Thursday, July 24, 2014

Green lights

 What are those green lights out there?
A distant city?
A bustling airport?
They're squid boats.

The green light, is seems, attracts the squid to the boats.
So that's a city of boats out there bringing fresh calamari to the plates of Thailand.

Patient fisherman

This man had one fishing net and no boat.  He didn't expect to catch enough to supply a restaurant or feed dozens of people.
He had his own expectations.

He stood there in the setting sun, waiting for the perfect moment to toss out his net.

For most of the time, though, he just stood there, looking out into the water. 
When he did cast his net and brought it ashore, he pulled out only a few small fish which fit into the bag he wore around his waist.  Then he spent several minutes straightening and carefully folding the net to cast out again. 
With all that effort for a few small fish, and with the sun quickly dropping behind the horizon, I didn’t understand his long moments of waiting. 

I sat there waiting, too—with my camera ready for that perfect ‘photographic’ moment when his net was flung wide over the waves.  Why didn’t he throw out the net more frequently so that he could have more chance of catching something?
I could tell from the intense way he looked into the water and slowly moved to the right or left that he could see something in the waves that I could not.   
He had more at stake than the ‘perfect photo’, and was more patient than I at waiting for just the right moment.

I suppose the fisherman’s patience reminded me of God.  How he takes a long time—by my measurement—to work out all the projects and plans he sets in motion.  He waits for the perfect moment to capture us with his beauty, grace and glory.  A net cast just right to bring us to our knees in worship.
God’s patience brings about the perfect ‘catch’, the perfect picture, the perfect moment every time.

Fresh fried squid

This guy will fry you up a little squid dinner right on the beach. 

Ah, the beach

 What's better at the end of a long day's work than a walk on the beach.

Elevator don'ts

What does that funny little sign next to the elevator mean?  It was inconspicuous and normal to me, and I paid it no attention.
Until the woman in the elevator said to me, "I just don't know what that other thing beside the dog is.  A loofah?  Are we not supposed to bring loofahs on the elevator?"

"Oh, that means durian," I said to her.  "You can't bring durian into the hotel."

"What's durian?"

"The stinky fruit."

"What?  Stinky fruit? I haven't heard of that.  What does it smell like?"
"'s stinky and the smell carries a long way, so they don't want it in the hotel.  You'll have to look for it in the market.  Give it a try," I smiled.

She wasn't looking like she was feeling adventurous enough to try a fruit that is so stinky it's not allowed in hotel elevators.

I guess I don't blame her, though I know there are some durian connoisseurs out there.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spirit houses

The spirit houses of Thailand are everywhere.

I'm no expert on them, but what I understand is that most homes and businesses in Thailand (and it's neighboring countries) have one of these mini, temple-shaped buildings in an auspicious corner of the property.

The little house is to appease spirits that might otherwise trouble the people there, and so they give daily votive offerings and when they make changes or additions to their own homes or businesses, they also give an "upgrade" to the spirit house.

Since they are to be proportional to the size and wealth of the house, some of them are very elaborate.

Old ones go to a special spirit house "cemetery" so the spirits won't become angry.

One other Thai folklore tradition bit of trivia:
Wednesday is considered a very inauspicious day for a haircut.
Just so you know.