As Phuket looks back a year full many negative news reports, the Phuket Gazette is happy to publish this reader's first-person account of what makes living in Phuket great.
PHUKET: Phuket is the Thailand I know and love. Having flown straight to the island and stayed, I have only heard rumors of “mainland” hospitality and the kindness Thai people are revered for. This is most often used as a counterpoint to the “bad-apple” attractive force of Phuket. Though I see the works of the bad apples regularly, I find that when I’m truly in need there is always someone there.
As I apparently have no understanding what the “E” on a motorbike fuel gauge refers to, I often find myself stranded on the side of the road out of gas. As Murphy’s Law dictates, this happens at the most inconvenient times 3am riding back from Patong, or 11pm on the bypass road with no petrol in sight. In these moments, when I am truly helpless to do much else than buckle down and start pushing, I find the people of Phuket quietly stepping up to help.
It was a long night in Patong and I managed to roll down the big hill toward Karon Circle before the bike died. There was no sign of petrol anywhere.
A heavy set “working woman” approached from across the street. There was no conversation about prospective work, she simply wanted to know what was wrong with my bike. Having established I was out of petrol, she offered to get on her motorbike to get some.
Time passed, I grew impatient and started hiking, only to find her zipping back with a bottle of petrol as promised. I can’t imagine how far away the nearest local petrol stand must have been. After fueling up, I asked how much it cost admittedly nervous about getting skinned. It cost 40 baht
exactly what it cost at the stands. I paid, profusely thanked her and puttered home.
More recently, on the bypass road, I was given a push from a young well-dressed man to the nearest petrol stand after I had, again, run out of petrol.
The island is full of these incidents, these small favors that turn a ruinous night into a passing annoyance. As we step into the new year, I can only hope that us “bar grumblers” start keeping a tally not only of our grumbling points, but also of those times, when in need, we were greeted with earnest concern and a solution.