Friday, December 28, 2007


No surprise, but Thailand is so disorganized. A couple of weeks ago I took a Saturday trip to a remote campus with a couple of Ajans. "Be at the Big C at six thirty," were my instructions, clear as a bell. I was there, early of course. After a while I got a call, where are you? Well, I'm at the Big C. After a little bit of trying to tell me where to go, I was told to wait for the research assistant. She showed up in about five minutes and walked me back to the car, an exhausting in the heat almost ten minutes for me, lots of steps were involved, those I can't do fast anymore.

Today, another trip to a remote campus, meet me . . . I volunteered to be at the Major Cineplex, close to where I had to walk to the last time. Again, six thirty. I was there, early again. Finally at ten to seven I called the Ajan. Where are you? Well, I'm at the Major just like I said. After trying to tell me where to go for about five minutes on a cell phone on a typically loud Thai main road, she says to me, can you come to the 7-11? I had already seen five 7-11's this morning, and there's one around every corner, but I resisted the temptation to say something sarcastic. "Wait there, Nong (research assistant) will come and get you."

"Can you find the 7-11 again," well, yes, because now I know which of the 7,000 7-11's there are in Bangkok. It was seven o'clock. "I hope that you weren't waiting for me long."

No, we just got here. Half an hour late, I got up in the dark for nothing and that Hour of the Wolf, the hour before sunrise, humans really like to sleep through that hour. At least I do.

This could be so easy. There's no traffic, it would take literally five minutes to pick me up close to my apartment at a place certain. As it is, I have a considerable walk and then dodgy public transportation and then another good walk to get to Big C or Major, it all takes a half a hour, and then there's the half hour when the Thai person tries to find me, although I'm at the place that we agreed upon and everyone knows were it is.

But if it were well organized, it wouldn't be Thailand anymore, it would be Germany or something, and being Thailand is better.

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