I guess you could say our evenings begin in the afternoon, around 4:00 p.m. when I shower (ab nam) and eat dinner. We eat dinner early to give our bodies time to digest the food, as we go to bed early, compared to most people.
[ The view from our front yard (just before rice season), panning left to right; final pic showing a close-up of the village temple gate purchased with funds collected during Boon Pakwet, last year: ]
On rare occasions, we’ll have visitors in the late afternoon – usually family members – but it’s pretty rare. Some come to avail themselves of my LAN (local area network – which also provides a “Wi-Fi Hotspot”); some come to drink beer. Thip’s sister will come over maybe once a month bringing their mother in a wheelchair. Khun Mae is now in full dementia, but otherwise in good health. Sometimes, Thip might have a village meeting to attend, but…
Most of the time, Thip and I are preparing for bed at a time when most other villagers are either still shopping for food or preparing the evening’s meal. The usual after dinner activity for most villagers is watching television, which many do even as late as 10 p.m.
In contrast, unless we have planned to watch a movie, Thip is usually in bed by 7 p.m. (if not sooner) and I will follow after I read or write a little bit, have a beer or two, reflect on the day, watch the sun go down and take a final shower. Although it is not a regular thing, this is a good time to do any required first aid. Although I have been trained in first aid by the American Red Cross, I’ve discovered that I need to be more exacting and attentive to any cuts or bruises and, if I have any in place, change band-aids often. It’s the moisture combined with the heat.
When I get in under the mosquito netting surrounding our bed, I’ll use the mosquito bat to clear out the inside of noong and then use a small soft cloth to dry between my toes (the moisture thing, again). This has proven to be very necessary, as is using q-tips every day to prevent too much moisture trapped in small corners of my ears (back in the 1980s, I had to have my ear canals physically enlarged, due to “Surfer’s Ear”). Finally, I’ll say my prayers, bowing three times in the Buddhist way, and make sure the fan is on low. This will run most of the night, keeping us The Kool People we hopefully will always be.