Krabi, Thailand, 2008—But wait, before we go there, we have to visit where I grew up, which would be rural south Mississippi, U.S., 1978-1997—A common custom for young men there is hunting, heretofore referred to as huntin’. I never cared for huntin’, but I DID love wild animals. Still do. Especially live ones, but taxidermied ones by extension, because let’s face it: living wild animals run away, because they’re afraid we want to taxidermy them. Taxidermied animals… Well. You can pet those. And they were abundant.
Now fast-forward to 2008. I am an adult. I don’t go huntin’. I do own a home, but an embargo has been placed on taxidermied animals by others in the household who grew up in the suburbs and are, in fact, horrified by such things. (“It is WATCHING ME!”) Not that I would ever try to bag my own trophy to stuff as wall art (and really, if you’re gonna do it, I think propah huntin’ should be more for food than sport), but there are some family heirlooms to be had.
ANYWAY. That brings us around the globe to Thailand, and a region in the south called Krabi, which is apparently the top destination for the pearly white people of Scandinavia to come and bake themselves to the color of candied yams. We’re poking around some “high end” shops not far from the Sheraton, but closer to the mini-mart where they sell gasoline for motorbikes from bottles. It is there I spy this fella, festooned with rings, scarves, and strings of beads, AND a loophole in the embargo! (Click photos to enlarge.)
His eyes are marbles. His ears have joints, so you can move them, and they and his antlers detach, all the better to pack in my suitcase. The shopkeeper was more than happy to undress her jewelry display, and we agreed on a grand total $40. (The last item I posted was $40 too. Weird.) Again, probably too much, but c’mon. I talked the woman into breaking up her awesome jewelry display.
I had a bit of buyer’s remorse afterward when I realized I had no idea what manner of tropical hardwood this dude is carved from, and I felt like a heel for that, but it was too little too late. Funny, though, how an object discovered in Thailand, now hanging on the wall in Massachusetts, can take you back to your childhood in Mississippi. It is a weird, wonderful conversion of mental and physical travels to be sure.