We have arrived in Thailand. (The picture is actually us in Alicante, but it’s the only one we have of all of us) 3 more hours ahead, so now +7 hours GMT. The break in Al Ain made a big difference to the (lack of) jet lag, although the boys are fighting teenage hormones as well, and looked pretty pooped. It’s winter now, so a mere 30ish degrees. Rainy season has passed. 30 days of 30 day visa left.
Our friends, Lee and Vicki and their children Connor, Jess and Sophie have worked and gone to school in Thailand for the past 4 years. They have all technically gone to school because Lee and Vicki are teachers. They also live near us in France and have a similar love of barbecues, ping pong and wine. They are very accepting of Neil’s jokes. We are so very lucky to have such nice friends all over the world.
Our first couple of days have been spent with Lee and Vicki in the north of Bangkok. Connor, Jess and Sophie go to an international school and our kids were invited to go along too. They all made it, up and out the door to school a bit after 7 the first morning we arrived. And they loved it. And Adam and Katie went back for more the next day. Matt looked exhausted. Not only is it hot, he’s growing at about the speed of bamboo.
Katie came home with the Thai worksheets she had been doing and some gold stars for speaking Thai, Adam informed us he had a maths test the next day which he had to revise for, and he went along to another maths class with his playing cards (Lee’s class) to help teach probabilities. Matt loved the sport best.
Neil and I bought a Thai SIM card (in an effort to reduce time lost) – 49 Baht, almost a euro – and bought tickets for the trains south then north we are catching later on. Here’s what a train ticket looks like for the sleeper to Ko Samui. 647 Baht, 14,90 euros, second class aircon sleeper (single). The top bunk is a bit cheaper (and smaller) than the bottom bunk.
The local open bus (songthaew) costs 7 Baht, 16 centimes, per journey (usually circular routes so you just need to figure out the routes then flag one down from anywhere en route). And taxis are very cheap compared to western fares – £1.20 or so for a 20 minute ride. I had quite a long “discussion” with the driver of our first songthaew working out what the fare was, but the confusion ultimately turned out to be because I was trying to pay her in UAE Dirham. It reminded me a bit of the time when I was working in Russia and got stopped by the police for trying to pass through a metro barrier using a Boots card.
By chance I found an excellent cure for a cold at lunch time. It also makes your eyeballs bleed. Order some unknown Thai dish from a stall/food court, choosing one with big red flecky bits in it. Cold, gone. 30 minutes of crying was all it took.
We ate at night at the local round the corner. Food was great; wiring fascinating.
So that’s us all set for our first trip within Thailand. The only thing we still need to do is persuade Katie to leave Sophie for a bit. They are as thick as thieves and were last seen making a cardboard wheelchair for the Barbie with one leg. We were left a very decisive message on Sophie’s blackboard when we went up to bed….