Bangkok Arrival

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Wed 26 January 2009


The flight to Bangkok was about 5 hours.  Again, I fell asleep and missed my meal, but received it later.  I watched a movie and by roughly 10:30pm Thai time, I was in the international airport. I finally made it! After a bit of a delay going through customs and finding my luggage, I headed into the receiving area and looked for Mom. There she was off to the right, in a yellow shirt, sitting on the bars.  She was accompanied by my two aunts and uncle.  I was happy to find them immediately.  I have them hugs and greeted them in English. Then, we drove the 1 hour to their home. My older aunt, Wasana, spoke a little bit of English. My uncle, who is a university professor, speaks English, but I don’t think he understands me. My younger aunt, Tasanee, just laughed and smiled – she doesn’t speak any English. So mom is the translator, but half the time I have to ask her to repeat herself because she’s not clear when she says something, is totally off the subject, or doesn’t speak correctly.

 

My aunts were concerned about me being hungry, so they insisted that we stop at 7-11 to pick up some groceries.  I really didn’t want much, but filled up a basket at their insistence.

 

We arrived at their home and it has a gated outdoor area, similar to the Guatemalan City girls, Caren and her shister. We took off our shoes at the door and walked into the living room area.  I immediately knew that this was a nice residence. There are 2 bedrooms off to the right and a kitchen in the back, broken in 2 parts.  At the entrance of the kitchen is a large fridge with counter space and a smaller fridge and a cabinet to store plateware and pantry food.  In the back is another door that leads to a long hall where the microwave, oven, kitchen sink, and other appliances are located. To the left of the house, a staircase leads to the second floor, where there’s 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. Also on the first floor is a mini bathroom. Outside the house, there’s a small living area, and another door that opens into a bedroom. Mom and her older sister share the room with 2 twin-sized beds.  Boom, her husband Aye, and their 4-month-old daughter Gam-Boom share one of the first floor bedrooms. Bow, Boom’s younger sister, has the bedroom upstairs next to mine.  By bedroom is their brother, Ball’s, room, but he’s currently living in an apartment closer to the hospital he works at. The other upstairs bedroom belongs to my Aunt Tasanee and Uncle Papie.

 

Everyone went to bed immediately, as did I even though my mental clock was a bit off.

 

Tues 27 January 2009

I woke up in the morning several times, but was so happy to sleep flat on a bed in an air-conditioned room, that I didn’t want to get up.  Finally, about 3pm, I finally did get up.  Well, it’s settle in day, I thought to myself.  And I excused myself for having jet lag.

 

 

After a bite to eat, I walked with my mom and Pa Tu (older aunt Wasana) to a shrine at the edge of the suburb complex.  Mom said she had only been here once before and I realized even more that day that she never really gets out.  Pa Tu burnt some incense and made an offering, then she kneeled down and prayed, as did my mom.  I did the same, very self-conscious of my actions and wondering if I was doing something against my own religion. The shrine is very ornate with small statues th carvings surrounding it.  Mom said it’s similar to going to a temple and some people come to pray every day. I pointed to the tiny shrine-like structures at the corner of some neighboring properties and she said they were similar – that those people didn’t have to leave their homes to make offerings.  According to my Lonely Planet Guidebook, these shrines date back to the belief in Animism.  These are spirit shrines that contain images of Brahma or Shiva. Guardian spirits inhibit or surroundings and the shrines are there to displace these spirits.

 

We rested, then walked back home.  I asked mom how much the homes were here and she said they were multi-million dollar homes. I was surprised they were so nice. “So this is a rich neighborhood,” I asked. How could my family afford it? I guess my uncle makes a lot as a university professor. He’s been living here for about 21 years.  Pa Tu has lived here for 4 years and my mom for 1 year. “How many people live in these house,” I asked. “1,2, 3, any number of people,” Mom responded. I sensed she didn’t have a clue. I wonder whether its common for extended family members to live together. Mom always says in Thailand people take care of their elders and don’t abandon them. But it’s difficult deciphering what Mom says since she doesn’t seem sure of herself. She says she’s never been in any of the other houses and doesn’t have friends.  Her older sister takes care o her and does everything for her. Mom spends most of her time in her room.

 

Despite having just slept 13 hours, I was tired again by the time we returned.  I ate dinner, watched TV, and at 7:30 fell asleep.  In the middle of the night, I woke up and read some Thai info and wondered when my sleep schedule would be normal again.

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photo by: Deats