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BANGKOK STREETS - March 16 2019

A bit about Thai roads (probably Asian roads) - No city blocks here. There are main roads that go through the city and off of those are alleys called “sois” [pronounced soys]. (envision a feather) Most sois dead end but occasionally they connect to another street or soi. They can be long… like 1/2 mile or more. Addresses are usually a numbered soi and the main street which makes it quite easy to locate a given place.

The “main” roads are often busy. We live on a soi off of Din Daeng which is eight lanes, and requires a sky walk to cross. 34 steps up and 34 steps down to cross the street, but there’s no waiting for a light! (Some sky walks are 50+ steps) I wish you could see the wiring/phone lines here! I wonder what our PUD would think?

Sois tend to be narrow, like the width of two cars with no sidewalks and sundry carts of food etc. along the way. Just across from our soi is one that has a daily morning market where Jim buys our produce on Sunday.

Another “street story”… Monday as we walked Din Daeng Rd on our way to class, we noticed policemen on every corner! They whistled at the people on the skywalk as though they expected them to do something. We watched the people and kept moving as long as others were. Then we noticed traffic was being stopped and a policeman whistled, apparently at us, (there was no longer a crowd near us) today in class we learned he was probably calling out to us “coot” [pronounced jod] which means stop. We were a bit bewildered until he whistled and said very clearly “STOP!” We stopped!! Within a minute a motorcade of 6-8 champagne colored cars drove past and then everyone resumed activity. Our teacher told us that this is custom when the royal family drive by - the king, queen or princess. Apparently one of the princesses lives near the school so this routine is not uncommon.

As to language learning. We’ve probably been introduced to 200 words by now and I don’t feel very well acquainted with them! There is not enough time (especially at my slow pace) to do more than the homework and preview the next day’s vocabulary. It’s like when I learned to swim, I spent a lot of time immersed, flailing and gasping for air! But immersion is good, you can’t learn to swim without it, and time will improve study techniques and habits, and gradually words will build sentences and sentences will convey thoughts and thoughts will build bridges and relationships. I didn’t learn to speak English in a month or two, did you?