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The Road Less Traveled

5 November: Chiang Mai ---> Phitsanulok

THAILAND | Sunday, 5 November 2017 | Views [220]

Phrae Pineapples by the Side of the Road

Phrae Pineapples by the Side of the Road

Today was another day of transition. We were packing up in Chiang Mai and heading about 5 hours south to Phitsanulok – my wife’s home changwat (or province).  In the morning, our crew enjoyed breakfast at our hotel, the Loghome Boutique. The restaurant is really good there and the staff is very efficient. It was a solid start to our day.

We had hired a van and a driver for the trip from a local tour organizer across the street from our hotel a couple days prior. Such a stroke of luck – the van and driver for four of us was less than a sedan last year for two people. About $120 for a private ride for a party of four in a comfortable air conditioned van – we were quite satisfied.

Along the way we were able to make some stops for snacks. Apparently the province and the city of Phrae is known for its pineapples. My middle sister-in-law asked my wife to pick up some. Well, alongside the road they were waiting for us. For about 60 cents each, my wife loaded up about 10 pineapples. The vendor gave me a sample. It was soooo sweet. We are taught that Hawaiian pineapples are the best. They can cost about $15-20 each to bring back to the mainland. I have never tasted a Hawaiian pineapple as tasty as the one on the side of the road in Phrae. Gimme the 60-cent version any day.

We arrived at our hotel in Phitsanulok. I had used Booking.com to reserve the room. It was in fairly new hotel called the Morage near my youngest sister-in-law’s house. Frequented mostly by Thais, I think we may be the only “farangs,” (white foreigners) here. That’s okay. The room is spacious and clean and has plenty of cool air conditioning if we need it. Fortunately, this is about the coolest I can remember Phitsanulok in the last 23 years. So while the AC is good – it is not stifling outside.

The ladies wanted to get their hair washed, dried, and ironed. A salon my wife has frequented in the past is not too far from the hotel. My middle sister-in-law picked us all up and drove to the salon. After dropping off the ladies, the men and my sister-in-law unsuccessfully looked for a laundry that charged by the kilogram. Striking out, we did what anybody else would do past 5:30 pm…. We sat down to have a beer or two. Our original plan was to go to a night market when the ladies were done. However, it began to rain lightly, so when the ladies arrived – my youngest sister-in-law and my niece too – we decided to settle in to this restaurant. The beer was the coldest I have ever had in Thailand. It came out from the back with frost on the bottle. My wife and her relatives ordered all the food – it was all delicious. Lots of chatting, pictures, and fun. It was great to see my niece again – she had spent 4 months with us in the USA earlier this year. Her English was even better as she carried on conversations with my friends and me without hesitation displaying total comfort and confidence in doing so.

Several hours after sitting down, it was time to head for home. While it had been a somewhat quiet day, what made it so very good was spending time with some family we have not seen in a year and sharing that time with our good friends.

My wife has plans the next morning to renew her Thai national ID card. Every Thai is able to get a card like this – it is extremely inexpensive (about 90 cents). This ID is required for many things – opening a bank account, getting a driver’s license, boarding an airplane, and voting.  Somehow this is a bizarre concept in my home country and the idea of requiring an ID for certain things can be considered by some to be an infringement on rights – especially the rights of the poor. Many people in Thailand qualify as poor, but as the government ensures that an ID is accessible and attainable by all, that concept of infringement has been solidly disproven here in Thailand.

Also tomorrow, we will explore the rich history of the Phitsanulok province, the city of Phitsanulok, and the sacred temple, Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat better known to locals as Wat Yai – home of the Phra Buddha Chinnarat image.  

Thank you again for taking the time to read this journal.  Cheers!

Tags: chiang mai, phitsanulok, thailand

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