Michael A. Sisti

Author, Lecturer, Consultant


Impressions of Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Children

We encountered a surprising number of young Asian families vacationing in both Thailand and Cambodia. They were all well dressed and stayed at the better hotels. I’m guessing that most were Koreans, but there were also many Thais, Filipinos, Malaysians, among others. The kids are all adorable and very photogenic. The parents are very affectionate with their children and spoil them terribly. Although most are very well behaved, some are incorrigible.

Asian GirlChild in Jeans Mother & Child













The Power of Positive Thinking

In communicating with the locals, even among those speaking some English, there is a major barrier. Their pronunciation is very strange, and they go back and forth from English to Thai. And no matter what question you ask them, you get a confused look, a smile and a nod, and then an affirmative, “Yes!”

“Is this necklace 18 carat gold or gold plate?” “Yes!”

“Will I die if I walk down this alley to get to my hotel?” “Yes!”

“Is this Spicy Pepper Dragon Rice with Curry and Habanero mild enough for Americans to eat?” “Yes!”

Relative Safety

In every US City, as well as the capitals of the world, there are streets that you would never venture down. But in Thailand, the most intimidating alleys are frequented by tourists and locals alike. It was in one of these dark, dank passages that Sara came upon a stand exhibiting several cases of beautifully designed silver jewelry. Alleyway Jewelry StoreDespite an inventory of tens thousands of dollars in precious metal, the emporium was unmanned. Sara asked the people at the tee shirt stand across the way about the jewelry store owner, and the guy laughed and said, “In Toilet, be back.” So as we’re browsing the tee shirts, I spot this guy that looks 16, has an Odell Beckham haircut, and is sporting piercings in both ears, one nostril, one eyelid,  and one eyebrow. I say to Sara, “You’re about to meet Harry Winston.”Odell

Sara found a couple of bracelets that she liked, and an excited Odell thought he was making a double sale. Lowering the price for each, he made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. I kept shaking my head, no. But after playing hard to get, the way she did with me when we dated, she kept squeezing his ingronies and finally bought the one she really wanted at an incredible price that even I couldn’t believe. When we left him dazed, and bleeding profusely from his wallet, he learned just how dangerous that alley really could be.



A Clean Sweep

I’ve previously chronicled the dirty conditions in Thailand, but there is a paradox. These people are obsessed with sweeping. There are stores, stands and and rolling carts selling brooms in every size and configuration, and it seems half the population is employed as sweepers. They sweep streets, sidewalks, hallways, nature paths and even the beaches, all by hand – every day.

Street SweeperSweeper

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