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Tall in SEA

Travel Forums General Talk Tall in SEA

1. Posted by adagio (Budding Member 22 posts) 9y

I'm a pretty tall guy (2m or 6ft. 7") currently travelling around Thailand. Everywhere I go kids are looking at me like I'm from Mars, pointing and giggling and a lot of people come up to me, comparing their height to mine, and asking if everybody is as tall as me where I come from. Just today I visited Doi Suthep and the Phuping Palace outside Chiang Mai and 3 times people wanted their picture taken with me - for a group of girls I had to get one for each of them. I think this is pretty funny and generally just smile and go along with it, but after a while it can get pretty annoying. Does anybody else have similar experiences? I wonder if it would be the same if I weighed 500 pounds...

2. Posted by emma1979 (Full Member 126 posts) 9y

My boyfriend was called Monkey Man everywhere we went in s.e asia as he has quite large sideburns. We were actually followed by a big group of teenagers in Ninh Binh, Vietnam who kept asking him to climb a tree! It was all good natured though. He was also chased around a bus in Cambodia by some kids because of his monnkey like hairy features. We also witnessed a girl who was quite overweight being followed and pointed at which we thought was really rude but she took it well. In our thai phrase book there is a saying which says something like, "if you're fat you have many friends but if you're thin you smell" so being followed and pointed at because you may be overweight could be taken as a compliment

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 9y

When my girlfriend and I were in Thailand, many people wanted to have their picture taken with my girlfriend. She is tall for a girl, pretty white skin and (not natural) red hair. It was nice, because it did not get annoying luckily.

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y

I had lots of kids pointing, staring and laughing at me in more rural/unvisited parts of both Japan and China (i'm average in size/look). I found that pointing and laughing back was the best response, because they enjoyed it and it also confused the hell out of them.

Travelling around large chunks of North Africa with a female friend who had waist legnth blonde hair and an insistence on wearing a bright pink fleece [more or less just to try and annoy me] we weren't short on people staring at us or coming up to have pictures taken etc. Being a white person travelling around Iran without being in a fancy charity owned 4x4, more or less means you will have lots of people staring, pointing, talking/shouting to/at you, and wanting their pics taken as well.

And a couple of years back I was part of a small team working in the middle of absolutely nowhere in Kazakhstan for a bit, and the combination of myself, a tiny japanese guy with red hair down to his ankles and a Nigerian guy who is best described as just big [he's bigger than anybody else i have ever seen. Tall, wide, well built] in a place where they had almost certainly never seen a non-soviet person before was too much for them to take. Every human in a 500km radius - maybe more - had come to meet us on arrival, and even after a couple of weeks, we had trails of people just following us around staring and watching, getting in the way of us trying to work and even crowds of people watching us sleep. I can cope with pointing/staring/crowds following me, but waking up to gasps of people and realising that you had 20+ people watching you was a little disconcerting, i must admit.

5. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member 1732 posts) 9y

When I was little I had really blonde, almost white hair and was living in England at the time. People kept coming up to me and my mum and asked to or just without asking tried to touch my hair. Apparently in some cultures it brings good luck to touch blonde hair. My mum got so paranoid about strangers touching my hair that she often had me wear hats, even in summer, just to cover up my hair.

6. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello Adagio

I think all Western looking people get quite a lot of attention, but it sounds like u get more, than most.
My sister got a similiar problem, to yours, in China. She is 6 feet 2 inches, with long wavy red hair.

I think all u can do is smile and try to put up with the attention u get.
Try to have a sense of humour, about it.
When i get more attention, than i want, I wonder if this is what it is like all the time, for famous people.

Mel

7. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member 1732 posts) 9y

Ooo.. I remembered another story..
A friend of mine lived in Hong Kong for a year and when she went to have her hair cut, none of the hairdressers dared cut it. But they almost begged her to let them wash it so they could see the hair change colour when it got wet.

8. Posted by jazzydebo (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

This is funny! How'd you like to be a Black Chick with Dread Locks. (yea, Bob Marley's hair style in case some one doesn't know) Black Hair Education! WE DO NOT HAVE STRAIGHT HAIR. It grows in a coil and dread locks is the natural way it wants to go. If you know a Black woman with straight hair then 9 times out of 10 it is chemically straightened. If they are mixed race, it's may be straighter, but not straight, just wavey! Condolezza Rice has a chemical relaxed hair!

I spent 3 months singing in Shanghai in 2006. I figured it would be cool since they had invited other black musicians. We all know jazz is pretty international and musicians travel everywhere. Like you said, the first few times they would come up and try touching my hair I tried smiling and laughing it off. I would be standing in the line at a grocery store and a Chinese woman would get out of her line to come and play in my hair. Another time at least 6 workers at the store surrounded me at the same time and were speaking Chinese and pulling at my hair. I got so tired of it after a while that all I learned to say in Chinese was, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? and DON'T TOUCH ME! I usually learn to speak in what ever country I go to. I like going around with the natives and meeting life long friends. But this was down right RUDE. I ended up wearing an African style wrap on my head and one day I went to a salon to get my eye brows plucked and they could still see my hair line which of course is not straight hair, so the entire shop stoped working and surrounded me trying to touch my hair line. I said, " what the hell?" .

I learned of a Black basketball player who was there and they would come up and touch his muscles. It was like these people had never been anywhere and never seen any other folks beside Asians. And they had NO boundaries what so ever.
I ended up spending most of my time in my apartment. Then I got some of the guys from the club to take me around town and they stared but they wouldn't touch me when I was accompanied. Besides, my friends would tell them to get lost. That's the only thing that saved me. My friends spoke English well but they had no explination cause they thought I was pretty different too. But at least my freinds didn't make me feel like a THING! They just acted normal around me.
It was the poor folks that were the worst. I don't think they even had TV so No they never saw anyone but Asians.

My friends here in NY can't believe that story.

Debo

9. Posted by adagio (Budding Member 22 posts) 9y

Some funny stories... Makes me feel a little less of a freak so thanks