A different kind of experience is felt when visiting exotic places located in your city. In this respect Siamville Thai Restaurant made a huge impression on me as an originally decorated restaurant with Thai cuisine and everything related to it. The restaurant is located at 3635 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403 (Tripadvisor, 2012). I have found this place spontaneously, while going to my friend’s place. This paper is a holistic set of impressions I have experienced before, during, and after visiting Siamville Thai Restaurant.
First of all, while going to my friend’s place I was thinking of what I have not seen in Cedar Rapids yet. I was checking every place of sightseeing in my mind. Everything was familiar to me. However, I was totally amazed when an incredible chance encounter happened to me. Of course, it is all about this Thai restaurant. It is vital to be ready to face something different in cuisine, culture, language, and traditions. However, even if you are not ready to get involved into a vortex of new feelings, you should be just open-minded and transparent to everything related to an exotic place like this one.
A sense of a specific ethnicity in this restaurant fulfilled the whole atmosphere. When I came in, I saw quite many people around; most of them were of Asian origin. It was not something like China towns across the United States. This place had a special flavor of Thailand brought about by Thai staff working there. By the way, it is strange to me when exotic restaurants are served by local people. For instance, it is when Sushi is served by White Americans, etc. By contrast, this restaurant put me in the atmosphere of a mysterious Buddhist background music and light sounds of gong coming somewhere from beyond.
For a moment I felt mesmerized by that atmosphere, but I could manage to step forward before a Thai waitress who led to the vacant table. Besides, Asian hospitality is taken for granted as one of the best in the world. These people made me smile and quite relaxed, as I felt kindness on their part. The pictures of elephants and something written in Thai were sporadically changing before me due to a special lighting and well-known Thai flashlights across the area. Something in my underbelly faded as a sweet and sour flavor of the national cuisine went from the kitchen and made me relaxed again.
Those walls told me enough about the culture of Thailand where elephants are appreciated, the main religion is Buddhism, and people are kind and hard-working. Century-long traditions were kept and widely spread among the staff where everyone felt a huge responsibility before customers and a good name of the restaurant itself. For a moment, I closed my eyes and imagined those noisy streets of Bangkok where skyscrapers coincide with the century-long tradition of riding a boat on the river and selling delicious fruits and foods just aside a street. Chic pillows next to the small table, all in red, made me think of peaceful Thai people, where Muay Thai is a traditional kind of sport, despite the severity of hits and kicks Thai boxers make.
According to Lisa Heldke (2003), what I have experienced was the highest extent of exoticism. Even though they served me with dishes I ordered, I could not stop thinking about the authenticity of the traditional Thai cuisine, and its culture just teleported to Cedar Rapids. It was an astonishing charm and silence one can experience even with a crowded place like this one. Seriously, there was no bar stand. You just order meals or drinks and they will be brought to you straight from the kitchen. It is so simple and so true about Thai people who are really easy-going in communication and in arranging things around them.
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One more feeling I have experienced there is that I fell deep into the exoticism of this place and, all of a sudden, I felt myself like meditating over the light Zen Buddhist music. It was like a piece of Thailand was moved to the US as I felt like a foreigner, while eating famous Tom Yum Kung and a spicy vegetable salad. One more dish that I liked was a crab in a ginger sauce with slices of lime and also baked shrimps with pepper and lemongrass. Of course, it was too hot for an ordinary American. However, in combination with too sour lime it was all right. What is more, for a moment I could feel a sense of euphoria after I ate enough of genuine Thai chili pepper. Waiters were smiling when they explained this effect which can even put a person into a trance for a short period of time. I never knew that such a vegetable like pepper can be used as a catalyst of physical and psychological flash, so to speak.
The ingredients served into meals were quite different as they smelt like a scrap yard or something close to it. It was disgusting for me at the first time, but then I got accustomed with it in a quick manner. Needless to say, if you face Thai cuisine for the first time, you cannot be entirely ready to be satisfied with everything it suggests. Nevertheless, one needs twenty minutes or so to be delighted with everything that makes Siamville Thai Restaurant so authentic and true.
To say more, the staff of the restaurant was not well in English, but it was clear what they are talking about. There is no fusion or something so popular with the American people in traits or in talks. This is why this restaurant incorporates the periphery of Thai provinces where there is no American influence. All of the staff members are Thai people who live nearby the restaurant as the whole family. When the waiter told me this truth I have realized the fact that I was put into the heart of the Thai institute of family where each member is highly appreciated and loved. They explained that for a while I was a member of their family and they were so pleased to meet me up in this restaurant for the first time. Definitely, they invited me to this place along with friends next time. At that very moment, I was like hypnotized with love, patience, tenderness, and orderliness that I never experienced before.
Given that, the experience I have obtained after visiting Siamville Thai Restaurant is precious to me. Since that time I have visited this place three times and feel like all my money will be invested in those delicious meals. Moreover, Thai cuisine is my new hobby. I am interested in Thai culture and Buddhist prescriptions Thai people share in everyday life. Definitely, this exotic experience left a deep trace in my heart and in my mind as something fabulous and really different. This ethnic group taught me to be respectful and relaxed, while taking meals and communicating with mates sitting with me at the table. By no means, it was unforgettable and really fantastic as each detail related to the Thai ethnic group was fixed and fully realized by me during my visit.