I have encountered a generally polite,kind and smiling people in Thailand. No hints of chest thumping or know-it-all attitude have I come across. Interestingly,Thai people seem to shy away from the ‘glamour’,open talk and small time chat ..at least not with strangers,or persons of foreign nationality.
I have occasionally tried to start conversation in the elevator,while on my way to my room,or on the metro or bus,but the body language of intended target,suggests he/she would rather engage with his / her smart phone or comic book than engage in small talk.
Talking of the smart phone,this is one country that am sure Android powered gadget makers will be impressed by the uptake of their products. The level of attachment to the Samsung,HTC phones/tablets is quite fascinating (I guess however,this is turning out to be a global phenomena). On a number of my ‘peeks’ to see what the users are engaged in,Facebook,Angry Birds and You Tube rank the highest.
Wikipedia rates Thais to be 94.6% Buddhist,with 4.6% being Muslims.Being Christian,it has been quite challenging finding a place of worship (Church) in a Buddhist dominated nation,but I thank God for the internet as I am able to catch up with services back home. You can be sure of encountering a number of temples and Buddhist structures on various roads,street corners in Bangkok and am sure, around the country.
This has been my greatest challenge. Thai,the language,is considered and accepted as both the official and non-official mode of communication. The unique Thai alphabet is quite challenging to master and would require an intensive discourse,daily engagement with the locals and obviously, a longer stay in the country. For my ‘survival’,acquainting my self with the words and phrases below has come in handy:
Sawa dee – Hello
Khob Khun Krap – Thank you (Man saying)
Khob Khun Ka – Thank you (Woman saying)
Hong nam – Toilet
Di mak – Very good
Nam – Water
Kao – Rice (Rice features as a staple food. U can not miss it ‘anywhere’)
Numbers (1 – 10) – Nueng,Song,Sam,Si,Ha,Hok,Chet,Pet,Kao,Sip
Few things come close to Thai people, as appreciating and flattering their food. At first spicy,maybe chilly to the tongue,several lunches and dinners later,i have come to rate Thai dishes as among the best in the world.
Noticeable in the capital city are the numerous food vendors in portable/wheelable carts. From,pork to chicken,from rice to noodle,the Thai working class swear by the quality of the roadside food vendor over and above the average restaurant. This is on top of the rather,affordable price,on average 45 Baht,equivalent of $1.50,for a fairly decent meal.
Popular dishes include Som Tam (Papaya salad),Khai Man Gai(chicken on rice),Tod Man Plan(Curried fish cake),Tom Kha Gai(Chicken in Coconut milk soup),Khao Moo Daeng(Roast pork on rice) and Phat Thai Talay(Fried noodles and Seafood).
So,if your tongue is suited to everything spicy,then Thai cuisine is good for you.However,if you are used to much of potato dishes,corn-flour meals,beef and hamburgers,then Thai cuisine may prove to be hard to adopt.
A footnote for one who would wish to experiment on the roadside barbecued meats,my pals in the Kingdom recommend them highly, am yet to sample them myself,something to do with identifying what meat exactly I would be eating. I am more at home with goat ribs,lamb and cow meat.
I will endeavour to capture more about Thai culture,in subsequent blogs..The shopping culture taking/taken root, The popular sport Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) and oohh yes, you said it,….The legendary Bangkok nightlife.