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You’ve spent too much time in Bangkok, when you..

July 29, 2009
Typical Thailand: A monk is gazing Bangkok from the top of Wat Saket (The Golden Mountain).

Typical Thailand: A monk is gazing Bangkok from the top of Wat Saket (The Golden Mountain).

  • Believe the sky train is God-sent;
  • Notice the variety of “BTS” (Bangkok Transportation System aka sky train) crowds;
  • “Upstream Salmon Crowd” goes between 7-9 AM. They are real people with real job and real life. As soon as the sleek train goes into full stop, their noses almost touch the train’s sliding door, trying to be the first one entering the car and grab a seat;
  • “Hippy Crowd” boards the cars between 9 AM-12 PM. They either highly excited tourists with free maps in hand and those with surrealistic life;
  • Want to get rid of the perfume from “the-other-sex” or that “significant other” then you would blend with the 6-9 PM “Smelly Crowd”. Preferably the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) aka subway;
  • Are fully aware that the “taxi-to-nowhere” is not some guidebook’s myth, it’s a known fact;
  • Know that taxis will take you from Sukhumvit 1 to 77 only after midnight;
  • Notice that the taxis don’t seem to need your money, they are only keen if the destination is within 0-5 km or within 0-5 blocks away;
  • Shall stand up and bow when everybody else does (even in the dark cinema room. I mean it..);
  • Automatically stay still at your current location, turn off your mobile phone and not moving a muscle when you happen to be in public place at exactly 6 PM (I’m not kidding about this);
  • See something cute and head-turning, check and double check. In this part of the world, the skills of applying powder brush and mascara are equally essential to both sexes (not all, but yeah.. check and triple check!);
  • Understand that black and white uniform belongs to university students, who also use the uniform to express creativity;
  • $$$$ = Japanese price. $$$ = Farang (caucasian) price. $$ = Other tourist price. $ = Thai price;
  • See a whole piglet in a large pot, you realize it’s not a death scene. It’s just some sort of street-side dish;
  • Notice that every BTS station usually has an escalator that goes up. However, if the step-up machine of your gym has gone kaputt or you are running late, then I’d suggest the stairs;
  • Are not confused with abrupt changes of temperature inside the sky train, which prolly be around 10 degrees less than outside;

On Stage: A singer is performing on a stage in Central World Plaza, Bangkok.

  • Suddenly feel like splurging your trust fund or retirement fund, Beemers and Maserati boutiques on Level 3 in a gigantic shopping mall may have some special offers. If not, check Porsche’s next door;
  • Realize that “Men in Tights” are not movie parody. It’s the men in uniform;
  • Never underestimate the charm of Imax theater at less than US$ 10 per seat, the screen is yours;
  • Are determined to try anything-on-a-stick, anything-in-a-pot, anything-in-a-wok, anything-on-a-grill;
  • Have been jabbed in your lower stomach by the automatic gate of BTS after inserting or tapping your ticket or card. You’re slo, Fatso!;
  • Realize that Christmas is not a holiday, despite the festivity in the public areas;
  • Agree that the canal water is indeed incomparable to any spring water. However, it’s the second “God of Transportation” that cost a fraction of your Thai Ice Tea;
  • Pardon the occasional glitch(es) of the televised advertisement in the sky train, because it runs on Windows OS;
  • Crave for “Mango and Sticky Rice” (like.. uh.. everyday?);
  • A Thai strikes a conversation with you in Thai, you know they are not making a pass at you despite the melodious tone. They are talking normally. The language has five different tones, its own script and numbers;
  • Give up trying to remember the full name of your Thai colleagues, but making the efforts to remember their nicknames, that can be Miss Shrimp, Mr. Pig, Miss Missy, Mrs. Cat and so on;
  • Stare in disbelief as you heard Angelina Jolie suddenly speaks fluent Thai. Keep flipping channels or check whether you are in the wrong cinema that doesn’t provide English subtitle;
  • Do not expect the taxi driver to return your 500 Baht note, unless you are going to Pattaya;
  • Have Wat yourself out, the cones may all look the same at the end of the day. However, it’s the history that makes each of them different. Therefore, stick to your guide or your guidebook;
  • Are not shrieking when something big and dark is shadowing you, then something snaky is twirling around your arms trying to steal your Pad Thai while you were wolfing it down at some street kitchen somewhere. It’s just “Babar the Elephant”. I’ve never met Shere Khan the Tiger nor Baloo the Bear so far. I guess they’re locked up in some zoo somewhere;
  • Speak the challenging language, you find it easier to: get the phone number of that cute chick; bargain until the price drops to the bottom; bickering with a taxi driver or motorbike taxi about the price or direction to go somewhere;
  • Did a private course of Thai language. It’s been a year. You were sailing smoothly. Except that you’re still blind because the script are (still) all greek to you;
  • Feel proud that the acid in your stomach are digesting deep-fried crawlies that once roam the surface of the earth.;
  • Ride the long tail boat on Chao Phraya river, you feel like Pierce Brosnan and Zhang Zi Yi;
  • Your pint-size plastic cup is brimming with ice cubes;
  • Your mind refused to work without half a liter of Thai ice tea;
  • Find yourself ending every sentence with, “Okay, Mai”;
  • Find that home is where your watering hole is;
  • Enjoy music that comes out from your ATM;
  • Know that deep in each soi (alley) lies a treasure waiting to discover;
  • Decide that every April-May your tanning days are over and you put as much sunscreen as possible;
  • Remember that a certain hypermarket has a specific schedule for purchase of spirits;
ITINC stands for "If There Is No Corruption"

ITINC stands for "If There Is No Corruption", which means if there is no corruption, the sky train network would have covered the whole city

  • Know that the BTS has finally gone across the Chao Phraya river and reached Thonburi area;
  • There is no “7 Eleven”, then you are outside city limits;
  • Automatically put fresh coriander leaves in almost every dish;
  • Frantically look for bottled fish sauce as condiment;
  • Cannot eat your fresh fruits without extra salt and chili mix as condiment;
  • Add a splash of fish sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, a dash of chili power, then squeeze a wedge of lime, throw in a handful of fresh bean sprouts into your fresh-from-the-wok Pad Thai or stir fried noodles and mixed them all;
  • Know the differences among “custard apple”, “rose apple” and an “apple”;
  • Your “BK Magazine” days are over and you moved on to “The Big Chili”;
  • Your mail box is either “Bangkok Post” or “The Nation”;
  • Make yourself a one-man company that import all the Thai goodies back into your country and sell them tenfold the original price;
  • Wear yellow polo shirt on Mondays, pink polo shirt on Tuesdays;
  • Proudly sport light blue and yellow silicone wrist bands;
  • Don’t bother wearing helmets when you ride the motorbike taxi that speeds up at 70km/hour in the middle of a four-lane street;
  • Are actually having fun riding the Tuk-tuk and don’t bother to hold on to anything ;
  • Own an apartment with easy access to BTS station;
  • Want to relocate only yourself, but not your family here.

"God is My Co-Pilot"

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathrine permalink
    July 30, 2009 5:02 PM

    “when you watch thai TV-shop with hang-overs because you dont have the strength to change channel”

    “when you are not surprised by the explicit erotic gestures in thai TV-shop”

    • August 3, 2009 4:39 PM

      Okay, you and your “Home of Law and Orders” 😀

  2. July 30, 2009 5:21 PM

    Hey Ardita

    This is so cool. Laughed for a full 20 min.

    Hope you’re still going strong – seems like it!

    Maja (DK)

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