International Women’s Day

InternationalWomensDay

A clattering sound sang out from the dishes as I swung them over the counter. Settling the precarious pile in my right hand onto the level plain I brought my left hand to bear. The weight of the dishes had my arm muscles taunt as I raced to unload.

For an instant I froze. Twin weights had dropped on my shoulders. The heat of a human touch burned through my skin. Every muscle twitched and a voice shrieked silently in my mind. I rushed to repress it. I’m in a safe place.

“Excuse me Allison,” said a kitchen worker as he snatched a plate from a shelf over my head. He smiled and turned back into the fray of the restaurant kitchen at noon.

Continue reading

How Do People Get Rid Of Baby Teeth Around The World?

Tooth Traditions Title copy

Hello all! This post is inspired by a question that once popped into my head. I was just sitting around, minding my own business when suddenly out of the blue I began to wonder what children around the world do with their loose baby teeth. Do they all put their teeth under their pillow like I grew up with? Does everyone have their own version of the tooth fairy? Is there a global tooth economy?

Continue reading

Venturing Into Khon

Khon 1

Trying to ignore my protesting, rubbery legs I kneeled before the Master and watched intently as he called over a young girl of about six or seven. She rushed to his side and he grasped her small hand, glanced up to make sure I was watching.

Then he bent the tips of her fingers backwards to touch her wrist. She didn’t flinch. I on the other hand was wiggling my own fingers in terror. Just a few moments earlier the Master had tried to bend my fingers to his will and they weren’t as flexible as we’d hoped.

So far my body just didn’t seem to be engineered for the contorting poses of the Thai masked performance called khon. My knees screamed from the kneeling, my body shook from the strain as I tried to hold the angles, I dipped hazardously as I tried to sway gracefully—it just wasn’t working out.

But there was one western foreigner among the Thais of that class who could hold his own. A Canadian who seemed to take the athletic demands of khon in stride and gracefully thundered through the steps. One whose energetic steps emitted the playfulness of the monkey he was supposed to be.

Continue reading

Bangkok Arts And Culture Centre Infographic

IMG_1690 copy

Gliding up to the first of the three large exhibition halls I lightly stepped off the escalator and walked to the edge of the floor. My fingers gripped the railing as I leaned out over the soup of noise simmering below. The floor fell away into a neat crater revealing five floors below and two above. The building seemed to be designed just to encase the empty gulf. Perhaps the architecture was an attempt to leave room for all the sizzling thoughts and ideas bubbling up from below.

It is a capsule. A cathedral. A bomb shelter and haven for modern Thai artists. Hungrily nabbing my mental spoon I spun away from the edge rubbing my hands in delight. It was time to gobble through another five-course meal of social commentary and artistry.

Continue reading

Bangkok to Vientiane, Laos

vientiane

If it’d been a western movie a tumbleweed would have bounced through the scene. The sun was trying its best to beat the heat into the ground. The difference between light and shade was so strong we two foes seemed to be enclosed in a hallway of dark tones. I eyed the border control officer through the small window. He looked up from his seated position, his gaze unmoving and unfazed. I twitched.

Then I clawed for my wallet and slapped 1,800 baht on the counter. A hand slipped out, swept up the money and the small window quietly, unhurriedly rolled close.

I started grumbling at the sky.

Continue reading

War Stories from Canada and Thailand

loud winner title

They say history is written by the winner. That’s about the only thing we can say with conviction when it comes to tales of the past. Every side of an event experiences a different reality and every witness walks away with a different story. However, the victorious are anything but quiet and the losers tend to push the memory out of the collective conscience as quickly, and quietly, as possible.

Continue reading

Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathon, Thailand

School trip 2 title

“Please be invited to pay homage to the thousand years Buddha, the happy monk and the four faced statue of Brahma. Our officer is being service to you inside.”

“What do you figure is down there?”

“I dunno.”

“Think we can go in?”

“Yes?”

“Let’s go,” I say to my friends as I slip past and slowly descend into the tunnel.

Reassured by the echo of accompanying feet I mentally pull out my “tourist card” just in case. It usually works wonders displaying a confused expression when people find you in places you shouldn’t be. A bit of scolding might be dispersed but that’s easy enough to digest.

Continue reading