Mail From Retirees in Thailand
Dear Neil and Bruce,
I know that you guys would have heard me talk of my love of Thailand many times. But I got a reminder in the last 2 days which I thought I should relate.
Monday morning I was catching a sawngthaeo from Mae Jo to Chiang Mai for the first time. At one point a blind man got on. Immediately he became a joint responsibility for all passengers. That evening I was travelling back on a very crowded sawngthaeo (at least 22 passengers) hanging with several others out the back. One woman insisted on me giving her my bag which she nursed on her lap till the numbers dwindled.
Yesterday an older Thai man struck up a conversation with me – quizzing me in English while I tried to answer in Thai. When he got off, after paying his fare, he put his head back in the window and in a booming voice almost sang the words, “Welcome to my country!”
After my dental appointment yesterday I was walking back through Chinatown when I remembered I needed some powder to deal with a bad case of heat rash. I was cursing myself for not going into the pharmacy next door to the dentists which is in the heart of the tourist area and I felt sure they would speak English.
Anyway I went into a Chinese chemist asking in Thai if the assistant spoke English. I hadn’t noticed he was wearing an Aussie soccer shirt. It turned out he had studied in Melbourne where he had learned to play Aussie rules despite having played soccer all his life. He now plays Aussie rules with a team in Thailand and on ANZAC Day every year his team goes to Kachanaburi to play an international team (maybe from Malaysia or Hong Kong) to entertain returning POWS or their families. Can you believe it?