28 February 2014
This evening was the first night of the First Annual Krabi Love and Jazz Festival. (I love first annual anything - how can it be guaranteed annual if this is the first time ever?)
Anyway, we headed down to the riverfront area, which was packed with maybe 1000-1500 people, a stage with various bands and musicians from Bangkok (and a singer from Brazil), and a variety of food stands and stalls selling drinks, ice cream, clothes, wood carvings, and who knows what.
It was great! I mean, it wasn't the best sound system ever (there were some staticky moments), they weren't the greatest bands ever (it was sort of jazz with an Asian influence), and standing in the road wasn't the greatest venue.
But it was such a mixed crowd, and the musicians were enthusiastic, and overall it was great. I found the music to be very dance-able - and noticed only a few of us dancing, all people of European descent - apparently Thai and Asian people don't even nod their heads or tap their toes to jazz, at least from what I could see. But several of us did our little restrained in-place dancing to the music, grooving to the beat, whatever song you want to quote. It was fun!
It was in the evening, so I don't have any photos. There are two more nights, and we might go back once or twice. It's definitely a small-town event, but also something new and different to do - and we need that.
Even though my toe infection is cleared up, there's still a good-sized hole at the base of one toe. My pharmacist recommends at least one more week out of the water. I've used up all the bandaids we brought along, so had to buy some - only brand available is TigerPlast plasters! (I was disappointed that the bandaids don't have stripes on them.)
So this means no scuba diving for me. We're looking at maybe spending a few days on an island or two, with beach time and exploring - but no swimming for me. No diving. Play it safe, keep the feet clean and dry, and keep the medications going. And while I'm sorry to not be diving, well, I do want to keep both of my feet happy and working.
We went to a restaurant names Mr. Krabi - cracked us both up. Really nice Thai and Italian couple making Thai and Italian food - definitely eat here if you get to Krabi. http://www.mrkrab-i.com/
The lotus blossoms are in bloom, we found a Hello Kitty tuktuk, and life is good.
I'm still pondering the issue of universal human values versus cultural differences. Best I can come up with:
I see, first and foremost, the universality of people. We all, everywhere, have basic expectations. We all need food, shelter, water in order to survive. We expect that others will not injure us. We want love, to love and be loved. Many want to procreate. And if we have children, we want them to grow up to be happy and self-sufficient. Maybe to take care of us in our old age, however old that happens to be. Most of us want to make our little part of the world a better place. We also want to be happy. We expect to be able to practice our religion without interference, or at least we desire to do so (depending on where we live). These are all what I would consider universal human values. These are the truths that Plato and Socrates would capitalize - Truth, Beauty, Love. The big, major, esoteric values that we often can't define by what they are, but rather what they aren't. But, whatever they are, these are the values that unite us as human beings.
Then, there are cultural differences, and most are what I think are interesting, they're what make a culture unique. But they are also, for the most part, inconsequential. It's interesting to see what people eat, what their eating utensils are, but it doesn't define who the people are. It doesn't necessarily affect how they think, or how they treat each other. Culture, ethnic heritage, language, religion, even colour create different groupings of people, and, unfortunately, we often let these things divide rather than unite us.
So, back to the young woman whose chair was blocking easy passage around the café. Maybe it was okay within her culture. However, within the overall picture of human values, it was selfish and inconsiderate to take up excessive space unnecessarily, and to inconvenience others, including the staff of the café.
And yes, the act of her doing so is, in the big picture, inconsequential. But it has led to a whole reviewing of my approach to travel - because my approach is that people are pretty much the same wherever we are. I still hold that approach, and I think it's what enables me to become involved in whatever culture in which I find myself. But sometimes, I need to step back and look at whether a behaviour is cultural or personal. I think that's the issue I was struggling with, and have somewhat redefined for myself.