As a continuation of this post, I want to delve further into my experience in Sawankhalok by focusing on and giving tribute to those who made my experience all the better. These people created a community for me, helped me navigate a new town and a new culture.
Meet my Sawankhalok community!
These guys live about 100 yards from our house at the corner of our little soi and the main road. As is common in Thailand, the front of their home has been converted into a shop, specifically a motorcycle shop. Always kind and helpful to this mechanically disinclined young woman: pumping up my tires for free, changing flats, and otherwise fixing my bicycle. Unfortunately, we never exchanged names but without fail they always say hello and wave as I ride past their shop.
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This is the lovely P’Soi. She makes the most delicious som tam I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. Som tam is by far my favorite Thai food. Small slices of not-yet-ripe papaya, carrots, little cucumber-esque eggplants, and green beans in a spicy vinegar sauce topped with roasted peanuts! It’s ridiculously delicious. My mouth is watering as I type this…
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This couple owns a small lunchtime restaurant across from Sawananan Wittyaya School, where we went everyday for lunch, that is, when we didn’t go to P’Soi’s for som tam. A clean and breezy restaurant lined with vines and flowering plants, my favorite being the sunflowers that pop up in the summer. They make Patricio’s favorite pad see-ew in town. Savory and sweet fat noodles fried with kale and spices, with a side of their soup broth. Yum yum!
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This is P’Kaitiow (it means fried egg!) and one of the other masseuses at the massage parlor I visited at least once a week. These ladies, with their $3 Thai massages followed by Thai hot tea, were more often than not the highlight of my day. With P’Kaitiow’s never ending jokes and giggles, P’Jacks’s amazing back massage, and P’Joy’s relaxed demeanor this place was quite easily my “happy place” in Sawankhalok. The studio is owned by a woman named P’A, who singlehandedly healed Patricio’s plantar fasciitis, which was nearly rendering him unable to walk, a frustrating limitation especially when you travel to a new place. After a day of traveling I greatly miss these ladies and the magic of Thai massage!