Thailand – part 1 (of 9)

OK, so what do I know about Thailand. They’ve got like an airline (“smooth as silk”), they are known for their massages, lots of people return with an afterglow due to all the apparent shopping, it is hot and oh yes, before I forget; The Tsunami also hit them … mainly down south around Phuket.

So far so good. Book me!

The exchange rate is favourable (4.37 Baht to the Rand); the ‘air time’ of 15 hours in economy (9 to Dubai, 6 to Bangkok) is however becoming stale. It is not the non-smoking that is bothering, but rather the riff-raff one has to share the cabin with. Note to self: have to plan/budget better in future. [Keep on reading my blog … we only got the planning better in 2015]

part 1 02

The 31 December 2010 outbound flight sounded great, as it would have been the first time we would have celebrated the annual event in the air. A bit disappointing though, as old Emirates did not see the need to announce anything, let alone offer some bubbly. Hmm, or maybe it was just us in economy? The disco music and drunken people on the dance floor in First Class kept us awake. Nevertheless, we saw some fireworks as we passed over Dar es Salaam.

part 1 03

The whole of Thailand and its islands can fit comfortably twice into South Africa. They have a reported 68.1M residence, with a density of 133/km2. They are 19th in the world, based on population; we are 25th, with 50.5M and a density of 41.6 people per square kilometre. Spacious. (India is 2nd, with 1.21B and 408/km2). Not too bad, but wait; life expectancy in Thailand is 73.1 years, India 69.9 and South Africa only 49!? Pension Fund (“PF”) is turning 40 this year. Where do you think I should go for my “widower tour”?

part 1 01

It is PF’s 3rd visit to Thailand, and my first. As a result we decided to steer away from typical touristy places and stayed in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Cute boutique hotel – Shanghai Mansion.

part 1 04

As Thailand flirts also with the equator, one cannot help but to draw comparisons with India. All the pavements are … paved. The streets are clean(er). Drivers hoot less. Less nasal/bronchial fluids are excreted in public. In general the people look happier and better dressed. Initially I thought they are also less opportunistic than the Indians, but more about this later. Thais’ grasp of the English language is marginally better, but you still cannot communicate with them in full proper sentences. PF had more luck with them, than I did, as I never knew which words to drop. My usual (comical?) sarcasm was so lost on them. And tried I did. Lost on the waitress that got my breakfast order wrong. Lost on the taxi driver that missed our drop off spot. Lost on the annoying tuk-tuk driver, who couldn’t understand that we do not wish to utilise his services. Not sure why communication barriers could possibly upset me, as my sarcasm is frequently not appreciated at our local KFC as well.

Continue reading Thailand – part 2 (of 9).