As you could probably tell from my last post, I’m in Thailand. We decided to head to Phuket first and then see Bangkok on our way out of this one week away from the craziness of SF life.
I love traveling because it helps me disconnect, unwind and recharge after giving it all and more to all our ongoing projects. But most of all, I love traveling because it allows me to discover cultures and foods that I can’t easily experience back at home.
We didn’t know what to expect coming to Thailand, so we chose one of the most touristic places in the country thinking it’s a safe bet – beach, weather, islands, elephant sanctuary. It has it all. Sure, it smells like trash in some places, the sewer is terrible, but that’s the result of sloppy city management and an unforgiving weather. The islands and beaches are great though, and the water is a heavenly blue color.
I was talking to Elena about one of our biggest shocks regarding Phuket, and not in a good way. We were surprised to see Central and Eastern Europe has started to creep into Phuket through Russian, Hungarian and Austrian restaurants. I can live with the smoking everywhere, the loudness of some of the tourists, but I get concerned when their habits start to change the local scenery to something too close to home.
From what I could gather, the Thai culture is extremely accommodating and that didn’t play to their advantage with this particular aspect – regarding food. Now there are tons of Thai places that serve local food AND a collection of pierogi, potato salads, Russian salads, all sorts of European soups and sausages – for the traveler who wants to feel at home, literally. I’m not saying Europeans are the only ones who do this, there are Australian chains, a Hooters, McDonald’s, Burger King and other stuff like that, but you didn’t find burgers next to Pad Thai in most restaurants.
I feel like this type of food blend/fusion is slowly eroding local cultures like the one in Phuket and I hope more people write and try to educate travelers to avoid eating what they would have at home and try out the local cuisine.
At the end of our Phuket visit, our question to the world is: why on earth would you travel 9+ hours on a plane and then go and eat potato salad and borsch, or wurst, if you have those at home?