Stickman Readers' Submissions January 7th, 2004

Uninvited Guests

Univited Guests

By Argnaut

About two years ago, during my first trip to and through Thailand, I finally made my way down to beautiful Phuket, after having travelled North and Central Thailand for a couple of weeks. Not having been to Phuket before, I chose to stay at the only YHA hostel on the island. I had stayed in Bangkok YHA a week earlier, which I found to be a nice and easy going place, so I decided to stick with it in Phuket too. As far as the location of the hostel is concerned, it was probably not a wise decision to make. It’s situated in the Southern central part of the island, Only a 10 minute walk from Wat Chalong, meaning, it’s pretty damn far to the beaches and nightlife spots.

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Being a chicken shit when it came to renting a motorbike on the island, After having heard a fair share of stories about all the accidents happening on Phuket’s’ roads involving tourists, I first felt pretty isolated. I nevertheless decided to stick with the place. I was staying for 4 days only Anyway. In the end I was able to do everything I intended with ease.

Having arrived at the hostel in the late afternoon, unfamiliar of the island and without any mean of transportation at hand, I decided to first find myself a nice place to have some dinner along the road. I talked to the young girl who had helped me to get a key to my room earlier on, asking her about my chances of having some good food around the place. She immediately pointed out there is a restaurant immensely popular with locals only about one kilometer down the road. So off I went, walking down the busy road watching the sun set behind the hills, in company of an English girl about my age, who had arrived only an hour before me and just as me was interested to pick up some good Thai food. On our way we past a few food stalls, and even though some of them had some delicious treats on display, we decided to make our way down the recommended restaurant.

After 15 minutes of relaxed walking and talking, we finally arrived at the place. The girl at the hostel hadn’t been telling lies, the place was crowded with locals. It had at least 20 tables standing out in the open, in front of a medium sized concrete building. Almost all tables but two were occupied. Except for us two there was no other farang in sight.

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Feeling a great desire to fill my empty stomach, we approached one of the two unoccupied tables and sat down. We noticed how some of the people around us gave us some curious looks, while most of them didn’t even notice us, as they were involved with eating and chatting loudly and happily.

After a minute or two the waitress arrived, waied the two of us, offering us a glass of water, and a plate of some rather sweat treats, which I couldn’t identify for what they were. Then she left our table again and moved into the building, only to appear briefly after again with huge plates of food, which she carried to the tables adjacent to ours. The food looked great, and I was really getting hungry now!

Oddly, the waitress didn’t return to our table. She seemed busy, but still passed our table frequently enough to notice our humble attempts to get her attention for our orders. Finally, I managed to get her attention and asked her about seeing the menu, or being pointed out what kind of food was being served that night. The waitress blushed, turned around, and left the table. I followed her with my eyes to the entrance of the restaurant, where two middle aged, rather well dressed men were standing, looking our way.

The waitress talked to them, and shortly after, returned to our table in their company. I wasn’t sure what to expect, the two guys definitely didn’t look as if they were the cook or the manager of the place. Reaching our table, the taller of the two guys said to us: “Excuse me, do you want more water?” I replied yes that would be nice, and that we would appreciate to order some food.

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Again the tall guy said: “You get more water, no problem. You get more snack, no problem, but sorry there is no menu”. The English girl and I exchanged dazzled looks and I said politely: “Well if there isn’t any menu, no problem, we just as well take what the people on the table next to us are having please.” The guy replied: “I am sorry no menu. You welcome.” Then they left the table again, exchanging some words with the waitress. Five minutes later the waitress returned with two plates of tasty looking food. We politely said thank you and, starving as both of us were, starting digging into our meal. It was absolutely delicious by all means. A good variety of different dishes, noodles, fish, fried rice, and fruits. We loved it. It was just what we had been looking for.

When we finished it had already gotten dark, and we decided to ask for the check, in order to walk back to our hostel. Instead of the waitress one of the two men who had talked to us before, approached our table. I asked him politely if he could maybe tell the waitress to bring our check. The man smiled and said. “No check, you my guests.” I was pretty surprised about this, and asked him for what reason he felt like inviting us so generously.
He replied: “This party for my brother. He dead one week. He crash motorbike.”

All of the sudden we started to realize what was happening at this place. We had unintentionally invited ourselves into a private funeral celebration, which was held at this restaurant that night. God, I did feel embarrassed for not noticing this, but there were no signs whatsoever that made it obvious.. The English gal and I rose from our chairs and we apologized to the man, intending to leave the place immediately. He smiled at us and said….You stay for more snack, okay…!?

Like so many others might say….Probably only in Thailand…

Stickman says:

Amazing Thailand lives up to its name!

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