Can nothing be done about the songthaew drivers? For a tourist city they give the place a bad name with their stand-over tactics and demands for fares much greater than should be the case. No wonder the foreign tourists look for taxis, but unless they have their wits about them they will again be quoted exorbitant fares, rather than using the meters. Until our city fathers meet the songthaew monopoly head on and produce a real public transport system, this will always be a third world tourist destination.
Unfortunately you are quite correct, my Petal. The songthaews which do not have any fixed or marked destination will always be a turn-off for tourists, as the majority of the drivers do not speak another language. Why would you expect them to get on transport with unmarked destinations? Perhaps it is time for the TAT to get involved and issue ‘tourist bus’ licenses for drivers who meet a minimum standard in communication. Hillary has given up with the songthaews, taxis and tuk-tuks, and use motorcycle taxis when possible. They appear to be a friendlier bunch and will heed the “cha-cha” (slowly) instructions. You do have to barter first, but that’s part of the fun of living in the ‘third world’.
I need some advice here. My Thai GF (fairly recent) wants a motorcycle and I have no objection to that, as long as she wears a helmet. The problem is she wants to buy a motorcycle, instead of renting as I suggest. I understand a Thai person wanting something that has a value, but I’m not really ready to lash out for a motorcycle, and I wonder if I am being set up?
It isn’t every day I get a letter from a famous person like Valentino Rossi. You are THE Valentino Rossi, aren’t you, my Petal? Now getting real about your problem, honestly it isn’t a problem. I can understand you not wanting to spend around 40 thousand since you are unsure about the relationship, but here is the answer - buy the motorcycle on installments and put it in your name. No big spend, a few thousand baht a month and you keep control over the whole thing. There you are. Done and dusted!
How do you go about transferring some money to a girl in Thailand that I met on my holidays? Not much, but just a little amount that I would like to send to her each month, to make life a little easier for her in the bar, and not to forget me. Are the money exchange places reliable?
My initial advice is to lock up your wallet and change your email address. Ern, my Petal, why give away the money you “earn” (couldn’t resist that one). You met her on your holidays and obviously it was a financial transaction then, and to continue across the oceans will take more money, and then more money, and then even more money. Put something aside each week for your next holidays and spend it with her, or others like her. Don’t even start, Ern!
I met Noi some 12 years ago. She had worked in Bangkok’s rag trade for 23 years but after making a claim on her employer’s insurance policy she was laid off. Moving on to Pattaya as she was past the used by date and not overly attractive, so she could only find work on day shift in a bar. I met Noi one afternoon when she remarked on the two lines ironed on my sleeves and offered to do my ironing. I put her on the pay roll and we have been together for over 12 years. As I am in my twilight years and semi invalided Noi has nursed me, bathed me and does all the chores associated with a marriage. I find it impossible to take the bar out of Noi, because it was never there.
Thank you for telling me your wonderful story, and you certainly found a real gem in your Noi. Looks aren’t everything, it is the “jai dee” (good heart) that is important, and you don’t find it in a bar too often. As you say, you didn’t have to take the bar out of Noi “because it was never there.” I hope your health is better.
I can’t believe it’s 2014 already. It seems like it’s just 2001, because that’s when I met my sweetheart, and even though you don’t like it, I found her in a bar and we’re still together 13 years later. We got married after a couple of years of living together, because I wanted her to get anything here after I die. I’ve taken everything out of the UK, where my first family lives. They’ve never done anything for me over the years, so I’m quite sure I’m not leaving them anything now. My Thai wife looks after me so well, it’s the least I can do is to look after her. Before I go to sleep she makes sure I’ve got water, gives me a back massage and sits there till I fall asleep. In the morning she’s already got the breakfast going before I get up. What western woman would do all that? None. I know there’s a risk with girls from the bar business, but I’ve got no complaints with mine. She wasn’t the best looking one, but inside she’s a little diamond.
I am so glad you are a Happy Henry, and you are correct in that there are some little diamonds that can be found behind the bar. Unfortunately there’s a few cubic zirconias as well, so you have to be careful, which you were, waiting a couple of years before you got married. I cannot really comment on your family in the UK, Petal. They probably felt that you deserted them, while you think they’ve done nothing for you. Might be six of one and half a dozen of the other, I think. Whatever, they are still your family and you should keep in touch if nothing else. Enjoy your life with your wife, and do thank the spirits for the lucky choice.
See so much in your column about the women in Thailand being able to milk some poor saps dry in no time at all that it makes me worry about going over to your side. I was planning on a trip over the Yuletide, and friends who have been over say that there’s no shortage of lookers, but you’ve got to watch them as they will put pressure on you to buy them gold necklaces and suchlike. What is your advice Mrs. Hillary?
I don’t quite understand, my Petal. Your friends who have been over here say “there’s no shortage of lookers but you’ve got to watch them”, did they mean “lookers” or “hookers”? You have to decide which kind of woman you are looking for. If you think you can rock on over here and pick up a virgin film star who is an orphan and does not support a buffalo or a younger brother who just fell off his motorcycle, which is on time payments, and broke his leg, then you have unreal expectations, George. Like all things in life, you will get what you pay for, and short term company in Thailand is just the same. However, for the small cost of a bottle of (good) French bubbly and some Swiss or Belgian chocolates, I am willing to let you escort me to one of our better restaurants one evening. No hanky panky mind, this is just a way to show you that not all Thai women are on the make.
I’m not like your usual letter writers, as I don’t have a problem with some Thai lady running away with my fortune - I keep that locked up in a safe place, even though there’s not really enough to call it a ‘fortune’. My problem comes from friends who are all coming over at Xmas time. Most of them seem to think that my husband and I can look after them, show them a great time, and never get thanked, and the next wave comes. We did offer our spare room and driver last year, but it was all too much. How should we repel the invaders?
I love your description of getting prepared to repel the invaders. I do understand the problem, as I get friends from overseas who all think that I am here just to look after them, and that’s not the case. What I suggest is that you line up some trips to neighboring countries, with the dates to coincide with the invaders arriving. Don’t offer your house, driver, maid, laundry and the like, as they only are using you. This is always a problem as they think that because they knew you from your home country, you will welcome them with open arms, and many times you hardly knew them at all. So my suggestions are to grab your cutlass and repel the boarders before they even get out of Suvarnabhumi. Hope that helps, Petal.
Some of your readers will probably say this is a silly question, but I haven’t been here long, so I don’t know the ropes. I often see a rather nice looking girl in the local shopping center and I sometimes stop and say hello. She is very well dressed and seems to have good English. I have asked her what she is doing and she says she is waiting for a boyfriend, but she seems to be waiting every day. Should I ask her if she is really waiting for a boyfriend? Do you think she is a prostitute? How do I ask? What will tell me that she is? Please don’t laugh, I would really like to get to know this girl.
You certainly are new around these parts, aren’t you! Let me take you by the hand in this matter. No, you do not say, “Excuse me, are you a prostitute?” Firstly, there are no prostitutes because that is against the law, so there aren’t any. However, there does appear to be a few enthusiastic ‘amateurs’ or ‘side-line’ girls around the place. What you have to reason out, young Jeffery, is how can she be so well dressed without a job, because you see her every day “waiting” and that’s not delivering food, is it? So she is either a young lady of independent means, or someone who goes shopping a lot with someone else’s money. You still with me, Jeffrey my Petal? Now she has been giving you all the hints, “waiting for a boyfriend”. That wasn’t waiting for “her” boyfriend - she is waiting for “a” boyfriend. This is leaving the opening for you to become the boyfriend - but, Jeffrey, I fear this relationship is going to cost you a whole heap of money. She is obviously more experienced than you are, and you are walking around the shopping center with “I’m ready for fleecing” written on your forehead. Take my tip - change your shopping center and wait till you meet some nice girl who is working there, not “waiting” there for a boyfriend.
It’s the same old, same old every time. You must get tired of the moaners who have nobody to blame but themselves. No wonder the girls leave them after the money runs out. I would do just the same if I had to put up with all the belly aching. These guys start to think they are “hansum man” when they sure as hell ain’t. If they believe that “stuff” (I changed what you wrote to something that will not offend, OK?) then they will believe anything. They should stop these guys at the border, for their own good. Talk about leaving their brains at the Immigration counter! They should have stayed at home.
I think you are being a bit hard on some of the ex-pats, my Petal. Why did they come here and leave their home countries? What is the alternative for these lonely men? Stay at “home” and be even more lonely? Everyone deserves some fun in life, even if it doesn’t last forever. You worry me a little, as you are so much down on your fellow ex-pats. Have you been burned before?
I see a lot of girls in my local shopping center, and many are quite nice. I see them resting on the seats. I know you say we older foreigners should stay away from the bars, and that is what I have been doing these days, but will I find Miss Right in the shopping center? Or do I have to lie about my age (I’m a pensioner) and go back to university? What should I do? I’m getting tired of being lonely. I could always get somebody from the bars to look after me.
Dear Lonely Lester,
What shower did you come down in, my lonely Petal? Must have been the last one, and we certainly have been having a few heavy showers recently. Will you find Miss Right waiting on the bench for you at the supermarket? No Lester, you will only find Miss Take there. Mistake if you talk to her and Miss Take all your money by the time you reach the checkout counter. These are freelance girls who can disappear very easily and you will never find where she went or came from (other than Aisle B next to the hot dog counter). They are more dangerous than the girls from the bars. At least Hello Sexy Man bar will still be there tomorrow, and the mamasan knows the ID of her girls. As far as lying about your age, that’s not such a bad idea. I heard of one 70 year old chap, when seen walking down the street with a cute 17 year old, told his friends it was easy. “I lied about my age. I told her I was 95!” If you are getting really desperate, talk to the girls in the optical stores. They are all well dressed and university graduates. You must be needing glasses at your age, so you’ve got a good excuse for being there. They also do eye checks for free, and that’s a free offer without a hoop of balloons and a roasted pig outside either. Don’t despair, Lester. Just be nice to everyone you meet. Very soon someone will snap you up for who you are, and not just to get their hands on your pension.