Four Thai Girls and the Farang...

The girls are gone and my duties diligently discharged.  Day one, saw an early departure from home, arriving at the airport just in time to collect our three guests.  Off to Doi Chaang for coffee and breakfast before starting a day of sightseeing.  Black Village was first on our list before heading off to Doi Tung to visit the Garden and Royal Villa.  While I joined the girls on the stroll around Black Village, at Doi Tung my preference was to find a quiet seat with a view.  From there I could sip my Doi Tung coffee, enjoy the mountain setting and watch the parade of tourists, as I my wife and her friends shared some girl-time without me as a distraction.

After lunch we headed to the White Temple and then to the main market in town, to gather sustenance for the evening meal, back in the village.  We arrived home in time to settle in with a tour of the house and garden before preparing for dinner.  Our friend from Hawaii had stayed with us before but it was the first time for the other two.  The last time these four had gotten together was in Bangkok so it was nice that they went out of their way to fly up here to stay with us this time.

I feel it is important to find the right balance when we have visitors.  This was clearly a chance for the four girls to get together and my role was primarily that of facilitator.  My wife still feels uncomfortable driving alone, over distance or in stressful situations so it is understood that I will be the chauffeur for the duration of such visits, and fortunately I don’t mind, though I do find myself exhausted by the time they leave.  The animated conversation of four very talkative women can be a distraction while driving, however, and I did miss a turn or two along the way, unable to shutout what they were discussing.

Talk of the intimacies of relationships was restricted to when I was not present, I believe, but there was little else off limits when I was around.  Politics, Reds vs Yellows, Royals, family, friends, food, the past, the present and perceived differences between things here and in Isaan, where the three visitors were from, as well differences with the West.  I can no longer imagine what it would be like, surrounded for hours by an unfathomable noise, unable to participate in a meaningful way.

The most repeated observation about me, was how lucky my wife was (not sure if that was in reference to me or the house which they loved), and my inexplicable reserve and patience, in dealing with unexpected occurrences on our long drives and the sometimes long spells spent waiting for them in the truck.  You see I often remained in the vehicle to revel in the quiet and solitude of those moments, free of incessant conversation.  Not that I expressed such feelings to them, of course.

Exhausted from travel and sightseeing all had an early night and rose the next morning at a respectable hour.  We hung around the house until afternoon, before making a trip to the local marketplace followed by a very steep drive to the top of Doi Yao and down the other side, on a new yet even steeper and windier stretch of mountain road.  Sadly the haze has returned to the North and Phu Chi Fah in one direction and our village on the valley floor, in the other, were obscured from view.  Still it is a favorite little rest stop for us, amid a natural setting with a hill tribe village to drive through.

Later to bed and even later to rise the next day, we were off to a late start for a day that would have us dropping our guests off at the airport for their late night flight, before returning to a very quiet house and very lonely dog.  Trying to avoid some of the major road construction areas, we meandered through the back roads from Phaya Mengrai to Chiang Saen.  We came upon the river road very near Wat Phra That Pha Ngao so decided to take our guests up the hill to the chedi and the teak temple.  There is also an expansive view of the mighty Mekong River with Laos on the other side.

After and excellent riverside lunch, we proceeded to the Golden Triangle, where I once again stayed with the truck, while the girls did their thing.  Continuing along the river from there, we soon encountered some of the prolific roadwork in our region.  At first we engaged the four wheel drive and ventured on.  Before too long we were looking for alternatives that got us out of the dirt and back on to some windy backcountry roads.

Finally reaching the main highway between Chiang Rai and Mae Sai, the pace picked up, until we reached the turnoff for Tham Pum Tham Pla or Wat Tham Pla.  Here at the base of the mountains, there are monkeys roaming wild looking for handouts, fish to be fed in crystal clear ponds and caves to be explored.  At first we had the place to ourselves but soon a tour bus unloaded its hordes in our midst.  Even that could not distract from our sense of peace and tranquility in this unique location.

With time to kill before heading to the airport, we found ourselves back at Doi Chaang, this time for a bit of sweetness and delight, in the form of cheesecake and apple pie.  Even with an early drop-off we arrived at our very quiet house, well after dark.  Today has been one of cleanup for my wife, while I have been processing pictures and writing. 

I must be looking very old these days, as my wife even found time to give we my weekly facial, which she recently reincorporated into my personal hygiene regimen.  We used to do that kind of thing more often, living in the big city.  So, now you are up to date with the goings on of the VF household.  Until next time...