We spent a month in Vietnam and generally loved it. Despite the ornery locals, the place grew on us, and I was surprisingly sad to leave it. But we arrived in Thailand early this morning, and there are already a number of categories in which it beats Vietnam.
1. Cleanliness. There are TRASH CANS here!!!! In Vietnam, they were only in the bathrooms for you to throw the toilet paper. Here, they are in the bathrooms and also everywhere else. So instead of throwing trash out the window of the bus, people will hold on to it and use a trash can at the rest stops. As a result, there isn’t as much litter everywhere.
2. Friendliness. People smile at me instead of scowling! And people still assume I’m a local, but they don’t grumble when they realize I don’t speak the language.
3. Horns. At one point in our 12-hour bus journey from Bangkok to Krabi, Matt turned to me and said, “I’m really worried.” “What? why?” “I’m afraid the horn isn’t working. And that the bus isn’t swerving violently.”
It had become a running joke of ours in Vietnam that the drivers honked constantly because they wanted to make sure the horns were still working. The silence here in Thailand would be unsettling if it wasn’t so restful and peaceful. The traffic is also much calmer.
4. Inside voices. On the bus, people were still on their phones like in Vietnam, but they weren’t screaming into them. They used normal, inside voices. And no one here has lectured me or yelled at me about anything yet.
We’ve had a bit of culture-shock transitioning from a month in Vietnam to this new place. Don’t get me wrong — Vietnam has won a spot in my heart and I intend to return again, but I’m not sorry to leave some parts if it behind for now.
I do already miss the coffee, though.