Thailand | Doi Pui and Living in Huay Hee

We have been in Huay Hee for several days now, enjoying village life and finishing our trail. We have lived with two host families and bid farewell to Tracy and Pi Toto, which was tearful and devastating. We have slowed our pace and nearly all of us have fallen ill by now. However, day-to-day village life has been fantastic.

We are finally comfortable and used to our surroundings, though still discovering countless surprises. I am currently residing (with Dustin) with Pati Asi, the village leader, and his wife. He speaks a fair amount of English, which is nice, as we finally get to ask someone our endless questions. A few days ago, we saw a group of tourists come through Huay Hee, and I kept thinking how bizarre that we cannot relate to them. They spoke to us as if we had something in common, though our group has by and large agreed that we did not. How strange to relate more to a completely foreign people than to Westerners. Perhaps this will follow us home?

Another set of strange encounters: A couple days back, a group of Thai tourists stopped their SUV to film us eating. Rather shocked at the insta-zoo we had created, I hid behind Danielle until they finished trying to strike conversation (in Thai, mind you). Very bizarre.

Yesterday, while I was hanging out with Magu Isa, Katia, and Liz, a government truck drove by, blaring political messages. As a representative did the rounds about us, handing out pamphlets, we were stunned by the cultural difference, especially evident with the change in surrounding volume. As I was busy muttering, “I’m not really a citizen..,” Liz poked me and insisted that I blend right in, so I took it anyway. The group meeting included Abbey and Andrew, the year-long students, which added an interesting perspective. Although exhausted, Dustin and I stayed up late (aka 9.30pm) chatting.

Today, we hiked Doi Pui, a nearby mountain known for its scenic views. It was a long way up, but really pretty and fun. We even found bits of an old WWII jet scattered about. At the peak, we could see the road and Huay Ton Koe, where we are headed tomorrow. We ate lunch at the summit before heading back down. After our meeting in the afternoon, the village had a communal dinner in the sala and even served a tapioca-like dish for dessert, which the children devoured. We sang a bit by the firelight and I eventually hiked up to the top of the mountain by the church to see the meteor shower. As I was very alone in the pitch black forest, I nearly gave myself a stroke. Finally, I saw a meteor just as I was giving in and promptly plopped myself down on the practically vertical cement path, soon joined by Katia and Dustin. Eventually, I headed down to Magu Isa’s to hang out with Katia and Liz, where essentially the entire town was gathered watching some Thai soap opera on the TV. Dozed off rather hesitantly, as I felt somewhat uneasy.

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