Simple Pleasures in Thailand
There are many pleasures to be had in Thailand without having to spend a lot of money. I don’t mean to say that everything is cheap in Thailand because that’s not true. But if you go ‘local’, you can enjoy a good life for a fraction of what it would cost you in the west.
Street markets and road side vendors are very typical scenes in Thailand. Especially when I don’t feel like cooking at home, and I don’t want to go to a restaurant, the street vendors are the saving grace.
I picked up a bag of steamed sweet potatos, a noodle dish, mashed potatos with vegetables, three ripe mangos and a tasty dessert, and the total cost was about US $2. I took it home, and it was so much that I could not even finish it for dinner.
I watched 4 persons work on my bike for half an hour until it looked like brand new again – chrome all sparkling, tires shiny, and the paint waxed.
This first class job set me back $2.50, and I felt ready for the next joy ride into the surrounding mountain scenery.
So I went to my favorite massage shop and treated myself to a two hour Thai Massage session.
I knew the therapist. She had received good massage training at Chiang Mai’s university, and she got my body moving again and my energy flowing.
I walked out of the shop feeling much better than before. Total cost for the two hour session including a generous tips: $13.-
Yes, it really is like therapy for my mind to go out and be able to look anyone into their face, be it a man or a woman, and almost invariably they flash me a friendly smile.
Thais are very polite. If they touch you by mistake or step on your foot or are in your way, they profusely apologize and smile.
In all my years in Thailand I have almost never encountered a rude Thai person. What a nice way to interact!
Service in Thailand is often very good. Sometimes I have an issue with my mobile (cell) phone and I visit the office of the phone company. It is all very modern, all the service reps are young women with a university education, a good grasp of the English language, and a sincere desire to help as much as possible.
They spend as much time as I want explaining things to me, adjusting the phone settings, adding features, and smiling all the way through. They never get impatient or give me the impression that I took up enough of their time.
It is a level of service that makes me feel really good. Why would I want to figure out how my fancy mobile phone works if I can have an attractive, friendly and smiling young woman do it all for me free of charge? Every time I leave the phone company office, I feel better than when I walked in.
Once I came across a highly unusual publicity stunt by this very same phone company. They employed a female actor and two “ladyboys” ( transsexuals) who put on a dance performance on a stage in the middle of the market. I caught the show on video. It was lots of fun watching it.
And just to set the record straight, we don’t rely on smoke signals for communication in Thailand, and neither do we ride to work on elephants. The Thais have and use all the modern gadgets that you find in the West.
Even the monks who are living very simple lives use mobile phones. And of course every self respecting Thai teenager spends hours every day talking or texting on their phones.
If you feel the need to talk to another person, you never have to go far in Thailand. Somehow Thais always have time to talk to you. I practically never encounter anyone who keeps glancing at their watch and telling me that they are in a rush to go somewhere. Now granted, they might not always show up exactly on time for a meeting, but that’s a small price to pay for being surrounded by helpful, friendly and smiling people.