I arrived from Bangkok just as rain started dribbling; while exploring back streets for a place to stay, the skies opened and I was soon drenched. I probably looked sodden and silly, but became slap-stick when my flip-flops slipped on the slick sidewalk and I somersaulted onto my back. Smiles all round. It is amusing when sightseers become sights.
That evening I wandered the town and came across a merry throng gathered around a stage watching a group of traveling actors. The stage was a rickety platform set up on oil drums. The actors were clearly not very good: passersby were smiling, shaking their heads and walking off laughing and shouting ribaldry and scorn at the company. The musical accompaniment was a clatter of gongs, xylophones, drums and the like thumped by two scruffy youths who every now and again interrupted their playing to drag on cigarettes. Actually, the whole company took turns to interrupt their parts and wander amongst the audience with donation bowls. One actress was also clearly offering her charms as well as seeking alms. They were as corny a group as I have ever seen busking.
I soon became the center of the corny company’s attention, being the sole non-Asian present, and perhaps the only person obviously enjoying their performance. I must have been loving it, because I dropped a bank note to join the few coins in their gift bowl. My generosity was repaid by the entire company, who abruptly stopped their performance, arranged themselves into a curtain call, and posed for me. That unforgettable Scene was worth a bank note; and more than compensated for the the storm’s sluicing and the somersault bruises.