Where now, brown cow?

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Dear Hillary,

When I walk down to the end of the street, many of my neighbors say to me “Buy nai” (or that’s what it sounds like).  Since I don’t speak much Thai I get embarrassed and just nod and keep walking.  I thought “Sawasdee” was “Good Morning”, so what are they saying?  Am I being rude by just nodding? I don’t want to look like a snobby foreigner.

 

Dear Snobby Foreigner,

Your neighbors are just being their usual friendly (and inquisitive) selves.  “Bai nai” (usual spelling) is really just “Where are you going?”  You do not have to say where you are going, you just reply “Going somewhere for fun” which is “Bai Tee-ow”.