Friday, July 16, 2010

Pum Pooey Farang!

Many Thai I've met have a playful nature about them; an innocence that would probably get your face smacked here in the West, but it's endearing, nevertheless. Let me share an example:

More often than not I've seen "fat" transliterated from Thai as pum pooey. Carrying my share of "middle aged spread" I don't quite fit the bill as fat, but with a little effort I could probably get there in a few months if I really put my mind to it.

That said, I was walking through the lobby of my serviced apartment building after a sunset walk on the beach (the photo above is from that walk) and waiting for the elevator up to my room when a woman from housekeeping came hurrying over just as the doors opened. We both got in; me looking at the cafe signs that had just been changed that day, and she at my aloha shirt, tented over my camera bag/ fanny pack, right at belt-buckle level.

"Pum pooey!" she laughed, pointing at my belly. Trying to save a shred of dignity in the face of her obvious but innocent mirth I replied "Hey, it's not ALL fat!" while tucking my shirt back toward my actual stomach in an attempt to show her I wasn't quite as huge as she'd implied. It didn't tuck back as far as I'd hoped.

Then in a move that surprised me in its familiarity she actually reached out and placed the palm of her hand on my stomach. "Have baby!" she laughed again, this time following it up with prolonged giggles she covered with her hand. The surprise of it made me laugh, too, and I I'd begun to reply "Well, the odds of that are pretty slim," just as the elevator doors opened at the third floor. "Bye bye!" she giggled again, shuffling quickly off of the elevator and down the hall.

I laughed too, but I checked my midsection in the mirrored wall as the doors closed and the elevator took me the rest of the way up my floor. "Pum pooey!" I snorted. Humph!

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