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Saturday, June 23, 2012

That's normal

In the June 10th 2012 Bangkok Post, Andrew Biggs writes in his column Sanook, about how after a time things that at first caused him pause, have become normal to him now, and how he cannot recall how this happened.

Well, today was one of those type of days for me, when at some point, I stopped and said, "this used to bother me, now it's just normal". In a few months I will go back to Canada for a few weeks, and I am beginning to inventory the things I now take for granted, and how out of place it may be when I am back in Canada. How my new normal, may seem, well, abnormal, to my friends and family.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thai Time

Time is a rather relative term here. Having come from a western background, and working by a schedule that never saw enough of it, being retired, it seems I have the time, sometimes it feels too much time. But if you have read previous posts, it is clear that for the most part in my dealings here, time is an abstract thing, and it is always important in any discussion involving meetings or appointments to be very precise, and then be prepared for waiting.

I had learned previously, that when pressed to give a time estimate, be it for meeting you, or getting something done, 10 minutes is the standard response. It seems everyone is 10 minutes late, or they will be there in 10 minutes or the manager will come in 10 minutes. I have yet to encounter it, but I am sure if I called a call center the estimated time for your call would be 10 minutes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Water- Part 1

Songkran Festivities in Rawai
Well Songkran has passed, and what a water filled fun time was had. Prior to Songkran, we had water issues at the house, and with the knowledge that over Songkran, virtually all work stops and businesses close for about 5 days, a bit of a panic set in. Having experienced Thai tradespeople work, we knew that whatever was wrong, would not be fixed on one visit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thai O-A Visa Renewal

This will hopefully be of benefit to people who decide after they have been here a year, to go for the second year of being here on an O-A (Long Stay or Retirement Visa). I learned that terminology can be confusing. This experience is for the Phuket office, and may be different depending on the office and the officer. I must admit that the Immigration Police Volunteers, dressed in white shirts and all foreigners, are incredibly helpful. They also have a counter set up that has all the blank forms on it, as well as the blue pens and sample forms for you to follow.

So I took a shower, put on deodorant, brushed my teeth, found my lone pair of long pants and a nice shirt and headed off. Not before I got questioned by Clive about why I was doing this dressing up routine. I explained that OI thought it proper when I went to a government office that I should be presentable. As I waited for the office to open; it closes for lunch from 1200-1300, I watched the collection of people assembling waiting for the office opening. I was particularly riveted to a group of men, all in a pair of flip flops and beach shorts, with 9 empty beer cans in front of them, as they all cracked open more, whiling their time to go into the office. I thought, maybe I am overdressed. But I am also seeing many instances of people who go out in the daytime for business dealings, still smelling like the booze they downed the night before, probably not having a shower, and in obvious cases, not being in possession of deodorant, and in their best beach attire.  I am also one who researched my documents, checks all the boxes in the right place, and rewrites a form if I made a mistake on it. I would attribute any time delays today to the people who do not research and hand in 1/2 done forms, thus holding many people back. They also seem oblivious to that impact. But then again they may be drunk and not notice anyway.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Wild Wild West

A song that I used to like to dance to when I was much much younger and went to dance clubs instead of nodding off about the time most people are getting ready to go out, was The Wild Wild West by the Escape Club. There are times that song bounces around my head, especially when I go out motorbike riding, and especially during the high tourist season, such as now.

There is a real sense of lawlessness and the tales of the wild untamed west in North America must be how it feels for the tourists. Indeed many times, I wondered if there were actually laws here, let alone enforced. I meet the tourists who try to hide their open bottle of beer on the sidewalk, when it is legal to carry and drink it here. I have often said that if you want it you can find it or buy it. I find that the expats who seem to rant on in the local comments section of the English language papers, seem to have lots to say about law and order. It is usually about the laws they don't like having enforced, such as drunk driving and wearing of helmets or having a valid driver licence. After a period of time, you begin to think that the westerners who come to visit, get caught up in the loose approach to law and order, and soon they are drunk driving, not wearing helmets and generally driving in ways they would never even dare to dream of doing back home. But for some reason they feel that they can do whatever they want, so they do. I get some enjoyment, I must admit, when they do run into a roadblock and the traffic fines begin to pile up.