Kanchanaburi Travel Blog› entry 24 of 49 › view all entries
June 9th, 2006 – by: umbralwalker
Just two days on my own, and I have really felt Rich's absence. Not only do I miss his companionship immensly, I miss the protection his male presence has offered me during my travels so far. Until now, I had no idea just how much impact he had.
Last night the streets of Kanchanburi's backpacker ghetto was alive with people shuffling from one bar to the next. Pretty safe. I left an internet cafe near my hostel and walked over to a 7-11 to buy some water before heading back to my room for the night. As I walked into the store I noticed a heavy set Thai man staring at me. I looked at him, challenging his gaze. I expected him to look away in embarrassment because he obviously had just got caught drooling over me.To my surprise he shamelessly looked on, unshaken by my challenge. I quickly entered 7-11, did my business and left. As I was leaving the man looked on, craning his neck as I passed him.This guy gave me the creeps so I quickly made it to my room and locked the door behind me for the night.
The next morning I walked out of my room and immediately the same guy loitering just 5 meters away from my door. Again, he just stood there and stared at me. This REALLY gave me the creeps, because it meant that he must have followed me to my room the night before. Fortunately, a male neighbor of mine came out of his room and started chatting with me and the man disappeared from sight.
I decided it was time for me to bail out of Kanchanaburi.I hastily packed my bags and walked up to the guesthouse restaurant for a bite to eat. The dude was at the restaurant, apparently waiting for me. He had the nerve to smile and try to talk to me as I walked by. As if I would speak to this creep after he followed me! I grabbed a seat on the other side of the restaurant- I had to eat something before my long bus ride out of town.
As I sat and ate my wonderful cheese and tomato sandwich with a sprinkle of dill, the man made his exit from the restaurant. He made a point to take the long way out of the restaurant so that he could walk by me and smile. Amidst my fear, I stared back at him, doing my best to conjure up my "I am repulsed by you" look.
I quickly finished my food and made my way towards the moto taxis. I wanted to get to the bus station as soon as possible. As I walked out of the restaurant a white truck pulled up next to me. It was the guy again! He smiled all friendly like and motioned for me to come over to him. With a jolt of fear, I ran into the nearby 7-11 and waited a while.
After some time, I left the store and made my way to the moto taxis, all the while looking over my shoulder. I didn't see him, so I got a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the bus station. As soon as we pulled out, I saw the white truck start to follow. Finally, I thought of my camera. I should have pulled it out the minute I saw him loitering outside my bungalow that morning, but I had been too rattled by his overt staring to think about it. Anyways, I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures of the guy's license plate. I made it clear to him what I was doing. Apparently he finally got the message- he quickly sped away before I could get a clear picture of his face.
What was up with this dude? Why hadn't he taken the hint? Rich says my "I am displeased with you" look can be rather scary, so why hadn't my "I am repulsed by you" look worked?
He looked like a business man, perhaps in a powerful position or with lots of money. Maybe he was used to people, especially women, tripping all over themselves to please him. This is a society where the custom is always to place female underwear lower than men's when doing laundry. That fact should give you an idea of women's cultural standing here. I am told that women here often gauge their self-worth according to the men in their lives and they are often flattered and eager to please when somebody in a position of power like this gives them attention.
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