5 differences between Thailand and USA
First of all, let me clarify, when I say USA, I mean Minneapolis. I haven't been to many places in the USA so, obviously, it would be unreasonable to generalise. Although, on this post, most of the things I mention are true everywhere in America.
Okay, here we go...
Everywhere you go in America, it is all about the more more more and bigger option! Free refills, free toppings or 20 different options for your bread. Unattended syrup jars for your pancakes, unlimited rice at Indian restaurants... even getting a SIM card, something I thought it would be fairly straight forward, it isn’t! "We don't sell the SIM card on its own. You can get it with a monthly payment of 40USD, or if you take up a monthly payment of 50USD we offer you a brand new mobile phone worth 150USD". Well f*ck me!!! How about you give me the bloody card and let me use it as and when I need, and when I want more credit, I’ll add it on!? How’s that? What do you say stupid?
I should've just taken it and sold the 'brand new' stupid phone. (Not saying Thailand is better BUTTTTT.... unlimited data on a spanking new SIM card, 500baht! BAM!! 15USD. How about that??).
When you see something on the floor, it's not a rat! or a cockroach!
The first few weeks we spent in Minneapolis made me realise that I must've been very aware of the ground in Thailand, at all times. I realised I spent the first few weeks here in Minneapolis jumping or worrying about any little thing moving near my feet. I would be walking down the street and leaves would be blowing up and down with the wind. In the beginning my mind was always alert, thinking 'what a hell is that???'. I realised I was way too ready for it to be a rat or a cockroach. A couple of weeks went by and I finally said to myself 'Calm down Kelly! Not everything on the floor is a rat or a cockroach!'. I thought it was hilarious and made me realise how desensitized I was already in Thailand.
This one makes life very easy and makes you feel like you know shit.
"I need to go to this place. (checks map) Oh! Take Lyndale Road and turn left of n.45. Done!"
Basically, you don't have to know names if you know the numbers and guess what??? They follow each other. It goes like this... 40, 41, 42 hahahaha! I'm joking but, seriously! You always know where you are! It's awesome!
Boy! Made me thing how f*cked up driving in Thailand is haha! I knew Chiang Mai pretty well and I took pride in that. Especially in the fact that I always knew 3 different roads to escape the police stops! But there was no way I could remember the names of the roads of little alleys. I knew names of areas and main junctions! The rest was a mind map.
The big difference really, comes from how different both cities are. One is more recent and has clearly respected rules of urban planning. The other, simply hasn’t!
I have been told, there is something called 'Minnesota nice'. This applies to different things in everyday life, but I want to talk about it when it relates to traffic. Why? Because I nearly caused an accident the other day!
Minnesota nice traffic is NOTHING like Thai traffic. In Thailand, nobody stops! Everything just flows constantly, and because it does it almost seems to be more organic. I always say it feels like lava. Lava doesn’t stop, and so do cars and scooters in Asia. They’ll go around you, sometimes very close to you, but they don’t stop.
In Minnesota, you might be 5 steps from getting to the road crossing but you can already see a car waiting for you to cross. Then you’re left with that awkward decision of keeping your pace or gently bouncing off to pretend you are trying to go faster. The number of road crossings here (way more than in Thailand as well) contribute to how annoying this can be. All I want is to walk leisurely and not have to speed up because somebody is waiting.
The other day I almost caused an accident because I was on my bike and approaching a road crossing. I could see the car slowing down so I stopped in the middle of my hill because I didn’t want to make him stop. Guess what? He stopped!! Then we spent the next 10 seconds exchanging hand motions, simultaneously, authorizing each other to cross. He finally realised I wasn’t going anywhere, shook his shoulders and proceeded to start the car, WITHOUT LOOKING TO THE OTHER SIDE! See, in the meantime, while we were doing this pathetic dance, another cyclist approached from the other side of the road. Since the car was just standing there he decided to cross. They both kinda jumped when they took notice of each other.
Minnesota nice is probably a lot safer! But I am not used to it and I don’t wanna be going around causing accidents. From then on, I started to always cross when they want me to but don’t expect me to bounce and pretend I am walking faster.
Guacamole, hummus and maple syrup:
I guess there’s not much to say here. I find myself thinking ‘Bloody hell Kelly, you lived 2 years without these things. Why do you need it like air to survive all the sudden?’. Jokes aside, there is just no doubt that Thailand is better for your diet, simply because of the amount of things that ARE NOT available in Thailand.
Going to the supermarket here is like a field exploration for me. Chocolate bar flavours that I had never seen (like Jalapeno M&Ms …what???); about 20 different types of crisps; dozens of salad dressings (with fancy names like Italian dressing, French dressing. Things that Italian and French people definitely DON’T USE!); different breads, English muffins, scones, wraps, etc etc etc. It’s never ending!!!
In Thailand you can find a fraction of this at the import shop and quite often you get demotivated when you look at the prices. “Hmm… I can have dinner for 2$ or I can buy this chocolate bar for 19$”. There’s just no argument. “You’ll f*cking survive!!”
Of course you can find guacamole, hummus and maple syrup, but the big distinction I want to make here is the quantity and the easiness to find it. You can have all these things if you eat the typical Western style restaurants but you will certainly not find jars of syrup laying around in every table! (Actually, most places in Thailand only use honey, not syrup. Simply not an option for me as a substitute!) And you will not find guacamole and hummus at every single supermarket. In the USA, temptation is constant and very very real!
Anyway, as time goes by, I am sure I will find more things to talk about.
My fiancé’s family is amused with how much everything is so alien to me. “That drink is bigger than your face!!! What are you doing?”, “You get eggs, has browns, pancakes, fruit, unlimited syrup, a bunch of different jams and coffee refills?”, “I don’t know if I can finish my side order, let alone my main course!!”.
Anyway, feel free to share your experience and tell about different parts of the world. I’d love to hear your crazy stories.
Stay happy people.
Thanks for reading!