On the farm

Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
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Flag of Thailand  , Roi Et,
Thursday, November 1, 2007

Well everyone sit down and get comfortable because this may be a bit of a long entry.  its so nice to see modern conveniences again such as computers and running water after spending the last week up in ninny's village....not that it wasn't a nice experience and very interesting....just sometimes you miss the little luxuries that you have grown so accustomed to over the years.  anyway, this post is just a recount of the last week in what i like to call "stone age Nebraska"  or in Thai.....roi et.

of course nothing in my relationship with ninny ever goes as its supposed to.  it was an on again off again proposition concerning meeting her family.  as in any culture its a pretty big deal to meet the clan but also ninny had to take into account not only her families reaction to me but also my reaction to the very spartan living conditions in which she grew up.  its a rare occasion in life when you can mention being homeless and in prison as positive reference points for the upcoming adventure but this is what i did.....she also knew me as a very easy going guy who can eat the spiciest of foods right along with the locals and that seemed to win her over.  we parted ways on khao san road (bangkok) so she could go pack and get ready and we would leave the next day for roi et which is about an 8 hour bus ride into the heart of Thailand and its "bread basket" so to speak since they are ass deep in rice paddies...quite literally.

the new day bloomed anew with a sense of adventure and a little nervous twitter in the stomach because lets face it, who likes to meet the parents.....especially when they dint speak a lick of English.  i waited a bit to call ninny because if left to her own devices, she can be quite the lazy girl and sleep clear through until noon.  having waited for a bit i called her and soon discovered that she was already in roi et.  her friend had needed to go early in the morning to get some paperwork from home so ninny went with her leaving me kind of in the dust.  "can you come alone?"  she asked me....clearly doubting my ability to ride a bus by myself which perturbed me a little bit.  i assured her that i was indeed able to buy a ticket to her town and that i would be on my way on the evening bus (there was one bus at 5am and one at 7pm). 

after wasting the majority of the day wandering khao san, i jumped into a taxi and headed to mo chit bus station which is directly across from the bangkok weekend market.  traffic in bangkok is never a good experience and i blame the police most of all.  the city has very modern traffic lights with very convenient countdowns letting you know how much time is left on the green light or how much longer the red light is going to last.  very convenient.  the problem is that most intersections have a little cop box where a few cops sit around and watch TV and wait for the next traffic accident.  also inside these boxes they have the power to over ride the timing on the lights if they feel it appropriate......maybe they feel that one direction is backed up too far so they over ride and completely fuck the timing for the entire city.  add to that the infuriating habit of them forgetting about the lights during a particularly interesting part of the TV show they are watching and its enough to make you want to buy a gun.  I HATE BANGKOK!!!

having said that..............the taxi took an absurd amount of time to get to station but arrive we did and i saw without much surprise that i was the only farang (whitie) in the whole bustling station.  oh well, not a problem.....ticket has been bought and I'm soon on my way to roi et with an expected arrival time of 2am which wasn't too bad.  ill skip the bus since it was very uneventful and go directly to my arrival at roi et which was actually about 40 kilometers from ninny's village.  i grabbed hold of a taxi driver (there are no actual taxi's out here understand....just guys with trucks who will take you places for money) and dialed ninny's number....they discussed exactly where in the hell she lived and we were on our way out of the quasi largish town of roi et (maybe 35,000 people) into the darkness of the surrounding countryside.  we quickly went to small town to quiet countryside to the middle of fucking nowhere.  there were more calls placed to ninny because the driver was in unchartered waters and we both had no idea where the hell we were going.  the pavement soon ended and now we were on a rough dirt road that cut through the moonlit rice paddies....the driver looked over at me like i must be a mad man to be coming out here and i was beginning to agree with him.  the curse of the whole experience was that ninny is on the very edge of cellphone coverage (which is impressive considering how far in the boonies she is) so when we would call for directions, sometimes it would go through and sometimes it wouldn't.  when it didn't we would just sit in the truck and wait for the reception to shift a little bit.

its about 3am when we finally pull up to ninny's small house...the only house with lights on this late at night.....the lights allow me to see her coming around front with a big smile on her face and i had to laugh.  after giving her a hug which is a bit risque in traditional Thailand i was quickly introduced to mom before she went back to bed and after a little small talk we did the same.

so ninny's home.........there are two houses on the property with a smallish barn and a open air building used for cooking/laundry and the bathroom is attached to this building.  the house that i stayed in consisted of one very large room which was the living room/dining room/den/all purpose....and two bedrooms.  ninny's grandmother usually lived in this home but she was away preparing for the festival (which was the whole reason for us coming up there in the first place).  ninny still had her bedroom even though she only visits sporadically.  the floor is tile because carpet would never survive the onslaught of insects.  the broom they use to clean the floor is very effective at getting the ants and beetles and other creepy crawlies that are a constant companion in rural Thailand.  if there was carpet it would just prove impossible to get the bugs.

the other house is where her mother and father live....this is a more traditional house (for Thailand) which means that its actually about a full story and half up on stilts.  this serves two purposes. first the air flow under the floor actually cools the house and of course second, you are living in a flood plane which is good for rice but bad for TV's.  high and dry baby.  the building that i found most interesting was the cooking/washing room.  all the cooking was done on a single propane burner but the food that was produced was delicious...i had no idea ninny could cook but her mom kept giving her shit about not treating me right and not cooking enough LOL so she became determined to show she could do it.  the hygiene of this place left quite a lot to be desired.  i mean if you have a queasy stomach and are worried about getting a little sick then this is not the place for you.  in the building there were two resident cats and a very cute puppy named "box".  all 3 of them were hell bent at eating whatever it was you were cooking or cutting which made the whole process kind of tedious.  add to this the random chicken that would run into the open door and it was chaos...and this is just trying to cook lunch for gods sake.  the dogs and cats weren't bad and the chickens were a novelty but the flies and the mosquito's were down right infuriating and there were many a time that i had to get up and leave because the buzzing of flies was just pushing me over the edge.  the cool thing about the cooking though was that ninny would pop outside and dig up some lemon grass here, some ginger there etc etc and then come back and wash it and start chopping.  i loved the fact that you could just pop outside and get fresh herbs......the dead chicken with its head still on was a little disconcerting (as was ninny's swift removal of it) but other then that i was fascinated to watch her cook (she wouldn't let me help being a man and all).

OK OK I'm going to continue this in the next day or two because this entry is going to be just too long.  look for the next post soon guys
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