Puppets, Klongs, and Missing Moms


From the Gulf of Thailand, we come raging back into the urban landscape with all kinds of missions at hand, chief of which is to work, write, work. My deadline is looming, so I take advantage of a funky nighborhood WiFi hangout called the “Wearever Laundromat & Lounge,” which doubles as a grungy art gallery and meeting place for hungover puppeteers. I’m also working through this calm-before-the-storm of a double-mom visit to Thailand.


Yes, the Great Meeting of the Mother-in-Laws has been planned since we first bought our tickets last spring: not only have our mothers only been together at our wedding (a year ago this week), but neither has ever traveled this far in their lives, so there is great anticipation and a little anxiety in the air.


In the meantime, we get around town, seeking shopping centers where I can sit and type while Tay pokes around — we discover the speed and freshness of traveling by klong (canal), rather than wasting time in gridlock-sitting taxis and tuk-tuks.

We make it to the famous Pantip Computer Plaza, where 3,000 IT shops hawk all manner of genuine and pirated goods — hardware, software, black market DVDs, you name it. I am in such paradise, that I am overwhelmed and must flee, past the monk shopping for video games and back into the street!


We return to Lamphu House to find that there is a problem! Tay’s mother has missed her connection and is stranded in San Francisco, in the rain — Eva Air has decided that her weather-delayed arrival, which placed her at the gate a mere nine minutes late, the airplane doors not even closed, is grounds to revoke her ticket and her right to visit her daughter; for the next few days, she waits on line after line and, still, is not allowed on another flight, each of which Eva Air (Boo! Hiss!) overbooks by 18 passengers.

Our communication with Tay’s mother, who is at her wit’s end in pouring San Fran rain, and the mad, holiday rush of the airport, is non-existent (except for one vague email about standby flights on a borrowed computer), so we take a cab to Bangkok International and hope for the best.

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