Thai Restaurants Are Secretly Funded By The Thai Government
America is a cultural melting pot, and that means we have ready access to delicious foreign cuisine. Even the smallest U.S. towns have a pizzeria, a Mexican restaurant, and a Thai place. And that last one is kind of weird when you think about it. America has about 54,000 Mexican restaurants and 6,000 Thai restaurants. However, there are over 36 million Mexican-Americans and barely 300,000 Thai-Americans. Which means that roughly every 50th Thai-American you meet will not just work at but outright own a Thai food joint. There has to be a reason for that (other than a compulsive need for tasty fish sauce). And there is: secret government backing.
Time to remove the tinfoil from the takeaway boxes and put it on your head, because Thai restaurants are a massive conspiracy. But not a malicious one; merely a delicious one. Thailand depends greatly on tourism, and it is the government's belief that yummy "authentic" Thai food plays a big factor in that. So for decades, they've been training chefs, offering cheap food exports, and funding Thai restaurants abroad -- all in order to turn the cuisine into an international mainstay. They even prefabricated three stock restaurant types for expat entrepreneurs to choose from. So if you ever wondered why a lot of Thai restaurants look copy/pasted, well, they are.
And the crazy thing is that this seemingly silly plan worked like a charm. In fact, it has had such a great impact on Thailand's international standing that others are now trying their hands at this "gastrodiplomacy" thing. Peru, Taiwan, and South Korea are all setting aside millions to win the West's heart through its stomach. Even North Korea has gotten in on the game, establishing a chain of over 100 government-run restaurants abroad. Unfortunately, those restaurants aren't doing great ... because the staff keep defecting. Having your waitress jump through a window to freedom does tend to sour a Yelp review.
Pacific Islands Once Survived On Phone Sex Scams
For most of the '90s, tiny Pacific countries like Niue (current population 1,600) and Tuvalu were titans of phone porn. Not because their citizens had exceptionally sultry voices, but simply because they were the ones hosting all the NSFW phone banks for large telecom businesses.
Why would these multinationals pick such faraway countries for their international smut trading? Two reasons. The first was that these small islands don't have the same stuffy regulations as big mainland countries, allowing phone sex lines to be unblockable, omit names from any bills, and cater to the most unsavory requests without fear of censorship. The second? Being at the ass-end of the world was a source of millions in revenue.
International phone calls are expensive, and international phone calls that reroute all the way around the world and back again are ridiculously expensive. So phone sex companies would string calls through Niue and its neighbors to wherever their husky-voiced women were, and horny callers didn't realize what was up until they were hit with massive unexpected bills for thousands of dollars. None of this was overtly illegal, either, because all the advertisements technically said something about how "international rates apply" -- they just didn't mention that the nation in question could only be reached via seaplane.