Why is it that almost universally, as you head south in a country, the vibe becomes more mellow, the people generally more friendly? At least that’s been my experience at home in the States, in India, across various European countries, in Vietnam, and now I’m desperately hoping, in Thailand.
I didn’t give Bangkok too huge of a chance, in all honesty. But the few days I spent there left me jarred by the sheer number of utterly unfriendly and unpleasant encounters with folks.
From servers at restaurants looking disgusted at having to take my order, to being shortchanged at the hotel without an apology, to having a friend get slapped by an employee for walking out the wrong exit door, to watching a guard at a temple hit a man with a water bottle for trying to carry his shoes around rather than leave them in the appointed shoe holders – there was nary a moment where I didn’t feel surrounded by absolute disdain.
As a former waitress and member of the service industry I can only imagine how god-awful and frustrating it must be to deal with a constant onslaught Western tourists – all too often a bunch of drunk guys in singlet shirts stumbling around Khoa San Road looking for a good “ping pong show”. No doubt I’d be disgusted dealing with that, too. But, as it stands, it still makes for a truly unpleasant travel experience.
Needless to say, I’ve gotten the heck outta dodge and down to the island Koh Samui for spell, then hopefully on to some lesser developed patches of sand. All I can say (with a total of 7 hours spent on the island thus far) is that in my first 20 minutes, my cab driver stopped randomly at a 7-11 to buy a water, and came back to the cab with a ice cold extra bottle for me. Sweetness.