Panic and Prayer
As usual, when I stay in Chiang Mai Old City, I have breakfast at Angel’s Secrets cafe. It has reasonably priced, delicious, homemade, mostly vegetarian, sometimes organic food with a stunning presentation, lovely ambience, and excellent service. This morning I was there accompanied by my friend Dan who was visiting from Korea, and his friend Chi.
When we left we spoke with khun Jo, the dear owner. She did not want to take a tip from us, and said it was her pleasure having us enjoying the food and atmosphere of her restaurant. The amazing food, service, and pleasant atmosphere of the little garden setting in the center of Chiang Mai Old City always make it a delight to dine there.
Upon leaving Chi, Dan, and I were making plans for the rest of the day. We all parted in different directions. I decided to head to Talad Warrorot (Warrorot Market) to buy some fabric and have some skirts made.
At the beginning of my walk there, I ran into my friend Aey – an appearance genius who always seems to turn up on his motorbike and ask, “Where you go?” each time I visit Chiang Mai, and then promptly offers me a lift. In the heat of the day, I gladly hopped on back of his motorbike and we sped through traffic toward Talad Warrorot.
I spent some time perusing the local goods the market had to offer: fabrics, gold jewelry, clothes, cosmetics, and as everywhere in Thailand – food.
I bought some woven and printed Thai fabric for getting made into skirts and decorating.
I met with one of the many seamstresses on the second floor to have some skirts made. “Ao grapong kha” (hoping I said, I’d like a skirt please). She understood! I did drawings, thrilled to find that A-line, or some derivation of that, is also how you say it in Thai. Gesturing, speaking rudimentary Thai, and basic English I tried to convey that I want an A-line not just a wrap around sarong because, gaayo lek – I have a small waist like Thai people, tapok yai – but big hips, not like Thai people. She confirmed this with her head nod, hand gestures, and the numbers reflecting my measurements. We and shared smiles and laughs – non-verbal communication speaks volumes. Pointing to the calendar is when I found they’d be ready, next Saturday. For 3 custom made skirts, the grand total was 600 baht (about $19.25 USD).
Upon putting my dictionary and Thai language notebook back in my backpack, I suddenly realized I was missing my laptop. Oh shit! Panic, panic, panic. Breathe breathe breathe. Where is it? Was it stolen? No, I don’t think so. I left it a Angel’s Secrets across town. They close at 4. It’s almost 3 and I left there nearly 3 hours ago. Shit!
I rushed through the crowds of Talad Warrorot, got outside and flagged down a tuk tuk. We agreed on the 50 baht price after a bit of haggling. Not a good price, but I didn’t really care, I just wanted to get there quickly, no time to bargain.
In the tuk tuk I started to pray, “Please God let it be there. Jo knows me, she is a lovely person, her customers love her, she will have it.”
Thinking of Buddhist non-attachment to try to calm myself just in case it’s not there, but ugh! I use my laptop daily for work in my Buddhist school, not to mention to stay in touch with people near and far, listening to music and news, reading, and writing. In this case it seemed more appropriate to return to my Catholic roots. I decided to pray to Saint Anthony – the patron saint of lost articles.
About 15 minutes later we arrive. I run into Angel’s Secrets, and Jo sees my panic and calmly asks, “Elizabeth, your laptop?”
I hadn’t realized I was actually shaking a little.
“Khap khun maak kha khun Jo!” I cannot thank her enough.
“It wasn’t me, my regular customer give it to me,” Jo humbly replies.
“Please thank him or her so much. Whew!”
Handing my laptop to me, “I am your hero today, na” Jo smiles.
“Jo, yes, you are my hero many days, but especially today,” I say smiling back.
“Don’t worry if you leave things here, I will keep for you and give back.”
“Thank you so much Jo. I believe you!”
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the way things go in Thailand. I am one lucky lucky lady. Thanks Jo, her honest customer, God, Buddha, and St. Anthony. I, again, am extremely grateful.
Beginning to relax, I order a mango lassi and immediately write what has just transpired on my miraculously recovered laptop. Just now I’m noticing the coincidence that this cafe is called Angel’s Secrets.