Stickman Readers' Submissions May 9th, 2013

Love or Fun?

I prepare for my next journey to the land of lies. Actually, I do not see the drama and deception purported by many of the scorned within this site. Don’t get me wrong, I have learned many things here. Many things that will keep me healthy and happy. I have full and complete ‘prior experience’ learning with guided instruction from this site.

You should be able to get college credit from this thing and experiencing LOS. Seriously, the prose on this site is in a lot of cases very well written and well thought out! I actually feel like I have to grammar check and validate my work before posting. Of course, the Editor takes care of the more conceptual issues so it is beholden to the writer to catch the small stuff.

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Back to my rambling – I am a couple of days out and already packing for the two-week trip. Preparations are not without deep thought and excitement. Rainy season or not? Hot or hotter? High or low? Going to any clubs? Where is home base hotel from the districts? Lots of walking? As you can see, there are many physical concepts to consider. Sad thing, with all of that, is just the luggage bag. The trip itself is an event that gets its own preparation.

Day bag. Backpack with no computer (Tablet rides in the big bag so I can read up on events at the hotel). It is easy to get through security by putting watch, phone, and all monies in the grab bag. Don’t forget the high dollar noise cancelling headphones for the crying babies and talkers on the long flight over. Pack a few hundred baht to get through the airport on arrival and add one change of clothes in case they lose your bag in the round the world fandango. And people thought this was just a pleasure trip! There is a very scientific and methodical process to a happy and healthy couple of weeks of fun.

When plotting and planning for the 9,000-mile adventure you have to anticipate everything. From the airlines to the bars there are several similarities. Everything you touch from the moment you hit the curb at your local airport is business. The process of the flight and the crazy flight crews to the bar and the crazy girls, it is all business. Everything you do, hotel, food, taxi, clubs, bars and girls each has its own caveats and rules. Each is nothing more than a business adventure. Treat it as such and you will succeed. Fail to plan and fail.

Even with all the best planning, LOS loves to throw things at you to spice things up – all of course, with a smile. The “welcome” from the faceless immigration official (mask and all) who tries not to speak any actual words of any language, the cab driver trying to extort as much baht as possible from the airport, the hotel doling out the substandard room right off the bat, all par for the course.

Here I see a lot of discussion regarding exchange rates and the best place to convert money and such. Forget it, just convert at the airport. A baht or two here and there is little to be compared to what awaits you in LOS. Just convert and begin your journey to LOL – LOS whatever you want to call it.

Always a B-line to a bar right off the bat to start your already late arrival night away to “get your bearings” or something else. Then back to the hotel (with or without your barfine) to take a little more time to figure out that you have actually made it to the Kingdom. This is when you find out if all your preparation is up to standards.

With all the packing of materials, funding, equipment, travel, transport and all of the preparation of the physical, there is the preparation of the mental. Yes, I said it, the mental side. I have said it here before and give proper credits where do:

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Do not fall in love with bargirl;

Do not talk to anyone who wants to “help you out”;

Do not fail to see through the illusion that is Thailand;

Do not fall in love with bargirls (did I already say that?)

Your mental state must be checked or you may end up like the random bridge dweller highlighted in many of Stick's recent updates. Do not forget this is all business! Until you touch the curb in your hometown, the whole adventure is just that – and adventure. If you are looking for “love” you can find it an all the wrong places goes the song (with some editorial rights). This and this alone has been the undoing of many travelers to this land of happy and party.

So how do you prepare for the mental adventures? Fist, do your research. The great Stick site is a plethora of information of the insights of the kingdom. In fact, this site really gets deep into the psyche, relationships and many of the expat tribulations. The best part is there is not much different from the average Joe coming for a visit. It's pretty much is all the same. Now before the “generalization” police begin in on me, this is for those that are choosing their own destiny!

If you hang out in bars and clubs and deal with Freelancers and bargirls then you need to, no, you have to expect the things that go along with that! If you have spent five minutes doing any research at all you have already been warned and warned again. Hell, if you look throughout this site you will find stories from experts that still get caught in the glimmering lights and shiny objects.

If you are looking for “love” in all the right places you can still expect some varying degrees of trials and tribulations. Culture is going to sneak in at just about every point in your adventure. Bottom line, after the basic institutionalization of the Thai child to adult, that is pretty much across the board in this country – family first! You can become part of the family to some degree, near or about the same as the family pet after many years. I am going to let the more experienced delve into that issue while I return to my missive.

Now, we have discussed the physical and mental preparations. Let’s talk finances. Japanese are going broke. It will not translate to LOS for a few more years – get over it! The dollar is losing ground…figures. The pound? LOS is actually doing very well. Kind of a “breakout” as they call it. Either way, supply and demand are wonderful capitalist ideas that seem to flow very nicely in this country. Still cannot figure out the compression response from some bars. Lower volume of customers equals raise the prices? Does not work for long in the food / beverage business.

What type of finances do YOU require for a successful trip? Sightseeing? Are you going to take a companion? Going up-country? How many times do you eat a day? How many bars? How many beers? There is a lot to ponder. Included below is a formula: (this is where most people turn off and these really don’t work for your needs – just making a point)

Now we are not talking about travel or hotel just each night spending money. Food, beer and barfines. Using the answer above will aid you in concluding the following:

A/(x + 2) + B/(x + 1) + C/(x – 1)

A = barfines

B = beer

C = food

Bottom line, food is cheap, beer is (still) cheap and barfines are going up. I manage to never leave the hotel without 5K baht in my pocket at any time. I can go out and spend a bit on lunch and reload to 5k. I have found that this amount can make for an eventful and successful night all costs included. Now, you know you are going to XY or Z bar or going to do something exotic – bring more. Enough math.

The point of trip preparation is simple. FUN. Prepare, plan and have redundancy in your adventure. If you used this for “love” your life would be easier as well. Failing to plan properly could end up in disaster when things are supposed to be fun and memorable. This next round I am putting the number to a legal group in my phone for these so called police “stops” I keep hearing about near Asoke. Maybe this will help me in LOVE too!

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