Siam I Am

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Siam Chronicles 18 - Nine Days with a Baa and Two Mays

"Hi hon, I'm covered in monkey piss so I'm headed for the shower," I said as I walked in the door today. I felt truly Lao now, christened anew.
But I get ahead of myself.

Two weeks ago my Aunt, Mom, and Mom-in-law staggered off a prop plane that was decorated to look like some sort of horrible parade float and onto the Luang Prabang pittance of airstrip.
Mom in Lao is "May" and Aunt is "Baa" but as with every Lao word, these have multiple meanings dependant on the nuance of your intonation. So it was that I got to announce my family about town as my wives, my goats, my fishes and something else that was too scrofulous for the folk to let me in on the joke.
I also got to introduce them to three of our most colorful characters here in the tiny dusty burg:

1) The Drunken Midget - Bachelor number one is a friendly fellow, short in stature and prolixity, who enjoys drinking lao lao on a marble bench and doing odd jobs for cigarettes. Beneath the blue ball cap he sports brown eyes, swimming in a tumid red sea of burst blood vessels, and an easy smile.

2) Shaky Guy - Bachelor number two is a man of no words and fewer teeth, but many endearing eccentricities. He enjoys begging by approaching a foreigner and shaking wildly, which is purely a hobby as he owns a large house and many vehicles left over from the Vietnam War. His other hobby is changing his clothes several times a day, draping his skeletal form with either a striped loincloth, full seventies military regalia, or a fetching green sweat suit. He can often be found running through the streets wildly waving a pair of machetes or a gun at everything that moves or doesn't.

3) The Invisible Monkey - Bachelorette number three is a baby monkey whose pet peeves are dogs and diapers. She can often be found in a homemade turtleneck chained to a table. She only appears when I am alone, and has thus gained status with my family as a figment of my imagination. I see her more and more on my daily ambulation and this may be a bad sign. She enjoys stealing spectacles, eating flowers, and piddling on shirtsleeves.

Our family has gone and it made me miss them more. Today I passed Shaky Guy doing a slow dance in the middle of the road, crouched down on his haunches, gumming a silent song to the sky. I gave the drunken midget a big smile which was quickly tossed back, then flitted off to play with the monkey. She bit me a few times and rummaged through my bag as I thought on my last three more months here before heading into China, then back to the US. I kicked into a fantasy of cold martinis and a meal that was not forcibly extracted from a musk ox. I came back into focus on the banks of the Mekong petting a monkey, thinking how I'd miss the butterflies.
Then I started home to boil myself and my belongings.


At 6:40 AM, Blogger xz said...

well, at least you still know how to write.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Mooms said...

Well, well - I didn't know that comments made to blogs would be sent as emails! Will wonders never cease - and yes, you do still know how to write!


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