Sunday, June 25, 2006

Just a tad on the sneaky side

Ever been through this? A casual friend or a co-worker says, "Hey, I'm having a little get-together at my place Friday night, want to come? We'll have some snacks and stuff." You don't have anything else to do so you say, "Yeah, sure." You go to the "party" only to discover that you've been roped into an evening of listening to your host/hostess and his/her sponsor talk about the marvels of selling Amway products (or the joys of owning a time-share condo or a membership at 1,000 Trails). Are ya pissed? Damned straight you are, because you've been conned.

On Friday my classmate Kaori asked if I wanted to go to a party at the home of another classmate, one I didn't know, a fellow from Thailand. She said he was going to cook some Thai food and that our other friend, Long Yan, would cook up some Japanese food. We'd have a few beers, some chit-chat, enjoy ourselves. OK, I'm there!

Showed up at the MRT station to meet up with them (them being Kaori, Long Yan, Luke, and the Thai guy, whose name is something like Bosun, but not quite). We hung around waiting to see if another guy from Canada was going to show up, and as we waited, Bosun told me he hoped it would be OK for me (he thought I was a Christian) that we'd be going to his Buddhist worship hall for dinner. "Huh? We're not going to your house?" "No." "Uh, can we drink beer there?" "What? Of course not! Hahaha!" Oh well, no problem for me, I can live without beer, and I don't mind going to a Buddhist place.

We stopped to buy some juice and soda, got to the hall, removed our shoes, whined a bit about there being no air conditioning (OK, I was the only whiner), and Bosun headed for the kitchen area to bring out the food. Along the way it had been determined that there was no need for Long Yan to cook (darn), because there was plenty of food. We greeted the other Thai folks who were at the hall, bowed to a few monks, and carried our trays of food upstairs to a little meeting room (again, no air conditioner, just a huge, noisy fan). Then Bosun tells us that he can't eat with us, because the rule of his sect is that they can't eat anything after noon, just drink. What? The host isn't going to eat with his guests? OK, this is too weird. When he left to get the soup and some ice cubes, Kaori and I discussed this weirdness. She had no idea we'd be going to what is effectively a church for dinner! Eh, make the best of it and start eating.

Oh my, the food was great. No clue what the names of the dishes were, because the only thing I'd had before was the deep-fried shrimp balls with the sweet hot sauce (delicious). There was another dish with shrimp, lemon grass, and cashews that was so firey spicy it cleared the sinuses instantly, but was soooo good. Everything was good. Really. We ate and talked and drank our juice, and when we finished Bosun said he wanted us to meet the head monk.

Back downstairs we went, where they had finally turned on the air (yay!), and we all sat at a big table with the monk and an old lady who was folding up some papers. We were then required to look through a book which was mainly about the tsunami in Thailand in December 2004, mostly photos of many people meditating at the many ceremonies that were held to remember those who died. By this time we all kinda realized that the reason we were there was so Bosun could tell us about his religion, and we were feeling a little uncomfortable. However, no one was at any time pushy or obnoxious, and they were all very gracious, telling us we were welcome to come anytime and eat more good food, especially if we wanted to share the noon meal with them.

Kaori and I figured if we were going to get our desired alcoholic beverage intake for the evening, we'd best make our apologies and boogie on down the road. So, we said bye-bye and thank you numerous times before finally getting out the door and to the grocery store. As we walked to Kaori's place, which was quite close, we all laughed about the strange situation, and Kaori said she was going to murder her friend who obviously had known what was in store for us but had declined to elaborate when she'd talked to him the day before. I said it didn't matter, we'd had a great meal, some nice conversation, no one twisted our arms and tried to convert us, and we should just enjoy our full tummies :)

Spent the rest of the evening hanging out in Kaori's room, got lots of giggles from watching Long Yan demonstrate his Wing Chun skills, as well as his "grappling" ability. He had Luke down on the floor in a position that was so hysterical I deeply regretted not bringing the camera.

I was pleasantly surprised that Luke doesn't freak out when another guy touches him. He's Japanese but has lived in California since he was three years old (he's 29 now), so he's basically an American guy. And most American guys are so homophobic it's pathetic. I asked Luke how he feels about the habit of Asian guys to throw an arm around a buddy while walking, to place a hand on a knee when talking, etc., and he said he was secure enough in his own masculinity for that not to bother him. Good for him, I like hearing that.

Anyway, I got home around 12:30, stayed up until 1:30 reading, got up at 9:00 today. It's too hot to go anywhere or do anything, so today I'm gonna be a lazy bum.

1 comment:

Ranger Steve said...

I probably would have found the religion discussion fascinating since it's sort of a cultural thing. But yea, being tricked into going by someone is wrong wrong wrong!!! Glad you got an awesome meal out of it and know where to get another one ;P