T.I.T. Video Blog 4: Monday People Watching….

Hi everyone! I am just in from running around the city and thought I’d sit down and record a video entry for you. Matthew over at Spanking Bea Arthur had said he wanted to see more video blogs, and so Tom aims to please….make sure you go visit him over there and visit him as well! I’m to tired or lazy to actually type something out, so I ended up rambling on for just over 10 minutes about my day at the dentist and watching other foreigners in the city make a scene whether they realized they were doing it or not. Oh, and before I go do any of you podcaster have any microphone recommendations? I looked at the Mac store here and the only ones they have are the big heavy expensive ones. What do you guys use? Anyways, have a watch if you are so inclined and will write again very soon! Much love from the Big Mango!

Trannies and Evil Ex’s…

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or night depending on where and when in the world this happens to find you. It is an early Tuesday evening here on a steamy, rain drenched night in the Big Mango. So, I thought I’d do a post for you guys tonight. I had a couple of things happen to me right in a row this afternoon that were just to good to pass up, so I had to make sure I sat down and shared it with you before it fluttered away into the recesses of my mind.

I was taking my usual BTS ride home today from work surrounded by, yet ignoring the masses, like i usually do engrossed in one of my favorite podcasts. Except today, across the car a face catches my attention that caused me to subtly take a few more exploratory glances. Down the aisle and across the train was an aging transsexual, who i would have guessed to be in her late 50’s. She was immaculately dressed in a beige tank top, white cargo pants, and she was clutching a fashionable bag close to her body. Now, before i go on, you must understand that normally this wouldn’t be a strange sight for a Bangkok resident. Trannys are common where ever you go in Thailand, whether it be next to you on the train, serving you your dinner, or cutting your hair. They blend seamlessly into Thai society, and thus you stop turning your head to gawk at them after you’ve lived here a while.

However, this tall stylishly dressed aging glamazon I saw today was the spitting image of Burnadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I was immediately reminded why I love Thailand and how I often take for granted the acceptance and open nature of Thai culture. Here was this retired western tranny with her finger nails painted to match her toe nails holding her head high on public transport, and not a single person batted an eyelash. She blended right in with the crowd, and it reminded me of one of the things I love about my life here. Hate crimes or things like “gay bashing” don’t occur here and I can live my life as open as I want without fear of persecution for who I am. Therefore, in light of the situation, I was sort of smiling to myself and thinking happy thoughts as i prepared to come home.

Ahhh, but the story doesn’t end there does it. I got off at my stop and exited the station to do a bit of light grocery shopping at the Villa before I made my way to the condo. I was walking along about to enter the store when out walks one of my ex’s. I looked up, smiled a bit and was about to say hello when he just smirked at me and walked right by. Not a hi, hello or even a kiss my ass! This particular ex was always a bit odd and my friends used to call him the little general as he’s a short guy with a bit of a napoleon complex. We haven’t spoken in years but we didn’t part on bad terms, and It just struck me as rude today how he walked right by and ignored me. I am on really good terms with all my other ex boyfriends, and only this particular one has held onto a grudge for the past 3 or 4 years now. Sooooo……Mr. K…if by chance you happen to be reading this, then I think it might be time for you to get over it! Next time we happen to bump into each other like that, I might just leap in front of you and force a bit of civility no matter how fabulous you might think you are. Keep that in mind, won’t you? Have a good one guys and talk to you later in the week!

Ugly Tourists…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the wide world this finds you.  It’s a sunny Saturday morning to start my weekend off here, and I’m soooo very glad the weekend finally arrived.  This past week was one of those weeks that never seems to end, and the slow march to Friday afternoon seemed such a long road.   You know how some weeks seem to take twice as long to go by, while others come and go without much thought at all.  I wonder why some weeks are like that cause I’m sure everyone gets this feeling occasionally as well?

Anyways, on to the topic at hand while it is still fresh in my mind cause if i don’t get down in writing soon I will forget it.  That’s cause of the progression of age I think, but I digress.  Yesterday afternoon I was headed home after a gym session and reached the BTS station to catch my train home.  it was about 5:30 PM in the afternoon and the station was very crowded as usual, but one individual caught my attention despite the throngs of people.  It was a tall Caucasian guy, or farang as the Thais say, about a head taller than me with a backpack the size of an overweight child strapped to his back.   However, It wasn’t because he was a backpacker tourist that I noticed him because one can see many of these types of tourist across the city on any given day.  No, it was the over sized can of Heineken he was trying to carry through the gates leading up to the train platforms that I noticed about this particular fellow.  The guard stopped him immediately through the gate trying to separate this man from his unfinished beer, but the guy just wasn’t having it.  He immediately took on a very condescending tone, smiling and shrugging his shoulders at the guard saying very loudly…”What….What…..What!”  The guard politely told the man there were no “beverages” allowed beyond the gates (as evidenced by the large obvious sign above), but the man wasn’t about to give up his large can of beer to finish boarding the train.  He put his hand in the guards face and told the guard he was going to stand next to the gate and finish his beer, and kept laughing at the perceived silliness of this rule imposing on his vacation experience.

So, It makes me wonder if one can bring open containers of alcohol into any form of public transportation in the man’s home country?  I know in back home in the US the authorities in most cities don’t look to kindly on walking down the street sipping on a 40 oz. so I wonder why people assume they can just behave any less away from home.  Now, if this were an isolated incident then I might find it amusing, but I have unfortunately seen this situation play out in different ways here time and time again.  American, Australians, and the British are the absolute worst tourists when they travel abroad.  I always wonder why western tourist so often leave their common decency and manners behind when the travel abroad, whether it be climbing aboard the train sucking the face off a recently acquired prostitute or talking as loudly as possible to their cohorts across the dinner table in a quite restaurant.   Obviously, most tourists would need to possess a bit of world knowledge and money to get on a plane and travel across the ocean to reach Thailand, so It is a bit of a conundrum I have always wondered about.

Therefore, please keep in mind that when you do travel abroad you are representing your country of origin and that the locals get their impression of our cultures from your actions while visiting.  So, if you are going to be rude and make an ass out of yourself then eventually the local residents will form ill opinions of the place you call home.  I think it is human nature to let one negative experience or situation over rule a dozen positive ones, right?  I’ll stop preaching and close it there to wish you a wonderful weekend ahead.  Thanks as always for stopping by and I always appreciate each and every comment I get.  See you soon!

Good Manners Are Not Universal….

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Happy Tuesday to everyone out there, and thanks so much for stopping by. There, I got the pleasantries out of the way cause this is going to be a bit of a rant. However, I will try my best to be as objective as possible but if your looking for happy thoughts then this isn’t the post for you.

So I was at the gym today finishing my workout and having a shower in the tiny locker room this “trendy” gym offers its members. It was not crowded as i like to go early to avoid the crowds, and was standing in front of the very long mirror and bank of hair dryers getting ready to leave. My stuff was on the counter in front of me and i was occupying the space in front of one of the hair dryers members can use as they primp themselves to leave. I was half way through getting ready and had already applied a bit of hair product, when this Thai guy walks up…reaches across me and grabs the hair dryer out from in front me. No excuse me, no “are you using this?”…nothing. He just picks it up from my stuff and starts using it himself as if I hadn’t been standing there at all. I froze and glared at him as hard as i could, but got no reaction at all…so i huffed/laughed in disbelief and stormed away to use another hairdryer down the counter as we were the only 2 using the facilities at the time.

Now, the reason i bring it up here is that it’s not the first time this has happened to me there. This exact scenario has played out about 4 or 5 times where Thai guys will just reach across you to take what’s in front of you. This got me thinking today about people and their manners here in Bangkok, or should I say the lack of. I realize this post might bring on a bit of heat, but be reminded these are just my observations. There are so many Thai guidebooks about how to correctly observe cultural manners and how not to be polite in Thailand. We learn not to touch another on the head. We learn never to point at anything or touch anything with our feet because it is considered rude. These things were the first things i learned when i moved here and It is hard for me to even accept rude behavior, since growing up in the south we live and breathe good manners. Southern culture in the US is intertwined with good manners and polite behavior is a sign of good upbringing and education. You’d think, or obviously wish in my case, that some other manners would be a universal common ground and that polite behavior would be the same regardless of the border one crossed. However, this is not always the case in Thailand. Case in point:

  • I have observed over the years that many Thai people will often not wait for people coming off a train or out of an elevator before they attempt to push their way in or on. I have been on public transportation here many times and you prepare like a linebacker waiting for the “hut, hut” to charge out the opening doors of trains and elevators so that you can actually get off without being run over in the mad dash to get on.
  • Escalators are another area where good manners seem to not be universal, as Thai people will often stop right at the bottom/top of the escalator to decide where on the floor they need to go or fish the latest and trendiest phone from their pocket or purse. I cannot count the times over the years where I have unavoidably bumbled into someone coming off escalators because they can’t be bothered to move to the side or out of the way.
  • Line or Que jumping is probably the one that makes me the most angry on a daily basis as Thais (especially, if not almost exclusively female Thais) are very bad about jumping line if your patiently waiting your turn to be served. I have even seen a Thai short film before where someone had taken hidden cameras around the city and filmed people constantly jumping in front of others waiting in line, so its obviously not just me. I don’t get this one either! Its not like you can’t see others standing there waiting there turn at the register or whatever. Furthermore, and even worse is that if you “say” something about it more often than not you will get an offended dumb stricken look, like you are some crazed person with anger management problems. Guess i will never work it out.
  • Finally, last but not least is the army of sales staff you will find in any major department store all the way down to the 7-11 on the corner. Now i know what your thinking…how can you complain about a store having enough help to service everyone, right? No…hear me out first. You go to browse clothes, electronics, even personal items like underwear and stuff, at which point a little dollied up staff member will begin to shadow you constantly. Now at home if store staff does this we know it means they think its cause you might be a thief, but not here. Here every shopping experience is plagued by over eager sales staff who follow you constantly pointing out things they like that you should buy for yourself. Ask “Do you have this red shirt in size large,” and get back “Noooo, we have green one in small size only….very nice for you sir.” Now imagine that every single time you go shopping for anything at all. You can’t turn around and say…”I’m just looking thanks,” which should be their cue to walk away….No, they will then begin to point out things to you that they think you need or would like to have. However, with this one i usually either pretend to be on the phone when shopping in department stores, or actually call up another friend who knows whats up and will talk to me till i’m done….however, don’t get me started about cell phones in certain public places like trains and restaurants…ugh!

There, i’m done with my complaining for the day and really before you send angry emails remember that i “do” realize I live here as a guest, and I am usually quite light hearted about these kind of circumstances in reality when these things happen to me. You learn to accept the good with the bad, and one positive thing I’ve learned to do over the years is to let things go. I don’t go to sleep upset minor things, but more often than not have a inner chuckle at bad behavior. Because remember I was raised right! Have a great week and talk to you soon.