There’s a street vendor cart right below my balcony (well, many floors below my balcony, but a direct fall/jump) that sells the most delicious fried chicken. Sometimes I step out and look over the railing to see if they have a good selection and then go pick the pieces I spied, because I love food and the deliciousness of this chicken is just beyond mortal resistance.
It used to be a lady and her husband with their chubby daughter running around everywhere, but then the daughter had to go to school and now they seem to have brought in another young lady who helps run the cart. I adore the mother-lady who has a round face and a smile that covers the width of it, and I’m a frequent enough customer (and walk by the stand on the way to dinner every evening) that we exchange a hello and a smile several times each day. This newer lady, when she first started spoke some English to me to show off – and she does speak very well – but quickly relaxed into Thai when I placed my order in Thai. She said something to me that was outside of the “do you want this chicken chopped?” question that I’m used to and I gave her the quizzical look and she translated for me: “you look like little girl. Very pretty.” Well, OK!
So today is the day after my 21st fight and in the second round I got a cut on the bridge of my nose. It isn’t a bad cut, but I had a bandaid on it all night and most of the day, but since coming back from training this afternoon I took it off for the shower and let the cut breathe a little. My nose is swollen and I have two shades of black eyes on each side. It’s really not bad, but definitely noticeable. As I’m ordering my chicken for my second dinner (first dinner is “rehearsal dinner” and I keep a second stock in the fridge for later) both of the ladies are helping me and the sweet, mother-lady with the round face asks me in Thai what happened to my nose. Well, I think she’s asking this because she’s pointing at her nose. So I say in Thai, bpen muay ying which means “I’m a female boxer” and both women squeal in delight as the little one claps her hands and their smiles go off like fireworks. It was amazing. So I smile really big and point at myself and say chaa-na, to indicate that I won my fight and they get even more excited. Then the little one excitedly asks me something that ends with the question word for “where” and I assume she means the location of the fight (I mean, the gym is literally 400 meters away so I have to assume they know where I train, right?) so I tell her Kalare and they both nod their heads.
They hand me my bag of chicken and my change and we all nod and say thank you and I head off with my husband to our next errand. I was grinning like crazy, saying “well, that was awesome!” Best reaction I’ve ever had to telling someone I’m a Muay Thai fighter. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything quite like it so I can’t say for sure what made them so excited by this information, but I’m planning to bring my little computer down to the stall and have them watch the fight. With those two and the pharmacist who tells all her customers when I come in that I’m a “boxer”, I’m fast becoming a celebrity of this little Soi!