My neck of the woods
14.09.2010 96 °F
In Ubon, I finally felt like I could be a bit of a tour guide. We were finally somewhere that I felt like I knew.
Daddy, fitting into a tuktuk
In Det Udom there's a sign that says something to the effect of "Mae Nam Song Si, that way" with a giant arrow. I have wanted to visit this two color river since I first came to Det Udom. I took advantage of us having a driver and after a brief look around Ubon city, we headed straight for the two color river--where the Mun River meets the Mekong.
Wat at the top of the ridge.
You can't really see it well at this time of year, but the blue of the Mun River meets up with the brown of the Mekong. And Laos is on the other side.
And we decided, for the heck of it, to go to Laos.
Check out the boatman.
The tiny bit of Laos that was where we were was all markets... like the place existed for Thai tourists to purchase cheap goods. No passport was necessary to enter, though there was a fee (significantly more for non-Thais). It was amazing, though, to see the contrast in how Thailand's infrastructure is decent whereas, in this part of Laos, it was nonexistent.
Also, first time in a communist country.
After that it was on to Det Udom. Daddy opened the window of the van to take some excellent side-of-the-road shots. Here are a few:
Daddy at DTEC wasn't quite as I had planned, but was Thai to a T. If you want to see any pictures from this part you'll have to ask Daddy. A good number of teachers ate with us that night. The next morning, assembly was restructured to include Daddy introducing himself in English to a bunch of students who just kind of nodded. My classes (who were supposed to have prepared a presentation for my father) were all canceled because of cleaning for an upcoming inspection. I was going to bring Daddy to eat at Ba Aow's across the street, but the director suddenly had commandeered the day. He invited us out to lunch with the Deputy Director (all those presents Daddy brought along were very, very useful). The afternoon we went to make merit at a temple, came back to shower and pack, whereupon Daddy got the full DTEC experience of no water and had to bucket shower instead. The school loaned us a van and Ajarn Bpranee and her husband were nice enough to drive us to the airport in Ubon... with a stop for food of course. Every time they have brought me to the airport, they manage to find at least 10 minutes to feed me another meal, hungry or not. Despite our best efforts of politely conveying just how full we were from lunch, the food stop still happened.
Daddy made quite a good impression on the teachers here. The comments were all how handsome he was or how young he looked. We were told often that we looked the same (!). Only one comment was on how Daddy looked like Colonel Sanders (KFC is big in Thailand). I'm so thankful he could come out here. It was an excellent trip that allowed me both to be a tourist and show off where I've been living... and where I'll be living only 10 more days.
This week, ladies and gentlemen, is the last week of classes. I am finishing up grading and starting to pack. I have just been convinced by my students to stay all next week to really enjoy sports week (I'm a sucker for that "teeeeaaaacccchhhaaaa...."). I'll be photographing the area a bit more, really packing well, and generally completing things. I'll be able to enjoy my last week without the stress of grades or office hours... just having to pick which team to support in the competitions!