12 Signs That You Have Been Living In Thailand For Too Long…

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1. You’ve come to terms with the fact that you will never be on time for anything, EVER again…

I used to get so offended when people would turn up 1 or 2 minutes late for something. I saw it as a form of disrespect. Like you don’t even respect me enough to be on time for something. A few years after living in ‘Thai time’ soon makes you forget about time in general. Now ‘meeting someone at 9’ means that 9 o’clock is the time I’m aiming to leave, and more often than not I don’t even leave until ten past nine…

2. You wonder how you lived without the bum gun…

Half of you will be exhaling in nostalgia, while the other half will be saying ‘Eww…’ The fact is everyone looks at the bum gun when they first see it and thinks, “I guess I’ll just have to slum it…” Then after using it a few times they wonder why on earth western countries don’t use this amazing invention. And when you go back home, you wretch at the fact you now have to use tissue paper to wipe your bum rather than spray it with a jet stream of water, which in truth is far more hygienic.

3. You refer to countries in Europe, North America and Oceania as ‘Western countries’…

When I say ‘Western countries’ I still immediately think of Will Smith and Dru Hill singing about ‘The Wild Wild West’, but after saying “Countries like England, America, Canada, Australia, and so on…” for a few months, you switch to saying ‘First world countries’, but this sounds quite arrogant so in the end you start to pick up the local English slang and say ‘Western countries’ instead.

4. 7/11’s become essential landmarks when describing directions…

Thai streets are extremely complex. They have things called ‘soi’s’ which are essentially smaller roads. However these roads have the same name as their larger counterparts. Normally a Thai person will tell you to go to ‘Soi 27’ and look at you like an idiot when you have no idea where that is. They then helpfully tell you that it is ‘near Soi 25’, so you give up and try to find it yourself. Because of the the fact there are sometimes multiple 7/11 shops on one street, most people now use these as stopping points. “Turn left at the second 7/11” This tends to be far easier than memorizing where all the soi’s are on every road…

5. You forget how to listen to people

This applies to any foreign country I think; After a while you get used to hearing people speak slower to you. This happens more in Thailand because realistically you can only legally work as an English teacher here, so you spend the majority of your day listening to people speak broken English. (Or you spend your time learning another language, which is equally as bad as you are slowly phasing out your native tongue whilst learning a new language…) Soon zoning out is a common occurrence because you get used to the fact that when someone speaks to you in a foreign language, you’ve already accepted that you are not going to understand 70% of what they say before they have even spoken. Then when you meet someone from your own country who starts to talk to you enthusiastically, you panic because you can’t understand a word they are saying. And ‘can you speak a bit slower please?’ Isn’t going to fly with someone who is from a place that is geographically an hour’s drive from where you grew up…

6. If you do not forget all your problems after saying ‘Mai pen rai’, then you are simply an evil, bitter individual…

You are driving on the road, and someone cuts across three lanes, nearly killing you. In England it would be considered normal to scream at that person and possibly get in their face at the very least. In Thailand you must say to yourself, ‘Mai pen rai’, which roughly translates as ‘don’t worry’, and move on. Most people find this laughable at first, but if you don’t start doing this quickly, you will begin to hate being in Thailand. Thailand is a great country to live in, but you MUST possess a positive attitude or it will wear you down in a matter of weeks. ‘Mai pen rai’ is a good way to maintain that positive attitude, even when things are looking tough.

7. You ignore your phone whenever you get a message…

I often don’t see messages from friends for over 24 hours. This sounds surprising when nowadays almost everyone keeps their phone in their pocket. Even more so that more and more people own smart phones. However in Thailand you get between 3-6 advertising messages a DAY. So when your phone rings you roll your eyes and ignore it, only to see a week later when you are deleting your messages like you are clearing out your E-mails that 6 days ago one of your mates said he was in town for a day and asked what you were up to…

8. You get offended and/or angry when a night out costs more than a fiver…

You’ve had an incredible night out, drinking far more alcohol than you should have. Then you look at your wallet to see the damage…

“500 baht (£10). Wow, I love it here!” You grin to yourself after being here a few months. A couple more years down the line the exact same scenario makes you grind your teeth.”How the hell did i spend that much money?!?” You angrily think to yourself. Then when you go back to your own country you shake in fear at the prices they charge for…pretty much anything.

9. You get offended and/or angry when a meal costs more than a fiver…

Same thing; you’ve just eaten chicken fajitas at a Mexican restaurant and it was amazing. You lean back thinking how lucky you are to eat at such a good restaurant, then you look at the bill…

“300 Baht (£6)? YOU SHOULD BE WEARING A MASK IN HERE!!!!!!!!!”

10. You are much healthier and you can’t explain why…

Well, you CAN; you have time to do things you didn’t in the past. Going to the gym, running, cycling, avoiding fast food restaurants to eat at healthier options and learning martial arts. Soon you are super fit but because it is part of your every day routine, you have no idea why you look and feel fitter…

11. You have multiple battle scars over your body…

Motorbike crashes, burns from exhausts pipes or even stupid drunken antics. These scars are a story to tell the grandkids. And when someone back home innocently asks about your scar, there will never be a moment in our life when you feel more cool when you respond, “Oh, I got that when I had a motorbike crash in Thailand, but you don’t want to hear about that…”

12. The word ‘Kap’ becomes a perfectly acceptable response too ANY statement, question or reaction…

‘Kap’ more or less translates as ‘I don’t necessarily understand what you just said, but I acknowledge that you are talking to me…’ It is incredibly frustrating in work situations where you have to delegate, knowing full well that they aren’t listening to you but you can’t call them out on it because they said ‘Kap’, but it can help you out of any awkward situation. It is considered a polite word as well, so you will never offend someone just by saying Kap when whoever is talking at you stops talking. Now I have to make sure I don’t do this to someone when I leave Thailand, otherwise people will look at me like I’m absolutely mental. Wish me luck!

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Chiang Mai Vs Phichit

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I went out with my friend Lee and his family and after discussing what we should do during the weekend, we finally concluded that it would be a winning formula if we went to see Chiang Mai FC play football.

So off we went; kick off was at 7 so I left at just before 6 on my bicycle to get to the 700 year old stadium (I didn’t get any pictures of the stadium. Hmm.. maybe I should have shown you what it was like. Anyway, take my world for it; it’s an exact replica of The Bernabeu…) and I arrived in a pretty knackered state at 6:30. Once I’d caught my breath we bought the tickets. My mum has a bad back, so we bought tickets in the nice part of the stadium with a roof just in case it rained, and they were only 120 baht a ticket (£2.40). The other ‘seats’, which is pretty much a terraced area, were only 80 baht (£1.60) a pop.

You may be wondering why the tickets were so cheap. Well there are two reasons for this; firstly, We are in Thailand, so everything is much cheaper over here. Secondly, The standard was slightly above Sunday league football. It was fun to watch, but there was more than one time where the ball sat up nicely for the striker 10 yards out right in front of the goal for both sides, only for the strikers to sky it or scuff it…

There were lots of treats being sold outside the stadium too so that was nice. One year ago Chiang Mai must have been either in a higher league or fighting to be champions, because I distinctly remember McDonalds having their own stall outside the stadium. There was nowhere near the same amount of attention this time around, but there was still ample choice for us to choose from.

At half time despite Chiang Mai dominating, They found themselves 1-0 behind. We joked that the three men in our group could play as the front three strikers, only for me to shit myself when one of the guys upfront got injured and called for a substitution. “Shit, this is Thailand, anything’s possible…” I thought to myself jokingly.

In the end Chiang Mai scored from a set piece from just outside the box and drew the game 1-1. They had a chance to snatch victory at the end but were unlucky when a shot from 20+ yards out cannoned off the bar. Overall I think 1-1 was a fair result. I think I’m going to enjoy coming to see Chiang Mai more often now I’m not working. It’s good to support the local team!

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The book’s done, so why does it not feel like that?

I finished the first draft of my sixth book last week. This book zapped the strength out of me so naturally when I wrote that final word and said to myself “That’s it!”, I couldn’t wait to celebrate. of course, I went out with some of my friends who helped me emotionally through the writing process and we painted the town orange, because I’m colourblind and I prefer orange to red as it’s far brighter…

However for the last couple of days I haven’t felt the same euphoria that I did when I finished the previous five; this one is still keeping me up. I’m finding plot holes in the book and wondering if it makes sense or not. This could be due to a variety of factors; most likely it is because all my other books are novellas (too small to be considered an actual book) whereas this one is approximately 400 pages long give or take. So I’m trying to find flaws where essentially there probably aren’t any…

I’m waiting to hear back from a few people to tell me if it’s ready to go into the second draft stage with some editing, or if in fact it does need more work and I have to go back to the drawing board, or the computer in my room in this case…

I could be worrying about nothing of course. More often than not these things are in my head and I just need to accept that I do have a natural talent for this, which is easier said than done.

I’ve had my doubts all the way through this book. I have no idea why, because the majority of people who have read it have said this is by far your best work and you should stop being so hard on yourself…Maybe that’s it. Maybe I should stop being so hard on myself and embrace my talent. Then again, being my own biggest critic has kept me level headed and also kept my standards high. I guess there should be a mix between the two. I may look back on this post in a years time and say to myself, “Wow, you really felt that way about this book?” Who knows? Either way; I’m taking a break from writing for a few months to recharge my batteries. The mistake I made last year was to keep writing until I burned myself out. This time I’ve written a book with a hell of a lot of potential, but I feel I need a couple of months to reflect before I write the next one. I may even go back to this one and improve it for the better. Wish me luck!

Book 6 is done! Kind of…

Yep! You read that right; My latest book ‘The Pornstar’ is finally completed! Well, the first draft of it is anyway…Well, it is, but it isn’t. If you’ve been following my struggle to finish this book you will know at one point i was writing four different endings because i wasn’t happy with how it was ending. I was also writing too much trying to find a way to wrap it up. So much so that a friend of mine who critiques my books actually told me that it was starting to drag. This meant i needed to get rid of some and find a way to wrap it up.

Yesterday i wrote 5500 words to finish the whole book. I felt over the moon once it was done and so elated that i felt like i could take on the world. The problem (if you really want to call it that!) is that because i had multiple endings, i have plot twists and scenes that contradict themselves. So although i’m technically done, i still need to peruse through about 10,000 words worth of material and delete and/or change it where it’s appropriate. Luckily for me when i write a book i obsess over it like a deranged stalker, so i already know what it wrong, what i have to change and how i’m going to change it. It’s just a matter of physically doing it. I reckon that will take two hours tops, and not a lot of brainpower compared to the last few weeks i’ve been through.

So over 110,000 words (approx 400 pages) and six months later the book is done! kind of… Now i’m in celebration mode. Don’t try and contact me for the next few days because i’ll be way too intoxicated to respond…

An Unplanned Setback

I’m nearly done with this latest book now. I’m 105,000 words in and rapidly approaching the end of the book, however unlike all my other books instead of the whole thing fitting perfectly into place, this one seems to have more questions than answers as I write it.

I had a vague idea of how I wanted to end the book with key plot twists towards the end, but as I wrote these plot twists I wasn’t happy with the final product. This was confirmed by a friend of mine who I gave the chapter to critique and she said it didn’t flow with the story. Hence, I needed a plan B. I hadn’t been in this situation before. the whole book was building towards these plot twists, and as I wrote them they didn’t fit in the book, so what was I going to do?

I continued to write, wondering if it was just me worrying about nothing. Also as long as I kept the story moving I knew I would get new ideas pop into my head. I had a great plot twist which is somewhat controversial that I cannot talk about at the moment as there are people who follow this blog who are waiting to find out what happens in the story. As I wrote this plot twist I again struggled to figure out how to wrap it up, as the more I wrote it led to more unanswered questions which in turn led to me writing more and more.

Which brings me to Thursday evening; I was letting my mind wander and scribbling ideas down for an outline to the story and I came up with yet another ending to this book (as of right now I have four!) only this time I am happy with it. It’s a cool ending with a lot of drama and it answers all the question that the reader may have. The only problem being (apart from being just as complex as my previous book ‘The Butterfly Killings’ to bring to a close) that I am going to have to disregard one, maybe two of my major plot twists in my book for it to work. This also means a lot more work for me, as i’m going to have to change a lot of the dialogue as it wouldn’t make sense since the scene that was written before would have a knock on effect on the following scenes and chapters.

Also, when i write these various endings I will have to choose wisely which one I’m going to give out first, as only have one shot to take them as a reader on a journey as they innocently wander where I’m going to take the story. Once I’ve given the first ending out the surprise value will be gone in the other endings, even though some things may not exist in other endings, they might tarnish how the person perceives the book as a whole.

Luckily now I’m not working anymore (or not working anywhere near as much, I should say…) I can make this my sole focus and force myself to whack it out. Because once I’m done with this one, I’m GOING to celebrate. And I plan to celebrate in Thailand with my friends around me, not in some obscure country with a group of people I’ve just met as I’m navigating my way back to England by land via South East Asia. This book wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for my friends here. their influences – whether they were positive or negative – helped me summon up the correct energy to channel into this book, which means this book is just as much their book as it is mine, and they deserve to celebrate with once it’s all over.

You’ve got Ascot, we’ve got, erm… Chiang Mai

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I’ve been here over four years now and I had NO IDEA that there was a horse racing track here. I contacted a friend of mine and said my mum was here for a couple of weeks and he suggested that our families go and watch the horse racing. It sounded like a fun idea so I accepted the offer of a leisure activity during the weekend.

I had to go to work in the morning, so I whacked that out and counted the minutes until I could go and have some fun. Then I quickly grabbed some lunch and cycled towards the Lanna Golf Club, which was where we agreed to meet as it’s easy to find.

I weaved in and out of the traffic and soon came across a sign that said ‘Lanna Golf Club: 200m’. “Cracking!” I thought as I pedalled my way to freedom. Only I couldn’t find the entrance. I found a place called Lanna Sports Complex and rang my friend Lee, who told me to go against traffic for a couple of hundred metres. I would also like to point out that this is Thailand, so before you recoil in horror at the fact someone asked me to go the wrong way down a dual carriageway this is not uncommon, and perfectly acceptable. In fact as a cyclist the unofficial rule here is I need to be in the second lane, while people driving the wrong way are in the first lane…

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Anyway, to the horse racing. After we made the obligatory jokes about the women should be wearing big hats and laughing to ourselves thinking that we absolutely hilarious with our original jokes, we then paid 20 baht (40p) for our tickets and sat down on the terrace. There was lots of food and drink available that we gorged on throughout, and although it was possible to buy alcohol we didn’t want to partake in that. I didn’t want to get so plastered that I would bet all my savings on horse number 9, only to find out once they had started that there were only 8 horses in the race…

We stayed for about 6 or 7 races (I didn’t count) before leaving. it was a great day out and at one point during one of the races I got to get up close to the fence and took pictures of the horses galloping by, which in itself was an adrenaline rush. We then said our goodbyes and disappeared back home. As we were going back to our bikes two of the horses were being lead through where the bikes were parked, which pleased Lee’s little girl no end seeing the horses up close and personal. If anybody reading this ends up in Chiang Mai one day and wants to do something very non-touristy, then I highly recommend this as a great day out.

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Wat Doi Kham

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My mum’s in town, so we’ve been doing all the touristy things that I did many moons ago and groan whenever I have to do them again. Fortunately for me we came across a place that I hadn’t been to yet. More specifically, Wat Doi Kham, literally translated as The Golden Mountain Temple.

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The temple is at the top of a hill, so naturally the entrance is at the bottom of the hill wishing you good luck. There are two ways to the top; you can walk up there like a champion or you can take a windy road and drive up to the top if you are the kind of person who buys their way to success…

We had a taxi, so we drove up. Half way there I could already smell the jasmine in the air. …Actually, I was told by people that I would be able to, only I didn’t know what jasmine smelt like (I’ve never had a girlfriend called Jasmine, nor am I the kind of guy who likes to sniff people on a night out, so how would I know?) Anyway, I smelled something that smelled nice and deduced that was in fact jasmine going up my nose. Dirty bitch…

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Anyway, we got to the top and was immediately greeted by a 17 metre high Buddha statue. I took pictures of it and pretended I wasn’t intimidated by its sheer size before shuffling over to the elephant statues. Then I wandered around until I got to the viewpoint by the temple, which overlooked the whole of Chiang Mai.

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By the viewpoint was an array of steps to the bottom, which using my superhuman ability to think outside the box I figured out was the final part of the walking entrance. I walked to the bottom counting the steps because that’s what cool kids do. I kept my concentration doing the difficult task of counting one number at a time and was pretty chuffed with myself when I got to the bottom. “One hundred and eighty two…” I said to myself in a satisfied manner. Then I looked down to see “182 steps” engraved into the concrete right by the start of the steps. Brilliant…

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As you can see by the pictures there are two Naga serpents on either side of the steps to the top. These are commonly mistaken for dragons, simply because you think of Asian culture, you think of the beautiful dragon statues that are scattered around Asia.

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We stayed for about half an hour overall. It’s not a well known temple by any means, but still well worth a visit. There are ample things to do here and you can grab some food or buy souvenirs from the local stalls. If you get a chance to visit, enjoy yourselves. You won’t regret it. Unless you hate the smell of Jasmine, then you probably will regret it…

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