“This weekend we will go to Shiku and do what the Thais do on Sunday.” Says Beau – the former off-shore engineer from Batonrough. Beau has been living in Thailand and Singapore for over a decade and is the leader of Rak Tamachat. He is an interesting fella with a heavy dose of education, a drizzle of sinicism and a touch of hope for a better world for his three little boys. I prefer his ingenuity in natural building and farming to his banters on the problems of the world. But in the end he is doing something with his skills that contributes to the permaculture movement and for that, I respect him
So Sunday arrives and we depart a typical 1.5 hours late. Piled into the back of the silver (converted into a song tale) pick-up truck we were off. This is an exciting time because the Thai family who live at the farm are joining us. Peechao (probably not spelled correctly) his wife Yao and this two children were taking the day off to enjoy the reservoir. We drive about 30 minutes along the dusty road until we arrived to the recreational area of the man-made lake. Along the road there are lines of restaurants without any seating but further away you can see clusters of shanty-like pavilions near the waterfront. That is where the seating is.
All of sudden Ton (another farm worker) is yelling “No, No, No” and then it happened. The roof of the truck was higher than the duct taped power lines and down it went, along with three posts. Clearly this seems like a very good reason to get upset and perhaps the owners of this lot were but the culture demands each person to ‘keep face’. Therefore, no controversy ensued. Beau did, however, decided we should probably select their dinning establishment as the place we should eat.
There were too many of us for one covered platform so the waitress sat us at two that were right next to each other. We ordered drinks and food and so the Sunday hangout began. The local liquor of choice is Hong Tong, which they say is a whiskey but tastes more like a rum to me. After a while I got the urge to get out in the water via paddleboat. The design was not like any other I had seen. Likened a double torpedo with a roof. We paid the elderly lady and set off.
At the center of the reservoir the water seemed up my swimming standards and off I went. The water was just cool enough to be refreshing and I lavished in the freedom of being buoyant. I always make a practice every stroke when I am in the water because you never know when swimming might just save your life. All the westerners jumped in by the Thai did not because they did not know how to swim. But they do know what it looks like when something is sinking.
You boat is sinking was the communication as it was true. Luu (spunky Brit) and I were in trouble. I figured at the least we could get half way to shore and swim the rest. “Could you make it to the shore” I asked. “I am not that good of a swimmer” she replied. Okay then we are going to have to make it to a closer shore and get the ASAP. Luu’s side was the one sinking and within five minutes water was starting to flow over. She climbed over to my side and sat on the torpedo shaped front and held one to the roof. Legs burning, we did make it to a far off shore and then walked around the reservoir back to the party. After that a shot of the strong stuff and another beer was our reward.
Hours later we eventually packed up and headed to the large open-air market. But that is a whole other story…