January 25, 2014

1/24 - Don Chedi

Had our first "Thai-napping" (Thialand + kidnapping = where your host/friends take you on an adventure when you're not quite sure what is happening). All I understood was that we were going somewhere, and maybe with some others in the group. Turns out a lot of the host families had decided to take most of the 126s to an extravaganza in Don Chedi, about an hour away. My host father, along with me and his granddaughter, took me to pick up Angela with her host mom and host sister, and Kailie with her most mom and several grandkids. In the confusion, we also picked up Andrew.

The central province of Suphan Buri, about 107 kilometers from Bangkok by car, is holding its major cultural event, “Don Chedi Memorial and Red Cross Fair,” from 18th January 2014 to 1st February 2014. The two-week fair takes place in the Don Chedi Memorial compound in Don Chedi district. This annual event is meant to commemorate the glorious victory of King Naresuan the Great in a traditional royal battle on elephant back. The fair includes a bazaar of One Tambon, One Product, or OTOP, products, an exhibition of public and private organizations, and many cultural performances. The highlight is a multimedia presentation on King Naresuan’s heroic deeds and the history of Suphan Buri. A special show this year features a model of the route that the army of King Naresuan traveled in its campaign.

Just think of a "state fair" x 100, and you kind of get the idea of what it was like. So, so much food and other things for sale. Games of chance, carnival rides, dancing, and farm equipment and new car exhibits. But the centerpiece was the theatrical presentation in the main arena, complete with huge army battles along with elephants throwing bodies around. Everyone had a great time but as you can imagine, traffic was horrendous and it took us almost 45 minutes just to get out of the parking lot. I finally got home close to 1am, tired but very thankful to my host dad for taking us.

Kailie, Angela, Ryan and some of Kailie's host grandsons
in front of the war memorial.

So, so many people...

Yes, fried bugs for sale.

The performance begins...


Lots of fireworks during the performance.

The cast take a bow for a wonderful performance.

And don't forget the elephants!

Skyler and I with a reluctant Don Kao, my host granddaughter

Kailie and Angela take a pic with some of the stars.

Everyone packed into the back of my host dad's pickup truck
for the cold hour-long drive back home.
Everyone will sleep well tonight. :)