There are many expats from numerous countries that come to Thailand looking to boost their ego and have created an economy of supply and demand of said economy. It is the end of September and still the low season for the number of tourists visiting Chiang Mai and Thailand in general. We can see the lack of income for taxis, songtheaws, tuk tuk drivers and tour operators because we are getting pitched for tours and being quoted higher than normal rates for transportation.
Learning to speak a little Transportation Thai is helping because they know we are not tourists and they resign themselves to giving us Thai price. It is a very lean time for all businesses and of course they are trying harder to put food on the table.
Vince and I walk most places and have on occasion decided to walk home at night. Our route takes us past a few bars where the women are perched on stools near or just outside the door waiting to pour drinks and converse with customers. I joke with Vince that if he were walking alone I am sure he would be approached to have a drink with them.
The opportunity for us to be apart from each other has not come up so this was not put to the test. Until we attended the TEDx Chiang Mai talks at the Le Meridian Hotel. This was an all day event and we found comfortable lounge chairs outside of the main auditorium where we made our nest for the day.
I decided to make use of the craft area making recycled goods into something that popped into my head. It was great fun and I was also listening to the talks and frequently seeing if Vince needed anything. At a break I took him some coffee and a snack and went back to my project. I will estimate he was sitting by himself for 30 or 40 minutes.
Throughout the day we met many people and would strike up a conversation of pleasantries like where are you from, are you on vacation, etc. Vince told me a Thai woman asked if the seat next to him was taken, he said no and she sat down. The conversation was pleasant and normal for the day except, he said, when her eyes lit up upon hearing he was from America and she asked him if she could get him something to drink and eat. He told her his wife just brought him some coffee. “You are married?” He said, “Yes” and she immediately excused herself.
We talked about it at length and we wondered how long he was being watched. Unlike some other men, he was extremely uncomfortable and was very happy when my project was done and I was back at his side. I asked him if her attention made him feel happy, needed, sexy, wanted or if his ego got a boost from a 30 something woman hitting on him. He said, “No, it made me feel like an ATM!”
Everyone needs to put food on the table.