I sent this postcard to my grandma in June, 1991.
I am in a small town in the northeast of Thailand. It is a very quiet, relaxing place! The guest house where I am staying is right on the Mekong River, overlooking the country of Laos (on the other side of the river). I will meet my dad in Bangkok in a couple of days.
The postcard actually shows a drawing of Wat Arun in Bangkok, but as I wrote to my grandma, I sent it from the Thai-Laos border. I’d taken a train to Nong Khai to see Laos. Poor planning kept me from obtaining a visa to go to Vientiane. Nong Khai was the closest I could get.
Completely cut off from the rest of the world, the guesthouse had neither television or telephone. The owner, a Thai woman who’d lived in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, cooked delicious banana oatmeal for me every morning and told me about her travels.
For lunch one day I wandered to a riverfront cafe and ordered the hottest item on the menu, too naive to realize I needed rice to cool the burning in my mouth. The waiters laughed while I gulped ice water, to no avail, and brought me a plate of rice–on the house.
Another day I rented a bike and rode out to see enormous mythological statues. On my return trip, I stopped at a weavers’ guild that employed young girls to give them a skill and keep them out of prostitution.
Returning to Bangkok by overnight bus, I ate golden raisins for dinner and chatted for hours with the man seated next to me, an Indian of the Bahai Faith. When he heard I grew up miles from the Bahai Temple in Wilmette, Illinois, he spoke to me like an old friend.