|Sometimes Nothing Goes Right|
Another grand adventure was Maura's determined efforts to fulfill her portion of the summer grant by visiting museums pertaining to the culture of Thailand. So, goaded and prodded, Erik agreed that we would spend some time at the Tribal Arts Museum. It was supposed to be easy: go to the museum, take a lot of notes, soak up that Northern Thailand spirit. But before we left, we had to get some information from Green Tours, an eco-friendly tour agency in order to avoid the people gawking that most other so-called "treks" involve. We found GreenTours located in a room the size of a small potting shed. It was empty and so we waited. Eventually this elderly lady shuffled in, looked at us, and started speaking rapid Thai to us. Then, realizing that we weren't getting it, she spoke more slowly, raising her voice. We still didn't get it. We tried sign language, facial expressions, expressive grunts and drawing. Nothing worked. We should probably play charades more frequently. After about ten minutes of this translation nightmare, we decided to fulfill our other mission.
We stopped by JJ Bakery for a quick bite. Maura asked for coffee cake and got it: cake that tasted like coffee.(Where is that Thai translation book?) Setting out, we walked across Chang Mai. We knew that the museum was located at the University, so we decided it would make a good hike. It was hot and humid, and sweat started making being a nudist sound good. We walked a good two (?) miles. When we got to the gate, we tried to ask the guard where the museum was located. He didn't understand, so he gave us the guardhouse phone and connected us to the admissions office-a strange move, really, since we didn't look like potential students for the University of Chang Mai. A very kind lady gave us directions and we hiked another quarter mile to the building. Once there, we tried to explain what we were looking for…when she understood, she told us it was at least another mile or so back the direction we came and then another half mile down another road. Annoyed, but still determined, we swallowed the salt sweat, and retraced our steps.
As we walked, rain clouds gathered suspiciously overhead. Before it rains, sometimes an odd feeling of eagerness to avoid getting rained upon-at all cost-overtakes the ability to think rationally. Never mind that the broiling heat made us thirsty, no matter that a soapy shower sounded wonderful. No, no-- we must stay dry. We turned onto the "street" the lady had told us to turn on; we were confused because we found ourselves on the shoulder of a fairly major highway. So we walked on, thirsty and not seeing anyplace to get water-unless you count the ditch where we observed a young boy scooping water with a wooden bucket and lugging it up the hill to his rickety wooden shack. When we finally reached the site where the museum was supposed to be, it was 4:30, the exact time that the exhibits closed. But no matter! Maybe if we just walked by, they'd still be open. Although the park was huge and no signs existed in English, we knew we could accomplish our mission. We didn't come all this way for nothing, after all! So we set off around the park looking for the museum portion. We never did find that museum. But we tasted a lot of salt and learned that real tourists ask for directions before they get started.
|Paranoia and the Unexpected||Escape From Home|