Today is the 1st of May which is known as “Labor Day” around the world.
But for me it is the first day of the month we (Stefan and I) leave Bangkok, the city we have called home for several years.
I have mixed feelings. I have lived in Bangkok long enough for the “in love” feelings to have long faded away, but with time, love matures, and I suppose that is how I feel about Bangkok. I love it and hate it at the same time….
Here are the top 5 things I love about Bangkok:
1. I love the fact that you can FIND FOOD ANYWHERE!
2. I love that Bangkok NEVER SLEEPS, there is always something to do or somewhere to go, no matter what time of night–even if it’s just a massage as some dodgy side of the road shop! 🙂
3. I love the malls. I love that I can actually shop in them. I have lived in many countries where the malls were for hanging out, perhaps having a bite to eat, but certainly not for groceries and amazing discounts for clothes, house stuffs, electronics etc…
4. I love the diversity, I have been an expat in several countries, but Bangkok takes the cake! There are so many of us that it’s impossible to be lonely, and for better or worse, this city has decided to make sure all our comforts from home can be found here.
5. I love the convenience of living in a city that has a 7-11, Max-Value or Family Mart at every corner. This might seem trivial, but it really does spoil you.
Bangkok is far from perfect; but it is the city that has given me so much so that even though I am not Thai, Bangkok feels like “home.”
Now here’s the top 5 things I hate about Bangkok. I am listing them here because they need to be said. And also just in case someone who is looking to move to Bangkok stumbles on this blog, I wouldn’t want them to see only one side of the coin…
1. I hate the TRAFFIC! Bangkok is a huge city, but to have to allot almost 2 hours of your time to get anywhere is ridiculous! The BTS and MRT are overcrowded so I hate using them most of the time, the Taxi’s are 9 out of 10 trying to scam you so I don’t like using them either. The only saving grace for a non-driver like me are the motorbike taxis. I will miss them!
2. I hate the underlying racism/status differentiation & gender discrimination that permeates Bangkok society. I am not going into detail here, but it is there. I also hate getting compliments when I am not tan. What is it about being WHITE? I understand where the obsession originally came from, but I would think it would have faded by now…
3. I hate the visa process! I understand that to get everything in order the first time it might be difficult and confusing. But I had expected things to get easier over time. Not so! Every year we somehow had to pay more, there were more papers required, more regulations implemented. It just seemed an uphill climb all the time we had our small company open. I am thankful that we had a successful business in Thailand, but the visa process was a nightmare and an exorbitant waste of time. I would have happily paid more to lessen the grief.
4. I hate the flooding. Bangkok is a well-populated and fairly new city. Why has the drainage system never been properly addressed? It was frustrating and bizarre to be leaving Emporium, one of the most posh malls in downtown Sukhumvit, to 2 feet of rain water flooding the road directly in front.
5. I hate the double standard. Farang’s price: 400thb Thai price: 40thb. Why? Maybe 20 years ago double price (NOT 10x) for foreigners made sense…but now Thais, especially those living in Bangkok are much more affluent than the average foreigner…so why does this discrimination still exist? I thought it was going to slowly even out…but no, it’s only getting worse!
So that’s my Love and Hate list. But in reality my love for Thailand in general outweighs the bad feelings…
In the last 7 years of living in Bangkok:
- I met Stefan, who became my life and business partner.
- I had a part in starting a fitness business, from scratch, and got to meet, train and learn from, so many wonderful folks along the way.
- I reconnected with a childhood friend, Natasha, who is now my best friend.
- I was able to spend precious time with my parents who have also become my best friends after spending 10 years pretending to independent and “all grown” up.
- I was able to get to know my niece, Kelsie, who is such an amazing and smart character.
And the list goes on…
So as you can see, with all the memories that have been created here, in Bangkok, it is almost surreal to be saying goodbye in less than 30 days!!! :0
With this realization I am going to:
>>> Eat as much Thai food as possible
>>> Wander my favorite malls and walking streets
>>> Get as many foot and Thai massages for 250thb (or less)
>>> See as many of you that became a part of my life before we go
>>> And “enjoy” the heat while I can. Humidity is impossible to enjoy, but I can at least savor the feeling of NOT feeling cold…LOL 😛
Hope to see you to catch up before we go…
Thanks for being part of my Bangkok Journey…