Haha I heard there was going to be press, and I didn't want to look washed out all over the internet, so I specifically went and purchased some fancy eyelashes for the occasion. I bought some slightly subtler looking ones to look all demure and proper for the Brits, haha but I couldn't stand it and ended up adding on a second layer of huge lashes. I mean, he's a prince after all, so I gotta look my fanciest.
I was aiming for a selfie with him, but that didn't happen :( I was so sad. Stupid security guards.
They wouldn't allow any pictures, but they didn't take away people's cameras during the security check, so OBVIOUSLY everyone had their phones out the moment he walked in hahaha.
I didn't get any pictures myself, but my mom has been combing the internet collecting them. It's too bad my face isn't on the back of my head in these, eh? Haha I'm sure a good face one will turn up eventually -- there were SO MANY cameras pointed at us.
Funnily enough, this has actually really helped improve my relationship with the local Dai communities. I was a little self-conscious about being an outsider wearing a Dai dress for Prince William’s visit, especially since everyone kept thinking I was a local Dai girl, but I was hoping that I was mostly exonerated of cultural appropriation since every bit of my outfit was a gift from local community members and they were very excited to see me wearing it on TV.
Yi Kang, my Dai field assistant, told me that the local Dai community has been talking about me all day. Some thought that I must a Dai tour guide from XTBG, and those who met me already were quick to say, “No, her name is Lily! She is an Canadian/American working here with Yi Kang, etc etc.” Then others would chime in to say that they recognized me attending the recent village wedding, etc.
I also got to bring Yi Kang to the fancy dinner at the 5-star hotel, and she was so excited and told everyone about it. It was so cute! This is us at the pool (before I took off my clothes and jumped in completely).
I was freaking out a lot because I have so much invested in this community already, what with my friends here and previous data and extensive research on this village's history, so changing a field site would be really rough. Not to mention, this community has two Holy Hills, one restored and one relocated after the Cultural Revolution, so it's such an interesting case study to understand how these communities have recreated pockets of sacred forests across the landscape.
But at the same time, I certainly can't fault the man for protecting what he sees as the best interests of himself and his community, and he has every right to make such a decision (no matter how much trouble it causes for my dissertation...).