The Downside to Living in Awesome Bangkok

Before I begin, I discussed previously what an awesome city Bangkok is, but in interest of fairness, it's not Xanadu. I love this city, but let's discuss--


The Downside of Living in Bangkok as a Foreigner

1. Traffic- There is a light, the Sathorn light to be exact, that often takes in excess of half an hour to get through. To get through one light!
I remember taking a taxi ride home through the district on an exceptionally busy night and our poor driver, who is used to the horrendous congestion here, kept dropping his head and sadly stating, "oohhff, trrafffikk." That might have been the only English word he spoke.
Bangkok traffic, depending on the metric, is often ranked the worst in the world. It's something all Thais are proud of.

2. Language Barrier - With a completely different alphabet, featuring a whopping 44 consonants and 15 vowels, that combine into at least 28 vowel forms, and several different tones, Thai is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn.
Worst, even if you learn it, if you use the wrong tone, people are not going to understand you because you'll want to say, "How much to go swimming in the pool?" and with just a slightly off intonation they'll hear, "How much to pour concrete in the pool."
The good news is that everything here has a price.
Just an example of how infuriating it can be, I went into Starbucks and ordered an Americano, and they looked at me blankly like I was from Mars. After smiling and repeating the order twice to the bewildered barista, the manager came over, and pronounced, "Amer-I-Caaa-NO!" in a Thai accent to help enlighten me.
Since then when ever I order the drink, I always make sure to state it in an exaggerated Thai accent.

3. It Can Be Lonely - Most foreigners stays are transient. You're unlikely make great friends with Thais simply because of the massive language divide I described above. You can still go out and have fun, but you'll find most people move away quickly.

4. The City is Dirty- From the ubiquitous plastic given out with every purchase blowing along the sidewalks, to the rats walking beside you on the city streets, there is nobody that will tell you Bangkok is a clean city ... Maybe Sean Spicer.

5. Customer Service- is generally atrocious. Part of it is that Thais make very little in salary and thus really don't care too much (in general.) Business owners all over Thailand, when they get a good employee, they hang onto them. They're rare commodities.

5. Common Sense- a lack of -- Thai society is very status oriented. You respect your elders and those in power, and you do as they say. if there is a challenge/ problem, it goes up the chain of command to be solved.
An example: I was at an completely empty restaurant with my girlfriend who ordered a coffee. A few later the waitress placed a cup of java on the table next to us. It didn't seem to make sense in the moment, and made less and less sense as it sat there cooling for several minutes until I called the waitress over and asked her if that was the coffee we ordered. She then called the manager, who looked bewildered at me, went back to check his logs, and discovered the coffee was ordered t be given to table 32 instead of 33, "Apologies sir."
Considering there was only one table in operation and two people in the entire place, wouldn't you be in the least suspicious that you might be delivering it to the wrong table?
Didn't matter, that's what the order said. Lack of common sense.

6.  The Weather - Thailand is known for having three seasons- hot, hotter, and hottest. I don't mind heat, but the humidity coupled with it can be oppressive. Something to to note and understand before moving here.

Look, there's a downside to everything, and I love living and being here, remember to read up on what an awesome city Bangkok is, I just want to give a balanced view of the situation.


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