Another day of the innocent abroad: this afternoon I went to Pahurat, not to get myself a gun or a sari, but to check the proofs of Chart Korbjitti’s latest in English: Carrion floating by (Ma Nao Loi Narm), a short nouveau-roman novel, and An Ordinary Story (and others less so), a collection of his best short stories, fourteen in all, including the novella An Ordinary Story (Rueang Thammada). The books will be on sale in a week or two. Merry Xmas.
I had come by taxi and we had joked about how Bangkok roads were chockablock with traffic and crowds on a Saturday afternoon, even though most citizens were supposed to have fled upcountry for the weekend. Normal, the driver answered: all upcountry people are here now, to enjoy the Celebrations of the King’s Birthday (there were upper cases in his voice). It sure looked like it.
On the way back, the one-way thoroughfare didn’t seem to have a single empty taxi. So I jumped a minibus going to Sanam Luang, or so it said up front. It took me a mile or so of very congested roads to realise that we were going away from the Royal Esplanade into the Deep South, mostly unknown territory to me. When we reached Bang Rak, finding my bearings again, I got out of the by-then packed minibus and, smoking at leisure, walked half a mile or so toward the river, took time to visit the toilet of the Oriental Hotel and then took an express boat, standing room only, back to the Pin Klao bridge, where I decided to walk again the rest of the way in order to purchase milk and bread at the corner 7-eleven and further down the street northeastern fare for dinner.
Perfect weather, excellent dinner. And somehow Four Reigns has progressed tonight to page 1111.
By the way, since I started with publishing news, let me end with publishing news. In my tale of that other Saturday escapade for a wedding party in Nonthaburi, I forgot to mention that Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit had told me that they had just finished translating … Khun Chang Khun Phaen, that enormous monument of classical Thai literature, and that their version would be out this month. I will make sure of getting a copy or five (to give away). Make sure you do, too, before it’s sold out.