Maybe we'll get philosophical here, but I'm not counting on it. I'll post out my thoughts on any interesting questions or topics of the day. I'll try not to be overly effusive I promise.......

I've been remarking at the sporadic flash flooding that has been happening around (A colleague got sand bags delivered the other night)..He lives near a klong (canal). Sensing my rookiedom, a few of the old hands have said "You haven't been here in July yet have you?" Then follows all sorts of scary flooding stories on roads and in parts of town I'd have never expected. It seems every old hand doesn't leave home without a pair of sandals in his/her bag ready to roll up the trouserlegs and stick 'em on. It seems there are at least a couple of deaths each year by poor unfortunates wading through the water and disappearing down an open drain. The upshot would seem to be, be very careful where you tread and don't cross over roads (rivers) you don't know!!! This year is working up to be a particularly bad one for Bangkok in July and August and again in November/ December. How they know so early is a mystery..something to do with the rivers in the north, and the change of weather patterns in the gulf of Thailand...Oh and the fact that Bangkok is in the middle of a flat plain!

Bangkok is not the place you should expect to move around quickly..especially on foot. Some of the pavements are so crammed with stalls and market sellers there's barely space for two lines to file through. Then of course when someone stops to look at something (or to answer a mobile phone) they VERY rarely step to one side. Nobody gets irate or upset. In fact people go out of the way to dawdle as walking too fast in this heat will invariably cause someone to sweat...so they don't. It's all part of a very relaxed attitude to timekeeping here....A point that a few western employers have moaned to me about. On the other hand though, Thais have a damn sight longer working day than we have.....

You gotta feel sorry for students here....Thais love uniforms and students have to wear white shirts/blouses and black skirts/trousers in class/lectures for the entire time of their study! When I first got here I thought they were all schoolkids until it was pointed out to me. Maybe it's a discipline thing , or to stop extravagent displays of money. Either way I have seen precious few radical or alternative looking groups the entire time I've been here....Goths simply don't appear to exist in Thailand!!!

As the weather gets hotter approaching "Songkrang" the official start of the rainy season despite it kicking off in July/August ( Just an excuse to throw water at people and cars for a whole weekend )Things that creep, crawl and bite are not only getting bigger, they're getting aggressive too! I woke up the other night to see an elephantine cockroach squeeze uner the gap of my front door....mmmm nice! Eating outside in certain local establishments is starting to become a gauntlet run of mossie killing....Still I seem to building up something of a tolerance to them, though I still tend to wear my desert boots and socks at night cos itchy feet will drive you nuts. Sand fly bites are whole new level of itchyness....Tiger balm and cortesone cream will just about stop you turning your legs into scabs.

Corruption here is sadly rife. The regular police guys have to buy their own uniforms and supply their own motorbikes!!! It's not unknown for them to supplement their meagre income by fining everyone not wearing a bike helmet in the wee hours of /saturday and Sunday morning...The rot generally spreads from the top down though. The prime minister just sold a massive amount of shares in the Thai equivalent of BT ...AIS to the Shin Corporation for a massive amount of money. all sorts of questions are being asked about his impartiality and neutrality over undeclared interests! The fact that there's an election due sometime this year means that things are hotting up.

Soi (street) dogs are rife here.....If they ever have a "Dead dog impersonating World Championship,Thai dogs will get gold...they lie in the middle of major roads and let traffic drive round them for a laugh, they lie on the pavement underneath the last step down from the 7-11 supermarkets in the dark where you can stand on/trip over them.....They basically lounge wherever they like and are utterly unfazed by anything...you wouldn't want to touch them though..some are so riddled with mange they are half bald!!! Maybe I'll include a few photos!!!

Obviously Thailand is famous for pretty girls......Though in terms of equality here it really is still a mans world.....Going round some of the shopping centres in Siam Square is sometimes rather unsettling......The newest centre to open, the luxurious "Paragon Centre" has hundreds of poor girls dressed up in the most demeaning of outfits to sell their various wears.....Slutty nurse outfits at the perfume counters, Bunny girls wandering round the bra section.....Models in ballgowns standing stock still on podiums for hours at a time with a box of detergent in their hands.....Lassies in extremely pervy Christmas costumes with pink fur halo's giving out free samples of chewing gum....the list goes on......I wonder what the aspiring Thai models make of it all.....I feel kinda embarassed for them sometimes.....

There are "skin whitening " products everywhere..even surgical procedures to do it!!! It's kinda weird.....Thais have an ambivalent attitude to Honky westerners or "farangs" (variation on Francais..the first settlers) as they call them. As much as they criticise our decadent western behaviour and values, some vestige of respecting the "colonials" remains. I think this is partly as they ADORE their king and the royal family structure (yes you do have to stand in cinemas when they play the anthem). He appears to be a very good guy..done a LOT for the people in his 59 year reign. I also think it's because they also have some kind of caste system going on here...certainly the people with the darkest skin appear to be from the Esan region which is also amongst the poorest and the butt of jokes. The magazines are full of models and popstars who are a mix of Thai and European...

For some reason no matter what supermarket I go to, people make zero effort to push their shopping carts to one side in the narrow aisles so you can get by.....It's really weird....Sometimes they really give you the evil eye for gently pushing their cart to one side so you can get by as the haven't noticed your polite coughs or patient waiting..It simply doesn't seem to occur to them......bit like following the highway code.

On a similar note I've decided that tinted car windows (which are the norm here) generally discourage any kind of courteous driving...I think it's something to do with the fact you can't see, let alone make eye contact with the other driver so they drive really selfishly (and sometimes downright dangerously) as a result....I can't ever see me driving here except on the islands or in the deep styx..haven't got the brassneck attitude for it.

I get mightily pissed off at Thai soap operas, especially the daytime ones. Hardly a day seems to go by and some main character housewife is getting a slap off the husband for some minor mistake or indiscretion. It's an evil insidious, almost subliminal tool for promoting a "man's world" society. Too make matters worse if you're watching it in say a barbershop or salon, all the women present will spontaneously and readily agree that the character "had it coming". Soo unacceptable.

Fast Food chains like KFC, Burger King, Pizzaland, and MacDonalds are growing in popularity here..and they aren't cheap..So now we're starting to see a few obese rich kids at the school. What a shame! The very worst of them are constantly fed or rewarded for their bad or insolent behaviour.....How does the song go? "There may be trouble ahead..."