Well, I’ve been promising you 43 minutes of cinematic gold for a few weeks now and the moment is finally upon us (and… please let the facetiousness of that statement be noted). Over the last few days of our time in Thung Song Wayne and I finally realized a project I’d had in mind for months previous: collecting footage for a video in which we rode around and had little chats with some of the Thais that had become a part of our everyday life during our time in the town. Honestly, I had a 10-minute reel in mind, something similar to but a little more polished than the Jiaxing video.
The footage we ended up with amounted to over two hours’ worth, so you can see how whittling it down to even 43 minutes is still a bit of an accomplishment! Also, there’s some pretty sweet jams to hopefully hold your attention through the whole thing. If 43 minutes still seems like a bit too much to bite off at one time, I’ve recently discovered the option to start YouTube links at various times, allowing me to present a sort of “Chapters” set-up and also to introduce and give background into the characters you’ll encounter.
“Chapter” One: The ride from our house to Pa’Daeng’s laundry, and a peek at Pa’Daeng’s new house. Pa’Daeng (literally “Auntie Red”) is a charismatic 66 year-old laundress who brought smiles and giggles into each laundry run. You’ll notice we drive by her old house/laundry headquarters on our way to the new one– one she bought and moved into about a week before we left, and of which she is very, very proud. She doesn’t have to rent anymore! Oh, and as for the four kids hanging out at her house, still not exactly sure what the story is there, but they were all awful cute.
(Music: “Myth” by Beach House)
“Chapter” Two: The ride from Pa’Daeng’s to and around the big morning market, where we pick up some coconut water and a watermelon. On our way out we happen to run spot two of the students from our adult class also cruising around.
(Music: “I Was Thinkin’ of a Dream I Had” by the Walkmen; “Juicebox” by the Strokes)
“Chapter” Three: At the clinic of “the Indian Doctor,” as we all referred to him until I actually discovered his name on camera (Doctor Raj). One of the better English speakers we encountered in our town, he is the doctor that deduced that Wayne’s and my sore throats were a result of eating too much Thai fruit and who performed the ghastly task of slicing off the slough forming on the burn on my leg. Here he waxes poetic about his origins, reveals the funny reason he feels safe in Thung Song, and proves to be a better doctor than meteorologist.
(Music: “Province” by TV On The Radio; “Little April Shower” from the Bambi soundtrack.)
“Chapter” Four: Concluding our tour of the town center, where Wayne gets himself a Buddha necklace (there’s probably better terminology for it than that, but that’s what we’ll go with). Then saying goodbye to teachers and students, at our school and at the adjacent temple, where we arrive only after firming up a lunch date with our favorite shopkeeper, Fai.
(Music: “Those To Come” by the Shins; “Prodigal Son” by the Rolling Stones)
“Chapter” Five: Lunch with Fai. And her mom, and her mom’s friend. (She left her brother in charge of things.) As happens so often in Thailand, plans get changed up twice and we end up at our friend Vallapa’s restaurant, Kan Yaeng (aka “The Green Restaurant,” aka “The Pink Restaurant”). We feasted upon a fish and vegetable stir-fry (with a fried egg on the side), two plates of pad thai, an entire fish topped with delicious veggies and herbs, a bowl of tom yum goong, and a tofu/veggie dish that was entirely superfluous.
(Music: “Turn Into” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
“Chapter” Six: A chat with our neighbor Jalan about his history with Thung Song, a stop-in at Yim Yim Restaurant to be showered with gifts by Peung and her mother (the owner of the restaurant), a riveting performance by Montrey & Co. at Win Win (with a guest appearance of David on the drums), a look around O’s place, a coffee with Kung, and a quick peek around the Dinosaur Restaurant.
(Music: “Doo Doo Doo (ดูดู่ดู้)” by Job2Do, performed by Montrey; and another Thai song I’m unfortunately unfamiliar with, also performed by Montrey)
“Chapter” Seven: Ollie’s last walk! That river is clean enough, pickup truck is a saw (you’ll know what I mean), and the street dogs run the spectrum of ‘placid’ to ‘jerk.’ Then we run into the famed P’Kiew (whose house is driven past and who is seen at the fried banana stand [not to be confused with the… banana stand] in “Chapter” One and who just drove past us as we walked Ollie) to chat for a second about martial arts, and then invite him to our goodbye dinner at Kan Yeang. He was just a sweet old man who’d lived in Thung Song his whole life. He had the tiniest little concrete house and he enjoyed napping outside it, bent over that little table out front. We’d always chat when I was walking Ollie; he knew a little bit of English and we had fun trying to make ourselves understood. We’d often seen him outside doing the yardwork for his sister, who lives in the nice house next door, and we drank beer with him a few times.
(Music: “Take a Walk” by Spoon; “Title Music (from The Darjeeling Limited)” by Shankar Jaikishan
“Chapter” Eight: Final goodbyes! Leaving the house, a farewell dinner at Kan Yeang, a mad dash for the train with a much-beloved entourage. Scenes from our train. Fine
(Music: “This Time Tomorrow” by the Kinks— itself a tip of the hat to DL.)
And if you wanna just watch it straight through… Here you go (yes, I’m aware that you get the same result if you just click ‘”Chapter” One’ up there). Oh, and if you’re watching this in Thailand (or anywhere else with less-than-desirable internet connection) you might think about just downloading it through SaveMedia.com or KeepVid.com. Will probably work better than waiting for the whole thing to buffer!