We decided to get out and take a drive yesterday, so we headed up the road toward the Mekong, which is about an hour away, and separates Thailand from Lao. It was cloudy, but we didn't really see any rain. We ended up about 3km from the border crossing, where we will cross over this weekend, at another lovely temple.
Wat Sirindhom Wararam sits on a hill overlooking the mountains to the north, and the Mekong, and Lao beyond to the east. It was pretty cloudy, so the views weren't that good, but the temple itself is impressive. Malida tells me that most days there are loads of people here, but today there was hardly anyone. Good.
The view to the north. We walked around the grounds for a while, then headed north to the village to pick up Malida's niece, who wanted to stay overnight with us. The village is about an hour north of here. The road used to be terrible, with more potholes than actual road surface, but it has since been resurfaced and is a smooth ride. The government has done a lot of road work up this way, and almost everywhere we have driven has been good.
We stopped at our land to take a look. It is about 1 km from the village, down a dirt road. Most of the area around where the house will be built is planted with yams and rice. I walked the dimensions of the area where the house will be built, where the raised soil is. It is about 40 x 60 feet. We have plenty of land surrounding it, so we can make it bigger later if we want, but this is good for now.
We walked down the road and met our neighbors whose land adjoins ours. They were very friendly, and had known Malida's dad when they were all growing up. They remembered Malida as a little girl. They farm rice and vegetables, and were very proud of what they had accomplished in the two years they had been out there.
In our culture, we might think of them as living in poverty, but here they have land, food, a motorcycle and sidecar to take what they grow to the market, and a roof over their heads for when it rains. They are good people, and asked me to learn Thai, so they can talk to me when I am here.
I have some big lump in the middle of my abdomen that I just noticed yesterday. I thought it might be a hernia, but now I am thinking it is a ruptured rectus abdominis muscle. Probably from lifting those 25 kg suitcases a million times to see how much they weighed. It doesn't hurt, but looks like some sort of alien trying to push its way out. I googled it, and it is fairly benign, so I won't stress about it unless something changes.