Uttaradit is a province dropped halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand. It’s probably visited more by lost backpackers who got off at the wrong train stop, as many locals assumed we did, than tourists. But hey, we love places off the tourist track, which is exactly why my family lived in Uttaradit for a month to teach English. Every day we spent a few hours singing our hearts out and teaching basic English to adorable primary schoolers. After that, we would just wander around town. Usually aimlessly, which always leads to the best surprises.
On one particularly hot summer’s day, we were walking down a street outside of town where a man was fixing the DIY speed bump in front of his house. He paused his cement stirring to initially ask if we were lost, and then invite us for some ice water.
They say Thailand is the country of smiles, and this couldn’t be closer to the truth. One moment you’ll be walking down the street and the next someone will be smiling at you, saying hello, waving, or even feeding you.
We entered through his gate and sat outside at a long table, under the shade of a huge mango tree. Ice cold water was served and his wife began to peel mangos from a gigantic mountain of a fruit bowl and give them to us. I’ve never eaten so many mangoes in my life, it was incredible. Immediately we began to feel rejuvenated, the sweat on our faces replaced with smiles and sweet fruit juice. We sat and chatted with them for an hour in a language made up entirely of photos, hand motions, and google translate. The husband proudly showed us pictures of his family, and we explained we were working as English teachers at the local school. And then as quickly as we arrived, we went away on our separate paths, and reflected on how kindness definitely appears in the places you would least expect.
Hello! This is the second post from a new series about kindness on the road. I was inspired by Jessie Voigts of Wanderingeducators.com to create something positive by highlighting stories of great people and genuine kindness I’ve experienced while travelling. More coming soon 🙂 Thanks for reading, xx -Izzy