Blue smoke curls languidly above the huts as though from an opium pipe (until a generation ago, the preferred nightcap around here). Pigs squeal uneasily, catching a whiff on the wind not of poppy but fried pork. A four man band — oboe, drum, gong and cymbal — dins and whines between the huts of Khun Haeng village. And I am trying to read a pink invitation card which, except for its curlicue Thai script, could be straight out of Valley Girl suburbia. A quick translation by my anthropologist friend Chob confirms that, yes, even in Thai, ‘The parents of the groom and bride invite you to the wedding of …’ In this case, of Miss Ching Fo Saejow and Mr San Tiem Saephan. I am honored. [2000]

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