Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Living and working in Thailand: one year
Living and working in Thailand: one year
Warning! Long post, weird sense of humor, some digressions.
Abstract: Living in Thailand is great (if you have time and money, speaking the language is helpful as well), I can imagine spending the rest of my live here (with occasional trips elsewhere) but need to find an occupation.
After working for some years in different countries (Germany, England, France, Thailand), I have to say that I begin to dislike it. Don’t work unless you have to! It encroaches my spare time and getting up at 8 am to start work at 9 am is far too early, my natural getting up time is 10 am.
Most of this report was written in August 2013 as a 6 months update, but there were so many events I wanted to include and so much happened that I postponed it until now. Changes are marked with “update”. Some of the subjects have been addressed already elsewhere.
Workwise, the situation is as bad as before. I am in a dead end and will need a career change. After working in universities/research institutes in Germany, England, France and now Thailand, I can say that academe is not for me (I can’t compare to working in industry, but I hope it will be better there).
Of course, there is something good in all of these places. In England, we had the best NMR service, whereas that in Germany, France and Thailand is organized in a way that is unacceptable (if you know it can be done better, like in England). In France, we had a canteen that had great food. But you had to queue for food, then at the till, then for ice and water. The pizza with goat cheese and the cooked salmon are unsurpassed and I still cherish the memories. On a few days, I had 3 (in words: three) desserts (there were two desserts each days, often they had leftovers from the day before, and if I couldn’t decide I took all three). There, over dinner, I had the most interesting conversations with colleagues ever. All that for a price of about 5 Euro (the food was subsidized).
50 years ago, people had only slide rules and mechanical calculation devices. If you grow up that way you just accept that this is the way a calculation is done. But if you use a (digital electrical) pocket calculator once, you will never want to go back to slide rules. That’s my situation (knowing there are pocket calculators, but having to use a slide rule). (Before someone asks: “What, you still use slide rules in Germany/England/France/Thailand?” No, we have pocket calculators everywhere I worked. It’s just an illustration everyone can relate to.) But I digress.
The health situation is not as good as I wrote in the first report. From time to time, I have a running nose or a sore throat or weak diarrhea, nothing serious, but far more often than in Europe. An ear infection in June required medical attention and had it not been worst over the weekend (I stayed in both days with fever), it would have been the first time in 20 years that I would have sick leave from work.
I did some sport in the first months, even thought of training and participating in the Pattaya Marathon in July, but dropped these activities. When I felt a bit unwell or weak I just didn’t do any sport. In addition, the boys playing football or basketball were not out (due to school holidays?). Now they are back, playing ball games in the evening, which is a huge incentive for me to go out for running or fitness on the local sports area. Marathon is off the list, it would require long training which would heavily interfere, nay make impossible, other activities. And I didn’t come to Thailand for marathon, I came for sex and traveling.
I have a work contract like the Thai employees. Before my recent trip to Europe, I asked my supervisor how many days of holiday I have (the work contract didn’t say anything about holiday), he looked at me as if I had asked him to suck my dick. There is no holiday (in words: zero) in the first year, then it slowly increases to ten days of paid holiday after ten years. Nonetheless, there is a form which he advised me to fill out to apply for unpaid holiday (nobody ever took holiday in his first year, so he could not say if there is any chance I get holiday and how long the processing will take). I had to fill in the dates for holiday, during the time until I get it approved flight availability or price could have changed, but fortunately it took just a few days and I could take the flight I intended. Altogether, an extremely unpleasant process.
My Thai is improving slowly from everyday usage (reading, sometimes speaking with people). I can now even have phone calls in Thai. I don’t take classes and have no concept for self-study. I could not get any of the boys in my area to help me studying Thai (in exchange for helping them with English). In fact, I didn’t get anyone from my area into my room (apart from the Burmese man who looks like a woman). I didn’t try hard, but I don’t see a point where I can start (apart from studying English and Thai). There is even some reticence. When it became clear to Bank that I have a sexual interest in him, he rejected my suggestion to meet for a beer in my room (in front of friends/family members, maybe it works if I call him on the phone).
Update: had groups of boys in my room a few times. Now I have to see how I can get then to come alone.
There is one more thing I could try. I have not seen the two fishing boys (Songkran Saturday) for a long time, but they have a little brother/cousin/roommate/whatever (age about 15) who is outside most days I pass and who is talkative and seems to be quite bright. He often asks me for money, sometimes I give him 20 Baht. I could hire him to teach me English in my room (for 20 Baht per hour), then ask him to bring his brother/cousins/roommates/whatever along and finally switch over to them. I might even tell him my intentions to get him to pimp them out to me.
Update: the place where the fishing boys lived is available for rent, and from the other boy I know they moved away. That makes a total of four cute boys in my area who moved away.
Getting a computer and internet at home was a boon. I think I don’t have to extol the virtues of having internet at home because everyone except me knew this before. It was really stupid of me to go to internet café for months, now I pay as much for internet at home as I spent in internet café before. I arranged several meetings via gayromeo, that would have been impossible from internet café (reading a book, having dinner or showering between messages on gayromeo).
That leads to the boy situation. There are improvements as well. I could reduce prostitution to 50 % of my sexual encounters. But either way (gayromeo or disco for free or prostitution in Soi Twilight (little) and Saranrom (more)) is a slow business. I can spend an entire evening on gayromeo (doing other stuff at the same time) and not finding anyone who is up for immediate meeting. Out of 600 profiles that are displayed (online area), I might check 100, out of them there are 5 who are interesting, but they are not interested, live to far away, or don’t have time now. On average, it takes 500 messages on gayromeo (with different boys) and more than 5 phone calls or SMS until I meet one boy. Soi Twilight or Saranrom involves travelling (1 hour by bus to get there). I am still far away from having a list of boys, and if I feel like sex I call one and he comes to my place.
Update: Significant improvement. Now I managed to train one boy to come to my room, and others are in training.
I try to lure boys to my room proposing to study Thai and English together. My desire to study Thai is genuine, but I have no interest in teaching English (and I am not qualified, not a native speaker). I think none of this appeals to my targets I have to switch to inviting them for talking, eating, drinking or offer money for teaching me Thai.
The purchase of a new mobile phone (i-mobile IQ6) was very beneficial as well. Now I can finally read and write SMS in Thai, have GPS and google maps, can read documents when I am travelling. Mobile gayromeo and grindr are useful.
Money-wise the situation is not as bad as displayed before. After rent, food, going out three times per week, going on trips in Bangkok two weekends and on trips elsewhere (two nights in hotel) on two weekends, there is still enough money left to buy a laptop, a mobile phone, get a new passport or save for flights to Europe. I really have to make an overview over my spendings to quantify these claims. (Done – expenses June 2013)
If you have money and can arrange with or even embrace the cultural differences, Thailand is a great place to live. I just need to find a fulfilling job and have to get more successful at hooking up with Thai boys, then it will be perfect!
There are a few things I cannot change. Throughout the year, it is about 5 degree Celsius too warm for my taste, but better than too cold like in Europe; there are no mangos in summer and no mangosteen in winter, …). If you hate rats, cockroaches and stray dogs, Thailand is not the place for you, but I can arrange with all of these.
When you go from 35C to 25C, it feels pleasantly cool, when you go from 25C to 35C, it feels pleasantly warm. Work-wise and boy-wise there is a lot of room for improvement. I like life here much better than anywhere I stayed before. When I look at pictures I took, I wonder that this has been just two or three months ago, and how much happened after that. Clearly the most eventful period of my life (except for time in the army). When I don’t go out for a night or even two or three nights in a row, it’s more a case of “analysis paralysis” (I can’t decide where to go or whom to meet), than lack of choice. And there are sudden changes in my Thai friends’ schedules that screw my plans.
My contract is until end of January 2014, after that I will have to find another job in Thailand. Everything except teaching English, drug mule and running a bar will be considered.
I like reading books and I find mistakes in most books I read, be it about chemistry, architecture or languages. Maybe I could do proofreading for a publishing company.
Or a boyfriend investigation service? There are investigation services to test the faithfulness of Thai girlfriends, maybe there is a demand for boyfriends as well?
But look at it this way: many great men changed their profession. Adolf Hitler wanted to become a painter (artist), but wasn’t accepted at the academy of arts, so he became politician. (Same lame joke as before. Save your outrage for rapists, pedophiles and Gaybutton’s dressing sense – or absence thereof.)
Update: I sometimes think it’s getting too much for me. And there seems to be no chance to work as a chemist in Thailand, so I consider a well paid job in chemistry in Europe with ample holiday (that will allow me to visit Thailand three times per year for two weeks each) as possibility.
The food in France was fantastic, and the conversations over lunch with colleagues very interesting (see opening paragraph). During my time of unemployment in Germany (end of 2012), I went to two job interviews. I asked about lunch options, and I was told there is a group room with fridge and a microwave, so I can bring my own food and warm it up. Microwave? Bring my own food? Moi? Non! Not when I can get streetfood in Thailand for 1 Euro, or splurge out in a restaurant or food court for 2 Euro per meal.
Overpriced crappy accommodation in the boondocks (England) or outskirts of Paris (France)? Moi? Non! Not when I can get a decent room anywhere in Bangkok for one tenth of the price a similar one would cost in England or France.
I don’t need to be rich, I don’t need to be famous, I want to be happy. Currently, I am not happy, but I like life in Thailand better than in Europe. With interesting work, a good income and if/when it goes better with the boys, I will become happy.
In 2009 I first read about gay life in Thailand, now I have become one of the most prolific posters on several forums and finally started my own blog. Learning Thai (3 years now) didn’t pose any significant difficulty. I managed to get a job here for one year. These are some achievements! It’s getting better with the boys, but I am still far away from seducing straight boys.
Maybe I need a new challenge? Become an astronaut, or the ultimate, life-long taking challenge: try to become Pope (that would entail some major changes in my life, e.g. converting to Catholicism and giving up homosexuality).