Sunday, September 10, 2006

this is the way we...go to church!

(Ok, I know - the title is a little cheesy for a blog entry, but Meghan encouraged me to keep using song names! So that one's for her! : )

Today I learned the meaning of the Thai phrase rot dit. This morning I was leading music again for the MTW English service, and in effort to be more prepared, have time to set up, get the guitar tuned, etc. I left my apartment a little after 8:00, hoping to arrive at the office around 8:30 at the latest - a 1/2 hour before the service was supposed to start. When I got in the taxi, I told the taxi driver the name of the area where the MTW office is (Ram Song), praying that he would both know where it was and understand my Thai accent (most of them don't). He repeated "Ram Song" (at least he understood!) but then started complaining in Thai and said "Rot dit" and knocked his fists together. I sighed and said "Mai Cow Jai" (I don't understand) and repeated the directions. He rolled his eyes, pitched a bit of a fit in Thai and proceeded down the road. We turned onto the main highway-type street that I live off of and almost immediately came to a stop in bumper to bumper traffic. He turned around, knocked his fists together again and said "Rot dit!" "Aah, traffic jam," I thought, "So that's what he was trying to say." Well, then I was stuck; not that I really knew another way to get to the office anyway. It took us almost 40 minutes to go down the 1-2 mile stretch of Bangna Trad (the highway), during which time I memorized verses, transposed a couple hymns, got some good looks at the little shops and businesses along the road and called Dave to let him know that I would be late. The Veldhorsts were actually stuck in the same traffic jam I was, just a little bit ahead of me.

When we got to the street where we were supposed to turn off of to go to the Ram Song area, I asked the taxi driver to turn left ("leo sai"), at which point he pitched another fit. I had been watching motorcycle taxis coming to the rescue of many people such as myself who were stuck in taxis on the street and I wondered if it would be culturally/ethically acceptable to leave my taxi in the traffic and hop on one of the motorcyles to go the rest of the way. Well, I didn't have to wonder for long: my taxi driver practically pushed me out of his taxi towards the motorcylists when I asked him to turn onto the other street (appartently there was also a "rot dit" on that street). So I got out of the car and got on to the motorcycle. Fortunately, I did not have a guitar in tow (I borrowed the one from the office) and I had decided to wear dress pants to church this morning. My motorcycle guy and I zipped (mostly) along the edge of traffic and I was there in less than 10 minutes.

Soon after I got on the motorcycle, though, I saw a small herd (about a dozen) of water buffaloes, seemingly without human supervision, scurrying along the edge of traffic along with all the motorcycles. I couldn't help but laugh. : ) Only in Bangkok...


At 11:16 AM, Blogger Tara said...

You sound like you live in the zoo. hehe. ;)

(With people being the wild animals and the animals being the zoo keepers... And I wonder if you understood what I just said.) (hearing wind go over some people's heads if they read this.)

Anyway, Sounds like you are having a grand time. I would have loved to see pictures of the water buffalo.

I'm thinking of you and praying for your safety!
Love you Catherine,

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Lynn Powers said...

You should have let me fly you there! Of course thats only if the plane is out from maintinence. And then if it is , that means I probably cannot afford to fly it. You know, on second thought...I think the motorcycle was a good option after all.

E-mail me if you get a minute sometime.


At 7:08 PM, Anonymous helen said...


Never a dull moment, right?

Diane W and I prayed for you this morning on our walk.

love, helen

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice experssion...only in Bangkok. Well I am kind of reading this out loud to my brother and he starts singing the water buffalo song from vegietales. But hey you got to ride on the motorcycle...the taxi people are going to get to know you really well in the next two years...he he ha ha. Thats funny...
Love Ya,


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