Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Donations mean good luck at Wat Lampang Luang
A few kind words mean more than gold, especially when one's hung over.
After a full rainy day of research at the Princess's library on the edge of Bangkok, I stumbled blindly down the street to Mak Yah . Muslim restaurants are the perfect spot to recover from a hangover: there's no alcohol to tempt you into another one.
The owner asked me how the meal was. I grinned in response, and he launched into his whirlwind of a life story in five minutes: how he was born in the troubled province of Pattani, lived in Germany & Sweden & Japan, where he met his Thai-American wife (the daughter of a Thai woman & an American serviceman on his R&R from the 2nd Indochina War), how with his southern good looks (european/malay/thai/arab), locals in Bangkok mistook him for a farang, so taxi-drivers charged him triple the Thai rate.
Before I left, he insisted I meet his wife, who had cooked the simple and spicy seafood meal. She gave me their restaurant card and mobile phone numbers "if you ever need advice or help in Bangkok, please call." I've spent months in the city, met hundreds of people there in different situations from classrooms to girlie bars, but have never had such a spontaneous encounter quite like this one.
Kindness is at its most striking when least expected.