As a sit on my balcony, with only a pair of shorts on looking out to sea and enjoying a cup of Tetley tea, it would be too easy to suggest I have found utopia. Firstly, utopia does not exist and secondly – however good it is living in Thailand – I do miss many things that come from living in the UK. I think as an expat it is easy to forget what these things are, but when you start penning a list it becomes quite extensive!
Now before you read on, this is not intended as a back handed slap in the face for Thailand. I have chosen Thailand as my home to live and the other qualities outweigh the negatives. I often feel I need to tread carefully when I dare have an opinion online! These are simple observations of my own about some of the positives I left behind in the UK when I came to live in Thailand.
1. Art and Culture
As I get older I realise how nourishing these kind of things are, when I was back in London recently I went to the theatre and loved it. There is very little in Thailand to stimulate you in quite such a way.
2. British Food and Supermarkets
Again, after a trip back to the UK, even a slice of toast tasted great. The bread quality in the UK is very high. Yes we do get some Western foods in Thailand but it’s still a very small concession area and it is expensive. I could taste the difference in the standard of food in just about all that I ate. Thai food is obviously superb in Thailand, but it’s even better when the meat is a better grade and for that you don’t get it from the street vendors.
Things I loved more than I realised when last back in the UK. A cup of tea tastes better, toast, fried breakfast, sausages and bacon, pies, range of soft drinks – that are not all carbonated and sugary like found in Thailand, chocolate, and eggs.
3. Good driving manners
Thailand is terrible, just terrible, when it comes to driving standards – and drivers are aggressive. In the UK there is order and common courtesy.
4. Able to go and watch a high level football match
I used to love going to watch Spurs play most home games in London, here I do get to see any live match on TV that I want – but nothing used to beat that whole day experience. A few beers in the local pub before the game, in the stadium and then a portion of chips on the way home. Simple pleasures.
5. Surrounded by stimulating conversation
Conversation by and large is not the same as it was for me in the UK. Occasionally I may meet people in the business world where I get stimulating conversations, but on the whole I feel starved. It is more common with Thais to be talking about food and fun topics and from some of the local expats here it is a more sedate affair. It is very difficult to find and if you do have a circle of friends in Thailand where you can talk current affairs, technology and the likes then you are very lucky.
Nothing beats the Christmas feeling of being back in the UK. For starters, the whole nation celebrates this time of the year. In Thailand the only evidence of Christmas is when you go into one of the expat pubs and restaurants.
7. The Seasons
Year round sunshine is great, I don’t even own a coat anymore. However, I also enjoyed the seasons back in the UK, Spring and Autumn were beautiful, the fresh air and crispness when you went for a walk in a park was just divine.
8. Things getting done when you ask
In the UK when you arranged for someone to come and do something, they would. Strange that. In Thailand it is always hit and miss whether the person you rung will turn up, and if they do it will mostly be late. Also if you ask a Thai worker if they can fix something they will say yes, even if they cannot. Often when the job has been ‘fixed’ it will need fixing again later. In the last year alone, my balcony ceiling was repaired and then the damaged area painted over with a gloss brown paint rather than matte – so the colours did not match; and I have a mirror put up on my wall crooked.
9. Motivated people
Often the relaxed lifestyle of living in Thailand is very pleasant, but that transfers into the work place too. In the UK I loved the passion, motivation and competitiveness from working in London.
10. Decent Pub
We have some good bars in Thailand but they are not a patch on a tradition English boozer.
11. Cheap Quality Car Choice
The choice of cars in Thailand is limited unless you want to pay over the odds for an imported car. In the UK the choice is yours and at a fraction of the price. My brother drives around in a wonderful five year old Audi turbo sports he uses just as a run around and it cost him the equivalent of 150k baht.
12. Feeling Protected
In the UK when I see the police I feel protected, enough said.
13. Family and Friends
I have saved the biggest thing for last. Being in Thailand comes at the expense of leaving friends and family.
So there you go, that is my list. Do you agree with my list or can you add to it? Please do add your comments below, I would love to hear from you. I guess with any country you live in there is a trade off, no one place is perfect and its about decided where personally the pros outweigh the cons. I could write a long list of things I disliked about living in the UK, but that can wait until another time.