It is a common stereotype that Asians love to take photos, especially of themselves in front of things. While I wouldn’t suggest that we should believe all stereotypes and use them to classify groups of people, this one was proven time and time again in my recent trip to Thailand. At every stop the Thais insisted we strike a variety of cute poses in front of landmarks. It was treated seriously like a professional photo shoot as all our poses were arranged into the perfect position and we had matching attire.
When I asked why the Thais love photos so much, my Thai friend Luck, replied it is because friendships are really important to them and they don’t get to travel much so they really want to remember the moments. I found this to be ironically funny because sometimes it seemed like that was all there was to the moment – the race to capture it in photography. What experience were we capturing when we had to all peer out from behind random trees, or pose in front of every National Park sign? I’m not sure.
I also did some informal research into the phenomenon and according to the blog Stuff Asians like“The act of self photography is in part a survival mechanism. Asians are, for the most part, quiet and unobtrusive (unless they are shouting into a phone or yelling at their children). Without self-documentation, Asians risk disappearing altogether. ”
Rather than fight it, I decided to embrace my inner Asian and let the cheesy poses take over. And you kn ow what – it was a lot of fun! Check out a select few from the millions of pics from my recent Thailand trip.
The next few photos were lend as evidence to support my claim that Thais are obsessive with their photography.
How’s does this score for artistic impression?
Pictures in front of signs are a must.
Here we are in Pai with Love. How’s that for a cheesy photo?
Luck and I had the change to try out a fish spa in which this special type of fish eat all the dead skin off of your feet. It was a neat experience, once I got over how much it tickled.
Here I am putting rice and pouring water into each of the bowls for the monks as part of the Thai New Year Buddhist celebrations.
Luck’s youngest son, Op, munches on a mouthful of dried fish while in the temple.
I meet Dang and his family for the first time since 2004. His daughter, Ying, was literally just a few months old last time I saw her.
Here we are enjoying a dinner and a couple Chang beers with Dang and his family.
Great shopping doesn’t stop at night.
The Chaing Mai night market has something for everyone.
This bridge was supposedly very significant during WWII. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand why due to poor translation.
This location was beautiful with cooler temperatures and ideal jogging routes. Who could ask for more?
Apparently a Thai romantic comedy was shot in this location called, “Pai with Love” making it very popular to the local tourists.
Just in case you are wondering in which all the major cities (or the toilet) are this sign will help.
Ying shows off the cool interior of the huts.
These were out cute bungalows to stay in Pai.
No trip to Thailand is complete without a visit to a “traditional Chinese Village”. This was complete with Thai people dressed up in Chinese dress, selling green tea and giving acupuncture treatments.
YIng is dressed in a traditional Chinese outfit and drinking green tea just for this photo op.
I didn’t mean to take this pics in black and white, but they look artistic, no?
This is the boat were were about to get on to raft down the river. This young boy did eventually put some clothes on for his guests.
I’m trying to capture a candid image of floating down the river. However, I could never get a shot without having one of the Thais taking a picture in it.
This is Ning, Dang’s 22 year old brother’s girlfriend.
Of course there were places to stop and eat a picnic lunch along the way. We definitely wouldn’t want to get hungry.
This was the typical landscape we were rafting through.
I take control of the raft for a while – scary.
We spent a wonderful night looking through old photos, telling ridiculous stories and eating great food.
This is the delicious supper Mam treated us all to on the last night we stayed there.
This is Dang and Mam’s home on a egetable farm in rural Thailand. They are around two hours outside of Chaing Mai.
Here Dang’s mother performs a traditional ceremony in which she ties string around our wrists and chants prayers to bring us good health and happiness.
Here Dang is pictured chilling with his daughter and his niece.
It is tradition in Thailand during the New Year to give gifts to your elders. We gave a basket of goodies to Mam’s mother and then had a picutre taken with the family.
This is the village that Dang and Mam live in. I still remember pulling up on the bus in 2004 and Luck saying to us that she didn’t know which house was Dang’s and proceeded to yell, “Dang? Dang?” until someone miraculously came out and led us to Dang’s house.
We also met Mam’s grandfather and niece.
Mam’s grandmother might be 90 but she is still going strong.
We get our toes painted at a local shop while waiting for the bus.
Luck was my counterpart on the Thai – Canada cultural youth exchange 2000. We basically still look 20 years old!
Here are the two of us again. After all, you can never have too many snaps.
Dang, his wife Mam, daughter Ying, Luck and I are all dressed for success at possibly the world’s biggest water fight.
Drag queens put on a performance in the middle of the street. After all, it just wouldn’t be Thailand without a ladyboy performance.
Here Luck, Dang and I mentally prepare to wage water battle on the others. I haven’t seen Dang since 2004 and it was wonderful to be reunited.
Celebrating Songkran (Thai New Year) in Chaing Mai, Thailand is the place to be. The city is know for their good street parties and slightly cooler temps.
There were several concerts to watch along the way as we participated in the giant water fight.
Luck, Me, Tong and his son MJ before our boat ride.
Tong, MJ sleeping, Ja and Luck. They are all (except the little boy) former Youth Exchange participants.
It’s also not Thailand without the delicious food.
I had to laugh at the irony of the whole utopian image as many of the boats now sport noisy engines and simply transport tourists to the most profitable souvenir shops along the way.
On this floating market a couple of hours outside of Bangkok you could buy anything from ice cream to paintings all while on a boat.
After perusing this market, we of course needed a group shot by the sign.
Apparently circling underneath an elephant brings good luck. I’m wondering if this was a misinterpretation of when in the past some guy made it out from underneath an elephant alive and said, “Boy, that was lucky!”
Elephants are such fascinating creatures when you feed them. Their trunks act like they have a mind of their own as they sniff out and awkwardly grab the food you hand them.
You’re never two young to get into the love of being photographed.
Offerings were made at the local temples for this special time of year.
Just climbing the few steps up these ruins had us all drenched in sweat on this 40 degree day.
At this site of ancient ruins,
MJ strikes a pose proving he is just like his father!
Our last dinner together was on a boat shaped restaurant overlooking a river.
This was taken at the airport and meant to be a farewell photo. Had I not messed up my flight time it would have been a touching moment, but the Thais were stuck with me for another 12 hours.