Today was a sucktackular in that if it could go wrong it did go wrong. One of the those living the dream meets reality moments. It’s what makes life interesting at times but then reality sucks balls doesn’t it? This one is a long read but it will help you understand some of what it takes to deal with shit here.
First off, I had to be up at 6:45 AM this morning. This is from a guy that routinely goes to bed at 5 AM now. Why? I was off to the Land Transportation Office to finally get my Thai drivers licenses (yes licences which will be revealed).
Managing to get out of the bar early I got home at 1 AM only to not fall asleep until 3 AM and then only with a lot of help of pharmaceuticals. It was mid-weird dream where, I no shit thought I was in M*A*S*H 4077 that the alarm penetrated my brain.
I stumbled into the shower and managed to put clothes on to my body and out the door I went. So I thought, forgot my phone and bike keys. Fuck me!
Breaking And Entering
It was when I attempted to turn the key in the lock to open the door that suddenly the tumbler was spinning but the door wasn’t unlocking. Fucking kill me. Worst possible time for this shit to happen.
After a few more attempted to get the door open I just finally took my shoulder to the door and just smashed it in. The door lock shattered and shot out of the door frame. Nothing like breaking into your own place at 7:15 in the morning and knowing you need to be some place at 7:30.
The way my door is setup I have standard door and there is a padlock on top of that and then a security door with another lock. So I didn’t really give a shit that the door didn’t close 100%, it was secure enough and contrary to the security measures, my area is safe and breaking and entering isn’t high on the list of my neighbors activities.
Buddha Give Me Energy
There was no way I was going to make it through the morning without a fuckload of caffeine. So stopped at Family Mart and should have been out in about 1 minute. Nope. Reality bites me in the ass again.
Ahead of me is some Thai woman stocking up for her morning party. Few big bottles of Leo Beer, some Sangsom, ice, soda water, and coke. Oh, and bags of crisps (chips for you Americans). Jesus fucking christ, why of all times?
So patiently wait while this is happening but with heavy sighing to get my point across that I’m in a fucking hurry. Of course the Thai wants everything double bagged.
Finally I pay and roll the 100 meters to the meeting spot to the service I used to do my license.
I get driven out to the office which is in the Bumfuck part of Pattaya. Like, I could not find it if you paid me. We get there and get a number. I am 006 and just go great. All my paperwork was done by the company, well let me clarify that, they just did the medical which I could have done on my own. I had already gotten my residency certificates on my own. So they basically did nothing but give me a ride and “expedite” my time.
We get and my number is called. I handed over my water damaged international driver’s license the one my friendly police officers looked at nightly. Said something to the Thai lady I was with who went ka (yes) and then said I am no longer fast tracked. I lost my shit.
I was like what the hell is wrong? Your license is fake. I’m like how is it fake? I give it to the Royal Thai Police who sure as shit are more intimidating than you almost nightly and they are fine with it. The answer was we are not police, license fake. You must be out of your fucking mind.
My supposedly useful Thai wasn’t saying shit. God forbid a Thai have a confrontation. I’m like sort this shit out. Cannot. Which translates to I’m not going to argue for you. On your own farang.
You Got 2 Options
So we go back downstairs and outside and I’m like lady, this is bullshit. Your boss told me my license was good. You saw the water damage, the police take it almost nightly why in the hell is this an issue now? She then just stares at me and smiles.
I know what that Thai smile means. It means two things. One is I don’t understand or the other is you are pissing me off and I’m thinking murderous rage. I knew which version I triggered as she was on the phone desperately calling her boss who wasn’t answering while not engaging me.
Not going to back down due to “loss of face” for her because I paid a good chunk of change for this service I’m like your boss isn’t answering. What can we do because I’m beyond pissed off about this entire situation.
Finally she gives up on the phone and starts to speak to me again still smiling and still wanting to kill me. We can get copies of your American license and your passport. Now have to watch video and take tests. If not do go back and we refund you money.
Fine. I’ll take option suck even though your boss said I didn’t have to.
Back We Go
After some photocopies we didn’t have to wait for our number, just went back upstairs and handed the now acceptable paperwork to the bitch behind the counter. I just stared at her with the same Thai smile plastered on my face. She knew what version I was giving her too.
The Thai staff person I was with gives me a number and tells me to go to a room and the rest will be done. Since I had time to kill I message her boss going this is beyond fucked. Why in the hell did I pay for this and your staff could not be bothered to argue my point considering you guys deal with them daily and obviously donate generously for the tea (read between the lines there)?
After a bit a ladyboy walks in and starts talking in Thai and crap English. I actually understood the the Thai better. In effect, we had to go do a few tests then watch a movie. Yay! Just wait for your number to be called and otherwise sit down and wait.
What I am about to describe is the most ridiculous exercise every done in the history of motor vehicle administration hell I have dealt with and in the past 2 years I have dealt with them a lot.
So my number gets called with about 30 other people. First test, is a color test. Just a giant fucking color wheel with red, yellow, green circles and the ladyboy just points at various circles and you give the color out while standing maybe 1.5 meters away.
I watched one guy fail. Fucking moron. The rest of us do it in Thai or English depending on nationality. I was too tired to give a shit so did it in English. Passed.
Next test is even better. You line up two sticks remotely in a box. The ladyboy explains the blatantly obvious procedure and how to use the remote control. Ok.
We all pass and now back into the room for our 30 minute video. It was a Thai woman clearly, inferior to the Thai man teaching her how to drive and passing on much wisdom. The final 6 minutes or so was European shot footage of accidents set to Evanescence – My Immortal. There was even a blooper reel. I paid about zero attention as I was getting messages and sending them mocking the entire process. One of the messages was from the business owner.
Making New Friends
It turns out the Thai staffer was so enraged with me she left the office and went back to the other office. Her boss is messaging me going you need to calm the hell down, I am here now as she won’t deal with you anymore. To my response was why did I pay you?
He then goes you don’t fuck with Thai people. She lost face and you don’t do this here. I was like dude, your staff did fuck all. I get it, you don’t argue it out but you guys do this daily and for her to just not say this is my customer, he deals with police and you are not accepting his license is not good business.
His response was she wanted to call police on you because she lost face. I had to come here because she didn’t want to deal with you. I just went whatever, I’m so fed up with this entire system I can’t be fucked anymore. It was such an empty threat that I took it about as seriously as a hooker telling me she loves me.
Clearly now, that I have given accurate color readings, lined up two sticks remotely and supposedly watched a video I am now capable of driving on a Thai license.
So I wait for my name to be called and go pickup my paperwork that says I’m now a functional driver and head out to wait for my name to be called. The owner takes my paperwork and jumps the queue and comes back with my number. Apparently as part of my package they pre-pay. What a lifesaver that was – NOT!
He is like just chill out and wait I’m going to get a pack of smokes. So I sit there and just listen for my number in Thai. There are 3 booths for taking photos to get your licence. Two are running, the third? Well it must have been that dudes break because he was crashed out dead asleep at the desk. Tempted to take a picture but considering the friends I made already I took a pass.
Finally my number gets called after about 20 minutes. Go to the booth and then suddenly some Thai guy jumps in front of me and takes my spot. I just went fuck it. Don’t much care anymore. This is the most fucked place I have ever dealt with in Thailand in my life.
Thai guy finishes, girl sets me down and takes my photos. Then tells me to wait for my name to be called. Wait about 10 more minutes and I picked up my 2 drivers licenses.
Thats right, Thailand be the efficient country that it is doesn’t just do one license. Nope you get a licence for a car and a license for a bike. Each is separate and each has a fee attached.
Smile For The Camera
The owner and I talk and I’m like dude, I get it I annoyed your staffer but look at it from my perspective. I hired you to expedite this not to make it a living hell. She never once questioned the lady or defended me when she declared my international license fake. Even when I said the police deal with it daily. How would you feel?
He gave me a lecture on Thailand about face and not pissing off people. I went, Thais lose their shit all the time to other Thais. I get it they can haul me the fuck out of here but honestly to say my license was a fake when it clearly wasn’t beyond just some water damage was a bit much. Your staffer did nothing but stand there and leave me on an island.
We agreed that the situation was handled poorly on both parties. I lost my shit because I was tired and she could have done more and explained what was going on and why. So photo was posed for with me smiling holding my 2 drivers licenses.
Then back to Pattaya that I knew and off into the daylight with my spiffy new licenses.
Operation Door Handle
I still had to replace the busted door handle I bashed in this morning. So off to HomePro (think Loews or Home Depot in US) to buy a new door handle. Luckily one right near where I live so stop in and get a new handle. The overly redundant staff that these stores have pointed out it was on sale for 179 Baht from 399 Baht. Whatever, I’ll take it.
Get a screwdriver and a pair of plyers just in case because you never know when you need to just rip shit off. Got some pointers from Pattaya Bound and off to the room to replace the door handle.
Fairly straight forward once you understand how to remove the actual knob. There is a small latch in the handle you depress to pull the knob off to get to the screws. Then its just a matter of pulling the old unit out and putting the new unit in. I have done home repairs before just never a door handle.
I managed to accomplish this in a matter of about 10 minutes and felt satisfied with my repairs after testing. Pat on the back and job done.
Reality Sometimes Sucks
Part of this was me ranting. It was a shit day coupled with my sheer exhaustion.
First off, I can’t recommend using a service for a license. You can do it yourself and get the exact same result I did minus them doing the payment stuff ahead of time. You can get the medical certificate from any clinic, the residence forms at Immigration, and photocopies ahead of time. My own laziness and hatred of dealing with that type of shit means I just pissed away money for something I could have done myself.
The door problem just is one of those things about life. Shit happens everywhere. I got lucky in that I could bust in the door as easy as I did. Not something you want to do at ass o’clock in the morning but life goes on. Replacing it was just a matter of time and gave me some satisfaction I had control over something today.
Still The Dream
The reality is living anywhere you gotta deal with shit. You just take for granted some things but when you live in a foreign country things are harder. You got a language and cultural barriers. Regardless of how much you think you know, until you come across the system that just blows up all your understanding in a few hours.
This is life and anyone thinking about moving to another country, it’s going to be apart of it. Take the good and the bad and find a happy medium. Not everyday is going to be kitten and rainbows with BJs falling from the heavens. It still beats working a soulless job and trying to conform to expectations of others that don’t share the same values at you.
So a shit day in Thailand is better than a typical day back in America. The dream does meet reality from time-to-time but I’ll take because there are far more good days than bad.