Thursday, April 18, 2013

One little, Two little, Ten little things about Thailand

Some observations and thoughts after five days in Thailand:

1. I'm impressed with my training course thus far.  They really are teaching us how to be teachers!  I know that's what they (ATI) are supposed to do.  That's what we paid for. That said, I am very confident that at the end of this three week course, I will be comfortable and prepared to lead a class.

2. There are lots of dogs in Thailand.  They don't seem to belong to anyone; instead, they belong to everyone.  As you'll see in the video at the end, one of my classmates has already "adopted" one of the "soi dogs". She even tried her best to follow us into the air-conditioned conference room this morning. 

3. When you order food at a restaurant here, they give you what in America would be considered a very small portion.  It's enough, but never too much.  With that and the large amount of sweating I do most days, I think
I've already lost about 5 pounds.

4. Had my first run-in with the Thai Police today! I was cruising on my motorbike on my way to lunch.  Now, nice times out of ten, I've worn my helmet when driving here. It is the law, but more than half the people,
and the vast majority of tourists ignore the law here in Phuket. It was noontime on a really hot day, and I made today the one time in ten that I didn't wear one.  I was getting towards the middle of town when another farang honks at me coming the other way, pointing at his helmet.  I immediately pulled over, put my helmet on (it was with me) and continued on my way.  Sure enough, a couple hundred meters down the road, a police check point. They were waving all the locals through, but despite the fact that I was wearing a helmet, I got signaled to pull over. See, most of these tourists haven't bothered getting an international driving permit.  I have one (although it isn't motorcycle endorsed).  The cop asks me for my drivers' license, and/ when I give him the international permit ($15 at AAA), he exclaims "ooohhh!", he smiles and thanks me, then sends me on my way. I'm going to wear the helmet always from here on out.

5. Had my first Asian massage in Asia last night.  As you'll see in the video, I drove quite a distance on the motorcycle from Naiharn to Patong.  When I got back, my muscles were sore from the trip.  They needed a good rubbing.  $10 here for an hour of good rubbing. As to whether or not it came with a happy ending, I am not going to say.  That would be too much information. 

6. Speaking of too much information, since I've switched to a Thai diet, my poo smells quite a bit different. It's almost a pleasant odor.  But not quite.

7. Having a relative who lives here has been a blessing and a curse. I've only spoken to my brother-in-law's brother (a Phuket resident who been here ten years or so) once on the phone since arriving, but I quized him about what I SHOULD pay to rent a motorcycle.  When I asked for that number at the first three places near my hotel, they looked at me like I was crazy.  I couldn't even bargain them down to even close to the number I wanted, but I persisted.  Walked about a mile into town in the heat to find a place away from the beach and got the price David had told me.

8. I feel like an ukulele missionary.  I taught 3 or 4 of the guitar players in the student group here some ukulele basics and got them hooked.  They then went on and taught 3 or 4 others.  There are a remarkable number of musically inclined people in this training program, and every night this week, we've ended the evening with ukulele jam sessions on the porch in front of one our rooms.

9. Made a remarkable food discovery at the "SuperCheap" convenience store

tonight, something our bread-based cuisine would have already done. Pre-made toast. I can't wait to try it for breakfast tomorrow.  I need to eat in-room as much as possible because although Thailand is an inexpensive place to live, Phuket is not. Everything is tourist prices here. I'm finding the cheaper places to eat around here, but even then, I swear they have two menus: one of the localas and one for the farang.

10. ********REDACTED********
 Boy, it's hot here. 

And with that suspense builder, I will leave you with episode Two of Joko in Thailand: 


  1. You look like you are settleing in just fine. Did you buy or rent the bike? If rented do you have insurance if it is stolen? Do you have a good lock? Insurance if you bought it? Just Mom type questions.

    I'm glad you decided to wear your helmet. The roads don't look smooth in the country and are busy in the city. You need your head to stay in one piece.

    Love you, looking forward to the next post. I will link this in my blog as well as on the blog roll. Several of my followers said the read you and enjoy your writing. Not all can or are willing to try viewing videos.

  2. Nice. ~
    I was there for a week and a half in 2010. Went out the the islands several times to snorkel. Amazing!
    The massages were the best! All in all, we had a great time, saw the majority of the country. The people for the most part were very gracious. Drug laws as as good as a death sentence. Other than that, Thailand is a wonderful place. Keep us posted.

  3. I know your Mom (who sent me to your blog) is really happy that you are wearing your helmet. As a mother I would insist on that also. I am just so impressed with how well you are getting along in a strange land.


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