Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thai Smiles, Part 18: At Work

A few months back I'd shared thoughts on how Thai find sanuk (fun) in whatever they do, and how if something isn't sanuk it's not worth doing. I still stand by that theory, and it's something I strive for in my own life. Some days it's easier than others, but it helps. Today we see a few more examples of that spirit. None of these people worked an easy job, but all were quick to stop and smile a moment for a stranger.

Standing on your feet all day can be difficult enough, but doing on a constantly moving platform has to be even more of a challenge. This bus guard (above, with the woman who was taking fares) were in near constant motion to steady themselves, but both returned a smile and greeting as they passed by. I shudder to think how my feet would hurt after a similar shift, and the riverboat taxi folks must have it 10 times worse. You can see clips of a riverboat taxi post here.

The sewers and associated gutters and drains in the cities can be - uhhm - fragrant, to say the least. The job of opening them up on a very warm day to clear the muck out of them when they're clogged is a job I'd really have to steel myself up to do - and this guy above had been up to it to his elbows.

People have shared with me that housekeeping in a hotel can be a day littered with unpleasant surprises. Folks often expect a room to be cleaner than they keep their own homes and yet think nothing of leaving messes on a regular basis for the cleaning staff that many of us wouldn't touch with gloves on. Especially if you're staying a few nights in one place, let this serve as a suggestion to be thoughtful about leaving a tip for those who care for the room you'll be returning to later in the day. This woman was cheery every time I ran into her, and I doubt it was the 20 baht note I left for her each day.

The man above drives vans of tourists around to various spots, and was such a pleasant guy we asked him to join us when he dropped us at a simple local restaurant in Ayuttaya one afternoon between temple stops. Initially he declined but my friend assured him he was welcome, so he went and parked the van and came back to sit with us. He appreciated being included, I think. He certainly had a healthy appetite!

A massage guy I had fun joking around with while in Pattaya had his share of boring afternoons sitting around and waiting for customers to come wandering by. I stopped by to visit with him a few times and once even had a credible Thai massage from him.

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