The only thing I didn’t like about Phayam was the over-abundance of pretentious hippy types you get there. Particularly the ones with small children, who have no say in how they are dressed. More especially when they’d shaved these poor kids’ heads and left a dreadlocked rat-tail or clump of hair at the back. Then sitting in an organic cafe, making them drink Weasel Piss Coffee. Poor mites. It’s just not on. And dreadlocks are for rastas, not middle-class white people. It’s a disgrace. Years ago, I heard of white kids at Manchester Uni getting beaten up by black guys for having locks. They get offended because it’s a Rastafarian Ting. I’ve seen less Dredds at a Bob Marley gig than I did my first night on Phayam. I could have been down Electric Avenue in SW2. So get that hair cut, Mike!
Another annoyance is the Thai fisherman’s pants…the very loose ¾ length trousers they wear on boats. They look ridiculous on Westerners…what’s wrong with wearing a pair of shorts? The tits who wear these like a badge of honour believe the theory that if you’ve been in Thailand over 2 months, only then are you entitled to wear these ridiculous garbs. You’re not Thai, and you’re not a bloody fisherman; take those trousers off, please.
I’d seen a guy, American and in his late 50s, committing both the above heinous crimes in Luang Prabang. Looked like he’d got lost in the jungle during the Vietnam War, found John Lennon’s cast-offs in the local Oxfam Shop and decided to grow locks. He passed me in the street and nodded sagely “Sabaii dii, maaaaan.” I wasn’t playing. “Alright, mate?” was the best he’d get. I’d have kicked myself all the way home if I’d answered him in Lao.
The other species I’ll get cantankerous about is the traveller who thinks that wandering through a slightly less-developed continent means you have to buy everything on the shelves of Blacks outdoors shops before you leave. It’s not deepest, darkest Africa. You’re not going to get the opportunity to part dense undergrowth and utter the immortal greeting “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” I’d seen the odd bloke in Laos wearing safari suits with wide-brimmed hats and hiking boots walking along the high street with wives in short, vests, flip-flops and mortification. But the shining example was a man my age I saw at Ko Tao pier. If I hadn’t been in so much pain from the recent rib-break, I’d have been minded to take a photo. He was dressed all in khaki; big hat with a roll-up net around the brim; webbed belt with more utilities than Batman; a military water-bottle; and a shirt with so many pockets I couldn’t count them all. Please don’t be English please don’t be English please don’t be English I said silently. He was English. The shame of it all.
Now you might read all this criticism, and think I’m intolerant, elitist prick? You’re not far off. Or as “Robin” (hairdresser, perhaps?) commented on one article, an “anally-retentive quasi-diver cock”. Many thanks, Robin. All constructive criticism is gratefully received, so I’ll take that on board.