Ali and Byrun live in a city called Khon Kaen, which is in the northeast. It's a university town and is charming and relaxed. There are no proper city buses, just tuk tuks and song tows (trucks with benches in the back). Byrun, Matt and I left Koh Mak area earlier than Ali and Mary. The plan was that Ali would get to holiday with her best friend and Matt and I would fill in for her classes in Khon Kaen. The drive was pleasant enough for me (I had the whole backseat to myself and spent the trip napping and reading) but Byrun has nerves of steel. It's a Buddhist country but people sure drive here like they believe in God. We stopped only a couple times for gas, bathroom breaks and chicken asshole skewers and before we knew it we were pulling into Khon Kaen.
We had dinner at one of their favorite restaurants, Didine, for dinner. It was delicious and the guys got to play some free pool. Byrun told us that there were elephants (with handlers) around town and we didn't have to wait long to see one! We bought some sugar cane (20 baht) and got a chance to feed and pet the elephant. We saw two different ones that night- a big one and a baby. I feel bad for the elephants since I don't think they are treated that well but I think that's unfortunately a common occurrence here.
With full bellies we headed to their apartment complex. They rented us our own apartment for the month and it's been glorious! It's bigger and nicer than our apartment in Seoul, although there is no stove. Luckily it's super cheap to eat out here. With comfortable surroundings and loving family we're having an excellent stay in Khon Kaen.