Stickman Readers' Submissions February 9th, 2007

The Wife Goes To England – Part 2

9th / 10th January 2007

It was 3am UK time (10am Bangkok time) and we had been flying for some 10 hours by now with another 3 to go before we landed. The Thai Airways staff at this point decided to put all the lights on to indicate that it was breakfast time and why they decided to call breakfast with 3 hours still to go is anyone’s guess, but on they blinked and everyone around the plane started to stir. I am not a great sleeper at the best of times and even less so on long haul flights but the wife who had never been on a long haul before took it all in her stride and had been heavy breathing whilst curled up in a ball underneath her blanket for the whole of the journey, but now was the time for her to wake up.

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I smacked the dryness of my lips together and took a look down towards the wife and nudged her from her slumber and like a monster rising from the deep of some crevasse in the ocean she emerged from underneath the blanket. As she slowly pulled the blanket down, a mass of tangled hair followed by two red slits for her eyes emerged along with a crumpled forehead. She looked up at me and I could see that she was beginning to smile that good morning smile beneath the blanket because the creases in her face had taken on a new look. As the rest of the blanket dropped away to reveal the rest of her mush and wonderful smile, I couldn’t help myself and let out a little ‘eek’ quickly followed by a jerk of my head backwards thus forcing me to head butt the fuselage behind me which turned my ‘eek’ into an ‘ouch’.

My eyes opened wide and with a wide eyed open mouth look of ‘o’ on my face, I managed to raise a tentative finger up towards my wife’s face. I could have used this moment to practice my invasion of the body snatchers pig squeal but instead I composed myself a little and let out a whispered ‘ewwww you wanna see your face’ kind of snide remark instead. Immediately the blanket went back up to the nose of the wife and she was staring back at me with wide eyes mouthing a ‘wha!’ from beneath the blanket. Now that I was over my initial shock, I managed to smirk back at her and grabbed a wet one (not a fart but a tissue) from a passing hostess and shoved it under the blanket and told the wife that she may perhaps want to wipe her face with it, and more importantly for the rest of the plane and crew, to focus on the upper lip area because from my angle it looked as if the wife had managed to grow a new head during the passing of time between Thailand and the Middle East region with the new head deciding quite cruelly to manifest itself on her upper lip. It was shocking, it was one very large humongous zit, a pluke, a yellow mellowed white headed pulsating spot of the same magnitude often bestowed upon volcanoes that are about to explode, and boy was this going to release some serious molten lava. I was scared, not because the wife had taken on a new form, but more from the fact an egg from alien was amongst the passengers on the plane and the last thing I wanted was it coming alive and exploding in my general direction with the intent of latching itself onto my face.

The wife who having heard me mention all of this, jumped up like a jack rabbit from her seat and clutching the wet one to her face like some form of protection managed to vault past the 20cm of protruding fat that was overlapping her seat from the guy still sleeping in the aisle seat to her right and without an ‘excuse me’ had managed to hop skip and jump through a queue of people all waiting for the loo and was into the first vacant toilet cubicle. Now you may call me mean for doing this to her but you must understand, she would have scared the other passengers had they seen the manifestation on her lip, but also I am from Liverpool, and with that comes a sense of irresponsible humour that she bought into when she married me.

After about 15 minutes she emerged from the airline loo with a hint wisp of smoke behind her like some singer about to sing on ‘stars in their eyes’ and I was relieved to see that she was once again her usual bright self with a wonderful smile, and more importantly, that the fountains of fire on mount doom had managed to die down a little to be replaced by a smouldering craggy topped crevice instead which for me was a welcome distraction from the usual moustache (or caterpillar coming down for a drink) that normally gathers there… hee! hee!

She managed to squeeze herself back into the seat and since she had gone 10 hours or so without food or a drink by this time, which as we all know is unusual for a Thai, started to wolf down her first airline version of a full English come American breakfast, quickly followed by 2 glasses of water, an orange juice and a cup of tea. After she had replenished her energy, she came back into the world of normality and was now waiting eagerly for the plane to land so that she could experience a foreign country for the first time and she started getting excited. So it was then that we both, bladder bursting, some 120 minutes or so later, that we managed to hit a wet and overcast grey sky in London with the first comment on touching down coming from the wife, whose head was now about 1 inch in front of mine, being pressed tightly into the port hole window was “wow, it’s so green”.

10th January 2007

We disembarked from the plane and immediately I felt a clamp like squeeze on my back and emerged looking like some kind of deformed ninja turtle. The wife was chattering away down my ear that it was “c…c…c… coooold” had clung herself to me like a limpet mine and this was despite the fact that she was now wearing three layers of clothing and hadn’t even got two yards from the aircraft, not to mention that we were still under cover and indoors!

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Welcome to England honey!

With my right hand I indicated that perhaps she should go out there (pointing outside to the wet and wind swept apron) and then perhaps she would have a reason to complain. I also pointed out to her that at 10 degrees this was warm for England in January to which she just said “Brrrrrrr!” We continued on our way and after a short while managed to get to immigration. I went my EU way and she went to the back of a rather long alien queue full of other hopefuls.

I whisked my way around through the EU channel after being told off by some brusque jobs worth feminazi at the immigration desk for standing 1 inch the wrong side of the line, and then went and stood somewhere in the background waiting for the snake like line of multi coloured nationalities to meander its way towards the immigration desks. As I people watched again, I could see that there was an air of quiet nervousness and cautious laughter from the Asians, while the Canadians, Americans, Ozzies, New Zealanders and South Africans all took a different approach and were jolly joking their way through by having some conversational banter with the immigration staff.

I must have stood there for about 20 minutes and it became clear that more time was spent questioning the above mentioned English speaking visitors than was being spent questioning the quiet Asians who nervously approached the desks and who shyly answered any questions put their way.

The other thing I noticed was that it was the white native speakers who were predominantly being rejected or taken to one side for further chats with the friendly immigration hit squads and maybe this was just a mere coincidence but somehow the word ‘easier targets’ popped up into my mind for some oddball reason.

Finally it was the wife’s turn and I could see that she was very nervous but then she spotted me hovering some distance behind the immigration lady and her nervousness vanished in an instant because she now felt safe again and protected by her hubby in his own country. She walked up to the immigration lady while I continued to just lean against a wall with a nonchalant air about me watching with interest at the several immigration officers who where gathered around a central hub reviewing the computer screens of the passports as they got scanned at the main desks. My ears picked up the conversation with the wife and I heard the immigration officer in the distance ask the wife the purpose of her visit and clearly heard her say ‘I’m with my husband’ with an indiscriminating finger being pointed my way. At this, the immigration officer squeaked around in her chair, looked me up and down and then beckoned me over to join them at the immigration desk. She asked me a few questions and then she took the opportunity to point out that my wife was entitled in future to accompany me through the EU channel, which was something I didn’t know about and then she stamped the wife in and wished us a nice stay with a hearty smile. The wife was visibly happy and was now officially in England. Hoorah!

We progressed to baggage reclaim which was efficient and once the wife had her suitcase in her hands she immediately delved deep into it and took out her new coat, bobble hat, scarf and gloves and instantly became a very pink abdominal snowman with pink rosy cheeks to match. We then went and jumped on to the free bus which was driven by a very helpful and polite man dressed as a uniformed bus driver with a headress of sorts and whose name was something like Musthavapee. We picked up the car and they gave me a VW semi automatic gear shift hybrid thingy which was confusing at first because it was like an automatic but you could gear shift it up the gears as well, and it turned out to be an excellent car.

We drove around towards Basingstoke because my first interview was scheduled for the next day somewhere near there and because we had also seen the film ‘the holiday’ a few weeks before and the missus wanted to see what a country cottage looked like so I decided to book a 14th century mansion as a place to stay for the rest of the day and evening and to show her what the English countryside looked like. She loved it and was astounded at how many trees there were and she just kept mentioning how green it all was. She also couldn’t understand why most of the trees had no leaves when others did and she thought they had all died and was very sad for a while until I explained the concept of some trees being deciduous while others were evergreens and immediately the talking dict was out and she was bleeping her way through England with a new wide eyed curiosity.

We arrived at the 14th century mansion which so happened to be a short ride from Sandhurst military academy, and after mentioning to her that this was where Prince Harry and William did their officer training, she suddenly became all alert again and started asking me if I could take her to see them (like I personally knew them or something) and it was only after I mentioned that they had finished their training and had now left that she stopped badgering me to take her there. I found it rather amusing however and she was like a wide eyed and very young kid on Christmas morning with lots of oohs and ahhs emanating from her mouth at every corner we turned. I parked my car up and checked us in to the hotel and as we were walking through the gardens with the wife walking around in circles not knowing where she could look next, she kept stopping and asking me silly things like ‘gin mai?’ every time she saw a red berry or mushroom or strange plant she had never seen before. This of course was always quickly followed by ‘take a photo, take a photo’.

Later that day I took her into the nearest village and we deposited the wads of cash we had smuggled through from Thailand into a branch of my UK bank and as I turned around from the teller, she was merrily playing with a little Jack Russell dog. She also commented on how English people patiently wait in queues and was asking me why this was so. She then dragged me off up alley ways, down paths and into shops on an exploration of her own as she wanted to learn, learn, and learn some more. Before returning to the car, she decided she wanted some kanom (snacks) and dragged me into the local village supermarket. It was then that I stood back a little and watched her as she grappled for the first time with her first real native speaker as well as learning to handle foreign money. She went up to the till and after handing over all of the snacks she had gathered together, she was watching wide eyed as the obviously friendly but elderly woman behind the till was generally chattering away to someone else in the store but the wife not aware of this, was confused and was doing her level best to listen in and was nodding away and maybe trying to give an answer or two in response. Unfortunately, all that happened was that my wife took on the look of a scrumpled forehead whilst nodding away and staring intently at the lady whilst looking sideways at me with a look of bewilderment on her face and a lopsided grin. It was all very amusing.

The till went ‘cherching’ and the bill for the odds and ends that the wife wanted to eat; which dare I say included some ‘instant pot noodles’ came to about 10 pounds and 50 pence. The wife fumbled in her purse and overlooking a tenner and a fiver that she had in her purse, went straight for the easy option and dug out a fifty pound note instead and proudly handed it over to the lady. The old lady unfortunately felt this was excessive and with an ‘oh dear, don’t tink we ‘ave enuth change love, d’ yer ‘ave anythink smaller?’ totally threw the wife who mouthed an ‘Arai na?’ in my direction. At this point I decided to step in with a big smile and helped her through her purchase before she became too flustered and decided to run off up the street.

We spent the evening out in the countryside in the mansion watching British TV only to realise that English TV had somehow been on hold for two years and hadn’t really changed that much. It was the same shows with the same presenters and the same old trash. What I did notice more and more of was how almost all of the adverts where aimed at fatties and how their one aim was to get them to lose weight and the one that stuck the most was some Latino lady promoting her new Latino dance to fitness DVD to the words from the Daily Mail saying ‘if it’s one DVD you buy this year, then buy Latino Dance.”

It was all very sad and a reflection on how fat Britain is always right behind fat America in all that it does!

11th January 2007

The wife experienced a proper full English breakfast for the first time and much to my surprise (because she normally cannot eat western food) she enjoyed it immensely and was thereafter hooked on it. I myself stuck to my usual bowls of healthy cereal and toast lest I become one of the fat Brits that the TV was aiming all those adverts at.

We proceed from there after another impromptu photo shoot and went on to my interview. I won’t go into details though as negotiations are still underway.

From there we continued our journey around the M25 and 40 minutes into the drive the wife declared she was hungry despite only having a full English breakfast 2 hours earlier. So off into a service station garage we pulled so that she could top on the kanom and away up onto the M1 we went to make our way up north. We popped in to see Shakespeare himself on the way and then after a couple of hours there with the wife saying ‘I’m c…c…c… cold’ every two minutes, I decided to pop into Leicester for the evening to visit friends and after taking her to look at the house I used to live in before I went to Thailand, we went to a hotel for the evening.

That evening we went into town and encountered a Thai restaurant and because it had been a day or two without Thai food, the wife insisted we went in only to find that it was a Chinese restaurant masquerading as a Thai restaurant. The menu was Thai, the style of the restaurant was Thai, but the people where definitely Chinese and didn’t respond when we spoke Thai to them, the food was also Chinese with a Thai name on it and didn’t taste Thai and the prices where extortionate and they even had the audacity to charge us 6 quid (420 baht) for a bottle of water… blimey I thought, prices have gone up in two years if water is now this expensive! The hotel was ok but nothing special to write home about and the wife was not impressed and I think I spoilt her on the first day with the 14th century mansion. Certainly.

12th January 2007

The next day I woke up with a humdinger of a cold which was to hound me for the rest of our time in England yet the wife despite her constant complaining about how cold it was, never even got a sniffle. We continued our journey and she got to meet my parents for the first time and I had forgotten how the wife, who in Thailand is one of a hundred thousand or so ladies just like her, suddenly becomes a shining gem amongst the rough stones of Britain (not saying my parents are rough stones mind but my Dad does look like Burt Lancaster with a touch of Fred Flintstone) and she like most Thais who are encountered by western people for the first time was immediately loved by my folks with my Mum re-enforcing going on to say ‘if you break this lovely girl's heart I’ll cut yer balls off’. Thanks Mum, subtle as ever… and then all of the photos of me as a child with my twin brother came out. Groan!

Later that day and upon the wife’s insistence, we then drove into Liverpool and whilst driving past Goodison Park (Everton) the wife uncharacteristically stuck two fingers up. Five minutes later we were at the ground of Anfield and stood outside her favourite footy ground of Liverpool instead. She was very excited of course and I was very bored because footy has never been a spark in my life but for the wife I was very happy to be there and so it became yet another impromptu photo shoot with her favourite pictures being of the ‘you’ll never walk alone’ gate with the Liverpool logo and the Bill Shankly statue out front by the Kop. I then had to endure about 1 hour of her doing a shopping spree on behalf of several of her Thai friends, all of whom wanted a ‘real’ Liverpool shirt and then she insisted that she also went to see the museum, the footy pitch and to see the famous kop end. She loved it and has done nothing but show these particular photos to all of her Thai friends upon her return and is the envy of them all.

13th January 2007

The journey continued up to Kendal in the Lakes District and the wife was particularly excited because she thought she may see some snow in the hills but was disappointed only to see lots of rain instead. She was fascinated by all of the sheep running around free thus prompting the question of the day of: “Why do the sheep all have different coloured bottoms and why aren’t they locked up at home under protection?” I guess in her mind, had this been Thailand those sheep would have lasted 30 minutes at best before some enterprising Thai decided he would like to rustle up several lunches and make a woolly coat or two along the way.

She met my sister and her fourth husband (yeah I know, no need to say anything…) as well as her kids and grandkids and once again the wife became a huge hit with everyone and was fascinated by the two young ones running around thus prompting the usual questions of when we are going to have kids – groan!

The wife cooked us all a Thai meal to celebrate my 40th birthday and delighted my sister on teaching her some new things and I of course got pissed as a newt after drinking a bottle of Baileys, a bottle of white wine and several large glasses of vodka… well it was my 40th birthday after all and while the ladies of the house went to bed at midnight, the guys stayed up to about 4am talking the usual shite one talks about with me trying to convince them all that they ain’t too old to learn and should go back to University / school to get themselves out of the rut they are in.

14th January 2007

The missus discovers Lake Windermere, big swans and in between chattering teeth, shopping at the Beatrix Potter Shop and ordering a lamb curry that she didn’t like because it was Indian food. We spent the day chilling out and letting me recover from my previous fest the night before but the wife has fallen in love with rural Britain. To her it is beautiful (and it is) but me being the cynic I am, I suspect she spotted loads of things to eat on her travels around the place and so was more tempted by that.

15th January 2007

Spent 6 hours driving back down to Oxford via Wales and the wife was delighted because she got to see more sheep in the fields but after talking to a Welsh person her confidence in speaking English was shattered again as she hadn’t a clue what the ‘leeks’ he was talking about with his strange accent.

She of course fell in love with Wales and the rolling hills and wanted to explore further but time was against us and so down to Oxford we went which she loved as it was a town she knew. After visiting Oxford she asked if she could now see Cambridge until I told her that it was some 3 hours away. That night she was even happier when she found a real Thai restaurant this time with a very polite Thai owner and lots of Thai staff running around everywhere speaking Thai but she wasn’t impressed with the hairy Greeks running the hotel.

16th January 2007

We drove back into Heathrow Airport and I swear I got the first ever speed camera ticket in my life as I went into a 30 zone from a 60 mile an hour zone with the camera hiding behind a bush some 5 yards in from the 30 mile an hour zone notice thus giving me no time at all to slow down unless I slammed on the brakes in some kind of emergency stop fashion. I was most annoyed and it was indicative of how the speed cameras are out to make money rather than promote safer driving. Anyway, what the hell, they can come and chase me back to Thailand for all I care and I positively look forward to the tit helmeted bobby knocking on my door in downtown Bangkok asking for the fine to be paid.

We got the super efficient Heathrow Express into London and then the wife had her first experience of the where to guv’nor black cab ride and I had to stop myself getting the spoons out and playing a tune on my knees whilst singing knees up mother brown to the cockney’s. We ended up in a hotel near Marble Arch and as we where checking in, the ‘Chinese’ lady’ was asking me lots of silly questions in barely understandable English which prompted me to ask the question if anyone in England spoke English anymore. At hearing this, several turned heads tuned my way… one was from what looked like a Polish guy, another from a Russian, two from Indians, four from some Nigerians in a meeting and several from other mixed Asian origins, none of whom looked anything like they where traditional English speakers to me but hey, shoot me.

Once we were booked in, the wife crawled into bed because it was warmer there and I got showered and changed into my suit again as I had to get to another interview. I jumped into the Marble Arch underground station and took the underground towards Liverpool Street and as I was sitting there I couldn’t help but notice that everyone, and I mean everyone, was eying everyone else up to see if they could be the next suicide bomber. Also whilst I was sitting there a Thai guy got on with some kind of chicken veggie wrap and started eating it Thai fashion, meaning everyone in the carriage got to listen to him slurp and smack his lips whilst showing his tonsils and being a general pig about it. Totally oblivious and I had to get up and walk to the opposite end of the carriage lest I made some rude comment in Thai towards him.

I got to the interview and after the guy turned up 15 minutes late despite having been informed that I was there 20 minutes early with an opening remark that he apologised for being late but he was in a meeting that was much more interesting, I decided to write him off and took the stance that he wasn’t interested then neither was I and to be honest he was more interested in asking me about Thailand than he was in the job being considered and I wasn’t impressed. What a complete waste of time and what a complete ham shanker he was too. What he didn’t realise and what I probably should have told him in no uncertain terms was that I had sacrificed a day of our holiday to get into London early to be there on time when in fact I could have spent the night in Wales and come into London a lot later than I did because of the interview and it reminded me of one of the reasons I left England two years ago for and that was to get away from belligerent pig ignorant fools like him.

I returned back to the hotel a little dejected and miffed and found the wife in the land of nod and so our first night in London was a bit of a damp squid as she was dead beat and needed to recharge her batteries, even though it was me doing all of the driving.

17th January 2007

Woke up to lots of rain and 70 mile an hour winds only to hear later that 16 or so people had been killed one way or the other due to these very winds. We decided to go to Madame Toussade's as it was entertaining and inside out of the weather. After getting over the initial shock of spending £50 (3,500 baht) to get in, the wife was in her element and was running around standing next to one wax figure after another saying ‘take photo, take photo!’ with me asking who she thought the figure was with her answering ‘don’t know, but take photo!’ – Sigh! Several hours later after the wife had been clicked with Brad Pitt, Madonna, Princess Diana, Einstein, Hitler, The Queen, her big nosed husband Philip and big eared son Charles along with her talking to Sven Goran Erikson about football strategies along with a last sing on the stage with Robbie Williams and Robin Williams which confused the hell out of the wife because of the similar names, we finally managed to get back outside to find that the rain had stopped.

We took the tube down to Parliament, Big Ben and to see the London Eye (which was closed due to winds) and then took a walk into Westminster Abbey where the wife was astonished to find that she was actually standing on dead men’s graves under her feet as she walked around. She was mortified and was tip toeing her way around avoiding cracks and the most obvious of places and couldn’t quite understand how such prominent people could end up under someone’s foot. We took a walk down towards Downing Street and the wife gave a huge whoop of delight when she turned the corner and saw the soldiers on their horses outside horse guards parade and was even happier when the squaddie nodded that she could pull the reigns in on his rather large horse that was leaving a nice mound behind its rear end. We continued the walk down through horse guards parade and out across Saint James Park to Buckingham Palace (the wife thought it was called Beckenham Palace after hearing it used when discussing Posh and Becks) where she was sad to see that the Queen and hence Prince William wasn’t at home. We then went up through Hyde park corner, past Wellington himself then finally took a long walk up Park Avenue back to marble Arch. By this time, the wife was complaining loudly about the cold, the wind and the fact that I had made her walk so far, so when we got back to the hotel she collapsed into bed early that night with yet more layers of clothes on and so once again an opportunity to explore London at night was missed. Damn, she had no staying power.

18th January 2007

We took the tube down to green-park and walked back over to Buckingham Palace again only to find that the Queen still wasn’t at home which prompted the wife to do a Homer Simpson Awwwww! She also noticed with disappointment that the changing of the guards had also been cancelled because the guards where too wimpy to go out and parade in the adverse weather conditions (the wimps) but the wife did get to see several horses trot on by from the Household Cavalry. We wandered off instead to Harrods in order for the wife to appease herself by buying yet more trinkets to show off with when she got back to Bangkok. This was followed some several hours later when we took the tube to Saint Paul’s and onto the Millennium Bridge and then back to Leicester Square where we took a walk around some of the theatre show areas and ended up in a nice Chinese restaurant up there where the wife was happy to eat her fill of Asian food thus re-enforcing that the wife was happier when she was not eating the usual food available in England.

19th / 20th January 2007

Finally the time came to journey back to Thailand and to my surprise the wife was very sad. One thing I noticed was that security getting out of the UK was completely mad and this clear plastic bag rule for all liquids and one bag on to the plane rule was completely bonkers. What was even more surprising was that there were no immigration desks checking people out of the country either, and this prompted me to ask the wife ‘on how the hell does the UK know you have left on that 6 month visa?” No wonder the UK has a huge immigration problem because it just seems to check people in but from what I can see it had no way of keeping track of them once they were in country and most certainly had no way of capturing them again should they wish to leave. In my eyes, anyone could go to the UK on a 6 month tourist visa and stay there for the next 10 years and leave back to their home country without any recourse or penalty whatsoever. The only time it would probably cause an overstayer any problems is if they tried to get back in again. What a complete joke! Can you imagine that in Thailand, the country would be over-run with wayward farangs!

Anyway, we ended up back in Bangkok and the journey back was much harder for the wife than the outward one and she didn’t sleep too well this time around but thankfully she didn’t grow another head either. We also discovered that as a married man that I was allowed to walk through the Thai passport channel with the wife rather than wait with all the other aliens. I was subjected to more scrutiny than I had ever been subject to before on my entry into Thailand and I was asked again in Thai about what I did, why I had been here for two years and so on and on and for sure the new visa rules are having their impact for us long stayers as it seemed to me that they were putting their ever focussed beady eye on me. At one point he even asked to see my work permit but after reminding him that the rules of the work permit are that we are to keep it in our workplace in case it needs to be checked, he sighed, stamped the passport and then tossed it back across the desk to me. I wouldn’t mind but I have never been a persistent visa runner or have anything untoward in my passport and I just got the impression that he just didn’t want me to be coming in longer than was necessary, but as my visa is valid until September, what could he do?

The signs as we left immigration were, I have to say, awful, as was the layout of the airport. With a bit of common sense you do find your way through but it could be better signposted for sure and you have to wade through lots of queues at the transfer desks to make your way towards the baggage reclaim area. Another noticeable thing was that only about 30 people went in towards the baggage-reclaim area in order to go into Bangkok, while the majority of the flight headed on to a connecting flight, which probably explains how and why Bangkok is so quiet at the moment.

It was surreal in many ways to be back in Bangkok and both of us I think weren’t too happy to be back here and for me I felt like I had never left England as it hasn’t changed a bit with the exception that it is probably more expensive.

Some After Thoughts

Ever since we got back to Thailand, the wife went down with some major bronchitis and has been making noises like a blocked plughole ever since. In between coughs she has been badgering me about when it was we would be going back to England and to my getting a job there. Personally as much as she enjoyed it there and liked the multi-cultural diversity that is Britain today, meaning that she fitted right in, I am still not sure if she would cope because of the cold (she went to bed with four layers of clothes each night like an old bag lady only to wake up at 2 AM complaining of being too hot) and her inability to eat English / Italian / Indian food also worried me a little. I also think she is sort of glossy eyed at the earning prospects should we both end up working back there and despite her being tuned in to the higher cost of living I still don’t think she fully understands nor appreciates how much higher it is.

Overall this 10 day trip came to about 220,000 baht (Approx £3,100) and when you put this into perspective of being about the same as my entire annual rent for one year in Bangkok or to someone from the UK coming to Thailand on holiday where they would get a real paradise experience for the same money, whereas I simply got 10 days of me going up and down the motorway system in the UK for the same price, well I personally know which one I would prefer.

The jury and the negotiators are still out on whether I will return back to the UK this year or not, but the opportunity of me working 6 months UK and 6 months in Thailand is very much on the cards and appealing to me right now, especially if I get it right from a tax point of view.

Seeing the wife in England was an eye opener and the wide eyed child approach she had to the whole experience was fascinating for me to watch and despite the cost of going back there on a short break, I am very happy that we did as it has given me renewed energy to stick it out in Thailand and to ride out the storm. From a plus perspective, the wife has grown a little more in her appreciation of the wider world, but on a negative, she unfortunately now wants a kitchen, and a house as well as some other things that only the kind of money England and the West can provide all of which she didn’t really aspire to wanting before we went over there.

Me, I just want a quieter life and I wonder what I have unleashed by broadening my wife’s horizons… only time will tell.

Stickman's thoughts:

Nice report. The idea of spending half your time in Thailand and half in the West has huge appeal. I know a couple of people who manage this and they always seem to have a much more positive outlook on life than others.

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