April 2008


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I had a business trip to Phoenix in April.  I managed two side adventures.  In Phoenix Matt Michel, Mike Hajduk and I hiked  Piestewa Peak.  And then I stayed a day longer after our conference to visit some cliff dwellings in NE Arizona. 


          Me, Mike, and Matt



Anasazi Cliff Dwellings     



  My good friends Sandra and David joined me for this adventure to visit the cliff dwellings, and it was great to see them.  While at the site we had an fun encounter with Thai tourists.  I was wandering the site and saw two teenage girls taking each others’ picture in front of the dwelling.  I thought they’d like a picture together, so I offered to take it in hopes that they would reciprocate and take my picture.  They said they would in an accent I didn’t recognize, so I asked where they were from.  Thailand.  I snapped the shot and then they motioned to me and called one of the others in their party.   They wanted their picture with me.  It seemed unusual, but I was happy to accommodate our friendly Thai Tourists and give them a favorable impression of Americans.  Further on, I ran across the Thai tourist parents in another photo op.  Same thing.  I asked if they wanted me to take their picture together.  They didn’t, but they DID each want to take a picture with me.  So that’s what we did.  But I don’t get it.  If I have puzzled expression in these pictures it’s because I am puzzled.  The best I can come up with is that if you’re a tourist in another country, you might like to have your picture taken with a real live “native” from that country.  My second best guess is that there’s some kind of implicit reciprocity required in the Thai Tourist Culture when someone takes your picture, but it seems unlikely.  In any case, they were very polite and nice people.  The dad chatted with me about where I was from, why I was there, etc.