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A few days ago, a friend made me discover this video.

If you have already been in Thailand, maybe in areas where Western tourism has not taken over the local lifestyle, you will immediately get the geniality of this spot, also given by its being likely.

While watching it, I immediately recalled one evening in the north of Thailand a few years ago.

After a day spent visiting the area near the border with Myanmar on a scooter, we got lost a few kilometers away from Chiang Rai, where after the sunset is simply dark and where all roads get to look the same… Around here, almost nobody speaks English, and most are unable to read even in Thai, and it is, therefore, useless to show them maps or tourist guides.

In a village somewhere in the mountains, my brother asked for help (he has a real gift for communicating with gestures and arousing empathy!) to two ladies who were having a beauty break with hair curlers and nail polish on their veranda overlooking the main street. The one in charge of laying curlers abandoned her friend to call her neighbor who was having dinner and abandoned his occupation to take us to another neighbor who was busy feeding his baby girl.

Del perché del Paese del Sorriso

The latter has picked up his little girl to open his internet point for us to look at our resort website for exact directions. Despite this, probably not trusting our orientation skills (!), he once more took his baby, got in the car, and asked us to follow him to our final destination, the Naga Hill.

I actually had several experiences of this kind during my trips, especially in Southeast Asia and in certain countries of Central and South America. All these experiences not only represent precious memories full of laughter and smiles, but they also taught me a lot about availability and hospitality.

And here in western countries? Would it be possible to shoot this kind of video clip? Would it be likely?

When I tell people about this kind of accident/meetings, they usually react with “yeah, but it is different and here there are many problems, and one has no time,” “here people are stressed and have too many commitments,” etc. I’m not convinced because I think that “our” problems are actually fewer vitals, just like most of our commitments… I think we are simply losing an important part of our education and culture,  disrupted by the sometimes not-so-real welfare that characterized the last decades.

However, traveling, I have learned that small gestures often greatly help improve the lives of the people we meet and that smiles come with other smiles, and that with these premises, one can go far away.

Del perché del Paese del Sorriso

I also learned that tourism and hospitality must go hand in hand and that the latter should be meant as the availability of the entire local community and not just of those sitting at the front desk of a hotel or at a tourist information desk (skills that the last two categories are supposed to have!!!). Making a visitor feel good should make us feel good, too; it should be a source of pride.

Our country, our town, our civilization is us

Grazie Nicola.

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.