Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thai Smiles, Part 12: Dunking Your Friends

This group of photos dovetails so well with yesterday's it probably could have been saved and included in the "At The Shore" series, but it's certainly (A) full of smiles and (B) it contains one of my all-time favorite images from Thailand and I thought I'd like to share a little more about the story behind it - so here it is:

I was walking along central Pattaya beach late one afternoon, passing time and waiting to see what luck I'd have photographing the sunset when I heard shrieking and laughter coming from a knot of young adolescents a ways out into the water. Their carefree exuberance and energy was so refreshingly entertaining I stopped to sit on the walkway stairs and watch as they played, ganging up on themselves one after the other and dunking each victim in turn until they yelled "uncle!" or whatever it is they say in Thai to beg for mercy from such teasing.

The girl in the black T-shirt was getting the worst of it when I finally decided to try testing the limits of the zoom lens and see what I could capture shooting into the somewhat harsh late-afternoon sunlight. The younger boy in the group didn't swim well enough to be able to participate as well as the others and was shown mercy while the older one led most of the attacks - as boys that age are prone to do. He was beside himself with laughter each time someone was dunked, resurfacing with a sputter.

After one attack he laughed so hard he choked himself - to the great amusement of the others - but that only tickled him all the more, and he let loose with the laugh I was lucky enough to catch below.

If I'm ever having a discouraging day, this picture can usually remind me of that afternoon and the innocent fun they were sharing with such abandon - and make me smile.

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