We were told in advance that we would have to take off our shoes to eat at the dinner theater we had reservations for. Slightly intrigued, we piled on the bus and drove to Silom Village. After checking our shoes, we were led to 40-foot long tables. We each had a small red, square pad on the floor to sit on.
Del told us that the traditional dancers who were going to entertain us have to start training at a very young age, around 6 or 7 years old, to shape their hands in the trademark gestures of Thai dance. The performance was a story told with a narrator and music. The costumes were blood red and burnt orange and trimmed with bright emerald green. The stiff material wrapped around the dancers' bodies, but never once shifted with their movement. The dance was simple and slightly repetitive; the story appeared to be part mythology and part history. One scene was about a woman who was part bird and part human, but I could not stop staring at the one defining characteristic about this dance--the hands. All of the women's fingers were bent backwards almost 45 degrees!
On each of our placemats were one plate, silverware, and the Thai version of Coca Cola. While we ate our dinner of rice, curry chicken, fish, some sort of pork dumpling, vegetables, and soup, I practiced bending my fingers backwards under the table—no luck. But I got a picture of the dancer’s hands as proof of just how far back she stretched her fingers!