Pitsanulok to Sukhothai 71km
Last night we, the two girls, Sasha and Loraine, and I, were shown through the Saturday Night Market. We had four guides, Mark our host, a nine year old girl, who has really amazing English, and normally picks up tourists in the Temple to guide them, her sister, who also has really good English, is an ex pupil of Marks, and is now studying to be a nurse, and the girls father, who speaks not a word of English.
The market was busy, but it was really great having the locals, I include Mark, explaining what all the foods were. Generally, I look, sometimes ask, but more often than not, walk away still unknowing. I find a good deal of the food available here in Asia very unappeatising, so am happy to walk away, but I do find it fascinating seeing, and now knowing, what Asians are happy to eat. We did see a couple of "bug" stalls, beetles, cicadaas and the like, but more common here in Thailand are pork, chicken, beef and seafood. However, the meat cuts are very different to what we would consider normal, so difficult to recognize, and the bits we would normally throw away, or smuggle into sausages, are all out on the counter for you to choose. Hmmm. Sure helps to reinforce my vegetarian leanings.
But I tried some stuff. Big fat sweet potato and taro paddies were pretty good. A small parcel wrapped in an eatable green leaf had some very interesting flavours, including ginger, and some sweet syrups. The best piece of cake I've eaten since Perth, turned out to be banana cake, and nowhere near as sickly sweet as others I've tried. A piece of fried fish had some very interesting flavours as well. Salty, with ginger, and some unrecognizable herbs and spices. And puffy balls of flour with tuna inside them were pretty yummy. Really, I needed this tour, when I first came to Thailand, in November. There was still heaps I was not game to sample.
Then we found the dancing. About 50 ladies, the youngest being well over that age, we're sitting around a basketball court. They were all dressed in similar floral dresses. A band, including guitars, drums and brass instruments, with two or three lead singers was blasting away on a stage. Each dance lasted about five minutes. What you did, was buy a ticket, for 5 Bart, about 20 cents. This got you one dance with one of the girls, (60-80 year olds). They were having a ball. It happens every Saturday night, and Mark brings many of his guests down to join the party. He thrust a hand fill of tickets in my paw, with the instruction to get out there and choose my honey... All the music sounded pretty much the same, but the ol' girls danced different steps to every song. We had to keep up, and follow best we could. There's no touching, just lots of hip twisting, direction changes, arm and hand movements, and tricky steps. All the ol' girls were in perfect time with each other. Locals, who were obviously regulars at this Saturday night event, were also pretty much in time. It was only us foreigners who were making fools of ourselves. Oh well. What's new?
Mark and I had cycled to the market via a temple. He visits it often as it has a free sauna. We snuck in. It was delicious. It's so long since I had a sauna, but we were fully clothed, so just got very sweaty. The temple also has a huge gong, that you rub, rather than hit, and it makes a very loud hum. It almost drowned out the twittering of the birds in the trees just outside the temple. This is so loud, there are so many birds, that you can not hear the person next to you speak. Mark suggested that we try our fortune, with Buddha sticks. Mine suggested that I was not going to be wealthy in the near future, but there was a high chance I would get pregnant, and have a baby girl. Hmmmmm. Well that's not happening.
It was a bit sad leaving the English School this morning. I had enjoyed meeting everyone there. Fiona was given some bling, made especially by Lorraine, and I was told that they would miss my stories. Oh dear. Have I already begun telling stories of my travels? I will have to squash that trend, otherwise my friends will get pretty sick of having me around, once I finally get home.
Topped 16,000km today. Wow.