Two posts in one day: a catch up!
Yesterday we had a miracle and I am not being facetious. Finally, after literally years and years of trying, Shu and Shu-Ai were given identity papers, and in three months they'll be able to get the real cards. I won't go into all the details, and I don't understand half of them anyway, but it means they now officially exist and cannot be tossed out of Thailand at someone's whim. They still don't have all the rights of a Thai citizen - don't think this means they can hop on a bus to Chiang Mai - but it is something, a step, a toe in the door of security. No one is really celebrating, I think it has taken so long (the 'identity card quest' has been going on since we first came here eight years ago, at least) that no one really believes it is real, or feels those pieces of paper with their photocopied mugshots and enlarged fingerprints could be taken away at any minute, but I am very glad it has happened at least. The next trick will be to get one for On. It may only be another eight years before that happens.
Today is the Chaluk at Wat Huai Pu, the local temple: the special day just for this little temple when everyone donates lots of money in the form of elaborate arrangements like little shrubs with leaves of 20 baht notes and flowers of 100 baht notes and various bits of bling and sparkle. The music reverberates around the hills and started very early, traditional Thai music from the temple clashing with pop Thai and drunken singing from the karaoke huts over the lake. Gunpowder smoke and small explosions punctuate the air from the firecrackers sold to the kids. The vendor wouldn't let me take a photo of the cherry-bombs, it's probably illegal to sell them. There was no real food on offer, just multi-hued and fluorescent packets of sugary junk. We watched the traditional dancing for a while. Every mini-village (Ban) had their female dance troupe all dressed in ceremonial costume (unique to each group), the general public was completely disinterested by the dancing until a man dressed in uber-traditional Thai came into the middle of the concrete plaza and danced something rather special and very slow with lots of posing. People flooded in from all over the grounds to watch, although practically everyone got bored after five minutes and wandered off before the second half. Naturally, SP upstaged him too, as the 'pinky bluey blondey' falang baby (as Susan says) would.