Aside from the tuk-tuks and cars and trucks and other yukky smelly mobile pollution devices, I’m really enjoying Thailand. I love the sound of the language which makes English sound flat as a tack. I order a dish, “Som tum, please.” And the waiter repeats my order back at me and some how som tum has transformed. The way he says it the words soar and swoop. Tonal languages make the non-tonal languages sound dead. I am trying to do what I can to make my ENGlish souND much MORE tonAL.
The food here is wonderful too. Almost everything wobbles. Especially the desserts.
We took a break from working and went to the National Museum today. Once we were inside the main building it started bucketing down so hard the rain drops bounced back up five to ten centimetres. We waited it out in the Old Weapons Room (as you do), sitting at the top of the steps leading into the Ivory Room. A gaggle of school girls, one school boy, and their teacher waited it out at the bottom of the steps. They started singing. Something strange and almost atonal that swelled and filled up the entire cavernous room and somehow melded in with the thunderous sound of the rain.
It was beautiful.
Did I mention that the steps were directly in front of a life-size model of a military elephant? The elephant seemed to be entirely down with the singing. It had a lump on its head and very large pointy tusks. Two life-sized fake soldiers sat on top in a howdah. One was holding peacock feathers and the other had a long pike-looking implement. If the elephant had decided to charge, we’d all have been dead.
When the rain slowed the teacher opened the nearest doors a crack, and declared it possible to make the mad dash to the next building (about ten metres away). The schoolkids swarmed around her and started ferrying each other across with the few umbrellas they had. When they were all over into the land of Textiles and Costumes, one girl came back. I glanced behind to see if there was some stray school kid I hadn’t noticed. But, no, she had come back for us. What a sweetie.
I pressed my hands into prayer position and kop kun kah’d1 her.
- “Thank you.” Sadly it is the only phrase I know in Thai. I am a bad slack tourist. I’ve been sick, okay? [↩]