June 25, 2007

241206 Muang Khua town centre - 02

Travelling alone through places with patchy cellphone network coverage, the cat relies on blending in with locals to move around without attracting attention, for safety. Especially when it is highly unlikely that anyone it manages to contact in an emergency would be able to respond with help within a day or two or many more. Blending in also means not having to deal with farang prices ;) It also means that locals are not the least bit shy & will not hesitate to yak on & on:

maa tae/jak Wiang Jarn/Luang Phabang maen bor? you're from Vientiane/Luang Prabang right?
baan keut yuu sai? where's your village/hometown/birthplace?
maa haa phor mae/phii nong? you're here to look for parents/relatives?
maa thula/thiaw? here on business/holiday?
hian mahawitthayalai thii pathet Wietnam? studying in university in Vietnam?
bpen khuu/ajaan maen bor? you're a teacher/lecturer right?
ayuu jak pii? taeng ngaan laew bor? how old are you? married yet?
lot nii pai Muang Xai bor? does this bus go to Udomxai?
waylaa bpai theung Ban XXX suai bork khoi dai bor? when we reach XXX village could you please tell me?

& when they realise that the cat barely understands anything they are saying:

khawp khua jaak bpai pathet Lao meua dai? when did your family leave Lao?

...with the assumption that the cat is an overseas Lao born in USA/France/some Thai refugee camp & making a trip back to discover its roots...!

Blending in also means this reluctance to put a camera in people's faces. It just creates an instant gulf. The cat has found itself on the receiving end before, in the crosshairs of farang photographers in villages & Luang Prabang temples. Hence most of its photos of humans are taken from afar, like through grimy tinted bus windows:


Local pirated VCD/DVD store:


Lottery ticket seller:


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