Our second morning in
I thought this whole thing was a little strange. Peter had been at the hotel bar with us the night before, but I didn’t think he had been drinking very much. And Margaret reported that he had left for his room before she did.
Much later, I learned a very interesting fact. Another classmate, Jim, had been having
trouble sleeping and was spending his nights in
Jim had started keeping track of the nightly
traffic in and
out of the hotel. The ritual went
something like this: It was pretty quiet
in the hotel lobby in the wee hours of the morning.
He would hear the elevator bell chime, then
hear the click-click-click of high heels across the lobby floor. He’d look up from his computer and see a Thai
working girl hurrying across the room, rummaging in her purse. By the time she reached the door, she had
found her cell phone and was making a call.
Each woman seemed to go through this same process on her way out. Based on the number of women Jim saw leaving
in a particular period of time, and the number of rooms in our hotel,
extrapolated that approximately 17% of the hotel rooms in
At any rate, we finally arrived at Chula, sans Peter. (He took a cab and arrived later.) Professor Surapeepan began the day by giving us each some flowers that she had picked out of her garden.
Our first lecture of the morning was on the Thai
situation. We had visited
The PM had been elected mostly due to his support
rural community. Rural Thais liked him
because he had instituted a national healthcare program.
Up to that point, no healthcare had been
available for poor or rural people in
Our second lecture was about the Thai economy, but
up really talking more about the political situation, since it was such
topic. I was shocked to learn that the
vast majority of Thais do not pay income taxes.
Only people earning more than 15,000 baht annually pay taxes. The median income in
After lunch, we had a chance to meet with our
again. Visutha had brought some of her
sales materials for us to look at. Her
company did not publish any of its own sales or marketing materials. All she had brought were the brochures that
were put out by the medical equipment manufacturers.
They were all in English. Her lack
of establishment of a brand for her
own company was a big problem, in our opinion, as well as the lack of
information in the local language.
Aftrr returning to the hotel, a few of us decided
to do some
shopping at the street market. We
wandered around, looking for Thai souvenirs.
I bought some silk pillow covers for throw pillows.
As we meandered down
The tailor shop was owned by an Indian family, which was why Mitesh and Manzoor had originally been drawn inside. The guys spoke Hindi with the shop owners the entire time, although the owners did speak English as well.
Jim and Jaime ended up ordering three suits and
shirts each. Kris and Jamie each ordered
two suits with both skirts and pants. (I
should mention here, so that there is no confusion, that Jaime and
two different people. Jaime is a boy,
and although he was born in
I did not really want to order a suit. I already have two suits, and I rarely wear either of them, since my company is business-casual. Instead, I ended up ordering a silk Chinese-style jacket with matching silk pants. I was measured by a young Thai man. At least he looked Thai. I noticed that he spoke Hindi with the shop owners. Later, Mitesh explained to me that he had been working for this shop for years. He had taught the owners to speak Thai, and they had taught him to speak Hindi. (They all spoke English.) They called the young man Sandeep, a common Indian name. I thought this was really funny. They had given him a random Indian name because his Thai name was too hard for them to pronounce – much like we might call a foreigner Joe or Bob if he had a difficult name.
Later that evening, Margaret convinced me to
return to the
hotel bar. I had kind of wanted to go
out to see some of the local nightlife, but I was starting to feel like
coming down with a cold. I decided it
would be better to stay at the hotel so that I could retire early if
necessary. The hotel bar was having a
Salsa Night. Margaret loved salsa.
So Margaret and I ended up sitting at the bar
together. She found some people to dance
with, but I am
not a big dancer, so I just watched.
Then she tried to convince me to do Tequila shots.
She liked to do “Tequila Boom-Boom” shots,
which is something she picked up while living in
On the other side of the bar from where we were
three middle-aged British ladies. They
were slightly overweight, slightly frumpy.
I had noticed them just sitting there, silently watching the
dancing, not even really talking to each other.
I started to imagine their story.
They were three moms from a suburb of
Meanwhile, Margaret continued to try to convince
me to do
more shots, but I wasn’t too interested.
Then she pointed at the British ladies and said, “Do you want to
end up like
that?” Well, of course I didn’t. I am not as young as I used to be, but I hope
I have not lost all ability to have fun.
So I did a few more shots and danced with her a little. Later that night, we met some businessmen
This is something that I think about quite a bit
approach the ripe old age of 30. The
things I do for fun now are definitely not the same as what I did ten
just 5 years ago. Every once in awhile,
someone wants to relive their youth, and hosts a “Girls’ Night Out” at
club in the city, or a drunkfest at a football game in
I am definitely not ready to throw away my
and resign myself to a life of Friday night Prime Time (every week) and