Why did I choose to retire here in Thailand? This is a question I am asked often by my American friends – especially those who think I actually live in Taiwan. Of course there are very many reasons; my decision to retire here was not taken lightly and took many years to formulate. But the story of my day today serves as a great illustration of why I retired half-way around the world from where I lived for 59 1/2 years.
Actually, the story of today began yesterday morning. As I was eating my green curry and rice for breakfast I had that familiar feeling of a foreign object in my mouth….a crown that covered an upper molar had dropped off into my soup (yeah it has happened before). I fished it out and placed into a baggy, finished by breakfast, then called the dental clinic at Bangkok Hospital (Chiang Mai branch).
Bangkok hospital is the nicest hospital I have ever been in – far better than any I have been in in the USA. The ambiance is that of a five star hotel. You are treated as an honored guest and the facilities (as far as I can tell) are world class. My call yesterday morning was answered promptly and in perfect English. They wanted me to come in straight away, but I opted for the next day (today). I wasn’t going to let a missing molar mess with my regular Thursday golf outing.
Back to today…I arrived at the appointed time at the hospital and entered their large parking lot where a uniformed attended directed me to an open spot. As he guided me in, he noticed that my tire looked flat. He looked closer and noticed the bolt that I had picked up that was slowly but surely releasing the tire’s air. Shit… when things start going wrong you wonder where it will stop. I didn’t wonder long though, the attended said not to worry, he would see to it that my tire was changed while I was in seeing the dentist.
Up I went to the 4th floor dental clinic where I had to wait about 90 seconds before being ushered into the examination room. I ask my American friends: whens the last time you waited for only 90 seconds in and doctor’s office? The dentist happened to be the same as had just cleaned my teeth a few days before. She took one look and said “no problem”. Within 15 minutes my crown was glued back in place. I had to wait another 5 minutes while they tallied up the bill – the princely some of 1070 baht – about $34 US. My Thai friends would be shocked at this extravagant price – the same service might be half this much elsewhere. Such is the cost of luxury here.
When I returned to my car, the flat had been changed and the attendant rushed over to give me my keys. I asked “how much”, and he shook is head and waived his hands. I tried to force a tip on him, but he ran off saying helping me was part of the hospital security service. No need for AAA here. I still need to fix my tire because I only had a donut spare – fortunately there was a “Cockpit” tire store 200 m down the road. It took them 10 minutes to fix the flat with a plug and change out the spare. My cost? 120 baht or $3.80.
Thirty minutes later I was having lunch with my SO at small cafe – we like to try new restaurants whenever we can.
I awoke that day in dread of having to get a new crown (or worse) and having to spend a couple of hours in the dentist chair and the rest of the day with a numbed face. My dread increased when I saw the flat tire. What next? But the Thai’s have a wonderful way of making life easy. Days like this (i.e. most days) make me happy about my retirement choice.
Happy to learn about your fantastic experiences in Thailand. Enjoy your retirement, Brady.
How much was that pad Thai?😊
I don’t remember now, probably around 80 baht.