Hanging around in Bangkok and learning Thai

Trip Start Jan 08, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Just before I came back to the apartment to write this, I had lunch at the usual restaurant with Kanjana and her work colleagues. I had Pad Thai and it cost about Aust 70c. Also as usual a little baby girl (about 1 and half years old) was playing in the restaurant and enjoying taking and playing with Kanjana's umbrella. The restaurant is a family run business with the baby's mum working with her mum and dad to cook the food and take the orders. The customers either ignore the baby or (mainly) enjoy playing with her and seeing her. Occasionally the baby takes the money from the customers, something she has learnt from watching her mum. She knows the regular customers and feels safe and relaxed amongst the people. I think it is very nice to have this interaction between people and between adults and kids and it is something that doesn't seem to occur in many Western workplaces. That seems a shame.

I have been in Thailand now for a month or so. I am studying Thai language, 3 days a week for 2 hours on each of those days. My class is made up of 4 students, an English man, an Indian woman, a Philippino woman and me. The classes are fun and my language skills have already improved a lot. I am very glad that I have been doing this. My conversations with Alif and Vava and Kanjana's mum and the people in the park and the taxi drivers and the boat conductors and almost everyone else that I run into have improved and now go on for much longer with more information being successfully exchanged. Very happy about this.

Other than that not much is happening. We have purchased a new couch, so now I am not always sitting on the floor and also a new laptop computer. My old laptop has gone to Kanjana and her old desk top has gone to the kids. So everyone seems to have benefited.

About a week ago Kanjana and I traveled to Kampaeng Phet to visit John and his wife Nui. John is an Englishman and was mentioned a while ago in travelog 29. I had seen him and Nui on the way to the Burmese border and then met them at the border. Later he drove me to catch the bus back to Bangkok. Anyway Nui has given birth to twin girls and so we went to see them. Also I wanted to see where John lived, catch up and also check out his Internet business. The twins were very cute and the little village just outside of Kampaeng Phet, where John lives was also very nice. Basically everything was good and John was well and we had a good chat. He has set himself and Nui's family up quite nicely in a smallish quiet village. He has helped develop some business ideas for Nui's family and overall everyone seems quite happy and the lifestyle seems very good. We had a nice time and I think Kanjana particularly liked the babies.

What else? Oh, when I came home I saw the video of Kanjana's university graduation. The Crown Prince of Thailand gave Kanjana her degree and the Prime Minister, Khun Thaksin also attended, mixing with the crowd, talking to people and signing Vava's hand. It was interesting to see Prime Minister Thaksin at one stage in Kanjana's video sitting down talking to an older Muslim man. "Who is that?", I asked. He is a man that lives just over there (behind our building). He was freely talking to the Prime Minister about his ideas for cleaning the canal and on improving the local area. The Prime Minister went out of his way to sit and listen to him. I found that amazing and very very pleasing.
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karms on

Thai Language
Hi Paul,

It was interesting to read your post RE volunteer work in Thailand & learning Thai as a language. I am an Australian who has been married to a Thai for over 4 years - 8 years together living both in Bangkok and Brisbane. We are now moving back to Bangkok for our second stint - an indefinite one as my husband has a family business to take care of.

I am interested to hear where about's you studied Thai? A few days per week for 2 hours a siting sounds perfect for me. Do you have any further details on this? It would be much appreciated.

Cheers - Karmen!

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