living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

K. Kong


In Thai, ‘Khun’ is a ‘gender neutral’, honorific title, equivalent to: Mr, Mrs, Miss.

Since my name is Jon, I’m known as, Khun Jon.

Being a Seattle guy, I always feel ‘at home’ in a Starbucks (good coffee, decent music, comfortable chairs, free newspapers, etc, etc).

The one I go to in Chiang Mai meets all the criteria I mentioned above, with one added bonus; I can see my buds, the baristas; who are not only cute, but are so, so, soooo incredibly sweet!

Whenever I go in, I’m always greeted with a loud boisterous chorus of ‘KHUN JON!’ by 2-3 baristas, accompanied of course by beautiful Thai smiles.

I find this very reminiscent of how Norm was greeted by his pals at Cheers, and there’s no way, I can’t help but feel good when I hear it /feel it.

When the movie ‘King Kong’ came out several years go, it was so popular with the Thai people, one of the multiplexes in town had it on four screens in Thai, and one screen in English.

I had just seen a poster for the movie before going into my Starbucks one morning, and I hadn’t planned on doing it, but when I was greeted with the booming ‘KUNG JON!’, I couldn’t help myself:

I made a very, very, very angry face (see photo); and in a deep voice, said:

“Me NO Kung Jon, Me Kung KOOOOONG!!!”

For added emphasis, I jumped around a little, and pounded my chest with my fists.

The reaction: was, well, NONE, NIL, ZERO, ZILCH; and man, I was so incredibly embarrassed for doing such a lame-ass thing.

As it turned out, they were simply surprised, actually extremely surprised; because when they finally ‘got it’, they really ‘GOT IT’!

I mean a couple of them were laughing so hard; they literally had to hold each other up.

And the next few times I went in, they tried, but couldn’t do the ‘Khun Jon thingy’ without screwing it up, BAD; and that made ME laugh!

khun jon

10-Apr-09 price: I don’t know what the Starbucks prices are in the States anymore, but Starbucks grande mocha here isn’t exactly cheap – 120 baht @ 35 = $3.42USD.

I can get a very similar mocha, at an independent coffee place, or a Thai equivalent chain; for half, or even a third.

BUT, I do have loyalty to my Seattle roots, AND, to my barista buds; so hey, it’s worth the little extra.


related wordpress blog: “Catching a ‘flick’ in Chiang Mai’


May 10, 2009 - Posted by | cost of living, restaurants, Starbucks | , , ,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: