The Thai Ice Cream Man Cometh

Ice cream trike in Pattaya

As every year passes in the West new innovations and changes in how people go about their daily lives chip away at the old guard little by little. There was a time when we took wax discs and put them on a spinning turn table and then placed an arm with a stylus attached to it on to the disc in order to play music, now we put cd’s into a player. It’s funny because people graduating from high school this year have never known any other way.

Ice cream trike in Nakhon PhanomIt becomes nostalgia to those of us that are older,  and watching these things pass before our eyes is sometimes a little sad. One summer ritual that every kid in America looked forward too when I was growing up was chasing down the ice cream man when you heard his bells or music from just over the next block. Once we caught up with him we would then spend our time going over the many choices there were and counting our change.

Slowly but surely the ice cream man and his trucks are disappearing from suburbia and American culture, replaced by specialty ice cream shops and convenience stores. There are still a few still roaming the streets in search of children and their change but they are few and far between. Their trucks are ancient and in need of serious beautification and with gas prices what they are the ones left on the job are making fewer and fewer rounds.

Ice cream trike in MukdahanNot so in Thailand. In Thailand you see all manner of ice cream trikes peddling their wares in every city. Some are using motor cycles and others using bicycles with brightly colored ice boxes fixed to them. What once was lost is found again. It’s nice to see that Thailand shares some traditions with the West and they are still going strong. Everyone loves ice cream and the Thai version of the ice cream truck is much more economical.

Nothing lasts forever and this too will probably pass one day in Thailand too. But it’s a nice sight to see when slowly but surely those old familiar friends disappear from western life.

I know one little girl that still gets excited and quickly checks her change when she sees the ice cream man coming and hopefully she’ll be chasing the Thai ice cream man down for a long time to come.

Long live the Thai ice cream man!

Fah with her favorite, a strawberry ice cream cone

sig1 The Thai Ice Cream Man Cometh
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10 Responses to The Thai Ice Cream Man Cometh
  1. Catherine
    August 26, 2009 | 1:54 am

    Ah, I LOVE the different sounds the street vendors make as they wander through the various sois! When I first moved here I lived in a very quite soi. It was well serviced by sellers hawking fruit, brooms, pots and lili mud, curry… and that wonderful ice cream. That was the best sound of all. I never had any, but I knew when he was a coming down the soi.

    One week I spent a big part of my time recording all the sounds each made: clicking, tooting, squeaking… and then there was the ice cream man…

    As for when I was growing up, New Zealand didn’t have ice cream trucks like the US did. Neither did it have trick or treat, or hiding eggs at Easter, nadda. But I loved doing a part of my growing up there all the same.
    Catherine´s last blog ..Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners: Glenn Slayden My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      August 26, 2009 | 2:59 pm

      You had a rough childhood Cat..My god woman you had no ice cream man, Easter bunny or trick or treat. Is New Zealand classified as a third world country or what?

  2. Mike
    August 26, 2009 | 3:21 am

    Like Catherine I love the different sounds the street vendors make. MTF can tell whether its the postie, ice cream seller or brush salesman without going outside.

    Where else I wonder can you get a good quality ice cream for 10 Baht (20p), certainly not in the UK although I too remember chasing the ice cream cart in my childhood days!

    No doubt the health and safety crew have stopped that back home anyway.

    I too know a little girl that checks MY change every time he appears!
    Mike´s last blog ..Brits Abroad-Thailand. My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      August 26, 2009 | 3:01 pm

      That’s the big thing Mike, the ice cream is cheap in Thailand. When I was a kid the ice cream truck had 20 cent ice creams now the cheapest thing is $2.00.

  3. Malcolm
    August 26, 2009 | 8:58 am

    Talen , I loved the ice cream man when I was growing up , and we would chase him down the road even if we did’nt have any money for ice cream , we just loved the music and all the excitement, in fact i was chasing him one time on those old roller skates that you tightened over your shoes remember those ? and I was going so fast I ran smack dab into the side of the truck wheen he stopped to sell a cone , I still have the scar on my leg to prove it , sooooo every time I put on my shoes and socks I think about the ICE CREAM TRUCK ha ha Malcolm
    Thanks for the memory and a great post and pictures.I have a big girl (Ciejay ) that loves the ice cream man too , to many times when she was growing up , she said she would cry because she did not have 5 baht to buy a ice cream , Now I make sure when the ice cream man cometh ,she can run and chase him and get her a ICE CREAM.
    Malcolm´s last blog ..YOKO UP-DATE My ComLuv Profile

  4. Talen
    August 26, 2009 | 3:02 pm

    Those roller skates were a bit before my time Malcolm lol. I do remember getting burned by the ice cream trucks muffler once…got a free ice cream out of it too :)

  5. Catherine
    August 26, 2009 | 7:25 pm

    Talen, while New Zealand was not third world at the time, it was at the END of the world for sure! Fun times. It was about 30 years behind the US at the time. I remember ordering a hamburger and getting a ham sandwich. So while the US was battling drugs and crime, New Zealand had peace, charm and penny candy. It was an ideal childhood.

    Mike, the different sounds of the sois are wonderful. I open my windows to hear the sounds going by, and smile. While Singapore and Hong Kong have modernized their street life away, (knock on wood) may Thailand never change this aspect of their culture.
    Catherine´s last blog ..Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners: Glenn Slayden My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      August 26, 2009 | 9:06 pm

      Reminds me of the time I ordered ham and cheese omelets fo Pookie and I in Pattaya…I got out of the shower and there were two cheeseburgers sitting there.

      It took an hour to get it sorted out…and by sorted out I mean we had cheeseburgers for breakfast that day :)

  6. Monica
    August 27, 2009 | 9:30 am

    The ice cream truck was a very nostalgic part of my childhood. But I don’t hear them coming down the streets anymore. Business isn’t as good as they were before when children rode their bikes and played baseball outside. Now, all the kids are glued in front of their computers. No one goes out to play anymore.

    It’s nice to see what life was like before people become inseparable from technology.
    Monica´s last blog ..Beijing, I Am Here My ComLuv Profile

  7. Martyn
    August 28, 2009 | 4:09 pm

    The ice cream man comes through Wilai’s village and there ain’t much better on a scorching hot Thai day than a few ice creams plus some extra ones for the fridge. I like the ones that they make by grating ice from a big block and then topping it with the flavour of your choice. With the price of ice creams in the UK right now then it won’t be long before the parents send their kids out on a hot day wearing shorts, T shirt and ear muffs. Hearing that ice cream tune in the UK is a very expensive sound.
    Martyn´s last blog ..Frustrating Days My ComLuv Profile

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