What can be said about Thailand? I go on and on about Malaysia being one of my faves, but there’s something I can’t explain easily about Thailand that makes me always want to return. Only if I am away from it for a long time do I have dumb thoughts that it isn’t fun anymore because too many people are here ruining it, but if that were true, this wouldn’t be my 15th or 20th visit or whatever it is.
My only real frustration with Thailand is that it is hard to communicate. Very few people speak English well and on the streets I have so many impulsive questions about how life works here that remain mysteries. I can sorta/kinda speak Thai–but not really. Hardly at all. I speak better Malay, but both are at a painful “My hovercraft is full of eels” level of proficiency.
An only-in-Thailand moment for me occurred when I took a van to go to a trade show north of Bangkok. The van acted as a public bus and had about 12-14 passengers. To collect fares, the driver merely passed a plastic cup around. The implications of that seemingly insignificant gesture are enormous, I say. The reason I have never seen it anywhere else in the developing world is that there’s not the same level of trust nor maybe of collective will. Someone would try to get away with not putting in the right amount and then there would be arguments and recriminations. I am making a direct link from this van to why Thailand is a cohesive society.
Then again, right now, politically, this country couldn’t be more divided, so maybe I have no idea what I am talking about, as usual.
Wait, one more small thing about Thais that I will blow out of proportion: in Bangkok they will let others get off the metro before boarding, very unlike what goes on in my beloved Malaysia, and they will give up their seats to women. This isn’t common in the region. I was surprised to see one delinquent-looking young punk get out of his seat for a pregnant woman, though I had to pull rank and shove her aside so I could sit. I had a long morning of blogging! I was beat!