Thai Commuting – Part 1

I must say that riding on the streets of Thailand for the first time is quite the experience. Ours was the cab ride from the airport into Bangkok. We quickly realized that traffic law in this country is…kinda lax. The rule of thumb seems to be that if you can fit you can go. It’s like watching a thousand people running into a concert all at once but somehow nobody touches anybody else.

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It’s not surprising that when BC told me he wanted to rent a scooter so we could cruise around the town, I was a bit skeptical.

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But I agreed to it…even though it seemed insane to go riding around in this madness; especially since they drive on the side of the road we are not used to. But you learn quickly that a honk doesn’t mean “get out of my way” it means “no, go ahead, you’re good” or if you’re walking it means “I’m a tuk tuk and you should ride me!” Same with turn signals. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the car is trying to get over. Sometimes they are telling the scooter or tuk-tuk behind them that they are safe to veer into oncoming traffic and pass as many people as possible until a car or bus forces you back on to your side of the road. Fun? Frightening? Either way it’s an F-word.

There were about a dozen times I thought for sure we were going to get into an accident. But then it dawned on me: Thais are waaaay better drivers than any of us. Road rage? Non existent. Texting while driving? Only if you want to surely die. It’s kind of amazing to watch.

We now have our own scooter and BC is driving it like he thinks he’s from Thailand. He got a semi-automatic so I might be able to drive it one day but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Our Scooter

And this is what BC looks like driving it:

BC on Scooter

Can we say CHiP?

My First Meltdown (it was a curling iron that did it)

For those of us with disorderly hair we know that when we go to a humid place, we just aren’t going to tame our locks without some help. So two weeks into our Thailand adventure I forced BC to rent a scooter and take me to the mall so I could get a tool to calm my hair.

I had two choices: a less expensive curling iron or a slightly more expensive straightener. In an effort to save money I chose the cheaper option.

The next morning I was like a kid at Christmas; I couldn’t wait to have awesome looking hair. I shampooed twice and swiftly ran to my new curling iron. However, when I unwrapped the curling iron my heart sank. It was one of these:

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I was so excited to even find a curling iron to buy (they are so hard to find) that I overlooked the fact that it had no clamp. I even touched and examined the damn thing before I bought it! It was useless for straightening my hair.

But this didn’t mean I didn’t try.

The whole time I fruitlessly attempted to make it work I kept looking at the pretty woman on the box with perfectly straight hair. I hated that bitch. This is when I totally lost it. I just wanted one thing that wasn’t out of the ordinary…even something as simple as this. BC tried to comfort me but by then I was inconsolable and wouldn’t even let him near me. All because of a stupid curling iron.

After my freak-out was finished we went back to the mall and exchanged the devil curling iron for the slightly more expensive (10 whole dollars) badass straightener.

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Now my locks are tame and I look like a rock star. It even has a fancy traveling case 🙂

The Plan

Although it appeared that we were throwing all abandon to the wind, we still had a plan. Here’s our original plan:

  1. Fly to Bangkok
  2. Immerse ourselves into the culture quickly by spending first few nights in local neighborhood
  3. Immediately tear off the Band-Aid of eating street food
  4. Move up north so I can get a job teaching English
  5. Stay in Thailand a year

…and here is how it has gone

  1. Fly to Bangkok – check
    1. Arrive with food poisoning – check
  2. Immerse ourselves into the culture quickly by spending first few nights in local neighborhood – check
    1. Realize we speak no Thai, we are still tourists (and we are the only tourists around), and there is nothing for us to do since we are staying in said local neighborhood – check
  3. Immediately tear off the Band-Aid of eating street food – check
    1. Get rapidly introduced to the interesting smell of animal fat burning off the retched smelling coals this neighborhood uses – check
  4. Move up north (check) so I can go get a job teaching English – ummm
    1. Completely change plans and abandon teaching English plan – check
  5. Stay in Thailand a year – ummmm
    1. No income from teaching job means can only live off savings…and don’t have enough for a year

…and the Addendum

  1. Start a blog and become famous on the internet – work in progress
  2. Use my fancy new camera that BC bought me to become world master photographer – work in progress

So…that’s where we are

Arriving in Bangkok

If you were born before 1990, chances are that you know how it feels to get a splinter from the playground jungle gym during recess. That is exactly what arriving in Bangkok felt like. After 36 hours of travel (and a very food poisoned BC) we stepped into a whole new world.

Bangkok is an interesting, interesting city. I have never seen anything like it. Traffic law does not exist, the streets smell of delicious (and sometimes not so delicious) eats, and the pollution is unrivaled.

Very Polluted

Very Polluted

But our spirits were not broken. We were stoked to be here and to begin our new journey. Now we just had to figure out where to live, how to get there, what those street smells really are, and why (dear baby Jesus why!) do we have to share the streets with chihuahua sized rats…so gross.

Fleeing the Coup (1)

There is nothing more heart wrenching than losing a job, especially a job that you hate. So when my employer came to me and said “this just isn’t a good fit” I felt my brain (and my heart) implode. How did I get to the point where some HR rep knew before me that I was useless at making my own career choices? I felt like shaking a puppy.

This is about the moment my 30-life crisis set in. For those of you that don’t know a 30-life crisis is a very real thing. It’s that moment in life when your 20’s are coming to a close and you look around and say “this is just not how it was supposed to work out…at all”. The feeling is similar to what one of my favorite bloggers dubbed “the sneaky hate spiral”.

So, with the skeptical enthusiasm of a first time sushi eater I called BC and said “we should move to Thailand! I can teach English!” He looked at me perplexed but said “OK!” That’s how quickly our decision to flee the coup was settled; and we never looked back. In the ensuing months we sold everything we owned, begged our friends for lodging (thanks BFF-Chicken!) and, 6 months later, took a one-way flight to Thailand.