Monday 13 May 2024

Visit to the shaman (5, final)

Final glimpse of the offerings plate, with my worried partner in the background

Talking about the encounter later, I adopted the phrase "witch doctor" (หมอผี) to describe Mor Sawaeng. I was speculating aloud whether he sends a cut of his earnings as a shaman back to Mor Joe, who sent him our trade after all.

I also wondered why Mor Sawaeng's boss at the restaurant puts up with his frequent excursions into the carpark to perform his ritual over customers, and also the fate of the alcohol, which we left there unopened with him. 

Perhaps it finds its way into the Chinese dishes on offer at his restaurant, or maybe the cooks knock it back together out the back.

Maiyuu said that if I was being polite, I should call him a mor peun ban (หมอพื้นบ้าน), which translates as traditional doctor. This is a more innocuous phrase, of course, but also helps salve my partner's bruised ego, after he regretted leading us on this silly expedition.

Later, as I mused over whether I should feel upset at having parted with a stupidity fee (ฝรั่งเสียค่าโง่) as the Thai rather bluntly puts it, or the cost of my own ignorance, Maiyuu suggested we should see the encounter with Mor Sawaeng and his enabler Mor Joe in a more positive light. 

The day's expenses, which came to over 1,000 baht including the teacher's fee, alcohol and taxi fares, were really the price of buying a new experience (ค่าประสบการณ์), said charmingly.

However, Maiyuu admits he should have thought about the expedition more carefully. "I panicked, but I was worried about your condition," he said ruefully.

It's not as if we were not warned what was coming, in a roundabout way at least. As I left Mor Joe's place for the taxi, he uttered some parting words which puzzled me at the time: "Never mind, we all have to help each other in this life."

I can see now that he was referring to his mate Mor Sawaeng, to whom he was sending a "referral", courtesy of our own gullibility.

Never mind, indeed. I learned from the experience, and enjoyed meeting Mor Sawaeng, warm, ebullient soul that he was. I hope your days are plenty and prosperous, if I may offer a prayer of my own in return.

I am sure they will be, if Mor Sawaeng indeed is treating a constant procession of needy types from the provinces in search of low-cost cures for shingles  as he says. The cost of seeing an ordinary doctor, in our case, would have been much cheaper.

As a postscript, I should add that I realised on the way back in the taxi what was really causing my red spots: an allergic reaction to clothes washing liquid. I wash some items in a bucket, slothful person that I am, and in my haste to get the items into the sun, forget to rinse properly. I passed this news on to Maiyuu, who looked relieved to have a more likely explanation of what ailed me. 

Since our misbegotten adventure to Phaya Thai, we are now converts to modern medicine. Maiyuu has bought some conventional lotion for inflammatory dermatoses, which he applies to my body at night before bed. The red spots are fading nicely.

He has also replaced our clothes washing liquid with a softer mix tailored to children and which is less likely to inflame my skin. It has a great scent, I am happy to report. 

Maiyuu knows my habit of rinsing clothes inadequately in my humble bucket, which I keep in the bathroom, is unlikely to change, so buying products suitable for kids rather than adults is the best way to keep me safe. How apt, I thought. Now I can stop pretending I am grown up.

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