thailand: the land where you never know what to expect

thailand: the land where you never know what to expect

this past weekend, ruby and i made the trip to chaiyaphum to visit some friends who live there. we had to take the bus to khon kean on friday after school, stay the night and then venture to chaiyaphum on saturday morning, due to the bus schedule.

van to khon kean

we needed to stay the night in khon kean because there aren’t any buses going to chaiyaphum past 9 at night and we got into khon kean at 930. we were going to book a hotel room, but the university was having the test to get into medical school, so there weren’t any rooms available anywhere. my co teacher went around the school asking people if they knew anyone in khon kean. the vice director said his sister lived there and that we could stay at her house there. so, we called this lady when we were almost to khon kean, she came and picked us up, and took us to her house. come to find out, she spoke about as much english as we speak thai, which is not very much. her sister also lived in the house and they were both so nice and so friendly. they had a guest room for us and set us up for the night. in the morning, we came downstairs to find her making us breakfast. we had fish, omelet with onions, brown rice, and sausage. but it wouldn’t be thailand without some sugar for every meal. the lady we stayed with owned a thai dessert shop that she ran out of her home. (that’s what the thai do. the front of the house is usually a store and they live in the same building) there were about 10 people walking in and out of the house with trays and trays of goodies. she gave us a bunch to try, and packed a bunch up for us to take with. they were really good, very pretty, and very sweet. 
before they dropped us off at the bus station, we were taken to the temple just down the street. it was a really pretty temple with 9 floors. we walked up to the top of the temple to get a good view of khon kean. talk about one of the nicest families. the thai are so generous and so giving. they were really friendly and we managed to communicate well enough, even with the language barrier. at school on monday, the vice director said they loved having us and wanted to adopt us 🙂 

the front of the temple 

khon kean and the side of the temple

one of the women we stayed with

the view from the top floor, looking down

next, onto the bus we go to head to chaiyaphum. it was about a two and a half hour bus ride and a little on the bumpy side. however, we made it there around 12 and my friend from the tesol course, mia, and a new friend, keavy, were there to pick us up from the station. we headed out for lunch after arriving. 
bus station sign through the telephone wires

we had lunch and then took off to a little coffee shop called eat, play, love. it was right above the soccer field and i got to enjoy an actual cup of drip coffee (it’s hard to come by here). we sat and talked for a while and then picked up ailen from the bus station. from there, we went to their apartment for some more girl time before grabbing dinner. we sat at dinner and did what girls do, talk some more. then went to a bar down the road called fin.

from left to right:
lindsay from nebraska
mia from california 
ailen from california
ruby from new zealand
and me

the band that played there
they kept playing half english half thai songs for us

it was a cool place and it was nice to be able to hang out and catch up. when it was time to go home, we didn’t have enough room on the two scooters mia and lindsey had for everyone, so two of the people who worked at the bar drove us back to the apartment. again, talk about the thai being super generous and friendly! it’s amazing what they will do to help others and it’s never an inconvenience. it’s just what they do here. 
the next morning, we grabbed breakfast/lunch and caught the bus back to khon kean. sometimes the buses get super full and sometimes they stop every 10 minutes to let people on and off. this bus was both of those things. i was pretty sure we were never going to make it back to khon kean in time to catch the bus to mukdahan. multiple times the bus dropped people off, drove 500 feet, and dropped off more people. the thai do NOT like to walk. anywhere. ever. haha the bus was also pretty full. but not a problem. they have extra seats for when that happens
who needs a seat? we have stools

we made it to khon kean with plenty of time to spare and caught the next bus to mukdahan. pretty sure it was straight from that 70’s show. you never know what the bus will be like and no two buses are alike. this one had super comfy seats, but was pretty colorful. 

floral, pink, and deep red. why not?

on the road between khon kean and mukdahan, there’s a section that is always flooded. and no one seems to be bothered about it. just drive through and continue on your way. even for tuk tuks.
i couldn’t catch it in time, but there are dogs on board
not sure how the tuk tuk didn’t flood haha the water was pretty deep

before leaving khon kean, we got watermelon. the whole mini watermelon cost 10 baht, so i had a nice snack on the way home.
how you can eat watermelon on a bus

i also got to enjoy some really pretty views along the way. never get tired of all the green and the sunsets. the rice fields everywhere are really cool too.

drive by shots

on a random side note, i was sitting at dinner last night after my run at the park, listening to my students and the others around me chatting in thai, and realized that the place i’ve been eating at for months won’t be around for much longer. hard to believe my trip is already coming to an end and i’ll be leaving mukdahan very soon. there’s a sense of nostalgia that comes with leaving a place you’ve grown accustomed to. (and fairly fond of) especially when it all of a sudden hits you like it did me last night. in lieu of this feeling, here’s where i was sitting and what i was eating when that happened. 
the carts by 7-11 where i eat all the time
the cart on the right that is lit up is where i order from the most
the cart to the left is a fruit stand
the umbrellas are up when it’s been raining

dinner! a regular dish of pad pak gai

another moment i wasn’t expecting was when i was tutoring the little girl next door, aim. ruby and i have been taking turns tutoring her, four days a week, two days a week each. my day was yesterday. she has come a long way since we started and actually is quite talkative when we are with her. i gave her some stickers yesterday and this was the result:
this melted my heart. she was so excited to write it and talk to me about it and loves stickers. she has what we believe is down’s syndrome and is 13 years old. she’s so sweet and fun. 
aim and me

definitely going to miss seeing her a couple times a week. for now, just going to enjoy the little time i have left here in mukdahan! 

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