I love having a blog, but sometimes I run out of things to write about. I post at least every Friday, its Thursday already, and I still have to write that weekly blog post. I sit in front of the computer and nothing comes to mind. I stare at the blank screen of the word processor. Nada. Nichts. I check the news, what’s Putin doing now? 🙈 Shute.
I move to bed, it is almost eight o’clock and soon I can fall asleep with dignity, when its nine o’clock. Yes, I am old, I sleep early, and I sleep poorly. But today I can’t fall asleep. War in Europe? Seriously? I pick up my iPad, and a window pops up with memories from 2019: my trip to Thailand, in March. So many photos. I close my eyes, and I remember a story.
My story is simple, quick, peaceful, and I think its worth telling to accompany the featured photograph.
We were a crew of five entomologists and a driver, traveling through Thailand to collect fruit flies for a research project. Thankfully, four of us spoke Thai, but unfortunately, I was not one of them. One hot and humid morning, like every morning in the Loei province, we stopped alongside the road to explore a banana field. The entire crew grabbed their nets and disappeared into the fields, while I stayed near the van. I don’t remember why I stayed behind, I only remember that I did.
After a few minutes alone, I looked to the side and noticed a large bunch of bananas on the ground, by the roadside. Behind it, an elderly man, smiling. When he saw that I had seen him, he started talking to me, in Thai.
Make no mistake, in Thailand, smiles are the default. There, they believe that a smile solves many problems, and it is very rare to see someone frown. I wondered if he was mad at me. My colleagues and I were literally trespassing, walking into the fields without having asked for permission, and I wasn’t in a position to explain myself. I don speak a word in Thai. I don’t understand a word either. And the crew was nowhere near.
Our conversation lasted what seemed a long time. I have been in many situations with languages in foreign countries, but I usually can at least say, “ I don’t speak your language”. Not in Thai. So I sat there, looking at the man while he talked, and with my iPad, the only camera i had with me, I snapped the shot above.
When the crew returned, we learned that the banana man was the property owner. The bananas were a gift to let us know that he was not upset with us. He lived alone, worked the land, and was happy that we stopped by.
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