I was just invited to a Thai wedding. That took me.... I think it's been a week since I crossed the Thai-Malay border. I just have to borrow some clothing. Might be trickier than you'd expect, given that I'm about a foot taller than the average guy around here. Took a multiple day search across three cities just to find a pair of socks that fit me. Wish me luck.
Thailand is full of tourists, especially in the south where all the famous tropical islands are. It may be the other side of the world for us Americans, but it's only five hours time difference from much of Europe and it's practically in Australia's backyard, not to mention the rest of Asia, looking for a sunny island beach. English may not be an official language, but so far I've only learned how to say two things in Thai, and I barely ever end up using either. Almost everyone I deal with speaks English.
It's a country with a lot of pride. That's fair, it has a lot to be proud of, but it mostly comes though through direct nationalism. At 8:00am and 6:00pm the national anthem is played in public, and all Thais must stand, with their arms at their sides. Before any movie, there is a similar part in the previews, where the audience is asked to stand for respect to the king, and a montage of of footage of his majesty is played, once again, to sounds of the national anthem. You'll find the words “Long Live the King” in English all over. I bet if you could read the Thai alphabet, you'd find it in even more places.
There's a strange attitude towards us farang, as foreigners are called around here. I went to a market today in Bangkok that had a menu in Thai posted with forty numbered items. Next to it was a sign that said “English Menu: Pad Thai, 30 baht.” The only translated dish. I think that might tell you a little bit.
I'll sign off from there. If you want the story of what I've been up to for the last week, it's all in the pictures' captions. Like why there's a cat sleeping in a refrigerator-- the captions explain everything. So...
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