Why Wai?

McDonald's Wai
Image Source: http://bit.ly/22nutW1

There were 5 monks in office on Friday. It has been 6 years since the office moved to this location and they renewed their contract for another three years. Thailand’s biggest festival, Songkran, is this week and so they used the occasion to get the office blessed. As the monk strolled around office, blessing it with holy water, I stood up, as you do when someone of a high status passes you by.

I got told off immediately. I heard panic cries of – ‘Sit down, sit down!’ So I did, in a confused daze. Turns out that unlike with any other religion that I’m familiar with where you stand up as a sign of respect, in Buddhism you make sure that when a monk passes you buy, he towers over you. Being only 5 foot naught, I easily was a few inches taller than him.

There’s other etiquette that’s just as important. Being Indian, you unconsciously pick these up as you go long. For example, you never sit with your legs outstretched in front of you. All Indian kids know how to sit cross legged on the floor. Other things you can’t do in the presence of holiness includes yawning, giggling, chewing loudly, showing off your shoulders etc.

Thailand is full of polite gestures and words, the most interesting of which is the Wai. Apart from ending each sentence with a ká (female) or a kráp (male), you also enter or exit a conversation by folding your palms together in a greeting. It is right in the center of all Thai etiquette and looks sort of like a Namaste but depending on the placement of your hand, it shows their status in relation to you.

Thai Wai
Image Source: http://bit.ly/1SIDnZa

With your hands pressed together and with a slight bow, here’s how you greet these people.

  • Monks – Thumbs between eyebrows, index fingers touch forehead.
  • Teachers, Older People – Thumbs on the tip of your nose, index fingers between your eyebrows.
  • Peers – Thumbs touch your chin, index fingers touch the tip of your nose.
  • Everyone else – do a normal Namaste, hands in front of chest.

You get a hang of it once you’ve been here long enough. When we first moved here, I made a fool of myself multiple times. One of the stories is how when a waitress asked me if I wanted a glass of white wine (they don’t pronounce the last syllables and so it sounds like wai wai), I ended up bowing a billion times instead of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. More to follow, I’m sure.

Hope you are all well.

Valentines Day Fiesta – 14 Ways to Show Your Love

In honour of the Valentine Weekend, I thought I would resurrect this old post! Happy V Day guys!:)

This Labyrinth I Roam

Long time readers will know of the series – The BEST Valentines EVER – that I did last year on ways in which you can show your loved one just how much you love them. I got tonnes of emails after that about how much of a success it was and how I should be a love guru. Therefore, I’m going to put out another set here because, well, you know, I love and care for you. Here’s my 2014 list!

1 Nothing says “I love you” like loo roll that reads “My love for you is like diarrhea, I just can’t hold it in!”. Don’t forget the giant red heart!

2 Use one of your neighbour’s children’s broken Barbie/Mindy toys to handmake a love note for your special someone. It’ll mean even more to them if you don’t get caught doing it!

3 Thank you, 50 shades of Grey!

3 Teach your pet…

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The Perks Of Dating A Teacher

My mum was a teacher when we were growing up. She eventually gave it up for non-governmental, non-profit work but there are still embarrassing memories of being treated as a teacher’s daughter. However, being as young as I was back then, some of these memories have blurred into one and have started to fade. I am, now, however, dating a bookie-turned-writer-turned-teacher. This brings with it its set of perks!

You appreciate the mornings –

Our day starts at 5am, the unholy time his annoying alarm starts chirping. No matter what stage of sleep I am in, once that alarm goes off, my day begins. Even if my work starts at a more normal hour of day, I am forced given the opportunity to literally listen to pre-sunrise birds. The three hours I gain from this means I have time to binge watch the blacklist go to the gym and eat a healthy breakfast.

You appreciate the nights –

Having woken up at unearthly hours means that your body is slowly fading by the late twentyonehunderhours. This means that the three hours that you do get from the time you leave work are spent in the best way possible – cooking a meal, binge watching ‘Making a Murderer’ while he either grades papers or lesson plans spending quality time together and sleeping. Weeknight date nights? Umm, what’s that?

You appreciate the weekends –

A teacher’s idea of a lie in during the weekend means waking up at 7am in the morning! When you date someone who is a loud waker-uper, you are doomed given the gift of having a really long weekend. So instead of waking up shortly past noon, you have the whole day ahead of you to do whatever you want. Unless, of course, he’s brought the lesson plans home again.

You appreciate your health –

Working with cold-carrying munchkins kids means you become quite kid too. This has helped me take to naturally occurring sources of Vitamin C like it is the newest weight loss fad. This also means that I have become quite good at tossing masks at his face and ducking for cover every-time I hear a sneeze making hot chicken noodle soup and being the excellent nurse that I am.

You never stop learning –

If you are lucky enough, you get to hear their teacher voices all the time. You not only get to brush up on nursery rhymes you thought you’d hear again. Sometimes when a point is being made, certain people (I’m not naming any names) stand up and make the point. On the plus side, you get to be up to date with the latest hits on the 2016 nursery rhyme chart!

Go find yourself a teacher. If nothing else, you will get ugly adorable fridge magnets and wall hangings to decorate your house!

Hua Hin, Thailand

I turn 30 at the end of this year. I have been waiting for this moment since I was 14 and have always had at the back of my head that I would do something spectacular. Teenage me had dreams about quitting my adult job and life, showing a big middle finger to society and disappearing somewhere more exotic than India. Teenage me didn’t really know much about adult responsibilities and this evil thing called money.

However, teenage me is the reason I have quit many jobs and showed the middle finger to the world and gone somewhere more exotic than India. Adult me realised that in between two foreign escapes, there has to be at least one corporate stint. Someone has to replenish the treasure chest after all. But 30 will soon be here and in a bid to do something different/grand, I decided I indulge my itchy feet hopefully in a way that doesn’t break the bank. And instead of doing one long backpacking trip (don’t worry, that plan hasn’t been called off just yet), I will travel every now and then to add up to a grand 30th year.

I am not running around like a headless chicken though. I have a plan. I want to see 30 new places before my 30th – even if it means an area of Bangkok I haven’t yet visited. I also intend to document it here so that I can look back on it and say ‘Wow, I actually did those things!’. See, in many ways, I am still teenage me.

First trip on the list was to a coastal town in Thailand called Hua Hin. I found out that my Japanese retiree of a neighbour moved from Japan to Hua Hin because it has a reputation of being a resort city – complete with healing sea air, warm beaches and rainbow coloured cocktails with parasols on them. So far, we’ve seen virgin islands, scandalous party towns and a metropolitan, sky-scraper filled locations. Hua Hin had a completely different vibe.

We had an extended weekend and most of what we know about the place, we learnt when we were there. We decided to stay at a garden resort some distance from the city and it was a choice we really enjoyed. Hua Hin has a very laid back atmosphere and all around us we could see big houses and older people. We found out that it was converted from being a quiet fishing village to a relaxing seaside resort thanks to the patronage of the Thai royal family who used Hua Hin as a getaway from Bangkok. The current king of Thailand lives there now and I can see why.

When your introduction runs to 500 words, you know it’s time to turn to pictures and let them do the talking!:) Having quickly found out that taxis were a rip off, we decided to hire a bike and went exploring.

Hua Hin
Welcome to Hua Hin

 

Garden Resort
Our accommodation – a garden resort!

 

Pool at Garden Resort
The inviting pool at the Garden Resort (aka, sun bathing and deck chair reading station)

 

Hua Hin Beach
Hua Hin Beach. Word to the wise, it is a long beautiful walkable beach. We decided to walk all the way to Cicada Night Market. However, after dark, there are no lights. You have to rely on the moon and stars (we got lucky). Also, the beach is riddled with Jelly Fish blobs. We careful if you choose to do what we did.

 

Cicada Night Market
Cicada Night Market – There was a free jazz concert on the occasion of the King’s Birthday.

 

Performance at Floating Market Hua Hin
Performance at Floating Market Hua Hin

 

Hua Hin Floating Market (2)
Hua Hin Floating Market

 

Goats at Floating Market
I ain’t afraid of no goats (at the floating market!)
Fish and Geese at Hua Hin Floating Market
Some friendly (aka scary) Geese and koi at the Hua Hin Floating Market

 

Hua Hin Postboxes
Old fashioned letter boxes at Hua Hin Floating Markets. They are still functional.

 

Huay Mongol Temple
After a long and scary ride down the highway, we reached the impressive Huay Mongol Temple. Absolutely magnificent and a bit terrifying.

 

Gold Leaf Offerings at Huay Mongol Temple
We observed an interesting ritual. People purchased gold leaves. Made a wish and then pasted it on the statue.

 

Huay Mongol Temple Sign
Funny sign at the Huay Mongol Temple

 

Huay Mongkol Temple
At the exit of the Huay Mongkol Temple

 

Baan Sillapin Artists Village

On the way back, found an interesting Artists Village with working artists. It was such a peaceful place.

 

Hut at Baan Sillapin Artists Village
One of the huts at the Baan Sillapin Artists Village

 

Sculpture at Baan Sillapin Artists Village
My favourite sculpture at the Baan Sillapin Artists Village in Hua Hin

 

Hiking at Hua Hin
We also saw a little hill that we climbed without really knowing where we were going. There was an arrow pointed down this trail saying ‘View Point’. We had to explore.

 

Hua Hin Views (4)
Our first view at the view point.

 

Hua Hin Views (5)
When we reached the top, we saw we weren’t alone. Someone was already there enjoying the view. She made a light call when she saw us.

 

Hua Hin Views (3)
We had some return chatter from the woods on the left. Within 5 minutes, the hill was full of monkeys from different tribes. We were terrified and exhilarated at the same time. Since there was no obvious escape route, we made like trees, put our phones away and enjoyed the views. Woods on one side, city and sea on the other!

 

Hua Hin Views (1)
The city and sea views. You’ll be happy to hear we made it back alive. Only to find out that you can buy a bucket of food for the monkeys and feed them. We also found out that there were 7 more view points which included ledges on top of a cliff. We visited all of them.

 

Hua Hin Railway Station (2)
The old Hua Hin Railway Station is truly a must-visit . It is the same as it has been since it was first erected.

 

Hua Hin Railway Station (3)
The ticket booth at the Hua Hin Railway Station

 

Hua Hin Railway Station (5)
A model train at the Hua Hin Railway Station
Hua Hin Railway Station (1)
The waiting room at the Hua Hin Railway Station
Hua Hin Railway Station (4)
You can only travel two ways on this track

 

Khao Takiab Beach
Our last night on the Khao Takiab Beach at Hua Hin. That hill you see is called Monkey Hill by the locals.


And it’s only 2.5 hours away on a bus!