Living Like a Thai Day 23: Put a Fork in it…I’m Done

It's over...see the fat ladies?

Or As I like to say …Pom Pui Puying Gaan Roong Pleeng ( the fat lady sings )

Well, you can’t say I didn’t put forth a worthy effort in this little experiment of Living Like a Thai for a month. I really thought I had it sussed too with just 8 days left to go,  but obviously it wasn’t meant to be.

Originally I started out the experiment in the beginning of June with 200 baht a day to spend but after some budget modifying my daily spend turned out to be more like 133 baht a day, and I think I was doing fine on that amount. A small slip up on a night out set my budget back slightly more leaving me only 104 baht a day to live on for the rest of the month, but I was still going strong and there was nothing that could stop me.

What Went Wrong?

I really wish I could tell you a tale of going over the edge and getting lost in a night of drunken debauchery only to wake snuggled up to a harem of women and wondering why I have 134 text messages from K Bank… a boy can dream. More to the point I thought I might blow the budget tonight as I had a date with a very beautiful Thai woman, but even that has now gone to hell in a hand basket.

Nope, nothing nefarious. As It approached midnight last night I was unusually tired so I called it a night only to wake up this morning feeling like hell. One quick trip to the bathroom to look in the mirror confirmed my fears…my tonsils were the size of golf balls and infected to boot. A quick shower and to the clinic I went, 15 minutes, 2 jabs and a pile of pills later the sad truth hit home…I had failed. The bill was 1100 baht which puts me over for the month and there is no way to recover from this one, even if there were I have 2 subsequent clinic visits at 300 baht each to put the final nails in that coffin.

You’d think I’d be happy that the experiment is at an end, and you’d be wrong. I really wanted to succeed, well, succeed to the point where I, as a falang living like a Thai, only could. And besides today is worse than yesterday by a mile. Yesterday I could eat…today not so much, Yesterday I had the prospect of a date with a beautiful Thai woman…yeah, ain’t gonna happen and the kicker…I lost her number.

Today I can do whatever I want except what I want to do :(

I’m gonna take a day or two off from posting and be sick because now I can do what I want! After that I’ll be back to wrap up the series with a post on my thoughts about living like a Thai for Almost a month.

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33 Comment(s)

  1. 1100 baht and two further trips at 300 a piece to cure tonsillitis?

    Amoxicillin – big box at 200 baht – and tonsils back to normal in 12 hrs at most.


    Mike | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. Get well soon, Talen!

    I’m sorry read that your tonsils put an abrupt stop to your journey of living like a Thai. I have a feeling you’ve learned a lot throughout this experience. I know I have, just by reading along.

    Claudio Sennhauser | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  3. Sorry that you’re unwell and hope you make a speedy and full recovery.

    But now that you’ve hit this crisis you probably see just how tenuous finances are for most Thais, whether farmers or low-income city dwellers. One major unexpected cash crunch and things come off the rails.

    Were your recent lifestyle and budget not optional, as they aren’t for Thais, you’d have to make some very hard even stark choices. Pawn or sell jewelry? Borrow from a loan shark? Or with a larger shortfall in the face of life-threatening illness sell your vehicle or part with your land?

    Or simply live with a chronic condition, treating the symptoms at their worst with cheap snake-oil, and risk greater health problems setting in.

    Thai-Spy | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  4. Thai, While my illness definitely put a damper on things I have to disagree with your comment to a certain degree. All Thai’s now have access to health care thanks to Thaksin and his 30baht scheme…this is one case where actually being a Thai would have been very helpful to me.

    Although any other emergency would surely be felt deeply.

    Talen | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  5. Claudio, I definitely have learned quite a bit not just about Thai’s or Thailand but about myself. And if anyone else has taken away anything from this experiment then that’s a huge plus.

    Talen | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  6. Mike, the 1100 baht is for 2 injections of antibiotics as well as take home pills. The further visits are for more injections. I have very aggressive tonsils and self treating is not an option. Self prescribing is also the #1 way falangs get into trouble in Thailand when it comes to an illness. Just because you can walk into a pharmacy and get just about any drug you want doesn’t mean you should.

    Talen | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  7. You’re my hero! Great attempt. Inspiring! Be proud!
    If Yingluck brings back the 30 baht health plan even Tonsilitus can’t stop you!


    Bull | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  8. Talen, just think of it this way – you went 23 days staying relatively healthy. And with your track record since you’ve been here that’s pretty grand going!

    That, and succeeding at an amazing challenge. Because in my books living 23 days on less than 200 baht a day is nothing to sneeze at.

    Catherine | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  9. OK…..get better and then go back and do the last 7 days !
    Well maybe not, you did good on 200b when you really did not even spend the 200 once you took off rent etc, Good job for how far you got….
    now get better and start a new challange , like stop smoking !

    DaveD | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

  10. my 2 cents…

    we’re all entitled to our opinions.

    but your satire of thais didn’t go well with a lot of people.

    whether you realized it or not, you belittled a lot of people. and the sad part of it is… you didn’t even realize it.

    imagine if someone wrote something like “living like an american for a month” and then, went off going around being loud and ostentatious.

    how do you think americans would take it? especially if the guy was not american?

    Bangkokbuddy | Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

  11. C’est la vie.

    I enjoyed it while it lasted

    DAN | Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

  12. Bangkok, Maybe you should read it again, there was no satire of Thai’s whatsoever…of myself yes, but absolutely not of Thai’s.

    It wouldn’t bother me at all if someone that wasn’t American did the same thing although
    I don’t see the comparison as I didn’t act is if all Thai’s were poor.

    Talen | Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

  13. Common use of amoxicillin is what is causing high rates of drug resistent viral and bacterial infections in Thailand.

    Only tonsillitus caused by a bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics, so you could be taking medication for no reason.

    Talen, grow some balls and have a tonsillectomy, problem solved ;-)

    Lloyd | Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

  14. Good thing I didn’t visit this week, Talen. Sudden Tonsilitis would definitely have put a damper on activities, as it clearly has. I was keen to see you reach the end of your challenge. But look forward to your observations about the experience.

    I’m not going to weigh in on the charge of “satire” or whatever, but you proceeded with great integrity of purpose. And knowing Talen, he has a great respect for Thai people and their culture, and conducts his day to day life accordingly.

    SiamRick | Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

  15. pity it has come to an abrupt end.
    I found the daily tale strangely addictive.
    and for what it’s worth i think bangkokbuddy is way off the mark.

    arch stanton | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  16. Arch, Maybe I can e-mail you a synopsis of my daily events daily :) or…maybe I can do something else for a month like…become a novice monk, or become a Thai food merchant…hmmm this should be looked into.

    Talen | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  17. Rick, always appreciate your input…remember Pattaya will be semi-dry over the next 3 weekends.

    Talen | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  18. Lloyd, unfortunately almost all of my tonsillitis events are bacterial…wish they weren’t.

    As for growing balls…NO!

    My friend was in the hospital years ago getting a knee replaced and his roommate at the time was about my age now, 45-46, he was in for a tonsillectomy. They rolled him out for the operation and he never came bak. When we inquired of his whereabouts the nurses would only say he changed rooms or whatnot…one nurse told us the truth of the matter was that he died during the operations due to complications of bleeding. She ended the tale with words I will never forget ” having your tonsils removed at an advanced age is very dangerous” to which my friend replied “deadly even”

    I know, times and technology have changed but I have not, although I am considering the thought now to some degree.

    Talen | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  19. Thanks DAN, Hopefully I can come up with something else enjoyable soon…

    Talen | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  20. Dave, Thanks…I might just be taking you up on the stop smoking issue…it’s definitely warranted and a long time coming.

    Talen | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  21. Cat, I had a bad feeling when I started this experiment that the tonsils would make an appearance. It had been almost 2 months with no problems and it was due. I figured that no drinking and no fun would hold them off but it’s looking more and more like the air quality and random bacteria floating around the tourist town is what’s doing me in. Perhaps I should be wearing face masks on a regular basis.

    I definitely took away more than a few lessons from the experiment and I will be the better for them…I’ll write more about that in the wrap up later this weekend.

    Talen | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  22. Bull, not sure anything heroic happened but thanks all the same :) I think I may need to have the tonsils yanked soon :(

    Talen | Jun 25, 2011 | Reply

  23. Talen I’m so sorry it has ended so painfully for you. What a great performance you put in. I really enjoyed the series.

    I for one don’t think you have belittled the Thais at all. Quite the opposite. You’ve educated many people to the hardships that low income Thais go through month after month. Maybe a few tourists will be more generous with their tips from now on.

    An excellent effort, an excellent series but please don’t try it again.

    Thanks for picking up my challenge.

    Sorry about my late comment but I’ve been working 12 hour nights. Now that’s really living like a Thai.

    Martyn | Jun 26, 2011 | Reply

  24. Would respectfully suggest you try to get competent treatment under the 30 baht scheme before endorsing it.

    Thai-Spy | Jun 27, 2011 | Reply

  25. Martyn, Forgive me for my late response… I don’t think I’ll be trying the challenge again…I know I can live cheaply but dying of boredom would suck.

    Talen | Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

  26. Thai, no health program is perfect but I have seen several people who had serious illnesses taken care of very well under the 30 baht scheme.

    Talen | Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

  27. Hope you get well soon, I think the problem was not enough alcohol, which is well known to kill bacteria. I can’t remember having a large meal with Thais that didn’t involve whiskey or beer.

    Rambone | Jul 3, 2011 | Reply

  28. I think you should have written off the hospital expenses as they weren’t really part of the program were they? I mean if you were Thai, you’d have the public hospital and family to help out with any ‘big surprise expense’. Most people I know who have to turn to family for help in these circumstances never have to pay it back, they can’t. That’s what families are for.

    As for the 30 baht scheme, isn’t it free now?
    I know my wife doesn’t pay 30 baht at the local hospital.

    As far as belittling anyone, I just don’t see it. You wanted to experiment by living on the local minimum wage, can’t see a problem with that really.

    There’s plenty of Thai people who have a LOT more money than that but what’s that got to do with anything?

    Anyway, I enjoyed the read.


    Bifftastic | Jul 16, 2011 | Reply

  29. 2 people sharing a ensuite rafthouse room in Kanchanaburi on 1 month stay basis at the Bluestar rafthouse or other similar priced places is 3000 baht.Equivelant to 50 baht per day each.Water station for 5 litres of water equals 5 baht.70 baht for laundry per week equals 5 baht each per day.Total for 1 person so far equals 60 baht per day.Street food 3 times per day equals no more than(probably less than) 25 baht for breakfast,25 baht for lunch,and lets say 30 baht for dinner.Total so far equals 140 baht at the most.You have 60 baht left over per day.Take out 10 baht each per day for personal bits and pieces(140 baht per week).This leaves 50 baht per day.Multiply this by 7,and at the end of each week you will have 350 baht to yourself.I reckon you could treat yourself to a decent meal and get hammered in a cheap restaurant on 350 baht.Absolutely destroyed if you spend it in 7/11….200 baht a day?a doddle.

    Glynn | Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

  30. The reason you failed is because you don’t really know what Thai people are like enough to do this failed experiment. Thai people don’t go to the doctor they will go to the drug store and ask their opinion and if the doctor/nurse at the drug store can’t diagnose tonsilitis
    then you probably don’t live in Thailand! If after a few days of that then they’d go to the hospital to see a doctor. But yeah for 80 baht (what it costs for 8 pills) you would have got fixed up.

    Another thing I don’t like about how you ended this is how the whole premise was to live like a Thai for a month. You have a limited budget then stick to it. Figure out how you can get treated for cheaper instead of basically giving up.

    chris | Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

  31. Chris, quite presumptuous of you to claim I don’t really know Thai people when you don’t really know me. Fact is Thai’s go to the doctors all the time in big cities as well as rural Thailand…I’ve gone with them. A lot of them also use the pharmacies as well but usually for minor ailments. And I wouldn’t have been fixed up for 80 baht worth of pills… I gave up because I have a serious condition regarding my tonsils that if you spent any time around here you would know about and I can’t take a chance with self diagnosing and maybe getting it wrong.

    Talen | Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

  32. Really! How many Thai’s do you know living on 6000 baht a month go to a clinic and pay 1100 baht for tonsilitis your kidding me. You even said in your other post that it only costs you 800 baht. I presume to know nothing about you only what you’ve written.

    Imaginary job, imaginary roomies, total BS dude. Nothing real or accurate about this at all.

    chris | Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

  33. Chris, Thai’s who have tonsillitis can go to a hospital and pay very little on the government plan. No one said the experiment was accurate I even stated as much but I guess you skimmed over those parts.

    Talen | Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

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