Life in Thailand is different. Different to what I had imagined it would be, and now, 16 months of living here later, is still so different from the life I had in London. To be fair to me, the six months of the year that were spent in pain did not give me much of a perspective on this place. Stuck in the house and berating myself for having had the accident, I didn't really get out and about and the habit of staying at home became exactly that, a habit. So I have been pushing myself out the door and because my personal rehab has been to walk along the beach, I have acquired a large number of beach photos. I thought that I'd seen the year round on that beach and that there was nothing new to see. Except of course that the sky is always changing and the sea is never the same, but in terms of people and actions, mostly similar. Plus of course my favourite cafe to stop off at on the way home, where I sit and have my banana smoothie and cappuccino and watch daily life go past. Again I thought there was nothing of great surprise to happen.
The cafe first, this morning, sitting and sipping and watching and suddenly the egg delivery woman arrives. I've never seen her before.
Here she is eggs on a side car (sort of) loaded up and riding through the streets to deliver to her customers. Two details to this photo that are important. Her customer is wearing a woollen cardigan, the temperature today is 30C. I am dressed in t-shirt, shorts and white cotton shirt. We feel the heat differently. And the green truck going past is the local bus. 10 baht, about 20p a journey and that can be as short or as long as you like.
Look how her smile lights up the day. Suddenly a stern face becomes a joy. The transformation is wonderful.
And now to the beach. I have never see these women before but about two weeks ago for five days they were out every day searching for clams.
Strange almost medieval figures draped in cloth and covered completely to protect them from the harsh sun. These women were out for hours searching for clams. They are no longer there. Juxtaposed with the bikini clad tourists and sandcastle-building children they were completely self-contained. There was no communication between them in the hour or so that I was out watching and photographing. They had a job to do and a way of making a small amount of money however long it took and for small rewards.
Thailand a country of contradictions and surprising moments.