Thursday, May 14, 2009



KHUK KHAK, Thailand - When people ask me where I am now, I know they haven't been reading the blog entries. Date and location are the first two lines of the posts.

There are two post offices in the relatively near vicinity; one up north in Nam Kaen, almost all the way to Takuapa, a really pleasant 20k motorbike ride, and the other, down south over the mountain in Lam Kaen, much closer. Fifteen minutes.

The winding ride over the jungle-covered mountain, a national park, is always fun, either pressed forward into the curves, or sitting back chillin' with an iced coffee, riding with one hand. Depends on who's on your ass; a log truck creeping along in second gear, or a racer trying to reach Phuket in record time.

Today I was chillin. Nobody in the rear-view mirror at the base of the mountain.

It was a slow day at the post office, where a half-hour wait is the norm, along with the inevitable local Thai cutting in line and never looking back to meet your hot gaze. I don't quite get it. I'm 6 foot 2 inches. Don't they see me standing there?

It's like the message is, 'I'm Thai. You're a foreigner. You can wait.'

It happens at 7-ll, too. And at the embassy. Everywhere.

And so, I can stand there and glare at the top back of his head, or I can look out the window at the temple and take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and just wait my turn.

Today I was next. I was next behind the only lady in there, and I put my parcels right on the scales. I knew the guy working the desk. Well, I didn't know him...I'd been there before, he'd seen me before...many times. Well, not many times...several. In any case, he greeted me with a smile.

Another lady came in and sort of cut in, like they do when they only have a utility bill, which they pay there at the post office, as opposed to parcel you care about any of this?

Anyway, that's just setting the scene.

That was the scene today for my impromptu standup comedy act.

By the time the guy, the postmaster, got my packages weighed and figured up, there were about nine people in the post office. Four or five in line, and the other people waiting for them, motorbikes sitting outside. They all seemed calm as they waited for the foreigner and his packages to his kids back in the States.

When the guy said, "Four thousand, three hundred baht," which everybody in there was waiting to hear, I expressed shock with body language and yelled out, "WHAT!!??"

Everybody in the place had a good laugh, and the postmaster said, "Peng mak mak. Very expensive."

I thanked the lady who cut in, for waiting patiently, because the guy went ahead with my stuff and made her wait, though I indicated to her and the lady behind her that they could go ahead of me. "Pom mai reep," I told them. I'm in no hurry.

We were all laughing. Nobody was in a hurry.


It was in the shower, the second of the day at 11 a.m., that the idea hit me; 'Patience', with the flood of associative ideas that come with it, and upon which one could elaborate and hope that others can relate.

Then, I forgot it and went to meandering in the garden and fiddlling through half a dozen other projects; unearthing that huge stone, giving the palms their first-ever haircut, transplanting the ferns, take that stuff to the post office.

Then by the time I sat back down to write, I couldn't remember the topic nor any of the content ideas. Ate some cashews, and then it hit me. Still can't recall any of those ideas from the shower, but those folk's patience at the post office was remarkable.