Author Topic: Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand  (Read 1571 times)

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Offline thaiga

Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand
« on: March 23, 2016, 07:04:19 PM »
Love this article by whatsonsukhumvit.com. thanks to the author steve edwards. Known as isaan steve @twitter.com/isaansteve

Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand

It’s inevitable.

At some stage you will be summonsed. Your presence will be requested. You shall be subpoenaed, called for, ordered to make an appearance.

Indeed, the time has come to advance into the breach and visit the in-laws.

In-laws.

Who knew a mere compound noun would be potent enough to strip paint? Make flowers wilt. Turn sunshine into rain and extract all the happy from your heart.

But, boarding the 06.40 bound for Bumfukc Nowhere – population 16 (five of whom are chickens) – it’s easy to get excited about the journey.

Although at the other end of the line waits a collection of relatives masticating on betelnut parcels and jungle rat jerky, the actual event of getting there on the train offers a unique snapshot into Southeast Asian life.

Trundling out of the city now, leaving behind Hualamphong station and Bangkok’s bricks and mortar, the landscape begins to open up and a carpet of hi-viz greens – tinged with flecks of yellow from the morning’s rising sun – stretches out to the horizon.

Beautiful would be the wrong word. The scene out of the window is utterly bewitching.

And finally, as an Asian openbill swoops down and with one deft snap of the beak plucks his breakfast from the paddy, you come to from your trance and start thinking about your own stomach.

A somtam pedaller who walks up and down the train with her wares has piqued the interest of your better half, and into the mortar goes a liberal fist of fresh chillis. Somtam for breakfast? You’d be sectioned for that type of behaviour in Stevenage. Plumping for a plate of khao pad gai, you add the accompanying sachet of chilli-infused fish sauce and gorge while the train continues to plough a slender furrow through rural Thailand.

After having complemented the final hour or so of the journey with a six-pack of regional lager, you alight from the locomotive well equipped for the onslaught of in-laws. They greet you at the station in a pick-up truck into which both yourself and your luggage are unceremoniously deposited.

In the rear you sit with Por – your father in-law.

He smokes a hand-rolled cigarette fashioned together out of thick paper and coarse, stringy tobacco, and swigs intermittently from a M150 bottle whose contents smell akin to turpentine.

He offers you a sip. It’s, as expected, vile, but rapidly elicits a warm and fuzzy feeling and you decide that you rather like Por.

Along paths and tracks, skirting fields and paddies in varying stages of cultivation, the pick-up eventually comes to a stop next to a dwelling of decidedly rustic proportions and, stepping from the back of the truck with the beginnings of a stagger, your wife/girlfriend takes a hold of your arm and gives you the guided tour of her parents’ house.

One large room makes up the lion’s share of the property, on the floor of which are half a dozen makeshift mattresses shod in old sheets. The television, a large antiquated affair, battles with a statue of Buddha for the centrepiece accolade, and a faded selection of printed pictures, sans frames, hang askew on the walls.

Atop a bookshelf which currently boasts nary a novel or even a magazine, stands a portrait of a wizened old lady whose age you’d put somewhere in her mid-120s. This, you’d hazard, is granny – or Yai. And on cue she sidles up behind you, tripod-esque with a walking stick to assist her tired gait, and through a maw dyed with decades of betel nut abuse offers up a weak but meaningful Wadee ja.

With Por’s turpentine having eroded your inhibitions, you are keen to converse with Yai and introduce yourself in her native tongue.

Nobody can understand what the fook you are saying.

Your girlfriend is quick to remind you that in this part of Thailand they converse in a different dialect, but she also assures you that they still wouldn’t understand what the fook you were saying if they didn’t.

With a rapidity exclusive to the tropics, the sun has now set and an inky black night, resplendent with a liberal smattering of stars, sets in.

Por and Loong (Uncle) fetch a selection of heavy duty farming implements from a storage area beneath the house and walk with exacting strides – although Por admittedly falls over – to where you sit on the balcony sipping on a glass of Leo beer. Loong holds up a machete with a blunt 18-inch blade and makes slashing and stabbing motions before rubbing his tummy.

By all accounts Loong wants to eat you.

He wants to bludgeon you to death and feast on your remains.

However, he happily turns about face, switches on a head torch and marches forthwith into the neighbouring jungle. He emerges 20 minutes later with three jungle rats, a pair of eels, and some choice vegetation crammed into a plastic bag.

Loong’s unquestionable hunter-gatherer prowess has paved the way for Mair (Mum) to demonstrate her ingenuity in the kitchen.

And 30 minutes of chopping and gutting and butchering later she has prepared three dishes: Pad pet pla lai (eel curry); Nu yang (roasted rat); and Pad pak (fried vegetables). You eat and drink into the early hours, the internationally recognised language of complete and utter drunken bollo*Thanks for the hilarous read.ks maintaining the conversational flow throughout the evening.

The following morning, with a headache the size of Sakhon Nakhon, you awake early to a whole cacophony of farmyard furor.

The putt-putt-putt of a tractor bores deep into your cranium, a pair of roosters scream at each other from opposite ends of the village, a dog barks while Por unleashes a tirade of gibberish aimed at the television, which isn’t even switched on.

Village life certainly has its quirks, and maybe one day, who knows? A wooden house on stilts overlooking hectares of lush vegetation; your own small slice of rural Siam on which to grow crops, raise animals, maybe volunteer part time in a temple school; live a life of simplicity away from the marauding masses of the big city.

In the meantime it’s back to Bangkok – where the first port of call shall and must be Burger King.

Thanks for the read steve.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 
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Offline Aussie

Re: Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 09:54:49 PM »
What a splendid bit of humour. Steve describes Isaan life exactly like it is.
Regards :lol
Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you’re a mile away and have their shoes
 

Online Kev

Re: Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 06:10:27 AM »
Yep absolutely brilliant and funny as, good one  ;D
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 11:29:59 AM »

absolutely, but no mention of the sick buffalo  :)
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline thaiga

Re: KNOW YOUR ISAAN
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2016, 11:55:18 AM »
Home is where you lay your head  - or so they say - But here you have to accept it the way it is

I know the story was a bit of a laugh, but rushing back to bangkok for a burger, not for me, give me isaan any day, as for living in a condo nah not for me, not to mention the traffic ....

Ah! isaan the beautiful aroma of next doors charcoal, 40 degrees and the windows have to be shut, never mind turn on the a/c, Oh! shight fie dub the electrics gone off again. :-[

There are numerous reasons why some expats are not happy, could be they thought life might be better than it is in thailand or they are not happy where they are living, some in the boonies as they call it, they can't sell their home as they might of paid over the odds when they built/bought it. Some might even have been tucked up by their amazing thai family that can turn their hand to anything, building, painting, carpentry, plumbing, jack of all trades at twice the price.

It's understandable the wife/girlfriend wants to live near or with the family and probably thinks hubby feels the same.

But ......... Who is going to admit they made a mistake,  thailand is not for them, only to be told by the FOH brigade,
if you don't like it go back home, not that easy for some to do, ie, money has run out or could be they love their wife/girlfriend or even have children here. Go back to what!

On a lighter note, KNOW YOUR ISAAN. What is the drink called, Lau khao whisky mixed with M150
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 
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Offline sowhat

Re: Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2016, 06:31:13 PM »
40 degrees and m150

i asked err indoors,her answer was ding dong,could of been the doorbell :cheers
 
The following users thanked this post: thaiga

Offline thaiga

Re: Into Isaan: A Guide To Visiting The In-Laws In Thailand
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 08:44:05 PM »
maybe she said  "ting tong" ;)  Lau khao infused with M150 is called  "ya dong "

cheers  :cheers

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

 



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