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The Black Door

Updated: May 19, 2020

To become certified to teach English I took a course with Xplore Asia. The first week of the course is orientation week, during this time we learn about Thai culture .It was October 11th and orientation week was over. The group ended the week with a wonderful celebratory dinner, we had good food, good drinks and a good time. After dinner, many of us wanted to continue the fun. While a majority of the group took a Songthaew to some of the trendier bars in Chiang Mai, a few girls and I decided to have a more relaxed night by finding a small bar near the hotel and then head back to the hotel for a movie night. Nicole listed off some nearby bars. I voiced that we should go to the one called Black Door because the name sounded cool. It was not crowded or very big. When we first arrived two men were sitting outside and one man was sitting at the bar. We ordered our first round of drinks and went to a table to drink and chat. By the time we went back up to the bar for more drinks and a round of shots, two new guys were sitting at the bar. One of the guys suggested that we try pineapple juice as a chaser for the tequila. The pineapple juice was great and we continued to talk to the guys about different drink mixtures before returning to our table.

Later on, I discovered that the name of the guy who suggested that we try pineapple juice was named Boy and that he is the owner of the bar. Boy is 26 years old and from Chiang Rai. He learned English while at University abroad and he explained that he has a British accent because when he was learning English his boyfriend at the time was British and that is who he practiced his English with the most. Boy was very personable and fun. He changed the music at the bar to an instrumental version of “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj and challenged us to karaoke. After laughing hysterically at our karaoke fail and chatting some more, the girls and I decided that it was time to head back to the hotel. Before we left, Boy insisted that we have a nightcap on the house. We all,of course, accepted his gracious Thai hospitality. Boy then invited us to come back tomorrow night, but after 12 when the bar would be more active.

A few of us went back the next night and dragged some new people along. On this night I got to learn a little more about Boy. I learned that he opened the bar at 20 years old and that he studied Business while at university. I told Boy that I was very proud of him to be a business owner at such a young age. I confided in him and told him that one day I would like to have my own business, but the process in America consists of fees and paperwork that I am not yet ready to handle. I asked him what the process was like for him here in Thailand. Boy responded, “ The process of opening it was not hard. They called my parents to make sure I could do it and to see if I was responsible. It is keeping the bar running that has been hard.” The bar has been open for six years and still appears to be successful. I have been back several times and from what I have seen in Boy and the bar, I believe that it will continue to stay running. Boy is funny, kind- hearted, and a hard worker. He not only cares about his business, but he cares about the people that come in here and the people that work there. He taught the ladies bartending there how to speak English and he provides them with a work environment where they can be sassy and confident. He also provides his customers with a place to feel at peace and accepted. My first Friday night in Thailand I opted out of going to a more lively bar in hopes of having a more relaxed night at a nearby bar, I chose a random place solely based off of its cool name. Now I know that in feng shui a black door creates protective, solid energy. The color black brings calmness and acts as a powerful shield. Not only did Boy choose a cool sounding name for his bar, but he runs the bar so that it lives up to its name.

My ethnography about Boy was going to end there. Great ending, right? Perfect way to get a one-page requirement paper out of the way. But then, I went back to the Black Door and I realized that I never told Boy that I was here to teach. Boy found out the purpose of my trip to Thailand through a friend drunkenly boasting my teaching skills. Boy then revealed that he wanted to be a teacher. He explained that many Thai people think the same way and that he would like to change the way they think and encourage them to think bigger! He said he just did not know how to become a teacher or where to start. He was discouraged by the fact that he didn't even finish Business school, because he drank and partied too much. I tried to throw in some words of encouragement. “Well, you turned your passion into a business. Please teach me your ways.” I joked. I then asked him if YouTube was a thing here and suggested that he start teaching there. He could be a public speaker and encourage/teach the Thai people. I told him he could have his own show and be the Ophrah of Thailand. Boy looked confused. I asked if he knew who Oprah was. He did not know who she was, so I explained who Oprah was to Boy. After I explained, he was impressed by her life story, multiple business endeavors, and inspirational skills. He thanked me for the idea and said that my way of thinking is the type of thinking that he wants to encourage in his community. He told me that he is actually moving to London to do some type of job for Youtube commercial marketing and internet advertising banners. He does not know anything about it, but he is going to go there to learn and try his best. He is confident in his bartenders’ management abilities and knows that when he comes back, his bar will still be there. Boy and I are from completely different cultures , but we are living similar stories… We are both young people leaving our comfort zones in hopes of learning something bigger and better. While we are both on our journeys outside the comfort zone, I hope that the protective and calming energy of the Black Door surrounds us.

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