This little story and the photographs were previously published in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend Travel Section in 2001.
Our luggage was being taken by someone we didn’t know. Four of us strung out in single file in a sweating procession along the hot and sleepy main street of Fang. Our Lonely Planet guide to Thailand told of the bus from Chaing Mai to Fang, the taxi from Fang to Tha Ton, and the boat from Tha Ton to Chaing Rai…but not about Mr Phing and his tricycle.
His initiative was admirable. At the bus stop he’d came up to us and said “Tha Ton” and when we nodded, he picked up our bags threw them on his trike and headed off.
He pedaled just fast enough to prevent us from catching up unless we broke into a trot. Over his shoulder he conversed in English that was better than our Thai…..
“which cunree you fhom”?
“ahhh astaya nice…how many kangaroo astaya”?
“ahhh meeons…he your husban”?
“you vehy lucky….vehy hansome man?
Our new friends’ judgment was thrown into further doubt when he assured out of the blue
“John Howard nice man, I…love…John Howard”
On the edge of town the trike turned down a dusty side road, stopping only because we did.
“maybe you have some eat,…cool jink, some rets,….feewl better”
“No you said you take luggage…Fang Hotel, we follow…we wait Fang Hotel
..get taxi Tha Ton”
“yeh yeh first you feewl better…hod day…jink, eat”
Just in time the taxi pulled up beside us and the driver glared at Mr Phing who finally surrendered.
His eyebrows lifted as if he finally understood “oh you go Tha ton taxi ?!”
I liked his style.
Photo documentary, Photojournalism, Brisbane Photographer
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