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Formerly a Spanish teacher in Wisconsin & Illinois, I moved to Bangkok with my husband in July 2011 to teach IT at a new American International School.

Monday, September 26, 2011

It just is what it is in Thailand, folks!

So let me just start with this because I think this tells it all. Well, sort of. There are 1sts for everything. I never thought my dream come true would land on the streets of Nana, but TIT once again. I never cease to be amazed. Those of you who know me, know I don a VW tat on my left oblique, and when I happened upon this guy with his decked out VW bus as an open-air bar, and then got to fancy a pink lady for myself, I was blown out of this world. Heck, it made the walk home to Phrom Phong MUCH better Saturday night. And the drink prices were pretty good! They were comparable to Cheap Charlie's.
Just over $2 for a beer, just over $3 for a mixer.
That's the look of happiness when you happen upon a VW that is not only Mystery  Machine cool, but also serves up delightful CHEAP spirits.

And so on the walk on the way home, near Asok, Josh dares me to ask the homeless lady how much for her puppy that was leashed to her big toe. I didn't hesitate because it'd mean we could have a puppy, with all its diseases, no dog food at home, la la la... So I turned around, strutted back to her and asked her Tao Rai for the puppy, pointing down at it. I didn't really have the guts to touch it. I'd give it a thorough bath when we got home, if I walked away with it. Part of me was just daring her, daring myself and showing Josh I would be able to walk away with a dog out of this whole charade. Anyway, turns out she was asking 1500 THB, which really is not much if you consider dogs are expensive little buggers. This pup would have run me a million head aches for about $50. Not to mention worms, worms and more worms. I am sure the vet bills alone would cost more than us having our maid, right?
Where in the world would we let it out? We live on the 9th floor, and from what I see here, the hoodies just let the dogs urinate and defecate on the road. No worries, though, since we have a great homey who has his broom out at 6:30 a.m. to greet us SAWASDEE KUP every morning and in the afternoon when we jaunt home sluggishly from school. Regardless, we went home empty-handed until I hit the 7-Eleven for a midnight snack. Probably for the best, right?

It is what it is...Who thought I would come to think of rats as cute? Or, "Look at that flying cockroach?" <insert snide giggle>. Yeah, Josh says I can pick up my own roaches now. Um, no. Still deathly grossed out if they are in my home. That's why we have a maid, right? And they come to spray here at The TBI Tower for 'pest control' once a month.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An Almost "10" Day

So Sunday, September 18th started at 4:40 a.m.  Yes, by choice. For those of you who know me, you know I treasure my sleep and I use the weekends to catch up on such. However, places to go, people to see, yada yada  yada. I ran in the Bangkok Post Mini Marathon 10K race at CentralWorld this morning, 6 a.m.
Getting my game face on pre-race. Look, the sun's not even out yet!

I don't know who was more upset, Josh or myself, at the alarm buzzing. Of course, I could have listened to body signals to take care and get thy butt to bed earlier than I did, but so it goes. I apparently run better when I have deprived myself on sleep and ate McDonald's 10 minutes before the blow horn signals the start of chaos in downtown Bkk.

Pretty good start to the day, huh? Yeah, I think so! I again have to revert back to Ruthie's "TIT" This is Thailand to put things in to perspective. So I find my teaching colleague Brian at the start line, which gets pushed back and then he says to me, "Did you check in?" I'm like, "Um, I have my bib on. Does that count?" Apparently you have to find the magic marker lady so she can scribble black on your running bib. Then, the Thai guy tells us we have to rearrange where we are in the line up. So the 10K goes first, followed by the 5K. No real gun, just three gentlemen with their blowhorns. I felt like I was at the State Fair cattle herding event. Anyway, we start, I set my watch, iPod is blaring. I get to Nana area, am greeted with a bunch of drunks who apparently didn't have enough during normal hours. They had to stand on the street with their glasses and tumblers of martinis they've acquired from the stall vendors who literally mix up their concoctions right there alongside traffic. I had to pass on the mighty offer, although I take stake in the fact that I run better when I have had something in my system...from the night before, that is. Again, TIT...TIT...

Two screens to watch the big game!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Getting Down and Dirty in The Big Mango-Finding my own GROOVE!

When I think of Bangkok, I think of friendly people all around, smiling, even when they are in a shitty place. My new friend, Ruthie, has ingrained the 2 phrases "Shit Show" and "TIT" (This is Thailand) in to my head. Now, when I think of Bkk, I think of the allure, yet how fake things really are. Sort of like being in a dais in Chinatown last Sunday. "Is this really my life? Am I really here, at this moment?"  So, I am sort of starting to really dig in and see things in a different light here. Don't get me wrong, I still force people to smile on the street when I smile at them.

I think being here almost 2 months, I am still so new to life here in The Big Mango, my job, the people, the places, etc. Everything is a new discovery, yet I am coming in to my own here. I think I am finally starting to recognize things and people for what/who they are, and I am starting to acclimate and form my own opinions about things. For the first time, the dark sarcasm of Sharin unleashes herself and brings new perspective. Bringin' it!

So let's talk a bit about accomplishments and observations. Not in that order. So a few months ago, I dragged my husband to Las Vegas to experience it all. Well, on some levels, Bkk and Sin City are parallels. Yeah, they are. Patpong anyone? Just venture to Nana a bit past 8 o'clock, any day of the week, and keep the kids at home. You'll understand if you have been here and you've got your own stash of lady 'playing' cards from the LV Strip. And then there is VARIETY. Well, the TV here is one thing. I'm sorry, but I still don't get the Thai programming. I got my nails done a couple weeks ago and the entire time I was watching this group of early 20 somethings sit around, eat, and then practice their singing, LIVE. That was an hour I will never get back. I guess it is their version of American Idol meets MTV's The Real World and one groupie gets eliminated by votes, or whatever. And then there is last night's experience. Note: You will have to scroll the bottom to see that adventure... Mom' it was no Hofbrau adventure. No Pound The Peg for us...

And an accomplishment to note. I got my nails done, and then walked about 100 feet to get my teeth cleaned for less than the cost of my nail fill. Gotta love Thailand, right? Massage parlors abound, and squished in between each massage venue is a dental clinic or maybe a plastic surgery clinic where they will whiten you up. Remember, whitening is IN! Throw away the suntan lotion and just go MJ-style.
I'd love to show you, but apparently Blogger doesn't like me uploading stuff right now. So you'll have to use your imagination. Think..."1970s chick in white spandex polyester jumpsuit flying magestically through the air in an acrobatic circle  over hundreds of drunkards while people gawk at her" There, I said it.

Moving on. Then there's all the 'show' of BKK. Ruthie, you couldn't put it in plainer sight. Shit show and "WOW, isn't that pretty?!" go hand in hand here. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Bkk  until further notice. But at the same time, you cannot put up these gorgeous fascades and have people sleeping on the streets along the BTS stops. But it is Bkk so YES YOU CAN! Here's an example: The Thai love their King and Queen, and who wouldn't? They have been an integral part of most people's lives for decades and they represent peace, solemnity and piece of mind about where Thailand was, where it is not and what the future holds for its people.
How would you feel if Barack and Michelle Obama were plastered on many city buildings wherever you walked? The King and Queen are EVERYWHERE in Thailand!
And people dearly love their shrines. Remember when I wrote about changing the name to LOI? I think incense is second nature here, and so is leaving your half-full juice cups with their straws inserted when you finish up worshipping at the shrines. But they are pretty!

So I am gearing up for my 10K Bangkok Post run tomorrow, and today I decided to do some shopping at Platinum Fashion Mall for some cute dresses=Bargains.

 What do you think?  3rd Floor is all handbags, and a 1980s flashback apparently.

 But I also picked up another race packet for a 6K midnight charity run on Oct. 8th at the Amari Watergate Hotel. We get free cocktails after the run at Henry J. Bean's pub inside the hotel! SCORE!
 And now for something completely different...or just realizing it is Thailand...
A group of us celebrated a birthday for a co-worker at Tawandaeng German Brewery. So we walk in and I am expecting schnitzel, pretzels, weiners, wursts, maybe some sauerkraut and good steins of German beer. We got our beer. But what we also got was a Cirque du Soleil show, coupled with Thai-style German food in a beer hall. At least the beer was good. Did I also mention that The Price Is Right was also there? Josh tried getting in on that, too. Jeff, I hope you enjoyed your birthday with a few laughs. Lord knows we walked away wondering what we just experienced and why on earth others keep coming back to that German hall.

Josh and I before we knew what we were getting ourselves in to.

So I will update you on the run(s) and I participating in and hopefully I start to really fit in here even more, you know, running alongside the Thai with all their run gear on. I am still the only female I know here who wears a sports bra, a pair of shorts and stops at 7-Eleven to buy an iced coffee after my run. So maybe not...but if anybody wants some run jerseys, they seem to like those here a lot. I plan to hit up the local brew pubs for brunch after these early runs. Six o'clock start time tomorrow is sure coming fast.

More ramblings to come as we close out September and move beyond the rainy season in to the cool(er) season here. Vacation is right around the corner!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chinatown--when it rains, it pours!

So we ventured to Chinatown this afternoon. It started with a trip on the MRT to Hua Lamphong and then we took our first tuk-tuk. Ugh... and then 150 THB later, in the wrong section. Guess that was our first clue, right? So, we ventured around in the rain, saw a gazillion fabric shops, ate lunch... Blah, blah blah. Well, sort of. There were these ads on my Nancy Chandler map asking us to refrain from eating shark fin soup and bird's nest soup. Naturally, that is all that was on menu in a nutshell, but we found some grub. And that was about it. Josh didn't care one bit for it, but that was to be expected I guess. We talked about all the foods we have tried here, all the things we weren't sure of, what we were really expecting from the food and we agreed we both like our egg roll lady and our fried chicken guy on the walk home from the BTS after school. The KFC delivery isn't too shabby, either.

Anywho, Chinatown was a trip, what can I say. My mother-in-law would have loved all the fabrics and textile shops, but I was overwhelmed. Just too much. Felt like JJ Market in a weird sort of way. I almost felt like the iced coffee I picked up at the 7Eleven before we dug in to our jaunt through C-town was spiked, because I just felt like I was floating along the whole time in a different world of some sorts.

This is what I think of, Shrines Galore, when I think of Chinatown

This is what I imagine Chinatown to be like, after visiting C-town in San Francisco and Chiago. Lots of signs lining the streets!

No idea who put the Thai King next to the pig. I would find it insulting myself, especially considering the severity of dissing the Thai Royaly if caught!