Once you have lived in Thailand for a while you get used to things being done differently from what you are used to. Whether it is eating your dinner with a spoon and fork, strangers in the street coming up to you to tell you your fat/beautiful or Thai ‘table manners’ where all food is shared, using your hands is acceptable and spitting food into a napkin is a common practice.
However, there are moments every so often that leave you wondering…
“Did that just happen?!”
I had two of these moments yesterday. The first was on the way to work. As I live in Sungmen now I have a 20km drive to work everyday along the superhighway it’s quite a nice ride and it only takes 15minutes to get to work on my motorbike. As I was driving along the Superhighway I noticed two bikes up front. Both had a driver and a passenger and both were driving along side by side. It was only when I got closer that I realized that the two drivers were SHARING a cigarette!! They were not even going slowly as they were driving about 60 km/hr! Then just to make things a slight bit worse not one had their helmet on! CRAZY! To pass the cigarette between both bikes they had to get dangerously close to one another but it meant they could share a few words at the same time! It makes you think about back home and what you would think if you saw two people sharing a cigarette on two bikes driving along the M8!
The second “Did that just happen?!” Came after school. My hair is the longest it has been in about 10 years so I thought it was finally time to go get it trimmed. Finding a hairdresser in Phrae which speaks English is impossible so I settled on one that had woman in the seats getting their hair cut already(just so I knew I was going into an actual hair dresser!)
Everyone in the place, hairdresser and customers started giggling and they all wanted to touch my now very blonde hair. I explained to the woman in Thai I just wanted “neek noi” off (a little bit) and then made a lot of hand gestures to show how short I wanted it. She seemed to completely understand and got to work. However after one minute I realized that she had been hacking off bit of my hair without any scissors in sight!! It was only then that I realized that I was getting my hair cut by a comb and a razor blade!!! The razor blade was built into the comb however looked like a shady sellotape job and not the thinning razor/combs you get back home. When she announced she was finished I was left very confused as to what just happened! Every other person in the place was getting their hair cut with scissors… why did i get a razor blade?! The hair cut took her about 5 minutes to complete and I have to admit is actually quite nice and is pretty much exactly what I asked her to do…. it was just WEIRD!
It just goes to show that after a year in Thailand you never quite loose that “Did that just happen?!” feeling!