And now for something COMPLETELY different tour travel blog

No kidding....the smaller tow truck actually thought it could pull the enormous...

Collecting alms in the morning, Bangkok

Kids waiting to perform, Children's Day, Queen Sirikit Park, Bangkok

Not the best PR from the police me thinks! Children's Day, Queen...

Just another wonderful sight from a boat, Amphawa Markets

Chao Praya River, Bangkok. The squigly building in the background in quite...

Most Popular Person at the Kareoke night with the stolen roses! Bangkok

View from the side balcony of our condo on a rare clear...

This is what I stare at most nights sucking on a cold...

Peter's un-monk like monk, Wat Dok Mai, Bangkok.

Our 2 months in Bangkok is almost up. Yes, we’ve had a fabulous time eating, drinking, exercising and exploring but must admit the rose-coloured glasses are fading a bit. We had toyed with the idea of buying this apartment – it’s on the 14th level, large, airy, 2 bed 2 bath, in reasonable condition and most importantly in a totally Thai area close to public transport and the river. Kjell (the Norwegian owner along with his Thai wife) want about $250,000 for it and the body corporates are very low compared to Australia. Even rang the Australian Embassy for legal recommendations. OK so far.

Now the fun starts - the main air conditioner needed attention – a service is arranged by the owners, we stay in for four appointments, all missed, until finally after three more visits from various non-English speaking techs, numerous phone calls to and from the owners/us/the techs, the bloody thing is fixed. Point is the word appointment does not have the same meaning here as at home. Here it means perhaps we’ll come/maybe/can’t be bothered! Along with trying to explain the problem to a Thai with no English (our fault for not having Thai) compounds the situation when they finally do show up. And this was only for a dripping air conditioner – imagine something really important.

Same thing happened when the owners’ real estate agent made appointments for prospective purchasers to be shown through. Kjell requested that we be present. One group cancelled/failed to show/moved appointments SIX times before eventually getting here. CVausing us hours of needless waiting. Speaking to long-term expats it seems the norm here. Absolute frustration. After sober consideration, we canned the idea of purchasing it! And the fact that we’d only use it for short periods whilst we’re still working, along with potential maintenance issues (nothing is built to last here), talked ourselves out of it.

Don’t get me wrong, we still love the place, the food, the gentle attitude, the friendliness BUT dig a little further and the cracks start to show, I mean from a Western perspective. Another example – on a bus the other day and was overtaken by a motorbike with a small wire basket on the front with an unrestrained baby lying in it, couldn’t have been more than 12 months old. At first glance it looked quite funny, the baby seemed happy BUT we’re talking a 4 lane highway, travelling quite fast. Remembering Thailand is the No.1 country for motorbike deaths and 4th for motor vehicle deaths – in an accident the baby wouldn’t stand a chance. Drink driving and absolute and total disregard for the road rules with non-enforcement are blamed. The motorbike rider stopped at the traffic lights and gave the baby a cuddle but my bum was still in spasm!

Our Grand Finale was the annual fund-raising karaoke night organised by the people we exercise with in the park. About 100 Thais, all out for a good time, incredibly LOUD singing, dancing and generally mucking about in a slap-stick manner – and the average age at least 50!! Mayhem!!! Our ears were falling off after 4 hours of joke telling and singing but the hugs, handshakes, thanks and general bonhomie was worth it. Being the only regular falangs in the park we do stand out but always made to feel special. Great night even if it meant total exhaustion at the end of the night after trying to work out what was going on. I did win the most popular person prize – everyone in the room is given a rose which they then present to their favourite person – I ended up with an armful but admit it was rigged by our exercise instructor who was actually stealing other peoples roses for me………what a laugh!

One final story - "Peter's Monk" - we pass him most days walking to the park and he insists on giving Peter offerings given by the locals - food, water, noodles, fruit etc at the same time giving a small talk, all in Thai, shaking his hand and high fiving as he walks away. Very un-monk like behaviour. Peter then passes the donated food on to the female sweepers in the park. Haven't quite got our heads around why though!

Off to Saigon on Monday for some pampering, we’re talking Executive Lounge, upgrade to a luxury room, free breakfasts, snacks and soft drink all day, cocktails and more snacks for 2 hours each evening……….awful.

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