Following on from my previous post featuring day one in Roi Et, Thailand, is the second record of my trip. Actually it was my third day but the initial one was spent travelling and meeting Nom’s family before retiring to my hotel.
Pranom comes from a village 12 miles or so from the province capital Roi Et, where her parents and grandmother live in a largish wooden house built on stilts. As soon as we arrived, Nom got rid of her Pattaya clothing and appeared donning a farmer’s shirt and skirt, yet still maintaining her beauty.
Below is an image taken at her father’s land where he keeps his water buffalo.
Getting out to the shed was an experience as I, in my wisdom thought that Nom would be a skilful motorbike driver but as the small 125 twist and go machine left for off road, muddy conditions, my heart was in my mouth on more than one occasion. OK maybe I am being harsh for her feet never once touched the ground nor did her hands reach for the brakes, which was the part that scared me most.
I opted to drive back. Now I have 30 years of motorbike experience behind but I was not prepared for how the small scooter would handle off road. With hindsight, she actually did a better job than me.
On the way home, I was faced with a herd of cows. I patiently sat behind them as she yelled “Go. Just go through them.”
I declined her kind offer but was amazed when old men, two school kids and a lady all passed through the middle of the cattle without fuss on their dipapidated bikes. I felt such a coward lol.
Still I survived to tell the story.
Now this day was split between a long drive to a temple and park, two hours from Roi Et and me being knee deep in the rice fields taking photos of the work force.
The Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol Temple is an amazing place. 101 metres high, 101 metres long and 101 metres wide. Why you may ask is it 101 metres in all directions? Well it comes from the name Roi Et with means 101.
These three ladies pictured above are from left to right, Nom, her mother and one of her two sisters Sarah.
You can tell one is slightly “Ting Tong” as they say in Thailand. Yes Sarah is a character and loves to pose for the camera. Ting Tong of course means mad or mental but in a good way.
Now if you follow me on Facebook or continue to read my dross here, you will soon learn that girls here often have western names. This is not their actual names which are Thai but a name given to them in the form of a nickname. Jane, Leena, Liza, May, Oil, Bee, Thip, Honey, Dear, Dream are all names you will hear.
Above is the view from near the top of the temple. You can literally see for miles across the province. Well kept gardens are a feature of this beautifully maintained masterpiece, set in rural Roi Et.
Cost to get in is only 20 Baht, around 50 pence. Like many places in Thailand, you will be expected to take your shoes off before entering the temple. They supply a large shoe rack to place them in, which had over 100 pairs of mainly sandals already on it awaiting their owners return.
Reaching the top of this amazing structure is no easy task. There are five floors to scale and it is often very hot. The first floor is a meeting and conference area. Progress to floor two and you will see beautiful murals depicting the life of the Buddha.
On the third floor you will find the ordination hall, with marble images of the 101 monks.
Number four is a museum and gateway to the fifth and final floor. Many people do not have the energy to climb the 119 stairs to access the top of the building. However I watch an elderly lady who was 88 years of age, drag herself to the top and my thoughts were simply this. “If she can do then so can I.”
Sweating buckets I climbed every step, taking great care not to slip or lose my footing in any way, for it is a long drop to the bottom. Once you reach the pinnacle, you are faced with a stunning shrine to the Buddha, where people will be praying. Be respectful and remain quiet.
we left the temple with the promise of a trip to a waterfall but we got lost but not before we descended through heavy woodland to a lake, which was remarkably gorgeous. I have to confess, I did not fancy the walk back up to the car. The heat was tremendous and on the descent it was difficult to breath.
I observed families slowly climbing back up from the lake, looking like they were at deaths door.
However at the bottom, it was realised that we were not where we thought. I decide to make the most of our predicament and went on search of photo opportunities and water.
To my delight I stumbled onto a fish feeding area where you could purchase food for the lake’s monstrous inhabitants and basically they would take the nourishment from your hand.
Now no one spoke English here so I couldn’t determine what these fish were but my guess is they are some sort of cat fish. They are over a foot in length with huge mouths, that scoop up the pellets given to them like the front loader of a bulldozer.
I was delighted when I found that a lady with a motorbike offered to transport our driver, Sarah’s boyfried to the car. He returned whilsy I enjoyed a couple of iced drinks.
We eventually returned to Roi Et where I was treated to a visit to the rice fields.
Knee deep in water, the rice workers life looks far from fun, yet they were all happily chatting and laughing with me.
I borrowed a pair of sandals, which I burst and had to replace. I was covered in either mud or ants, on the rare occasions that I stood still. Basically if you were in the water barefoot, you were safe from the ants. But as soon as you stepped out of the murky water, the buggers were all over your feet and legs.
From the Rice Fields, I was taken to an old couples home where the lady operated an old fashioned loom or similar to produce cloth that in turn she made tea towels from.
The gent showed me how to milk a cow with his hands, offering me the chance to do so, which I declined.
We returned to the family home where my lady and her mother washed the muck from my legs as I stood humbled by the care and respect given to me.
The following day I wandered around the centre of the town of Roi Et, taking photos of the attractions, which are mainly based on Buddha, although they have an excellent park with a lake and rowing boats too. We visited the free underwater museum before heading for a meal and the airport to return home.
I am still playing catch up with the blog, so if you return to read more of my drivel and view my photos, you will find images from my Bangkok river trip and my antics at Rompho parties