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Laundry Service Please?
Laundry Service Please?

I know my story is bit long but i can't make it shorten cause that's all i want to let you know about my beautiful country - Thailand

Post by : freedom

Post Date : January 1970

Trip Summary

Travel Date :  2009

Destinations : Ko Samui ,Phang nga ,Phetchabun

Activities : Beach ,Farm & wineries ,Hilltribe ,Homestay ,Local lifestyle ,Snorkelling

Traveller's Rating

Rating 3.936

3416 votes

Laundry Service Please?

The day starts as it usually does a quick shower, a rush to eat something but finding an empty fridge, the usual mental note to go food shopping in the evening, followed by a flurry of calls from clients wanting to go to Phi Phi island, or Fantasia. My phone doesn't stop ringing, it's business from 7am in the morning Thai time, to 12am at night. Friends call after this, and international clients call throughout the night, somehow forgetting that I am 9000 miles away and trying to get sleep. But ces't la vie – life isn't easy, you can sink or you can swim. I love swimming and I swim hard and fast.

I run a tour company and own several stalls. But it's not just that. My business is five square metres of canopy under which I provide: Tours, flights, group bookings, island trips, helicopter tours, jungle safari, elephant, buggy and quad-bike rides. I can book flights that can't be matched on the internet, I can provide hotel bookings cheaper than Agoda. I double as a tourist information booth and know Phuket like the back of my hand I can tell where to find the best papaya salad, or for Farang – the closest Starbucks. I can get you to the magical peaks of  Chaing Mai's Doi Intanon, or for the more adventurous I can organise a tour of Yala, Pattani and even Narathiwas and get you back safely. I can book you a taxi, can even mind your pet while you shop at Jung Ceylon. I have been told I have Thailand's most beautiful smile, and oh I can do your laundry too. I am Bee. This is just a short story about me and the paradise I am in.

Tourists are very interesting people. We exchange information, I learn about their culture, and we also share small talk and jokes. They remind me also of Ants. Like ant's, tourists follow well established supply lines. Some stop when they see a juicy deal being offered by street vendors, and like ants they come in all shapes and sizes. English ants come ready to do business – in fact, they might be the sole clients of the many shops we have here selling suits as heat doesn't bother them. Drinking hot tea to cool down may well explain their ability to negotiate on woollen business suits in 32 degrees while here in Thailand's heat. Their close cousins, the Aussie ants are a little more relaxed about their dress sense, and come well prepared as fashion ambassadors with Billabong shorts, T shirts advertising Singha beer, and well worn thongs. Italians talk more with their hands, Russians with their wallets. All tourists speak different languages, and although I have learnt to speak English and French, I can deal with most people with the universal language of a smile and a little bit of Thai resourcefulness – Babel fish online translation. Here in Phuket, I have the unique position of being able to share this paradise I am in with people all over the world, no matter their race or creed.

Travelling is about learning. It's impossible for any one person to know all of Thailand, but it's possible for many people to know. I know many people, and it's because of this that I have been to some of Thailand's most amazing places and discovered that the heart of a country is not just its land, but also its people.

Two years ago I discovered Phu Tabberk and the Hmong Hilltribe living there. They say money cannot buy happiness, and proof of this is here. The Hmong people are not rich, but their culture is. I brought some stationary to teach the children to read and write and also brought some clothes. In return was given a homestay with a family, and it was a life changing experience. It is a lesson in humility, to put aside the distractions of modern living, and come back to the beauty of simplicity and really listen the song of humanity. The Hmong people farm cabbage. Yes cabbage. They do not farm rubber, nor do they farm fish. Simply cabbage. Mountains of it. It is the perfect crop for the cold mountain regions of the area and hill sides are literally covered with cabbages. I thought I'd never survive on this - not being a cook I'd discovered quite early on in life, that trying to cook cabbage in a microwave is a perfect way to never want to see (or smell) another cabbage in my life. However, Hmong recipes for cabbage have been the among the most delicious meals I've yet eaten. For 3 days and nights, I lived with my host family experiencing life amongst a peoples whose smiles I'll never forget.

Beauty is also a cultural thing. Of course it is easy for us to relate to beauty like the rest of the world. Sometimes we are also victims of fashion – like whitening our skin while we live in a tropical country. But real beauty is tradition mixed with dedication and painstaking detail. In 2008 I also discovered the Long-neck hilltribe – the Karen-padung. The Padaung women put twenty or more brass rings around their neck, whilst also adorning the arms and legs with similar rings. These are profoundly beautiful people, and their pride was similarly as evident. As I said, discovering Thailand is also about discovering its people. Through this immersion of different cultures, we can learn about ourselves.

But besides beautiful people, amazing histories and cabbages Thailand is also a place of commerce. Of course, I could tell you all about Thailand's booming jewellery business, its rubber plantations, and the booming rice industry. (Did you know we are the world's biggest rice exporter!!??) But it's those out-of-the-ordinary situations that people will remember more. Like the floating markets at Ratchaburi. Thailand is a country of tradition, and these markets are a like a window to the past. Here, boats laden with a huge variety of produce, including tropical fruits, flowers and vegetables, come to trade and sell. Being an avid photographer, this is a place where I am sure to snap my wining photo for the International Photographer of the Year Award. But hey – I'm happy just to put them in my photo albums as reminders of all the wonderful places I've been.

In a world where the pace of change is so fast, I look at Thailand and smile. Yes, we are part of the global community, but we are also stick to our roots. Our identities are born from ideas, practises, beliefs and philosophies formed long long ago. Some are formal, like the forming of our Monarchy in 1238, and some are just food for the soul. On 15th lunar month of November we have the Loy Kratong festival which is about paying our respects to the mother of river. In return she gives us water to consume for the whole year. We make a flower basket from banana leaves and flowers and we also cut a little of our hair or nail and put in the flower basket. We then let it sail down the river because we believe she will take our sadness away while also wishing that the best things may return back to us.

I tell you these things because one day, you are sure to come past one of my stalls and see me. And whether or not your next holiday here is for a honeymoon or just time out, then come and talk to me. I have a lot more to say about my beautiful country. When you do come, remember people like me can organise everything – including your laundry. I'm Bee – and I hope to see you soon.

 

 

 

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Yoga practicing while sunset.

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Mountains of Cabbage Plantation

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The simply way of life ^^

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Phra That Doi Kong Moo

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