My Pride, My Thai part 9: Being a celebrity in Thailand

When a white guy comes to a local village far from the main road and the city centres, you are somewhat treated as a celebrity. Especially the kids love to see that strange looking guy with a far more lighter complexion, big nose and strange clothes. The best way to be a local star is to take it really easy, speak with a low voice, slow down and always be respectful to whomever you meet. 

To read part 1: My Pride, My Thai part 1: The Preparation (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 2: My Pride, My Thai part 2: The flight (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 3: My Pride, My Thai part 3: The arrival (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 4: My Pride, My Thai part 4: The first morning (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 5: My Pride, My Thai part 5: Big C (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 6: My Pride, My Thai part 6: Bangkok (opens in a new tab).  

To read part 7: My Pride, My Thai part 7: 200 THB to heaven (opens in a new tab).

To read part 8: My Pride, My Thai part 8: Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani (opens in a new tab). 

When you first arrive to such remote places, where time appears to literally stand still, it takes a little while before you are able to fully lower your shoulders and start slowing down. It’s really hard to explain, but in places like this, time doesn’t seem to matter as much as for example in a city. During the day, extended families and neighbours sit outside their homes and talk, eat, snack, and drink. Just that is something very unlike the life of us northernes, we sit in our own private gardens surrounded by property-bound fences and tree-walls. For a Scandinavian as well, it’s extremely hot, even in the shade. That being said, I really thought it would be a lot worse, that I would have completely de-climatized after living in Norway again for so many years. It was very hot, but bearable. 

After a while, staying in places like these gets a profound new meaning, and I get more comfortable as the people stop gawking at that strange looking “farang” (a local term for foreigners). When the locals relax, I’m also relaxing a  lot more. Being the circus attraction can be quite fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so much more comfortable when that initial periode is over. 

In places like this, and this time, I must admit that there was one thing I feared more than anything else, and that is one small animal which nearly took my life the second time, a decade ago: the dengue-carrying mosquito. I had prior to arriving purchased protection in the form of a very strong DDT-loaded mosquito repellent (yes, it's the dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane I’m talking about), which I tried using as best as I could. I think over time, it would be really hard to remember to re-apply this roll-on again and again during the day. I guess some of us like living on the edge, a dangerous life. Another strike with dengue fever would probably not be good for me at all, but I do want to go to these places anyway. I’m such a brave man, right?  

Even for me, these kind of places are the perfect location for picture taking. Even after having been in this kind of environment for decades in the past, I still can’t be without my camera for any extended periode of time. There is always cool and somewhat exotic motifs popping up. It’s therefore the completely opposite of my city in Norway, where everything looks normal and every-day to me. I guess that is the essence of travelling to other places, seeing something that you do not see every day. 

I guess one of my many dreams would be to retire to such a place in the next decade(s) or so, create my own tiny business there and to slow down life to local standards. No more ships, no more ferries, no ferry-schedules and no more work related worries. Off course, the worry is that by then, these kinds of places might have changed to soemthing completely different as well. 

12 years ago, back in 2003, when the foundations for the pedestal of the Buddha in the above temple was being prepared, I had the honor of doing my part in the ceremony.   

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