27 Jan
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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

25 November 2010


“Why the f*** aren’t you making babies?!?”

This is the comment from Singh (a friendly chap who turns out to be trying to lure us to a bespoke tailor for a commission) when we explain that we have been together for over fifteen years. I’m not sure whether all his swearing is natural, or part of the persona he has adopted – that of a Thai man who now lives in Melbourne, Australia and is thus very wealthy and so of course is offering to take us to his tailor out of mere human kindness rather than any desire for a commission. *cough cough*

He is the latest in a procession of at least a half-dozen people over the last three days who have taken Maureen for a Thai girl at first glance. In fact, Maureen has also been mistaken once for a Malagasy girl in Madagascar, several times for a Nepali girl in Nepal, as well as for a Tibetan girl in Tibet and a Cantonese girl in Hong Kong. She might even get mistaken for an Indonesian when we get to Indonesia! I guess locals just don’t see many tourists with Asian features unless they be Japanese or (more recently) Chinese.

Anyway, the misapprehension is much more common in Thailand – definitely going to be a daily occurrence. And these folks are delightfully startled when she responds to their incomprehensible greetings with “sorry, I’m English!” The facial expression that follows this revelation tends to be a mixture of amusement and reassessment, and I can almost see them thinking “oh, so you’re not one of those girls”.

There are indeed lots and lots of caucasian guys wandering around Chiang Mai with Thai girlfriends. They’re probably about a thousand times more common than – for example – caucasian guys wandering around Kathmandu with Nepalese girlfriends. Hence the blog title: T.G.S. = Thai Girlfriend Syndrome.

Because I can’t stop wondering what all the other Thai people who we don’t speak to are thinking about me as I wander around with Maureen. Probably “oh, he’s one of those guys.” There are fringe benefits, of course: with the noteable exception of potty-mouthed Singh, we haven’t been hassled by any touts or tricksters yet!

4 Responses to “T.G.S.”

  1. Jane says:

    I was ~wondering~ if Maureen were being mistaken for a local anywhere, but judged it rude to ask. I can tell you that the people of France kept wanting me to be as French as they seemed to think I look…

    • shortclaws says:

      It’s actually starting to reach epidemic proportions – sometimes up to four “sorry, I only speak English” in one day. And in one restaurant three different waiters made the same assumption – obviously not sharing info with each other!

  2. Jane says:

    I hope you are keeping your senses of humor about it… I can see how it could get annoying after a bit!

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