Thursday, February 5, 2009

Motorbikes, Headscarves and David Would Have a Heart Attack

We’re still on Koh Lanta and are likely to go on an all-day snorkeling trip tomorrow, but I thought I jot down a few thoughts on driving, food and headscarves.

We’ve been traveling around with both of us on a single motorbike as it’s by far the most popular method of travel on the island. Driving is a harrowing experience though.
To begin with, lanes are more of a suggestion than a rule and passing can and does happen at any time. When passing it appears that it’s protocol to honk the horn to let the other person know you’re there. You also honk when going a round a blind turn because people might be passing and some cars will get all four wheels in the wrong lane. Honking is also standard when going over a hill, or to let someone know that you’re about to pull out of a driveway. It’s also used to let people know that you’re coming up and they shouldn’t pull out. It took awhile to get used to honking all the time, but now I honk dozens of times on a short trip.
Headscarves are also becoming more and more common as we get further south towards the heavily Muslim area of Thailand. We’ve seen a few of the women who are fully covered in black except for their eyes, but most of the headscarves are not like that.
Instead, they’re very bright colors with intricate designs and patterns covering the hair, but leaving the face exposed. There’s often shiny silver metal that’s used to decorate and it appears like a little well-positioned weight might make it more stable as well. While they’re worn for religious reasons, most of the girls want them to be stylish, too
Finally, for those who don’t know, Leslie’s dad David is VERY against wasting food. If there’s four grains of rice on the plate, then you should eat those four grains of rice! Thai culture is very different. Clearing your plate is a sign that you did not get enough food and are still hungry. Leaving a bit on the plate lets your host know that they’ve made enough food and you’ve gotten to eat your fill. I’m a little afraid we might keep David up at night by letting him know how much food is getting wasted!  ;)

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