Expats. Travelers who settled down for a tiny bit? Wanderers who found their place on Earth? Seekers who reached a place where they intended to be? Who are they? Would you like to meet them?
The Picktures proudly presents you the guest post series: Expat Wednesdays! Today, I would love to introduce you to Karisa, an American solo female traveler who used to live in Thailand, editor-in-chief of My Hot Pink Passport blog.
Bangkok is one giant, crazy city full of millions of people! There are hi-so Thais in designer clothes, monks dressed in orange robes, motorcycle taxi drivers clad in rainbow vests, men behind the wheels of hot pink taxi cabs, teenagers in identical private school uniforms, grungy backpackers in harem pants, ladyboys, businessmen, beggars, and lots and lots and LOTS of foreigners. From time to time, these foreigners- or “farang”- come together and behave badly.
|Bangkok by night|
One evening, after a typical nine hour day of teaching English, my friend and I found ourselves in need of a glass of wine. We meandered down the crowded sidewalks of Silom, Bangkok’s business district, and found an underground English pub. It was still Thai “winter” and not too hot so we sat outside and ordered ourselves glasses of red wine and a cheese platter. Because wine and cheese are imported they are usually on the expensive side and therefore luxury items for English teachers like us. We knew that we were splurging and we were giddy with excitement!A glorious cheese platter soon arrived at our table accompanied with majestic glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon. After toasting ourselves and Bangkok, she and I sampled our platter of Swiss, Sharp and American (?) cheese. Ah, cheese… How I underestimated it when I lived in America! And wine and cheese together! Heaven! Unfortunately, our cheesy bliss was not to last!
Across the bar from us was a group of extremely wasted farang men. This is not an uncommon site in Bangkok and at first we thought nothing of them. However, only minutes after our platter arrived, one of the larger and drunker farang men bombarded our cheese time! “You twooo look like ughh coupla interesting people tuh have soooome interesting converstions,” slurred the drunk man as he leaned his sweaty body on our table, threatening the sweat-free integrity of the cheese platter. “Sorry, we’re just having girl time,” we politely responded before returning our attention to the cheese. After more drunken muttering from the farang guy and and more gentle refusals from us, he final returned to his table. Cheesy peace! The next thing I knew, drunk farang guy is back with three of his farang friends, inviting themselves to sit down at our table. Can’t a girl eat a cheese platter in peace!? It was bad enough that they had intruded upon our cheese and wine moment but what came next was unacceptable.
“Excuse me, sir, could you please move your chair for one minute?” asked the waitress. A man in a wheelchair was trying to get around our table and drunk farang guy was blocking his path. “Whaaat? Fuck no, I’m not going to move!” responded drunk farang guy to the laughter of his drunk friends. My jaw dropped! Did these guys think they were being funny? Did they think they were impressing us with their rudeness? “Come on,” I said, “just move your chair in for a second!” “Listeeeen,” he drunkenly responded. “I’ve lived here for foooour years! I don’t have to moove! And I speak Thaiii!” What kind of logic is that? I couldn’t stand these guys anymore. My friend and I stood up and left. To this day, I don’t know if the drunk farang ever moved for the man in the wheelchair. You have to be a pretty badly behaved farang not to move for a person in a wheelchair!!
I know that not all farang in Bangkok are as horrid as those ones. Let’s keep it that way. To avoid becoming a disillusioned, cheese platter interrupting, drunk farang asshole, here are
5 tips to being a WELL BEHAVED farang:
1. Remember that you are a guest in a foreign country. Treat people with courtesy and respect.
2. You won’t impress anyone with being a rude, drunk asshole. Control yourself.
3. There is never an excuse for rudeness!
4. Let people eat their cheese platters in peace!
5. Remember that others could base their entire opinions on foreigners after one encounter with you. Don’t make us all look bad!
Karisa is an American girl out to see the world! She dreams of Fun & Fabulous travel in every exotic corner of the world. In her 25 years she’s traveled to over 30 countries on 3 continents, including Thailand which she called home for over a year. At My Hot Pink Passport, she writes about Glampacking, women’s travel and boutique accommodations. In the future, Karisa hopes to explore every continent and to inspire others along the way.
Blog: My Hot Pink Passport: www.myhotpinkpassport.com