|I may have used this in the past somewhere. Apologies if so, but it's one I like.|
OK, I guess the "break's" about over: I'm back from a stay in Hawaii. For a lot of you that probably conjures up images of beaches, umbrella drinks and lazy days, but this trip was to inter a family member's ashes and begin clearing their houseful of possessions - a good 65 years' worth. We put a very small dent in the total.
I learned that muggy and dusty don't play well together. I'd like to call it a fine patina of history you accumulate on your damp skin, but in truth it's just a layer of grime that makes a tepid shower a treat at least a couple of times a day. Like Thailand, but in this case not merely to cool off or get yourself "freshy," as a Thai friend likes to call it.
It was fun, though, in an odd sort of way - and I freely admit to be an odd sort of person. The three of us going through things laughed a lot, and caught ourselves smiling over and over again when we'd come across something that sparked a happy memory... which is the best sort of memorial service any of us left behind can offer up, I think! The local UPS shop may send a Christmas card this year after processing about relatively weighty 20 cases of memorabilia and family history for shipment home here; I think I doubled their total week's income.
That said, I found myself going back to the folder of "Smiles" photos a day or two ago simply as a pick-me-up now that the dust has settled, figuratively and literally. It's been a little over three months since we've added to the series, so here are a few more from the archives:
The kid above was one at an orphanage I'd visited in support of a charity. It was lunchtime when we arrived there, but before we'd left the boys had put their plates away and were enjoying their free time. For a variety of reasons the girls are in their own area on the grounds. Visitors are a novelty - you can't simply show up; clearance and supervision are wisely required - and farang visitors are even less common. That adds to the novelty factor, and the kids are always ready to mug for the camera.
This guy was working along Beach Road in Pattaya one morning, trying to get tourists to allow him to set them up with activities for the morning or day. Anyone who's done door-to-door sales (or worse, "cold calling" phone sales) can appreciate him relating how when he gives his pitch he gets turned down a hundred times a day. I made it 101, but he smiled for the photo anyway.
|Life's a game, but a game can provide a break in daily life, too|
It was lunchtime on an unusually hot day in Bangkok when I took the picture of the two men playing checkers on the sidewalk in front of Pantip Plaza.
The one in the athletic t-shirt (known to some here in the U.S. as "wife beaters", but forgive me for starting in on something that would take too much time to explain) saw me standing and watching and actually thought I might be of some assistance. He made a move, but kept his finger on the piece while glancing up for my approval. Not wanting to butt in I just shrugged my shoulders. As he finalized the move and the man in blue took advantage of his mistake the one in the tee looked up again, shrugged his shoulders and I caught the smile.
|Students on a field trip at Doi Suthep, near Chiang Mai|
The last image today is of a group of students I met at Doi Suthep, high on the hillside above Chiang Mai. There's no story behind it, but it's one of those pictures that makes me smile, so I'm sharing it with you.