from Diary Friday, November 24, 2006)

We arrived [in Pak Chong] in a downpour after an adventuresome ride in the back of the covered truck flying along the highway, trying to get the flaps down and stay dry while the wind blew the rain into the truck. At the train station, Stephan and I ducked under the overhang in front of some stores, and watched the people protect their shops and help their customers into their trucks. One fellow put a bucket out at the edge of the sidewalk where the water poured over the awning, and within 10 minutes it had collected more than a foot of water.

After a while we started to explore the stores, and entered one that made copies and I donít know what else. Three delightful young ladies talked with us in Thai, and shyly tried out their English. One of them pulled out some homework that they were preparing for an English class this evening, and we had great fun helping them get it correct (their teacher will be surprised!).

Finally the rain let up, and while they finished their homework we explored the market and the town, then went back to the copy store as promised to check the rest of their homework. We shared email addresses and took pictures and then they offered to go with us to the CD store. We agreed, and to our surprise they hopped on the motor scooters that had been parked in front of the store, and we got on the back and away we went, feeling like we "belonged," out doing our errands like the Thai people around us!

Friendly girls at a copy store in Pak Chong, Thailand let us dry out ...

... and ride their bicycles.

At the CD store and the bookstore, we managed to cope rather well in Thai. Stephan got some CDs of popular Thai singers and a Thai-English dictionary and I enjoyed watching the people.

A father outside a music store in Pak Chong asks his daughter to "wai" in greeting to an American stranger.

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