I like Thailand a lot, but not for an obvious reason.
A friend from Bangkok looked at me and said, “You’re not very trusting and always suspicious of Thai people!”. I thought about it for a minute and realized she’s right. Because this isn’t my nature I had to think about why…
Bangkok, 2009 – Girl tries to smash bottle over my head for what some other kid said. Happened my first hour in Thailand.
Bangkok, 2009 – Turn down seemingly underage prostitute several times. She then asks me, “Take me with you?”; to rescue her. Female pimp waited to prevent this. Most disturbing experience in my life.
Bangkok, 2012 – Get on train. Find out a bomb blew up the train last week.
Ko Phi Phi 2012 – A friend was run off the road by two Thai trucks. They left him unconscious bleeding in a ditch. American Dr. was the first to stop and help.
Ko Phangan 2012 – 50 meters away from where I was filming a guy walks into a bar and shoots a man in the face. Shoots his friend too.
Bangkok 2012 – Was robbed of $115 US.
Koh Tao 2012 – Same friend who questions my trust for Thai people gets angry and throws a bucket of water into my bungalow.
And that’s just some of what I experienced. There are other stories about beatings, murder, scams, extortion, robbery and police corruption.
But, I still like Thailand. Why? Everyone’s friendly.
What needs to be understood about Thailand are the “extremes”. There is super wealth and extreme poverty. They are the friendliest people in the world and are some of the scummiest. Unparalleled beauty and rampant pollution.
Unfortunately when white boy American backpacker, Carl is walking down the road, the guy who cuts across six lanes of traffic to offer him a ride, usually doesn’t have charitable intentions; but he’ll still be friendly.
When you travel there’s always risk and you can’t stop bad luck, but you can make good decisions and prevent most of it. Staying off scooters, watching your valuables and smiling will prevent 99% of the bad from ever happening.
While I’m not a big Bangkok fan, I respect it. The rest of Thailand I love and would recommend it to anybody; from the mountains of Chang Mi to the amazing island beaches down south, I would take all of the bad for just a few days of the good… and that says a lot!
PS. – To get the shot of the rotary in Bangkok I had to stick the camera in a flower box dangling over the highway and strap it to the railing… but it worked!