No, it’s not what you think. Sure, it’s now beyond a cliché that travellers and teachers alike tend to return from the Land Of Smiles festooned with tigers, geckos, random tribal art and Thai script which they’ve been assured translates to “mighty conquering hero with the heart of a lion” but is likely closer to “there’s one born every minute”. No, a Thai tattoo, a real Thai tattoo, is a different beast entirely.
As mentioned in previous posts, the prevalent mode of transport in this country – and one which I’ve totally fallen in love with – is the humble scooter. Most people tend to call them motorbikes but I can’t get behind that. A motorbike is a motorbike and a scooter is a scooter. Never the twain shall meet and all that. What’s wrong with a scooter anyway? You get to act all Italian and shout “Ciao!” and “Prego!” as you careen drunkenly down the streets 🙂
Anyway, said scooters do share in common with motorbikes the presence of enormous fuck-off exhaust pipes running down the back. In the scooter it typically sits on the right hand side, a little behind the driver and directly underneath the passenger’s foot pillions. These exhausts get hot. Very fucking hot. They’re made of thin metal and constantly being pumped full of the by-products of a combustion engine. It’s not rocket science, except for the fact that it kinda is.
So the if the careless/drunk passenger, either in mid-ride or when dismounting, should happen to forget about the red-hot pipe mere inches away from them then they’re in trouble.
The resultant red welt on the inside of the right calf, sported by half the teachers in this town and likely to be more or less permanent?
That, my friends, is a Thai tattoo,
(For the record I’m tattoo-free for now but, perversely, almost looking forward to joining the club…)