26 May 2010

Random Musings on Thailand

Thailand is just an overall funny place. The following are some random musings I've observed that really make me love this country.

  1. There is one 'major' stoplight between my house and main street in San Kam Paeng, Chiang Mai. Going into town, the red light is burned out, so you have to remember that when no lights are illuminated it means stop. Going out of town, the green light is burned out, so you have to remember that when no lights are illuminated it means go. The chances of either light ever being fixed are as good as a regnant ice age hitting Southeast Thailand. I just hope I can keep my directions and light failures straight so that I don't become the first ever pancake to be made in Thailand.
  2. The mopeds here are ridiculous in so many ways, like quantity, carrying capacity, and frequency. The moped is integral to a Thai lifestyle, like spouts are integral to teapots or 'ens' are essential to 'beginnings.' I have seen whole families of four on a single (albeit squished) moped, and whole produce sections on a moped, complete with about 20 different kinds of Asian vegetables. The ability of riders to adjust their motorcycles to meet their exact needs is truly astounding. Side carts are taken to a whole new level as people fit all sorts of things into them, such as an entire fruit smoothie station or a sausage cart in full.
  3. The ability to take forever to accomplish one task is also something I've observed here. The Thais believe in something called sabai sabai which is essentially like saying 'chill out, Dude' and they really believe it. School gets out early every day, the class before lunch is always the shortest of the day, and just in general there is noooo rush at all. A tree fell on a piece of the cement wall surrounding the Ban Buak Kang School where I work, and there is no sense of urgency to fix it. It's getting fixed all right, but in the eight days I've been here at the school they haven't got it done (but not from lack of trying). What would take an American mason 3 hours to do is taking weeks over here. Part of the problem is they only have one worker who moves the rocks with a wheelbarrow. Another problem is it's hotter than Hades and I've observed lots of resting time by the lone worker. The funniest part of it to me is that the broken wall pieces are still lying around the fence; there has been no effort whatsoever to clean them up.
Thailand is worlds away from America, that's for sure.

1 comment:

Emilie said...

I love this! Haha It's the type of thing that you just have to laugh at or else your blood pressure will sky rocket. I learned to just expect these sorts of things in India, so I would not be so mad. If someone told me something would take 20 minutes, I planned on about an hour and half. Isn't funny to think we were frustrated every time Aloha Friday would strike and things needed to get done?!

The motorcycle thing must be something common throughout Asia because I was always amazed by how much stuff or how many people could be crammed onto one! We used to call the motorcycle the Indian minivan.

Can't wait to hear more stories!