Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bangkok: Day 6 - Getting interviewed on camera at the Chatuchak Weekend Market

[At the end of January I spent 10 days in Bangkok, Thailand. Here are the retellings of Day 1 - Getting There, Day 2 - Wander Walking and a Thai MassageDay 3 - Wat PhoDay 4 - Saranrom Park, and Day 5 - Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.] 

On Sunday Anne and I headed to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest market in Thailand.  It's so big! Anne got some great souvenirs for family and friends, and I found spirographs!

Spirograph at the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand
Spirograph! Purchased at Bangkok's Chatuchak Weekend Market
I was so excited to see them, and even more excited to use them now on envelopes and such!  We had lunch at the market; there were plenty of places to eat. Once we sat down at a table, we had only been looking at the menu for approximately 15 seconds when the man came over to see what we wanted to order. Anne was set on Pad Thai, but I wasn't sure what to get yet - it all looked so good. Ok, so I'm looking at the options trying to decide. 

Only thirty seconds pass and the man is back again to take our order. I tell him I don't know yet, so get this: He turns around (oh good he's leaving, I think), grabs a stool, turns back around and puts it at our table. And sits down. 

No. Way.

Yeah, I kid you not. So now I can't think at all about what I'm reading on the menu. All I can think about is: Did he really just do that? Is he really going to sit here until I decide? Ah! So you need to pick something. Pick something to order because the man is sitting right here at your table waiting for you to order! Order something! Pick something!

Which of course didn't help me order because I couldn't concentrate on the menu. So finally I just pointed to something so he would go away. Phew, what stress! We laughed about it once he went away to make the food.

Pad Thai, Bangkok Thailand
Anne's Pad Thai
There was a park right next to the market that we walked through after lunch. Then we found a spot in the grass to sit down and read for a little bit. All of a sudden a group of 5 Thai college-aged gals came up to us in a group. Now, after living in Madrid for two years, my first instinct was to hold onto my bag. I thought it was some scheme to rob us. (In Madrid oftentimes children will go up to you with clipboards to sign a petition, but it's a ploy while someone else pickpockets you).

Getting interviewed by Thai students

One of them nervously asked Anne in broken English if they could interview her for a class. Sure, she says. So one of the girls sat down next to Anne with her phone in her hand to record audio. Another girl stood in front of them to record the interview on video (with a cell phone). A third girl was sitting to the side, off-screen, holding up signs for the interviewer to read. So it seemed to be an assignment for the girls to practice English.

Everyone's set up and the interview starts:

What's your name?

(Girl with cards quickly sets that first paper down after the question is read so that the interviewer can read the next question.)

Where are you from?

(Cue card gets set down)

How long have you been in Thailand?

(I'm thinking: This is great! Let me get some photos of this!)

Where have you been in Thailand?

(I pull out my camera and take a picture of Anne getting interviewed.)

What do you like about Thailand?

(I take another. Then my camera says "Memory card is full"!!)

What do you dislike about Thailand?

(What?! How is my memory card full? I haven't taken that many pictures already, have I?)

Do you like sports? What sports?

... and maybe ten more questions like that. The first half were about traveling in Thailand, and the rest were just random questions about yourself. And throughout Anne's entire interview I'm still nervous, keeping a close eye on my bag (which is on Anne's other side) while I'm now trying to delete some pictures to make a little room on the memory card.  Slowly I convinced myself that if the girls had wanted to rob us, they would have done so already. And they probably wouldn't have made all those cue cards for the interview. Nor given Anne the packet of information she was now filling out.

It was a packet with their University's logo at top, and then all of the interview questions she had just been asked. She was to write all the answers she had just spoken.

Meanwhile I'm mildly freaking out about my camera being full; it was only the afternoon, and we still had five more days in Bangkok. I thought I had bought a second memory card at some point and brought it with me to Korea, but I didn't look for it before the trip - so I only had the one with me at the moment in Bangkok. How easy would it be to find another memory card here in the city? Might there be one at the market?

But my thoughts got interrupted when the girls now asked to interview me. I thought I was off the hook! So the same thing happened, one girl was next to me interviewing and recording audio. Another girl recorded the video with her cell phone, and the cue card girl did a great job holding up the signs for the interviewer to read. I asked Anne to snap a picture on her iPhone of my moment of fame:


And then I filled out their packet of questions with my answers. Then the interviewer wanted a picture with me. And then we took a group photo of all the girls and Anne and I. They were really grateful that we did their interview, so they thanked us once again, and then headed off to find their next foreigner to interview.

We only spent a little more time in the park before heading back to the hostel to take a rest. Although I was tired too, while Anne took a nap I was determined to figure out a solution to my memory card problem. But that's a story for another post!
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