I often run across articles by ex-pats on the topic of what they miss most about home and the things that irk them about Thailand. My first thought when I read these sad soliloquies is “Why don’t you bugger off home then?” and my next thought is “Do I miss anything about home?” But the answer to that question is always “H-ll no!” If I’m honest, I get nostalgic once a year for California wine and driving up PCH, but it only lasts about a minute. I’ve been in Thailand for nearly a decade and I keep waiting to feel what these other sad sacks constantly moan about—the sweet incomparable motherland.
Thailand is better than The West in all the ways that matter. It’s cheaper, it’s warmer, the beaches look like movie sets, and best of all the people are lovely. Many Thais have told me that the ratio of good Thais to bad Thais is 50-50. I’d put it closer to 80-20, or even 90-10. And after visiting 25 countries and working on 3 continents, experience has shown me that no other nation comes close to that ratio. And as for women—my motto for the last 8 years has been “Once you go Asian, you can’t do Caucasian.” In my 20s I lived in a bachelor pad in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, and my next-door neighbour was a retired movie cameraman who worked in Thailand on-location filming Rambo II. It was that experience that changed him forever. A few times a week, pretty Thai women would come to stay with him at his house. Year after year—only Thai women. I asked him why he only dated Thai women, and his simple reply was “Because they’re the best.” I thought he was crazy, of course. Until I moved here. Now I agree with him wholeheartedly and spend most of my free time trying to find the exact right number of girlfriends a man in his prime can maintain. Three is too few. Nine is too many. I theorize that the perfect number is six, but I must conduct more research to be sure. But the point is, they’re beautiful inside and out. I can’t say the same about the Western women I’ve dated. And I could never get away with multiple girlfriends in the West, nor would I want to. Talk about torture.
When I miss a Western country, it’s always England. I worked there for a year just before coming to Asia, and I have great memories of wasting my weekend’s record shopping in Camden and Soho, and pub crawls and museum visits. But then I remember the bitter cold, wind, rain, and winter months with only 6 hours of sunshine, and I think “Oh, right. That sucked.”
Right now I’m watching from a distance as my home country tears itself apart. This process has been going on for almost 2 decades, and it’s hitting a real boiling point. But when I get fed up with reading the news, I can turn off my computer and head down to Nana, and all the chaos of home melts away. I don’t know what I’d do if I was back there in all that mess. Probably lose my marbles. The thought of paying taxes to a government comprised of criminals makes my stomach turn. Virtually everything you put in your mouth has something in it that causes cancer. The police seem to devolved into a gang of crazed lobotomized cowards who kill unarmed people and hide from school shooters. My single friends at home are afraid to talk to women, because somehow in 2018, speaking can be defined as sexual assault. Either that or they’ve gotten fat on crap GMO food and/or shaved their heads and claimed a new gender.
Meanwhile, I have a series of what I call “Thailand problems.” Do I go for a burger, or order pizza? It’s a dilemma. Do I have Ploy over, or Oil? Or both? Tough decision. Do I go to Cowboy or Nana? Lighthouse has a great happy hour, but Nana’s got the taco truck. I’m wringing my hands. Do I watch the sunset at a rooftop bar, or start Ponging early at Paddy Fields? Stephen Hawking himself couldn’t solve this quandary.
So while some ex-pats can’t seem to break out of the grass-is-always-greener mentality, I see Thailand through different coloured glasses. No, not rose-coloured. Beer-coloured. Or wait, no, that’s mixing metaphors. Sounds like I’m referring to beer goggles. That’s incorrect, my vision is clear. I love Thailand. I will always prefer it to the West, and nothing will change my mind.