My best friend and I could not be any more different. Kate is the sweet, girl next door who people can’t help but love. I’m the sassy, sarcastic one who speaks her mind and can seem overbearing upon first meeting (I swear I have a big heart!) So our adventures in Thailand together were one of a kind.As we lay relaxing on Karon Beach, attempting to avoid eye contact with vendors trying to sell us everything from sunglasses to tattoos, a little old lady stumbles over to us. She is covered head to toe in the 95 degree humidity, so of course we felt sorry for her as we bask carelessly in our teeny bikinis.
“You buy, I give happy hour to beauties,” she tells us (at 9am in the morning).
In Thailand, as with many third world countries, the merchants on the beach and in the markets can be pushy and aggressive to get your business. They will start off high, and then you bargain down, taking full advantage of the fact that you are an ignorant tourist with ample free cash flow. Just to appease her, we try on at least 15 dresses as she snaps pictures so we can see without a mirror. I bargain for half of what she initially quoted (two dresses for 400 baht or about $12 USD…stupid cheap!)
An hour later, as I pick up my beach bag, my favorite dress which I had resisted the urge to buy (pictured above) was glaring back at me. She had forgotten it!
“We should just keep it, who cares, it’s cute…” Kate shockingly says (she’s usually my voice of reason). I felt pangs of remorse and ponder for a few minutes but tuck it away in my bag inconspicuously. As I trudge up the boardwalk back to my room, I see the little old woman flagging me down from across the beach. My heart starts racing, she knows I have the dress! Turns out, she just wanted to tell me she had more dresses back at her shop and would be back later that day. But my conscience got the best of me: “I’ve been trying to find you, you left behind one of your dresses!” I had to give it back.
This woman was the happiest I’d ever seen someone, hugging me and thanking me over and over again for my honesty. I came to realize, the Thai people live on very little. I have a stable job in a thriving economy. For $6 measly dollars out of my pocket, it was more than worth it to see this woman smile. And that my friends, is how a simple day in the Land of Smiles can change your entire perspective.