At 7:30 in the morning the streets are still shaded from a sun low on the horizon. Still slightly damp from rain storms yesterday evening, the air feels cool but that is just an illusion: cool compared with the thirty-eight degrees we will reach in a few hours.
Dressed casually in cargo shorts and a t-shirt, I walk the to the corner 7-11 to buy some milk for coffee. I forgot to buy any last night after the final movie of the Australian Film Festival. As with any beverage purchase, the clerk automatically puts a straw in the bag, terribly impractical considering it would quickly get lost in the liter’s worth of milk. Who would drink a liter of milk with a straw?
On the way back I notice that the fruit vendor, a young-looking middle-aged woman with a friendly way about her, has a good selection of bananas displayed on a tablecloth that has been put on the sidewalk across from her cart. The bananas are ripe; I could make banana bread with them tomorrow.
I stop to inspect one wii, or bunch, or bananas. Another lady comes rushing over and tells me in Thai that she has already purchased that bunch and then sets aside several other bunches that she has purchased. Apparently she is making many more loaves of banana bread than I.
An office worker, probably a manager judging by her non-uniform style of dress, helpfully tells me that I can buy one of the other bunches instead. “This one is good,” she says, pointing to a bunch with a tinge of green on the edges. “But,” I say in Thai, “I’m going to bake banana bread” and I select another bunch that is riper.
“Taorai?” the office worker asks the fruit vendor. How much is it? I can ask this myself, I think. Sometimes people assume I can speak times and other times assume I can’t.
“Y’sip” comes the contracted reply. I hand her twenty baht. “Aah, farang suai maak,” she says to the office worker. Does she think I don’t understand the compliment? “Khap khun khrap, pii.” Thank you, I respectfully reply, blushing slightly.
Another morning in the Big Mango. I walk back to the condo, saluted by a guard who looks barely old enough to shave even if he did have some facial hair, and go upstairs to make Tawn’s coffee.