Early on our travels through Thailand we were lucky enough to stay with Bouy and the Tulachom family. We were couch surfing again and Gab and I were amazed by the warm welcome we received from complete strangers.
Bouy, his wife Chang and their two daughters Pehwah and Ping Ping picked us up in their family van after we had finished walking for the day. Pehwah and Ping Ping weren’t having a bar of the two smelly walking strangers (we really did smell) but Bouy and Chang used Google Translate like absolute pros and did their best to introduce themselves. It had been a Buddha day the day before we arrived and they took us out to visit the beautiful Buddha statue surrounded by a gorgeous garden and flowers left over from the celebrations.
The family put us up in a beautiful granny flat type accommodation on their weekend property in the countryside. Very fancy. They co-owned the property with Bouy’s brother Peh. Peh spoke very good English and gave us the tour. They grew all sorts of things including eucalyptus trees, bananas, corn, jack fruit, rubber trees, cassava, passion fruit and so much more. They were really concerned with growing things organically and it really opened my eyes to how much I don’t know about growing anything.
That night we helped (or perhaps hindered) dinner preparations. They made so much food and it was very delicious. We were a little worried when we seemed to be the only ones eating. We suspected and then confirmed later that in Thailand the guests eat first. This is a bit of a disaster for me as I am a terribly slow eater. Epically slow. They could have been waiting a very long time. Luckily I was very hungry from the day’s walk and nobody died of old age while I finished my meal. Phew. Close call.
The following day we took Peh and Bouy’s mum up on her offer of a tour of the village. She picked us up in her very fancy golf cart and Peh and the girls came along for the ride. We saw the local temple, stopped off for some fried banana and visited Peh’s sister, On. On made small bags that were sold in Bangkok and was also a bit of a crocheting whizz. She wouldn’t let us leave without giving us each a beautiful crocheted top and bag!
After our tour it was on to the next site, a community education centre that taught locals about how to farm sustainably and from what Peh explained, the centre was the pride of the community. One of the princesses of Thailand herself had endorsed the centre and there was a big focus on growing things organically.
Our last stop for the day was the buffalo training school. No buffalos were training when we visited (unless they were doing it secretly) but we parked beside the lake and walked down to the restaurant there. We thought we’d already had lunch back at the house but more amazing food was ordered. So. Much. Food. I think we had about four or five meals that day. It was lovely being with the family as they joked and laughed. One of the younger cousins was quite good at speaking English. At one point Peh must have asked him the word for river in English. He replied “mother water”, a direct translation from the Thai word. Poor kid. We all laughed at him. Luckily he took it on the chin. Kids say the darndest things.
At the end of what had been a very busy second day, the family asked us to plant some jack fruit trees. They had made signs with our names and the date of our visit on them and as the sun was setting they stuck them in the ground next to the trees. Peh asked us to come back in three years time to see how much the trees had grown and to taste the jack fruit. Such a beautiful idea and what an incentive to come back! We arrived as strangers but left feeling like part of the family.
Humans are great. 😊