Monday, March 31, 2014

Life can be Wonderful in Thailand, Only if you speak Thai

There She Goes
It's one of those days, it had to happen. Total gearbox failure on my aging Volvo on way to work. Called up Allliance CP, my insurer, pressed 9 for English and was put on hold for more than 10 minutes. I gave up. Next I called again and tried the Thai language option. In less than a minute, I was attended to by the most helpful and polite agent. In less than 10 minutes, multiple return calls from Alliance CP and a tow truck was on the way. It took less time then I was put on hold attempting the English channel that could cause iPhone to molecularly fuse with my face.

It will be like this, and always like this in Thailand. Life is easy, only if us as foreigners learn to adapt to the mammoth language barrier presented to us. We cannot expect the world to revolve around us, we cannot expect Thais to be English proficient. Wait a thousand years maybe, but never it will happen in this lifetime. Speaking only English, what I did in the first year that I was here, nothing works. Frustration builds, temper flares, and we often think everyone else is stupid. Sorry, but we are the ones that are stupid, especially in the eyes of the dwellers of Thailand in which we are in. I knew this for a long time after I had blended in and forcefully trained my old mind to take on a new set of communication skills.

Everyday life is only good when we try to speak in Thai. Often, it results in Thais being extra friendly and it brings smiles. Conversations often always extended to "How long you have been here?" and compliments are always given in a fashion like how we treat good kids with candies, us being the kids that is. Sometimes, they will switch to talking in very tattered English when they hear our very tattered Thai. The chat will be really interesting when it often morphed to Thais speak bad English and foreigner speak bad Thai, each for some reasons refusing to switch to a common language totally. Laughter often explodes when we try to say River Kwai in Thai which ended up as Big Penis River translated back to English. Such is life here, we need to be Thai.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Erasable Ink - New in Thailand

Amazing to Thais
Among the giggling girls they were yakking about something new, something exciting. A pen with erasable ink. How so very fascinating this invention of mankind it almost seem magical to them. What the??? 30 years ago Erasermate was released in Singapore. As boys in school, we attempted to use this to cheat in test, changing our wrong selection in multiple choice questions after our test had been marked by teachers. We went up to the teacher with as innocent a look as possible and went "teacher, you mark wrong, please correct my mark". What followed was serious spanking followed by tears, and in some cases a visit by parents to the school... followed by more spanking back at home... and then more tears. Eventually, like all good things in Singapore, it was banned in schools. But hey, its new here, technology arriving 30 years later.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Suvarnabhumi Domestic Departures - No More Smoking Room

Smoking room at Gate D1
News for smokers out there who can't live without a smoke for more than an hour, you will have withdrawal symptoms if you checked in too early on a domestic departure. They have closed down all the smoking rooms in there. Strangely though, if you are in the international departure area, smoking is still allowed in designated rooms. I do not know what is the rationale behind this, but same as numerous things in Thailand such as why alcohol cannot be sold during certain times of the day, they don't really make sense.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sex of the Elephant Kingdom

Wahhhh... soooo long.... .
It's incredible what they report on Thai news channel sometimes. Here on nation news, they show the long dong of an elephant penetrating the female beast. If you happen to have a young daughter who just happen to be watching, how are you to answer "does daddy poke mummy like this also"? How are you suppose to wipe this impression burned permanently into your young daughter's memory? Electrocution to reset her memory maybe? There was this recent chapter where the fame panda in Chiangmai was pregnant and that too was a national event they deem worth reporting - EVERYDAY. They even have a 24x7 channel dedicated on cable to show every move of the panda, which includes ungracious acts of panda licking her genitalia. But you wouldn't believe what bizarre information they report on daily morning news - every type of juice that was flowing out panda's vagina.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Suan Muang Porn at Lamtakong

Dining High
A great pit stop on the way to the North East, for the purpose of work I was traveling. If you are in the vicinity of Saraburi, Pak Chong or Khao Yai, this mountain top restaurant is located further North East on Mittraphap Road alongside Lamtakong dam. During lunch hours the week day I visited, there was quite a crowd. Popular with the nearby factories bringing their foreign guest for a short relaxing break during lunch and also good in the night for some beer session in the coolness of the heights. On rocky gravel roads we needed to drive, choose a wrong car to go in and parts of your exhaust, axle, shocks would be left behind and become parts of the hill. Too many dishes offered, decision on what to order we had trouble with. Indoor and outdoor the choice is yours, overlooking the vast reservoir below and beyond. Food was great, that was important, and easy on the pockets our short lunch was perfect.

Outdoor Sitting
The Restaurant

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Sleeping in your Grave

Sometimes, I just don't get what Thai Designers have on their mind. If you buy this for your mother to sleep in, I'm pretty sure she will disown you.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Eating by Bangkok Shores

Dining over Water
Yes, there is a shore somewhere in Bangkok. But if you swim there, you be engulfed in mud and weeds. Mudskippers will swim into your shorts and suckle you where no fish had ever suckled. Don't expect white sandy beach and surfs, after all, Bangkok is built on where the river delta is. Eating out, tired of glittery restaurant in crowded malls or those pub and restaurants where your eyes feast on the cheer-beers more than your mouth on food? Then head to Bang Khun Thian. It's a short drive from town and left on Rama II. It used to be gravel roads 8 years ago that flooded often, but now, development had caught on and the roads are paved. It is an area laden with country styled restaurants built on stilts over water. Too many to choose from and I had been there many times over weekends when I wanted something different. It's also an area where cheap life seafood can be brought home for cooking.

The Ride
The most interesting of restaurants was Bangkok Seaview. I did blog about this under another entry some 8 years ago called Stress in Bangkok. We revisited it again and nothing had changed much. More people seemed to have got to know this restaurant because we saw China tourist yakking in sharp tones and heavy Farangs slow and easy. It was December we were there this round and the winter air chilled our food fast. Nothing had changed much. Still it is a average restaurant with interesting setting serving out bad food at inflated prices. However the experience was worth it. The boat ride now included bringing us out into the sea making a u-turn at a concrete marker that marks the southernmost edge of Bangkok. But not to worry if this is not what you are after because there are just so many other restaurants to choose from over there. Try and try again till the best is found.

Our Scheduled Ride
Ample Parking
That;s how much it Cost
Within Bangkok Seaview
Pricy for a Rural Restaurant
Sitting Low