CFL graduate student, Aaron Koning, just returned from a research trip to Thailand and shared this story of his epic road trip. You can read and see more of Aaron’s adventures doing fieldwork in Thailand on his blog.
by Aaron Koning
I just got back from a brief trip to Thailand. The trip was a success in that I was able to collect the last few fish samples for a migration study I’m working on, purchase 220 lbs of fish from 8 different markets around the country for a project on mercury contamination (and successfully get them through customs), visit my host family up in Mae Hong Son with a couple of Berkeley School of Journalism students who are doing a story on community conservation in my research area, and get a duffel bag full of human hair home for my wife’s research on stress in women and children using hair cortisol. Not bad for 7 days of work. It did, however, require driving 3,000+ km and more than 44 hours in a car (map of route below).
I definitely enjoyed scoping out the fish markets throughout the northeast of Thailand. Livelihoods and local culture in this region is so strongly connected to the Mekong, it’s fun to talk with local fish sellers and to see what that catch of the day is.
I also saw the largest Pangasius catfish I’ve seen in Thailand in Khon Kaen, a 26+ kg individual. Sounds big, but if the saleswoman was telling the truth, this species gets well over 100 kg.