3 days in Phetchabun
Phetchubun is where Joe and his wife have made a home for themselves and I was anxious to see it. I had always heard of this house and had an idea of what it would look like.
Traveling with him overnight was actually quite fun. He was easier to travel with then some of those I had traveled with previously.
Random, but Joe noticed during our travel time that the thai's were looking at me, because of my muscular physique, or so he said. Then I noticed it to, I was a built a bit bigger then most thai women. he may have been correct as to why I was getting these looks.
This bus was different then the one I had taken to get to Bangkok. Joe and I were the only English speakers on the bus, not even the driver spoke English. It was a locals bus. It became obvious to me that when it would come time for me to leave Joe and head to Chiang Mai, I'd be traveling on the same locals type of bus. An all Thai speaking bus, ha! Good luck to me!
I slept most the bus ride in an uncomfortable state but it was the best way to kill time. Joe couldn't sleep but a little so he mostly sat up in deep thought, I'm sure.
At 5am we arrived at the bus station and waited for a short period before the town bus arrived. We were dropped off at the end of Joe's street around 6:30am where Joe gave me instructions of where his house was and then he hopped on a scooter taxi and rode to his house.
I walked my normal fast paced speed and met up with him at the end of his driveway just after the scooter dropped him off.
His wife Air was there and anxiously ready to greet us. She was overjoyed that someone from Joe's "family" had come to visit.
I stayed 2 nights and 3 days in Phetchabun at his house. It was gorgeous, cooler temperatures and I had my own guest house with bathroom.
There wasn't a lot to do as far as sight seeing went but I enjoyed seeing Joe's house, the way he lives and the area he lives in.
Years back, he and Air bought 3 acres together and built this home on it. There are 3 buildings on the property the house is in the middle and the 2 outside buildings are guest houses. Only one was intended to be a guest house and the other to be Joe's shop. The house was finished and then the guest house with a joined laundry room was completed a year later. The following year (year 3) the shop building was in progress.
Joe went out of town for a little while and when he retuned Air had the shop turned into another guest house! So now Joe's shop is basically the overhang of what was supposed to be a shop. If you ask him what he thinks of the way his property looks now he'll say, "the place looks like a damn resort!" I could see that. A small Thai resort especially with the gate at the end of the driveway with hanging lights on both sides. Joe won't let Air turn those lights on unless they are expecting company.
We ventured to a fairly new wat the first night I was there. It was still under some construction and It was huge, you could see it's large form on the hillside as you entered the town. It was the most colorful way I had seen yet and on the boarder line of godie. There were mosaics on the ground, on the gate like walls, stairs and building. I looked past the overuse in colors and took pictures to use as inspiration in a Thai related painted that I'll create when I return home.
After leaving the wat we into town and bought a few things to cook with our dinner at a road side market and bought some eggs at the 7/11. It's the only real store close to Joe's house and it was very strange buying eggs at this American convenient store.
Joe and I continued to have great conversations over the next few days, regarding all sorts of life topics. I had a day and a half to get to know Air before she left for the Bangkok condo to do business.
Air is in her 50's and full of energy! She wore me out just listening to her talk! Joe said when they met she could hardly speak any English but now she does pretty good. I think what's happened is she's learned enough that she likes to hear herself talk in English and she'll go on for hours! It's hilarious, I don't know how Joe listens to all she has to say, everyday. Although maybe it was because I was visiting that she talked this much.
On the first night after I had gone to my guest house, I watched Air from my window, she was outside with the dogs. She picked ticks off of them (constantly throughout the day as well) as well as other bugs. Talking to them and massaging them. She cooked them human food on the stove for dinner, kept a fan on them so bugs would stay clear and then right when she turned it off she covered them up with mosquito nets for the night. They are like little humans to her.
I had the most frustrating language barrier conversation at the bus station the day Air left for the city.
The station like I mentioned before was a locals sorta station. They don't see western travelers so they have no reason to learn English. Joe speaks fairly good Thai but we thought we'd use Air to help me figure out ticket details for me to go to Chiang Mai the next day. That really didn't go as smooth as planned.
Joe and I both told Air what to ask the ticket lady. Air asked the question but she asked it in her own way, completely twisting it up! We realized this was happening after we had to ask the same question several times. That and when numbers were involved, like times and prices she told us what she remembered hearing.
I needed to know the exact price, time the bus left and time the bus arrived in Chiang Mai. I was going to need to plan my first steps in the new city based off this info.
One thing I kept hearing from Air was that if I bought my ticket right then, I had to pay more for it. If I didn't buy it and waited tell the day of, I would need to arrive at the station 2 hours in advance to secure my spot on the bus. This sounded odd to both Joe and I. The US would never do that! You pay less when you buy in advance, usually.
Joe left the frustrating conversation between the ticket lady & Air. I stayed to try and get answers. It was so frustrating that I couldn't just ask my question, get my answer and move on. I was on the verge of both screaming and crying but I held back. This was the first time I had noticed almost loosing my cool in 4 months of traveling. Another problem I realized was that Air didn't understand why I didn't want the VIP bus for more money. So she kept trying to ask the lady about that bus. Thai's take the bus I was trying to get on, westerners take VIP. Yeah, well not this westerner. I want to have money in my pocket when I return home.
I decided to wait on buying my ticket tell the day of and save some money. We saw Air off, then Joe and I went for a scoop of ice cream before heading home.
I finished up my time at his house researching some Chiang Mai options, doing a small load of proper laundry (not hand washing), and helping Joe out a little with house chores.
He took me to the bus station on my last evening there to buy the ticket and then he insisted we go to a grocery store so I could buy some snacks for the bus ride. I told him I didn't need any but he kept insisting so I bought some tuna, crackers, and carrot chips to please him. When we returned to the station he waited with me for over an hour tell my bus came.
He told me how much he'd enjoyed my visit and he wished he was going to Chiang Mai with me to continue our fun adventure. I wished he was coming to, we had heaps of laughs together. I gave him a hug and said, "good bye uncle joe!" to get a smile from him. When I got on the bus I watched him check the tire tread and kick them before giving me a thumbs up.
So cute! He's always looking out for me and living up to his standards of not trusting the Thai's maintenance and driving.