Little things

For Scott Bangkok has been all about the tuk-tuks. I wish I could be all spousely and say, “Yes, darling, tuk-tuks are wonderful.” But I can’t. They’re just mutated cars. I’d much rather walk, or take the sky train, or bicycle, or ride on the river boats than get in a tuk-tuk. The rides that Scott has found so exhilarating and fun I found uncomfortable and stinky. Call me weird, but the smell of petrol? Not my favourite perfume.

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.

  1. “Thank you.” Sadly it is the only phrase I know in Thai. I am a bad slack tourist. I’ve been sick, okay? []


  1. racyli on #

    Oh I LOVED Thailand. There is such awesome street food there. The tastiest, most tender awesome squid I ever had was at this food stall near my hostel. The spring rolls, the coconut juices, the Thai Ice Teas…yumm…

  2. Ted Lemon on #

    Tuk tuks are kind of fun when you’re tired, but I’m right there with you on the exhaust thing. There’s a sky train in Bangkok now? Cool!

    Have you been to any restaurants where a box of kleenex comes with dinner yet?

  3. Rebecca on #

    that little girl was sweet. 🙂

    what’s a sky train? sounds fun…. ooooh! it looks cool from the outside. but frighteningly reminiscent of city buses on the inside.

  4. laine-wa on #

    i agree with scott about the tuk-tuks…they look very awesome. although the petrol is a downside.

  5. Leah on #

    I *love* Thailand. And som tom! Are there still women walking around in the streets wearing huge wooden yokes, with baskets hanging down on either side? When I was there, they made the best som tom, as well as great street theatre. . .

    Tuk tuks didn’t bother me too much, but I much preferred the buses. Or walking. Got to see so much more that way.

    Have fun!

  6. Justine on #

    Ted Lemon asks: Have you been to any restaurants where a box of kleenex comes with dinner yet?

    All our attempts to eat at such retaurants have been foiled by Scott’s vegetarianism. We’ve yet to find one that will feed him.

    Fortunately, there are such restaurants in Sydney.

    Rebecca: Skytrain . . .looks cool from the outside. but frighteningly reminiscent of city buses on the inside.

    Is much more glam than a bus. More comfy too and much faster. And the views are wonderful. I love me the skytrain.

  7. Diana on #

    what’s som tom? And i don’t think I like my food to wobble. Except for cranberry-sauce-in-a-can.

  8. Justine on #

    Som tum is green papaya salad.

  9. Ted Lemon on #

    The Spice Market, in the Four Seasons Hotel. TBH, I don’t remember how good it was, because it’s been about fifteen years, but I do remember the kleenex.

  10. Amirah on #

    ooh wow, i haven’t been here in far too long! i’ve never been to thailand, even though i’m just about 500km away from the border. and i am willing to teach you how to say “i admire your blue tortoise” in thai. =) we once abandoned learning malay in class and instead got my friend to teach us all redundant thai phrases.

Comments are closed.