Some reflections on the Thai.

Ok, so spending the last few weeks in Thailand I have come across the occasional Thai och two, coloring the otherwise pretty white skin tone of the people walking the same streets as I do. My stay in Bangkok was based around the Koh San Road where the only thai people are merchants trying to sell you a bunch of crap, and on Koh Tao (also being a backpacker hotspot) there are more caucasians than anything else. But that is all fine. My only objective for coming to Thailand in the first place was the diving. Can’t saing I’m overly intrested in the Thai history, culture or religion. How ever arrogant that may seem, it’s thrue. The Thai culture is nothing I can reffer to in the way I do when travelling trough Europe. The thai people on the other hand are very nice and friendly, thus earning their reputation as being as such. But there i somethinsg that I’ve found that supriced me a bit more than I thought. Or if it did not suprice me it is at least stuff I noticed that separetas our country from thailand apart from the obvious (we eat potatoes, they eat rice).

Unless its a Pickup it ain’t a car.
This mostly applies for Koh Tao (and probably the other islands as well) but I am all in favours. Fuck enviroment, pickups rock! I have yet failed to see one single fourwheleed vehicle not being either a brand new pickup or a heavy duty lorry. That is awesome. And they are all new. The Toyota Hilux 4X4 seems to be the thai pickup of choise, soon followed by the Izisu Crew Cab. It is of course the most logical car to own on an island whit not much more than steep mud roads, so comparing it to central Gothenburg it is not as much as being macho as it is actually being able to drive your car. But it looks like I’m in Texas or something. Big like.

I don’t smile unless I’m happy, thus I always smile.
When someone in a store in sweden smiles at you, thats more false than anything in that room. Or as a french guy I discussed this whith but it “We are not arrogant. It’s only that if we don’t want to talk to anyone we don’t”. Apart fromt that actually being arrogant, well, its true. The thai on the other hand, they either are very happy as a part of their cultural inheritage (or by the good managing of their democratic nation, less likely) or these guys know how to fake it. Damm good faking that is. Somethimes they have smiled so hard that I’ve got frightened their jaws might snap, or as in the case with the captain of the Peninsula Hotel-boat in Bangkok, fall into the water and drown. They ask you if you are okay, and if you say yes they get a look in their face as if someone (whom they love) just proposed to them. They seem to be happy. Swedes don’t.

The ping-pong.
How naive was I, thinking that people actually didn’t go to the ping-pong shows? And how naive was I thinking that Thai women shooting ping-pong balls out of their fanny was the height of decadence in these shows? Oh no my dear friends, I would be wiser. Not by actually going to a show as my high moral keeps me from paying for services of a “sexual” nature (the more you travel the more unique you learn this moral standards are). No, but by talking to fellow female travelers whom had visited the respectable establishments which houses these shows. Oh yes. Apparently a ping-pong show apart from pulling out razorblades from ones anus also include pushing out things as 20m och colored rope (like a magician), live baby turtles and at one show even a live baby kitten from the vagina. In one of the places the crescendo was a live sex-act. Very honorable. These shows are apparently crowded, a lot of the audience being female. Cant get my head around it, and won’t even try to. Honestly, I cant see how buying a single prostitute for intercourse could be worse than the ping-pong. At least then there is only one external witness to the abuse.

Respecting the road.
If you go to Italy or France, the driving is much worse than in Thailand, at least from my knowledge. Riding a regular taxi on the highway, a motorbike crossing Bangkok at night, and going by pick-up taxi on the islands has lead me to the conclusions that even tough they seem to take the rules of the road more like recommendations than anything else, they are actually very controlled and relaxed. I guess the Nordic countries has a world record in law abiding and boring driving, but the Thai actually know how to drive. and they even stop if you are trying to cross the streets.

Tourist and Thai interaction.
Maybe being a bit judging against both the Thai and the tourists at first, I must say that I am surprised how much the locals interact with the tourists and vice versa. On Koh San I talked to local Thai who came for the party, and every time I’m out in a bar or something there’s a bunch of Thai people there having a blast. And as for Koh Tao, I haven’t seen any prostitution. I guess that it’s there, but I haven’t seen it. You see the occasional old German with a younger Thai, but very seldom. Although you do see a lot of young guys with Thai “girlfriends”. Are they prostitutes? I don’t know, but they party pretty hard for being on duty.

Open houses.
Of course, in the winter the walls on our houses play a important role of keeping us alive. Therefore we move out on the balcony or “altan” during summer. But I reflected a bit about how the extra insight you get into your neighbors life when maybe only the bedroom and bathroom actually has walls effects the mentality of society. I think its a good thing. Seeng someone across the street just hanging around in their outdoor livingroom must give you a sense of connection we loose living in closed boxes. Maybe that’s why they find it easier to smile. During the bus ride from Bangkok to Chumporn I saw them doing all kinds of stuff that I would never see my neighbors at home do. I rarely ever see my neighbors at all. Of course the lack of privacy may be an issue, but so far i think the the connection one gets to your community around yo by is a bigger gain than the loss of privacy.

The abundance of Ladyboys.
In Thailand, although being a much more traditional society than Sweden, they seem to embrace their homosexuals, and especially the Ladyboys (Drag queens and transgenders) in an other way than you (I) would expect. They have shows all over the place, went to one in Koh Tao and it was anything but great, but still a good crack. They dress up in lavish costumes and mime to the latest disco hits, performing different (often obscene) dances. Often (what I’ve seen and heard) on a very basic level. Your average 8th grader will probably come up with the same choreography (besides from the strap-ons and silicone breasts that is). The money they get they seem to spend on plastic surgery as many of them have silicone tits and has removed their genitalia. But that’s not the weird part, since that isn’t weird. What did suprise me was how accepted these, and other homosexuals, seem to be in Thai society. You see them all over the place, from the red light district to working at 7-11 or the bars. And a lot of the other Thai seem pretty proud of their lady-boys. I guess there is a long way for hem to go, as here is in all the rest of the world. But its good to see they won’t have o walk all the way, as apparently some of the road to equality already has been cleared.

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