Sunday, July 20, 2008

Floating Cabins and Thai Kindness

Last weekend I went with some other PiAers (Princeton in Asia is the program I am in Thailand through) to Eakachai; floating cabins in the Srilanna National Park.

There is a large reservoir there and you take a boat out and stay on these small clusters of floating huts, usually some cabins and a restaurant. 

It was very peaceful and relaxing; felt like a weekend at the cottage or camping. All we did was play cards, read books, and swim - it was excellent.  

On the way back I felt my back tire start to swerve a little. At first I thought it was just Nicole (my passenger) shifting her weight, but then it got a little more violent and so I pulled over. Flat tire :( 

We still had about 40 kilometers left to go and the rest of the group had gone on ahead (my bike is not the fastest or most powerful - in fact, she was christened "Bessie May" on this trip after stalling at the top of a hill with the two of us on her). Also, we had decided to take the scenic route past farms (it was scenic, just also in the middle of nowhere...) and I hadn't seen a gas station since we'd been on the road. I started pushing my bike up the road and came across a junk yard. I pointed to the tire, shrugged my shoulders and smiled. Without a word, the two young guys working there stopped what they were doing, located a tube and set to work dismantling my back tire. Half an hour later when I asked them how much I owed them, they just said "Mai pen rai" (the Thai motto which means no problem/whatever/don't worry about it). I ended up forcing 100 baht (~$3) on them for their trouble but I was humbled by their kindness. 

Also, today I went to a "Day of Mindfulness" (a monthly day of meditation, talks, singing and togetherness held on campus) and though I was the only person of about 20 that didn't speak Thai, the organizers said everything in Thai and English so that I wouldn't feel left out. 

Even as I am writing this, I'm given another example. I am in a coffee shop where you get a password for 30 free minutes of internet with the receipt for your purchase, after that you have to pay for it. The guy behind the counter just came over with passwords that he had snipped off two receipts other people had left because he knew I must be out of time by now. 

Thai people are wonderful.

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