Since the moment I first set foot there, I really liked Thailand. There is something special and unique about the place that really pulls you in. On one hand it’s kind of third world, a bit underdeveloped, with dirt roads and poor drainage, stray dogs and dirty street markets… But on the other hand, it is painfully beautiful, idyllic, blessed with sickeningly blue seas, lucious green mountains, rich coral reefs, and general lovely scenery, not to mention a really fascinating culture and food to die for. It is no wonder it is one of south-east Asia’s top destinations.
Something that is quite unique about Thailand is that it is the only nation in south-east Asia that has never been colonised by a foreign force, and as a result the people are quite different. They are quite open to strangers, welcoming to foreigners, and don’t seem to have that distrust or dislike of outsiders. Thailand is nicknamed the Land of 1000 Smiles, and really, the people seem almost ridiculously laid back and friendly. Some say it is Thai politeness, to always smile and never show someone when you are pissed or hurt. Is it an act? I’m not sure. But I do like the fact that anyone who makes eye contact with you smiles, immediately.
So, on to the food. As I have mentioned, Thai food is orgasmic, dirt cheap, and plentiful, made with local vegetables and fruits. And on our last night, we got treated to an impromptu Thai cooking class for us in Bob’s house. They came over with bags and bags of fresh fruit, meats and spices from the Lamai market, and went about cooking four amazing dishes: green curry, morning glory, pork ball soup, and glass noodle salad. Seiji and I watched carefully as they went through the receipes that they had obviously made millions of times, and of course made notes. The food was fantastic — homemade Thai food is even better than in the restaurants! And a fraction of the price!
It was only five days but any time in Thailand is well spent. And rich in content. We went to Christmas parties, BBQs, diving, walking, bike riding, swimming and of course, lots of eating and drinking. I can see why so many people go there and stay illegally for months, even years at a time (cough cough, my dad?). Who would want to leave?
Also, being there made me miss Trinidad… waking up to an early morning sunrise on a blue sky, the sound of birds chirping and roosters crowing, cicadas in the evening, crickets and frogs, and the smell of grass. I hope that one day, I can find a home that encompasses all of these things — nice people, beautiful natural scenery, hot sandy beaches, and maybe a bit of green curry.