To the countryside of....Isaan!

Trip Start Jun 05, 2007
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Phi Mai Inn

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Well I wanted to go to the parts of Thailand were there are no foreigners so I met a friend and they are from Buri Ram Thailand which is part of the Isaan Provinces. Isaan is a group of about 12 provinces and Buri Ram is one of them. So off we go!

We drove through the northeast countryside of Thailand for about 6 hours, which is breathtaking to say the least! The towns are somewhat modern and organized and not a foreigner in sight, only pure Thais.....Great!

We met her family which are beautiful people. They greeted me with 'open arms'. As soon as I arrived the mother tied a cloth of multi-colors around my waist of many colors to welcome me! Very nice!! We all sat and had lunch, her sister in law, brother and their two children. I met all of the neighbors too. I did not realize that they had never seen a person of my color in real life only television. Only foreigners of white skin make it up that far. So i got a real laugh when everyone wanted to touch my dark skin. They liked it!!! (lol) We all sat and talked as best as we could with my friend translating since she is  at intermediate level in speaking English. It was a great and unforgettable experience. One that I will treasure because the people were so warm and welcoming. The sister in law of my friend especially, she was so happy that I came all the way northeast of Thailand to meet them. Most foreigners only stay in the tourist spots of Bangkok, Pattaya or Chiang Mai but I came here to learn the culture.

Observations: The city is poor but well organized, the city center is a little modern and clean. A sharp contrast to the small towns in South America where poor means dirty. A pleasant surprise. I believe it has a lot to do with Buddhism, whereas it is more a way of life than a just a religion, such as Christianity.

I noticed the town was mostly composed of men and the elderly. When I asked the reply was that the women are sent to work for the families in Bangkok or Pattaya and if they can afford it to study in school. Which they prefer school.

The friend I traveled with was born in Buri Ram and had not been back there in 18 years so it was a homecoming for her and she has a really good reputation among her family and friends. Obviously its because she has done well for herself and they all admire that. They were happy to see that and since she came back with a foreigner with brown skin they were very impressed. Life is funny, sometimes we take for granted the simple things in life but these were simple people with a very simple life...we all must remember sometimes this simple gift called...life! What a joy.

We also visited her Aunt who also presented me with a multi-colored cloth made of Thai silk and tied it around my waist. Beautiful!!

We spent the night at a local hotel, no doubt the best hotel in the province then went back to Pattaya.

What an experience!!

V.
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Comments

Jan on

Wow! Vaughn, sounds like a great experience! I wish I was there. :(

vaughnyb
vaughnyb on

yes, an experience of a lifetime to learn another culture!

Lionel on

What is the cultural norm when you visit a family for the first time and they give you gifts? Do you have to reciprocate?

vaughnyb
vaughnyb on

No reciprocity is expected at all, because it is their way of welcoming you to their home and treat you as family. The youngest usually serves all the adults and it is customary that you eat with them. They would think you are 'strange' if you 'turn down' their welcome.

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