Monday, September 24, 2018

Making up stories in my head

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, T and I are trying for a car free existence while we are in Bangkok. There are many ways get around the city. We mostly walk, use taxis or one of the two train systems the MRT or the BTS. They’re pretty easy to use, get us to most places we want to go and there are two stops within a short walk from our house.

This is the first time I have lived in a city that has decent public transport, sorry COTA, and I enjoy being part of the crowd and that felling of smugness that comes from knowing my way around. It makes me feel like I fit in...yes I know I stick out like a sore thumb with my blond hair but at least a feel like a resident and not a tourist.

The trains and the stations  all have tv screens in them and they run a continuous loop of commercials all with subtitles since there’s no sound. The subtitles are of course in Thai so I can’t even try to sound them out let alone read them. I suspect it will be a long time before I can read anything in Thai.

Because of this I really have no idea what some of the commercials are talking about..the hot dog one  I get...but some are a complete mystery. I like to make up stories in my head.

The young woman who’s sunscreen gives her super powers.
The family who makes it rich with a new banking scheme.
Or the man who wins the woman’s heart with special whitening’s Asia and that’s definitely a thing.

I may never knew w what some of these ads are for but it sure makes my trip just a little more interesting.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Speed Walking

Apparently I walk fast.

I wouldn’t think so. I’m not really tall, 5’ 4”, with average length legs. I’m also from the Midwest so I don’t think it came from an East Coast need for speed.

I have come to realize it must just be an American thing. I move with intent rarely strolling because I have things to do. Even when I’m not in a hurry.

I noticed this occasionally when I was in Jordan. Mostly in the mall or when I was giving a tour only to see my group lag behind me.

Clearly I had forgotten the very leisurely pace people move at in South East Asia. I’m not blaming them it was 90+ today and felt like over 100 with the humidity. And this is one of the cooler times of the year. Of course people don’t want to move quickly. You will sweat! A lot!

I think it’s likely more noticeable because I use the train. I can’t help myself and walk briskly to the station dodging strolling Thais.
Does it benefit me to get there faster? Would I been any less sweaty if I could slow it down. I think the answers are yes and no. Moving faster gets me back into the AC quickly and I think I will sweat no matter what.

We’ll see if that answers changes over the next three years. If it does, please don’t run me over on the sidewalk.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mr McFeely?

With a population of a little over 8.2 million, Bangkok is not the largest city we have lived in. That honor falls to Jakarta at officially 9.5 million or so but I have seen numbers as high as 20 million when you take in the greater metropolitan area. I’m sure Bangkok has similar discrepancies too.
The official numbers make it around the same size as New York City for the Americans trying to visualize.

I bring this up because like most mega cities traffic can be a challenge. The good news for us, and lots of locals, is that there is a pretty decent sky train and subway system. Because of this we have made the decision to go carless for the next three years. We figure that we can get around to most places we want to either by train or taxi or some combination of the two. If we neeed to, we can always rent a car for the weekend to get a out of town.

This is all a great idea until we made our first few trips to he grocery store. Even with two of us to carry the weight can add up quickly....10lbs of rice anyone? Or a case of soda water that comes in glass bottles.

You can only imagine my joy when I discovered that my local grocery store will bag up my groceries and DELIVER them! By the time I walk home the groceries are not far behind. Of course I can also order them on line with the local delivery service Honest Bee. I may do this too once I figure out what my local options are.

Honest Bee will also deliver lots of other items from various specialty stores and restaurants. Specialty dog food? Portuguese cheese? Crepes?
Delivery service isn’t just for pizza anymore.

We’ve also discovered that not only are there vets that make house calls, like Amman and Jakarta, but  some of them offer a pet taxi service too.

Going carless not only became a dream but a very possible one thanks to the speedy delivery man.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Gift with purchase

I am a sucker for a gift with purchase. I think it stems from the days when we used to get cool prizes in the cereal boxes.
I will also dutifully collect points so I can get a free coffee, sandwich or shoes. Though now it’s bubble tea. When I was a little girl I remember the green books of stamps my grandmother collected and I’m sure she was rewarded with a toaster, pots and pans or maybe new glasses.

It seems in the US we now have the rewards cards designed to keep us loyal to a particular coffee shop, grocery store or movie theater.

 The rest of the world is on that bandwagon but they are also on board with the free gift righ now, as I hunt the grocery aisles there is no better way to get me to pick your brand over a competitor than to give me a free item attached to the package. If the item is cool enough I might even buy it for the item alone. I have some awesome Arabic coffee cups that come out at Ramadan. The cups are great but I hated the coffee.
I’ve got tea spoons from tea boxes and baking pans from my pasta. All at no extra charge, trust me I checked.

I’ve hit the gold mine in Thailand. Already I’ve found chopsticks attached to potato chips, a spoon with vinegar,  and a cute little spreader with my butter tub.

If you have to buy groceries you might as well have fun finding the best prizes too.