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ASK EMMA

 

Motorbike accident

Dear Emma,

I had a small accident with my motorbike. It was not my fault at all but I have heard all the cynical stories of foreigners who have accidents with Thais and yet must take all the blame. Although I guess I should add that all of these stories are second hand and I have yet to hear one from someone it has actually happened to.

Anyway, I digress a little. I fell off of my motorbike swerving to avoid a car who pulled out into the road without looking. The man stopped, jumped out of his car and ran over to help me up. My Thai is not so good and his English as not so good either but not only did we manage to communicate but he drove me to the hospital where they bandaged me up, paid for that and gave me some cash to fix the broken mirror on my bike.

He was quite worried that I was hurt and treated me decently and fairly. So, I should say, Dear Emma, that your readers should not always assume the worst. My experience, although painful and a bit frightening at first, has been that there are more good people here than bad.

Yours,

Scraped up

Dear Scraped,

I am delighted to hear your story as well. Indeed, Emma should add that this is not the first such story of this kind that I have heard. Although one friend did have an accident with a drunk man on a scooter who tried to blame my friend even though he, the drunk, had run a red light, numerous witnesses stepped forward to set the record straight when the police arrived. The Thai man was carted off to the hospital where he paid his own bills. He had no insurance and could not pay for the repairs to my friend’s car but all turned out better than my friend had expected since, also, had heard these stories.

I don’t know if they are true, perhaps sometimes they are but Emma has yet to encounter someone that this has happened to first hand.

Regards

Emma

I met a nice girl

Dear Emma,

I am an exchange student here in Chiang Mai, at CMU. I met this really beautiful, sweet girl from Phayao who is going to CMU as well. We are studying many of the same subjects so I get to see her in class nearly every day.

I asked her out for coffee and she said yes but then showed up with a friend! I thought it was a date but perhaps she thinks we are just friends? I am now a little confused as to how I should proceed. Maybe she doesn’t like me after all?

Yours,

Confused

Dear Confused,

Don’t be confused! Many nice young Thai girls would not dream of going out on a solo date with a man they just met. It is normal to bring a chaperone of sorts. Additionally, you should also realize that often dates are a group event with the “couple” joining a group of friends. This saves the reputation of the girl and allows the couple to get to know each other better in a friendly and safe environment. So, dear confused, be heartened that she would go out with you at all for this surely demonstrates her interest. You will just have to learn how to do things the Thai way if you want to know her better.

Regards

Emma

Dear Emma,

I know I chose to live in a tourist town. I understand that this is high season and we must be nice to tourists as they are one of the lifebloods of the Chiang Mai economy. However! Sometimes I am amazed at the total lack of common sense from some of our city’s tourists! More than once am I blocked from turning into my soi by tourists who stop in the middle of the road to look at a map. I realize they are lost but surely they would not stand in the road in their home countries blocking all traffic?

Then there are the tourists who do step out in front of traffic without looking. Surely they were taught to look both ways before crossing the street?

And finally, a small rant at tourists who come to Chiang Mai dressed as if this were the beach. I want to shout at all of them, “This is not the beach, put some clothes on! Nobody wants to see that” but I just can’t seem to muster up the courage to do that.

Thank you for listening to my rant Emma, I promise I will be nice to the next tourist I see and that I won’t send them on a wild goose chase when they ask for directions.

Tom

Dear Tom,

I feel your pain, I do. My particular pet peeve are tourists who insist on walking three and four abreast on our narrow city streets. This is not limited to western tourists I should add. The Chinese and Japanese seem particularly wont to do this but even more so, Thai tourists. Perhaps they have been in Bangkok so long they forget what goes on in the rest of the world, or perhaps they just don’t care. Emma really doesn’t understand it either. But she does sympathise with you!

Regards,

Emma

Cigarettes

Dear Emma,

I just returned from a trip to Laos and I must say, Thailand is a breath of fresh air. Quite literally. Everyone there smokes it seems. There don’t appear to be regulations on where you can smoke and I am guessing the concept of no smoking floors in the hotels has not yet reached Laos since my hotel stank with stale smoke.

Everyone smoked everywhere. As a non-smoker it put me off my food to have someone puffing heartily away at the table next to me. I don’t see myself returning any time soon but I have recommended it for my smoker friends.

Signed

Non-smoker

Dear Non-Smoker,

Thank you for the tip. Emma has not had a cigarette in years and like many reformed smokers am now rather fanatical. I hope that Laos can learn sooner rather than later that not everyone likes the smell of smoke.

Regards,

Emma