Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Little Things You Should Know About Thailand

Always remember, in Thailand you must put the fire out before you call the Fire Department. Wherever you are, there will be a Fire Department, with a truck, gathering dust under a tree somewhere, this is not Cambodia, we have all of the accoutrement of a modern country. But always do as Thai people do, that’s my motto, and when I found myself, along with two women friends of mine, on the butt end of a fire-bomb attack, I couldn’t help but notice that neither of them had any inclination at all to call the Fire Department, even though I kept screaming, as I was putting out the fire, with buckets, running around in my underwear, “call the Fire Department!”

Then I discovered the rhythm of the whole thing: when the fire is over and out, you call the fire department so that they can come by in an hour and a half or so and make out a report. Along with the police. Paperwork is very important in Thailand. The police and the Fire Department will file away those reports and they will be part of the permanent record for hundreds of years. Don’t waste time calling them when you should be putting the fire out, that would be stupid.

And nothing will be done, nothing at all, and they will only show up after they have been awoken, had coffee, maybe a shower, definitely a snack, gotten the appropriate forms together, made several phone calls, smoked a cigarette, warmed up the pick-up truck, stopped at the Seven-Eleven for additional snacks, and had a leisurely drive to where the fire was an hour ago, or to the smoldering wreckage, whatever is left.

You should know these things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I was to read a book on traveling or living in Thailand and it didn't have this information. I'd be pissed off.