It was comforting to know that Eam, his wife Puy Art and On were there to help with any queries, and provide transport for those trips to Phimai and to Nakhon Ratchasima, and they were always happy to oblige, with big smiles. Jin, the shop owner and restaurant cook across the road from the residency became friends, along with her mother Cheun, husband Ti, and 2 children, and it was sad to leave her wonderful cooking and company. They were much keener to learn English than I was at learning Thai, although my ‘kop koon ka’ eventually got there. I also found the husband and wife team looking after the family farm were very helpful, especially in explaining the various fish traps and their names that I discovered, and mean to do more with. I felt totally comfortable sitting on the low bamboo table, in the steamy afternoon for a couple of hours sketching and enjoying their hospitality and genuine desire to help. We overcame the language barrier.
My visit coincided with the Thai New Year, a 3 day event called Songkran, where water features heavily. This meant the locals did their best to drench every passerby on foot, bike, scooter or truck from water pistols and buckets of water, and there was much rivalry from neighbouring villages. Also during my visit there was a local election, and I’m happy to say that Eam was elected local Mayor of one of the villages.
Sam Rit residency was a home away from home, with all that I needed to feel comfortable. If I had longer time, I could have done some art with the children, as I felt I was just getting to know them by the time I left. Even though there was not much happening with the rice farming at this time, there was still plenty to see from temples, monuments, and family and farming life, which is so different from what I am used to. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and recommend it to others.