The village people
Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
272Trip End Ongoing
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yuy went ahead of me by a day to get settled and probably talk to mom and dad before my arrival. my instructions were to buy a bus ticket to kohn khien (pronounced cone cain and when said very quickly as the thais tend to do, it sounds like cocaine) and then call with my expected time of arrival so she could pick me up from the bus station. I bought my ticket with the expected small amount of hassle and having found the listing in my travel guide for kohn khien i learned that its actually a pretty big city with bars and restaurants etc etc so it wasnt like I was going out into the boonies or anything so i was a bit relieved at that
through what i describe as a minor communication error (some may call it an outright lie) i expected the bus ride to be 2 hours but was actually a 10 hour drive into the heart of thailand with my expected time of arrival at 6am the next day. not really a convenient pick up time but not like i had a choice in the matter. I called yuy and gave her the info and was instructed to call her when i got into town to make sure everything was ok........ sooo flashforward to 6am the next day and me on my cellphone ringing....ringing...ringing ....mind you im the only farang (westerner) for probably 50 miles.....ringing....ringing .....groggy voice answering..."ewwo?" so much for picking me up at the bus station. I assured the sleeping beauty on the other end that im indeed in town and ill be getting a room at the nearest inn....call me when you wake up. jumped on a bike rickshaw to the nearest dive and dumped my bags and laid my head down on what i will liberally call a pillow. i had probably been asleep for an hour when my phone started ringing. i was exhausted from a long and uncomfortable bus ride and i wanted nothing else other then sleep and sweat in my little shack of a room but i was in BFE for a reason and no use blowing the girl off. Of course i had to run downstairs to have the front desk attendant give directions to yuy because i had no idea where the hell i was.
it was about 45 minutes later when my phone rang and i got the message "me here". so i run downstairs and there is yuy, quick hug and then a truck pulls up and lo and behold there is mom and dad and sister....ok lets get this family meeting thing on shall we? greetings are exchanged with big smiles all around and yuy doing her best to translate as fast as her mother is talking (i think yuy can work for the u.n. after this week). as we are all talking the father starts to drive....and drive...and drive. so much for living in the big city with the bars and restaurants. the actual village was about 50 kilometers from the bus station and it just so happened they were nice enough to come get my sorry ass.
having driven the 50 km we arrived in a small village but not completely ass backwards as the word "village" sometimes conjures in peoples minds. the dirt roads had recently been paved with cement...there were power lines and power (not always a given in thailand). hell there was even running water so no complaints outta me really. yuy's house (or her parents to be more accurate) is in the fashion of all the thai homes and buildings ive seen so far....very open and airy..they dont believe in hallways leading to smaller rooms....just one big room with doors off of it for bedrooms. i could safely say that it was a bit squalid and/or dirty compared to what most of you are used to, but since i lived in a crackhouse in college, i was pretty comfortable with my surroundings
after arriving, the father went back to work, he raises fighting cocks on another piece of property a block away, and i was left with the women....and they soon multiplied. all of the surrounding houses were occupied with an aunt, uncle, sister, cousin, grandmother.....and they ALL came to see the farang and talk and talk and talk and laugh while pointing at me and then talk some more. it takes a little getting used to but once you realize that everyone in the room is discussing you in one way or another and there is nothing you can do about it, you just sort of resign yourself to the situation and take it in stride.
at this point i am introduced to my arch nemisis and what can safely be called the most obnoxious and horrible child on the planet. if any of you have doubts about the anti christ walking the earth, i assure you he is alive and well and entering his toddler years in central thailand. yuy's brother lives upstairs with his wife (who speaks excellent english) and their anti christ child. ok to be fair, i would have to put most of the blame on the raising of this child and not so much on the child itself.....from the moment he wakes up he is fed an unending supply of sugar and a nonexistant form of discipline....which of course leads to never ending howling/ screaming/ tempertantrum/ screaming/ howling/ crying/ snivelling/ crying/ howling/ tempertantrum....
so having met the whole family and a good chunk of the village the mother asks me why i got a hotel room and i tried to explain that in america a new boyfriend showing up just doesnt shack up with the daughter under the parents roof. well after all the translations two things were decided. first, american parents are insane (i agree) and second, id be getting my bags from the hotel and moving into yuy's room which was quite literally whispering distance from mom and dad's room. so many problems could spring up from this decision it seemed pretty stupid for me to go along with it even if my brain is drenched in hormones (by the way, when does that stop? i thought 16 year old boys are supposed to be like this, not a guy in his 30's)
we arrived back in the village by 8pm to find the entire place dark and seemingly asleep. very different from bangkok and the rest of thailand that is flooded by farangs, where the bars go till the wee hours of the morning. having arrived, the parents promptly went to bed and yuy and i were faced with the basic facts of village life, at night you can do one of two things....watch thai soap operas which are quite interesting and strange in their own ways....or have sex. i now know why there are so many god damn kids running around the village.
the next morning.....630am to be exact, the whole family packed up the truck again and head out to a town about 2 hours away called hoi et
the next day me and the father and the brother went to a giant cock auction (im sorry but how many times can you say that sentence in your life?) where dad dropped a couple of thousand dollars on some new bloodlines for his farm. i had no idea what the hell was going on since my translator was back home doing this that or the other thing. i was left with dad and the brother and although they were friendly as hell, it was a bit uncomfortable not being able to speak their language. LOTS of smiling.
at this point i would like to say that being raised in a western home in what i consider the modern era, i found it a bit uncomfortable at times with how the domestic world was split up in this rural setting. meaning, the women cooked breakfast/lunch/dinner. the women did all the dishes, and all of the laundry. yuy would do the laundry at our house and then go 3 buildings down and do the grandparents laundry every 2 days. when i tried to help do the dishes it was as if i had crapped in their living room or something. when i woke...usually about 30 minutes after yuy and 2 minutes after the howling little shit started up for the day, my outfit for the day was laid out for me and breakfast would be awaiting me, if the anti christ hadnt thrown it against the wall yet that is, if i hear the words "gin cow" one more fucking time.....eat eat, i swear to god ill scream. they eat almost endlessly, at least 7 or 8 snacks and meals a day, somthing is always be prepared our bought or something. Just to tell you how weird it could get, she got pissed when i didnt want her cutting my finger nails for gods sake....i mean not talking to me for 2 hours pissed.
all in all i would say most of my time was spent being picked over by the relatives and clucked over by yuy. of course mom asked when we were getting married and i just kind of smiled and nodded and looked stupid (not hard). my parents are invited to come visit whenever they have the time or inclination and i could just picture my father in that environment and it makes me laugh every time. im so glad that i got out into the countryside and away from the back packer trail. i pride myself in traveling and seeing the sights but to be honest ive always been near other westerners and the thai's you meet are used to westerners and speak a bit of english. in yuy's village i was probably the only westerner for a hundred miles and i met people who had never seen a white person before which sounds very cliche but was very cool in reality. im glad i went and i was sad to go but my visa is ready to expire and i have to leave thailand for a bit. so what becomes of me and yuy you may ask.....good question and all i can say at the moment is that i have every intention of coming back for her.