TV Restaurants: I may have invented this label myself, but is seems to encompass the phenomenon,
You can find a TV Restaurant in any location throughout Thailand where there are swarms of foreigners. On some popoluar islands like Phuket, Phi Phi, or Phangan, every restaurant is a TV Restaurant. Most of the bulidings are open to the hot air, with a view of a busy street, a looming mountain, or some glassy aquamarine water. The food is usually the same: multicultural with a tendancy towards the cuisine of the west. One can dine on anything from fresh, barbecued shark, to a Denver Omellette, to Pad Thai. And literally everything inbetween. Most menu's at TV Restaurants are six to ten pages long, usually written in English and Thai (sometimes just in English).
So far, this sounds like a normal, quite appealing restaurant. Then you add the television. Every single time it is facing away from the interesting and / or calming scenery, looms an imposing television. Hanging from the wall, it's moving images and familiarity cause an insane phenomenon. All the foreigners turn their bodies and attention away from a bustling city street or some ships unloading their harvest, and watch television. Conversation is minimal as the TV blares out any attempt at a decent human exchange. Usually, illegally burned VCD's and DVD's are being played. Anything from Matrix to Star Wars to the most recent romantic comedy staring Sandra Bullock.
The way I figure it, most travelers must enjoy and appreciate this comfortable set-up. Simply put, the TV Restaurant would not be there if people did not want it. I for one, think there should be a law that abolishes them altogether. Even for those who don't want to partake, the TV's flashing alure distracts from the pulsing and breathing world around him. Conversation is destroyed, the local culture is destroyed, and we all miss out on a chance to experience the dramatic and serene landscapes of Thailand.