Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sawatdeekha! And Other Stuff I Learned in Bangkok

1. Sawatdeekha! At Bangkok everyone you meet or bump into will greet you "Sawatdeekha" which is a general

greeting that could either mean hello, goodbye, how are you, good morning, good evening, etc. The Thai are so friendly, they were a bit wary of us tourists because we always spoke to them in English. But I daresay that I have encoutered more people who smiled and greeted strangers there, than the people here in Manila who just ignore you completely.

2. Patience. I have always believed that patience is a virtue and I have been working hard at it, since I know I am relatively a very impatient person. But really, nothing beats the patience of Thai cab drivers during rush hour. We all know that traffic is inevitable in all major cities but Thai cab drivers take the cake for being the most patient ones I've met so far.

While on our way to Siam Paragon Mall, we decided to take the cab just for the experience and also because we were tired from walking. Traffic in BKK is a given especially after lunch. And although we were a bit agitated in the cab because it was so traffic and we didn't want to miss our Ocean World schedule, the cab driver was oh so calm and collected! Thai people know that traffic is a FACT and you cannot do anything except to grin and bear it. If it were here in Manila, even a teeny bit of traffic would piss our cab drivers off. Clearly our cab drivers need to practice the art of patience more.

3. Say Thank You. I have worked in the Customer Service industry for 3 years and after handling so many [irate] callers (I worked for a BPO thankyouverymuch), I realized that I needed to be more sensitive to peope in general. I became nicer to people who worked in retail, who served me food at the fastfood joint or restaurant, to the guy who pumped gas into my car, to the [irritating] telemarketer who keeps on calling. Being nicer to people just made my mood and disposition lighter.

This is what I was reminded of when I went to BKK. Not only are the locals friendly, but they are very thankful for your business whether you are a buying clothes at Pratunam, eating streetfood or buying makeup at a posh mall, they will always thank you no matter what.

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So these are the most important stuff that I've [re]learned while on vacation. Remember, when travelling go HAVE FUN! Forget what you've heard or read, just immerse yourself in the culture and thrill of travelling. Remember:

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. 

~James Michener

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