Daily Archives: July 29, 2005

McDonald’s in Thailand

I don’t really make a habit of going to McDonald’s in Thailand. I know a lot of tourists do. I usually stay away, partly because the price is a little expensive and also because there is so much good Thai food here at a fraction of the price. It is funny really, because back home McDonald’s is somewhere you go for a cheap meal when you go out. However, in Thailand it is almost the opposite. As it costs more, it is prestigious to be seen in McDonalds! Actually, KFC is a lot more popular here in Thailand compared to McDonalds. But still, you will quite often see the place packed.

When I was backpacking across Asia, I made a note in my diary of the price of a cheeseburger in every country that I visited. I thought it would be interesting to compare. So, I did a bit of a McDonalds Tour of the World! From Pushkin Square in Moscow and on to Beijing and finally Bangkok. That was back in the early 1990’s when there wasn’t many around. But, now there are hundreds in each country.

I know we get quite a few students visiting our blogs who are doing projects on comparing cost of living and lifestyles between two different countries. So, today I will give you a rundown of a menu at McDonalds so that you can compare to your homecountry. However, the size of portions might vary. I believe the Big Mac here is a lot bigger than the one in the UK for some reason. Anyway, at present, US$1 is about 40 baht.

Cheeseburger (29 baht), hamburger (19 baht), Pork Burger (19 baht), Pepper Chicken burger (19 baht), Big Mac (60 baht), Filet-O-Fish (48 baht), McChicken (48 baht), Samurai Pork Burger (48 baht), Double Cheeseburger (60 baht), Crispy McD 2pcs (63 baht), Spicy McD 2 (63 baht), McNugget 6 pieces (39 baht), McSalad Shaker (32 baht), McFries regular size (19 baht), Coke small size (19 baht), McFloat (19 baht), Cone (9 baht), Pies (19 baht)and Sundae (19 baht).

If you are learning Thai, you might be interested in the conversations my students wrote a year or so ago:


You will find menus, conversations and a lot more!

Me and my Translation class!!

Related to my previous blogs, I found a great great links about the poet I presented to everyone here. Since I take translation class this semester, I usually browse the website called www.wanakam.com which is a community for Thai translator
I found a fantastic link of the collection of Thai literature that had been translated to english or even world literature that had been translated to Thai .
Here is some sample of the poems from the same collection with the one from my last blog.

You will defitnitely see through Thai culture by these wonderful poets…so it a must for you to read!!!!!

There’s hope for beloved
So long as men are
In respect
Of old precepts,far
Into the soul,in effect,
of immortal siam.

Born men are we all
and one,
Brown,black by the sun
Knowledge can be won
Only a heart differs
from man to man.

So little yet so much
one knows,
Like a frog wich grows
in a puddle,
Knowing not ocean so
ever vast,
Become befuddled
by its small world

and many more here

Wish everyone enjoy these poems:-)
Sawaddee krub
PS. Today is my Birthday…Jeep is 23 years old now:-)
Choke Dee Krub

Half-filled or half-empty?

Steve has asked me in a previous comment on how life for me as a Eurasian has been so far. So, in this post, I will shed some light onto this issue.

I first heard the word ‘Eurasian’ when I had once asked my dad the ‘What am I?’ question. ‘Papa, if you’re white and mama’s Asian, what does that make me?’ and he took a moment to think before telling me ‘You’re Eurasian’.

I’ve lived in Germany up to the age of eight and went to school there only up to second grade. My father’s parents adored my brother and me very much, the reason, perhaps, had more to do with the fact of having their first grand-daughter. At school, I don’t think I was treated any different than my other [lighter haired] German classmates. I was in fact a German. But I always felt a bit outside of the circle for my own reasons.

(Above Pic: My brother and I with our two cousins)

In my very early childhood, my family had taken a few trips back to Thailand. I’ve read accounts from many other halfies, some, about feeling (some) discrimination and being looked ‘down’ upon. However, I can’t say that applies to me, not as a child anyway. But since I have not been to Thailand for almost a decade, people’s attitudes may vary the next time I go.

Most Thai people, if they know that I have Thai blood, will most likely consider me as one or treat me as a half Thai (or in their case ‘luk farang’), I still have my Western tendencies. When I was little, my mother used to dress my brother and me up in cute outfits which caught many people’s eyes. She always wanted her kids to look their best. Between my brother and me, I got more attention because I had the ‘typical’ luk kreung features; brown, curly-ends of hair, round chubby cheeks, fair complexion [and being a girl, lol].

There were a few memorable instances involving praise from other Thai people. One time, a cash teller noticed me walking with my mother and called us over, instantly complimenting me with words like ‘dek narak, suay maak’ (pretty child, very lovely). She even suggested for my mom to bring me back there once I’m a little older to become an actress or model. Another time, a bell boy at a hotel liked me so much, he joked about wanting to have me as his little sister if my mom was willing to give me away!

(Right Pic: My aunt with my brother and me)

In my mother’s family, there weren’t any problems with us being different either. We were kids after all and generally accepted. If there ever were any negative feelings towards us, I would not know about it. Even here in England, there are many Thai women with Farang husbands who have half children and it is not really an issue these days. Several times, there would be some Thai people conversing with me in Thai. I guess this could be considered a sign of acceptance but with that comes the first expectation to know Thai (as they have a school at the Temple where young children are sent to learn Thai). My uncle would also urge me to learn more so I can communicate with him better. 🙂

I do get some stares sometimes, the reasons could be varied. Perhaps because I’m already grown up as there are more young half children around. Whatever the reason, I don’t think it is a problem. I know Thais sometimes have a tendency to stare; it is more uncomfortable if I didn’t know why.

Admittedly, the only ‘not-Thai’ label I ever got was from my mother. Now, why would my own mother say that to me? Well, this probably wouldn’t have bothered me if I weren’t into Thai culture. But it did hurt me to hear her say that especially as I was trying to make the effort of educating myself more about it. I understood that she thought about it more in terms of personality and appearance, not blood. I grew up abroad and knew little to nothing about Thai attitude or speaking. She had been discouraged from teaching us whilst we lived in Germany and convinced herself we would not need it anyhow.

My mother does regret not teaching us but in another sense I can’t fully blame her because our family was almost constantly moving and influenced by Western culture, particularly, when we lived in America. However, I can say that I’ve proven to her that it is not too late to learn, and pestering her on occasion for help did show my sincerity and determination to catch up. I think what was most important to me was for my mother to at least accept or approve of the other half of me, which, she gradually has.

Well, I could extract many more stories just from several points in this entry but I’ll leave that for next time.

Another Blog About My First Trip To Thailand

Ever since I first picked up that book on the Thai language, back in 1990, I had always dreamt of going to Thailand. It consumed my thoughts. One time, the navy ship that I was stationed upon had a stop-over in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. I spread out a tatami mat on one of the upper levels of the ship to sun myself. I was accompanied by that ever-present Thai language book (by now a creased and curved companion). As I lay on my stomach on that mat, I looked out on the bay (I can still smell the Banana Boat tanning oil). The palm trees in the distance were some of the first palm trees I had ever laid eyes on. There was no wind, and that tropical heat was like a heavy blanket on my body. It was even hard to take a breath, such was the humidity. The sun was a small hot dot in the hazy sky. This was something that I was not used to, coming from the northwestern part of the US.

When I looked off at those distant palm trees, I tried to pretend that I was in Thailand, and I imagined that this was how it probably looked. For just a brief, achingly brief moment, I think I tricked myself into believing that I was truly there. I wanted to be there sooo very much. I know how Wit feels, as he waits for his first trip to Thailand. It seems like it will never come; you feel as if you’re missing something. You know in your heart that that is where you truly belong. Yes, readers, I really felt these things before I ever set foot over there. These feelings were only reinforced tenfold after my first visit. The desire to live there is stronger today than ever before. Unbeknownst to me on that oppressingly hot day in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, my maiden trip to Thailand was still nine long years away! 🙁

During the first US invasion of Iraq in 1991, my ship (The USS Virginia-CGN 38) went to the Mediterranean Sea, and we sailed around in circles off of the coast of Egypt. Once in a while we would head up to the mouth of the Suez Canal and launch a tomahawk missile or two into Baghdad. My job allowed me access to a navigational computer that told me the ship’s exact location in degrees of latitude and longitude. I stared at these numbers, particularly when we headed east (towards Thailand). As the number changed, I thought to myself, “We are getting closer to Thailand. Maybe we will go through the canal, into the Red Sea, out to the Arabian Sea, and go towards India (a far-fetched dream that would never happen). One of my friends, who knew of my intense desires to go to Thailand, jokingly said that if this ship did get near India, that I would probably dive overboard and swim ashore! Ahh..who knows…

More Bangkok Traffic
Always a source of amazement to me!

As I had written earlier, during my first trip to Bangkok, I had stayed in a large house in Bangkapi which lacked air conditioning. Once upon a time, that house had been a lone dwelling in a large field, interspersed with small copses of palm trees. The land around the house had been sold off in parcels, piece by piece, until only a small yard remained to the left, and in front of the house. A small, dingy klong ran achingly-slow behind. To the right of the house was another similar dwelling which was surrounded by a brick fence. The house that I stayed in, and it’s brother, sat at the end of a soi. In this particular area, I do believe, to the best of my recollection, these were the only true residential houses in the area. The rest of the neighborhood was a collection of the large, 4-5 story colonial concrete type of buildings that are so prevalent in Thailand.