A friend of mine, a Singaporean who teaches English at my school, wanted to show us a church school he is associated with in a village north of here. We agreed to drive up with him Saturday. We didn't realize it was going to be two hours before we left. Nor did we know that the road is quite steep and curvy in places. Despite that, Nee managed to make the drive without concern. The village is a combination of hilltribe people and Taiwanese. The latter arrived several generations ago when so many Chinese left for Taiwan and other parts of the world during the Communist diaspora. In the village, the hilltribe are mostly laborers and the Chinese run tea businesses. We arrived to find a mixture of traditional Thai and Chinese homes. Thais generally build their houses above the ground where the Chinese like them at ground level.
Our friend introduced us to the pastor of the little Baptist Church which is responsible for the school. He was a middle-aged energetic fellow who greeted us with a smile and fruit and avocados he had picked from his garden. As I sat there observing the conversation I realized that my friend could speak English and Chinese, the minister spoke Chinese and Thai and Nee spoke Thai and English. I happily ate the avocado as the conversation revolved around the table.
We were given a tour of the garden around the church. There were avocado trees with fruit larger than softballs and as creamy as a Haas avocado back home. We saw dragon fruit, bananas, and various greens. Some greens had the flavor of nuts while others were spicy, a bit like the nasturtium flowers I used to eat in California. Next door we saw tea. He gave me a flower to eat which was a bit bitter though flavorful. What always amazes me about Thailand is that it can grow just about anything you can imagine.
On our way home, we stopped at some tea shops and enjoyed hot tea as the rain fell like cats and dogs, to use an idiom. I drove back as I love driving mountain roads and we finished the day with a delicious dinner of fish and pickled pork. Though I miss being in my home country, there are many pleasures to be found here, from the complex and noisy of Bangkok, to the peaceful of the high country.