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Thaiing up my life

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Driving in Thailand

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I never learnt to drive in the UK. I lived in London - brilliant public transport - and travelled for a living . It wasn't necessary. But when I moved here, and had a business, I needed to drive. And I was over 50!

So  I bought a vehicle. On the advice of friends, who said it would be safer, I have a rather - muscular - truck. It's big. Most smaller vehicles give me a wide berth. And the bull bar on the front scares the motor bikes a bit, so they also steer clear.

Thank g-d they do.

In Thailand, you can't get insurance until you have a licence. So you have to learn without insurance. This terrified me! So I learnt the very basics, and then went to take my test. An employee drove me there.......and my secretary, whose Dad was best friends with the chief examiner, came too.

Her Dad's friend took me into his office to take the written test - 'just ask if you are stuck'. My favourite multiple choice question was this:

If you are driving a long time, and get drowsy, you should:

a)Drink lots of black coffee

b)Pull over and take a break

c)Turn the music up loud in your vehicle to keep you alert

d)Take some amphetamines

Truly! And he told me d) was a frequent answer......

Then it came to the practical part of the test - which took place in the licensing centre car park. I had to pull forward, turn a corner, steer to a corner ahead, reverse between two poles , then turn a corner and park no more than 18 inches from the kerb.

I couldn't reverse. So he told me to wind my window down, and he called out to me -'left hand down - now right - more left' until I was between the poles.

And I had my licence. My employee drove me home.

 Then I was on the road. I practised a lot more in a very quiet area in the National Park before I ventured into town. And on my first foray, I came to a 4 way junction where NOBODY gave way - you have to edge out, and force people to let you in. (A technique I've now learnt!) I sat there, frozen, waiting for a gap that never appeared, for 15 minutes - and backed up traffic halfway through our small town....eventually, a driver behind me got out, stoppped the traffic, and got me moving.

I've been driving now almost 15 years, and no longer cause traffic jams. But I am still terrified by the motor bikes and scooters which outnumber cars here.They drive the wrong way on a dual carriageway (divided highway), they ignore red lights, they thread through traffic to be at the front of any queue. To have a licence to drive one, you have to be 16. When I had a resort, my chef's 8 year old sister used to come to pick her up.....School finishing time is when I will NOT be on the road - not only is the average age of the drivers 12-13, but they are 4 to a bike!

In the UK, the police always had a special effort to stop drunk drivers at Xmas/NewYear. Here, last year, at Songkran, the police stopped 170,200 motorbike riders without helmets. They stopped 178,000 without licences,

Oh, and they turn off all the traffic lights in my town at midnight. Bars close at 2 am. I don't drive at night either. And I have a teetotal taxi driver.

The accident statistics are very high.




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  • Posts

    • sunshine


      I wonder if today is the wedding.

    • Maggie Mae


      29 minutes ago, louisa05 said:

      But that is a far different goal than getting a degree or working in a certain field. You achieve those goals by going out and doing the work necessary to get them. It's all on you. Getting married requires another person agreeing to make a lifelong commitment.

      I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of getting married as a goal, TBH. A milestone, sure. A memorable event? Yes. But an actual goal? I mean, when I set goals - let's say I want to run a marathon. I have a plan for that. I determine which marathon I want to do, look at the course, determine my level of fitness and what I need to do for training. If it's hilly, I add hill repeats into my training schedule. Then I create a schedule and schedule my life around work and than. (Side note: I have not run a full marathon.) If I want to make more money, I create a plan - I figure out what value I'm bringing to my company and negotiate a raise. I schedule the meeting, I practice my ask. If I want to go back to school, I would figure out a plan to pay for it and the work out the scheduling. 

      If I want to get married I what? Beg my boyfriend repeatedly? Poke holes in the condoms? Break up with him and download Tinder?  


      29 minutes ago, louisa05 said:

      The notion that a girl not growing up and getting married is a devastating shock is, frankly, the exact patriarchy most people on this forum disagree with. 

      Preach it. 

    • louisa05


      14 minutes ago, Maggie Mae said:

      What exactly are these rights and privileges? And why? 

      You get some rights pertaining to the marital relationship. My mom could sign my dad into the hospital when he could no longer sign his own name. I could not without a Power of Attorney. A partner not married to someone would not be able to without a POA, either. A woman on a cancer caregiver support forum I use was devastated when her partner died and his father came and took the body for cremation against her wishes. Unfortunately, in the absence of legal documentation, with no marriage, the father was the next of kin and had that right. 

      But if there are rights pertaining to general life (rather than specific to a relationship) that a single person is denied, I'm not sure what those are. No one told me. 

    • CorruptionInc.


      3 hours ago, Jug Band Baby said:

      My ex-best friend told all of us chosen to be in her wedding party not to get pregnant unless we we willing to get an abortion before the wedding since she didn't want anyone looking fat or for any pregnant belly to take any attention away from her.  

      I knew a woman that was furious that her matron of honour was going to be pregnant at her wedding. Her exact words were: "this is MY day and it's not about HER! How dare she be pregnant at my wedding!".

      I didn't like that woman already, but after that comment...

    • Black Aliss


      On 4/18/2017 at 8:07 PM, Jellybean said:

      Thanks for sharing that recipe @mango_fandango. I've never seen a guacamole recipe with cream in it. Is that a US thing (anyone?), or is that just Erika? I use my brother's recipe - no idea where he got it, but it is just avocado, lime juice, red onion, red chilli, olive oil and coriander (cilantro). Not quite as easy as Erika's version, but pretty close, especially as we keep coriander in the freezer all chopped and ready to go - no defrosting required.

      No, it's not a US thing. Except for the olive oil your recipe is far more typical (read: that's how I make it)

      You've probably also never seen anyone try to stretch one avocado to feed 9 kids. . . . I know I haven't.