Peace Corps
Thai 27
1969
 
 
 
Rachel Baker

Ok. Down in Songkla I became acquainted with an American couple---I no longer remember their names. The man was an RPCV who had come to Thailand in the early days of PC when Malaria control was going on. He learned to speak the phak dai dialect very well. He married a volunteer from another group. They both stayed on and worked for the Thai government. He told the story of having the ill luck of being bitten by a little village dog. There had been an outbreak of rabies in the area apparently, and even though the dog seemed fine, the government had it killed and sent the head to Bangkok. Meantime, my friend was horrified to learn that he would have to undergo all the shots in the belly (since the time it took to get the dog head tested and results back was so long). Anyhow, my friends were telling this tale to me while I was vacationing in Songkla at their house. My friend's description of the pain was so graphic, and I was so green, that it completely freaked me out. The next day or something, a Thai friend and I went to picnic on the beach. As we (the couple had gone ahead to the spot) were walking along, talking, we saw a big ugly dog. I immediately started to make a wide detour. My Thai friend put out her hand for the dog to smell. (A very unthai thing to do) I was panic-stricken. I pulled her away from the dog and took off running down the beach. Dog thinks its play time and runs after me. I become hysterical, cannot outrun the dog, and run screaming right into a group of tourists. I mean slammed into them, knocked down cold. By the time my friends got to me, I was bloody, crying, and the dog was barking happily and running round in circles.
I didn't realize how unusual, atypical, actually being bitten was, but at the time we were there, there still were cases of rabid animals getting out and biting people.