My first week at Chulalongkorn can be characterized by the awkward feeling of being foreign and the air burned into my lungs from taking a motorcycle nearly across all of Bangkok every morning. George’s dad, Kevin, is an ex-pat and has been living in Thailand for at least seven years. He was nice enough to lend his driver and home to me while I get on my feet in Bangkok.
Pee Sak is a short Thai man from the countryside and doesn’t look like much from a far. He barely speaks English and I barely speak Thai so you could imagine how much fun we have trying to communicate. As a young man Pee Sak was trained in the art of Muay Thai kickboxing. Young Muay Thai boxers practice by kicking their shins against trees until the bone thickens. It is common for farang and sailors on duty to get into bar fights and be beaten half to death by a 12 year old. One direct blow to the throat and your air supply is done.
With that being said it is easy to see how Pee Sak doubles as a body guard. The journey though Bangkok on the back of Pee Sak’s Harley has been a mindblowing one to say the least. Landmarks and street names are actually starting to make sense. I’ve been to just about every major landmark, shopping center, nightlife areas, and have used the many methods of transportation: taxi mete, motorcycle taxi, tuk-tuk, skytrain, and subway.
The views from some of the high-rise class room building I am in are absolutely amazing. Chulalongkorn University was named after Rama 5, a character made popular to the Western world in the King and I, and is the top univerisity in Thailand. Everyday inside and outside of class I am rubbing shoulders with the sons and daughters of some of the most powerful people in Thailand.
A persons power in Thailand is measured in Baht. The amount of money you have could determine whether you live or die. In a country where the police are there to enforce, not protect, a nominal bribe could make prison sentences and most lower class citizens disappear.