PDAs - public displays of affection - aren't the norm among Thai people. By that I don't mean a mother lovingly patting talcum powder on her child's face roadside before sending them off to play; this refers more to intoxicated tourists pawing their current object of interest in a public or semi-public place outside of the club areas where the rules have morphed somewhat to fit the business at (or literally in) hand.
More often than not you'll see the recipient squirm uncomfortably and/or to pry their way out of the situation, unless it's part of a business transaction (i.e. a Rented Admirer's agreement) and then it's possibly tolerated, but not appreciated. You don't need to take my word for it - just note the looks on the faces of the Thai nearby when they're put in a position to see such behavior.
Leaving that aside, though, love is love, and gentle affection will usually bring a smile to even the more conservative Thai faces, as did the couple in this small photo essay today.
One afternoon while I was cooling off at Coffee Society, a delightful coffee shop spot to pass a little time on a hot afternoon while sipping an iced coffee and watching the world go by I had a chance to see just such a sweet scene. Coffee Society is directly below the Sala Daeng BTS station.
[For the true newbies the BTS is the elevated light rail train system that can whisk you about the Big Mango. If you click on the links here you can read an introduction, a piece on statistics (and those damned stairs) and about tickets and fares.]
|BUSTED! The young woman had just waved at me, seeing my camera pointed in their direction. The man had already seen me, smiled and waved.|
On the station platform above me stood a couple peering down at the daily afternoon set-up of the Silom night market stalls. I say "daily" but every so often there's an edict handed down to clear the sidewalks and they're not there for a night or three. This particular day folks were erecting their stalls, much as you'd see along the main Patpong Night Market area being set up. You can also see more about that daily circus in posts 1, 2 and 3 if you want.
While they were watching they appeared to be taking turns sharing affectionate glances and little kisses. I thought it was sweet, myself, but wondered what the others passing by might say, given the chance. I couldn't see everyone walking past them from my vantage point below, but it was nice to see those who noticed them usually smile in their direction. If it was what I'd guessed were a couple - especially those, say, under 30 - they often smiled at the person they were walking with.
I was reminded of a movie that is "cinema non grata" in Thailand, if you'll forgive my bastardized latin, but many of you have seen it. Think Rogers and Hammerstein musical from the mid-1950s, starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr that included a story of forbidden love graced with the song "Hello, Young Lovers".
They stood there at the railing for at least a half an hour before moving out of my range of vision, apparently getting on a train or exiting the station. Less than five minutes later they wandered by my seat at Coffee Society, nodded a greeting and went inside to order.
When they came out to find a seat to people watch as I'd done I motioned for them to join me, which they did. I showed them the photos I'd taken, and asked if they'd mind them put here on the blog. They agreed, as long as I didn't reveal any of the details they shared while we visited that day, so I'll leave their story up to your own imaginations.
So, here you are, you two. Since I've already emailed you the full images you know how to get in touch with me if you change your minds, but thanks again for the opportunity to observe and then visit with two very pleasant and gentle people. Stay in touch.