A Year in Bangkok – Moving House

31 12 2010

Farewell to the old place.

As we had mid-term tests in school, I was able to take the day off on Tuesday. We got up ludicrously early and went out for breakfast as we had no food in and nothing to cook it with. Added to that, I was feeling exceedingly sorry for myself as I had just got one of those horrible Thai colds which make you feel that death by a million cigarette burns would be a far preferable option. Upon returning home, we threw ourselves into a frenzy of activity which essentially involved carefully placing every portable possession we had into a cardboard box, repeatedly saying “We don’t need this do we?” and running to the bin with the one thing we both agreed we could dispose of. At ten, four men and a bbt arrived and carried everything to the lifts. We were moving house!

Possessions start to accumulate by the lifts.

Seeing all that stuff at the lifts was a depressing sight. When I came here, I just a suitcase. I had given away or sold all my possessions in England and it had been a remarkably liberating experience. Now, here I am getting bogged down by possessions again. Of course, I have perfectly good sounding (to me) excuses for all of them. For example, the furniture in the apartment we rented was awful and uncomfortable so we bought our own. My first major purchase, before I even met my wife, was a sofa so that I had somewhere comfortable to sit and read. Before that, I went to a bar with comfy seats every night. I’m not quite sure here whether I’m coming up with an excuse for drinking or an excuse for that first big possession but, either way, it sounds good to me. And those four guys completely filled the bbt with our stuff. At one point, I even managed to worry about whether the bbt was big enough!

The 'bleedin' big truck' is starting to fill up.

There used to be a lovely restaurant in our apartment but, like everything else there, it has gone downhill. We decided to have lunch there and I ordered chicken and chips. My chicken came. The meat was still pink so I sent it back. We were then informed that they had no chips – peeling and frying a real potato is beyond them and they had run out of those ubiquitous frozen ‘french fries’ which seem to have over-run the world. So I told them not to bother with the chicken and got a sandwich from down the road. I blame myself for this as I should have known that obtaining a simple food order was unlikely in the restaurant now taken over by the building’s management rather than being independently run. Unfortunately, the new management in the building have taken over and destroyed every successful little business in the building – that is just one of the many reasons we decided to move out.

...and the 'bleedin' big truck' starts to be emptied at the other end.

Then off we went – the four guys and our stuff in the bbt and us in a taxi. Up to now, the house has been used mainly for storage so we had come out the weekend before to do some work on it and sort out the stuff but a weekend wasn’t long enough. A niece is going to come and take some of the furniture so we moved that into the car port before the bbt arrived and everything was brought into the house. We quickly got the stereo set up, unpacked some CDs and opened a beer. We were home! Then it was an early night as we were both tired and I had to go back to school on Wednesday.

School on Wednesday, but the two students on the left are actually teachers!

We woke up on Wednesday morning to the sound of birdsong – how lovely that is after those years in the city centre. I toddled off to work – my journey time is about the same but I now skirt the city instead of going right through it and my wife headed off to work a bit later. On the way to work, I notice what I think of as a ‘stork’ tree. Storks seem to congregate on one tree, all fighting to get a little standing room and yet they ignore other, empty, nearby trees. I suppose none of them wants to be a ‘Johnny-no-mates’. They can be quite spectacular sights.

A 'stork' tree.

I didn’t come straight home from work on that first day though as it was the staff new year party. And a very pleasant party it was too. Everybody except me was dressed up – I felt it had been a remarkable achievement to have found my regular work clothes that morning, never mind anything else. Also, they had forgotten to tell me it was a themed night but I am used to being the odd one out. There were two themes and one of them must have been cowboys as maybe half the people were dressed as cowboys. I couldn’t work out the other theme though – some were dressed as students, some as witches, some in drag, some in traditional Thai costume and one as the fairy from the top of the Christmas tree. Maybe that second theme was just called ‘freestyle’?

Freestylers.

An even bigger achievement than getting dressed was getting home. The school owner had brought some beer to the party to share with me (he’d told his wife it was really for me!) which was most pleasant. I got a taxi back and successfully directed the driver back to the housing estate – no mean achievement in the dark and after a few beers. The streets all look alike though so I tried to direct him down the wrong one but realised in time as the shop on our corner wasn’t there. The houses are probably the local equivalent of terraced houses back home, although they are given the much grander name of ‘town houses’ here. The trouble is, they all look the same. Especially in the dark. Especially after a drop of ale. And I hadn’t a clue what number ours was, not that I could see any numbers anyway. And everybody goes to bed early here, so no houses were lit up. Again, Lady Luck stepped in and, by chance, I stopped the taxi at the house next door and was able to spot our house by the stuff we had dumped in the carport.

This limbo dancing isn't as easy as it looks!

For tonight, we have a bottle of champagne in the fridge and if we are lucky, we will manage to unpack some glasses. I wish all of you a very happy new year 2011.

Home sweet home.

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2 responses

31 12 2010
Francis Stafford

Well done Ben. At least when we moved out of Bangkok I wasn’t working but judging by the size of your move, you’re very brave to risk doing so a). between Christmas & New Year and b). when you’re both working the next day!! Wishing you every happiness in your new home with lots of fresh adventures to report. Celebrate the New Year in in style and all best wishes for 2011.

1 01 2011
Ben Salmons

Thank you, and best wishes for the new year to you too.

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