When I was waiting for my wife to check which aisle we had to check-in for our flight to Taipei in Suvarnabhumi airport, an old Indian woman accosted me. She asked me if I was Indian. I told her that my parents were, but that I was Canadian. My wife and I were teaching English in Taiwan.
Really, she said. I am Canadian as well, from Calgary.
That is great I replied.
She was in her fifties, with black hair turned mostly silver by now. She was wearing glasses and a Punjabi tunic with a scarf. She looked like the matriarch of the family.
She asked me if I knew where a telephone directory was, she said that the people here didn’t really understand her when she asked for a telephone book. I told her to try outside of the airport, but I wasn’t really sure about it. She said that no one was answering the phone at the place where they were staying at in Bangkok.
She then asked about the taxis, is it normal to pay 600 BHT to get into the city from the airport?
I told her no, she had to check the “taxi-meter” stand use a metered taxi. It would be a lot cheaper. For us to Sukhumvit, it costed about 200BHT including the 50BHT surcharge to leave the airport and the 40BHT toll that we had to pay. Always use metered taxis I said.
That is good to know she asked.
Where are your parents from she asked.
I told here that my parents were from Kerala.
That is a strange coincidence, because we are going there after Bangkok, to Coccin and other places in Kerala.
I told her to try shopping at the MBK mall, it is like a real Thai market, only all of the stores are in one place and it is air conditioned and away from the pollution.
At the time, my wife came back and was amused that I was talking to this older Indian woman, who kind of looked like one of my grandmothers, as least as much as I can remember of them.
You are teachers? She asked.
Yes we are teachers in Taiwan.
The money is good there? Because in Canada, we max out at 70000CAD$.
Yes that is true, we make good money but we do not pay any imcome tax or taxes from the provinces I replied.
She said really, that is good to know. I know that it is mostly paid by the hour there.
I said yes, but we work very hard.
Well, I won’t disturb you any longer, bye-bye she said.
* * * * *