Saturday, May 14, 2011


One recent day I brought dry cleaning to our laundry woman whose smile I love(d). Not there. Maybe if I knew more Thai language she'd have warned me of pending change in ownership. I was bummed because I loved seeing her smile, and I was always humbled by how she juggled a newborn while taking my clothes every week. I missed getting her picture.

This region of Thailand can be very transient. Expats here for a few years' assignment, then gone. Thai laborers are more elusive, coming to make money in our rich area, but quickly running to northern countryside for reasons usually involving "sick mother" or "sick baby" back home. A few months later they return to expat land of opportunity... take new job... repeat.

So I must get better at snapping people & moments while I have them. These are a few of the Thais I currently love seeing each day or week. They barely speak English, and I little Thai, but with our sweet way of communicating via expressions and charades, we make it work and are "friends" of sorts. I am grateful for the smiles they bring to my days.

The Guard

Just a wisp of a thing, but his smile is huge (usually, like many Thais he seems camera shy). 7 long days a week he opens the rolling gate each time we pass from our neighborhood. He's also on call for snakes, 200 baht (about $6) for every snake caught, same amount for green tree snakes as cobras... no bonus for dealing with deadly. The girls share our baked goods with him, the other guards & gardeners, and they always quietly return the clean plate to our laundry terrace about 15 minutes later.

The Pool Tech

M-W-F he skims deadfall & bugs that frequent our little pool. Despite the heat & wet nature of his work, his uniform is always the same... heavily soaked jeans, long chambray shirt and straw hat. Love the hat.

Khun Pen... a Cook, Water Deliverer, and Entrepreneur

She & her mom run a small nearby restaurant. I get takeout from her purple restaurant at least once or twice a week. She delivers drinking water, and is also into newspapers, motorbike petro and laundering services. Very hardworking, it's been great to see her restaurant grow over past year & half, adding on twice in that time and significantly improving her outdoor kitchen. I don't see her leaving anytime soon.

Som Tam Maker

Som Tam is a spicy, shredded papaya salad from northeast Thailand. Love it... with just one or two chili peppers. Many Thais order it with 10+, and laugh at pansy foreigners like me. It's usually served with sticky rice and grilled chicken, another brilliant combo Thais have mastered. This man has a cart from which he makes & sells at the same location, but I have yet to figure his schedule. I grab his food when I see him (once or twice a month?), and it's the only time I ever sit down to lunch, solo. 

Som Tam, sticky rice and pineapple

Geckos galore in & out of house, with bigger lizards on occasion... they're not people, but I love seeing them all. This was a new one I found by the pool and it kept visiting for a couple weeks, but haven't seen it lately. Wonder if it met the neighborhood cobra, which was never found. Last sighting was a good 6 weeks ago, so I think (pray) it has moved on.

On Ry's birthday last month we headed to the Hard Rock for lunch and then toured around town in an open air baht bus to enjoy Songkran, or Thai New Year/water festival. For these few days of Songkran, any human who is outdoors is fair game as Thailand gets into a big ol' waterfight. The refreshing water is nice, but they also smear baby powder like "stuff"... I find that annoying, but the girls enjoy it all.

9 years old

Gotta scoot for Ry's 8 hour competition bonanza in the 100 degree heat... swimming, T-ball & soccer. Getting ready for the games in Taipei in 4 weeks. Ry hasn't changed. She'd still rather do underwater somersaults for hours or chase butterflies during a game than compete in it. I'm happy some things don't change.