The rice scheme is starting to hit many farmers quite hard. I have been lending money to my wife's parents in small amounts to keep them going with planting of a new crop and other expenses. When the last rice harvest is finally paid for, I have been assured that mama will pay me back. It's not a large amount and I really don't care if it is not repaid.
An Uncle heard that I have been acting as the family ATM and the conversation one evening with my wife went like this….
Darliiiinnnngg, (tirak is reserved for Thai people in our house), I have something to ask you?
Me, yessssss (thinks, how much will this cost).
My uncle needs to borrow your money.
His son is getting married and he does not have enough for sin sot.
How old is his son?
And his girlfriend?
15 and they are both still at school.
Me, I don't think so.
But he offers security, he will give us a loan agreement and chanote for farm land.
Ok then, when does he want the money?
Tomorrow morning by 9.00am.
To cut the story short, I managed to round up the money which arrived there about 10.30am.
I hate Songkran… The un-necessary splashing of people when they obviously don't want to get wet is very annoying. This year we have been summonsed to the farm for the 3 official Songkran days.
Load wife, kids and wife's sister in the truck and off early in the morning. Get past Bangkok before most are awake and missed most of the bad traffic. A couple of accidents slowed travel down for short periods but nothing too bad.
At the last town before the village we load up with beer and ice and some food from the market. This was pre-ordered along with half the seafood from the local seafood market at home.
A warm welcome was given to the kids there but as usual, I am mostly ignored.
Sleeping there is somewhat primitive. The first time I went there, I slept on some thin mat under a mosquito net. Since then I invested in a softer mat that is almost comfortable and at least I get some sleep during the night. This time Mama has managed to get some mattresses which are not much softer than the wooden floor. Thank god for my mat. Wife, 2 kids and self were under one enormous mosquito net with her brother and his wife right next to us. There is no privacy in this house.
Next day, wife asked to be taken to the temple. Ok. We get there and she says I can come in if I want to. Ok, I am up for almost anything once. I am the only farang in the place with about 200 Thai people there. I am a bit of a curiosity for a few minutes. After about 30 minutes of chanting by 40 monks, I ask, how much longer? 2 hours. Oh shit. My legs and knees are not made for this. I tough it out and towards the end, the monks get holy water and start to spray it over everyone. Some got an extra dousing from the monks and for some reason, all the monks took a special effort to make sure I was thoroughly doused.
Back at the farm, we are running out of beer and ice and more food is required for the next day. It's then I am told that we will have monks the next day for some ceremony.
Back to town for re-supply.
Next morning I was having a walk around the farm and Papa appeared next to me. My Thai is not good and his English is nonexistent. By hand signals I managed to convey that I recognised some improvements to the farm. This seemed to impress Papa and he beckoned me to follow him. He showed me more improvements and the new irrigation pump motor I had paid for about 2 months prior.
After 4 years I think I am being accepted as family and not just a casual husband for their daughter.
At about 11 AM I am requested to go and help collect the monks from the temple. How many, I ask. Well originally it was 6, then is has grown now to 15.
We go to the temple and find there are 20 monks expecting transport and to be fed after all the chanting. Brother in law can take 4 monks leaving me to take 16 monks in my pickup. I am farang so I am expected to be able to do anything and this is nothing different.
Having endured the temple the day before, I somehow managed to make myself busy for most of the chanting but still did not escape the drenching with the holy water at the end.
This was way better than Songkran in Pattaya.
More from Uncle
Yesterday wife gets a call from uncle. He wants her to send the chanote back so that he can borrow more money. This might seem like a good idea for him but we won't let this out of our hands until we gat the money back. He wanted it sent to him the next day. Much negotiation between wife and uncle as dictated by me and he will hand over the money to us when we next go there in about a week.