Living In Thailand Blog
Friday 14th March 2008
Have you been in Thailand too long? The following list is in no particular order and I may add to, delete, or amend it, later.
- You have developed the ability to classify an infinite number of brown skin tones into just two groups - black or white - so that when asked the question, "Is her skin black or white?" you can respond accordingly.
- Image is everything. Substance is nothing.
- You have become accustomed to seeing girls with brown bodies and ghost-like, anaemic faces - even though you still find their appearance somewhat disturbing.
- It seems perfectly normal for all commercial breaks on TV to contain at least two shampoo ads and two for skin whitening products.
- On a scale of difficulty, nothing is more incomprehensible to Thais - apart from English grammar - than why fair-skinned people would deliberately want to make their skin look darker.
- If fake tanning lotion was sold in Thailand, it would include a whitening ingredient.
- In Thai TV shows and movies, there is nothing funnier than effeminate men or dwarves.
- Dental braces are attractive and much sought after as fashion accessories.
- Sleep isn't merely a necessary bodily function, it is what people do as a pastime whenever they get the chance.
- You have started using the terms, 'Hi-So,' 'Lo-So,' and 'Gig,' in normal conversation.
- While being asked to assess staff on their English language ability at supposedly professional organisations in Thailand, you no longer think it a strange question being asked who you think is the most beautiful person in the department.
- While flying to Bangkok on an Air Kabul flight with a cabin crew made up entirely of radical Taleban suicide bombers, you realise that the flight will still be safer than the taxi ride from Bangkok airport to your hotel.
- You accept that zebra crossings aren't worth the paint they are painted with.
- Considering that in the Thai social hierarchy, people who actually walk anywhere are the equivalent of very small plankton in the marine food chain, why should pavements be kept clear for them?
- Laws only apply to 'small people' in society who are beneath the law.
- Money set aside to fund construction projects that finds its way into the pockets of politicians and businessmen isn't classed as corruption unless the amount exceeds 20%.
- 'Big people' with dodgy pasts needn't worry because history can easily be revised.
- In cultures where eating is more than just sustenance, chefs are perfectly qualified to run the country.
- There are a total of three football teams in England - and they all play in red.
- When a girl tells you her real name is Pimpaporn, her nickname in Thai means fish bone, and her husband is called Supaman, you no longer find this funny.
- Only seeing three people on a motorbike seems like such a waste of resources.
- 'Hello Kitty' and 'Doraemon' are perfectly acceptable designer brands for adult females.
- There is nothing unusual about a young female student doing military training having 'Hello Kitty' motifs stuck on her camouflaged backpack while dressed in army fatigues.
- Pickup trucks are manly.
- The relaxing effect of alcohol makes people better drivers.
- Seatbelts are a pain.
- The only reason motorbikes have baskets at the front is to store crash helmets. Where else are you supposed to put the stupid thing while riding along? Are you supposed to balance it on your head, or something?
- The only reason you put a crash helmet in the basket on the front of your motorbike is (hopefully) to avoid being fined by a traffic cop, provided you put in on quickly enough before being seen.
- You are aware of Somchai's Third Law of Vehicle Mechanics which states that, "On a vehicle, the exhaust tailpipe size is inversely proportional to the penis size of the driver."
- You are aware of an addendum to Somchai's Third Law of Vehicle Mechanics which states that, "In cases of extremely small penis size, a large exhaust tailpipe can be supplemented with a stupid aerofoil and/or a plastic body kit."
- Noise is fun. Thus, the more noise you can inflict on other people, the happier they will be.
- Nothing is more conducive to getting a good night's sleep than the sound of drunk Thai men singing (out of tune) while one of them strums a guitar (out of tune).
- Somchai's Fourth Law of Vehicle Mechanics states that the output from a vehicle's sound system in Watts should be greater than its engine capacity in cubic centimetres and that it should be capable of rattling the light fittings of every domestic residence within a quarter-kilometre radius.
- It is mandatory to make a 'V' sign when having your photograph taken.
- It is mandatory to wave goodbye as you say goodbye to someone.
- When driving any motorcycle larger than a 125cc Honda Dream, the most appropriate form of headwear is a German WW2 army helmet with SS insignia on one side and a swastika on the other. This is especially so in areas of Thailand with lots of German tourists.
- Road signs, traffic laws and traffic lights do not apply to motorcyclists.
- Your reaction to a large rat suddenly running through a provincial Thai restaurant is no different to that when the pub cat wanders into the bar of an English country pub.
- Cockroaches are just insects.
- Fried insects are packed full of protein (as are the eggs of red ants).
- Seeing as birds don't need to have owners, why should dogs?
- Spending four month's wages on the latest mobile phone from Nokia is a perfectly reasonable expenditure.
- All foreigners (without exception) are vastly richer than all Thais (without exception).
- Based on the above, it is perfectly reasonable and acceptable in Thailand to charge all foreigners more than Thais for the same goods and services.
- If foreigners get upset with this policy, use Thai script and numerals to advertise Thai prices.
- If someone is likely to get upset about something they are told, don't tell them.
- If someone is likely to get upset about something they are shown, don't show them.
- All foreigners of white Caucasian appearance (without exception) speak the same language, regardless of where they come from. It is known as 'paasaa farang'.
- You realise that however politely you are spoken to face-to-face, as soon as you are out of earshot you will always be referred to as farang.
- Thai Muslims, Thais of Chinese ethnicity, and Thais from Isaan should be referred to as such (Kon Musatlim, Kon Jeen, Kon Isaan) and never actually referred to as being Thai.
- Bad smells are only objectionable when the source of the smell isn't edible, in which case the source of the bad smell should be described as, "Aroi."
- You know it is pointless staring at a girl picking her nose in a restaurant in an effort to embarrass her and make her stop because she will only carry on doing what she is doing and look back at you wondering why you are staring.
- You understand that breathing in too much of Thailand's polluted air can be dangerous which is why one nostril should always be blocked with either a finger or a plastic tube of menthol and eucalyptus.
- You accept that waitresses in upcountry restaurants will not approach you to take your order on the basis you cannot speak Thai (even if you can) and will refuse to give you a menu on the basis you cannot read Thai (even if you can).
- Thais think nothing of talking quite openly about foreigners right in front of their faces on the basis they can't understand Thai (even if they can).
- Due to the remarkable physical similarities between Thais and Western Caucasian visitors, Thais find it extremely difficult distinguishing foreigners from their own kind. For this reason, whenever a Thai sees a foreigner, he or she must alert every other Thai in the vicinity using the special code words, "Farang, farang." A failure to do this could possibly result in other Thais not realising they have foreigners amongst them.
- When attempting to speak Thai to Thais, you have got used to the fact that some will stare at you as if you are speaking in tongues.
- You know that when speaking to two Thais simultaneously, there is a good chance that one will understand perfectly while the other is still convinced you are speaking in tongues.
- It is normal for Thais who think you are speaking in tongues to tell you 10 minutes later how well you can speak Thai.
- Thais speaking in regional dialects are less comprehensible than religious zealots speaking in tongues.
- You have realised that sales in Thailand are perpetual and that no sale item was ever actually sold at the 'original' price.
- Once the imaginary discount has been applied to a 'sale' item, no further discount will be given. A Thai will happily let you walk away from a Bt10,000 sale rather than give you another Bt5 off.
- The only insurance policy you need in life is the right Jatukham Ramathep amulet hanging around your neck or from your rear view mirror.
- Apart from somewhere to hang superstitious amulets, the only other reason vehicles have mirrors is for the driver to check his or her appearance.
- Cars and motorbikes have been designed to be driven with one hand so that the other hand can be used to hold a mobile phone or umbrella.
- On Thai roads, right of way is determined by vehicle size.
- The primary responsibility of drivers of public vehicles (buses, vans, boats, etc.) is to themselves to make sure they have as much fun as possible by seeing how fast they can make their vehicles go.
- Drivers of public vehicles are contractually obligated to 'flee the scene' after the vehicle they are driving is involved in an accident caused by their reckless driving (provided, of course, that they actually survive the crash themselves).
- Just because you are sold a bus ticket, it doesn't necessarily mean there will be any seats available for the 12 hour journey.
- In the event you climb aboard a bus for a 12 hour journey to find no seats available, you had better hope you are a Buddhist monk and not a heavily pregnant woman.
- The moral high ground is always to be taken - unless it impacts someone's revenue stream.
- The environment should be protected at all costs - unless there's a fast buck to be made.
- Wrenching out handfuls of lotus flowers while visiting a 'protected' wetlands reserve makes for the perfect souvenir to remember your visit by.
- Cheating and getting away with it is something to be proud of.
- Advice is to be taken but not followed.
- The correct way to 'queue' is to go straight to the head of the queue and shout your order at the person behind the counter. Don't worry because no one ahead of you will say anything.
- In air-conditioned restaurants with 'No Smoking' signs plastered everywhere, the wait staff will rush over to anyone they see lighting up ... and give them an ashtray.
- You are lucky enough to have found some work writing for a Thai English-language newspaper but can't think of anything to write so steal other people's ideas and observations from the Internet and rehash them as your own.
- Apathy is to be encouraged.
- And finally. Despite living in the world's largest open asylum, which also happens to be the favourite destination of every Western loser, pervert, prostitute serial killer, criminal, paedophile and international arms dealer, you still can't think of any better place to live.
Thailand is an incredibly photogenic country, both for its landscapes and its people. Regardless of whether you enjoy large Asian cities, beaches and islands, or rice fields and mountains, Thailand has something for you and it is a dream destination for photographers.
One of the great things about visiting Thailand is that hotels are plentiful and a lot cheaper than in most other countries. I always use Agoda to book hotels in Thailand. The company was established in Thailand and has great local knowledge, as well as a huge inventory of hotels.
If you click on one of the destinations opposite you will get a list of hotel deals from Agoda. It's generally a good idea to book on-line because you will get a good room rate and you won't suffer the disappointment of arriving at a hotel to find that it is full.
I book hotels regularly in Thailand and I have always found Agoda to be the best on-line travel agent. At times I have spent a lot of time researching hotel prices and although other deals sometimes look better at first I always end up returning to Agoda.
If you don't wish to pay for your hotel at the time of booking, Booking.com normally allows you to pay when you check in at the hotel. Some people prefer this method, but I have always found Booking.com to be more expensive than Agoda.
If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined. However, you will normally find that Agoda is the cheapest and therefore you can save yourself time and money by just booking through Agoda in the first place.
Images of Thailand