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Let’s get physical

Lampang, Thailand
11/27/07

I ate a few pieces of banana bread I bought from the market yesterday for breakfast. Then I amused the family with my art of pantomiming that we wanted to switch rooms not check out.

After all that work, I needed a nap. Was I getting sick? Alex went off to explore. If Alex had not woke me up at 3, I wondered how long I would have slept. He was excited to show that he found a place next to one of the wats to get a plastic case for our Buddha charms given to us by the friendly store owner in Ayutthaya. Alex reported the man made the fittings with loving care much to the dismay of the other Thais waiting on their lunch break. Was this a usual lunch errand for a Thai, periodic pimping of their Buddha charms?

Alex eagerly to lead me around Lampang to show me his discoveries of the day. We crossed the river. Thai kids were just getting out of school. It was cool to see vendors set up near the school with mini meals and snacks for the children to independently buy. As the students passed us, they greeted us with eager hellos, big smiles and a few wai’s. A few boys were brave enough to walk up to Alex and give him a high 5.

Alex & I stolled along the other side of the river. Around 6PM we passed a park with over 30 Thai women standing around facing a stage. I saw that they were getting ready for outdoor group exercise. Since I had been sleeping all day, I felt I needed to get out some energy. I joined the group while Alex watched. If it were a class in the USA, I would have been banned due to my attire: skirt and flip-flops.  The outfits other women were wearing looked as though we were still living in the late ’80’s early ’90’s. The instructor and other women in the group welcomed me.

The hour class was a blast. Loud music played to energized the group. It was mostly American pop music with some Thai hits. The routines were not difficult but I had to really watch everyone to see what I was supposed to do next. The instructor called out instructions in Thai laced with English (breathe in, breathe out). I was proud of myself for knowing the Thai numbers because I knew after the count of 8 I had to prepare to watch what was next.

I had a blast. In our travels so far, I have not had the opportunity to do anything cardio to get my heart pumping and endorphins firing. At the end of class, women around me shook my hand and smiled. A few I assume told me good job in Thai. Even the instructor came over to me to thank me for joining and I believe she complimented me on a few of my poses.

As Alex sat and watched, he was impressed with the reception. In America, it is rare for anyone to be greeted with instant acceptance into a group. Outsiders are often looked at with suspicion rather than welcomed warmly. As I walked off with Alex, one lady chased me down, smiled and said, “Tomorrow.”

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