Black and White ...

The light of day finds last night’s efforts on the cutting room floor, or more correctly, in the cyber equivalent of the editor’s waste bin.  Sounding too much like a shopping-list report for a travel blog and not enough like VF, its demise was swift and brutal.  So this is take two, scene one and I’ll try to get it right this time. 

Immediately upon loading twelve village folk into the truck, it became apparent that additional pressure would be needed in the rear tires.  Yes, I was that guy today.  The one with the overloaded pickup, filled to the brim with human flesh.  I assure you this was not a typical day in the life of Village Farang.  This was me doing social penance for my normally reclusive ways.  My wife is, for the most part, very understanding of my peculiarities and quirks.  As payback I sometimes step out of my comfort zone and play driver or tour guide to young and old alike.

This was an interesting mix of family.  My wife’s family, what’s left of it, and the family of her sister’s present boyfriend with the addition of two other village women.  Children left to their own devices can become quite loud and unruly.  Vastly outnumbered by adults, as in this case of nine to three, they become much more manageable, retreating into a quiet fantasy world of their own creation. 

The four elders, three of whom are smokers, were crammed in the back seat which is normally folded up for Cookie’s comfort.  As with all smokers, their skin, clothes and breath reeked of tobacco.  My normally controlled environment was not only assaulted with unpleasant odors but with some of my least favorite sounds.  There is a coarseness and indelicacy in the villager’s manner of speech, which I find unpleasant.  Although I speak Thai and not Northern, my passive understanding makes it impossible to completely ignore the subject matter as well.

Focusing my attentions as best I could on the task at hand, we proceeded first to the Black Village and later to the White Temple (pictures in a previous post).  With the benefit of hindsight it may have been advisable to deal with the vast crowds and starkness of the White Temple first, before proceeding to the deeper, richer colors and wooded acreage of the Black Village.  Lunch break was a picnic at Chiang Rai Beach, as it is known.  After an obligatory stop at an outdoor market to buy food for dinner we headed for home. 

I mistakenly chose the route leaving from the five-way intersection, thinking it would avoid the heavy Sunday traffic.  We ended up in a very rural traffic jam.  Our lane was completely filled with a herd of beautiful, almost blue-gray water-buffalo, lumbering along oblivious to the chaos they were creating.  As if that were not enough to deal with, the other lane was occupied by large trailers unloading their massive harvesting machines.  It was an interesting juxtaposition of past and present, the natural and the mechanized.  I’m pretty sure from the erratic driving of those around me, that I held a minority view of the interesting nature of our dilemma.  In any event there was nothing for it but to wait for our four legged friends to choose a field to enter, allowing us in our metal boxes, to get back to our mad rush through life.

In the end I survived my ordeal and hopefully will remember to reduce the pressure in my tires to avoid the rear end doing untoward things on our next outing.

Enjoy Black Village

Black Village (Baan Dam) can be found on my Google Map but the images below are of the entrance to the soi and the limited Thai signage.  It is not easy to find so thought this might help.