂 We were greeted with open arms and open hearts by Maem’s parents (I had met them the year before when they came to visit us in April for Songkran, the Thai new year). Maem’s mum was so excited “we’re having a party tonight” she said, “All the village is coming”.
🙂 “Wicked” I said.
🙂 So off we went to the nearest town called Sitat, about 20km away, in search of food and beer. We went to a fantastic local market had a spot of lunch, noodle soup and bought beef, chicken, vegetables and 2 cases of beer. When we got back to the house there was an air of excitement. Maem started cooking, her dad was chopping meat, her mum was running round the village inviting everyone to the party that evening and I filled the fridge with beer.
🙂 “There’s no room for anything else but beer” I said.
🙂 “Mai Ben Lai” (nevermind) they said.
🙂 “Cool” I said.
🙂 They then sat me on a chair in front of a fan with a cold beer that they got from the shop next door (half their stock of beer). People kept coming round to see me, the farang, and I felt like I was some sort of celebrity, which in a way I suppose I was. They don’t see many farang up there and one of their daughters had married one and brought him home, it was just fantastic. I was made to feel more welcome than anywhere I’ve ever been and I knew at once that the days here were going to be the best of our holiday, and they were.
🙂 At 4 O’clock we picked Maem’s son, Dew, up from school. He’s a great boy, 11 years old and he was so excited, not only to see his Mum but the fact that being picked up from school in a car. He swaggered over bursting with pride and called me Papa, it was so lovely.
Then back to the house where the excitement was rising to fever pitch. Again Maem went to the kitchen, again they sat me down in front of the fan with a, now cold, big bottle of chang from the fridge.
🙂 People started arriving about 5 O’Clock and by 6 O’Clock I think all the village was there. Aunties, uncles, cousins and friends. There was an unspoken agreement that I was in charge of beer distribution. Maem had cooked one of her Masaman curries. Maems mum had cooked an amazing beef something or other, there was raw finely chopped beef courtesy of Maems dad and loads of veg both cooked and raw, what a feast.
🙂 In traditional Thai style everyone was sat on the floor around all different bowls of food and Dew (pronouned Deeooo) was refilling bowls as and when was necessary. Then someone mentioned Lao Koa (rice whiskey) and I was sent to the next door shop to get some. We all had a toast to Maem and me, it brought a tear to my eye. We sat together on the floor and everyone came and waied us and tied a thin piece of string around our wrists. It was like getting married all over again.
🙂 I was the dispatched to get another bottle of Loa Koa, more toasting and again I was sent for more Loa Koa “But they only have 2 of everything in the shop”, I thought. I was wrong, they got loads of Loa Koa.
🙂 By 8.30pm everybody was thoroughly drunk and wobbling off home to their beds, we helped clear up and then did the same. We were staying in a small room up the road that we had booked earlier (pictures) not as grand as the Singha Montra but it had two beds and Dew stayed with us so was even better.