For me, the photo of this beautiful food vendor symbolizes Thailand. This is as Thai as downtown Bangkok gets.
Today, walking home from school, I stopped and smiled at the woman who runs this food stall. Not so unusual, right?
I then proceeded to do something I have never before done in Thailand. I asked her if I could take her photograph. Before you begin formulating the thought, “Wow, Monna’s Thai must be so good!” I must come clean that I had my camera in my hands and I raised it and then raised my shoulders. International sign language for, “May I take your photograph.” The woman smiled back at me which is international sign language for “Go ahead, you crazy foreigner. I’m just cooking lunch here.”
So I took her photograph.
I love her entire outfit including the white rubber boots, jaunty white hat and blue floral apron. I love the guy sitting behind her at a table covered in a pink plastic tablecloth that reminds me of Mexico. This moment was what both Thais and foreigners would call, “Very Thai.”
With just a week left in Bangkok, I find myself more patient with this city I have not loved.
Yesterday, DP and I watched as five tiny Thai men in canary yellow shirts packed up our entire life. “57 boxes!” the supervisor told us proudly. 57 boxes. Our apartment is now empty and we are sleeping in a mattress on the floor; it’s like being in university again.
The good news is that we have lots of space to dream about Japan and to reflect on two years spent in Thailand.
I’ll try to bring you several more Very Thai Moments before we go!