I am in the back of a pick-up truck on one of the hottest days I’ve ever endured. I am drenched in sweat, and yet am shivering. I have vomited eight times in the last two hours; behind bushes, in filthy bathrooms, and in plastic bags when no alternatives present themselves.

I suffer through this transit because I know it will come to an end at some point in the next six or so hours, and I am on my way to a Thai cooking course on a sustainable farm outside the city. I can’t currently imagine preparing food much less ingesting it, but I must tolerate this penance.

But first let me tell you how I got here.

In Thailand, Muay Thai Boxing is a national sport and popular pastime. Upon arrival in Chiag Mai, still jaded by Bangkok but eager to turn over a new leaf outside of the city, we are informed of an Authentic Muay Thai boxing match that is taking place this evening. It is a very important regional championship tournament; a big deal. How lucky we are to have an opportunity to see such a piece of authentic Thai culture on our very first night in Chiang Mai!

We arrive that night at a boxing ring in an open square surrounded by bars, deep in the nightclub district (which seems to be invisibly connected with the red light district). Promises of a “cabaret” performance are met with “lady-boys” (Thai gentlemen very adeptly dressed as women - a common phenomenon in Chiang Mai especially) periodically performing lightly choreographed dances to popular drag queen songs.

We are immediately ushered to the very front row at the edge of the boxing ring. Seating is quite comfortable, and somewhat unsurprisingly occupied by nothing but tourists. We resign ourselves to the fact that our dollars are paying for this “championship fight”, and we wait for lower-paying Thai people to fill in the rest of the seats. And to some extent, this eventually does happen. To some extent.

Continue reading on theprofessionalhobo.com

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  • Nora Dunn

    In 2006, Nora sold everything she owned in Canada (including a busy financial planning practice) to embrace her dreams of full-…

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