Monday, May 28, 2007

My Thai 'Fix'

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May, 2007
I'm visiting with my dear friend Vivyan for the weekend here in Toronto.
We head out for lunch to her favorite Bistro which happens to be a Thai restaurant. I miss Thailand a lot so I'm excited to go.
When we arrive I feel like a stalker as I hunt for some unsuspecting victim to practice my Thai on. A lovely woman takes us to our table. She doesn't look 'Thai' to me but I give it a shot anyway. "Sawadee krup" I blurt out to her. "Oh nice to meet you" she replies. It turns out Lily is from Northern China; not Thailand. We get talking and find out that she is living with a Chinese family here in Etobicoke (a suburb of Toronto) but is looking for a place of her own, or at least a place to share that would give her more space. Before you know it, Lily and Vivyan are talking about sharing Vivyan's place. Vivyan and I start to feel guilty because Lily stays at our table, talking for twenty minutes even though she's on duty. Finally we order our food. It's very good but I wouldn't call it authentic Thai food. But the best part of our meal is when we are leaving. As we pass the kitchen, I see the twinkle in the eyes of the women preparing the food. There are five of them and I can tell right away they are Thais. "Sawadee krup" I exclaim on my way past. Suddenly I hear a sound that's a cross between a sigh and a shriek. All five women are suddenly talking at once and letting me know they are excited that I speak their language. I'm on a roll now, so I add: "Aroi mak mah krup!" to tell them I thought the food was delicious. Again the shriek and a collective gasp of amazement. "Khapt khun kaw" one of the ladies says (thank you). We're just about out the door but just as we exit I reply: "Mai ben lai krup" (don't mention it). These ladies made my day. I really needed that.

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