Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday, Feb. 11, Siam Society

This is my day off, so I've been doing laundry, writing cards and thank you notes, and generally relaxing. At 11 a.m. I went down the block to a nice beauty salon for my first Thai massage. It's very different from a Swedish massage (with oils), more like a firm Chiropractic manipulation and no oils. I wore Thai pajamas, and though some of the positions and stretching were slightly painful, it was a good kind of pain, and I feel the stressed muscles of the past few weeks are loosened. For two hours (!) the price was about $20. A bargain by U.S. standards.

After that I walked down the street to see the Siam Society. The Society is a well-known East-West educational non-profit organization that sponsors lectures, seminars, trips, etc. The museum was closed on Sunday, but I could see the grounds, quite pretty and quiet, in contrast to Asoke St just outside.

I had lunch in their coffee shop in the garden. I chose western foods as a break from the excellent Thai food I've been eating every day. The coffee, tuna sandwich with fries, and pumpkin soup were quite good, as was the Thai dessert of water chestnuts in cocoanut milk. I hope to come back here when the museum is open, so I can visit the traditional Thai houses. As you can see, if you look only from the garden view, you can get a sense of what they were like originally, but if you look up, you see the glass and steel high rises surrounding this garden.

The little shrine was right outside my window table, quite charming.

On my walk home, I found SWU students paint-spattering pants and a group practicing a song with clapping routine. This is typical here, especially about 3:30 every afternoon when classes end for many of them. The chanting and music are pleasant and joyful for participants and listeners.

Tomorrow, I leave my room at 5 a.m. for Pitsanuloke province and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University. I will return to Bangkok Fri. evening. I don't know what my Internet connections will be like, so stay tuned if you don't hear from me for a few days.

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