One our first day in Thailand, we had the opportunity to check out one of the largest street markets in the world, visit Thailand’s famed Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and visit several temples. All of which you’d expect when visiting a city as iconic as Bangkok. But what you WOULDN’T expect is to have an elderly Thai woman scream at you for feeding the birds.
As we were walking down the street towards the Grand Palace, this elderly Thai woman walked up to me and handed me a bag of dried corn pieces. I asked her what it was for and she mimed throwing to the ground. So, I opened the baggie and threw some of the dried corn onto the ground. As soon as I did that, TONS of pigeons descended on us and just filled the sidewalks.
Troy had been walking ahead of me while all this happened, but when the birds showed up, he turned around to see what had attracted them. He asked me what I was doing as the lady handed me two more bags and I told him I was feeding the birds. Who doesn’t like to feed birds?
He took some pictures of the birds and then cautioned me against taking more bags from the lady. He said she would want money for them. I told him, no, she didn’t say anything about them costing anything before telling me to feed the corn to the birds, so it wouldn’t cost anything. haha. So naive. This was our first day of our first trip just over a month after we’d moved to Malaysia. I had no clue. So, I gave Troy two of the bags the lady had given me and he fed the birds, too.
We had fun for about 10-15 minutes, just throwing corn for the birds and taking pictures. The lady stood there and laughed along with us and some people stopped to watch us. It was pretty fun.
After we’d had our fun, we decided to keep going on to the Grand Palace, which was just down the street. As soon as we started talking away, the lady started yelling and waving her arms and going crazy. We had no clue what was going on. We stood there staring at her for a moment until we finally understood her saying baht, which is Thai money. Troy chided me a little and said that he was sure the lady wasn’t just being nice to foreigners. So, we asked her how much.
400 baht! What?!
Seriously. She wanted 400 baht. That’s as much as it costs for one person to get into the Grand Palace. We definitely were NOT going to pay that much for a few small bags of dried corn that we probably could have picked up for less than 20 baht at a local store.
Troy tried to argue with her for a few minutes, about how she couldn’t charge that much when she’d given us the impression that she was just giving the stuff to us. He really doesn’t like it when people try to rip him off. Neither do I, for that matter. We started just walking away after a little bit, but she kept screaming after us, so I went back and gave her a handful of coins. Nowhere near 400 baht, but it was somewhere around 50 baht.
After that, we learned that if anyone handed us anything, they most likely wanted money and that we should refuse to even hold whatever they were trying to push into our hands.