[Editor’s Note: I (pmmp) met MrDreamTransport at a recent Mango Party. He sent in the submission a week ago but I haven’t heard from him recently (probably on holiday). However, wanted to publish as it’s a different kind of post that hopefully folks will enjoy. He may not be too responsive to comments though if you have any.]
“8’s Company” The Thai version of 3’s company, starring myself and the family.
I guess an introduction is in order first, to give you a little bit of background about me, so you can follow my stories a bit easier. I’m a 30yo semi-retired American, who owns a taxi company in Bangkok with my Thai wife. (shameless plug time) We do airport and hotel pick ups, custom tours, and transportation around all of Thailand, as well as Sak Yant tattoo tours, and trips into Cambodia and Laos for visa runs.
I’ve been living in Thailand for a year-and-a-half now, some of the time spent in Pattaya, some spent in Issan, but mostly just Bangkok. I had never really done the real touristy famous parts of BKK, like Nana Plaza, Patpong, Soi Cowboy, but have seen everything there is to see in Pattaya. Where we reside in BKK, is not so much a tourist friendly part of the city. It’s literally so scarce on farang, that even I point and stare when I see another one of us in a store. It does take some getting used to living in what I like to call “Thai Bangkok”. You will not find any farang restaurants other than fast food, you will not have many people that can communicate with you unless you speak Thai, and furthermore, you are looked at lustfully by almost all women, and despisingly by most Thai men. We are beautiful to Thais, especially very white individuals. I guess I can safely say we are kind of looked at like supermodels, or at least local movie stars.
Anyways, I have a 2-story house/condo with our offices downstairs and living room, along with 1br, and 2br’s upstairs. Seems big for a Thai home right? WRONG!!! To understand why, you need to know the living arrangements here. My wife, our son, my mother and father-in-law, my brother-in-law, his wife and baby daughter, and myself all live together here. Many people will help out their wife’s families by giving them a bit of money every month, I don’t believe in that. I had seen the shack that her parents, brother and wife and baby were living in, and it was smaller than my single bedroom alone, yet they were still happy and never complained.
When my brother in law, started working with my wife, I thought it was only right that I take my wife’s family and move them into a decent home, as our son stayed with them when me and my wife were busy with the taxi company, and for our son, and my brothers baby to live in those conditions, was not right in my heart. When we were moving everything out of their old house, we trashed a closet armoire when we seen near a dozen baby rats and mice run inside as we tried to move it. You wonder why ladies here want to stay so long with a foreigner, why they don’t want to go home, and why they all work, this is exactly why. The daughters just want more for their children and families.
Back to my family for the time being now. Me and my wife have of course the master room here, my parents have the large open room upstairs, although they’ve changed to the downstairs room because of the new UBC they just got down there lol. Our son stays with us most nights me and wife are home together, as my wife often works very hectic hours the little guy (7yrs. old) relishes the chance to sleep with us and get the attention. On the same token, me and my wife don’t have the opportunity to have sex as much as we would like, as I am usually sleeping when she is home, and she is either out working when I am awake, or she is sleeping at home. So having our son come in and rush to see mom first as soon as she gets here, while me and mom have other ideas in mind, poses a bit of a problem sometimes. Luckily its mom and dad to the rescue!!! They know when we call them in here to take our son to sleep in their room, me and my wife want to have an hour or 2 of alone time. Alright I’ll be honest, 15-20 minutes of alone time if its a good night for me. What do you guys expect, not having sex in sometimes as much as a week, you see how long you last!!
Now with my Thai family here, they are very humble, and came from a poor family. When I bought our refrigerator for our house, our microwave and aircon, my mother in law started crying. This was a really big deal to her, very few family members had fridges, but none of them had ever gotten a brand new one. Buying a few lounge chairs for the living room and couch, dad has HIS chair now, just like my dad did, and my grandpa did, and I think most men do. This was the first time he ever had living room furniture, instead of just sitting on the rice grass woven mats. I could go on and on with the things new to most of them, water heater (yes we still have the 55 gallon bucket in the shower room with the bucket, “Issan style shower”. A kitchen set that has a sink, cooktop and storage area, this is luxury for my family. When you really think about it, compared to what most of us are used to, these people that live in the majority in Thailand, know nothing of the comforts we do of home. Home to most Thais, is just where they sleep and stay when not working, it doesn’t hold the same emotion for them. They watch us on tv all the time, and we all have cars, houses, and just buy things whenever we want, is it any wonder they want what we have, and some of them despise us?
Now I never had any intention of getting anything from my wife’s parents, as I just wanted them to be happy and have a decent home, as we were able to get one for the same price as an apartment, so while I cover all the bills here with my wife, except for their new USB downstairs lol, the family still takes care of all the food, all the cooking, cleaning, and STILL go out and work as street vendors 6 days a week. My brother-in-law, he works for me as a driver in BKK, so that was not only my way of ensuring he was contributing and taking care of his family and child, but also making sure he stays out of trouble.So despite most peoples thinking, that Thais just want us to send them money so they can sit around all day and not have to work, you have no idea how most Thai people really live. Add to their regular jobs, even if professionals, police, military, or fairly well off, ALL OF THEM from the country, will return home to help for harvest and planting times for rice.
Now living with 7 Thais, 3 women, 2 men, a child and a baby, can be more than a handful in any situation, but here it is at very least a test of patience and understanding. My bedroom, is kind of like my office/sanctuary, so if I take off up here, while everyone else is downstairs, they know to leave me alone and let me relax or work. Every so often when they pop upstairs, they will open the door to see if everything is alright in my room, or just to plain see what’s going on. That I don’t mind so much as its kind of like they just want to make sure I am alright. What I don’t like, is when they bring my 9 month old niece, lay her down next to my laptop while I’m online, or just leave her on my bed and walk away and leave her here lol. Because it then turns into my son jumping on the bed, the baby trying to type or chew on my laptop, and my 2 dogs chasing all of them around the room. So much for relaxing lol.
When it comes to eating, I never have to worry about cooking, as my sis in law, or wife always cook every night, sometimes pops does, and they always come and grab me, so we can eat together. I don’t really have any family left back home, so its nice to see them want me to come down and eat with them. Rarely, I will grab my father, and brother-in-law and his wife, and take them shopping at Carrefour or Big C. We just buy basic stuff, sodas, maybe a meal or 2, baby food, and I will usually grab something sweet, like a small cake. Our last trip a few days ago, I bought 2 cakes. I didn’t eat dinner with everyone as I was busy at the time, so when I came down the first night, first cake gone. I figured, they probably just left the 2nd one for me, after all these were for everyone. What pissed me off, was the next day I was hungry looking for anything to eat, and the 2nd cake was gone now? My wife was out of town during that time, so it wasn’t her, I guess maybe someone was just too hungry to bother leaving me a piece of my own 2 cakes I bought. Turns out cake #2 was the brothers wife. So since then, we have had some special request beverages for customers coming in, so I made sure to point out the drinks, and say, not for mama, not for papa, only for farang!!! They got a laugh out of this, but I still will kill them, as these were some very hard to find items I had to get.
My sister-in-law works with mom and dad, so her baby stays with the babysitter. If her husband, or mom or dad, or my wife have the day off, then we just watch the baby our self. When everyone comes home, they are cleaning up, taking showers, and cooking usually. The baby then, might as well be alone in the house. If I had 1 baht for every time I grabbed a knife or something dangerous from the baby, grabbed her before she touched the cooktop, picked her up before she started walking away, or just plain typing with one hand, while fending her off with the other, I would be a very rich man. Its kind of like everyone standing in a line, someone says go to the store, then tells the next person in line, and the next, and next, until the last person realized they have to go, that’s about the same kind of mentality when it comes to stopping the baby from doing something she shouldn’t.
Overall, its pretty safe to say, that the stories you hear that Thai families are very close, are absolutely true. The myth that all Thais are lazy and money-hungry has been busted. The myth that we will never be truly accepted by Thais, from what I have seen is not true, but those will likely be stories for another day.
And in true business man fashion, (shameless plug time again) if anyone ever needs a ride while in Thailand, or ever wants to do some really cool and off the beaten track kind of tours of the real Thailand, give me an email and I will be happy to take care of you at some of the best prices in the land.
My contact information:
Stay Tuned for episode #2 of “8’s Company”, where we talk about my transition into the Thai lifestyle and my unique Buddhist experiences, along with any new or funny stories that come up along the way.