I think that social media often presents a one-dimensional view of a person’s life, making it seem more perfect than it actually is. One of my friends jokes that most of the images on Facebook are actually posed shots that people have taken of themselves: “Look at me! I’m soooo happy!! And my life is super-fantastic!!”

An example. Generally, this style of photography is more successful if you
a) photoshop the camera out of the picture, and
b) avoid taking photos that are obviously in your bathroom

Sometimes, however, life really is one-dimensionally super-fantastic. This past weekend, we left our sewage-scented apartment and headed to an island off the coast of Pattaya with a group of other teachers. Koh Larn has numerous stray dogs and cats, beautiful beaches, and accommodations that don’t wreak of raw sewage: a recipe for success!

Look how much I love puppies, Todd!! So much!! Why won’t you buy me a puppy, Todd??

Interestingly, the entire island was populated with a combination of Thai locals and Russian tourists. An ice cream vendor asked Todd if he was a Russian model. Maybe if the teaching thing doesn’t pan out… We spent most of our time swimming in the giant bathtub that is the Gulf of Thailand. Not to make generalizations about the apparel choices of other nationalities, but the speedos and thongs were out in force. We were also treated to several lengthy photo shoots involving ample curves amply exposed.

The beach, including a fully dressed Thai man, but minus the naked Russians.

On our second day on the island, we rented scooters and took a tour of the island. I realize that the legal system may not impinge on fun in Thailand as much as it does in Canada, but even so, I was surprised at the scooter rental process: Todd signed his name to a contract that the shop handed to us, and they gave us four scooters. No identification or deposit or credit card number required. I guess the fact that we were on an island limited our escape routes, but still…

This was a photo op: Todd had his own MANLY scooter (complete with MANLY helmet and MANLY murse).

It was great to get out of the city, and a super-fantastic time was had by all.

A diamond in the rough…

Our apartment is a gem. And by “gem,” I mean a diamond in the coal stage. T’s school decided to construct a block of apartments to house both new teachers and a few older students. In theory, this is a good plan. It’s located a block from the school, and the administration can control costs to some extent. In practice, however, it has been slightly less brilliant.

We had hoped to come to Bangkok a few days early, to have a chance to settle in before orientation activities officially began. When we were told that our apartment wouldn’t be ready until the very day of our arrival, we became suspicious about the degree of the apartment’s “finished-ness.” Sure enough, when we arrived in Bangkok at 2am last Friday morning, we were taken to a hotel. The apartments were “almost ready.” Shocker. After three nights in a hotel, we were finally taken to our new building. At first glance, all the teachers were excited by our new home. The apartments look good – Ikea meets sleek’n’modern meets fake wood. “New design trend!” proclaimed the building manager.

Todd doing his favourite activity – flossing – on our New Design Trend couch.

Upon closer inspection, however, all has not been so rosy. In their rush to complete the apartments, the workers missed a few key details. Some were relatively minor, though disheartening, like the thick layer of construction dust coating all surfaces, and the splotches of paint and glue on the new tile floor. After having a minor, jet-lag induced meltdown, I sucked it up and cleaned it up. This was semi-pointless, as construction is still raging around us: filth wafts in every time we open the door. The workers are hurrying to finish the remaining units before the students move in.

Scraping paint off the floor with a kitchen knife.

Other problems haven’t been so easy to “suck” up. Here I am referring to the toilet in our master bathroom. It “sucked” for the first few days, but now it seems to be more interested in “heaving” and “belching.” I’m not totally sure what is wrong with it, but it appears that all the raw sewage in the building has found its way into our master bathroom’s toilet bowl. First, it simply refused to drain. As we were drifting off to sleep one night, however, it began to belch up new surprises: “get the bathmats off the floor!” I yelled to Todd. It threatened to overflow, but soon settled. It seems, however, that every time we start to relax, we hear a familiar belch. Fortunately, we have a second bathroom, although who knows how long it will be before that toilet joins the revolt(ing).

Where hope goes to die. I would have included a more graphic shot, but I want to keep this blog PG.

We went to the manager’s office today, and spoke to one of her minions. We explained through a translator that our toilet was malfunctioning, in addition to the lights in both bathrooms. He was very kind, and quickly sent workers to repair the problem. They brought in ladders and equipment, and shut themselves in the two bathrooms. After 10 minutes, they left. Our lights have been fixed, our white bathmat is perma-stained from the filth they tracked in (yes mom, I know that buying white anything is a boneheaded thing to do), and our toilet is still brimming with society’s detritus.

Our brand-new bathmat after Electrician Dude finished with it. Continue reading

Sawaddi-kaaaaaa! (English: Helloooooo!)

T-bone and I arrived one week ago in Thailand, and I figured it was time to get ye ol’ blog up and running. This will be a place for us (and by us, I mean me) to chronicle our adjustment to life in Thailand. I’ll be expounding on a wide array of important topics, including what kind of meat Thailand Ikea uses in its famous “Swedish” meatballs, and how it is that every toilet in our apartment block seems to drain into our bathroom’s bowl. Discussions of my efforts to “get a job’n’get a life” will also likely occur. I will do my utmost to include both frivolity and narcissism in each post.

I’ve been told that pictures are essential to a blog, so here’s a few (taken with our point’n’click – we clearly don’t know how to use the flash) to get us started: Continue reading