Readers' Submissions

Visiting The Family (The Last Two Days)

  • Written by Papa John
  • January 9th, 2004
  • 7 min read



This morning I am a little unhappy about the amount their feast cost me last night. I idly wonder over breakfast how I can prevent the same thing happening tonight. I can imagine an ever increasing “family” coming to be fed, as cousins, aunts and uncles arrive from all over Thailand to be fed by the f**king stupid farang.

Well no point worrying about it. Nothing I can do. So once again, I try to waste as much time as possible before going to the farm.

I’ll have to get a minibus and driver again today at 1200 baht as we don’t have a lift. We are wandering round Roi Et and she sees a car rental shop. She asks why we don’t hire one. I explain I don’t have my driver's licence with me. She tells me that’s no problem I can still hire one. I am sure you know my reaction. “There’s no way they will hire me a car without my driver’s licence. They won’t even know if I can drive. That’s crazy”. (There speaks a farang with much experience of the world, who knows he cannot be wrong) She is adamant she is right. So I say “OK, if I can hire a vehicle without my licence I will hire one”. (Meanwhile smiling smugly at this silly little Thai lady)

We go to the hire shop and she explains the situation to the guy in charge. He speaks reasonable English and he says “That’s OK Sir, no problem. Have brand new car, or pickup for you. Car 1500 baht, pickup 1200 baht. What you want?” The smile died on my face. If you’d tapped me with a feather I would have fallen down!!!

I chose a pick up. I give him 1200 baht, he takes a copy of my passport, gives me the keys, and off I drive in a new pickup. I am still dazed and suffering from disbelief. It must be a dream. I’m driving a very nice pick up for the equivalent of less than 20 English pounds, with no insurance and no drivers licence.

Please don’t email me to tell me what a daft sod I am. I should not have done it. I think my brain wasn’t working too well because of too much beer the night before, and the fact that it was so unexpected. I just wasn’t mentally prepared to be told I could have a vehicle without my licence. What a country!! I can tell you that it worried me after I took the vehicle back. It was in perfect condition, but what if they had a scam going? I could have been stopped at the airport and accused of damaging the vehicle, and they could name any figure I had to pay for damages before I could board the plane. Never again, but only in Thailand right?

So we’re off to the farm. You can read “The Brainless Bint” for the story about getting there and back.

On the way we stop for beef and goodies for the family again, and I enjoy being in control of a vehicle in Thailand for once. I have a motorcycle back home so I am used to driving defensively even in Farangland, so I don’t have too much trouble avoiding the crazy drivers on the road. It’s all about being observant, expecting the worst and being pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t happen.

We got to the farm, and went out to the fields again. I wanted to relieve the boredom so I told them I wanted to do some rice cutting. I was handed a small scythe, and showed how to do it, and I had a go for about an hour. I made an effort to cut as quickly and neatly as they were (farang pride), but there was no way I could match their efficiency. I did help them for a while, but mostly gave them a laugh about farang cutting rice.

I finished cutting, and my lady friend and I sat down in the field amongst the cut stalks, and took some photos and had a chat. It did occur to me that there could be some nasties crawling around, especially snakes, but she told me there are snakes, but not now.

Why did I believe her? I knew she wasn’t too bright. I have now been told that there are snakes in the paddy fields, and scorpions whether the fields are wet or dry. What’s more the Thais wear Wellington boots because of these snakes. And there I was with bare legs and sandals, and wandering round the fields without a care in the world. I feel weak at the knees to even think about it. I was a very lucky guy this last trip. I came out of it without a snake bite, no sexually transmitted diseases, and no claims for damaging the truck. I’ll be a lot more careful next time.

After that the day was pretty uneventful and we got back to the hotel in Roi Et with no family in tow. That saved me probably the best part of 4,000 baht.

The next day was the last, and I was hoping we would leave early for Bangkok, but she wanted to go to see her kids again. She did the usual Thai trick of telling me we would not be long, knowing full well there was no way she was leaving until after dark.

I did not want to go out to the fields again that day so we waited around the house. I tried to sleep under one of the small huts which have a floor raised about 1.5 metres off the ground. There were chickens grubbing and scratching around the yard making noises, and I kept imagining snakes etc. I suddenly wondered if they had tigers roaming around. It is a pretty isolated village, and I know tigers are still around in S.E. Asia. After that there was no way I could relax.

I have come to the conclusion that I suffered from depression that day. I started to feel quite ill hanging around, waiting firstly for the children to come from school, and then the family from the fields. I seriously wondered what was wrong with me. I felt I was coming down with some kind of illness. In retrospect it was like being a prisoner in that place. When I got on the bus that night it was like a heavy weight leaving my shoulders, and I almost instantly felt better, and looked forward to getting back to the Big Mango.

During the day I had convinced myself that I had had enough of this tart, and when we got to BKK I was going to get rid of her. I couldn’t go through with it though. She was so nice and loving I just didn’t have the heart.

I am now getting emails from her telling me that her family expect me to marry her. I did explain to her that marriage was not on my agenda, but they don’t take too much notice do they? If you are good to them they seem to ignore what you are telling them. So I don’t feel too guilty about her loss of face, although I did know that to be taken to see the family is a serious thing for many girls. With this lady I thought the reason for going was to spend time with her kids and mother.

That was the second family I’ve met with a Thai lady now, and although by and large I’ve mostly enjoyed the experience I don’t think I’ll ever do it again. I would much prefer the delights of Bangkok.

Stickman says:

I know what you mean. Remote Isaan can be pleasant for a while, but for me, it can get boring fast. Even with a net connection and a couple of books, I get bored fast. Still, if you can limit the sojourn to a couple of days, it is pleasant alright.