Yes its that time of year again for the twice annually visit to the in laws. Not so bad i hear you shout. well let me explain why i find this such a wonderful time.
OK lets start by saying that I like the in laws and the family in their area of the world, but i am not really a country boy at heart and for some of us from the west this might be considered roughing it and i am not good at that.
The grandparents live north of the city of Surin. They are rice farmers and grow the wonderful Jasmine rice. it is to say the least sodding hard work. Maybe it is 2 crops a year, but the work involved means a hard year every year.
Surin is to the east of Thailand not so far from the Cambodian boarder. My in lwas are actually of Cambodian decent.
Surin is a reasonable sized city, with a large expat community, but as with most expats here unless you are in their clique you have little to no chance of them even speaking to you, but as this happens all over Thailand it should be of no surprise. Its not like i want to have their children or anything, just would like to have a little chat but even that seems too much for most British and American expats. The French, German and Australians who all to some degree dont like the British, they have no problem talking and being friendly. Oh well beggars and choosers and all that Jazz!
So the house is out in the sticks a bit. Very friendly people for sure and also for sure they dont have much, but they would share with you their last slice of bread, although to be honest they are not likely to have bread haha.
On of the things that always surprise me in the area is that of the local wildlife. This for me means anything from a cockroach to big spiders and even bigger snakes!
cockroaches will come into any house in Thailand no matter how clean it is. normally this happens if/when it rains as it seems they dont like getting wet. Another thing living in the houses here are Geckos. known as house lizards here. A night operator that is scared of you beyond words. they try and eat flies and mosquitoes, but in the Surin area there is more mosquitoes than you can shake a stick at. The kids and especially Alex normally get bitten a lot every night. Worst thing about that is he reacts badly to the bites but we use a stuff called Antergan and this really works and quickly.
Inside the house you will also get spiders and bugs. most of these congregate in the bathroom, but the big spiders, and believe me i dont like them no matter what size they are, but the big ones head for the bedrooms. The in laws laugh at me as they are disposing of these 8 legged monsters!
Last time we were there i found walking down the road a small snapping turtle. I picked it up and showed the kids before returning it to near the local pond. Again the father in law laughed as he just said snake as it seems thats where they hunt.
Thailand has a lot of snakes and most of them will do you serious damage if they bite you. the only ones i have seen are constrictors but i did see one that was over 8 feet long.
for the most part the more nasty wildlife wont go into houses unless after food. No they done eat Tom Sum or things like that but frogs and mice and rats well they are fair game. What makes most of the snakes real sneaky is that they can swim so flood waters can be dangerous.
I have not seen a scorpion as of yet, but they also do live in the country areas too.
So to sum up when i go to the in laws i make every excuse to go shopping so i can use toilets that does not have all the creepy crawlies. Yes yes i know i am a wuss for being scared of these things.
Another thing i am not keen on is the drive. Basically we have to just go on 4 main roads. Highway 1,2,24 and the 214. the 24 is a very long road that for the most part is just farm fields and this road lasts for nearly half the trip. over the past 2 plus years they have been widening half of the road to 2 lanes and we hope this time they have finally finished but wont hold our breath. if they have we hope they have started on the part of the road that has potholes the size of small countries.
On the plus side is the 7/11 stores at the service stations. they are not able to put their prices up because of where they are. so in Thailand the price you pay for something at 7/11 is the same for every one of their stores no matter where they are even at the airport! British motorway service stations please take note. If you dont vastly over price things you sell a heck of a lot more meaning more profits. its quite basic. the shops on the big roads here are always jammed with people. Petrol stations are not allowed to charge more than about 2p above the normal price.
So its the first time of the year for this trip for us. 6 to 7 hours of driving excluding the stops and with young kids there are some stops!
We will leave at 4am to avoid some of the worst traffic, but when i get there it will be just the coffee keeping me awake. this is never normally helped by the wife and kids snoring in the back for the first couple of hours.
This time i will take a note book and pens and i will pre write some more blogs for your pleasure/disgust. maybe i could do more for my other writing projects, but i would not hold my breath on that front. haha
That should keep you going until next week when i come back and give you more to read haha