Stickman Readers' Submissions October 14th, 2011

Traveling with Thais

I chuckle when reading about extended family trips and usual trials and tribulations happening to us Farangs in this country. I’ve been here 8 years and next month exiting first time in 2+ years to my native country. So, I should know Thais and
I should know better. Right?


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It all started somewhat innocently. My better half has been working in the recently built Central Shopping Center here in Khon Kaen and after saving money we could afford to build our own shop which opened a month ago. Main thing to my partner
was to get out of the shopping center and make a shop of our own due to the ridiculously long working hours and demands from the owner. We hardly saw each other except early morning and at midnight (there was accounting and various things taking
several hours after closing the shop plus driving home). Maybe the main source was also the unhappiness that I experienced never seeing my loved one except nocturnal hours falling asleep. The day off was also spent sleeping, what else can one

Anyway, this trying to be an introduction I’ll try to get to the point. Thais working day after day together form sort of a small community with other workers and other shops' staff. So did my better half also. The owner of a
small shop opposite got involved with us on a friendly basis when I was doing my rounds dropping by and so forth. So, at some point she suggested that she needed to travel to Bangkok and Suphan Buri to take part in a wedding. Later she suggested,
we might drop a visit to Hua Hin. Well, it sounded a reasonable suggestion and my partner was excited to take few days off and relax since the last year had been quite hard on both of us. I had bad premonitions from earlier experiences but since
the lady spoke good English and had been both studying and living abroad I thought we might give it a go.

At this point I might add a few specs about the lady in question. She is what is sometimes discussed on this site, a hi-so. I mean that she has an appearance like coming direct from a movie scene of a Dracula or vampire movie. Good looks
if you like that type of appearance. She has much lighter skin than I do! Although I never use any sun lotion or cream, neither do I care to grill myself in the sun. Her parents are deeply into business and making money. They bought a new car
and lovely house for their daughter and as far as I understand still provide her 30K+ a month for her expenses….and opened her a shop in this beacon of Esaan shopping. So, she is a reasonably well-to-do person by Thai standards. Typically, this
kind of lady comes with high maintenance. This fact was one of the points that made me a bit worried. I am quite a feet-on-the-ground type of person and I just simply detest all kind of pretending. Also I have quite tight finances at the moment
so I am not looking for big surprises in spending. Some can disagree on my lifestyle and they are invited to do so. I don’t give a hoot!

We arrived in Bangkok late evening and this being the rainy season it took some time to find the hotel. I was exhausted from sitting in the car so long. No stops, no food, a very un-Thai way to travel actually. She seemed to be one of those
ladies on a permanent diet eating like a small bird – an observation that was confirmed over the following days. I, on the other hand, need regular good food in small portions. Otherwise I will feel very tired and sleepy after stuffing
myself just on one meal. By the time we reached the hotel my blood sugar levels were way down. I was tired, head aching and in a desperate need to eat something. Oh, did I mention that the main reason was that after reaching Bangers we went direct
to that huge wholesale market where she spent hours to buy and order the stuff she needed for her shop. That was the main reason we reached the hotel so late.

After arriving and getting my room she announced that she had decided to visit her friends and sleep at their house in Bangkok rather then stay in same hotel with us! Nice touch. There we were with my partner in an unknown part of the Thai
capital feeling hungry and exhausted – or at least I was. I am so used to my routine that any disruption or change is unwelcome. Never mind other factors but when my diet and eating schedule goes wrong, I get on the wrong foot. I don’t
know why but my blood sugar levels don’t like unbalanced diet or huge meals at one go. We left the hotel and found a nearby food market that provided enough to have a nice late supper. It was raining all this time so any trip further would’ve
been very uncomfortable and the time was not on our side since it was almost midnight.

Next morning our “travel companion” let us wait until noon to collect us followed by another long ride to Suphan Buri. The town itself is what I would call a normal Thai place. I was told that it is famous for preserving old
customs and ways. They supposedly had a long fight with Tesco to be able to build their business. Now they seem to have allowed a food market in front of Tesco so people are sort of co-operating. I wouldn’t be amazed hearing that most of
the food being sold originates from that store behind all these food carts. Otherwise, Suphan Buri has little to see. Maybe I am wrong but most Thai towns look alike. If you were dropped in one of them, it would be difficult to know where you
are. There are few exceptions, few far and between.

When we entered the hotel and got our rooms, she announced (not so unexpectedly this time) that she will participate in the wedding and the party after that on her own…sigh. Another night in a hotel room. We all like hotels, don’t
we? It was late again so we actually tried to walk around a bit but it was dark and anyone who has ever been to a small Thai town after businesses close know what’s it like. So back to the room we went. At this point I started having anger
management problems. I am such an impatient farang!

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Next morning was a repetition of the former. It was noon before we got started towards Hua Hin where we arrived, ate and booked a room and again it was evening. How strange it is how quickly night arrives when you start you day near afternoon…
Now she was tired so she wanted to go sleep early. I sometimes wonder what is all this talk that Thais take care, have loving heart and all other bullshit that I’ve been told of? Since my loved one doesn’t drink, I told her I was
on my way to get pissed amongst the other Farangs. I got the green light and was told that she is sorry for the trip being not what we thought. I went out and had more than a few drinks with nice people from Sweden, Holland, France and the good
old UK. The evening was better than anything so far. That actually speaks volumes. I could’ve had it better in my adopted home town with people I have actually known for years and have formed friendship with.

Next noon (surprise!) we headed for local handicraft village that was very nicely done but there was nothing to buy that caught my interest. The same old, same old. I wonder why I see but same stuff all over Thailand? A proper handicraft
village with real nice high-end stuff would be interesting for a change. Maybe I am just missing something here but most that I have seen for years already seems that it’s been produced in the same factory and delivered to all shops near
the tourist attractions. No variation. Nothing of professional quality. Nothing personal. No niche markets.

Hua Hin

Next before leaving we visited the newly built ‘floating market’ which was nice as a sort of theme park but was perhaps 90% completed. And the staff for sale…er…stuff I mean, just look at the previous paragraph. If there would be something
like genuine floating market, it would make a difference. I see no point visiting some made-to-believe fabrication. I rather sit in a Bangkok small bar watching the people passing by with a cold amber liquid in my hand. This is the reason I try
to avoid 5 star hotels and such establishments. They lack real life. I’ve been visiting probably all the fine hotels in Thailand (Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai) and I was impressed of their menus and food but the constant feeling
that you are not connected to real life and people made me fee somewhat plastic. Not to mention the cost…not worth the value. To me at least.

Hua Hin

And then followed the ride home. Notice that we never made it to Hua Hin beach?! I could’ve tried to make some sort of an attempt to make my own schedule but I was stuck in a room waiting when this so-called friend to open her mobile phone or eyes.
Maybe I am a twat but I was brought up believing that when you travel with company you try to be with them. Maybe the rules have changed? Or is this the case of TIT?

Hua Hin

Before Korat I asked to stop in some noodle shop or something since my blood sugar levels started to drop again. While sucking in my soup our friend started to write something on a piece of paper. After I finished my meal, she handed over the paper to
me and it was a bill! Yep, you got it! It was a bill for gasoline and other expenses that we had endured on our way. Including her meal of som tam with some smelly crabs that I didn’t touch for some reason. It added up
to 6,700 baht. Farang rich, farang can pay…I made a feeble excuse that I don’t have cash now and talk about it later. I was infuriated. Steam almost escaped my ears.

The final 200 kilometres to Khon Kaen I kept my mouth shut. My partner understood immediately what I felt. We have been together so long that we understand each other without speaking. The main reason was that I didn’t want any problems
with her since my car was parked at her house.

My several experiences traveling with Thais have been disappointing. Maybe due to the fact that our expectations are so very very different. This was my not first but definitely the last trip with any Thai, my own family being the only exception.
We have a relatively small non-extended family of only 8 people that is used to travel with me. They have also been exposed to my whims and fancies and are fully aware that where my car heads can be debated only if there is good reason and I like
the idea. Normally the only person I like to travel with is my dearest. We are compatible.

Oh, and did I pay her? There is about a snowball's chance in hell I that will. I just did the Thai thing and said we can talk later. Tomorrow never comes. To those dimwits that will email me that I should’ve paid I can send my banking details
so you can send me the money. You rich Farang! I might add that my beloved better half tried to convince me of negotiating the price down in a proper Thai fashion. I said that I don’t renegotiate a deal that I never agreed to.

Stickman's thoughts:

This is one of the more bizarre Thai travel stories I have heard. I kept thinking things were going to come right, but they never did. I don't know what to make of this woman and I just wonder if there was some mis-communication somewhere between your lady and her. Or perhaps it could be that this woman simply saw this as a means to make some money. For sure, it is one of the most bizarre stories I have heard. It's just plain weird!

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