Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Thailand Tales 4

Cool new experiences:

1. Cheap good food.  Unfashtandish.  We went out to eat at a lovely restaurant yesterday, with two other families.  Lovely, airy white building, air conditioning, pretty tablecloths, the works.

Here's Steven and a few new friends.

Well, the cat on the seat wasn't so fancy. But I am fascinated with foreign cats so that was fine.


Most of the meals were 40 or 50 baht which is less than two dollars.

I had the cashew chicken which was close-your-eyes-in-rapture delicious and was less than $3.

There's a Thai lady who does the cooking for the school.  Today she made a delectable dish with chicken, hot peppers, chopped green beans, hot peppers, and a green spinachy leaf.

Thai food is like Chinese except more so.

2. Shopping, and observations during such.  I didn't do a lot of research before I came, and somehow I was expecting the grinding poverty of Africa or Mexico or Yemen.  Wrong wrong.  

 I guess out in the remote areas people are a lot poorer, but here in the city they seem quite comfortable.  Cell phones but not the latest Droids; scooters but not necessarily cars; nice clothes but not the latest brand names; and public taxis called song-tows, where you climb in the back of a shiny yellow pickup and push the green button to stop when you get to your destination, and then pay about 30 cents.

Paul and I took a song-tow about a mile down the road to a big shopping center .  We got a dishpan and the cutest flip-flops ever, since as always in hot climates my feet have been swelling like crazy, and a Dairy Queen cone apiece just for fun.


The traffic was crazy when we wanted to come back, three lanes each way, and all the song-tows looked full, so we decided to walk back, maybe a mile or two.

It was still 90-some degrees but a nice breeze was blowing up the highway so it wasn't bad.

In that mile-plus we saw lots of vehicles of every sort, including a zillion mopeds and a lot of nice cars, but very few pedestrians, and few if any bikes.  And no beggars.  No lost-looking children.  No men just sitting and looking sad and out of work.  No twisted bodies moving painfully with homemade crutches.  No young men who made me grip my purse tighter.

Lots of mysterious little lanes went vining off the main highway.  Almost all of them looked paved and clean and well-maintained.

We saw two guys repairing cars and one fixing motorcycles.

And a few little shops and cafes, and several schools, and lots of houses, and a few car dealerships.

I could grow to like a place where people are polite and respectful and clean and well-fed and hard-working and educated, without the extremes of materialism, obesity, and individualism in America.

Which is not to ignore the underside of Thai life that I've heard about, such as a thriving sex trade and young people getting abducted into human slavery.

3. Cooling off.

Another mom who is here for three weeks, Theresa Weaver, and I decided to take our kids swimming at a pool up the road.

So at the hottest part of the day we slathered on the sunscreen, pushed through the oppressive heat in the 10-minute walk to the pool, paid 50 baht apiece, and had a lovely time plunging into the water.

Somehow it cooled me off down to the core as I hadn't been cooled off since I arrived.  Then I tied on a leso and we walked back in our wet things, and I decided that has to be the best way to cope with this heat.

4. Learning the culture.

We sat in on a Thai culture class today.  To greet someone, you put your hands together, prayer-style.  Fingertips should be level with your nose if the other person is an elder, lower down for someone younger, above your nose only for royalty or the equivalent.  If you're a woman, you say, slowly, "swah-di-KAAAH," and smile and bow your head just a bit.

5.  Appreciating rain.  A thunderstorm blew in, the temperature dropped to 77, a breeze blew through our apartment, and the rain fell.  It felt wonderful.


  1. When you have a chance talk to Joyce Mummau and see if she can take you to the queen's winter palace flower gardens. Also, talk to Rick and make sure you don't leave Thailand without an elephant ride at the Mae Sai Elephant Camp.


  2. we stayed in that exact apartment for 3 weeks in Febuary. i decided that 113 steps up to my house in Chna was easier than a four story house where i was doing steps all day long ;0)
    i don't envy the heat though we are still having cool up here....
    have a good stay... becki

  3. If I keep reading your interesting posts about Thailand I may just up and pack my bags and fly there too! My sister and her husband and daughter have been serving at IGO for a number of years.Sister Naomi cooks for the students on weekends and Lovely Niece,Jana, runs the coffee shop. We miss them back here in Pa!
    Hope you have a wonderful time...Erma

  4. Those flip flops are GREAT.

    I love your description of Thai culture and its contrast to American. Makes Thailand seem simpler and better.

  5. I'm not sure how much more I can take! I miss thailand so.:(

  6. i sure am enjoying reading your adventures in Thailand,,the bucket of snakes, the hot fabric shop,fried eels.. aventures....... i love them..and now i want to go on one really really bad