Even though I’ve lived in Thailand for years, some days I still stop and think how much I love Thai people. Today was one of those days.
It rained. Twice. The vegetables at my local supermarket were rotting and old. And I got stuck at Major Ratchayothin for over an hour as I forgot my umbrella and didn’t feel like getting soaking wet. So, with this kind of not-so-pleasant day, why did I realize how much I love Thai people? Again. Easy. I left my apartment.
Mid-afternoon, I walked down my soi, being honked at, smiled at and waved to by every motor cycle taxi driver who passed me. I love the guys who drive motorcycle taxis on my soi. I’ve lived in the same place for almost a decade and many of these guys have been plying their motorbike trade that long. So, we’re more like buddies than customer and driver. They give me free rides. They offer me food. They tell me about their support for Thaksin and how much they don’t like Abhisit. Walking down my soi at any time of day is always fun, with these guys around.
Halfway down the soi, I was stopped by a Thai lady I’ve known for a few years. She just got back from a trip to America and wanted to see how I was doing and have a quick chat. A lovely lady, like most Thais, she’s always happy, smiling and friendly.
At Major Ratchayothin, I had a fun conversation with the girl who works at the pet store there. Sometimes, my knowledge of Thai lets me down and, today when she asked me a simple question, my mind went blank and I looked at her like she had two heads. Finally, I managed to say “Ally wah?” Not polite (it means something like “Huh?” instead of “I’m sorry?”) but she got a kick out of it and couldn’t stop laughing at the funny farang.
At the supermarket, the security guard stopped me to tell me it was going to rain. Again. She knows the English word “raining” and likes to use it every time she sees me. She says “raining”, I reply “Tuk wan” (“every day”) and it makes her smile. I love that.
Further on my trip, I had a nice conversation with three girls working at Watson’s, who wanted to know why I was carrying a huge bag of hay around with me. (I have rabbits, and that’s what I bought at the pet store. They eat it).
On my way home, I walked past a street stall that, now the rain had stopped, had a huge line of people waiting to buy fried bananas, including four police men who looked really hungry. I asked a woman, as I walked by, “Alloy mai?” (“Is it delicious?”) She laughed and said, sure it was, and told the woman who owned the stall to give me a piece of banana to try. Yep. Delicious.
Finally, back at the bottom of my soi, and one of the motorcyle guys stopped me to ask what I’d bought today and say did I know Abhisit was going to hold a political rally at Ratchprasong this week? He thought it was bad judgement and impolite.
Now, tell me this. If you lived in Thailand and met lovely people like this (and this is a normal day for me. Nothing special), wouldn’t you just love them too?
I love Thais. I really do.