Learning a new language is a permanent fixture on my bucket list, and so I have tried to learn (and then slowly forgotten) as much as I could language-wise in every country I’ve lived in. With the exception of Thai, where the same word could mean fish sauce or pussy juice based on the tone, I’ve managed to make some headway into small talk, at the very least.
And so, here I am in Germany, learning the good old Deutsch. And while it drives me crazy most days, there are some true gems in the language. Take for example their strange addiction to combining a tonne of words together to make an entirely new word.
This has resulted in the creation of a stunningly beautiful WORD – Die Eierlegendewollmilchsau.
The word means precisely it’s literal translation. An egg laying, wolly, milk giving pig. This is the German word for ‘A Perfect Person’ or a superwoman, someone who can do everything and do it amazingly!
“Not only does my boss expect me to work on 3 projects at the same time, he also expects me to make him coffee, babysit his children and answer my phone at all times of day. What does he think I am? Die Eierladendewollmilchsau?!!”
Also interestingly, the article ‘the’, takes on the female form in German. Which means that this Eierladenwollmilchsau is a woman! But of course!
If I have only one complaint two complaints about Cologne, it’s that people smoke way too much, and the housing market is a complete nightmare. In no other country I’ve moved to have I felt the possiblity of being homeless so keenly!
To spare you the drama, let me just say that I’ve already been lucky enough to find a lovely house right in the middle of old town. Cobblestone streets, old buildings, reading nooks, live sports showings, birds, the river … I can’t really complain!
But getting here has been one psychological nightmare ride full of sleepless nights and anxiety ridden tears. It’s not just the housing market here is so limited or that most houses have been repurposed for students who have no desire to host couples, it’s also that scammers thrive in this situation.
I was approached by many of these with lovely photos of stunningly furnished houses for such reasonable prices you can’t help but respond. If I wasn’t so good at rooting out catfishers (it was literally my job for a while), I’d be a few thousand Euros poorer.
The approach was quite creative. They’d say they were European and had only just bought and furnished the house, but that they’d gotten an unpassable opportunity abroad. So they thought of renting their house out through AirBnb. However, if someone is interested in it long term, they could also do it through the same way.
Now, if you’re deseperate for a house and hear the words AirBnb, you automatically trust that this is legit. But if you’re someone who actually uses airbnb, you suddenly start to smell something dodgy!
I also came across a second scam where they ask you to transfer money through western union. Apparently bank statements are not legit proof you have enough money to pay for a house.
When I asked why a money transfer, this is what they said.
While I hope that no innocent house seeker buys into these thinly veiled scams, it definitely made good conversation starters. And for that, I’m grateful.
A lot of people warned us against going to this island as there was nothing to see or do. It is a quick day-trip for locals to spend the day at a beach without it hurting the bank and without it being a free show of the dreadful farang infestion (their words, not mine!). However, Koh Sichang blew our minds.
Yes, it is a small fisherman’s village and in that lies all the magic. It is small, tight knit and laid back. And while there is development in terms of restaurants and roads, it still is a place stuck in a magical time bubble. It is beautiful.
Only 100kms from Bangkok aka 2 hours by an air-conditioned bus from the Ekkamai bus station and a 40 minute ferry and you are far, far, FAR away from the madding crowd. Pure bliss.
The ferry is at the Sri Racha pier, the name sounds familiar cause they are also a hot sauce we all love (there is a chilli factory in town that we didn’t, unfortuntaley, get to explore). You get off the bus at Robinson’s – you’ll know when half the passengers get off here. A short 50 baht tuk tuk ride away and you’re at a park that also acts as a pier.
Depending on what time of day you come, you get to climb up or down to a boat. It’s quite adventurous navigating the tide.
And then you reach Koh Sichang. While I can wax ad nauseum about how amazing it was, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. If I am guilty of not taking to Thailand the way most people do, I am slowly changing my ways.
I turn 30 at the end of this year. I have been waiting for this moment since I was 14 and have always had at the back of my head that I would do something spectacular. Teenage me had dreams about quitting my adult job and life, showing a big middle finger to society and disappearing somewhere more exotic than India. Teenage me didn’t really know much about adult responsibilities and this evil thing called money.
However, teenage me is the reason I have quit many jobs and showed the middle finger to the world and gone somewhere more exotic than India. Adult me realised that in between two foreign escapes, there has to be at least one corporate stint. Someone has to replenish the treasure chest after all. But 30 will soon be here and in a bid to do something different/grand, I decided I indulge my itchy feet hopefully in a way that doesn’t break the bank. And instead of doing one long backpacking trip (don’t worry, that plan hasn’t been called off just yet), I will travel every now and then to add up to a grand 30th year.
I am not running around like a headless chicken though. I have a plan. I want to see 30 new places before my 30th – even if it means an area of Bangkok I haven’t yet visited. I also intend to document it here so that I can look back on it and say ‘Wow, I actually did those things!’. See, in many ways, I am still teenage me.
First trip on the list was to a coastal town in Thailand called Hua Hin. I found out that my Japanese retiree of a neighbour moved from Japan to Hua Hin because it has a reputation of being a resort city – complete with healing sea air, warm beaches and rainbow coloured cocktails with parasols on them. So far, we’ve seen virgin islands, scandalous party towns and a metropolitan, sky-scraper filled locations. Hua Hin had a completely different vibe.
We had an extended weekend and most of what we know about the place, we learnt when we were there. We decided to stay at a garden resort some distance from the city and it was a choice we really enjoyed. Hua Hin has a very laid back atmosphere and all around us we could see big houses and older people. We found out that it was converted from being a quiet fishing village to a relaxing seaside resort thanks to the patronage of the Thai royal family who used Hua Hin as a getaway from Bangkok. The current king of Thailand lives there now and I can see why.
When your introduction runs to 500 words, you know it’s time to turn to pictures and let them do the talking! 🙂 Having quickly found out that taxis were a rip off, we decided to hire a bike and went exploring.
On the way back, found an interesting Artists Village with working artists. It was such a peaceful place.
We had our first visitor this month, my broseph’s girlfriend. It gave me a chance to be my obsessive-compulsive self about hosting. I’ve also always loved showing people around – watching their awestruck faces. There aren’t enough words to describe just how much I love it. My ideal job would be to own a bed and breakfast, a cafe with a library and a tour company that will prepare your itinerary for you and then show you around all the good sights. While I’m waiting for that dream to become a reality, I had the chance to visit my first island in Thailand.
Okay, Okay. I’ll stop.
The island we visited is called Koh Samed. There is surprisingly little information about how easy it is to get there. So I decided to note these things down on the off chance that it will help someone. First thing to do is go to BTS Ekkamai and the Easter Bus Terminal which is 2 minutes away from the station. Then take your pick of the myriad of bus options available. We picked the 293baht return journey. What you get is a 2 way open ticket that’s valid for a year. A YEAR!
Anyway, they tell you which stand to go to. The bus leaves exactly on time and since there are seat numbers allotted, you don’t need to fight over the good seats. This, you have to understand, is new to an Indian person such as myself. We will push people down if we have to – anything for a good seat. The bus ticket wins you a free bottle of water (YAY!) but it is a 4 hour drive to the pier so bring plenty of snacks.
Once you are at the pier, you will need to buy a ferry ticket to Ko Samet. If you have a work permit, you pay the Thai price for the tickets (50 Baht). If not, you pay the farang price (100 Baht) which is all normal (we have this sort of disproportionate costs in India as well). 40 minutes later, you are on the island. You could also opt for the speed boat option (200 Baht) but you are there in 10 minutes. Personally, I prefer taking the ferry. I enjoy being out at sea. I enjoy the sight of the beaches coming closer and closer. There’s something so thrilling about it.
While in Samed, you can get an AC Dorm for about 250 baht. There are also fancy sea side beaches for a more romantic/private setting. And now, to let the photos do the talking for me – 😀
I still can’t get over the fact that what most people consider a honeymoon destination is just a weekend’s trip for me. Gotta love life!