Out and about in Ang Thong

All of my travels around North West Ang Thong, and beyond, were done by car or pickup truck. This was comfortable and convenient, though I was often not sure exactly where I was. Also, I did not get a chance to discover whether I really could survive for long on my own devices, which may or may not be a good thing…

As well as visiting what could be described as tourist destinations (which I’ll talk about later) we made a lot of trips to restaurants (all excellent), markets, or the 7/11. Occasional trips to ATMs also posed no particular difficulties.

Thinking back on my trip I realise that in my ten days in Thailand I did not say one word to a foreigner. Furthermore, I only recall seeing one or two in Ang Thong province. On the other hand, I did not feel like a curiosity either. Thai people appeared to hardly notice me. If they did they would smile or respond as best they could to my feeble attempts at communication.

The cities are small, as you can see above. If you look carefully you’ll notice that we really should be on the left side of those double yellow lines. Driving like this would cause havoc in most western countries, but in Asia the oncoming traffic anticipates it, making it marginally safer. I just wish my Thai friends would wear seatbelts more often.

On Mondays there was a market nearby, with a variety of food, clothing, and household goods for sale. Not much for a tourist to buy, though I did get some shirts and shorts. People to whom I’ve shown the above picture have commented on the power lines. If they had seen the power sockets on the pole and the extension cords that the vendors ran from them they would have been even more surprised.

Inevitably, events like this are noisy, often with incredibly loud music being broadcast around the lot. But they are good fun and there is plenty to eat and drink.

Motorcycles are, of course, a widely used form of transport. I’m not sure what these workers are going to spray. I still can’t get used to the hats and balaclavas!

There are tens of thousands of temples in Thailand. It’s hard to avoid tripping over them. The local temple seemed almost deserted most of the time. However, some nights it turned into a carnival, with music (loud of course!), rides, competitions, and all kinds of stalls selling food, toys, and other items.

One of the buildings had some very graphic illustrations of what I imagine happens to people who live unwholesome lives. Scary stuff.

Towards the end of my stay I walked down to the temple to have a more careful look. A couple of km in the 35C heat had me drenched with sweat. The workmen doing some renovations looked concerned and offered me some beer and I accepted a mouthful, though it did not seem quite right to be drinking there. They offered me a ride home, but I explained in my broken Thai that I wanted to look around and take some photographs. They did understand one or two important English words. As well as “beer” they understood “New Zealand” and “rugby”.

After looking around for a while I started on the walk home. But I only got about 100m before a policeman stopped and offered me a ride on his motorcycle. This time I gratefully accepted.

Rural Thailand is such a friendly place…

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