Surin Part 1
The first time I went for a holiday to Thailand I accompanied a friend of mine who was going to visit his Thai wife and her two children; it was April the time of Songkran (the Thai New Year and water festival) also the hottest time of the year.
Surin is in the north eastern region of Thailand called Issan, it is amongst the poorest area's in Thailand, at least in economic terms, and is where my friend's wife lives, in a small village on the outskirts of Surin, it is also near to the Cambodian border. Life is not easy in this and the surrounding villages, due, in the main, to lack of employment, but, and I suppose this is why Thailand is called "The Land of Smiles", I made the acquaintance some of some of the nicest people I have ever had the privilege to meet and they were all smiling.
I would like to relate one instance, of many, if I may, it was a very warm evening all over Thailand but it felt like the hottest place on earth in that little village in Surin, I was sat outside the home of my friends wife, a two story breeze block and wood house, thinking happy thoughts and watching the chickens run around as only chickens can, then from seemingly nowhere a 4 x 4 with blacked out windows pulls up and out pops a farang (the word means foreigner in Thai), originally from the UK but has taken up residence, with his Thai wife, further along the road.
Hello Phil and Fon, my friends wife called and then proceeded to introduce Phil and his wife Fon to me, to cut a long section of this account short, Phil and I hit it off like we were long lost pal's, anyway, after about half an hour Phil invited me to join him in a beer at one of the local shops, there aren't any pub's or clubs for a two hour + drive, so after a five minute drive in the air conditioned car we found ourselves outside a wooden hut in the middle of nowhere, well it looked and felt like the middle of nowhere, we exited the coolness of the car for the heat of the night and sat down at a wooden table with two wooden benches.
I had little to no Thai language skills so my friend Phil ordered two Chang Beers (the name of the most popular, in my mind, beer in Thailand) we opened them and started to talk about Thailand, his life in the village and how his three foot nothing wife gives him, six foot (plus), a hard time (I really feel for him, NOT).
Anyway just as we were finishing our beer a motorbike pulls up at the shop, the motorbike is the standard mode of transport in