Funny, how Hanumann, our intrepid adventurer, for the most part enjoys meeting Thai people more than some of the stiff necked, wooden fellow farangs that he encounters on his journey. Go figure….
While staying at P’s Lakeside Guesthouse in the lovely mountain resort of Sangkhlaburi - a good 5 hour drive northwest of Bangkok - I met this family from Bangkok who were staying at one of the two floating houses anchored to the pier. All told, there were about 16 people in their family including the 2 papasans (Grandfathers) of the clan, 70-year-old Franco and his older brother, the 80-year-old Fisher, who was disabled due to a stroke. Three generations were represented in this Thai family - including the grandfathers (and their sisters) as well as their children and grandchildren. Most of the family members on this one night holiday from Bangkok were females; the ladies ranged in age from the 19 year old Am, a university student at a Civil Aeronautics University in Bangkok to the 70-year old plus grandaunts, Malee and Shelor. In addition, some of the other names I remember were Kip, Oh, Aleta, Pompui * (females) and Pong, Am’s father.
It was Am, the cute 19-year-old University student, who invited Hanumann on board and introduced me to the rest of her family. They were very hospitable and took a liking to this wise cracking, ‘ting-tong”* farang by the name of Hanumann ‘Ling Yai”(the big monkey) and offered me drinks and food. I humored them in my usual brash, no holds barred style and they laughed, obviously enjoying my company. I talked at length with Am - she has aspirations to become a professional airline pilot; however as the airline pilot profession worldwide is a male dominated endeavor and due to lack of funds for schooling and training, she wasn’t too hopeful about her chances of fulfilling her dream.
Furthermore, Thailand currently has no female airline pilots. As a result of these factors, she is willing to settle for becoming an air traffic controller. I encouraged her not to give up on her dream of becoming an airline pilot, that she could do it if she really wanted to. I suggested that she write a letter to Queen Sirikit (the Queen of Thailand) and some of the major corporations in Thailand to ask for financial aid with her education. I truly believe that the Queen will be inclined to sponsor Am.
In addition, I really enjoyed swapping stories with Franco, the younger of the two grandfathers as he spoke English fairly well. Currently retired, Franco told me about his seven years in Northern Italy, where he was employed as the senior vice president of a Computer hardware company. We hit it off fairly well, and I promised to send him some photographs that I took of his family.
*Note: Pompuii in Thai means fat and ting tong means clown