Sunday, May 12, 2013

What is a Farang?

My good friend Mira Daniels asked what was a Farang. It is anyone who is not Asian living in Thailand. Dennis claims the word originally meant "big nose." Most people think it means foreigner, and maybe it does. Most Asians have small noses. Large ones are a minority.

Bangkok is very international. In our apartment building we have met Asians, people from India, and blond Brazilians. The only other Americans we have met here are the Elders who live directly below us. Muslim women walk the streets wearing the hijab scarf and others in full length black robes.

We walk .6 miles to the Church office building every morning. It is very hot and humid. The sidewalk is crowded with other people hurry to work, too. Every place in Bangkok is crowded--the trains and subways, the malls. Where else are 8 million people going to go who mostly ride public transit. The streets are jammed with traffic always--taxis and motorcycles rule. The sidewalks are lined with street vendors cooking or displaying wears. Drivers pay little attention to traffic laws or lane markers. The only police I've seen are directing traffic when the crosswalk sign isn't working--which is almost daily.

One morning the sidewalks were deserted as we made our way to the office. We shared the sidewalk with no one. No street venders were set up along the sidewalk selling fruit, fried meats or rice. It was a holiday equivalent to Labor Day in the states. It felt a bit strange to be so alone.

We have been in Thailand for a month now. It is beginning to feel like home. My birthday begins in a few hours--it is the big 6-0. I am hoping my companion with take me for an evening boat ride along the Chao Phraya River to honor the big day
. I will wear extra mesquito repellant. :-)

Here is a picture of the cake the Ayutthaya RS provided for our weekly potluck lunch. Isn't it adorable? If you can't tell, it is Elder Sowards and I.

 Love it!

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