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readers' submissions


Befuddled in Sukhothai

By Kara Carlson

June 20, 2009

Last summer two friends and I arrived in Sukothai, Thailand. Within minutes one of my companions had adopted the city’s name in place of the phrase “thank you.”

In Thailand females pronounce thank you as kawp-kun ka (kowpkoom kha). One can fathom how we would struggle with saying “Thank you,” along with every other aspect of the language. To verbally communicate with non-English-speaking Thais is as easy as attempting to stand steady in heels and blow below a .08 in a breathalyzer after eleven shots and two beers.

From the moment we arrived in Sukothai, my friend - who will consequently be referred to her as Befuddled - announced “Sukothai” every time she intended to say thank you. Essentially, she would proclaim the name of the city we were in to local Thais after she purchased something, after a server delivered our food, etc. Our other friend and I gleaned constant amusement from this.

Befuddled declared “Sukothai” to a woman we rented three bicycles from. We pedaled away pealing in laughter and tremendous temperaments.

Twenty minutes later we identified a Star Jones (before the weight loss) sized sign publicizing “Waterfall,” complete with arrow down a dirt path. We excitedly turned our bikes down the dirt road.

Three hours later with no indication of a waterfall, Befuddled observed a wild Thai cow by the side of the road. A piece of rope the width of fishing wire restrained Wild Cow to a tree. Wild Cow’s Cappuccino-colored eyes entreated Befuddled for human contact. Befuddled detected that Wild Cow yearned to be petted. She stalled her ride and reached out to caress the cow’s head. As her foreign hand stretched fingertips, Wild Cow reared away and detonated in to the dirt road faster than I hurdled away from my 7th grade boyfriend when my mom walked in on us kissing. The rope snapped, Wild Cow vaulted, snorting and shaking, narrowly avoided plowing over Befuddled, and tore away down the street.

Befuddled: “Sukothai a lot you guys, you rode away! You weren’t even going to help me if I had been trampled!”

Us: “What the hell were you doing trying to pet a wild Thai cow??”

Befuddled: “It’s eyes told me it wanted to be petted.” 


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