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When Expats And Tourists Clash

Well, after all the sunshine and rainbows I knew it wouldn’t be long before something not so pleasant happened in our idyllic little expat oasis. Even regular trips to immigration in Phuket Town and two days at the department of transportation weren’t as unpleasant as the obnoxious tourists who have moved in next door. I won’t say where they’re from because I don’t want to perpetuate the notion that all people from one particular place are exactly the same, but these guys are certainly leaving a bad taste in our mouths for one nationality in particular.

There’s something to be said for zoning laws. Some communities are meant for commercial endeavours and some are meant for residential purposes. Without some type of boundary, invisible or otherwise, there are bound to be some disagreements.Even with them, there can still be problems… it’s human nature. Inevitably in life, you’re going to run into people who have no personal boundaries.

During the summer in Canada I witnessed such a clash of attitudes when a free-spirited artist turned his house on a quiet residential street into a drop-in centre for all to come and express their creativity… he even built a stage in the backyard for his ‘performance’ artist friends to come and play their music, full blast from tower speakers pointing at neighbours on all sides. When the neighbours complained and the police visited and told him to cease and desist, he complained bitterly to all who would listen that the neighbours didn’t understand ‘creative expression’ and it was unfair that artists were being stifled. His house is now up for sale and he’s looking for a better space to accommodate his art gallery and lively gatherings along with an eclectic mix of family, friends and fellow artists.

Meanwhile, back in Phuket, I don’t know who is going to win the battle on our front but it’s a similar scenario when longer term expats who have established a peaceful existence in a little cul de sac become surrounded by short term revellers who tend to party into the wee hours of the morn, not realizing, or caring, that some people are trying to sleep.

When moving to a new place (especially a different country) it’s important to take note of the surrounding area. Is it commercial? Are there hotels and resorts close by? Does it appear to be more family oriented or young and transient? What type of community are you looking to settle in? We did consider all these variables but thought we were far enough off the main drag of resorts not to be disturbed but close enough to join in the fun when we wanted to. Unfortunately, we’re experiencing a little ‘spill over’ which could potentially last until high season is over (around the end of March).

We did choose to settle in a pretty popular tourist destination so we’ll have to take the good with the bad… and maybe start scouting out a quieter spot.

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A published author and freelance writer, Anne O’Connell, has been an expat since 1993 when she and her husband escaped the cold of Toronto, Canada and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They enjoyed the sun and sand for 14 years, while she worked in the PR field, and then decided it was time for a new adventure. Heading for even more sun and sand, they moved to Dubai in late 2007 and then on to Thailand in 2011.

Anne has been working as a freelance copywriter and communications consultant since 2007, specializing in marketing, corporate communications, public relations, social media and website content. She and her husband have a passion for travel and that adventurous spirit has taken them all over the world. Anne grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has a bachelor of public relations from Mount St. Vincent University. You can visit her website at www.anne-oconnell.com or her blog at www.anne-writingjustbecause.blogspot.com.

Read more of Anne's Expat Focus articles here.

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