We spent a week in Bangkok two weeks ago, shopping for clothes, eating seafood, visiting friends and family and just having a bit of fun. If you read my earlier blogs, you know that Nee's house lacked air conditioning so this trip, we added a unit to the bedroom. You could still bake bread in the rest of the house, but at least we could sleep in frozen splendor. The home isn't so bad when I can sit in it comfortably. She has a desk in the bedroom, so I was working on my taxes there...with the AC on, of course.
We came down with the desire to pick up things we had shipped from the US and to buy a car. Nee's niece had talked a friend of her's to sell us her car, a bright red Honda Jazz, for a fairly good price. She had even added a natural gas tank as gasoline, referred to as benzene here, has become so expensive. Benzene runs almost 40 baht a liter whereas natural gas costs about 12 baht. But the car had over 200k on it so it was voted by the family that we should not buy it. Instead, we are borrowing her brother's pick up with manual transmission. I haven't driven a stick for at least 15 years and then it was a VW bus with the gearshift on the right side.
Nee learned to drive a stick here and took to it, though reluctantly, pretty quickly. It was voted that I not drive as yet because driving in Thailand is quite treacherous and so we had her other brother help with the driving. When he drove, I sat in the front seat and Nee in the back. The pick up is one of those extended models with space for storage behind the seats. Her brother added an additional chair that sits sideways. Nee seemed content in back. We drove our 12 hours north to Chiang Mai, with Nee occasionally
driving and gaining confidence. Unfortunately the road was full of
potholes so I spent a good deal of time bouncing and having my head
crash into the ceiling. The truck solved the problem for getting Nee to
work but I am still having trouble driving it.
To add to the fun, the weekend we drove back was Songkran, the new year celebration that involves much water. Sevee, our escorting brother, drove us around Bangkok to see hordes of children and adults with buckets, barrels, squirtguns and hoses filled with water all being directed to any passersby. We got hit a few times, but our windows were closed. We also saw other pick up trucks filled with more kids and adults, barrels and buckets of water and they would drive up to anyone and douse them. As the temperature and humidity made getting wet a pleasant matter, no one seemed to mind. When I first met Nee she told me about the event which I had never heard of. Then at the time, I had no idea where Thailand was, either. The night we arrived home, there was a water orgy going on our street. Sevee chose to stay dry so Nee and I ventured out to buy pizza. Several people threatened us with water but my glares seem to be enough to stop them. Well, most of them. I did get a bucket of water poured down my back but it came from a sweet-faced five-year-old, so how could I refuse?
Sewitt loaned us his truck, his main transportation and Sevee accepted our offer to fly him home even though he had never flown before. Thus both sacrificed a great deal for us and I appreciate it very much.
I still can't drive left handed while watching for motorcycles from 360 degrees but that is a problem I will have to work on.