Hot Seat

Carlton Jarvis

"Thailand is bouncing back and with that will come the smiles again". Ajarn is asking expats some random questions on life in Thailand. Carlton lives in Bangkok.

Q

Thanks a million for answering the questions. Firstly, where in Thailand are you living and how long have you been here?

A

I live in Bangkok with my wife and two daughters. We moved from the UK in 1999 and have had a few years in China and Malaysia but Thailand for 19 years. Both of our girls were born here.

Q

How would you describe your Thai language ability?

A

Appalling. I still have the basic “taxi” Thai that we picked up on our first visit nearly 30 years ago and I also know a lot of other words but have no idea how to put them into sentences.

Q

Now that the Covid years seem to be thankfully behind us, what lessons did you learn from the whole experience?

A

Life is too short and do NOT take things for granted. We were pretty much untouched here but know many people who lost near and dear ones. Nobody saw what was coming and I now have a kind of fear that there may be another pandemic around the corner.

Q

A common theme on Thailand social media is the rising cost of living here. In what areas have you cut down or attempted to cut down on expenses?

A

My wife and I are incredibly lucky. We have both worked at International schools since the millennium and even when the girls were born, the school had a creche - so we have been pretty insulated from the cost of living increases.

Q

Another very controversial issue is the annual pollution, especially in the north of Thailand. It’s been particularly bad this year. Has it made you rethink your long-term future here?

A

Not yet but with two young kids we are certainly worried. We recently went to Koh Samui for Songkran and the AQI there was awful too, which was a real eye opener.

Q

Which place in Thailand have you never visited but would most like to and why? 

A

Koh Lanta because we keep hearing how beautiful it is but have just never made it there yet.

Q

If you had to choose a place in Thailand to live (other than where you are now) where would it be and why?

A

Koh Samui. We first went there in 1998 as backpackers, got married there in 2004 and we really love the way of life there.

Q

Do you have your eyes on settling in another country at some point? Even if you have no plans, which country appeals to you? 

A

Spain.

Q

“The smiles have disappeared from The Land of Smiles” Agree or disagree? 

A

Not really. I think that Covid knocked the stuffing out of many people here but they have a resilience that many westerners would find hard to fathom. Thailand is bouncing back and with that will come the smiles.  

Q

Generally, is life in Thailand better for you now than when you first arrived?

A

Yes, I now have a wife, two daughters and I love getting up and going to work every morning. Not too many people in Hull feel that way.

Q

What is the best and worst thing about living here? 

A

Thailand is Thailand and I think that that is its best and worst point. I remember landing at Don Muang in 1998 after a godawful journey from London via Helsinki and thinking that it was the worst place on earth, the smells the noise and the heat. Not much more than a year later, we were back for the long run and have had a love-hate relationship with it ever since. Sometimes I hate the bloody place but when I am away I really miss it. Not sure what else to say?

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