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[personal profile] zcat_abroad
So, Sunday.  Sunday in Phuket means one thing for me - time to head out to the village church.  Much of this first bit will be of interest to family, only.

We got on a local bus, and jolted and jerked our way out of town, and down the most familiar road. Only this time, it's not so familiar, because so much has been built up along the way.  Every now and then, I caught glimpses of things I recognised - the big Five Ways, of course, and a flash of blue through the trees, and then down, finally to the waterfront.  Rather than get lost going sideways through the village, we walked along the front, just past Mae Nom's place, and then aimed for what is, to me, my other home.  Round a few corners (rather tighter than I remembered them, everything's been built in even tighter), and there was  'Kiang and 'Tiang, and the next minute, Miao comes running up, and just hugs me, crying, for about five minutes, bringing me to tears, too.  Then we're ushered into the new church (must get a photo, to take back to the cathedral!), where we sit on the floor, and given some water, and there are smiles all round, people asking after family, trying to work out which language to use...

The service was led by 'Kiang, who apologised for using Thai, because his Urak Lawoi isn't very good.  Actually, this was the weirdest service I've been to, language-wise.  Lots of loud enthusiastic singing, with many songs sung in both Thai and the tribal language, one after the other, and one song where I suddenly realised they were singing 'English'.  Then the sermon was given by Akek, who was reading from a Thai devotional book, in Central Thai, and then expounding on it in both Southern Thai and Urak Lawoi, sometimes even in the same sentence.  I love being in a place where it's not so much a matter of code-switching as just using every language you have at your finger-tips.  I tried to translate for Zcatcurious, but, as usual, had trouble code-switching myself. I can talk in Thai and Urak Lawoi at the same time, but find the English /Thai really hard.

Then, Miao and 'Kiang insisted we stay for lunch.  (If you're wondering about the lack of certain other names, you've got to be family.  Ah Lin was at Koh Sirae that Sunday, and Me'ning was out at Phi-Phi, looking after E'won's new baby...  'Kiang got me on the phone to her, and I reassured her she didn't have to return today, as we'd be around for a few more weeks.)

Lunch was an amazing spread of ("Sorry it's so little, we didn't have time to prepare") shellfish (which I actually ate, and it was lovely), fish with ginger and lime, and a REALLY hot tom yum.  We ate until we could eat no more, then wandered down to the sea shore, to sit in the shade and the breeze.  The group on the pavilion spent about an hour dissecting family histories, working out who was related to whom, and how long ago it was that my grandfather first came out there.  (In part, this revolves around this tribal group's fight to be allowed to own, or lay claim to the beach where they have lived, according to Miao, for 500 years.) 
Guess which one's me?

The View
The View from the Pavilion

Then Miao, 'Kiang and their little girl took us on a tour, round to Laem Promthep, and then back to Laem Ka.  It was lots of fun being out with them.  Miao talks nineteen to the dozen, her little girl is really cute, and rather a bright spark, and 'Kiang tried to resurrect his English, to communicate with Zcatcurious.  We've got to get a Thai SIM card, so they can ring us, and take us out to the islands sometime. 

You haven't been to Phuket, until you've been to Laem Promthep

We returned to the hotel at around 4, and collapsed, as this was the first time we had been cool since we left at 9.  Eventually, after a shower, we ventured out for satay, and then I was pretty much asleep by 6!

Today was not so fun, but was the real reason why we came all the way out here - the dentist.  I had five fillings done today, and will be back there on Wednesday to get a root canal, and the first half of the crown-treatment.  I think I've finally got my feeling back in my upper lip!  The bus trip to Patong is over a very exciting hill, and on the way back we saw what happens when a truck misses a lower gear, as one seemed to have stalled, and then slid back into the barrier - which stopped it tumbling 30 feet down to the valley floor.  You think our drive-way is exciting?!  We're VERY glad we're not staying in Patong, the 'taxi, duk-duk, taxi' every five paces was wearing, but what was really creepy was the foreigners who bowled up to us, trying to find out where we're from: 'I'm not selling anything' - yeah, right.  We did not wait around to find out what they were selling, but got the heck out of dodge as quick as possible.

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