Friends, perspectives, opportunities, inner peace [5]

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

There are a few things that I have quickly developed some perspective on in my short time in Thailand. Two of these are girls and money.

Out here in Thailand, as a ‘far-ang’ (foreigner) you are kinda like a celebrity. Girls either love you for your money, or your western looks, and local Thai guys either love you as a novelty, or hate you because all the Thai girls like you (but usually the former). And when I say girls love you, I mean it is like fishing for retarded fish, in a barrel, with a huge net. In Australia I am just another guy trying to impress a myriad of beautiful women with my meagre slew of positive qualities, but here I need to seek shelter from the colossal torrents of eager women (not literally but you get the picture). Personally I have never really had the ‘yellow fever’ so much, but I can appreciate a good ‘luk krung’ (half-blood). The point is that here it is easy to see how attraction is relative. I am in no hurry to find a girl but if I did she would have to speak English, be relatively educated and intelligent (as a lot of Thai’s are not) and of course attractive (preferably with some western blood).

Bangkok Slum

Money is another thing I have come to appreciate here a lot more. Did you know that the world is currently about 400 trillion in debt at the moment, but only to itself obviously. Here everything is cheap, for a few dollars you can get a taxi across the whole city, a meal, a massage, a bottle of whisky, or pretty much anything else you might want. As I was in Khao San Road I decided to go into KFC as it was my last day in Bangkok and I had eaten enough Pad Thai to satisfy a starving platoon of orcs. It was funny to see that at the counter they had a little change donation box for a charity that helps people in Africa. Here I was in Thailand, surrounded by derelict buildings, people living in tents and little corrugated iron sheds, and there were still people much worse off. Laos is a country bordering on Thailand which is about half as cheap as Thailand. A Thai person going to Laos with Thai Baht is about the equivalent of an Australian going to Thailand with Australian Dollars. And even then, most of those people still have access to running water, some food, and a place to shelter for the night. It realllllly puts Australia, America and Europe in perspective. And there are millions and millions of people that live in similar or worse conditions. Millions and millions.

The train conductor who saved me from total chaos

Anyways, after leaving Bangkok after an eventful few days, it was time to head up to Chiang Mai. I got to the train and was directed to train. I got to my carriage and found that I was sharing it with a guy from byron bay and two german girls which was a surprise, and there were quite a few different foreigners and interesting travellers heading up to Chiang Mai on the train. After about half an hour on the train a guy comes to inspect tickets and then I find out I am actually on the wrong train, and my train was about an hour earlier. The train inspector didn’t speak much English and I couldn’t speak any Thai so a chinese girl on the train called her Thai friend who then translated back to the train conductor and I ended up working out that I had to get off at the next stop and buy a ticket. I had to get off at some random place in the middle of nowhere with a million dogs lying around and run with the train conductor to buy a ticket, where I actually ended up using my credit card which meant the guy had to climb onto the roof to fix the antenna for the eftpos machine. It was all kind of confusing but I managed to get back on the train and get back to my carriage.

Train stopping to feed the chickens and dogs

After a 10 hour trip, the train having to stop once because dogs were on the tracks, another time to get another engine to go up the hill, and a third time to feed some chickens out of the window, I finally managed to get to Chiang Mai.

I met up and am currently staying with my uncle Alex, his son (my cousin [or brother in Thai]), his partner Bee and family friend Air. The day after I arrived, we went out to lunch at an amazing place about 25km north near the mountains with another german friend of Alex’s who does sound design. Chiang Mai is actually a really beautiful place, and a welcome escape from the craziness of Bangkok.

Circus comes to Chiang Mai

Then we all went out to a local circus that came to town from Germany, and walked around the Chiang Mai sunday markets. I met this crazy girl called Narusan who was a half Japanese and half Thai skater girl, and apparently spoke 7 languages. She was really friendly and came up and held my hand (kinda randomly) and walked around with me. Then she went off to do something and I ended up loosing her.

Haru-san the crazy half japanese half thai girl

I then went out with one of Alex’s friends Micha who is a cool 22 year old guy from Hawaii who works in multimedia and he showed me around Chiang Mai with some of his friends. We ended up going to a place called THC bar which has an open rooftop, then a backpacker bar and then to a local Thai club called monkey bar. It was a really fun night and I ended up getting pretty drunk on the cheap alcohol here. It is actually easier to get drunk here as well because its so hot. And that was all on a sunday night!

Tomorrow I am going to go on a trek and elephant riding and rafting adventure with a guy called Mason who is a guy from Byron bay who I met on the train. There are also a fair few people who do rock climbing around the area so thats something I want to get back into.  I also plan to sit in on some lessons at an English language school, and find a job teaching as soon as possible as well as do a bit of work for Alex and his partners. So far I have found a potential job in a place called Phayao which is about 3 hours away from Chiang Mai, and it looks like it will be monday to Wednesday with free accommodation and a motorbike. I can then come back to Chiang Mai and look for work here (as well as partying) in the other time I have off.

At Monkey Bar 🙂

Overall I am loving being back in Thailand, and the lifestyle over here is just so great. With a little introspection and meditation I am quickly regaining a stable centre of inner peace and happiness that I feel has somewhat waned in my time in Australia. Its funny to think how much the experience of life can fluctuate- life really can be awesome if you try and make it that way I think. I am also just starting to recognise (or remember) the importance of a positive attitude and the impact that actually has on your  whole life experience.

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