I find differences in culture to be fascinating. Here are two more that I’d thought I’d share.
In America, if you don’t tip you are considered cheap. The waiter or waitress might want to fight you if you don’t tip. I find that tipping, though sometimes an inconvenience, is a way for you to voice your approval or dsapproval with the quality of service. If a waiter or waitress is bad, I feel as if I can let them know how bad they were by the size of my tip.
Tipping over here is not acceptable. The price they charge is the price you pay. No more, no less. No tipping allowed. Not sure if it is an insult to them or if its just something that’s not done, but tipping is definitely not smiled upon.
In tourist areas it is more common but still not expected. Which is why one of the staff at the guesthouse had a look of utter horror and confusion when Raena gave him a tip for bringing our food to our room. lol
Maybe the lack of tipping explains why customer service over here is so bad. Really. Why do I have to hunt you down to get the check for my meal? Don’t you want to get paid? In the states they have the bill ready. Here, they wait till you are done then mentally add up how much it is you owe. As if they are just making it up at the spur of the moment.
Something else I have to get used to around here is the lack of taxes. They have them in some places but for the most part, most shops don’t charge you a tax on the items. If anything, more than likely you can negotiate with them and the price is going to come down, not go up because of the sales tax. It could be that tax is built into the price of the item, but it sure is nice not trying to figure out how much something really is when it says 8.34 on the tag.
I’ve told you in previous posts about my feelings on the whole shower thing over here, but I did find out some new information regarding bathing. Most Thai’s don’t take showers or baths in the conventional sense. According to my new buddy Top they have a tub or bucket of water that they splash on themselves. I would refer to that as a bird bath. He says they find it a little strange not only the way we take showers/baths but also the fact that we like to do so with warm/hot water. This really seemed to baffle him. Why not get refreshed from a long hot day with nice cool water is what he is thinking. And truthfully, it does sound like the logical thing to do. But as you know, there is nothing quite like a hot shower. I had a lot of trouble explaining that to him though.
Lost in Translation
I find it absolutely hilarious that despite the total night and day differences between our language, the F word (yes I’m talking about the bad four letter word) means the same in both Thai and English. No, I was not asking him to teach me all of the bad words in Thai. Pumpkin is really big over here and there was a truck passing by with a ton of them loaded in the back and I asked Top what the Thai word for pumpkin was. I asked him to say it slower, and sure enough, it was the F word at the beginning. I began to explain that in America that was a bad word and he says, “I know, here too.”
I am still getting used to night times here. The animals come alive at night. You hear all sorts of things around here. I feel like I am on that island from Jurassic Park. No seriously, some of these noises sound just like dinosaurs from that movie. No joke.
Before I moved here I told Nathan that one of my stipulations for coming was that I wanted several machetes. Well, I am happy to say that I am the proud owner of my first machete. 🙂 Nathan gave me one of his extras. I plan on having a few of them. This particular one is a little shorter than I envisioned but it’ll do, it’ll do. lol
Perhaps I should sleep with my machete next to me to help protect me from the dinosaurs.