Bryan Caskey posted this on his blog last night, about the small tokens I brought back to show my appreciation for his handling this blog while I was out of the country:
Gifts from Thailand are not always what they seem.
Everyone knows the saying “Beware Greeks bearing gifts.” However, most people are not aware of the somewhat lesser-known saying “Beware of Americans bearing gifts from Thailand.” Oh yeah, it’s totally a saying. Go look it up.I had some firsthand experience with an American bearing gifts from Thailand when a friend of mine brought me back some gifts from his trip to Thailand. I was surprised and gratified that he even thought of me, because I didn’t really think I merited a gift to begin with.In any event, the first gift was really wonderful. it was a silk necktie. A tie. A Thai tie, to be exact. I love telling people that I have a Thai tie. Here’s the my Thai tie, actually tied:
My Thai tieIt’s actually quite snappy. I actually prefer red ties, and the elephant look is very Asian. All in all, it’s a smashingly successful gift. I wear a tie pretty much everyday, so the cliche gift of a tie is actually a good gift for me.In any event, the second gift was a lot funnier, or at least it ended up being funnier. After giving me the tie, Brad pulled out a little candy bag, which he said he picked up for me, because it said “M16” on the packaging.So, figure this is candy, right? The little cartoonish-smiley face guy in the upper lefthand corner is playful, right? I think we both kind of figured that it would be a fruit candy that would be some sort of Thailand jolly rancher, or something.A couple of days went by, but eventually I figured that I’d open up the Thailand candy and maybe try it. I mean, how weird could it possibly be, it’s candy!Yeah.
SeedsJust seeds. Just plain ol’ seeds. Not candy seeds. Not chocolate covered seeds. Not seeds dipped in yogurt. Just seeds. Joke’s on me, I guess. I think I could plant them and grow some Thai-watermelons. In fact, that’s actually what I did. I’ll let you know how that turns out.By the way, Brad. I think you should have declared this agricultural product to US Customs upon your return. Oh well. I’m sure no one will know. Our secret.
Actually, we did try to bring back some papaya seeds — the gift of a hostess, who lives on a farm in Nakhon Ratchasima, who was distressed to learn that we don’t have papayas growing in OUR yard back home.
We were looking forward to planting them and cherishing the plants to see if they could possibly survive. But in a fit of conscience I showed them to the agricultural inspection guy in Hawaii, and he confiscated them. The clincher was the large, dead beetle that had crawled into the plastic bag with the seeds. I think he might have let them go without the bug…
Who knew they sold, as food, the one part of the watermelon that we’ve bred out of our watermelons in the States? Hey, maybe that’s what happened to all the seeds that used to be in melons over here — they get packaged up and sent to Thailand…
Actually, it looks like those seeds have been cooked or otherwise processed. They look sort of puffed-up and rounded. Aren’t they supposed to be flat?
Who knows about Thai melons? Lots of other types of melons have rounder seeds, like cantaloupes—maybe these are for some “heritage” melon?