Village Farang Answers Questions …

Here is comment from my last blog post.  It contains several questions so thought I would use it as a starting point for yet another post.

JJ Said:
“Well, just finished the blog. 300+ posts in 2 days! The level of material -- and the fact it resonates with me to such a degree -- kept me reading...

You like questions, so here are a few:

1) I can only assume that you've seen most of Thailand by now. Which place do you miss the most? By miss, I mean a place that development and time have altered so dramatically that it's been rendered unrecognizable from when you first encountered it. 
My tenure is nowhere near as long, but my list of missed places already saddens me.
2) You seem to be a very carpe diem kind of guy, looking for adventure around every corner. Do you have any regrets? 

3) Do you have a history with Hicks? I didn't follow that exchange...

4) One of the biggest differences I feel from when I first came here is how Thais in general react to farangs. Perhaps due to the sheer volume of them, or it could be their usual lack of understanding, but I usually get the sense that Thais as a whole are becoming a lot less genuine/friendly/etc with farangs as time passes. Would you agree? If so, do you see the trend changing? Or will the influx of tourists and expats end up eliminating the "Thai smile"?

5) Have you ever considered supplementing the blog with videos?

6) Have you traveled much to the bordering countries? Other than Mae Sai, I see no mention of them.”

Let me start with the easy stuff first.  I am not really into video but I have considered podcasts.  Since I am already spread a bit thin, with my attention scattered over too many venues, I don’t feel it is a good idea to make things even harder or more complicated.

Your question about “Hicks” really threw me.  I had to search through several hundred comments before I realizes you were asking about the author Andrew Hicks and a comment he made.  I didn’t really follow that exchange either, so don’t feel bad.  I have chosen not to hitch my wagon to the notorious nightlife of Thailand so I do not follow those who have.  Hicks would fall into that category for me, so we do not have any history that I know of.

Having long ago removed myself from the tourist areas of Thailand, I really don’t have a read on what things are like in areas more heavily populated with expats and sexpats.  Though I have to admit feeling a little uncomfortable a few times on our recent road trip through the Isaan region.  At times it felt a little too much like an extension of Pattaya for my liking.  For the last fifteen years I have had nothing to do with the nightlife and even that last ten years living in Bangkok, we lived and socialized in an upmarket area devoid the stereotypic foreigners and the lack of understanding you allude to.

As for traveling to other countries in the region, I really haven’t.  When I was young, in the mid 1970s, things were not as open as they are now and there were many place where it was not advisable to travel.  Besides my interest was, and still is, focused on Thailand, not on the region.  My interest never even extended to the minorities and stateless people, popular with some tourists, who are at best on the fringes of Thai society.  When I traveled a few years back with my wife, it was to snow covered peaks, pine forest and the national parks in my homeland, which I now find exotic after living here for so long.  Sharing these places with my wife made them even more amazing.

My adventures here were within Thailand and usually at the invitation of Thais.  As a youth I accompanied wealthy Thais, to Chiang Mai and Hua Hin, staying in their family holiday homes.  I once accompanied a couple of monks on the train to Chiang Mai where they were going to spend the rainy season.  I was young and presentable so many a young lady took me home to her village as a novelty but I won’t get into that. 

Being accepted into the different levels of society was a challenge and an adventure for me.  Keeping it all separate and straight, remembering how to speak and act in different environments was tricky at times but also a lot of fun.  It also helped me find myself and grow into the person I am today.

In a way I lead three different lives.  I kept my daytime and nighttime lives completely separate and my farang relationships were in yet another box.  Things began to change as I got older and more experienced but Thailand never left me wanting when it came to new challenges or experiences.  Which leads me to question number one and two.

I am not particularly nostalgic nor do I second guess my choices.  I make the best decision I can at the time, with the information I have, and move on from there.  That means I really have no regrets, as I am only who I am today because of what came before.  I don’t really identify with yearning for some place or past which no long is.  I live in the moment, as much as possible, while always keeping an eye on what is coming over the horizon.

As I age, I seem to have gravitated to a more domestic lifestyle, simplistic by design, but surrounded by creature comforts and the love of a good woman.  I no longer look outward so much or focus on the big things.  It is the little things that are close enough to touch my senses that get my attention.  I now notice things, feel and sense things, which went unnoticed years ago.

Sure it is great to bump into an old friend and take a stroll down memory lane.  It can bring back long forgotten memories and flood the senses with sights, sounds, smells and emotions but I can’t say I miss those places, or times, and wish they hadn't changed.  Besides what is the point, life marches on, and for me now is always the best place to be.

I know I jumped around a bit but I hope I answered your questions, even if not in the way anticipated.  Then again, after reading the blog, this was probably what you expected. ;-)  Thank you very much for taking the time to read the whole thing and ask questions.