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The Edge Of Death

  • Written by Flummoxed
  • November 15th, 2003
  • 7 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

Edge of Death



You're never more alive than when you're on the edge of death.

I've heard it said that you die a little somehow inside when you leave Thailand. It depends on your circumstances and personality, I guess. For me, as I waited to board the plane at Don Muang, having said goodbye to my Thai love for six months, having spent most of the last two years in Thailand….and returning to the UK just in time for the winter to enjoy skies of the purest lead, a permanent light drizzle and the long faces of Blighty, It was a terrible feeling. You do die somehow as you shut down a part of you in order to cope with life back home.

I've been reflecting on The differences in my lifestyle in Thailand and my lifestyle in the UK (If you can call it a lifestyle). After failing to make ends meet in Thailand, I'm back home for six months to 're-load' with my healthy UK salary and go back in time for Songkran, which coincidentally is on my birthday. If I play my cards right, It'll be a permanent move then…..I hope….I hope….I hope.

I never cut my finger nails, never. Since childhood, I've never needed to. Within a few weeks of arrival in Thailand, I notice my fingernails getting longer!!! What's happening?! I realised that I'd stopped chewing my fingernails and they'd started to grow again. Remarkable how you begin to relax and those little tell tale signs of relaxation creep up on you. Now I'm back in the UK my fingernails are kept in check again with constant chewing as life back home takes it's toll on my personality.

It takes months to slow down in Thailand. Whilst walking with my girlfriend in Surin, I consider my pace to be a leisurely and sedate stroll…..but she will ask me why am I walking so fast. If she could see me now, as I tear down the High Street in order to shave a few seconds off my hectic day. How I long for April when I can take my time again. Slowly slowly strolling with my Tee Ruk.

It costs me 8 pence a minute to call my girlfriend in Thailand on her mobile phone. It costs me 12 pence a minute to call my Mother up the road in Leicester. Where's the sense in that?!

When I lived in The UK before, I thought the girls of Chelsea looked gorgeous. Now, I think they look pastie, fat and stuck up. (and they walk too fast).

The people in the 7-11's don't greet me anymore when I walk through the door.

I don't feel safe in the UK. There's a popular misconception here that Thailand is a dangerous place to visit. As far as I'm concerned, you're safer in Bangkok at 3 in the morning than you are at 3 in the afternoon in London. I'm always looking over my shoulder at home, expecting some kind of problem as some piss head leaves a bar looking for a fight. In fact, I won't go to nightclubs at home anymore, I find them tiresome, too many wankers looking for a fight and on beer binges. 'Are you looking at my girlfriend?' and bollocks like that. In Thai disco's people just smile at me and make polite conversation.

I think there are more beggars on the streets of London than there are in BKK…..'Spare me some change Guvner'…..or refugees cleaning my windscreen at the corner of Marylebone road and Baker Street.

There's more litter on the streets of London. London is a slum….It's filthy and it smells bad in my humble opinion….and the underground stinks of piss. The skytrain is fast, clean and efficient.

You can fly from London to any European destination in less time than it does to drive from Heathrow to Dagenham.

A few months ago, I was eating in a streetside restaurant in BKK. I felt something rapidly crawling up my left trouser leg to my groin area. It scared the shit out of me. It might have been something that could bite or sting!!! I was flying around the restaurant like jumping jack flash trying to give the invader an exit visa. It eventually came down my right leg and was only a cockroach. The locals laughed heartily as jumped up and down vigorously. If I did the same in the UK, I would probably have been sectioned.

I actually miss Isaan music. As I tune my car radio to find something good to listen to, All I can find is bland 120 beats per minute crap or some fluffy teenage shite. I love Isaan music. Oh how I miss Isaan music.

Dirty Den has returned to Eastenders!!!!!

Every time I hear a grandchild refer to his / her grandmother as 'Nana'……well, you know the rest.

In the UK, bottled water is more expensive than milk! Where's the sense in that?!

At home, everyone drives new cars. People see it as the height of achievement and status to be driving a late model automobile. Surely there are more important things in life. I drive a 13 year old banger and save my money for me and my Tee Ruk.

Now I need a prescription to buy pharmaceuticals.

A yobbo tried to pick a fight with me at a bus stop in Hemel Hempstead within days of my return. I really don't feel safe here. The UK kids have no respect anymore. The kids in Thailand just look at me with fascination……..and smile.

People criticise Western men who take a Thai wife. They will say '….but you have to pay a Dowry!….and you have to support her, wouldn't you rather have an independently minded Western woman?'. Well here's my answer – With the average UK wedding running at 10 to 15 thousand pounds, and the average Isaan dowry running at around 1000 pounds + low ceremony costs, I know who is more foolish, besides which, my Thai girlfriend is VERY independently minded. People in the west perceive the dedication of a Thai woman to be a weakness……I just see it as dedication. Surely that's a good thing. I also point out that no Western woman has ever been faithful to me. The UK divorce statistics are approaching 40 percent.

It gets dark at 4 O'clock in the afternoon here!!! It's so depressing….and bloody cold. When I turn on the TV there's only depressing soap opera's with depressing storylines about bloody UK life. Bloody hell!!!

Did I mention Dirty Den is back in Eastenders!!! "Ello Precious"

In Thailand, many bargirls will try to sleep with me in exchange for cash. In the UK, many teenage girls who hang around the local store will flirt relentlessly with me and pat my ass as I walk by and I'm sure that, if I wanted (which I don't), I could probably sleep with them for free. Now which do you think are the dirty little sluts?

When I see someone with road rage on the M25, I look at them as having lost face…..remarkable!

I can't hear the constant sound of scooters outside my window……I miss that.

I can stay in a 4 star hotel in Bangkok for 20 quid a night….in London 200 quid. I recall one drunken evening when I would throw water filled condoms from the 23rd floor of the Ambassador hotel at tuktuks. Ooooh I'm so naughty. I'll never do that again, I could have hurt someone, and it's a terrible waste of condoms, sort of like spilling your beer.

When I go into a department store, there's no security guard to click his heals together and salute me……I miss that.

If I get caught for speeding in the UK, it will cost me 60 pounds and three points on my licence. In Thailand, the police can be paid off for a few hundred baht……Who do you think are the corrupt money grabbers?!

I wish I could spend Christmas with my teeruk. I get the impression her family will just get dressed up, have a few drinks and enjoy each others company. In the UK, I just feel pressurised into spending money I don't have.

If I want a slice of pineapple, I have to go to Tesco…and it's not fresh. In Thailand, it's usually right outside my door. Oh, the little things.

On the bright side, I now have a 1 megabit per second internet connection……but that's about the only bright side.

Stickman says:

A return to the West…I often wonder how I'll cope.