Phitsanulok – Dinner with the family


(Unfortunately, the photos with this report have a blur in the middle due to a smudge on my camera lens from the train trip.)

Guess who’s coming for dinner? Why, it’s Ken. With five women. All in the same family. Three generations. And Ken. Sounds like a party.

Seriously, the first thing Nan wanted to do once we arrived in her hometown was introduce me to her family, at least those I hadn’t already met (mother and daughter). Her sister Mae arrived at our hotel shortly after we arrived. I was asked if I wanted to come to her mother’s house for dinner, Mae was cooking. Of course. So she went off with her sister and I did my Internet work, poured a couple and waited for her return.

Nan is very confident in her motorbike driving and that was how we traveled last night. Did I say it was dark? Did I mention I hate riding on the back of these things? Did I mention it was night? Or that confidence thing? We made it fine but I made her promise to take her time going back.

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Nan, left, two nieces and their mother, Mae

Nan’s mother and sister (and other siblings) live very simply, in a two-story townhouse like mine (except about one-third less depth) and an eclectric mixture of furniture. We all stayed in the front room, where there was a smorgasbord of furniture, a flatscreen TV and a 3-inch single mattress against one wall. The cooking area was in the back of the room.

Except for those on that bed, we all sat on the tiled floor. Including me. Did I mention I have a bad knee?

Oh, and we ate on the floor. Well, the food wasn’t on the floor, but the dishes were. And we were. I think that qualifies as eating on the floor, or else it would be called eating “off” the floor.

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Clockwise from bottom: fried egg, some kind of green, chili sauce, spicy chicken tendons or something, pak choi, chicken with mushrooms and onions, chicken and tofu soup (center), sweet/spicy sauce for the egg.

Mae prepared a wonderful array of different Thai foods – the traditional chicken with mushrooms and onions, a too-spicy plate of chicken somethings, a chicken and tofu soup, two plates of greens (one I was warned not to eat – they were told about the spicy thing), and a fried egg pancake.

I tried almost everything and didn’t eat those foods I found too spicy. The rest was delicious and totally satisfying. Lots of jovialty during the night, and lots of photo taking. Did I mention I could not speak to any of these women? Nan’s daughter understands a very litte English but the other four had no clue. And, of course, neither did I.

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Daughter Sai, Nan and niece

But you might be surprised at how good I am with pantomime. And we couldn’t resort to translation on the phone because no one had an internet data program and there was no WiFi available. Somehow, it seemed like everyone had a great time.

Forgot to mention the gifts. I had no idea what to buy but I was told I would be meeting five women and one man before we left Hua Hin – mother, daughter, sister, 2 nieces, nephew.

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Mom and her new pants

Mom seemed to really like her pendant and bright pantalooms. (I think she is sick and could use a little color, but she was already wearing some outrageous shorts for dinner.) Nan a different color pantaloom, which she soon gave to her daughter. All the women received some silver-like bracelets and the NYY baseball cap was for the grandson, who I never saw. The hat ended up with another niece.

An excellent evening in a very typical Thai household. Did I mention that all those people live in the same house?

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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