Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Funny Number

In Thai, the number five is pronounced, "ha" and is spoken in a high tone of voice. So, if you repeat the number a couple of times, it sounds like you're laughing. In informal written Thai, such as emails or text messages to friends, Thais often write "55" instead of "haha". When I took a taxi today and the cabbie told me the fare was fifty-five baht, I asked the cabbie why he was laughing. It took him a little while to get my little joke, but when he did, we both had a few chuckles.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ray of Sunshine

Lately, it feels like the rainy season is never going to end. Just when you think the sky looks like it's going to clear, black clouds rush in and rain on your parade. By the time I arrived at my destination in the taxi today, it had already started to pour outside. Fortunately, my kindhearted taxi driver insisted I use one of his umbrellas. Even on the gloomiest of days, sometimes there are rays of sunshine that peak out of the storm clouds.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Have you ever seen pets that look like their owners? Or how about long-married couples that closely resemble one another? And has anyone ever heard of taxi drivers that look like younger versions of renowned Thai monks?

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The national symbol of Thailand has, of course, long been the elephant, but in the past year or so, Chinese pandas have been all the rage here. The craze was set off last May when the first giant panda was born in Thailand at the Chiang Mai Zoo. The panda's parents are on loan from China, and the cub named Lin Bing will return to its homeland in two years. In the meantime, the Chiang Mai Zoo has built a 60 million baht home for the cub, hoardes of Thai people are making pilgrimages to visit Lin Bing, a Thai cable company has launched a Panda Channel which gives regular updates on the celebrity panda's daily activities, and Bangkok cabbies are decorating their taxis with panda paraphernalia.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Smells like Tokyo

Today, when I got in a cab, I detected an unusual aroma emanating from the front of the car. I soon noticed a pink air freshener with the words, "Tokyo 828" on it. Apparently, the driver has never heard of pine or lemon-scented fresheners in the shape of an evergreen tree. According to the cabbie, the so-called Tokyo-scented can of fragrance is supposed to smell like Japanese cherry blossoms in Spring. If you ask me, it reeks of a geisha girl's cheap perfume and some raw fish.