“I didn’t know, o my gosh, I didn’t know!” This is all I could say as the Thai PETA enforcers kicked through my mosquito net last night and challenged my devotion to the cute and cuddlies all over the world. After an interrogation lasting well into the morning, with taped eyelids being shown picture after picture of kittens wearing hats and monkeys with mohawks, I was able to convince the band of hemp suit wearing brutes that I had nothing to do with the crime and indeed love all of earth’s creatures. (I even lied and said I couldn’t be speciest because I had a friend who was a chicken) Finally, they released me from the hugging position I was put in around a tree and gave me a button and pamphlet for my trouble. It was an odd encounter and goes to show that someone is indeed always watching.

So maybe I have watched V for Vendetta too many times or maybe I just foresee the future when your hippie cousins runs for office. Either way I wanted to tell you about the small zoo that has begun to come about at my host families. Working at their farm daily the children have started to come home with a collection of fairly common animals, but none that I often see caged. First their was the singing bird, fair. Then in quick succession was a lemur, a baby squirrel and finally a family of moles; a mother and 4 babies. Cute as a button but looking very sad in their bucket filled with dirt. Being nocturnal I have enjoyed learning of the high pitched squealing baby moles make at 3 o’clock in the morning when missing their mother. It is a squealing that causes dreams much like my story above. Just freaking adorable.

I was learning of the capture over dinner after a long day, and I realized quickly that I had yet to see the mother of the squealing bundles of joy. “Maa duun tii nai,” “Where is the mother,” I asked. In response was not words but a simple motion. Simple in action but very complex in meaning.  Very nicely and with no ill intention he pointed to the half eaten bowl in front of my face. Aghast at the thought of eating mole, then actually seeing the other dish with those fried claws in them, I sent out an awkward nervous laugh. Much like the laugh one gives when they find out that hot girl walking down the street is actually a man… welcome to Thailand.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.