One of the novices, whose name is Vikorn, after the usual questions of "Where are you from?, How do you like Lao?, How long will you be in Lao?, asked me if I could explain some American slang that he had heard often in American movies. I told him that I would try. He asked me the meaning of the word, "fonk". My worst fear had been realized. How the "fonk" do you explain the word "fonk" to a soon to be monk and his friends. I delayed by asking of some examples of how the word was used in the movies. He could not provide any context. I made some suggestions, for example, "fonk you", What the "fonk"?, I even tried "motherfonk". Of course, he answered in the. affirmative to all.
I explained to Vikorn and his monk buddies that "fonk" was an impolite word for the sex act and that it should not be used in public if at all by novices. My response resulted in some very embarrassed giggling by the young men who covered the faces to hide their embarrassment. It is good to know that people from all parts of the world and all walks of life watch our movies and learn important things about our culture.
One night in Bangkok, my friend Mike and I were walking back to our hotel after dinner. We were taking in all the sights and sounds of the street where so many people live and work after dark because of the midday heat. Most streets and sidewalks are circuses until well after midnight.
On the sidewalk in front of us there was some bottleneck for pedestrians. This is not at all unusual. On the sidewalks, there a multiple businesses, restaurants, clothing stores, bookstores, barbershops, dentists, and a great variety of . The show is endless but walking, while always entertaining, can be a challenge. We worked our way up to the impediment in our way, but not paying much attention. When I was about 5 feet away, I noticed that the sidewalk was blocked by an elephant, something you don't see everyday in Colorado. I mentioned to Mike that there was an elephant in our path. He asked where. I pointed to the elephant. He still could not see it. When he was only a few feet from walking into the elephant, he realized what was in front of him. It takes a special kind of detachment to not notice an elephant close enough to touch. While he is a great travel companion, I don't think I will go on a safari with him.
-In Laos and Cambodia, there are a number of restaurants that serve "happy" pizza. If such a product were to be introduced to the U. S. market, pizza sales would hit new highs.
-In Thailand, they have a mode of public conveyance called "tuk-tuks". The are like a small pickup or rickshaw pulled by a motorcycle. Ever tuk-tuk ride is a great adventure. In Bangkok traffic, you risk your life in them. If the other vehicles don't kill you the exhaust from the infamous traffic will. I was once in the back of a tuk-tuk in a terrible traffic jam, gagging on fumes from a bus next to us when I noticed that the driver and a sign hanging from the roof that said, "Thank you for not smoking".
If you survive a tuk-tuk ride, you can be guaranteed to never be taken where you want to go. You will always be taken where they are paid for delivering you. So, you will see silk stores, jewelry stores, massage parlors, and tailors, when you wanted to go see the Happy Buddha or go to the train station.
-In Thailand, there are many transsexuals and transvestites. They are commonly called ladyboys and are readily accepted by Thais. They are just one of the girls. Some of the most attractive females you see in public are not, which can be disconcerting for those of us from cultures where ladyboys are very uncommon.
My friend, Mike, and I have game we play that is a takeoff on the books for children called, "Where's Waldo?". We call it, "Where's ladyboy"? We have developed the following criteria:
If the woman is taller than 5 feet, 2 inches, she may be a ladyboy;
If the woman has "man hands"(or feet), she may be a ladyboy;
If the woman wears too much makeup, she may be a ladyboy;
If a woman has a pronounced "adams apple", she may be a ladyboy;
If the woman, speaks in a baritone, she may be a ladyboy.
My apologies to any of you that may be transvestites.