Stickman Readers' Submissions January 17th, 2009

Thailand Living

First I’d like to thank Sawadee2000 for the many articles that he’s posted on this site. Your stories are most interesting and sometimes so funny, yet so true.

Your reply to the Cleanup Gene is one that I can relate to. You see I have a Thai partner and she is a clean up freak like you’ve never seen and often drives me crazy because of the amount of cleaning she does in our apartment. For example I work part time teaching English so I am home during the day and work at night time. On these days I will mop and do a general clean up of our 40 square meter apartment at least every two days. Now she’ll come home about 4.30 and before you have time to say how was your day, she’s got the mop out and is mopping the whole place down. It doesn’t matter that I’ve already done it that day. No it’s not clean enough! I’m sure if we had reflecting tiles on the floor we’d see our reflections.

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One day, just for a joke, I set a mat down on the floor and placed the plates and food on the floor! Well that went down like a lead balloon. Needless to say that there wasn’t any affection shown that night in bed and it took me a bit of work and a big bunch of roses and then tried to make her realize that the floor doesn’t have to be mopped 2 or 3 times a day, but it was a waste of time as she still does it so I don’t rock the boat and let her do her cleaning.

Now I’m not a neat freak and my desk at times does look like a bomb just hit it, but I call it organized chaos.

But apart from that I try to keep the rest of the place neat and orderly. Heaven forbid that I leave a shirt or a pair of shorts on the bed for her to see when she comes home as this is a no no! All clothes have to be put away, shoes stay outside and if by chance I accidentally walk into the place with shoes the look I’m given would make even the most harden criminal shake in his boots. Doesn’t matter that I’m carrying 10 kg of groceries in my arms! No the shoes come off and then you can come in. Well, on this point we’ve reached a compromise. I’m now allowed to walk two feet into the place and unload the groceries or whatever I’m carrying, then back outside to take the shoes off.

You might ask why or how she got this way. Well her parents are the same and also she works as a nurse and spent 3 odd years at one of the best private hospitals in Bangkok so she’s used to keeping everything spotless. If you just happen to walk into our bathroom after she’s done the cleaning you’d better have your sunnies on as it is like looking into the sun at midday (ok I may just be exaggerating a little bit) but you get what I’m talking about.

Now this past weekend we went to see her family in Surin. Her parents' place is very nice and clean and going to the bathroom isn’t a scary experience. They’ve even got a western toilet, but no hot water and having a shower when the water temperaure is about 20 degrees Celsius is no fun at the best of times unless the outside temp is in the 40’s like around Songkran. But visiting some of the other family members and then it's time to put on the chem. suit when you have to go to the toilet! No joking. I had to use it and when I walked in as there was a brown trail leading from the squat toilet to the door and the smell was out of this world. Ever smelt an elephant’s fart! Well if you haven’t then you’ve no idea what the smell was like. Now I had to go, and when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go! So I looked around and found a piece of timber outside and laid it on the floor to give me access to the squat toilet (don’t you just love these things) especially when you're 187 cm tall. When I’d finished and went back to where everybody else was I was given the third degree why I’d made such a fuss just to use the toilet!

It was getting late and her relatives asked if we’d like to stay the night as they had a spare room just off the main house (shack) and we’d be welcome to use it. One look at it and I politely said thank you but no thanks. Sleeping 2 meters away from the water buffalo and the three cows was not my idea of a good night's sleep. So we went back to sleep the night at her folks' place.

Now on our way home we had to stop in Buriram and after reading Sawadee2000's tales of this place I’m sure the two families are related or there’s a lot of inbreeding going on!

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We stopped at the front of the house and you could hardly see a walkway to the house. There were two old cars, three trucks and goodness knows what else rusting or decomposing in the yard. I said thanks but no thanks, then went to take a photo of the place! Well she knows how I like to take photos but was told no photos please. Why may I ask, just wanting a memory of what this place looks like (she couldn’t see the funny side of this).

After about two hours and a nice sleep in the car and with her nowhere in sight I thought I’d have to call Search & Rescue to go looking for her when out she come with the relatives behind her dressed like the Beverly Hillbillies (remember the 60s show on TV? Well if you're as old as me you would). All wishing me a safe trip home and an invite to stay over the next time we come to Buriram, so with a big smile I told them sure, my pleasure, with my fingers well and truly crossed over behind my back.

Now it was about 4 PM and we were making our way back to Bangkok and went through at least six police checkpoints, each time being stopped and having to show them my Aussie license, being asked where I’d come from and where I was going and each time being told! Don’t know this Country, but Ok keep driving and don’t speed!

We finally got home around ten at night and you guess it, out comes the broom & mop. Nobody had been here for three days but that doesn’t matter, the place must be dirty so it has to be cleaned. I feign a smile and say I’m going to take a shower and go to bed. About an hour later with the place now spotlessly clean she comes to bed and tells me I could have helped her cleaning the place up. Well darling the place was clean to start with so why clean up something that’s already clean! I hear a huff and she rolls over and says good night! Oh well no cuddles for me tonight!

Stickman's thoughts:

Oh well, it is better to have a place that is spotlessly clean than the opposite.

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