Chinese New Year
Friday, February 16, 2007
The Chinese New Year is a huge celebration here! It is for a couple days and everyone is starting to prepare. I am currently back in Bangkok at my friend Nathan’s Aunt and Uncle’s apartment where I have enjoyed swimming the morning away with the seven year old Ananya and visiting the 3 year old Niska’s preschool to see some Chinese New Year dance. Nathan arrived today and we are relaxing and hoping to head off tomorrow morning to and Island called Ko Chang.
Yesterday I visited with an old friend Zach who may join us as well!
After Sukotai I headed to Chaing Mai and Stephanie went back to Bangkok. Chaing Mai at first glance was just another city. Great I thought I traveled all this way for another bus filled cement jungle of tourist traps and smog.
But the feel of the city was a relaxing one. Many back small streets, small places to eat, smiles on the locals, a couple yoga studios, and a laid back feel. I enjoyed eating at a vegetarian Thai buffet set outside by candle light. I found a pool to relax and swim in, I visited some hill tribes, and orchard/ butterfly farm. Did some shopping at the night market, and did some walking.
My two favorite interactions.... One was when I set out to get some lunch (hoping to find my 20 baht stall Paht Thai) but was struggling to see anything. I thought to myself “follow your nose little bunny” as the bunny from an old childhood book would often do to find his way. Just then an old Thai woman from across the street spotted me and came over in her boots and apron and wanted to know if I’d like some fruit from her stand. I told her “no thank you” and what I was looking for. Her soft hands reached out and she held my hand and told me she knew the best place. We walked a couple blocks stopping at her friends stand where I bought a fruit drink and continued on to where a woman made me some delicious lunch! It was just what I was looking for and some of the best I had so far. The woman called Tong was very pleased with herself and enjoyed practicing her english!
I said “thank you” several times and she just smiled and said “for good luck”
The Thai’s really think that doing good will bring good to them. It’s almost always done with a smile and everyone feels satisfied.
The other was when I was about to cross a busy street. (they drive on the left side of the road here so the looking left, then right, then left again as you are crossing could get you hit, it’s a bit tricky sometimes) So an old man with about 6 long grey hairs growing from his chin smiled and said “hello” in Thai and walked out in the street looking both ways and made sure I made it safely across when he turned back. I thought he was crossing as well, but when I realized he was just making sure I was safe I thanked him again with a big smile and got the same response as before. Both of us walked in our seperate directions with smiles of satisfaction from ear to ear.