Good Afternoon!!

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Hello...I'm an expat Nottingham chap based in Thailand for the last 13 years. Was surfing the web looking for history of Nottingham & stumbled upon this site !! Am glad to be here & really hope I can pick your brains for locations that I'm struggling to remember ??

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Welcome Steed - you're in good hands with this group - glad to have you here.

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Thanks guys.

Who's Cathy Gale?

Due to work commitments I've not been able to get back to the UK for the last 12-13 years....though have been looking on various websites & family & friends have sent me pics down the years since I've been away. I just get a little nostalgic when I see "market square"...."Theatre Royal"..."Trent Bridge" etc. It triggered the memory when I was 20 odd & the route of the pub crawl we use to do religiously on a Saturday night.....I was just trying to work out if these pubs still exist

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Sorry - perhaps a bit cryptic! 1960's TV programme "The Avengers" - the hero was "Steed" played by Patrick McNee. His female co-hero was Cathy Gale played by Honor Blackman, usually wearing leathers.

I normally avoid making play on other people's names, but this time I succumbed to the temptation !!!

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Steed, whereabouts in Thailand are you? I'm up in Isaan.

I'm located around the Nakhon Pathom are just outside Bangkok.

Originally was in Nakhon Sawan province for 6 years until I swapped jobs. Much preffered it up there though

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Sounds nice friend. what's life like over there. great to hear from you. interesting. De Da Pete.

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I've left it for a couple of days for Steed to reply, but he hasn't so I will as I live in Thailand too.

I suppose it's like other places, some bits are great, others less so. I've lived here for 13 years now. The weather is hotter, from mid-February to May it's very hot, often well over 30C. Then the rains start as it might not have rained since the October/ November the year before. Then it's hot and sticky until the rains stop about November. Then it gets cooler to what the Thais laughingly call the cool season. On a bad day the temperature drops down to about 15C and the Thais all walk round with hats scarves and gloves on saying "Now, Now, Now" which is "Cold Cold Cold" then mid-February it starts to get warmer and cycle restarts.

The best time to come for a holiday is mid-January to Mid-February as the Christmas/New Year tourists have gone home and it's still coolish.

The fruit is gorgeous, fresh sweet pineapples (Unlike any the man from Delmonte said 'Yes' to) lychees, rambutan, fresh mangoes, pomelo (like a grapefruit but sweeter), custard apples which are full of small black seeds but taste lovely. And then there's the king of fruit, durian. My daughter loves it, I loathe it. It's supposed to be like eating the loveliest tasting custard in the smelliest toilet. Durians are banned from many shops and certainly from hotels and airplanes because of the smell.

The food tends to be spicier, particularly up here in the north-east of the country, and you soon learn the words 'mai pet' which means 'not hot', otherwise they throw the chillies in by the handful. There are hundreds of road-side stalls selling all sorts of foods cooked as you stand there so it's fresh. The general cost of living is cheaper. But some imported foods are getting expensive. The price of cheese here makes me want to cry. It's expensive because the Thais don't eat it, despite having buffaloes the milk from which could make a mozzarella type if they wanted to. But chicken, pork and fish including prawns are very cheap.

We pay our council tax once a year. 250 baht, that's a fraction over five pounds. yes, five pounds. Our bins are emptied twice a week from a communal bin outside (think blue plastic oil drum. There's no piped gas, only bottled, but electricity is getting expensive. We pay 60 quid a month but that does include three air-con units running all night plus two fridges etc.

13 years ago when I first arrived here when I walked through the local market you could hear the words "farang, farang" "foreigner, foreigner" being said as you passed because there were so few of us. Now nobody says that as there are so many of us. But we pay our way. To get my yearly visa I have to show that I have 16,000 pounds in a local bank, or have an income of about 1,400 pounds a month. And despite living here all these years I have to report to immigration every 90 days with a copy of my passport. They must have a stack of paper 3 foot high about me alone by now. I cannot own land, I cannot do a job that a Thai could do.

The people are usually friendly but do have the misapprehension that all foreigners are stinking rich and if they borrow money there's no obligation to pay it back. And robbing a foreigner is nearly acceptable as that's just adjusting the balance a little and they can afford it.

They do also look down on Thai girls who marry foreigners. Think back 50 years to the first black people in Nottingham and what we called the women who lived with them. My wife is 44 years old, hardly a girl, but we always make an effort when we go out to dress well and conservatively, no skimpy shorts, tight T-shirts. Thais do judge you very much by appearance and the concept of 'face' here is very strong. People will have a new large car that takes up most of their income in repayments because people see their car and they gain face. But they might live in a shack, but nobody sees that as you nearly always entertain out at a restaurant.

Wildlife? I've killed 30 snakes in the past 13 years. Now I only kill cobras as I've learned to shoo the non-venomous ones away. There's little house lizards everywhere which eat the insects so they're OK. There's a very nasty centipede whose venom doesn't kill you, but at the time you wished it had. Lots of ants, small red, large red, small black large black. Wasps, termites that can eat a wooden door post so it crumbles to dust if you touch it. Two scorpions in 13 years, one killed as a reaction to being surprised, the other shooed onto the empty land next door. A couple of large lizards that live outdoors. one called a tuk-gair because that's the noise it makes. the other a ching-len whose front feet are set well back down its body so you often think it's a small snake coming along the garden wall. But all of those are more frightened of you and usually disappear if left alone. I kill cobras and the centipede without hesitation if they're on my patch of ground, but I don't go looking for them.

Time is different here. Thais seem to have no idea about being on time for a meeting, appointment etc. And their regard for human life is different. Mostly Buddhists they believe in reincarnation so they can drive 4-up on a 125cc motorbike all drunk as a lord and if you're killed it doesn't matter as you'll come back again perhaps to a slightly better life. I once saw 6 people on a bike although 2 were babies being held in-between the other passengers. 5-up is common enough, 3 and 4 normal. At the Thai new year in April about 350 people die every year, mostly young motorbike riders.

One last thing: the language. Thai is technically a mono-syllabic tonal language. Many words are just one syllable but that syllable can be pronounced in up to 5 different tones making 5 totally unrelated words. The sound 'my' can mean 'or not', 'wood', 'burn', silk', or 'new' depending how you say it. There are 44 consonants in the Thai alphabet and a separate alphabet of vowels, single vowels or in combination to make 32 different vowel sounds. There are no plurals in Thai so no letter 's' at the end of words. No word for 'the' or 'an'.

But despite all this I wouldn't go back to the UK for another pension.

Sorry about the essay, but you did ask.

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Well....this is a great overall run down of life in rural Thailand.

For me, 13 years also, I've seen both sides...rural & Bangkok life. Must say I really do prefer the rural life style but, because of my job (I am not a teacher) I have to go where I'm needed. The hustle & bustle of the city really winds me up and do have several altercations everyday with motorists who think they can do exactly what they want when they want on the road. Despite that, I too wouldn't go back to the UK.

My work visa makes it a comfortable way of being able to stay here (no need to show bank balances)& the only inconvenience is the once yearly renewal. Talk about red tape & bureaucracy!! Still, one day out the year isn't bad.

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