Saturday, May 16, 2009

Intro to Thailand

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...

Check out this entry's Photos.


  1. Those pictures are awesome (and I am quite jealous, as usual). I really liked the catnap and the monk-with-iPod.

    And I've seen restaurants in Israel like your "English Menu" - everything possible in Hebrew, and one or two items with English translations. If you can't read it, you don't want it. Apparently.

  2. PS If in Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand you happen to bump into a rich guy named Nick Palevsky (not sure why you would, but hey, you might remember the name - his dad is responsible for U of C's freshman dorm) say hi for me. He's my dad's college roommate and I just remembered he lives in Thailand.

    Weird guy, but extremely nice.

  3. Wow! What an awesome blog!! i admire you for going for your dreams!

    What a cute blog!

    This is my first time visiting! I just voted for you on Blogger's Choice '09, that's what brought me over here. Good luck!

    I have a blog in the Best Parenting Blog category and I'd love to have your vote!

    Thanks so much!

  4. Remind me not to start an entry with a teaser until I'm sure I can deliver. The Thai wedding turned out to be what my host called a “second wedding,” or as we call it, a wedding reception. It was a lot like what we have at home. It was in a nice hotel's lobby, it started out with photos of the bride in a white dress and the groom in a tux, there were speeches, they cut a huge layered white cake, and the bride tossed her bouquet over her head to a crowd of gleeful unmarried women. The only thing missing was the dance floor. Fun for me to attend, but I can't give you guys the story about the traditional morning Thai Buddhist wedding with the water pouring ceremony etc that I implied I'd give you. Sorry, I'll be more careful next time.

    Count C-... you family is friends with the Palevskys? Wow. Well, you're going to have an interesting time adjusting to think of Max Palevsky as a collection of orange brick buildings instead of a person then. I'll keep an eye open for Nick.

    Future Mom- Ah, gotta love online politics. Thank you very much! I'll be sure to check out yours soon.