A long weekend with two extra days. Though I have been barely working at all this semester, at least this weekend promised not having to attend school and an opportunity to do whatever I wanted.
I had half an idea to get back into playing some video games again but only got around to it on the last day. It was fun but unfulfilling, possibly the spectre of disappointment raised by having to relearn how to play a game again, that I was half way through and not played for 18 months. I wonder when I’ll give it another go? I wonder if my old Nintendo DS still works after all these years?
On Sunday, the skies were cloudy but the rain had been holding off. It is gonna rain again, right? That can’t be it for rainy season already? Last year it didn’t seem to rain so much and it lead to drought in many parts of the country. We’ve had some big rains and the ground is getting saturated but there’s been nothing really approaching flooding.
Anyway, Amy and I took the opportunity for a quick drive down to Phayao. Amy had an idea to pick up some English muffins and jam from a local farm run by an Aussie and his Thai wife. Well, we didn’t really need much reason. It’s nice to have a break from the regularity of school and home and we haven’t been out much due to the pandemic situation, which, despite having limited impact here so far, is always something to be cautious of.
Amy’s old workmate, Jackie, had also managed to get himself out of Australia recently, hainvg overstayed his visa by a few years already. Now, Jackie is a character, or perhaps even more accurately, a caricature. He can be difficult to talk to, difficult to listen to and difficult to understand. Having not seen him for 3 years or so it would be interesting to hear some of his stories from that elapsed time.
The drive was very pleasant and enjoyable, some fantastic mountain ranges on the right with fresh paddy fields across the plains of the valley. Everything one shade of green or another.
Soon we arrived and met up with Jackie at his friends fish restaurant on the lake, where I took the attached panorama. Jackie was exactly as we remembered though looking more like he was hitting his old age than before. He talked loudly and non-stop, mostly polite nonsense but always, always, about money, and he made us laugh with his absurd pronouncements. He paid for everyone’s lunch, despite having little money, insisting that this is the ‘Thai way’ and we will off course reciprocate if he ever comes to visit.
Next we headed to a coffee shop, also next to the lake. Everything is next to the lake – it is the main feature of the sleepy little town. Jackie told us that the waters are lowering due to the Chinese damming rivers further upstream – a common issue amongst adjacent nations around the world these days. We waited at the cafe for the farmers to deliver our order to us, as they had decided to close the farm to visitors until next year due to the virus.
When they arrived I chatted with the Aussie and Amy chatted with his wife in Thai. Jackie was listening in as they explained about closing the farm and after a few minutes it was time for them to leave. Just as they turned to walk away, and well within earshot, Jackie turned to Amy and said in Thai, something along the lines of “Fucking stupid, why they close the farm, no virus now, fucking open, make money!” Amy shushed him (and told me this story later) and Amy and I discussed driving around the lake before heading home. Jackie said we should and he would leave us for ‘romantic time’. We laughed and then he instantly invited himself along too! He actually hasn’t been here in his hometown for about 20 years so the drive around was all new to him too.
Eventually we dropped Jackie home and headed back along the highway, shaking our heads at the things Jackie had done and said in the short time we caught up with him. I concluded that we were being punished for something bad in our past lives. Meeting once every three years or so still might be too often.