Sunday, December 17, 2006

On the road to Rajchaburi

When I went down for breakfast this morning Mair, Pidar and even Grandma (who normally wears a smock) were all dressed smart. They said they were going to Rajchaburi province to visit some of Grandma's relatives, and did I want to go too. So I said sure (even though I was getting quite into watching Prehistoric Park dubbed into Thai). And after breakfast, off we went.

So we're driving along and Pidar says that her husband is going to “take us anywhere first” (I think she meant “somewhere”) to see a big Buddha image. Hold on, this looks familiar. They've only brought me to Phuttamonthon! It's actually a very lovely park with lakes and landscaped gardens and elephant-shaped topiaries. We should go back there on purpose one day.

We drive around the park, stopping off to look at a passing lizard (this guy's pretty big - about a metre long), feed the catfish (man those things are ugly!) and wai the Buddha image. And then we're back on the road again.

Next stop, the floating market. I don't know quite what definition of 'floating' this comes under, since it's entirely on dry land, but never mind. So we wander through. And Mair goes mad buying everything in sight. We pick up fruit, meat, duck eggs, some really horrible-looking dried fish, some more of those orange dessert things, guavas, pineapple (because she knows I love it), jackfruit, dried bananas, strawberries for Smile (“Smi' chorp stawbelly”), weird melba toast things (like those crisp toasts that are meant for making hors d'oeuvres, only thinner, and they seem to have been fried in butter and sprinkled with a layer of sugar. Who said Thai food was healthy?), some sheets made from (I don't know what – some sort of fruit pulp I guess), pork satay (because she knows it's my favourite)... Mair actually reminds me a bit of Auntie Ellen (love you Auntie!) in the way she buys stuff. On the way out she picked up a six-foot hat stand for my room, because, you know, I have a couple of hats. Then when she gave me some jackfruit and I liked it, off she went to get more!

I don't know how long it took to get from there to Rajchaburi because they told me to go to sleep, so I did. But when we got there we got out of the car, walked over a bridge and along the canal to the relatives' house. This is their street:

They have a traditional Thai one-storey house on stilts, all dark wood, all open plan except for three boxed-off rooms.

We watch an emotional reunion between Grandma and her relatives, and stay for about half an hour before we have to get going. So we're packed off with bags of pomelos from the garden and head back to the car.


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