10 October 2008

Observations on arrival: Krabi on 7th

After a l-o-n-g day of travel which seemed like forever, I arrived in Krabi, Thailand. The suitcase I last saw in Auckland came round on the belt. Through customs and out to the arrival hall.

How nice to see a man holding a card with my name on it! He went to get the van while I waited in the sultry darkness of SW Thailand. The only passenger for the van, I sat in the first of the back seats so I could see out the front. The AC was on high and sights flashed by, only real as long as the headlights allowed them to be.

We joined light traffic and I noticed many open trucks with people clad in white. My driver said there was a festival! They were like a parade to somewhere, all in the same lane and waving flags.

No this was not the political protests that flashed on international news. This was real people getting on with life in their own way and enjoying themselves in community.

It started to rain. By now we were following another open truck with several people in the back. It would be impossible to tell how many from the distance as they were huddled together like chooks in a storm. One body snuggled in close to another, humans using humans as shields buffeted by wind and rain.

Think it through again. There I was was, one individual in a 10-12 passenger air conditioned van while 8+ people steeled themselves as best they could out in the open.

What is that? At the least it's imbalance. Injustice is not a bad label. Reality is apt.

I remember when living in Africa that children died of simple things.
They died mostly because they were born in the wrong country.

While I celebrate diversity and culture, there are accompaniments that take the edge off the fascination. And this journey has really only just begun. I've yet to see real suffering, though for those in the back of that truck, discomfort was real enough at the time.

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