Bird, his Baby, and Oysters
Tonight was a momentous night in Lamlukka. Ok, maybe not momentous for all of Lamlukka, but it was a big night for the two English teachers in Thanapat Mansion. Our boy Bird is back. Bird, the Thai proprietor of the projection screen bearing soccer bar goes restaurant down the street, who was away for the last 5 weeks, made a miraculous return to town last night. We caught the Man U. jersey donning maitre de on a walk home from the bus stop last night and welcomed him back with open arms and a promise to come by tonight.
What a reunion it was. Though the Thai hate Gin, we brought a bottle by in celebration and watched ‘the guys’ put back a couple of painful straight shots in elation. We cooly capped cocktails the rest of the night while eating a variety of delicacies. The usually spectacular BBQ pork (Moo Deung), stir fry (Pad Pak Reum Mit), and chicken and cashews Thai style (Kgai Pat MetMamueng Himmaphen) were all enjoyed; and, we got the fine privilege of finding out that Bird offers some delectably fresh, Asian oysters.
Bird came back a refreshed man. He now sports a freshly trimmed, remarkably older, more responsible hair cut atop his perpetual soccer jersey, and though he retains the youthful smile and energy, there is an obvious new sense of patience to him. There are, after all, standard changes to a new father. Bird came back with the grand news that December 27th marked the birth of beautiful baby Eye (I have never seen pictures of a smaller, more adorable child). Cengiz and I brought him a binki, a Winnie the Poo baby set, and a set of skype ready headphones to celebrate… and of course the Gin.
There was some catching up to do: who is rooting for who in the premier league, Christmas plans, New Years stories, and the like. It had been a while since we got to experience the enjoyable frustration of talking to Bird and you could tell he was anxious to resume his study of American culture and enjoyment of our friendship. But, mostly, we just resumed the ultra comfortable, slightly odd relationship of friends, customers, and proprietor. The order was a bit awkward, but soon enough that fled as we began to learn names of new dishes, trade new English/Thai vocabulary (I had just recently learned Thai colors), and discuss Bird’s home.
It was a grand night. Oysters are my favorite food in the world and I think there is no better beverage than a good Gin and Tonic, so really that would have been enough to leave me giddy; but, having Bird back was unexpectedly great. Sure we mentioned missing him or looking forward to his return, but there was no particular jonesin’ for Bird observable. But, when it came down to it, we clearly missed him. Neither of us could wait to get baby gifts and get there to eat tonight and I could see we shared the same frustration over they impersonality of language barred communication. Tonight was, in all estimates, the pleasure of cross cultural communications. Though I love dogging Lamlukka, apparently we’ve already become ingrained. The signs have been there, students and parents screaming hello’s across the mall or Tesco Lotus, complimentary beers when we sit down to eat, accompanying variously effective attempts at conversation, insight into weekend offerings like Air Shows or good places to eat, and invites out have all started coming in. I guess I just didn’t realize how stealthily community can consume you. Though I should have, we spent our Christmas with the various families of Lamlukka! Anyway, Bird, it’s good to have you back. Eye, welcome to this wild world.