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Isaan Generations

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#1 Evil Penevil

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 07:03 PM


I took these pics 10 years ago during an extended trip through Isaan.  I posted them in 2009, but they disappeared when the image hosting site went down.  I just rediscovered them on an external hard drive which had I had misplaced. The pics were taken on a farm with four houses and an extended family of about 30 people ranging from the great grandmother to toddlers.


The little girl in the pic had never seen a farang before and couldn't figure out what I was. 




Once her fear wore off, she approached me and started rubbing my arm.  Her family laughed and said even Thai babies like white skin!  The great granny also commented she had never seen skin as white as mine. Everyone I met that day said something about my complexion and how lucky I was to have such light skin.  I didn't have the heart to tell them that skin cancer runs in my family and so far I've been one of the few males to escape it.




The main house where 10 people lived:




The older  boy was speeding around the compound with the infant holding on to the handlebars.  I winced at that one. The uncle on the right was drunk at 4.00 p.m.




This uncle was also drunk and had a gash above his eye that needed stitches.  His wife, also drunk, had just stabbed him with a knife.






Preparing dinner:




The family gathered for dinner:




The adult males ate at one table,  the females and children at other tables.




I had donated a carton of large beers to the meal.  All were gone by the end of it.  Those gentlemen were thirsty!




I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto.  I prayed to every god known and unknown I wouldn't have to use the outhouse while I was there.




I don't think the cows had ever seen a farang, either.  They stared at me in a spooky fashion.  I understand now why Thai beef is tough.  Those aren't exactly Black Angus.




The houses were ramshackle, but inside all had 50-inch color TVs.  Three of the young women in the family worked in P4P establishments in Bangkok.  That's how I met one of them and ended up in the village.





Edited by Evil Penevil, 04 August 2018 - 07:44 PM.

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#2 Alphonse


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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:24 AM

Nice pix and narrative; think I'll pass on the experience for the time being.

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#3 Evil Penevil

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 10:52 AM

A lot of the girls I have known have had conflicted feelings about the big city vs the village. When working in Pattaya or Bangkok, they miss the warmth and love of their families. The girls with children feel sad and guilty about not spending more time with them. Most also hate the humiliation of "working bar" and "going with many men." There's considerable danger to their souls and bodies as well, so the village is a haven for them, at least on an emotional basis.

But when they go back to the village for an extended time, they begin to long for the big city life. They miss chatting and partying with friends; discos; shopping malls; restaurants; movies; karaoke; beauty salons and a hundred other things. Life on the farm is physically demanding and the girls sure can't sleep 12 hours a day. Everyone in the family goes to bed at 10 p.m. at the latest to be able to get up at 4.00 or 5.00 a.m. to start the day's work.

"Boring" is how one girl summed it up. Another told me her dream in life would be to have a job in an office or shop in Korat or Khon Kaen and visit the farm every weekend. That's a realistic dream and thousands of Isaan girls live it. The downside is they'd be making 12,000-15,000 baht per month if lucky, whereas they can earn four or five times that amount as a bar girl.

Through my visits, I gained a lot of understanding for the lives these girls live, which are often much more complicated than many farang think. They have hard roads to travel and I try in my interactions with them not to make it any harder.



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