Musings from Africa
So, I've been to Thailand once and I am involved. I met her in an online chat room about 2 years ago. Nothing special at first, in fact she was rather elusive. Progress was slow, and I was originally pulled towards the Pinay girls but, the Thai web was slowly, and surely, spun around me.
After a slow period, she was involved in a car accident which required hospitalisation. This is when I realised that my feelings were more than just a chat pal.
Aside – I'm a 50 odd widower (lost the wife to cancer) with 1 adult child. I am quite happy being alone (8 years now) but also aware that the bed can be lonely at times.
During the accident I was desperately trying to get hold of her. She had left word with an online contact so at least I knew what the situation was. I must admit I was more than a little thrown by this. Outcome was she almost died due to a doctor making a [email protected]#k up. Long story short, she made a recovery after a hospital move. Since her notebook had been damaged in the accident (badly cracked screen) I offered to buy her a new laptop. Not sure why, but at the time I was cash flush and it was not an issue on my cash flow. So I asked her to pick a replacement within limits and I must admit she selected a reasonable replacement (well within my budget). (OMG – typing when slightly pissed is not so easy – Damn Demon drink – Stickman's integrity is in your hands.)
So now I have a lady (let me expand on this – (I'm 53 and fat [no other word for it] and she is 5 years younger and not a bar girl. Not now and not ever – Uni trained and working in the family business – palm oil and shrimp). She is 24 hours flight time away (via Dubai) and not very good with the English. Mind you, my Thai is non-existent. So what is the next step? Obvious – go visit her in Thailand.
Plans are made – Thang God for the internet and in November, 2013, I arrive in BKK, right in the middle of the start of the protests. 6 hours from BBK airport to Soi Rambuttri (near Khao San Road). 3 nights in Bangkok, no mongering and only 1 visit to Sukhumvit to go to CheckInn99 (I was invited by a Pinay friend of the owner, Chris). Want a nice evening? Go to CheckInn99 – it's well worth it.
After 3 nights it was off to DMK and Trang, here I come – that is where she lives. A couple of nights in Trang city (get to know you time) then off to Krabi. Tell you what – I love Krabi.
Krabi Town and Ao Nang – wonderful places to base yourself. Away from the mad tourist area of Phuket (mind you, that's where my daughter wants to go for a honeymoon).
The long tail boat trips into the Andaman sea were:
1 – stunning.
2 – inexpensive.
3 – well organised.
The Andaman islands are stunning – all you Bangkokians who have never been – get off your arses and go!
Note: when you are as overweight as I am, when climbing up the ladder on to a long tail boat you need the current on-board customers all to get to the other side so you are climbing up 90 degree, otherwise you end up trying to climb up minus degree slopes. Also, you do not need a life jacket – fat floats.
So, we are now in the southern provinces. And what happens? Her phone packs up. Now, not like any woman I know (I hesitate to say Western as I am Southern – and African to boot) it is not a plain replacement that is wanted. It is a Iphone 5S. And in the unique Thai fashion (to me anyway) you have to buy the phone cash. There are no phone/plan deals. No one in South Africa buys a phone. You enter into a 2-year contract for call plan and get a phone for free. And to top it all, the little kiosk in the shop charged me the credit card cost over and above the sales price. This practice is not permitted by the credit card companies, but unlike me, who actually complains to them? Seems too much trouble when you are a tourist. Has anyone noticed that some businesses cannot process your credit card because their system will not prompt for a PIN? Happened to me twice, in a restaurant and at the airport – trying to pay for excess baggage (ended up leaving coat hangers and clothes on the countertop to get the baggage mass down).
The Thai ladies fascination with latest cell phone technology is not limited to bargirls. Oh and another distressing feature, in a mall or department store, they will go off and leave all alone – in a strange place, with no language skills. All I did was stay in the same area until she appeared again.
Rambling on….where am I? Oh, still in Krabi. Anyway, so my short 11-day stay in Thailand is over. Back to Bangkok and then home to Cape Town. Not a nice flight as somewhere along the way I ate badly. Vomiting on a 9 hour flight to Dubai is not nice.
So, back home I get. Now it is arranging for her to come here for 30 day – Visa on Arrival. So strange to fly to here from BKK costs 20% more than to fly there. Go figure. Someone is making money.
So in April she comes her for 30 days and I have the joy of having a holiday in my own country. If you have not done this, then I suggest you do so. It is amazing what wonders sit on your own doorstep. She wanted to come here and get come cold weather (our Autumn) but, as luck would have it, she arrives in the middle of a long heat wave, 40 C in April – unheard of (as symptom of global warming?).
So now where are we? Well, she would prefer to stay in Thailand, but….Mum and Dad are not happy with daughter being with a Farang. Serious family disruptions. Mum refuses to talk to her now – she has brought shame (loss of face) to the family (by leaving the country to be with the man she loves). She is now 47 years old, but her Mum treats her like a child. Maybe we will try to get her a life partner residence permit here (2 year renewable) or we wait till I can retire there. I am aware of the Thai concept of face – it came up here when she visited. I made the mistake of taking her to task for trying to spend too much money, without prior discussion, in the shop, in front of the shop owner. Lesson learnt.
I do intend to retire there, all things being equal. She has some land we can build on. I can think of few better retirement plans. By the time I retire, I will have over 40 years in the same employer, so the funding should be sufficient.
Enough rambling from me I think – I hope I have satisfied Stickman’s requirements.
It sounds like you are keen on this lady and I certainly wish you well with her, but it does seem to me that philosophically the two of you might have some rather different ideas on some important issues. The way she had no hesitation in requesting you buy her the most expensive phone on the market, her frivolity with spending, her abandoning you in a mall and her insistence on hiding behind the concept of face when in your country all make me think that you and she need to have a fairly serious discussion about what the two of you want. Perhaps more than that, you two just need to spend more time together and get to know each other more and see how it goes…