Something told me physical harm was eminent and this was not a good situation to be in. Strolling a local beach in Phuket, Thailand I stumbled across a small group of locals in the foliage fringe having a drinking picnic. It was 10 am and a party of about 10 men and women were enjoying themselves under the palms. They yelled at me in broken English as I came into their periphery.
“Hello! Good morning! Come! Come!” They motioned me closer.
Reluctantly I slowly walked across the beach waving a hand in the air as I approached. Stopping a few feet away from the lounging picnicker’s one guy lifted a label-less bottle of liquid into the air “Drink!” Some Thai language was spoken and “Drink!”
I smiled, waved, “No thank you.”
Another got up and walked behind me as he looked me up and down. I dared not take out my camera from my backpack as the situation was getting a little uncomfortable. Another guy, lifted a bottle in the air and pointed it in my direction, “Drink!”
I quickly waved and said “no thank you.’’ Again.
“Drink! Drink!” he yelled.
It was cool in the shade and it was time to leave but not before a middle-aged woman nimbly got up and approached me, pointing at my chest she asked, “Where you from?”
The small crowd went silent and I quickly scanned the group looking for any indication of hostility. Thank goodness the man behind me returned to his sand seat but the small group waited for a reply. I slowly said in a low voice, “I’m from the US.”
The crowd cheered and a few yelled out, “Obama, Obama!”
The woman point to my chest again and spoke something in Thai. The crowd lifted their plastic cups and yelled, “Yeah!” or the equivalent of yeah in Thailand-ese. The woman fanned at me, smiled, and sauntered back to her man kicked backed on a blanket.
I backed away slowly and waved goodbye. As I was making my way down the beach I heard fading in the distant “Obama! USA!” and laughter, it was all very surreal and I wished i had a picture of the situation but i caught the group from a distances in the photo below.
However, I do have a picture of the beach. This past weekend I visiting a colleague of mine who owns a house in the non-tourist, local, no frills, eat local, swim local, drink local, part of Phuket Thailand.
Very relaxing …
The tide rolls out with the sunset.
Next the food!