Saturday, June 27, 2009

Things I saw today

Today I walked to The Mall Bangkapi to buy some workout shirts for Pae's mom and dad. They have a 50% sale there on Adidas, Nike, Umbro and pretty much anything else that is going out of season.

I decided to walk rather than pay 55 baht for the taxi ride there. I walked along a finally completed cement walkway along the klong (small river along which there are many small homes with rotting wood floors and walls and rusty tin roofs) that runs from our soi to The Mall. I'm guessing it's only 2 or 3 kilometers. As I slowly made my way down through the back sois and along the klong, I saw some things...none of theme were necessarily super interesting nor blog worthy, but they give some feeling as to how my day was...

1. I saw two motorcycle taxi drivers, taking a break in an empty parking lot. They were both sleeping on top of small futsal goals (like soccer goals but smaller) under a tree. Their had banana leaves over their faces to block the daylight. One had a toothpick dangling from his lower lip, as if he had fallen asleep while playing with it in his mouth.

2. I heard the voices of two young boys. I rounded the corner and found two third grade age boys. One was sitting on the cement, a cloud of just-exhaled cigarette smoke blowing back in his face. The other, sitting on the back tire of his red bike, was startled and had that "We're busted" look on his face. The dark-faced boy with the cigarette coolly sucked in another puff, held it in, looked at me, smiled and blew the smoke out of his nose. His eyes tracked me as I approached. I grinned as I passed.

As I walked past he confidently greeted me with "Hello." I stopped and hello'd him right back and asked "How are you?" He seemed to be trying to access his previous week's English lesson from school as he stared at me, flicked his cigarette, and thought for a second as I stood waiting for some programmed "Fine and you" reply that I get from 90% of my students. With a smile he proudly shot back "Good, thank you, how are you?" I was pleasantly surprised. He then followed his reply up with "Where are you from?" I told him I was from the States to which he replied, pointing at himself, "You am from Thailand!"

They both giggled as I turned and continued my walk.

3. I saw a bunch of sandspurs growing up through the cracks in the new cement walkway. I haven't seen sandspurs in forever. In fact, I think this may be the first time in my life that I've even attempted to spell the word!

I remember having sandburr fights with Amy, Katie and the rest of the neighborhood kids when I was young. We would put them at the bottom of the slide on the playground and slide into them for fun. We would throw them at each other for fun. I don't have to tell anyone who has ever played sandspur war, that three of the worst places to get a bunch of burrs are as follows...

Behind your knee to where it sticks to above and below your knee. You have to go with the bandaid removal technique (just count to three and rip it off) to remove this one...

Your eyelid...yes I've been burred on the closed eyelid...gives a little more perspective when mom says "It's all fun and games 'til someone gets an eye poked out!"...

And lastly, and the one that puts a person in the most shock would be the one along the inner thigh and the scrotum. Okay, I said it. You have to remember that I am a product of the 80's with the short Larry Bird basketball shorts and yellow and green striped gym socks. So when someone gets lucky with a handful of sandspur stalks, with the perfect uppercut action...you get a big surprise in your tender-region and the sandspur war ends abruptly. (Now everyone knows entirely too much about me.) But yeah, the sandspur weeds brought all of those memories flooding back to me.

4. I walked past some guy's fenced in yard, and his Spud MacKenzie dog looked at me through the bars and gave a weak half bark at me as if he was doing his guard dog duties, but just wasn't really into it. I think he was only the second or third bull terrier I've seen here.

5. I walked past an apartment complex that has been under construction for some time now. I heard what sounded like the normal clatter of construction equipment, but when I looked up to the 6th and top story of the skeleton of a building, there were guys destroying the top floor rather than building. I'll have to go back and check again in a few months, but I'm not sure if they messed up and built an extra floor, messed up the roof, or are actually tearing the whole building down floor by floor.

6. I came to work out at our gym, actually that's where I'm typing this from. I did sprints on the bike today so my workout was a lot shorter than when I do intervals or a distance ride. Pae is in Ubon for a few weeks, I'll join her next weekend for a few days as it's a public holiday here. I'm so used to signing in at the gym and picking up two gym towels from the counter before starting our workout. Today the gym worker placed a single blue towel on the counter. It didn't look quite right as I'm used to seeing and picking up two towels, one for me and one for Pae. Hmmm...translation, I'm missing Pae and she's only been away for two days. Cool though cuz I'll be on a bus to Ubon next week and we come back to Bangkok together the week after that!

I saw much more today than I've listed here, but this gym computer had a 30 minute limit and I'm pushing that already.

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