Memories of Thailand

July 29, 2011

It was an easy decision to set Rarer Than Rubies in Thailand. I’ve traveled a lot, and even lived abroad for many years, but Thailand is a place that’s very special to me.

I first visited on my way to start working in Tokyo. I had a job offer to work as an economist, but the company hadn’t opened their office yet, so they told me to take a vacation and they’d call me when they had my start date.

I did just that, and I wasn’t in any hurry. I spent about three months in Europe before I hit Italy, where I spent another four months. Still no start date from the new job, but I was having such fun I was glad!

When I got to Thailand I had already been in India for about three months, and I was so pleased at the really laid-back and friendly Thais. They call Thailand the “Land of Smiles” and it’s really very true. Everyone is smiling and they greet you with a “wai” or hands pressed together.

I love Thai food and I’m a huge fan of street food. I’m not afraid of eating from a cart or have a guy cook for me on little fire on the sidewalk. So Thailand was another form of heaven for me. The street food was fantastic. I admit I didn’t try any of the bugs that some carts were selling, but there was plenty to choose from. Lots of different soups or noodles, or my favorite was a guy selling duck around the corner from one of the guest houses I stayed at in Bangkok. He and his duck make an appearance in the book.

I also love coconut and there are plenty of Thai foods and drinks with coconut. I’ll be sharing an excerpt with one of those a little late. It’s interesting that in Asia coconut drinks and coconut water are common street drinks that cost pennies, yet here in the US they are just now making an appearance in grocery stores: for about 2 dollars a serving!

One thing I didn’t get to do in Thailand was visit the beaches. I chose to spend my time in the cities including the far north east and north west. It was wonderful to get out of the more touristy areas and see what more normal life was like in Thailand. I found friendly people everywhere who answered questions for me about all sorts of things. When visiting a temple I met a Thai-born American man who was spending a month as a monk. All Thais do this at some point in their lives, and even though this man lived in the US he had come back to do this. I asked him a million questions about it and he patiently answered all of them.

Among my favorite places was Sukhothai which was the old capital, with many temples and Buddha statues in ruins. I didn’t get a chance to use the location in the book, since the characters didn’t go there, and it was too bad. I took about a million photos when I was there. There were a lot of little ponds with huge lilypads, with giant pink flowers. Definitely one of the most memorable places on my trip!

So, I hope you’ll visit Thailand with me (and Trent and Reed), follow in my footsteps and live some of the wonderful experiences I had in Thailand. Check out Rarer Than Rubies!

Feel free to ask more questions here, if you like!

–EM Lynley

2 Responses to “Memories of Thailand”

  1. Beatrice says:

    Thanks for the post! Despite my current status as a permanent U.S. resident, I was born and raised in the Philippines (about a few hours worth of plane travel from Thailand) and I can definitely agree with most things you’ve said about the food. Asian street food is something not to be missed! Whether you’re in Thailand or Taiwan or China, food carts have some of the tastiest (and most unhealthy, haha) food choices. :>

    Coconut water is also popular where I come from. But over there we call it “buko juice”. I’m so glad to hear that you incorporated the Thai culture in your book. I love reading books that take place in different countries because there’s so much you can learn!

  2. EM Lynley says:

    Hi Beatrice!
    You’ll find plenty about Thailand here, and since one of the characters lives there, you’ll see it from his perspective as well as from someone just visiting. I haven’t been to the Philippines but I expect some similar reactions on a first visit.

    I still think your average street food item in Asia is better for you than a Big Mac! South India has some really delicious food and thankfully I live in a part of California where we can find all these things!

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