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Thursday, October 6, 2011

MONEY NUMBER ONE

NOTES FROM "MONEY NUMBER ONE" BY ALOYSIUS BARTHOLEMEW THISTLEWAITE

First, I would like to say that either his name is a) fictitious b) an old family name or c) his parents had a cruel and unusual sense of humor. Like TJ.

In Pattaya, vehicles - not pedestrians - have the right of way.

According to their statistics, 90% of all motorcyclists involved in accidents had no bike riding training, one in a thousand have passed any sort of recognized driving course and four in ten are drunk.

If you want to do drugs in Thailand, be aware that the penalties are more severe than in other countries. If you are lucky, you will only pay a couple thousand dollars in bribes. The maximum sentence is not listed in the book but for dealing it is death by lethal injection. (Got that from watching some youtube videos other expats suggested).

People's knowledge of science and such is very limited. For example, they often believe that a good through wash after sex will prevent STD's. Buying condoms is easy - every grocery store stocks them.

Nationalism - people love their country and their king. Saying bad things about anything in that vein will get you into big trouble.

Smiling does not mean the same thing as most other places in the world. It can fit into a wide variety of situations - such as to apologize, ease tension, acknowledge you heard someone, etc.

Lying in order to 'save face' for self or others is acceptable. Lying is also used for a wide variety of reasons. It's really like trying to untie silly string to figure out what the hell is going on with the 'logic' and such.

Promises - you will be expected to keep any of yours that you say even in jest. For them, they may come up with elaborate reasons why they couldn't, selective amnesia, etc.

Losing face = losing respect in the eyes of other. Gaining face = gaining status. This can be the reason behind lies and/or aggression. Weird stuff that may not make sense to western minds can cause a perceived loss of face. Be aware.

If your Thai friend/girlfriend/etc is arguing with other Thais, stay out of it at all costs. The book even says 'the less you have to do with local males, the better'. Avoid taking any gifts, advice, etc that could lead in some round about way to getting them angry. It really is a mine field.

Sentimentality: "...if they can't spend it, sell it, eat it, wear it, live in it or ride it, they don't want it."

It is all about the here and now - not about long term.

If you lend something, you will probably never see it again. Don't lend anything you ever want to see again.

Eating alone here is like drinking alone in the Republic of Georgia. It is viewed as something rather sad and means you have no friends.

Don't touch people on their heads. It is taboo.

Getting directions (which I covered previously) is rough because they will always come up with an answer - even if they don't know it. This is because they should perhaps reasonably be expected to know the answer and it would be a loss of face not to. Hence, any answer will do. "... and I gave the man the directions, even though I didn't know the way ... because ... that's the kind of guy I am ... ... this week." - Homer Simpson.

The bar hostesses are there basically to take you for all of your money. They may have a Thai husband or boyfriend already who you will never hear about. Instead they will tell you things you want to hear, like they don't like Thai men, they like (insert where you are from here) instead. They will say they don't like working as a bar hostess. This is despite the huge earning potential. I'm sure they'd rather be off making their dollar a day in hard manual work somewhere but they choose to come in off the street and try this out instead. Bodies of angels, calculators for hearts.

No woman has a pimp and such. They are doing their work out of choice. Usually that choice is to make a shitload of money, have several foreign boyfriends who don't know about each other and will hopefully never meet (again, living in the now) and that they can suck the money out of.

To help drive the point home, they even put in some common phrases you will hear with the [translation]:

Hello sexy man [hello stupid farang] {Farang = foreigner]

You very handsome/sexy man. [You look like you have a lot of money]

Where you come from? [What currency do I need to check the exchange rate of?]

You want play game? [Buy me a drink, dickhead.]

I no like Thai man (or) I no have Thai boyfriend. [I have a Thai boyfriend and all the money I make I will use to support him.]

I no butterfly. {Butterfly = multiple sex partners} [I only sleep with my boyfriend and any farang who pays my bar fine.] {Bar fine = amount of money you must pay the bar to take the girl out of it to go have sex with here, usually about $10 for the bar, the rest is negotiated directly with the girl.}

You give e 10,000 baht now and I stay with you for two weeks. [You give me 10,000 baht now and you will never see me or the money again.]

And so on.

If all of this hasn't gotten you anxious to read the book then either 1) you are not male 2) you are never planning on going to Thailand 3) You have been in Thailand multiple times for years and know this stuff already 4) You have already read the book 5) You'd like to spend a lot more money getting duped by the natives than the $15 book would set you back.

I hope people enjoyed my notes for this book. It is worth a read. A couple more notes on it. First, rather than use any direct condemnation of anyone, the author uses irony and sarcasm. Second, apparently the author does like Thailand enough to have had trouble extending his visa - because some Thais took exception to his book.


I already know the next series of statements and questions coming up. People will say "Logan did you already know most of the stuff in the book?" Yes, but I thought it was an interesting read and a new slant on some information that I knew about. Also, there was some new and interesting information on things like the baht taxis (pickup trucks with cages on the back) that I didn't list above because it wouldn't be interesting to most people. "How do you feel about the Thai people?" The ones I've met that weren't trying to tout me into strip clubs, massage clubs, bars, etc were fine. Basically, they seem like decent people to me. One phrase that an expat here said that stuck with me was "The Thais really don't like foreigners. We are tolerated because we bring money." Now, I'm not sure if that is true. I'm thinking it is just like everywhere else. Some people like foreigners, some don't. But "Money Number One", as the title of the book goes. It must be remembered though that I am steering away from most things (sex with locals) that could get me potentially in trouble. As the Georgians know (and still cannot fucking believe) I prefer to get drunk by myself in my own room watching movies. If I want to do some silly, stupid, reprehensible shit and stay in the privacy of my own room by myself - well, nobody knows or cares much what I do. It's usually sleep soundly if I've had too much to drink anyway. Not the kind of thing to get me beaten, robbed or to have me violate some custom or taboo.



MOVIE REVIEW - LONDON BOULEVARD

This movie really dragged in spots. There were a couple good scenes but honestly, while I was watching it I was thinking about fast forwarding it. There was a lot of fucking build up. A couple good action scenes though. I did catch something subtle they put in the script I thought was entertaining. They had the guy who played 'Remus' in the Harry Potter films say that he had played in a kids movie, seriously. But I do know that actually Sirius was played by Gary Oldman. It would have been a funnier line if he'd done it. Anyway, I fast forwarded through much of the movie and hated the fucking ending. I give it four stars only because it had some scenes of gratuitous violence that kept me mildly entertained for a short time. Overall, it was shit for me. 4/10.



MOVIE REVIEW - LIMITLESS

Unusual camera work helps with the 'trippy' feel of the movie. A good movie for the dangers of drug use. The interesting camera work can all be seen in the beginning credits. Perhaps that is what got me to watch so much of it. I was pretty bored after an hour though. But, I somehow managed to stick it out through its lackluster conclusion. 4/10.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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