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“There comes a strange time in every mans life when he finds himself stretched out in a comfy chair with a cold flannel on his face and having his feet massaged by another man.”
This is my follow up post to the popular Surviving in Bangkok: From Suicide Drivers to Lady Boys. I have now been living in Thailand for the last three weeks and I have a few more “insights” from my time here to share. So without further ado and padded out intros here is part two.
There comes a strange time in every mans life when he finds himself stretched out in a comfy chair with a cold flannel on his face having his feet massaged by another man.
One such occasion happened to yours truly just recently with a Thai guy called Mike, although I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not his real name. It is an odd experience to say the least and I am sure there is an innate part of every man that somehow knows that this particular situation should feel very awkward and therefore they should feel uncomfortable. Now for the gentlemen readers out there I would like to say I am not fully up to date with the “Unwritten Code Of Man Rule Book” having not read it for a while, and so any thoughts on this matter would be helpful. Lets just say I came out 60 minutes later a changed man. Worryingly, I think it was the best massage I have had so far, however in future and to avoid confusion later in life, I will be sticking to women. No hard feelings Mike.
Tuk Tuk Drivers:
Tuk Tuk drivers are the bane of both my life and all other non-thais living or traveling through Thailand. Unlike market stall vendors, who will generally leave you alone if you make a valiant effort not to engage eye contact (sometimes however this is unavoidable as on many occasions while trying to avoid the eye of one such vendor you will ininvertedly catch the eye of another and then all hell breaks loose}, Tuk Tuk drivers seem to see this blatant attempt to ignore them as a personal challenge to change your mind.
There are three modes of attack usually employed by the drivers in question which I think they learn from a book.
If I were to write the book these would be the three golden rules:
- Repetition – Tuk Tuk? Tuk Tuk? Tuk Tuk? Repeat as many times as physically possible while maintaining a constant gravitational movement towards the intended target. Following them a good 50 yards is not only commended but advised. Do not be discourage by disgruntled foreigners or threatening glances, use it, and continue with gusto. Remember – He who doesn’t try repeatedly and relentlessly does not succeed.
- English is overrated – There are only two words you need to know in English – Tuk and Tuk. Ignore the fact that this makes it basically impossible for you to understand where your passenger wants to go. Just listen to them, nod and allow them to get in on the premise that you know what they are saying. Then simply pretend that you know where you are going until they question your logic of going left four times in a row.
- Ignore basic supply and demand principles: Regardless of the fact that there are another 100 Tuc Tuc drivers right behind you offering exactly the same service as you, always refuse to negotiate on price and remember to always make it outlandishly expensive to begin with. Act as if you are holding all the cards and stubbornly refuse to budge. They will come round to your way of thinking eventually.
For those readers who have not travelled to Thailand I feel it is necessary to explain what I mean by a Toilet hose. Basically, this is a miniature super soaker attached to the toilet that a gentlemen or lady “uses” to “clean” oneself after they have completed their “business”. The Thai alternative to toilet paper. Now these are actually awesome and you get used to them very quickly, however a note of warning.
It is wise to make sure that when using a unfamiliar facility you first check the angle of projection and velocity of the water stream before proceeding as they really do vary quite a bit between toilets.
Failure to do so can have some rather “unfortunate” consequences. Lets just say there is no real need to shell out for personal colonics in thailand, failure to prepare properly when using the toilet super soakers can result in a very “uplifting” experience from which you will feel very clean.
Little air conditioned sections of heaven, Seven Elevens are like an Oasis in the dessert, only more life saving.
If I could legally marry an inanimate object and/or commercial premise then a Seven Eleven would be right up there with the DB9 and a Slinky.
Seven Elevens sell pretty much everything a growing man needs and then some other stuff that I think would be illegal in most other countries and definitely condemned under even the laxest of food regulations. In fact I definitely saw some traces of Kryptonite in some of the sandwiches, its the only way I can explain the strange green glow.
The other remarkable thing about 7/11’s are that there doesn’t appear to be a minimal distance they need to be from each other and it seems that the Thais have it in their heads that the closer they are together, the better. You can actually be standing outside one Seven Eleven, glance left down the street and see another 100 yards down the road, glance right and yet another appears not a stones throw away and then cross the street to the building thats currently being converted to one. It’s like Starbucks on steroids.
I should stop with the negative now because I happen to love Seven Elevens and also I really don’t want to be sued.
It is mandatory for every person in an official position to own at least 5 whistles in Thailand and make sure that every one of them gets a good seeing to twice an hour, whether required or not.
I think some members of the public also get in on the action so as not to feel left out. Whistles are used to direct traffic, control children, shoo flies, order beer, in picking up ladies, in the bath and finally when getting someone’s attention. You may think that this is quite pointless and how would a whistle be beneficial in any of these circumstances…and you would be right – they are not.
This, unfortunately, does not stop the practice. I am calling for a whistle amnesty and will be setting up a partition shortly – from which to hold a petition.
Thailand has an exceptionally effective weightless program that can see a person lose 2 stone in 72 hours. This amazing system is called the Thai Stomach Bug and is exceptionally funny to behold when not affecting to you.
Fortunately I went to university in Bradford in the Uk and so my stomach is cast Iron, however my business partners is not. He is currently in mid stage of suffering and looks like he is in agony on a permanent basis, and so, being the sensitive guy that I am, I decided to ask him for a quote. I got “Urrggg” and he went back into the bathroom. I keep telling him it is amazing what it is doing for his figure but he is failing to see the funny side. If you too would like to experience this amazing weight loss program I suggest living out here for a few weeks and it will probably just happen naturally and it is completely free. Amazing.
If however you wish to retain most of your insides actually “inside” you then here are a few tried and testing things that don’t work: Seeing it though (bad choice of words I appreciate), complaining, paracetamol, Dirolyte, Ammonium, appeal to the good nature of friends, burger king and witch doctors.
And thats a wrap
I hope by now you feel you are getting a little better acquainted with the beautiful country of Thailand. If you guys can handle any more I am sure I can pull out some more posts in future as I still haven got round to dealing with airport security and bribing police yet. Fun Fun Fun.
Disclaimer: Please don’t actually take any of the advice that I am suggesting. I don’t want people dying of stomach bugs because they haven’t taken medicine on my advice. This informations is just for comedy value. Also I would never marry a slinky.
Some Charity Work
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