My country is the World. My religion is to be Human.

First stop in Thailand – Island Phuket

For those of you who do not know, Thailand is a monarchy, so they are still a kingdom. Yesterday, on December 5th, the king turned 88 and on that occasion people organized a huge cycling race. They all wore T-shirts saying “Bike for Dad”, they also have a website dedicated to the event

king_thumbPicture of the King is taken from the link.

95% of Thai people are Buddhists. Buddhism is not a religion but a way of life that tells people to turn nature and to their psyche. It’s amazing to see how Thais smile, how they are happy and satisfied with what they have. They all smile at you for no reason and it’s just so refreshing.

The funny thing about girls in Asia and Thailand are definitely creams for skin whitening. While western girls use creams for tanning, Asian girls put cream made from snails because they want to have lighter skin. Although they have a wonderful sandy beach, you will never see locals bathing between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. because they do not want to be exposed to the sun.

snail whiteCommercial for cream for skin whitening

My first stop after Malaysia was an island in Thailand – Phuket. There I stayed with a  family that teaches English to poor children. Apart from that, they do not work anywhere because they have savings that allow them to have a decent living standard. They do not charge for the English classes, they do it out of love. More on this in another post.

The first impression from the streets of Phuket was the problem they have with electric wires. They didn’t dig wires from the beginning, they were just putting them on the poles and now they have a huge problem. There were 50 or more wires on a singel pole standing in the open. In most places the wires are hanging so low that the dogs can reach them. I was a little afraid to walk next them.

n3PEA-1Picture taken from this link.

The two main beaches on Phuket are Patong and Karon. Patong is more for people who want to party and have fun and Karon is a much calmer beach. In the tourist areas like Phatong beach, Thailand got a different vibe, unnatural and forced. Unfortunately, it is like this wherever there are tourists.

In the tourist areas sex tourism is thriving. You can see girls and ladyboys (as they call them) everywhere you go who offer massages and associated services. In bars and pubs you can see local girls drinking alone, waiting for some foreigner to come up to them, offer them a drink, start a conversation and then girls would offer their prices. In restaurants you can see an older gentleman having dinner with young local girls, holding hands and walking on the streets. In Patong beach there is a street that  filled with guys dressed as women, women who offer their bodies, promote bars and other nightlife activities. This left a bitter taste in my mouth, but fortunately situation was much better on Karon beach. As soon as you get away from these tourist places, everything is much different right away and you get a different impression.

iStock_000017412245_ladyboy_610x400Ladyboy picture taken from the link.

slikaPicture of local Thai girls taken from the link.

Wherever I was, I had a feeling that they are not just trying to sell stuff to me. They would offer me something only once and if I said no, then they would give up. Sometimes they would ask How much. This means that they are willing to bargain. They will accept the first price you suggest if it seems acceptable to them. Bargaining with them is not at all complicated.

The other day I was on the beach and an old man was selling knitted loungers approached me. When I asked him how much they cost, he said 600 baht which equals 15 euros. Otherwise they cost about 1,200 baht. I wanted to buy one and when I looked in my wallet, I realized I only had 450 baht. He told me that it was okay, and then he pointed at his mouth and pointed a finger at me. He wanted to ask me whether I would have enough money to eat if I gave him the last 450 baht from the wallet. Although he did not speak English, I talked to him for a long time. He has a son and a daughter studying in Bangkok, and his wife is making these loungers for him to sell them on the beach. I was touched by how interested he was in me as a person, and whether I would have anything to eat if I buy his lounger.

dekicaGrandpa who was selling loungers

What I will miss the most about Thailand is tropical fruit. I had smoothie every day while I was there. Sometimes I would even drink a smoothies instead of having a regular meal. Not only do they have kinds of fruit I cannot get a hold of in Serbia, but the one I get in Serbia has a different taste. On Phuket I tasted the real flavor banana should have. Sweetish milky taste with silky texture. They have several kinds of bananas. On Phuket I had a chance for the first time in my life to see how pineapples grow. I did not know that one pineapple is a single tree and it actually grows upside down.

ananasPineapple farm

If you want to move more efficiently on Phuket, it would be a great idea to rent a scooter or motorcycle. It is affordable and everyone’s doing it. However, because there are so many, accidents are frequent. Almost every day I saw small and large-scale accidents.

Buddhism in some places mixes with local customs and gets a different form. For example, they have the goddess of prosperity. They believe that she will bring many customers and affect their business positively. It is interesting that they believe that this goddess loves drinking red soda. For this reason, every store has an open bottle of red Fanta with a tube that is a tribute to the goddess. So, red Fanta is sold only because of this goddess. I did not see anyone ever drink this juice.

crvena fanta

Thailand is very cheap, cheaper than Serbia. For less than half a dollar you can buy a meal on the street! I spent a lot of time in their local markets and places where there are no tourists, so I could always find up to three times cheaper meals than in other places.

See Phuket from non-tourist view:

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Milica Radovic-Mandic