Thursday, January 13, 2005

Life in Thailand, Part 1

Living in Thailand is an incredible adventure. I would like to start posting my observations on the unusual, the bizarre, and the interesting things I see and/or encounter. As a stranger in a foreign land, I know that I am the guest here and what I see is the normal for here. However, being the Okie that I am, to me, some of what I see is unbelievable, strange, and just down-right confounding.

Take, for instance, my ride to work this morning. It is a commute of about 7 miles and usually takes about 15 minutes, depending on traffic. As I turned from my street onto the artery that takes me out of my neighborhood, I saw rows of clear plastic water bottles in front of people's houses, spaced anywhere from 1 foot to 3 feet apart. They are used bottles with the labels taken off, usually, in the 1.5 - 2 liter range. They look, in my opinion, quite silly. I had to ask my neighbor the other day, what they were for. She said that people put them in their yards to scare dogs away. She said that Thai people think that the dog will look into the bottle and see it's reflection magnified and think that there is a "big dog" in the bottle and get scared and run away. They are put there because so many neighborhood dogs (not strays, but people's pets that they let out to run) urinate on the flowers/sidewalks in front of houses and the bottles are used for deterrence.

Then, on just down the street a little bit, I see a woman inside her house-shop, sweeping the floor. Many times, people will take a downstairs room or two and make it into a little store or a shop of some sort; in this case it is a beauty shop. This woman is using a home-made broom, made out of bamboo and some sort of leafy thing that is the brush part. OK, that is no big deal. I have seen home-made brooms all over the world. Not everyone needs a Rubbermaid broom. What I want to comment on is the fact that this woman is wearing a heavy winter woolen scarf. For goodness sakes! It is 59 degrees outside. It isn't like it is snowing! People here, I assume, cope with the constant heat by thinking that 59 is frigid. People where wearing stocking caps, some that cover their entire face and look like bank robbers! I saw one woman this morning actually wearing a parka, with the hood on and the string tight!

To be continued...

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