Well, it was that time of the year to visit my fiancee’s home again, upcountry in Nakhorn Sawan. I always, remember before the first time I went, she informed me that her home was in the main provincial town. On hearing this I was thrilled at the idea of being able to sneak out with the excuse of having to check my mail but instead go to sink a few bevvies! How wrong I was, yes her home was categorally in the main town but what she did forget to tell me was her home was ‘just outside’ of town. I mean just off the massive Bkk-Chiang Mai highway with absolutely nothing around, but her house!
It was to be, i think, my first new year not ‘out on the razz’ til dawn, as since my student days I had believed it a sin NOT to return home hammered by at least 7 in the morning. By the time we had arrived the place was full of relatives and completely new faces to me. As my fiancee is the youngest child of, i think eight, is it!? I had the honour of spending the next hour running around ‘wai-ing’ everyone there was, to ‘show me off’ to.
Well, as for one new years gifts we took, one was a pop karaoke VCD from Laos by this funky group called ‘Cells’ who are pretty popular with the Laotians in The States. The family were in hysterics, as Thais think that the only music in Laos is not so funky ‘Luk Thung’with the singers wobbling around the stage dressed in a sarong and flip-flops. There was also disbelief at the prettiness of the actresses with amazingly pale skin, i think Thais can only picture a Lao girl as a resemblance to an Isarn country bumpkin.
Well, the evening rolled on and I was grateful to be able to have a bevvie to celebrate the new year. Not having to just speak Thai all the time, i had the comfort of chatting to my big sister’s husband, a handsome Caucasian/Hongkonger, who having eaten Chinese food since birth, has in fact become to look some-what Chinese himself. The BBQ was excellent and i stuffed myself til i bloated, a fare share of wine was also available. Then, bewildering to me, i was stuffed into a pick-up and taken to the market. So, i had to spend the next hour strolling up down this massive market which resembled every other market i had been to in Thailand. Absolutely nothing to thrill the senses on new years eve. Next i had to wait around, missing precious beer supping time while the family stuck into the local fave, oyster omelet, and on top of that a couple of ice-creams. As for me, the BBQ was much too much already.
Eager to get back, i was dismayed to see that the rest of the relatives had legged it back home leaving us to go to bed at 11:00. If that wasnt enough the family were queing to shower. My God, it was freezing cold outside! I was petrified to take one! but in the end i had too. To top my new year celebrations off, something very funny happened, but certainly not so funny for me. Upstairs in the hallway is a picture of my fiancee’s late dad dressed in his soldier outfit which i have to ‘wai’ every time i pass. My fiancee and her mum had noticed that a couple of times that evening i had forgotten to ‘wai’. So after running out of the shower shivering away, I hurried upstairs only to give my head a right thud on the low panel over the stairs. I mean it really hurt! My mum-in-law informed me the reason it happened was because i had forgotten to ‘wai’ dad’s pic and so he was punishing me! Well, thanks a bunch dad. I didnt forget again.
Her family are very nice in the sense that they dont expect you to get up at a ridiculous hour before even the chickens, not like some families of friends Ive heard about. But when i did get up I wasnt hungry at all but her family are just like every other Thai in that they try to stick everything in your mouth for you. Next mum looked a little upset as she had cooked my favourite of ‘pork panaeng’ for my breakfast. I wanted to tell dear mum “Yes, its my favourite, but not at 7 o’clock in the morning!”. So, i had to force feed myself just for her.
Next i met my Big sis-in-laws grandchidren and i was startled to be referred to as ‘Khun Ta Farang’ ie ‘Grandad’! Im barely into my thirties! Then finally there is my fave character of all, ‘Grandmum’at 86, who sits around all day looking into space, drinking whiskey. I asked my fiancee once if that kind of behaviour was healthy for someone so old and she told me the story of 15 years back. When visiting the doctors, the doctor advised her to give up drinking, so she did, only to have a stroke a couple of months later! Since then, ‘Grandmum’ has being drinking every day.
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