|Panoramic view from the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Center|
In an email I'd sent to my best female friend there I was going on about things I'd planned for my next visit, and her reply began "Who's an excited bunny, then?" Having never heard the phrase before it made me laugh, but she was 100% correct: at about two weeks from my flight date I was one excited bunny.
Although I'm not two weeks away from my departure this time - closer to six, unfortunately - I've already begun to count the days, and if I were a small child again I'd probably be pestering my mother all too frequently how many more days there were left until I got to go, rather like the ageless child request "are we there yet?"
As usual - and despite my better judgement - I've again chosen to repeat the same actions and expect different results and have overbooked my schedule, figuring that all is going to go smoothly and on schedule in a country where the people and culture overall rarely succeed on either level. That's a generalization, obviously, but it's not all that far off the mark.
Part of that is their overall laid-back mai pen rai attitude, and some of it is just an inherent part of the individuals themselves. "Hawaiian time," "Filipino time," "Mexican time," "Tropics time" - I've learned to adjust to them all, so "Thai time" doesn't really bother me, and I'd suggest you not let it bother you, either. Schedule the extra time into your day and you'll keep your systolic/diastolic numbers in much better check. Losing your temper in most any situation will cause you to lose face, and that's not something you want to do there. There are a few other stories about that, if you'd care to reference the thought: "The Golden Rule vs the Ugly Americans", "Keeping a Cool Heart #1" and "Keeping a Cool Heart #2".
Planning too many things in a short visit has bitten me on the butt more than a few times, but something's fallen off the list almost as often and I end up with idle time anyway, just not usually when I've planned it.
I'll be trying some new places to stay this trip and again getting myself out of Bangkok and Pattaya, although calling on the sponsored students will take a week of my time, and that's more than enough of Pattaya for me, truth be known. There's still so much more of the country (and surrounding countries) I'd like to explore. With the help of a Thai friend I've booked some nights at a beach resort that few Westerners go to and will be again outside of Bangkok proper to explore the temples and area in a suburb where a good friend now works.
Not all of my friends know I'll be in the area yet because there won't be enough time to see them all as I'd like to, and the best I'll probably manage with some of them is phoning to say "Hey, I'm here - how about dinner tonight or tomorrow?"
It's not the ideal way to socialize, but sometimes it's the best I can do with the precious few weeks I'll be there and thankfully most of them are understanding about it. Over the years some have dropped off of the list after one of those "you never have time for me" kind of conversations, but again, thankfully, most say "Mai pen rai - see you next trip!" Those are the ones I do see next time - come hell or high water.
Anyway. . . the countdown begins.