playing ball in bangkok
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 33 of 66 › view all entries
After a full day of work Ken and I would often ride on bikes to the basketball courts. We sped down the soi (lane) past the market and shops dodging stray dogs, barefoot kids, motor scooters and more. As in many Asian cities, the streets are crowded and narrow its amazing how few accidents happen.
The basketball courts were next to the freeway under the expressway off-ramps. Often when we arrived 8-10 guys would be playing mini-football one of the courts (I so dislike that, why can’t they use the parking lot or the grass field?). There was also a takkrow courtt (like a badminton court) takkrow is a unique SEA game its so original that no other regions play it. I’d never seen it played before.
I was fine with just basketball though and usually there were guys to play 3-3 half court ball. Thais play very soft , not very much physical contact at all. They like doing alot of leaping around.
“You’re not from here, huh?” One tall guy asked me in Chinese. “nah, I’m from Japan and my friend’s from Singapore” I answered “Where did you learn Chinese?” I was surprised to find a Thai so fluent. “My family comes from China”, ethnic Chinese make a big part of the Thai (and SEA) population. “Where about from?” I asked, Chinese are really into their roots “I don’t know, my grandparents came from somewhere there” he said. “Well you speak good Chinese. Most Chinese Thais don’t speak any” I complimented him. Unlike Malaysian Chinese most Thai born ethnic Chinese call themselves Thais and have little cultural or linguistic connection to their roots.
I invited a shy teenage boy to play with us and showed him how to do a lay-up. His father came over later to thank me he also wanted to practice his English. “Why have you come to Thailand?” he asked. “Oh, I’m an exchange student. I’m here to study Thai culture” I thought to put him off for fun. “Really? Where do you study?” he asked. “At Chulalankorn University” It was the only one I knew of but it must be a prestigious one because he was highly impressed. “How do like Thai people?” He went on. “They’re real sweet. Hey, where’s a cool place to hang out?” I asked. “ Oh.. for young men like you RCA or somewhere like that is good plenty of young people.” He looked a little nostalgic. “Yeah? Do you know where there's lots of birds?” I asked with a wink. “But I’m 46 years old!” he said in a horrified voice. We had a good laugh about that on the way back.