Showing posts from September, 2013

On Being a Spectacle

"I wonder if it would be rude to take pictures of the people who take pictures of us when we're out." Aaron laughs when I ask this. "Does it matter? They're taking pictures of you." A farang family with a baby and several blond (ish) children causes quite a stir whenever we go out together. The first time I went to the Thai market, all the kids in tow, you could hear the decibel level in the already loud market go up at least 10 degrees when we trooped in the front entrance. The women in the stalls called to each other back and forth, "Do you see this? Do you see all these foreign children?" Or some other similar dialogue. It often isn't even words, just loud exclamations. I've learned how to answer the basic questions in Thai. "He's 2 months old. He's a son. I have 3 sons and 2 daughters. Yes, 5 in all. Yes, I'm busy." They worry that baby Dek's little legs are tucked inside the sling instead of out. Th


There are things I want to show you, but don't have any photos of. This is partly because they happen too fast for me to pull out my phone and snap them, also because my phone can't catch these things adequately and the big camera is kind of a pain to walk through the rain with while also carrying a baby in a sling, wrangling a 3 year old in a stroller, far easier than wrangling a 3 year old without a stroller, and carrying an umbrella. Also I'm not sure I want to act the tourist in our new neighborhood and take pictures of people without permission. One day as I was driving out our gate there were 4 young Burmese girls, wearing sarongs with the traditional yellow paste smeared on their cheeks, walking up the road carrying laundry baskets and laughing at something the boy who walked with them was saying. They looked like a post card. (All the Burmese here put a paste on their cheeks and foreheads. I'm not sure why. I'm told it doesn't prevent bug bites, but ca

The Trip to Pai

I wish I could take you with me on a drive through the mountains to Pai. I want you to see the way the road suddenly changes from flat city streets to winding mountain highway through the jungle. You can see rows of mountains up ahead, blue in the mist. Houses line the side of the road, each of them different, but most in the traditional Thai style on giant teak pillars with the floor suspended several feet above the ground. Many look abandoned, and the jungle has done its work and grown up to cover their withering frames. Abandoned wats, their distinctive A frame clusters of buildings still discernible through the over growth, lay mere yards away from where new temples are going up. Perhaps the spirits, demanding as they tend to be, got tired of the old place and wanted a change of scene. More likely some person is building it to do a good deed, and bring their family honor. You wonder what happened to the people who built the abandoned place down the road. The road gets steeper,


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