You never feel like you’re on holidays until you wake up in a new place. We play the jet-lag card this morning and stay in bed until after 7:00 local time, greatly assisted by the bedroom air-conditioner keeping the temp below 24C all night. When we finally emerge the table downstairs is decked out with croissants, muffins, papaya and cereals and the coffee pot is steaming. Just like home – except the vegemite toast is missing and we actually don’t get all that other good stuff.
We’re all off to church in Bang Na this morning so everyone piles into the Hilux. Four adults and two children into a five seater twin cab doesn’t quite fit. Someone will need to sit in the extra cab section at the back. I subtly try to look extra tall again and score the “exit row” equivalent, the front passenger seat, and Russell graciously volunteers to sit in the back. Bang Na is only thirty minutes away, very close by Bangkok standards, but the roads are of “mixed” quality.
After an encouraging service we meet some of the eclectic mix of locals. I chat with a student from Myanmar, in Thailand for study, a Pom working with women at risk in Bangkok, and a man from Singapore who asks the inevitable question “Australia? Are you from Melbourne?” Why do they always think that Australians want to live in Melbourne?
Our next stop is lunch. Russell says we’re going to a restaurant beside a lake and I have visions of relaxing with long cool drinks watching people water skiing. Then I remember – this is Thailand. The restaurant is owned by the family of one of Russell’s former students, a girl called Moo. The menus are all in Thai so we are at the mercy of our hosts. Apart from Nanette forgetting to avoid the little green things in the soup (tiny super hot chillies) the meal goes off well. We are surprised to find that we’ve been munching and yarning for about three hours so it’s back in the car and home for a Sunday afternoon relax.
Afternoon soon becomes evening and we’re all feeling at peace with the world when there’s a loud bang outside and all the lights go out. Our hosts are unfazed. “It’s just one of the power transformers blowing up. They do that when too many air conditioners are running. Or a cobra might have got caught in the wiring.” Cobra? “Oh yeah, we get them in the garden sometimes.” I remember my shoes outside the front door and resolve to bang them with a very long stick before I put them on tomorrow. It’s quite late when the power is finally restored and we can switch the air conditioners back on to cool the house down enough to go to bed. I briefly think about the folks back home tucked up in their doonas, but the picture seems somehow foreign now.