Saturday, 9 May 2009

Thai hospitality

Thai hospitality is legendary across the world, 'they will do anything for you', so it goes.

I wrote about a Seven-Eleven hero who drove me to a cash point when the local one had failed on me, but this time I'm not talking customer service, instead the everday hospitality of Thai life.

A prime example can be found on visiting a Thai household, as The Missus and I did recently when we went to see a friend and her husband who are expecting a child.

With two Thai chaps (husband plus mate) and one farang (Thai for foreigner, aka yours truly) on the beers the supply quickly got low. Without hesitation or further ado, husband grabbed some keys, jumped on the motorcycle and disappeared off arriving back in 15 minutes with a load of cold beers, coke (for the ladies) and ice.

I would be impressed but I'm increasingly finding this to be the norm in Thailand.

Back home in England, I'd have either been requested to bring my own drinks to the house with the potential to scavenge once my source ran dry. Or else there'd be a drawing of straws between guests, with the loser heading out with a long list of beverages and a pocket of change from financial contributions.

It's not just a case of men wanting beer either. I can cite multiple examples of arriving at houses and being given (and strongly encouraged to eat) food like there's no tomorrow. Once the food disappears a member of the host household jumps on a bike and returns with a veritable feast for all to enjoy. No money requested or given.

There's a marked difference between the two cultures, Thais cover every want and need of their guests as standard, without quibble or complaint. That's not to say the UK is inhospitable, but culture in Thailand is less about the individual and more family/community-orientated.

I'm sure hospitality is different in Bangkok where people live a more Western lifestyle with greater emphasis on the individual, as is common for populous cities.

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