Readers' Submissions

Just My Thoughts, Amassing Of Thai Experience And Other Ramblings





Intro

Mia Thai and I have been back in our Western home country, from yet another Thailand visit, for less than a week now.

For some reason I always get this strange desire to want to write an article for publication on Stickman shortly after I return back home.

My mind races with thoughts and anecdotes and I guess it’s a way to work out my feelings of saying goodbye once again to the Land that I am slowly learning to ‘Adopt and Love’!

These are my random thoughts ‘as they come into my head’ in no particular order of importance.

Background info – It’s just coming up to 4 years since my 1st ever Thailand visit which was at the age of 47.

I met my Thai wife over the Internet (Thai Kisses) and we married Thai Style 2 months after our first meeting.

I have had previous Western wives (yes plural!) and guys I have to tell you a Good Thai Wife (GTW) is a person to cherish, respect, learn from and grow with.

I have the strongest marriage I could ever have hoped for and do believe that ‘this one’ is ‘till death do us part’.

We have spent almost every hour of every day together for 4 years and no signs of being sick of each other!!! :)

My Thai wife is Koratborn and bred (yes Isaan) and has that cute flat nose!

Transportation

Buses

So we use the Intercity buses often between Morchit, Bangkok and Korat. Over time I have read about and also witnessed in real life but far too many Thai bus crash incidents.

Over the 4 years I have developed some ‘stay alive survival strategies’ that we play by:

· Only travel in the daylight with your bus journey ending in the daylight.

· Do not travel in peak times – After 9.30 AM (everyone at work / school) and finish you trip before 4:00 PM (before people finish school / work).

· Do not travel when it is raining or there has been recent road surface flooding.

· Do not travel at holiday times: Songkran / Farang or Thai New Year's etc.

· Only travel in the middle section of a bus (to minimize other vehicle front or rear impact damage).

Minivans

I simply just will not use them at all.

On our previous Thai visit in December 2011 we were almost ‘terminated’ in a terrifying journey back from Samui, whilst in a minivan from Donsak port back to Surat Thani Airport.

Trains

Never been on a Thai train yet but hope to have my 1st Thai train experience in December 2012 from Bangkok to Hua Hin in December 2012.

Taxis

Interestingly taxis are just as affordable as tuktuks and motorcycle services. Different Thai cities have varying supply and availability of taxis.

Mia Thai’s rule – She will always speak to the driver and ‘check their breath and speech’, just to see that they are not drunk. Warning… this could be at any time of day!

Tuktuks

As a tourist you have to ‘do the tuktuk’ experience – in Bangkok they are expensive but elsewhere they are simply just an every day part of getting around to do your daily business.

Mia Thai’s rule – She will always speak to the driver and ‘check their breath and speech’, just to see that they are not drunk. Warning… this could be at any time of day!

Motorcycle Service

They are simply just an every day part of getting around to do your daily business, and sometimes the only option depending where you find yourself.

Mia Thai’s rule – She will always speak to the driver and ‘check their breath and speech’, just to see that they are not drunk. Warning… this could be at any time of day!

Renting Motor Cycles

Yes we’ve dome this is Samui (where I feel comfortable on the roads) however we were recently in Pattaya and I did not feel comfortable on the roads around the greater Pattaya area, so we did not rent in Pattaya.

Flying

Yes we have used Air Asia and Bangkok Airways around Thailand on occasions – OK for 1 hour or less – any longer and the ‘Sardine Syndrome’ kicks in!

Speaking Thai Language

It’s been important to me to learn to speak Thai. Most important to me, is so I am taken seriously by my Thai wife’s family and am able to interact with them.

These days on every visit to Thailand I try to speak Thai only the whole time. I don’t care who I speak with, the hotel room cleaner, receptionist, hairdresser or checkout assistant at Tesco Lotus – I practice and try to improve all the time.

Living in Thailand

In 3 years time once ‘Mia Thai’ gains her Western passport, our plan is to spend 4 or 5 months in Thailand every year and the rest of the time back in the West.

My thoughts as a relative ‘newbie’ are whether to rent or buy a condo / apartment or to buy a house which would have to be in ‘Mia Thai’s’ name.

I’d sure be interested in hearing other people’s experiences around options!

Renting sure sounds the cheapest option, as in Korat you can rent a modest 2bedroom apartment for 3,500 to 4,500 baht a month plus of course power and water.

Looking at the maths over 10 years, renting is a lot less than buying a 3 bedroom home at 1.5 million baht.

The Thai Family

I agreed when we married to support the Thai parents a little every month.

I’m comfortable with that decision and it’s somewhere equivalent to what I’m paying in the West for child support.

Mia Thai’ had 5 other siblings, however the eldest brother (51) just died so now there are only 4 siblings to support the parents (Dad is 84 and Mum 67).

Mum also recently had a stroke and has no longer been able to work.

I’ve always maintained that when one of the parents dies – I will then pay 50% of what I currently pay now, for both of them.

The family have NEVER EVER asked for any other money from this Mr Farang.

When we go up to Isaan for a home visit, the family typically provide the food and water.

I make a point of not ‘flashing the cash’ around like some short time holiday millionaire tourist.

I have realized over the four years, that I cannot change the family’s poor circumstances and also what is their chosen way of life.

They are happy with the only way of life that they have ever known.

Every time it still ‘gets me’, the way the Thai family *do not * meet and greet and kiss and hug when we’ve been away for an extended period.

It’s just the Thai way I understand now, however it is so different to how we are in the West with kisses, hugs, handshakes and the whole feelings thing.

Banking

Do you know how hard it is to get a basic bank account opened in Thailand if you are not on a work permit, retirement or marriage cisa? <Many banks *will* happily open an account to a foreigner on a tourist visa; it just coems down to the individual bank and the officerStick>

Currently, as an occasional visiting tourist, I’d wanted to open an account to have some ‘Thai baht spending money’ available, plus to make it easy for sending support to the in-laws.

After receiving so many Thai bank branch knock backs, an American friend resident in Bangkok gave me some pointers to a couple of ‘softer banks’ and eventually got accounts set up with ATM and internet banking.

The Thai Sister-In-Law

Mia Thai’ has 3 sisters, and one of them has a Thai ‘toy boy’ partner.

She tries to be a successful businesswoman up in Korat but routinely fails and is always in need of additional funds.

She garners this by her Internet presence on Thai dating sites, attempting to secure new Farang giks, that pay up routinely every month!

It’s known that she has a longer term Swiss gik who bought her a house.

He recently wanted to ‘cash in the house’. However when pushing for her to sell the house, quickly found out that she had sold the property and taken the cash!

Just a cautionary note to you over generous Farangs.

You may just have been my brother in law?

The Vietnam War Learning Experience

Soon after meeting ‘Mia Thai’ whilst we were getting to know all about each other, one day I asked her about ‘The Vietnam War’.

She looked at me with a blank stare, and total non-comprehension.

As a product of the very early 60’s, I can still remember my parents shielding me from the TV news about the Vietnam War when I was 5 or 6.

I asked her again, she thought a little bit longer and harder and then she suggested…. “Did I mean the American War”?

Still to this day, this was the #1 most important conversation we have ever had!

Why? Because it taught me very fast and very simply that we were worlds apart in our upbringings and ‘programming’.

From that moment on I realized that to have a successful relationship with a Thai, that I had to reset and open my whole thinking process up to be a new one and starting fresh.

So I believe that not taking anything for granted in our relationship has proven to be a exceptional, long term, winning strategy.

As a foot note: Stick has met up with my wife and I.


PS My BMI is 21.2


Stick's thoughts:

It sounds like you had another nice trip. Your wife's advice about smelling a driver's breath before agreeing to ride with them is excellent!