The funeral

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
Trip End Mar 29, 2011

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Flag of Thailand  , Roi Et,
Monday, January 10, 2011

I really need to get to Laos shortly for a visa renewal and was planning on going alone today.  It has been confirmed that Jai's brother, At, will be cremated this afternoon so I have postponed for one more day and we will be leaving tomorrow instead.
We leave for Ban Don Mieu about 13:00 and after a quick drink at his house we are in time to see them carrying the coffin out and loading up onto the back of a pick-up truck playing very loud music.  A length of string is attached to the front of the pick-up and a number of monks, including two of At's children who have become monks for the day, lead the string off down the road.  Everyone joins in holding onto the string between the monks and the pick-up and we all walk about 3km to the woodland where the cremation will take place.  About 100 people are present as they unload the coffin from the pick-up onto a pile of logs that has been prepared.  Family members take it in turns to pour coconut oil onto the body in the open coffin - I decline.  Next to the pyre is At's artificial leg, blankets and a bag of clothes with a couple of his personal possessions which will all be burnt with him.  The monks make a blessing and also add coconut oil then the chief monk (?) starts a chant that goes on for about 30mins.  Memebrs of the family are then called forward to present the monks with new robes, blankets etc.  We have all been given a box of matches and an incense stick and before we leave we all place these onto the pyre next to the coffin.  The cremation itself doesnt take place until we have all left.
We walk back to his house for a few beers and something to eat before biking back to Khamnadie before it gets dark.
Pack bags and fill out immigration form ready for tomorrow when it looks like we will finally be heading off to Laos.
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