The whistle blew and I was off. Stuffing 12 rice cakes in my mouth at once. I have watched Hot Dog eating contests so I knew I had to drink water to soften the rice cakes. People were gathered around cheering excitedly, and it seemed like I was making great progress. I was tied about halfway through the contest. I was suffering, the cakes were cutting the roof of my mouth, but I had to keep going. That's when I heard the cheers for the 1st and 2nd place contestants finishing. But I gulped down the last one and came in third place!
I won 3 packages of more rice cakes!
I am at the Phi Ta Kon Festival in Dan Sai, Thailand. It has been one of the best weekends of my life. I definitely want to come back to this next year. Northeastern Thailand reminds me of Lao a lot. Similar food, culture and people. These people really enjoy their lives. They are proud of their music and their way of life. The Phi Ta Kon Festival has so much exuburance and zest about it. Basically it is a fertility festival where people just dance and have a great time. I have danced with all of the Thais here, went to karaoke, and saw a few parades. I could walk up to any table at this place and the people here would welcome me with smiles and openess. This is where the land of smiles still exists!
The bad part is that my foot is absolutely huge! My left foot is twice the size of my right foot. It must be from a mosquito bite on the island or something.
In Chiang Khan I met a young Thai fellow who took 5 hours out of his day to take me to the hospital to get my foot checked out by the doctor and the nurses and translate for me. The people are lovely and so selfless.