Subject: Mixing with the locals?
Hello Frances and Fellow Ziners,

More about being surprised by customs in other locales - I was staying with a family in Thailand for a week.

One evening they took me to a private birthday party in the back room of a small restaurant. A good time was had by all with the women and youngsters sitting at one end of the long table and the men at the other. I, being honoured as a guest, was placed near the men with an adolescent girl on either side of me. We enjoyed good food and drink.

Another night the family took me to a different restaurant. This time we sat at a table in the public part. The dad asked if I would have a beer before dinner. Yes, I would. Upon arrival of the drink I poured some into a glass and raised it to my lips. There is no exaggeration when I say that the restaurant became completely silent when I took a sip.

The man's wife and mother sitting across from us across the table had mouths open, and were staring at me. I glanced around the room and similar expressions were on the faces of the other patrons. There was complete silence.

Catching the meaning of the moment I, for a brief moment, felt like a 'fallen woman' to be drinking in public.

The dad was grinning.

Cheers, Linda in SW Ontario, Canada