Next week, I take a vacation. That may sound strange from someone who is semi-retired and living in Thailand, but we all can use a little time away from our everyday lives. Called a vacation.
Anyway, my vacation starts Wednesday at midnight (Jan 18/19) when I board a train to Bangkok, from where I will board another train to Phitsanoluk, in the center of the main part of Thailand. Total travel time is about 14 hours.
Doesn’t sound like a great way to start a vacation (or to end it also, for that matter) but Thai train travel is something I wanted to experience. I also have wanted to visit other areas of the country, so here you go!
Why? Girlfriend asked if I wanted to go with her to her home city, where her mother lives. Already met the mother. I really didn’t have to think twice about saying yes. More exploring, and this time with a native speaker (even though she and I can’t actually talk to each other).
Anyway, that’s the back story. But it occurred to me that if I am going to visit her mother then I need to bring a gift. And then there’s the sister, brother-in-law and three grandchildren also living there. Gifts needed for everyone.
So now we’re getting to the point of the headline. I decided to walk to the night market tonight to find gifts for four women and one man. I had no idea what I was looking for.
I entered the market in the middle and headed up the narrow corridor, with stalls on either side. In the middle of the stream of westerners going there and here was a little old lady looking about as ludicrous as you can imagine.
She looked like a gnome from a fairy tale.
At first, I passed her, discarding her presence as just another street hawker. But I did a mental double-take, turned around and asked her what she was selling in her basket of stuff.
She was mabe four foot ten at best, with a hundred-year-old wrinked face, and standing in the middle of the non-ending tourist bodies going in both directions, selling what looks like trinkets to the passersby who barely even notice her.
She was excited I noticed her. And she became even more excited when I expressed interest in some silver-looking bracelets she was selling. I suddenly relized this was the answer to part of my gift problem, and told her I wanted four. There were design variations and as I sorted through the options she kept trying to upsell me.
We finally agreed on a price per bracelet (and I probably paid too much) before she tried selling me five instead of four. And then she wanted me to pay the same for four as for five. It was fun sparring. We both laughed throughout. Several people watching also enjoyed it, I think.
I left giving her probably more than she sells most nights. She agreed to let me photograph her.
The new cat
As reported before, I was looking for a kitten and now have a full-grown cat. She is maybe 2 years old. We met on the street – she was friendly, I petted her, she followed me for awhile. Saw her again and she followed me home. She had a collar with a rusted bell. Apparently, someone abandoned her.
Now she has adopted me and my home. Follows me around like a puppy. Meows until I get up in the morning. Did I mention she follows me around like a puppy?
Anyway, looks like she’s permanent so I finally came up with a name. Gypsy. It sounds the same, almost, in Thai (yipsi), so that is kind of cool. The name is for many reasons, chief of which is her and my current states, plus it’s one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs.
The pictures will show that she has found the highest point on the first floor to sleep.