How to prepare yourself for life in Thailand
In this month's article, I'll address some issues that may worry adventurers pondering a move to Thailand to become an English teacher and give some practical advice that might come in handy either before or after the move.
Pedestrian perils in the big mango
The whole footpath and re-paving conundrum is rather like Thailand in a microcosm. It's a kind of 'organised chaos' - the begrudging acceptance of second-class results with little or no regard for the end user. All I'm saying is surely there's someone somewhere in the this kingdom who knows how to lay a proper footpath.
the Thai world of misleading advertising
If I could give out an award for the worst offender, then let’s engrave the name of Swensens ice-cream parlours on the trophy right now. The vast gulf between the photographs on the menu and the stark reality of what gets delivered to your table is almost beyond words. That’s not to say Swensens ice-cream products are not enjoyable; they’re just always a huge disappointment.
Getting out and about on the mighty Bangkok rivers
As both a non-swimmer and someone who listens to far too many stories of people falling into polluted Bangkok waters, I've made avoiding boat travel one of my missions in life. Perhaps it was time to conquer the fears that had built up inside me for so long.
How long you ever go Thailand before?
I think it's a terrific idea to send students out as part of a class project and get them comfortable with talking to foreigners. But why not ask questions worth asking?
spending Christmas in Thailand
I think teachers are divided into two camps at this time of year. Those who say 'bah humbug' and continue working as usual, and those who make a token effort to recreate the festive spirit in the comfort of their apartments - as difficult as that may be. Some might even be lucky enough to find the time and the money to escape to the beach for a few days. After years of treating December 25th as 'just another day' I now find myself with a house and a wife and I do everything possible to recreate some of the memories from those childhood Christmasses.
Is it truly 'the teacher's graveyard'?
Someone said to me the other day that if you're too old, too unqualified, and you're sick of constant interview rejection.....there is always Nonthaburi.
battling the Thai banking service
My first problem lies with banks who don't display their signage in English - which is most of them. I hate the sinking feeling of walking into a Thai bank and just not knowing where to go or who to ask for help. You find yourself just standing there with a look of helplessness and hoping one of the staff will stop shuffling papers for a moment and take pity on you.
It's annual health check-up time
There's nothing nicer than spending most of the day at a Thai hospital being poked and prodded by a selection of Thai doctors. No, really.
If you can't get into the elevator there's always a Starbucks
I think the menu board refers to a large-sized coffee cup as 'tall' or 'grande' or something equally pretentious. I refuse to get drawn into using that strange 'Starbuckian' language. The words small, medium, and large have served us well for centuries and if I'm the last man defending them then so be it.