Monday, July 23, 2012

I Think I'm Turning Thai

A couple of weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that I may be turning Thai.

It was another hundred degree (38+ Celsius for those that don't speak American) Sunday afternoon in Northeast Thailand. Unlike Arizona's dry heat I grew up in, this is a nauseating type of humidity that makes sitting in an un-airconditioned room unbearable. So, I head to the local grocery store to catch an hour of air-con and pick up a few bits.

I wait on the street to catch songtaew number three to the grocery store. I wear long jeans and a conservative polyester short-sleeved shirt, an outfit I'd once deemed unfit for such brutal heat. With no nearby awning for shade, I pull out my umbrella for a momentary relief of the beating sun. The pink songtaew approaches, I wave it down using the Thai hand motion that symbolizes "come here" - a hand formation that closely resembles "go away" in my culture.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

[My Take on] Being Gay in Thailand

By day, the Thung Si Mueng Park of Ubon may appear as any old standard park in Thailand, but by night, it transforms into a magical place. For high school students, it is the paradigm of the social hang out; for the health-conscious it is the public fitness center; for families it is the backyard they don't have; for vendors it is their shop; for skateboarders and bikers it is where they hone their skills; it is home to aerobics and ballroom dance classes; for singers and dancers it is their rehearsal room; and it provides the evening entertainment for those with nothing better to do, like us foreign teachers after a long day of work. Night after night, the people-watching and eclectic slew of activities never ceases to amaze.

Nearly every evening, a group of 9 homosexual males who coin themselves "The Beat Generation" gather outside of the park temple to rehearse a modern hip-hop dance routine. They are talented, flamboyant and inspiringly proud of it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America, With Love From Thailand

Today, I spent Independence Day driving to and fro the nearest border crossing in Chong Mek to exit and re-enter Thailand for my visa.

During the 6 hours of travel, I found myself fondly recalling my favorite 4th of July memories and missing all things American - especially barbecues and American craft beer (which puts our iced Thai beer to shame), but mostly my friends and family.