Saturday, May 3, 2008


We spent most of the weekend in Nong Khai. We hired a chauffer with a nice huge van, and my Aunt, Fred, my Mother, and I all headed northwest. We made the trip so that I could meet the rest of my family. It was about a 4 hour drive there, Thai time (with many relaxing stops). During the first couple of hours driving, the skies were sprinkled with a bunch of yellow confetti-like butterflies. It was beautiful! On the way there, we passed the town with all of the cantaloupe, another broom and handmade basket town, and the coconut town. I had many “Elaine” moments in the van on the way there; if you are a Seinfeld fan you may get this. (If not, there was an episode where she was on a crowded bus, and she gets very annoyed and was screaming her thoughts in her head-very funny stuff.) We finally get to Nong Khai and go shop at the outdoor market and had lunch. Fred was extremely hot and annoyed with the idea of shopping, so we took him to the hotel and checked him in. We went back shopping afterwards. The hotel was The Royal Mekong Hotel. It was okay; it is right on the Mekong River and probably equivalent to a Holiday Inn. It had an incredible view of Laos and the Mekong River and had a nice pool area. I crashed with my Aunt again, and hung out downstairs and attempted to use the Internet in the lobby. My Uncle and his family were staying there as well. It was so nice seeing my Loong (Uncle) Suchat for the very first time. I have heard so many stories about my Mom’s brother. When we first met, we both couldn’t stop staring at each other and we were giggling like little school children. He has a smile that beams like the sun. We all went to dinner: My Aunts, Uncle, his children (my cousins), and his grandchildren. We had a very nice time. At dinner my Uncle gave me a very special Buddha medallion that he wears around his neck, and told me to keep it to protect me. It was a very sweet moment; I thanked him in Thai as my eyes welled up with tears. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t really communicate with him, but I think he knew and could tell how grateful I was.

My cousin, Neung, married an older Englishman (she’s 33 and he’s 61!) that is an actor, writer, and teacher in the U.K. (Side note: Okay, this was odd because he’s a year older than my Uncle…Does he call him Dad????) Anyways, his name is Alex, and we spent majority of the evening talking about theatre and different shows that we have done, etc. It was so nice talking to someone that has similar interests as me. He is a very smart, and witty older man (old enough to be my Dad), and has an incredible resume at that. He has a book out on called, Bilingual Shakespeare: A handbook for teachers. If you know anyone that use this text- spread the word! He comes from a family of actors and artists, and says that Helena Bonham Carter is a 2nd cousin of his (that he “never keeps in contact with-but should”) Uh, yeah. You think? He uses great words like, stodgy, fellow, lovely, pompous, and says “right” all the time. I love it! He said that I need to come visit him and my cousin in England, and I just might have to take him up on that offer!
On the way home, we went a different route. We passed the corn town, the banana town, the Dr. Seuss-looking tree town, the pineapple town, the rubber tree farm (which my Mom kept calling out, ”Hey honey, look at the tire trees!” Ha, ha!!!! Every time we passed an Esso gas station, I’d miss Allan, Puerto Rico and the infamous papas wedges (aka: drunk food). Then we passed the Eucalyptus tree farm, and then last but not least, the live lizard, locust, and ant egg stand!!! Mind you, this is all for FOOD! Oh yeah, we pulled over--I’ve got pictures!!!! Don’t worry; I wasn’t THAT BRAVE!!!! YUCK!

It was a great trip; I shopped a little, ate a little, and played with my “new family” a little. I wish Allan were here to enjoy all of this with me.