…. sitting on the terrasse yesterday afternoon in the outskirts of the rural jungle village in Thailand, the day has been hot, sunny and about 40 degree C in the shadow and in the distance you can see some dark clouds approaching. There was little doubt that it would start some welcoming rain. The heat during the last long period has been terrifying and a lot above the usual temperatures. The thai-buddhist New Year Songkran, with all it’s watersplashing, making merit at the local Temples etc. has been over for some days, and the little village has returned to normal activity, which indeed is not exhausting.
Suddenly the sound of cow bell’s not so far away can be heard and I know that two of the asian water buffeloes is on their way back home in the village, and shortly after the big male buffalo approach along our fence together with his son, the young troublemaker. It’s one of the most impressive animals here, the adults are just so enormeous and heavy and with fantastic big horns.
Not so long ago the buffaloes was the main “work force” here, but the “Idak” with its multipurpose Kubota engine has taken over, so the buffaloes today is just considered a “walking bank” or “walking money” because they have high value when you want to sell them.
After the buffaloes comes the “cowboy”, who takes care of them all day! A funny guy about 30 yrs old, walking after the buffaloes with his bicycle and always wearing a ski-mask and it must be an easy job he has, the buffaloes almost takes care of themselves all day and can probably walk home without his guidance, they know the way to the barn. In a homemade string over his shoulder is hanging his transistor radio of a kind I thought never existed anymore, and you can hear his is listening to some thai comedians.
On the way along our fence they get some “snacks” from the trees and bushes they pass and the young buffalo with it’s jumping around (about 350-400 kg) can get the old grumpy buffalo angry – I can’t help laugh when the young one sometimes comes in on the wrong side of the fence at the neighbor’s! You can clearly hear the old buffalo get’s angry and the cowboy shouts and run after it in his rainboots trying to catch the wire attached to them, but to day it was different, cos almost out of nowhere I could hear two other buffaloes come running through our neighbor’s garden towards “our” buffaloes, coming from another street – so the cowboy throw his bicycle to the ground in the middle of the street and with waving arms and shouting he ran towards the two intruders, so they quickly turned around and ran back to where they came from.
In the meantime everything all of the sudden turns dark grey and from having absolutely no wind at all within a split-second you hear some strong movement in the trees behind the house and with a “wuuusch” it’s like everything is blowing away and a big “zaaap” the first lightning strikes down from the sky, so close to the house that I jump in my chair at the terrasse. And then comes the rain hammering down on the roof so in a hurry I try to get my gear, laptop, printer and loudspeakers inside and all plugs taken out everywhere in the house, shutting down on the breakers for the a/c.s and waterheaters even they are not turned on, but just in case!
When you live a place like this you get a strong respect for the thai electricity, so you run around inside make everything safe while a thunderstorm is passing. The first times you experience these thunderstorms your heart jumps all op in your throat and the heart is banging hard. And at the same time you suddenly hear a “click” and all the electic power goes off in the whole village, so no electric any more. Normally the Power Company have time to warn by shutting off the power for a short while and then turned on again immediately after – and then you have a warning for a power down within 20 minutes, but yesterday – NO warning.
After 15 minutes it’s all over, the rain and storm have passed and you only se a lot of lightning and hear thunder roaring far away – and the village is like gone into “pause-mode”, not a sound, no lights, nothing for a long time.
Later I heard that in this short time that particular storm had killed 3 people, damaging 261 houses and schools in our Province, so you just show respect for the power of nature or you get punished by nature! Nature will always be stronger than you.
It does not take long before some motorbikes are driving out with guys wearing flashlights on their head and in search for frogs in the jungle. Sometimes you can see some lights flashing between the trees and palm for the “frog collectors”.
It was totally dark at 7 pm, you could’nt even see the neighbor houses and I thought it is a little too early to go inside, no light anyway inside or out. As many times before it is the perfect time to meditate and go “deep” with your thoughts.
This particular night I was sitting for a long long time on the bench, eventually forcing my brain to cut off from the surrounding world and concentrate on thoughts and memories of the past and especially thinking about those who passed away from family and friends.
It was almost like some of those I concentrated my mind about came to life for me in a short time (well I really do not know for how long), and a kind of “former conversation” and actions together was so realistic and I felt it like I had a strong connection with them in that time, really almost surrealistic feeling.
After about two hours I could hear a sharp “click” and all light came back, but the village remained silent and I think most neighbor’s had gone to bed.
It was a memorable and exciting evening and when I went to bed I was even more relaxed than normal.
I know that many foreigners living here in Thailand claim that they do not want to live in a village in the farm areas, too quiet, no night-life, no nothing to do – but for me life here is very satisfying and every day give me a lot of new experiences.