everyday banality strikes again

White people are always asking me for directions. Maybe they think I know what I’m doing when they see me in long pants, without a guidebook clenched in my fist, or a fanny pack on my waist, or a shiny new wide-brimmed hat perched on my head to fend off the sun. Recently, I saw a couple standing next to a tuk tuk, these gangly white people in loose linen pants and linen shirts with wooden buttons that you will only very rarely see a Thai person wearing out in public, at least in the city. The man was wearing one of those peaked straw hats like the roof of a grain silo. I wondered if they had noticed that all of the brown people around them were dressed like people from the 21st century, because that is where they live.

Weeks ago, when Wongchia took me to see elephants, he had the image of a NASCAR driver on his t-shirt. A year and a half ago, when I first came here, it seemed that every third person was wearing a Playboy logo. I saw them in the streets, in cafes, in temples. When I did the tourist thing and ascended the mountain to Doi Suthep, I took pictures of a little boy in a Playboy t-shirt and, later, of a man who supplicated himself in the doorway of a small room filled with golden images of the Buddha, the bowtied bunny on the back of his shirt catching the sun whenever his torso rose to vertical.

And once, at night market, I saw a swaggering man with a shirt that read PLAYGIRL. I wonder if he knew what Playgirl magazine is.

Sadly, this trend seems to have died down.


~ by ironcupshrug on 12/16/2009.

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