Little Doi Swan welcomed us at the NMESRR gate of the neat looking guesthouse with folded hands. This standard Thai gesture of greeting is called the ‘Wai’. Flowers, colourful dresses, beautiful Buddha statues and temples introduce us to this unique country in South East Asia.
Thai people are warm-hearted, courteous, ever smiling and their hardworking nature is inspiring. Our stay in Thailand was enriching and very exciting. Thailand is bordered by Laos and Cambodia on
the East, the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia on the South and the Andaman Sea on the West. In ‘Thai’ language, the word “Thai’ means ‘freedom’. Thailand’s official name till May 11, 1949 was ‘Siam’, which is still used by many Thais, especially the Chinese-speaking minority.
We sat in the open terrace of the guesthouse in the morning sun. Being a November morning, the weather was quite cold. Chui Bahadwe, our caretaker at the guesthouse brought us hot coffee and spiced potato chips. He was very busy but we managed to pull him to a chair, to sit with us and tell us about the history of Thailand.
Chui Bahadwe then took us to small and rather old museum a furlong away from the guesthouse where many coins, vessels, metal weapons and records of history were kept. My father pointed at the Thai official calendar on the wall based on the Buddhist era. Interestingly, the Thai calender is 543 years ahead of the western calendar. This means the year 2005 A.D. will be considered as 2548A.D. according to the Buddhist calendar.
We had planned to go out and see the riverbanks of Mekong and the flowers of the Chao Praya river valley, but suddenly it started raining. We were disappointed because we had to cancel our trip but Chui Bahadwe kept us engaged. He showed us photographs of the lovely Khorat Plateau and the highest peak of
The History of Thailand Originated from the
Thailand ‘Doi Intharion’ which is 2576 metres high situated in the North of the country. The beautiful Chao Praya River runs into the Gulf of Thailand and the narrower Kra Isthmus flows into the Malay Peninsula.
By that time, the delicious Thai cuisine cooked for us had made us feel hungry indeed. Thai cuisine is known for its balance of five basic flavours in every dish hot (spicy), sour, sweet, salty and bitter tastes. One of the
important ingredient is the “Nampla- very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce
A typical meal consists of sweet-smelling Jasmine rice (quite costly!). Lovely smelling curries, stir-fried items and other dishes cooked with large quantities of chilly, lime juice and lemon grass.
Bahadwe also talked about noodles that made my mouth water. But at lunch. I realized that the Thais call it “Pad Thai”. I insisted that I must have some in the evening.
Mummy was happy to collect Thai specialities for her kitchen such as basil. galangas, ginger. Thai eggplant, tamarind. palm, coconut milk and coconut sugar.
In the afternoon we travelled to Bangkok, the capital city. My brother noted the names of other important cities from the tourist guide – Nakhon, Rat Chasima, Udon Thai, Kakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, Phuket, Hat Yai (songkhla)… such difficult names!
Chui Bahadwe suggested that we go and see the Loikrathang Festival, held usually in the month of November in which candle-lit floats are cast into running water to bring good fortune for the coming year. We were lucky to see the ‘Elephant Round Up’ in Surin where Pachyderms (thick skinned animals) play football (soccer). Wasn’t that great!
Answer the following questions:
1. Where is Thailand situated?
2. What is interesting about the Thai Calendar?de
3. Write about some famous places in Thailand?
4. What is unique about ‘Thai’ food?
5. What does a “Thai’ meal consist of?
6. Name some of the important towns in Thailand?
7. What happens during the Elephant Round-up?
8. Who was Little Doi Swan?