Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I had one of those moments a few days ago where I suddenly felt very happy, and very comfortable with Thailand. I had left my desk at ISDSI around 4:00 after a full day of drawing, and walked down the Superhighway to the Mae Rim road, turned right and continued walking to one of the markets, dodging around parked motorcycles and snack stands and avoiding traffic (it's a busy road). Stopped into a stationery store for new Micron pens since I am wearing out the ones I brought from home. At the market I bought cashews, peanuts, pumpkin cooked with coconut milk (so good), fresh corn, and underwear. It was now 5:00, and rush hour traffic had hit. I flagged down a yellow bus with the subtle palm-down fluttering Thai bus-stopping gesture I've been working on, which pulled over for me. The bus was completely full of two young orange-robed monks and several women. Monks are not supposed to touch women, so there was a wide space around them. It is also not "reap roi" (proper) for women to just hang on to the platform outside the back of the bus (which is what I REALLY want to do, it looks fun). If there were any non-monk men in the bus, they would have offered me their seat and hung on outside, but as it was there was no room on the benches for me. So everyone smiled and passed a little plastic stool back to me, and I sat in the aisle, looking backwards out the open back of the bus. Right then, I felt great. I had successfully navigated the social implications of this situation, and I felt sudden great love for the scene I was seeing from my perch...all the people and motorcycles and traffic and little street stalls and signs written in a language I couldn't read.