Almost A Local, Underwear, and Thai Process

by Tara Russell, Apr 29, 2004 | Destinations: Thailand / Bangkok

You know you're almost a local when you find bugs in your food, nonchalantly remove them, and continue eating without interruption. Suddenly out of the corner of your eye you notice something quickly scurrying along the floor, you look up to confirm it's a cockroach, and resume eating as normal (very typical).

You know you're REALLY a local when you find bugs in your food and don't blink--eating them with ease like everything else on your plate. OR when you buy a bag full of bugs on the street for a quick, nutritious snack (I'm not quite here yet?)!

For our anniversary back in January, Jeff wanted something really unique and special--some new underwear. Being that it was our 2nd anniversary, the cotton anniversary, I thought, "Why not, this is perfect!?" Off to the Thai department store I went....surely buying underwear around the world should be fairly universal. I walk into the men's underwear department which manages to span a space the size of two basketball courts if not more. There must be over 40 brands of underwear and equally as many colors and styles within each brand--blue, red, green, gray, WHERE ARE THE WHITE ONES??, peach (yes, this was the men's department), and finally, white...low-rise, HIGH-rise (HIGH!), classic, brief, boxer brief, fly, no-fly, seamless, dri-fit, and so many more, give me a break!?!....where are the regular Hanes I thought all men wore? To make matters more complicated, most are sized S, M, L, and XL...which means?!? Where are the handy little waist numbers when you need them? So I proceed to roam around the section and "window shop," eyeing each of the packages (it might be easier to choose if they were not in small not-very-revealing boxes). The window shopping just isn't working, and soon I have three saleswomen taking underwear out of numerous boxes and plastic wrapping, holding them up, and trying to get me to choose. Something about this process feels very wrong! I'm embarrassed just being in the men's underwear section, let alone having a strange women hold up underwear I may purchase for my husband. Jockey classic, Hanes classic--these should definitely work, plus I JUST WANT TO LEAVE QUICKLY. I'll take one of each. Plus, like any other thrifty wife, I purchase a few of the "sale" pairs--blue, gray, random styles (BAD move). Next thing I know, I have $25 worth of underwear for Jeff (which buys a lot of underwear in Thailand), none of which I know will fit or be what he wants. To make a long story short(er), Thai sizes are a BIT SMALLER than US sizes and I'll just say that none of the underwear "made the cut" at our household. I painfully learned my lesson and asked a visitor to bring Jeff some good 'ol classic Hanes from the US.

Thai process (not written up in any of Stephen Covey's books). Renting a movie in Thailand can be so gratifying--just 50 or 75 cents for a VCD (wee-cee-dee) that you can keep a week! Hard to beat that! We chose the Japanese video store in town since there were so many convenient locations--fantastic, we can rent movies anywhere across town! In order to sign up for a membership you must pay a small fee (a couple bucks?), and then you're in. Last week, I went in to another branch of the store for the first time. I happened to be picking up some things at the Lotus (Thai Walmart), and there was another branch of the store, so I ducked in quickly to get a movie before the weekend--how convenient! After waiting about 20 minutes behind oodles of customers, I reached the counter and the woman frantically looked through her computer. "You aren't in our system," she said.

"Of course I am, here's my card." At this point I'm slightly annoyed having been in line what seems like FOREVER waiting to rent the movie.

"No, we don't have you in the system." She's panicking now, talking with her co-workers now, showing them my card, wondering what she's doing wrong. "When was the last time you came here?" she asked.

"Usually I rent from the President Park location," I replied.

"Oh!" The light went on for her, "Well you can only rent from that location--it's not possible to rent at another store. You will have to sign up for a membership here too."

"What?!" But I already paid my membership fee there, and you're the SAME STORE, how can I be a member at both?"

"Thai process."

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