It was a slower day today. The impression I got was that it was cold and people weren't venturing out. I, of course, was sweating. Such is life the tropics.
The word of the day was "free" as people would often not want to pose thinking I was charging them for a portrait. "Free, free," I kept saying as Thai folks bashfully smiled and entertained the idea of having their picture taken. The hoards of tourists were equally skeptical. One Brit even said to me, "nothing is free, man." Whatever.
Keeping on the photo-centric side of things, I noticed that anyone with a camera was hiding it. Some in bags, some really poorly camouflaged in Thai fabric but with the strap still showing around their neck. I can understand that flaunting my D100 makes me an easy mark for a thief but it falls a lot lower on the mark scale than the fact that I am a pale white guy in a sea of beautiful Thais. Come on. The odds of being robbed are slim to begin with. Don't hide your camera. Be ready to shoot. Have it in hand. I don't even use a lens cap because that slows me down. If you are worried about your lenses, use a skylight filter. If you break it, you're only out 20 bucks.
The language issue was less of a problem today. I spoke french a half a dozen times and spanish at least 3 times. So I felt a little better. While photography is a great communications tool and a wonderful way to establish a rapport with a stranger, spoken words are still tops.
I learned the word for smile today. It sounds like "Yim." The travel agent in my hotel calls me Mr. Yim which makes me feel pretty good considering this is a country famous for it's smiling people.
Take pictures smiling.