I am not sure if I have found some strange cultural problem. Do all Thai people ask you the most personal questions? Things like “How much money you make? You married yet? Why not? You got girlfriend? Apart from the fact that this is considered a very rude way of starting a relationship in the UK, I also find it very embarrassing when I am over here. How do I get these people to stop doing this? You seem to have the answers for everyone else, so I hope you have some for me too.
Direct questions come from a bar girl somewhere. They are not in the habit of issuing a gilt edged invitation to dinner, hand inscribed in Ye Olde English. Be thankful that ‘these people’ as you call them are interested enough in you to even ask questions. Lighten up!
I have a great little gal who has been staying with me for about six months. When I’m away off shore she uses the car to go back to her village and stays there until I’m due to come back, but lately I kind of get the idea that maybe she’s not really back with Mom in the village, if you know what I mean. Got any ideas how I can check her out, but discreetly. I don’t want to get a PI as I can’t trust any tired old gumshoe to be totally invisible.
Thom from TX
Dear Thom from TX,
This is a common problem Thom my Petal, and really shows that perhaps you have been too trusting, especially with such a short relationship. You know the girl for six months, and here you are, “Have the car, darling, I won’t need it for the next six weeks.” Would you do that with any woman you met only six months ago in the US? I don’t think so. You men really go out of your way to make problems for yourselves, don’t you! However, there is a way you can check on where she is with your car without resorting to getting her followed, as these days you can find cheap tracking devices you hide in the car which will give you the location very easily. You can also get applications (I hate this word “apps”) which will show the location of her phone. That should be easy, because I am sure you bought her a phone as well. Perhaps you could look into that. I hope you are not disappointed.
The estranged wife of one of my husband’s friends will be coming to visit Pattaya next month, along with a couple of her girl friends. This will be her first trip to Thailand, and I think the first for her girlfriends as well. They would all be in their 50s, and I was shocked when they wrote and said they wanted to see a “sex show” while they are here. Do you think it’s proper for me to take them to some of the more outrageous places, or what? My husband thinks it is a huge joke, but I’m really blown away by all this. What do you recommend, Hillary?
There is nothing to worry about, my dear. Everybody knows we don’t have sex shows in Thailand. The nice policeman told me so. If you’re really worried, get your husband to take them. It sounds as if he knows his way around, even if you don’t, though I get the sneaking suspicion that you do know where the “more outrageous places” are to be found.
You are always telling people that they should learn Thai if they are living here for some time. I agree with you, that it certainly makes life a lot easier if you can communicate with the locals. I have retired here, but at my age (72), I find it very difficult to learn a new language at my time in life. Is there any quick way of doing this, or do you have any special tips for people trying to learn this Thai language?
You are correct that life becomes easier if you can talk to people. You don’t need to have philosophical discussions, but “Where is the closest gas station?” asked in Thai will get you better answers, that’s for sure, even though “close” and “far” are the same word in Thai - there’s just a difference in tones. My Petal, it is a problem I know, but if you are retired and not working, then there is one quick (but none of them are easy) way to learn. It’s called Total Immersion and Hillary’s language teacher friends all tell me it is the quickest. Go and stay in a village up country in a little local hotel and put yourself into the situation that you have to speak Thai or starve! I am told that in six weeks you will have picked up reasonable Thai and you are on your way to complete mastery of the tongue. You will also probably have picked up a small language teacher as well. Lots of luck and “Chok dee, Kha”.
I am 80 and occasionally, I visit the famed “Candy Store” where, also occasionally, I make a selection and for less than the cost of your, also famed chocolates, have an evening which I could not even dream of in my home country. The “Evening, sometimes Afternoon, Blossoms are candy for the eyes as well as therapeutically relaxing.”
Hmn! My sweet tooth is speaking out right now!
Dear Don of the sweet tooth,
Have you been trying to bargain chuckles with my chocolates? Are you the reason there’s been none recently? I check downstairs where the deliveries come in, and no bubbles and no chockies. Oh well, another miserable Xmas coming up. But let’s be honest here, there’s no reason in the world that you should give up the sweet delights, just because you are 80 (if I am to believe you, Petal). But as our Dr. Iain said the other week at the PCEC meeting, “Don’t be afraid of old age. It doesn’t last long!”
What do you suggest should be done with a wandering husband? Probably because of the unending opportunities that there seems to be for the men-folk here (but none for the women it seems), it must be a temptation to wander. I have caught several of my friends’ husbands out on more than one occasion at some beer bars, and I am sure that mine is just as shameful in his leisure hours. Any idea, Hillary, on keeping up with the wanders.
Seriously, I think you are a little off the mark when you say you have caught these wandering husbands out at beer bars. Sitting there drinking and laughing with the staff, or in flagrante delicto? There’s a big difference, Petal. You are also wrong when you say there’s nothing for us ladies, but then perhaps the real reason for your letter was to find out where. Ask the wandering husbands’ wives and you’ll find out. What were you doing wandering around the beer bars anyway? Finally, if you’re worried about his wandering, get him a map!
I have been in Pattaya for a few months now and am currently seeing a really nice pleasant girl that I met at Big C. I have been getting quite fed up so to speak with hotels. They are OK for a couple of weeks but a few months wear a little thin. This leads me to the next thing. I have been looking to rent long-term a condo or house and obviously have been shopping around. I was quite surprised to find that you have to give two months security deposit and a month in advance. Now I am a little worried about getting my two months security deposit back as I do not speak a word of Thai and my girl is as timid as a mouse when it comes to haggling or asking questions with the local business people. She has since said that her cousin has a house and we would be safe renting through him. Upon meeting the cousin at a bar he produced a contract in Thai that my girl read through and was quite happy with and relayed most of it back to me, and better still the cousin would only want 1 month’s security deposit but for me this is all going too fast. It seems like a bargain but I would like some independent advice. Should I go with the cousin or am I risking too much? What would you suggest Hillary?
What you need is a minder! Answer me this - would you blindly sign a contract for a Studio in Spain if you couldn’t read the language? Or for a pension in Portugal? Or a condo in Kosovo? Come on Petal, what are you doing? Go to a reputable real estate agency that speaks your language and employs reputable English speaking lawyers to advise you. You are right when you say it is all going a little too fast. You’ve gone from the Checkout at Big C to checking in to Heartbreak House in no time flat. You are setting yourself up for a fall, Petal. Do not do it. Get the correct advice before going another step. By the way, the two month’s deposit and one month in advance is standard real estate practice in Pattaya.
The bar where my boyfriend has a few drinks after work bought him a birthday cake the other day, and the girls all made a big fuss of him. Is this the usual thing round here, or have I got something to worry about? I have no real reason to suspect him, it’s more that I think I need reassurance. Can you help me Hillary?
There is nothing to worry about. The girls in the bar are happy to celebrate anybody’s birthday, especially if they get a drink and a slice of cake themselves. This is the way things are done round here, my poppet, so stop worrying. On the other hand, if he’s having a birthday every week, then it might be worth worrying about.
Please help me here. I have been here for a few years and I thought I knew the ropes. One night I took my brother to a few of the bars when he was up on holidays. I warned him about bar girls that can latch onto a good looking young fellow like him and I gave up worrying when he seemed able to handle them all pretty well. He did, but elder brother found himself chatting to the one girl all night, taking her from bar to bar and she’s still with me one week later. OK it was a bit of fun to start with, but I want to do something about this before it gets too serious. She seems like a nice person with the usual two kids being looked after by her mother, husband done a runner like they do. I’m not really ready for a serious live-in girl; I’ve been on my own for the past five years, so I can look after myself. So where do I go from here, Hillary?
Obviously, this girl struck a nerve with you, or perhaps even a “need” with you. As you say, my Petal, you’ve been here for a few years, living on your own, and now suddenly a bar girl has walked into your life. Was this the right girl at the right time, or the wrong girl at the right time, or the right girl at the wrong time? Without wishing to be too critical we are talking about a bar girl here. A lady who makes her living by getting men to donate to the cause - her! Some of you may dance up and down at that, but that is the real situation. She is fishing for gold. You are a “catch” Jonny. Time you wriggled out of the net. Pack up her toothbrush for her and show her the door.
A couple of weeks ago you had one guy writing in about buying his new GF a motorbike. You suggested he buy it on HP and keep it in his name. Not such a good idea, Hillary, as he becomes liable all the time. Sure, pay the deposit, but let her be responsible for everything else, including the accidents. If it was me I’d give her a push bike and that’s all.
Dear Pushy Peter,
You’re all heart, aren’t you, but I can understand your motives, very much like the situation with Jonny in the letter above yours. The girl is making the most of the situation, while she can. Another one with a big fishing net, and not afraid to cast it out. Jump out now, Pushy Peter, before it is too late.