Of course, they could all be long-term interracial couples. Sure! No commercial activity going on here! Nope, nope. :)
And far be it for me to criticize interracial couples. I mean, I'm part of one. In fact, I've *never* dated someone of my own ethnicity, though not for lack of interest. :)
But it's so common here that when I mentioned it to Leah at dinner tonight, she said she's stopped thinking it strange. In fact, when she sees an unaccompanied white man here, she thinks, "What is wrong with you?"
In a slightly related note, I find that when sex workers solicit for business on the street here, I'm never approached, even if I make eye-contact. That particular method of doing business seems to be for white foreigners-only. (Perhaps black also; haven't seen very many black men on the streets here. I'm told Asian customers frequent the karaoke bars, and I understand there are separate houses for Thais.) This is cool with me as I'm not looking and it makes it much easier to move around some neighborhoods at night. Watching some of the white guys is kind of amusing because the the scene is pretty hard-sell in places.
At one point a whole cluster of women shouted out at me in English, to my great surprise, but then I realized they were actually shouting to the tall white guy beside me, as became obvious when they crowded around him and completely ignored me.
One vaguely feels invisible at times like this.
I think the same thing is going on here as happened to me in Japan. From my appearance, I might or might not be a local (the roughly six million Chinese are the largest ethnic minority in Thailand), but the social consequences of treating a local as if he were a foreigner are much worse than treating a foreigner as if she were a local, so here too people err on the side of caution.
This is all quite excellent as I like blending in, but it really makes me wish I spoke Thai.