After spending the night in a small little hut, sleeping on the hard wooden floor in absolute darkness, I woke up to a small challenge. Paiboon had some errands to run in downtown Udon Thani, and I was to drive him in a 20-year-old Nissan Sunny.
I was a little nervous; it’d been a while since I’d driven a manual. This old car had a very stiff clutch and kept stalling while I was practicing in the monastery grounds. Plus, what little I’d seen of traffic in Thailand had already convinced me that driving in Thailand is pretty much insane. It was a real miracle that we managed to go in and out of town without stalling the car at any time.
On the way back we pulled into a side road, and then into another smaller dirt trail. Paiboon wanted to visit another fellow monk, who was living all by himself in the middle of nowhere. I had complete respect for this monk, who was willing to sacrifice everything and endure so much for his training.
Later in the evening of this 3rd day, I went to the canteen to look for some hot water to make my cereal. I hadn’t eaten much the whole day, the monks only have one meal a day and that’s at 7 AM in the morning, after 12 noon they’re forbidden to eat anymore.
But I was in luck, a few villagers had come for the master, Archan Sa-ad’s 60th birthday celebrations the next day. They were cooking dinner and generously asked me to join them, which I gladly accepted. It wasn’t the first nor would it be the last that I was to enjoy the good graces of my hosts in Thailand.