Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 354
CAVEMAN: THOUGHTS AND ANECDOTES
Recently, since his move to Chiang Mai and his new status as an American expat, Caveman's submissions to Stickmanbangkok.com have increased in frequency. You would expect them to and they have. It is nice to see an expat taking an interest in his new life and his surroundings and writing about it. Almost no expats do this. The usual format for these submissions is three part. The first part is text/pictorial and details his thoughts and experiences as he motorcycles around in the Chiang Mai area. The second part usually has something to say about his social life (read: girlfriend adventures or misadventures), and the third part usually has him expressing political points-of-view.
I must say I find the first parts of these submissions very enjoyable. They are fun and respectful and factual and interesting. They remind me of similar text and photo reports done by Pothole Research many years ago. Mr. Caveman makes specific comments about specific situations and his photos are wonderful. Chiang Mai is basically a valley surrounded by mountains so as soon as you leave the valley you can be treated to mountain landscapes and water features, etc. The best way to see this landscape situation is from the top of the Doi Suthep monastery where you have a high and long view of the valley and the mountains. I have made trips to Chiang Mai and I have to say that its good points are mostly to be had outside the city. This is what Caveman explores and he does it well. I particularly like the architectural pictures: not the temples so much but the houses. I find these house pictures very interesting and a subject that has been too little covered in the past. Caveman is doing good work here. I would buy a big fancy book of these house photos.
There have been some other noteworthy contributions to Stickmanbangkok.com in this genre of text/pictorial rural essay over the years. I wouldn't want to express an opinion about which ones I think are the best because I am all about wanting to be popular and well liked, but I think these rural essays done by Caveman are a lot of fun. For those of you who might say they are not too dramatic and a little same-same I would remind you that this is Thailand. Sometimes life's satisfactions are in the details. Read the text closely and look at the pictures closely. You'll be glad you did. And if you are not in Thailand when doing this reading factor in the fact that El Cavemano is on the ground doing it and you are in a studio apartment in Hamburg, Germany next to a chicken plucking plant. He should be your hero. I know he is mine.
Be honest, whether you are Manny from Mannheim, or Sven from Oslo, or Tug from Fiji you'd love to be on a nowhere road in Thailand taking a picture of a nowhere house in an area populated by nowhere people. Can you explain this to your banker father in Moscow or your uptown girlfriend from Paris? No you can't. It's beyond explanation. It's Thailand. One of the strangest Kingdoms on Earth. Don't stress over it. Just be a leaf on the wind of your own pleasure. And respect Caveman. He's maybe the historical front man. Someday there might not be any rural roads left in Thailand. But we will have his pictures. Someday a chicken might point to a picture of a road with a chicken standing beside it and say:
"That was your great great great great great great great great great grandmother, kids."
This guy Caveman is a god to me.
Caveman has a lot to say about various forms of fresh produce to be had in the Chiang Mai area, and by probably safe inference (white people talkin'), all of Thailand. He is a vegan and interested in these things. My personal interest is belly button lint. If I was writing these reports I would comment on that. Anyway, this is for me where the car of credulity flashes off the literary road. I find it inconceivable and monstrous (in Jack London's words) that he is not chowing down on cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes as he thunders through villages, screeches around corners, and brushes small children and animals into the mud. You can not travel the miles he does in making these reports on celery sticks and pumice stone powder for roughage. I'm talking science here. So the fact that he is chowing down on cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes and he is not telling us where these great places are in the outer Chiang Mai area is a little dishonest. Just my opinion. I guess that is how he and I are different. I would tell the world. Not judging. Just saying.
So this is my plan to right this wrong. Step One: I am going to win the Massachusetts Lottery here in the States and suddenly have millions and millions of dollars to spend. Step Two: I am going to move to the Chiang Mai area. Step Three: I am going to buy a 16000cc. motorcycle with side car. Ok, now for more on Step Three. Fa will drive and I will sit in the sidecar so that I can make notes and make recordings as we search the area for the top cheeseburger and chocolate shake spots. We will militarily grid the entire area using satellite technology and some kind of GPS thing; and we will explore every single highway, road, unimproved road, and dirt track for great places that serve great cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes. There will be interviews, and spec sheets, and recipes, and rockin' photos. We will sacrifice our lives for humanity in search of this information and we will make it public. Those are the kinds of people Fa and I are. Again, science.
I am going to buy my lottery ticket tomorrow. I am going to dress up for the occasion. I don't know whether to buy it at the 7-11 where everybody is from Bangladesh and nobody speaks English, or buy it at the 7-11 around the corner where everybody is from Morocco and nobody speaks English, or buy my winning ticket from the 7-11 where everybody speaks Nepalese and nobody speaks English, or buy it from the laundry where everybody speaks Vietnamese and nobody speaks English, or buy it from the 'hole-in-the-wall' place on Winter Street run by a Russian and an Ethiopian who do not speak English; but I will get that puzzled out. Question: how do the Russian and the Ethiopian speak to each other?
Anyway, wish me luck and look for me in the Chiang Mai area soon. Fa at the handlebars and my fact recording self in the sidecar searching out the area's greatest cheeseburgers and greatest chocolate shakes. And if one day you hear two girlish screams, Fa and I have just rocketed by Caveman and one of his Thai lady photography assistants at 160 miles per hour.
I think the day Caveman writes a guide to cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes will be the day I write a guide to ladyboys i.e. it just ain't gonna happen! Or maybe it should be me writing the guide to cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes and Caveman writing the guide to ladyboys?! Smile, Mr. Cavey, just kidding!