Peace Corps
Thai 27
A Misunderstanding

I checked into a cheap hotel in Fort Swettenham on the west coast of Malaysia. Like the
cheap hotels I always checked into, a kuaythiaw and khaaw man kay stand was on the
ground floor, the rooms were upstairs and the bathroom was down the hall.

My stay began with a pleasant conversation with a man about my age, whom I took to be
one of the owner’s sons. Later he came up to my room and we continued talking. I
wanted to show him my phaa khaw maa, which I have always considered one of the
marvels of the region, so I put it on, noted that one could undress modestly and took off
my pants.

Thinking his prayers had been answered, he jumped up from his chair and excitedly told
me to lie down on the bed so he could rub my back. His prayers and mine were not the
same. As I shoved him out the door he muttered, “I’ve made a big mistake.” I knew I
had too.

I was petrified as I had never had another man hit on me. The hotel seemed deserted and
I just knew he would jump out with knife, as in Psycho, and leave my lifeless body on
the floor. And the bathroom was down the hall!

The next morning, relieved to be in one piece, I packed and checked out. He was cutting
up chickens for that day’s business and I wanted to apologize. After all, the
misunderstanding was partly my fault. He wouldn’t look up, so I just said “I’m sorry”
and left. I guess that giving anybody an inkling of what had almost happened was not
the thing to do. Besides, his cleaver was making very make short work of those