Oct
30
2009
0

Lines

The other day after classes I went outside the school and ordered a snack. There were a number of students who had already ordered ahead of me. I waited.

After I’d waited a while the vendor made a comment about my patience. He wondered that I didn’t tell him to serve me, the teacher, before the students. I told him I didn’t mind waiting my turn.

He responded by saying that foreigners like to wait in line. I’m not sure that I like waiting in lines, but I do think the system of lines is better than people pushing each other around.

He went on to say something that particularly caught me; he said, “Thai people do not like to wait in line. They prefer to cut the line. If they cannot cut the line, they will try to buy the line.”

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,
Feb
17
2009
0

Down to the River

Sunday my guard took me to his village. We spent the day with his extended family down in and around the river. It was a good opportunity for observing the interactions of genders and ages. Pretty much everybody was represented. There were little kids, bigger not-so kids, people my age, and people who could be my parents or even my grandparents.

I had a lot of fun swimming in the river, pulling in fishing nets, and eating fresh fish.

They would guide the boat in a big U from the shore, throwing out the nets.

They would guide the boat in a big U from the shore, throwing out the nets.


Once the net had been laid out in the water, it was hauled in to shore from both ends

Once the net had been laid out in the water, it was hauled in to shore from both ends


Once the nets reached the shore line, we stopped pulling on the lead ropes, and started pulling on the net itself, being careful to keep the bottom side of the net next to the ground to minimize fish escapes.

Once the nets reached the shore line, we stopped pulling on the lead ropes, and started pulling on the net itself, being careful to keep the bottom side of the net next to the ground to minimize fish escapes.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,
Feb
07
2009
1

Missing Clues

This afternoon a friend of mine checked to make sure that I was aware that a new friend that had been hanging out with us last week was homosexual. I showed my surprise.

The friend clueing me in, wondered at my cluelessness. I can admittedly be quite oblivious at times. The added dimension of a second language and culture didn’t help at all. There are some things straight Thai guys do, that no straight American guy would dream of doing. For example, holding hands with another guy.

I tried to explain the difficulty of reading another culture’s signals to my friend. He didn’t buy it. He said if someone from my country came and acted the way this other guy had acted, he wouldn’t need to understand a word he said to know he was gay. Well, yeah! If he acted the same way a gay Thai guy acts. But he wouldn’t. He’d act like a gay American guy.

Nothing like working to learn another language and culture for over a year to begin to realize the depth and intricacies inherent in these things we take for granted.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags:
Dec
11
2008
0

Christmas?

Last night I helped set up and decorate a Christmas tree.

It still hasn’t really sunk in that Christmas is right around the corner. The temperature as I write is 29°C (84°F). Sure the days are a little shorter. But I certainly haven’t been seeing my breath when I go out in the mornings. Christmas carols are not pouring out of every speaker I pass. I haven’t been doing Christmas shopping; I did that back in October while I was on vacation in Chiang Mai. I haven’t seen Advent candles being lit. At church this past Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day (the King’s birthday is Dec 5th).

My Mom sent me a photo of the snow blanketed world out her window, it didn’t seem all that real. It was like looking at a postcard from Uncle Joe’s trip to Everest: pretty, but lacking immediacy.

Rabbit Trail: Sometime ago one of my Thai friends saw photos of trees dressed in the oranges, reds, and yellows of fall. Her response was incredulity. It was hard for her to believe that such a sight could be seen out someone’s backdoor. At one point in her protestations she said “เหมือนโปสการ์ดเลย” (It’s just like a postcard).

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: ,
Nov
13
2008
2

ลอยกระทง

I have now witnessed ลอยกระทง (Loy Krathong). The central feature of this full moon festival is the launching of little banana leaf boats. These boats are equipped with incense and candles. They may also be loaded with hair clippings, nail clippings, and coins. At their launching, wishes are made/prayers are said. The goal is that the sins and bad luck from the past year will float away with the boat.

My friend took me to a college campus where there were all kinds of happenings: food stands, a beauty contest, carnival games, etc. The water wasn’t all that pretty. Some photos from other places are quite impressive.

Not dazzled by the water, I turned my camera and my eye to the sky. In addition to launching candles on the water, people where launching fires into the sky. You can check my video of these โคมไฟ here 18MB or 1MB.

Written by Micah in: Thailand | Tags: , ,

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