National Geographic : 1967 Jul
Humpbacked bullocks pull a cart with a log slung beneath it near Sakon Nak hon, a provincial capital in the terrorist-infested North east. The Thai call this hard abundant timber mai dang -"red wood." The distinc tive cart carries a bumper like outrigger to fend off underbrush. The more a cart squeaks the better: The driver hopes it will scare off wild animals and evil spirits. Logging provides a live lihood for many a villager on the 500-foot-high north eastern plateau. Pride of its owner, a glis tening log truck parades pic tures and pennants; a sign on the baggage rack proclaims its name, "Bright Light." Made in Japan, the truck has no doors-a common touch in balmy Thailand. Striding the road to Sakon Nakhon, sandaled lad bears a melon and a tray of sticky northeastern rice, cooked in bamboo tubes for marketing. Riding to work, a bull ele phant and hulking calf fill a truck en route to a forest near Samut Sakhon. Ma houts stay mounted to keep the beasts quiet during the journey. Though mechani zation spreads rapidly in Thailand, no machine excels the elephant at bucking trees from forest to river or truck. Just as English serves as a second language of Thai land, another British influ ence prevails along the high ways, where drivers keep to the left side. KODACHROMES BY DEANCONGER( N.G.S .