Monday, January 18, 2010

Thai Mysteries by Kathleen

Bangkok was a fabulous city, I miss it already, Kanchanaburi is small and there doesn't seem to be much happening. It looks like it has potential and there is a national park nearby, but I enjoyed all that the city had to offer.

Thailand is beautiful and the people are nice, but culturally it is rather inaccessible, but I think that the Thai like it that way. “Welcome welcome, enjoy your stay remember to leave. Thank you.” They seem mostly numbed by the hordes of mindless tourists that crowd through and at this point seem willing to allow people to just be stupid foreigners without trying to explain culture or any other subtlety.

“Just give us the bhat and it will be all good thank you have nice time.” They seem intensely private and the only glimpses I have seen of the inner workings of the people who know this land have been stolen ones.

In Bangkok a family early in the morning, the woman mixing noodle dough, the father taking their child to school while the mother in law cleans up; a tuk tuk driver buying a string of jasmine flowers to hang in front of the king’s portrait he has on his dashboard, he bows his head and makes a silent prayer at a red light. But as soon as they see you its all show "Epcot Thailand" I will call it, after the booths in Disney Land.

To be fair this is a great place to hide from the world, with no effort at all you can become unseen, hidden behind farang( foreigner) status the Thai mostly take your presence for granted. It’s not like in India where you become a spectacle. The Thai also seem uninterested in passing many moral judgments on you, you are a dumb outsider as long as you don't disrespect the king or the Buddha or dress like a streetwalker then “sure, fine”. India tries to change you, the looks you get are of disapproval, not here, mostly smiles that range from friendly to bored.

I wish I knew a little Thai, as I am sure this opens many doors and I wish I knew bit more about the history of this land. Without these tools, I earn the farang status. Though in my defense, I did try and learn something, I know a little bit it of the history and culture, mostly because of my years of studying Chinese, but back home it was near impossible to find a decent book on this kingdom of elephants even in the Umass library.

Maybe time will show more of this land than beautiful green and good prices on sarongs. Until then, I will take advantage of being unseen and relax.


  1. That's a really interesting distinction to make about Thailand. I don't have anything to add, just wanted to let you know that I am reading and enjoying, and you are in my thoughts.



  2. hey fiz ill be waiting for my thai mail order bride to come let me know when i need to go to the airport to pick her up. lol. miss you guys hope your having fun. the valley got a little duller when you left. safe travels homeslice