Hello My People.
It has been forever since I added a new post here. I just felt bored… uninspired. I kept thinking, “Uh! If only something funny would happen!”
I just have one thing to say… be careful what you wish for.
First… Back Story. Recently Benjamin and Isaac have started taking Muay Thai (Thai Kick Boxing) lessons in a nearby Thai village called “Peanut Road.”
Uncle “Rich Man Mustache” who we shall refer to simply as “Uncle Mustache” from now on, is the coach who owns the place. It seems like Muay Thai is a culture in his family. Many of his and the other coaches family members gather around and hang out there every night while the boys train.
There is a 19 year old girl there named “Nam.” She is the first person from that family that we ever met. When I say “family” It is because it seems like every single person that lives in Peanut Road is related to Nam.
Benjamin and Isaac go every night from 5 pm to 6 pm. They really like me to go with them and I end up going about 2 times a week.
Anyways, It had been quite a while since I had gone with them and they were all “Here we go… All by ourselves. Did you hear us, Marg? We’re going… all ALONE.”
I gave in and grabbed my shoes and tea and we headed out. As we drove up we saw “Uncle Mustache” leaving. He was spiffed up wearing a shirt. Yes, that is a notable detail because it is the first time I have seen him do so. He told us he was going to a “Prachoom” and that we should just have fun today.
After we had been there for about 10 minutes, Nam drove up on her motorbike. She said, “Hey Kaimook! Do you want to go to a Prachoom with me?” There was that word again.
Me: “What is a Prachoom?”
Nam: “Oh, it’s like a meeting… function… thing. You know, a Prachoom. It’s right beside my house.”
I didn’t want to go. I was very comfortable chilling on the inclined sit-up bench. But I couldn’t say no.
Me: “Sure! Let’s go.”
We drove about a minute up the road and arrived at the Prachoom which I finally figured out was a sort of HOA meeting/village council for Peanut Road. And since everyone in Peanut Road is related, we can chalk it up to a monthly family reunion.
There was a small canopy tent. It had about 50 chairs set up underneath it. There was a sign in sheet and a loudspeaker, and a few people standing around.
We went in and greeted the people who “Uncle Mustache” was already there talking to. Then we went to sit down and wait for more people to show up. It was around this time that her 62 year old “Yai” (grandma) came up to talk to us. If you need a mental image of Yai you can just imagine the disney character “Yzma.” Just less evil and more crazy.
Yai had had too much to drink that day. She just LOVED me. She called me BEAUTIFUL, LOVELY, KIND, and SMART about 15 times each. Although I can’t remember getting more than a few “Thank you’s” out before she would start talking again, she was AMAZED at my ability to speak Thai.
All of a sudden she just needed to hug me. That is different for a Thai granny. Usually I only get an affectionate arm grab and a sniff.
Yes, I did say sniff. It is sort of like a kiss, only it’s a sniff.
You know, like Julie Baker… or the Nazgul.
Cute babies get sniffed. The bride and groom sniff each other at their wedding reception.
But instead of the normal sniff and arm pat, I got a full on bear hug. Three of them actually.
After this incessant complimenting and hugging had been going on for about 15 minutes, Nam excused us. She said, “Ok, Gram, we are gonna go get some snacks. See ya.”
As we were walking to the store Nam said, “Oh man, she was SO drunk!”
Me: “Oh, It’s fine. She was cute.”
Nam: “Let’s get a snack and then we can sit over at that table so we don’t have to go back and sit by her.”
We grabbed some mini donuts and butter cookies and headed over to the picnic table. There were only a handful of kids sitting around there. Nam told them, “We’re sitting over here ’cause granny is drunk.”
We sat down and began to giggle about escaping the craziness of her inebriated grandmother when another one of her uncles approached.
As I was trying to figure out how to describe this uncle to you I realized that he looked EXACTLY like the troll face.
You know… This one:
Same grin and everything!
Wait… something isn’t right…
Here we go:
BEHOLD! It is the uncle! I know you are laughing right now, but I am SO not kidding.
He came up and started talking to/at/about me (I’m not exactly sure which it was). Nam told him that I could speak Thai but he decided not to believe it until he had tested me.
He was even more drunk than crazy granny had been. Nam looked at me and said, “Oh, he’s drunk too.”
To which he exclaimed, “I AM NOT DRUNK!”
He began asking me questions in his heavily accented, redneck Thai. As I struggled to understand and answer him he decided to walk directly behind me and ruffle my hair. RUFFLE. MY. HAIR. Like I was a 2 year old trying to learn to say “Cookie” or something.
First rule in Thailand: Thai men (no matter what age) do not touch women, unless it is to shake their hands.
And by the look on Nam’s face… This is not a rule I have concocted in my farang brain.
After that he decided he was having a great time and sat down right next to me. I mostly kept looking at Nam, who was sitting directly across from me, and he just sat there beside me… staring at my face. His trolling grin never once left his face.
It was 6 O’clock. Muay Thai lets out at 6 O’clock.
It was time to leave. Nam asked if we could run back into to the store before we left so she could grab a drink. No Problem.
I followed her back to the cooler. “Uncle Mustache” was standing back there with a few of his buddies. He knows that I am leaving for America on the 13th, because it is all they have wanted to talk to me about for the last week.
He called me over.
Uncle Mustache: “So Kaimook, are you going to bring me back a gift from America?”
Me: “Uhh, sure. I will bring you back some american snacks.” (May I please state here that in Thailand, snacks are a completely acceptable gift. If you go to see government officials and bring them some coconut cookies and peanut brittle, you are BUDS.)
(Apparently Redneck Muay Thai coaches expect more than government officials)
Me: “Or… not. Well, what would you like?”
Uncle Mustache: “I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.”
Me: “Ok, you can just let Benjamin know…”
Uncle Mustache: “Good. I’ll let you know when I decide.”
We finally got out of there. Nam and I exclaimed and laughed about all the awkwardness. She said that her uncle’s hair ruffle had totally freaked her out.
Yeah, You aren’t the only one, Nam.
As we drove into the Muay Thai yard, Benjamin asked me where the heck I had been. I told him the readers digest version of what you have just read, ending with the story of the hair ruffle.
To which Benjamin replied, “Oh! Is that why your hair is all crazy?”