Sawadee Ka

The last month is a blur, understandably so. If I have to look back on it from where I am sitting right now, in office, in Bangkok, it’s just a dizzying mix of suitcases, clothes, family, work, food, salary, emotional goodbyes and presents. Lots and lots of presents. I made a deliberate attempt to not think further than the ‘right now’ and it helped me in ways you can never imagine. For one thing, I didn’t panic. I did, however, pack a towel  just in case.

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I am finding the city a bit overwhelming – while Bangalore is considered a city, it has none of Bangkok’s busy vibes. Bangalore just seems more laid back, less concrete jungle, more smiley people. But then Bangalore is home and so there could be a lot of bias in my views. To make up for it, we found a lovely condo near a ‘swamp’ but the views of the sunset and the sound of the birds in the morning just make it worth it (Kidding! The house is lovely! And the best part is, no cockaroaches!)

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People think I’m crazy for spending 30 minutes on my commute to work. I get a golf cart to the BTS, take a fully AC sky train to work and get off into my office. Compared to the 1.5 hours (one way) that I used to spend on the road in Bangalore, this is heaven. I hope I never take it for granted!

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The food is a revelation. It’s spicy in a different way and I have coughed far too often from having a chilli flake stuck to my vocal cord. You can just walk into a night market (which is about 300m from where I stay) and buy cheap and yummy food. Bangkok so far is great for your stomach. The clothes, the shoes, the quirky souvenirs, I hope they don’t make it a slimming diet for my wallet.

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Market Scene


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It is not the first time I have moved to a non-English speaking place (re: France, Tanzania) and so the problems in communication are more challenges I look forward to. I enjoy trying to dicipher special things that make a country what it is. In a week, I have already figured out the two most important English words in Bangkok – ‘CAN’ and ‘CANNOT’.

Example Conversation:
Me – Should I be attaching these photos to the email before I send them?
Colleague – Caaaaaan!

Me – Does this pass work on the subway station as well as the skytrain?
Stranger – Cannnnot!

I have quickly added these two words to my vocabulary so the next time I reply with a simple can or cannot, instead of a yes or no, you’ll have to forgive me. While I have made a fool of myself both in France and Tanzania, I have never had to pick up a language that has 5 different tones. You can take one simple word and have it mean totally different things based on just intonation. I am looking forward to learning more about the language and hopefully not become too much of a laughing stock.

Until next time

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