Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

It is always feels a little odd celebrating a holiday exclusive to the U.S. in a foreign country.  When you wake up on those mornings, you have that "it's a special day" feeling.  If we were back in the U.S. I am sure we would have plans with family and/or friends for the holiday - maybe a BBQ or a trip to the beach.  However, we are not in the U.S. and the reality is life goes on as usual in the host country. 

Today was really no different than any other with the exception of Kevin having the day off.  However, since he left the house to golf at 6.15 am and returned at about 3.30 pm, he might as well have been at the office.  The kids went to school and then stayed after to try out for the school basketball teams.  PeePorn came as usual and did all of the wonderful things that she does for me.  I had my various errands to run, bills to pay, organizing to do, etc.  Very uneventful and to be honest, a bit of a let down.  Kind of like Thanksgiving dinner after the dishes have been washed. 

Kevin did take the camera to golf so I have these photos to post...

Kevin is on the far left and is wearing the new shirt and shorts we bought him for Father's Day this year.  He may not have been the best golfer but, today, he was the best dressed (and certainly the most colorful)!  
 
The Thai women that caddied for the group today.
The caddies taking a well deserved break.  I am sure Kevin's caddy got her workout in today as Kevin had eight golf balls with him when he left this morning and returned with two.  
A  view of the golf course.
The dark storm clouds you see in these photos are constant fixtures in the skies here.  Every day, it is either threatening to rain or it is raining.  It seems to be overcast night and day.  The sun will peek out every so often but rarely are there days when it is just plain sunny.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times that we have seen the stars and the moon since we have been here.  A far cry from Australia where the sky was so clear, you could almost reach up and touch the Milky Way.

In order to be able to get around town and communicate in the shops better, I am going to try and learn some "Taxi Thai" - Thai words/phrases that are very useful to tourists and visitors to Thailand.  Hello, Yes, No, Goodbye, Thank You, Where is the bathroom?, etc.  I am going to start easy because... Thai is not an easy language to learn.  It is a tonal language and there are 5 tones - mid, high, low, rising & falling - used in speaking.  The particular tone or pitch at which each syllable is pronounced determines the meaning of the word.  So, if you are not careful and do not use the proper tone in speaking, the meaning of your word/words/sentences could be VERY different than what you intended. 

This week's "learning" was the Thai greeting, which involves both an action and words.  A double whammy in my book.  The Thais greet each other with a gesture called a "wai".  I would compare the wai to a handshake.  To greet someone (or, as I have noticed, to say goodbye or as a sign of respect & acknowledgement), you place both of your hands together in a prayer gesture with the tips of your fingers just around chin level.  Depending on the age and status of the person you are greeting, the wai is higher in front of your face.  If the person is older or in a position "higher" than you, your wai should be higher.  Monks receive the highest "level" wai which has thumbs held at the eyebrow level.  The wai is the easy part....

Thais then greet each other verbally with "Sawatdee" (Sah-wah-dee) with the addition on the end of either "Khraup" (sounds like kap - the "r" is not pronounced) if you are male or "Kha" if you are female. “Khraup” is spoken fast and sharp while “kha” can be drawn out and drops in tone (almost singsongy).  "Sawatdee" is the actual greeting and Kraup and Kah are the polite endings.  Similar to this is the Thai "Thank You" which is "Kop Khun" and the addition of "Khraup" if a male is speaking or "Kah" if a female is speaking. 

I have noticed that Thais will typically shorten thank you's/acknowledgements to Khraup or Kah.   When we leave our neighborhood, in passing, the security guard and Kevin each say, "Khraup" while I say, "Kah".  At the grocery store, when I take my receipt, I say "Kah" to the cashier and also to the man who bags my groceries.  Thai is a bit different than other languages in that, with Thai, the gender of the person speaking determines the form of the word used.  In other languages (for example, French, which Caitlynne is studying) the gender of the person being spoken to/about determines the form of word used. 

Does this make sense at all?!? 

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