My excellent brother and his amazing wife have arrived in Thailand, and he’s blogging about it—they’re going to be there until sometime in January! My sister-in-law Dang (a common name in Thailand) hasn’t seen her family in a long time, so this must be quite the deal for her. My brother, too. I’m so jealous thinking of everything he’s getting to see and do… but mostly I’m just happy for them.
Having spent time in strange countries where I struggled with language and customs, the coolest thing from my perspective is that he’s on the other side of the world but has the in-law connection thing going for him. No mere tourist ever had it so good. They’ve arranged for everything, like the Kwanreun Resort Hotel below:
According to my brother,
Once we arrive in Korat, we check into the resort hotel where Dang’s brother has arranged for us to stay. Right on a lake with stunning views. This kind of room would cost hundreds of dollars a day in Austin, but it’s less than $50 a night. Breakfast at the restaurant downstairs cost about $5 for both of us. That’s a special deal because we’re checked into the resort. Otherwise it would have been about $8.
(I can remember the very first time I spent $50 for a hotel room—Newark, Ohio, and the place was full of Shriners—but I sure can’t remember the last one. It’s been decades, though, so good for them.)
My brother Bob is a very fine writer with a keen eye for observation, as well as a knack for getting into trouble that makes for great stories to tell. For instance, what would you do in a Thai shopping mall parking garage if people had parked in front of you, blocking your vehicle in? It turns out the Thais have it all figured out:
We Americans are used to the concept of parking spaces, and so too are the Thais. We arrived to a half-empty garage just minutes before the mall opened and found a space easily. (Dang’s brother has rented a nice full-size Isuzu pickup truck to shuttle us around.) When we returned to the parking spot, the parking spaces had been blocked up with cars parallel parked in front of the parking spaces. What to do? Before I knew it, Dang and the entourage were pushing cars around. The parallel parked cars were left in neutral with the steering straight ahead. You simply push a few cars forward or back until your egress is a possibility.
I can’t see myself ever leaving a locked car parked in neutral, much less anticipating that strangers would be rolling my vehicle back and forth! Oh Lord, no. That just flabbergasts me, and yet, what a simple solution to a practical, everyday problem when people just trust each other. Experiencing other cultures is such a trip—how else would we have any idea what humans are really capable of, outside of our own little habits and practices?
My brother’s first few posts are full of anecdotes like this, and there will be many more, I’m sure. I keep saying I gotta get out more, but damn, he did, didn’t he?