The End of the Beginning

A calm took over me one morning as I woke up and saw the sunrise. I sat on my porch that overlooked the beach bungalows that terraced down to the Gulf of Thailand as the sun slowly crept up from the sea. The people from the Blackbeard movie had set us up in this sleepy town called Nai Plao.

I grabbed my camera and went down to meet the sun. I felt peace and an understanding. Of what? I don’t know, but I understood. It’s the same understanding I get when I’m out photographing the world. Connected to the earth and world around.

Another emotion crept in as I worked on a slow exposure of the Gulfs soft and beautiful waters. I knew that this place that was mostly hidden from foreigners usually was now on the edge of being doomed. Over 300 people, mostly farang, had flooded this little town to make the movie. I was witnessing the degradation of a culture. These foreigners coming in with little respect for the quiet town or their ways of life. It was saddening, sickening and unfortunately I was part of it. It didn’t matter that I spoke Thai. I was just as much A Farang as the rest of them.

I have a fear that the cultures and languages of the world will end up homogenized for the sake of tourism. It is a true fear. I think of learning a language as a challenge and a new realm to explore and have fun and adventure and mishaps. If I wanted to be around English speakers I would stay in America. If I wanted to be around dickheads with a lack of respect I’d stay there too.

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A short novela recounting a surf trip to Baja turns South when the engine my '71 Volkswagon seized, leading me on an adventure down Baja 1000 roads, encounters with transvestite prostitutes, and drought ending weddings.

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