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April 03, 2005

Special Thanks

Sunday at the festival was a little more mellow. Not as many people wandering through to check it out. T-shirt sales in the Pakarang Boatyard booth were slow but steady.

At one point just after lunchtime, I looked up and noticed an Important Man approaching the booth. He wore a western, collared shirt and trousers with a belt and gold belt buckle, a gold necklace, a gold watch. These are definite status symbols in a country like this. His wife was wearing a coordinated silk Outfit and, like Daisy in the Great Gatsby, was "dripping with diamonds." As I dashed to get Kong, who speaks Thai, I noticed the man was traveling with about 12 other people, and at least four of them were soldiers.

Yesterday, we had a visit from Phang-Nga's governor. Again he looked important in his style of dress and how he carried himself, but what really tippped me off was that Kong was bowing lower and lower, the closer the man approached. It was clear he was a man of respect.

But today's visitor Kong described as the "second governor," which I took to be the Lt. Governor. He spent quite a while in the tent watching the builders work on boats. He tried chatting with me, but he was very soft spoken and the words I could understand were lost in the noise of the circular saw. His wife was nice, too—she gave her son money to buy a t-shirt from us. They wanted to make a picture with the boat builders. As I set up to take that photo too, his wife grabbed me by the hand and dragged me into the picture. Which was a bit bizarre, but whatever. Flattering, I guess?

After they left I had walked across the street to ask a question at reception. I nearly bumped into the second governor again. He stopped me, and said: "I am really glad to meet you today, for you donate to tsunami. Thank you very much."

I never expected any thanks for working here in Khao Lak. I mean, it's always nice, but it wasn't a requirement. To receive such a heartfelt thank you on behalf of the entire province — I can't ask for more than that.

Posted by sedda at April 3, 2005 11:32 PM