Sunday, September 1, 2013

Evening at the Bungalow

About 6:30 we were served rice along with two Thai dishes-one was a spicy green bean and meat dish, and the other was a mild vegetable dish with a yellow curry sauce.

There's no electricity in the village, so Johnnie (our guide-he never told us his real name, but he and his fellow guides had chosen English names for themselves, mostly inspired me by alcoholic beverages-so his was Johnnie Walker.)  lit candles and set them along the table on the porch.

He suggested we spend the evening playing cards.  So we could see better, he hung up a flashlight from the rafter with a bit of rope.

We conferred for a few minutes about what games everyone knew or that would be easy to learn, and we ended up playing spoons.  There were a few minor rule variations, but everyone but Saori had played before.  It's a simple game, though and after watching a round she caught on fast. 

To make it more interesting, Johnnie suggested that there be some kind of silly punishment for losing.  So, he found a blackened pot somewhere, and after every round, the one had gone out first would rub their fingers in the soot and then mark the loser's face.  After a few rounds several people looked like some sort of tribal warriors. 

After awhile it was pointed out that one side of the table-the other Americans-were coveted in soot while on the other side, Saori bad I had only one mark each, and the British couple none at all.  So, just to see if it made a difference, we started moving seats, scooting down one place every round.  It didn't help too much.  The British guy, Faris, was the last to get a mark. 

Later in the evening, the children came back along with all their friends.  There was a group of about fifteen of them, mostly girls.  Some of them wore the traditional jackets if their hill-tribe's costume. They sang several songs for us in their local language.  Of course most of them I didn't recognize, but towards the end they did a version of Frere Jacques.  That song gets around... There was one other tune that seemed familiar, like it was a devotional song I'd heard long ago, but I couldn't place it.  Probably just wishful thinking. 

Johnnie told us before the kids came that often the foreign groups like us will take up a small collection for the kids;  the money they "earn" singing for the tourists goes towards school supplies. Normally, it's a bit annoying to be hit up for money, but it was handled well and he didn't try to guilt trip anyone. 

After the kids left, we played another simple card game.  I'm not even sure of the name.  We wanted something quite simple though as Saori's English wasn't really up to complicated explanations, and we didn't want to leave her out.

We finally went to bed about ten-thirty or so. Fortunately, up in the mountains it was cool enough that we actually needed our blankets.  I slept fairly well considering that I was still in quite a lot of pain.  I did have to wake up to slowly turn over.  You don't realize how much you use those muscles until you don't have them!


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