338 BCE – The Sacred Band of Thebes, an undefeated élite battalion made up of one hundred and fifty gay couples, is destroyed by the forces of Philip II of Macedon who bemoans their loss and praises their honor.
Today’s news from Thailand:
The Thai legislature shelved a bill that would make English a second official language following objection from an MP that to pass the bill could lead Thais into the mistaken belief that they had been colonized in the past.
(The legislator in question overlooked the fact that for 4 years during WW II Japan occupied Thailand.)
Petrillo’s dyspeptic guide to the unwary traveler in Thailand:
Essential English words required for dealing with a Thai who does not understand English:
“Same, same.” This means you want the same as you had before. What you get will not be the same, but close enough for government work.
“No, no, no!” The emphasis and urgency rising with each iteration of No. Anything else you say in English will be interpreted as consent.
(My friend Gerry (with a G) from Chiang Mai sent me the attached, indicating when one’s stay in Thailand has gone on too long)
Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:
THE MYSTERIOUS RUSSIAN
When I first arrived here at Paradise by the Beach about seven months ago, I noticed a tall (about 6’6″) slender Russian man lounging by the pool. Two young boys of about 6 and 7 years old respectively ccompanied. With them also was a woman and a little girl about the same age as the boys. They all seemed part of a single family.
After about two or three weeks, the woman and the girl departed leaving only the man and the two boys.
Each morning, the three of them go to the beach where the man wades out into the shallow water turns, kneels down and motionless stares back toward the beach while the boy’s play in the water near him.
After about 30 minutes or so of absolute rigidity, he suddenly flops face down into the water where he remains for three or four minuets. The first time I saw this I thought he had a seizure and moved to give him some assistance, but before I could reach him he arose and strode to shore with the boys in tow. He repeats this performance almost every morning.
At about noon, I often see him and at least one of the boys eating lunch at a one of the cement and tile tables that located along Beach road adjacent to the sand.
In the afternoon at about two PM when I am usually doing my laps in the pool, he and the boys generally return to the pool from the beach and he lies on a deck chair in the sun until about 5 PM.
I have never seen either he or the boys dressed in anything other than swim trunks and although I have never seen any of them apply sun block of any kind their skin is only lightly tanned.
He is a young man seeming in his late 30’s and appears not to work at anything except his tan. The boys obviously do not attend school. Perhaps they are home schooled in the evening.
Now, I would like to think there is some mystery here (a spy in hiding perhaps), but alas I suspect it is only an oddity. It nevertheless, like most things, generates in me musings about…well me.
I think about what I must appear like to others in the complex.
Every morning, dressed in my top to bottom coverage (until recently) and ski goggles, I walk to the café, walking stick in hand and computer slung over my shoulder. There I eat the same breakfast every day, two poached eggs, bacon, coffee and OJ, read the Bangkok Post and then work on my computer. At about noon, I go for my walk along the beach and return immediately to my apartment. At about 2 pm, I go down to the pool and swim my 10 to 20 or so laps and again immediately return to my apartment.
Once a month I disappear for about a week on one of my “Adventures” and every Friday at about 1 PM, my masseuse arrives strolling into the building with a tiny umbrella in one hand for protection from sun and the rain looking every bit like the Thai version of Mary Poppins. In her other hand she carries a number of plastic bags, like some NY bag-lady. The following day she leaves at about the same time along with her umbrella and plastic bags and marches off to catch her bus and return to Bangkok.
I fantasize that people view me as mysterious, like the Russian, maybe someone in the witness protection program or an artist of some sort. Sadly, however, I imagine that anyone who may notice, if anyone does, sees me as nothing more than another oddity thrown ashore at Paradise on the Beach, more or less another bit of human detritus.
Today’s Album cover:
“To truly understand Mankind, you must first break down the words that make up his name: Mank and Ind.
What do they mean?
It’s a mystery.
And so is Mankind.”
Today’s Bonus quote from “The Princess Bride”:
-Inigo, “Offer me money.”
-Count Rugen, “Yes.”
-Inigo, “Offer me power.”
-Count Rugen, “All that I have and more. Please. Anything you want.”
– Inigo, “I want my father back, you son of a bitch!”
(Is this the end of Count Rugen? You betcha. Is this the end of quotes from “The Princess Bride”? I don’t think so.).
Today’s Bonus Quote II:
From my friend Bill Geyer:
“Just to prove that:
1) Somebody actually reads your stuff, and
2) There’s nothing new under the sun,
I offer the following:
Your quote: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” The Princess Bride
cf. “My name is Sue. How do you do. Now you’re gonna die.” as sung by Johnny Cash in “The Boy Named Sue,” addressing his long-lost father “who gave me that awful name.” I can’t remember whether it was written by Kris Kristofferson or Shel Silverstein.”
YOU KNOW YOU’VE BEEN IN THAILAND TOO LONG WHEN……
You begin to enjoy Thai TV programs.
You look four ways before crossing a one way street.
You put salt and chilli on your fruit
A Thai cop stops you for a minor infraction and you automatically reach for your wallet.
You think that a Honda Civic is a prestigious car.
All your tee-shirts are emblazoned with the name of some bar.
You think a polo shirt and jeans are formal attire.
You aren’t upset when the bar girl, next to you eats beetles as a snack.
Later the same night, you actually kiss the bar girl who earlier dined on the beetles.
You wake up in the morning and realize that you have nowhere to go and all day to get there.
You think white wine goes well with Som Tam.
You understand when your Thai girl friend says, ‘My friend you’ or ‘Same, same, but different.’
A Thai bar girl you’ve just met tells you that his mother is deathly ill and you just laugh and walk away.
You consider your mobile phone a fashion accessory.
You start driving cars barefoot
You become an expert on buying and selling gold jewellery
Dogs become animals you’d rather kick than pet.
When driving a car you’ll start using every free inch of the road.
You flash your 4 indicator lights when driving straight on at an intersection.
You only go to bars with balloons strung outside.
You realize that all the important words in Thai begin with the letter ‘S’. Sanuk (Fun), Saduak (convenient), Sabai (comfortable), Suay pretty).
You believe that buying a gold chain is an acceptable form of foreplay.
You think a calendar more useful than a watch.
You go to a Thai Boxing match and a soccer game breaks out.
You stand in the shadow of a telephone pole while waiting for a bus.
Indian tailors ignore you when you walk past their shop.
When you call and tell your parents about your sick buffalo
When you see a falang and yell “Falang!”
Taxi drivers understand you.
Not only does it not bother you a lady is cleaning the urinal next to the one you are using, but that you also start to have a casual chat with her.
You think blondes look exotic
You read the subtitles at the movies rather than listen to the English
You find that everything you own is counterfeit.