Episode 48: Contentment.
I am the same as you with the hot Thai food, not with the language though. It is strange as I always hated hot Indian food, but took to Thai food like a duck to water and 'pet pet' always seems to be added on when Tan is ordering for me.
Enjoyed chapter one by the way.
Dan, excuse me for pulling a quote from your latest episode, but I so agree with your comment.
" I find I don't need social interaction and I think that is a big factor in making a go of it here. I am happy with virtual friends and if I got dragged into the ex-pat gripe zone I think I would soon start to get disillusioned with life here as their prejudices started to become my own."
I have a fair bit of interaction with local expats, and our Sunday beach meeting is mainly "winge,winge, winge" about some aspect of living here. I do not get disillusioned however. I have built up a mental defence to much of it. Whilst I take on board the odd reported incident, I still maintain my love for this country, that I will undoubtedly never leave.
Who? You, Dan? Outspoken? Cantankerous? No! Never!I must seem cantankerous and outspoken to many
- Only kidding! We love you really!
Dan, your comment on your diary page, "I find I don't need social interaction", is quite a sweeping statement. Qualified later on by implying it's primarily ex-pat company that you don't actively seek out. I can quite understand your views, particularly when I have the misfortune to encounter some of the prize farang simpletons in Pattaya. As Dave says, if you can develop an intuitive "prattle" filter, and allow such inane ramblings go in one ear and out the other, life is more bearable.
As for a total lack of social interaction, I would find that pretty hard to cope with. I suspect that your definition of social interaction doesn't include the contacts and encounters with Thais that you have in the day-to-day running of your business, or getting the building work done on your house for example. Although obviously essential from a commercial perspective, such dealings also give you an opportunity to learn more about culture, language, and the Thai way of life generally that cannot be attained from the cyber-world alone.
When I go up to the village, I experience what I would say verges on boredom. I can take DVD's, books, music etc, but such entertainment is ubiquitous and not a substitute (for me) for human discourse. When up there, I will volunteer to go into "town" for anyone who needs something buying or picking up just for the simple pleasure of going into the local hardware shop and entertain the staff with my pathetic attempts to procure in Thai a kilo of roofing nails, or whatever. The Two Ronnies and the "four candles/fork handles" sketch in real life!
Actually my interaction with Thais is also quite limited. I usually wake early, at 5a.m. or so and go straight to work, (after a browse around a few websites and a coffee or two). And I don't stop until about 5p.m. If I need anything Ploy goes to get it for me so I don't have to stop work. She knows what cheese and bread and cereal to buy now so there is no point to me going. I don't do shopping. I do pop out when the fresh fruit or the ice-cream man pops by but that conversation is limited to what I want, the weather and not much else.
Lunch is usually a sandwich or exceptionally Ploy and I will pop out somewhere.
I am alone today as Ploy has gone to Laos but the workmen just get on with their job; if they want anything they call but so far that has been only a brush and nothing else. I give them ice, water and their ha-sip 'red bull' but again we don't chat much. My Thai is not great but I want to get back to work anyway.
In the evening Ploy and I go out but usually only chat to each other and sometimes, if a regular haunt, to the restaurant owners, but Ploy does most of the talking whilst I eat, (and drink). We come home, sit outside for a while and chat or watch a DVD and go to bed. Tonight I will cook something for myself. I can find I haven't been outside the house for days sometimes.
My desk looks out over our garden and the road outside so I do see the comings and goings. I take Pinky out and occasionally chat to neighbours which usually involves an apology for something Pinky has done, but Ploy does that mostly.
The difference between me and your trip to the village is my work which I enjoy. I work twelve hours a day, seven days a week. I won't do this forever but whilst we get established and whilst I still enjoy it I will keep doing it. Ploy is happy enough with it, (it brings in the money), and understands that with no pensions or any other investments we have to get this working.
I also don't drive here, I let Ploy do that and if she is out with the car getting the building materials or shopping or visiting a friend I am limited in my ability to get around anyway. But I never want for anything to do, as a last resort I could try and learn more Thai!
You are very brave taking on buying roofing nails. If I do go shopping for such things I try to go to ESBO or somewhere and just wander around until I find what I want, usually it takes no more than three hours or so. Ploy goes to the little shops, gets it in five minutes and pays a tenth of what I paid. She also gets her half kilo of nails in a paper bag whilst I get two nails in a plastic encapsulation that would survive a rabid dog attack.
I should add the difference is I don't go out of my way to avoid Thais, circumstance just means I don't interact with them much. That is not the case with ex-pats, I haven't developed your special ear but then I haven't had to.
It sounds like you've got it made and found the niche which gives you the contentment in life that many can only dream of. Don't get me wrong, I do actually enjoy going up to the village in as much as it is an opportunity to chill and get away from the mayhem of Pattaya. My use of "boredom" probably gave the wrong impression, more a lack of enthusiasm on my part to find something to do up there. Fishing and challenging don't really belong together in the same sentence. I'll have get my thinking cap on and come up with an enterprise (in my wifes name of course) that is relatively inexpensive to set up, marketable, and can be run by the mother-in-law in our absence. She has experience in making broomsticks, but they are only for personal use. I did think about a small-scale fish farm (no pun intended) at one stage. Some research required I think.
If I had those twelve hours I spend working every day to spend in some other way I might find myself opening up a little more.
Every one has a book in them, so they say, and you are one of the more articulate members of the forum?
p.s. A mother in law that makes broomsticks!
There you go again planting seeds, I had a Mother in law once who used to sit on one!
Its all to do with having an active mind or not.
Whether its fishing or Chess, tennis or footie people need stimulation especially when they have little else to pass their time on.
Now if you have a past time that is called working for a living and which may well coincidently or by design be a pleasure to you then you would have as Wolfie would say, have "Cracked it"
Not many of us here on this forum are either clever enough or lucky enough to have arrived at that "Idyll" that Dan describes and enjoys in his Essays.
For those of us who can only look on and wonder about whether they will ever achieve that pinnacle of success and self content that is evident in Dan's Missive is maybe down to the future.(If we survive long enough)
Personally I have always thought that "Travel" is an essential element of arriving at your destination and until I find my "Niche in wherever it is that I am destined to reside I will endeavour to enjoy that Travel in the same way that Dan enjoys his obvious arrival even though in uncertain times like these is is very frustrating but Hey some times there has to be a little rain in our lives.
On another front if you are healthy and getting bye it is possibly better to be healthy and getting bye in a nice climate.
---------- Post added at 12:45 ---------- Previous post was at 12:18 ----------
Hey Paul Just for the record in the UK I seem to be having problems loading the forum, everything else loads, Hotmail Bank Etc and I just posted this last post and it disappeared into the Ether telling me that there was a problem getting Thai-UK.
I was most miffed because I hadn't taken my own advice and written the post in "Office word" and then copied and posted into the forum but when I looked again the post was there, is it me or is there a problem?
---------- Post added at 12:50 ---------- Previous post was at 12:45 ----------
Hey up Tobias and thanks for the edit, which I think may have been for a double entry or maybe even three entries of the same post, I have a nervous disorder which means that I double click to much, or was there another reason for the edit?
Regards Harvey ( Only clicking once now)
Last edited by Tobias; 10th Nov 2010 at 13:42.
Oh the life! Just reading this makes me feel for you all out there in the warmth and love that is LOS.
Woke up at 5:30 this morning, showered, dressed and made my way outside to find the car window covered by ice. Not that fine light dusting that is easy to wipe away, but that real horrible stuff that you scrape once to get the powdery bits off and then scrape again to make a dent into the harder stuff and then a third time to eventually make a hole to be able to see out of.
My half hour drive down the motorway hampered by the pillocks that seem to think because you are all driving in the same direction it is OK to drive on side lights, or the two trucks using the two inside lanes to see who can outlast who in the speed stakes, or the really clever chap who just comes up and sits just behind you but in the fast lane so that you can not get out from behind the two battling trucks and end up slowing down to a snails pace.
Eventually arriving at work to find the heating has not kicked in yet and the prospect of getting warm anytime soon is a distant thought and parking by backside in a chair that i know I will not get out of until 4:14 when it's time to go home.
Looking on the bright side I only have another 17 working days to endure, even though you can guarantee that because I will be away for a month in those 17 days I will end up doing 25 days work to try and keep everyone happy, and then I can get on that plane and it's off to the warmth a love that is LOS.
Envious of you boys, you think!
Very interesting reading today from post 203 onwards.
Just one quick note - add an extra Pattaya Simpleton to the list from December 6th.
Hang on a bit there Wolfie lad!
Are you inferring that you are are not "a prize farang simpletons in Pattaya." then but just a normal one?
Unless of course you were thinking about some one else wearing that Tshirt?
Hey that's an idea Steve lets get T shirts with the logo " I am a Pattaya simpleton" on them.we could make a living out of selling them on Beach road!
Just for the record I accept the title of "Chief simpleton in Pattaya" also Hon treasurer if that's Ok
Well, when I am in Pattaya next time I will wear the simpleton t shirt.
Without a shadow of a doubt I love it and make the most of it (to the full) for the very few days I get to stay there. You won’t find me hiding behind anything regarding Pattaya. Apart from I seldom drink or strike up conversations with anyone speaking English (unless I know them or I have to)
A very convenient place indeed!
PS; I got the all the other SE Asian t shirts also
PPS; After about three days in Pattaya, I burn out. Its just too much
IN YOUR FACE
Judging others before you have met isn't a wise option.
"No Harv, I think you're more of a simpletarian. "
Where do you find them Phil?
However on a more serious note and whilst taking your post as a compliment ( I think) I can assure you that I fall very short of the term but I am am trying although the Honourable member in Satahip may well say not enough!
Yes Harv, a compliment. You fulfil all of the qualifications, but maybe you're doubting the bit about "material possessions are not happiness"?. This most certainly does not mean that you have ensure your fridge is devoid of beer when you invite friends round.
You are a I suppose a "Curmudgeon", a good quality in my opinion
Its called friendly banter and we seem to have plenty of it when I speak to you personally or answer one of your posts on the forum.
Its been a while since we first met and I have you down as one of my friends, so Dave I feel that if If the occasion merits it I can make fun of our relationship either directly to you or in one of my posts and it would be taken in the spirit of "Banter".
I don't know who thought of your nickname as the "Honourable member". (On reflection possibly me?)
It may be since you started using your newest Avatar but in my opinion the Avatar sums you up perfectly together with the title.
On the same wave length I think that a new thread would be in order for me to start on the many "Nicknames" I have for the most prolific posters on here.
I hope that if I do start that thread people would not take too much offence and have the ability to laugh at themselves the way that I do!
"Yes Harv, a compliment. You fulfil all of the qualifications, but maybe you're doubting the bit about "material possessions are not happiness"?. This most certainly does not mean that you have ensure your fridge is devoid of beer when you invite friends round."
Yes its exactly so Phil!
Your perception is truly remarkable, being a "Gadget" man I feel that I have doubts about whether I could "Adapt" into the life of an Ex-pat retiree either in the Northern Thai village or the bright side of Pattaya.
You have heard about London bridge in the rush hour being the loneliest place on Earth, well the same can be said about life in Thailand no matter where you decide to place your pillow.
Even though I live in the UK, when I post or start a new thread it feels as though I am like the man cast ashore on a desert island who waves his shirt at the passing ships in the hope that he will not secure rescue from his isolation but relief from his boredom.
When we meet up this time I will make sure that we have enough beer for you and the lads and enough Coke for Dave.