Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I have money!

I really needed to finally cash my paycheque today. And then Dino told me I'll need my passport (he also tells me I should carry it around with me all the time because the police do random checks and if you don't have it you can be faced with a fine or even a night in a cell!). Fine. I have three free periods. I can do this. So I dash up to the scooter taxi rank and jump on board: “Wat Samorkorn!,” and off we go. Drong bai, leo sai, leo sai*, and we arrive at the house.

khun koy chan here one minute please. Koy. Neung minute” I point at the house, then point at the bike and then point in the direction of town. “Okay?” “yee-sip hah baht,”she says. “Chai, yee-sip hah baht, one minute, koy here”. And she has no idea what I'm blethering about, and I have no idea whether she's understood. So I run inside, grab my passport, and dash back out again. She's still there. Well of course she is – I haven't paid her yet.

Next stop: “Bangkok Bank,” I show her the corner of my paycheque where it's written in Thai. And we're off again. We get to the bank, and I ask her to koy again and dash inside. There are two queues – counter 1 is for customers with a single transaction, and counters 2-7 are for multiple transactions (I know because it says it in English – my Thai didn't just get that good). But the multiple transaction queue is shorter so I try that one first. Then switch to the other one. When I reach the front I hand over my cheque and passport. Then realise I'm going to be walking around with 34,500 baht in my pocket for the rest of the day. Ah well. The cashier talks Thai to me, but I catch “sahm-sip see baht”, and work out they want to charge me 34 baht to cash the cheque. Fine, I can stretch to 50p. They mutter a lot to each other and take a photocopy of my passport and stamp the cheque “paid”and give me a receipt. Uh, I'll need the money here before you go stamping things paid, please. And then the lady spends ages counting out 34 thousand-baht notes and she goes to get a 500 but I ask her in my best Thai for “(neung-sorng-sahm-see) hah neung-roy-baht notes”. Yes! I'm rich! I head back outside, scramble back aboard my trusty steed and point onwards: “rohng rian Rattanathibate!

So we roll up to the school, and I ask her how much. Jetsipbaht. 70 baht. I'm feeling flush, so I hand her a hundred and say thanks. I really hope I didn't mishear and she actually said “royjetsipbaht” (170). So she's gonna go back to the rank and tell the others that the crazy farang either tips really well or underpays.

* drong bai - straight ahead
leo sai - turn left
Khun – polite form of address which vaguely translates as “you”.
koy – wait
chan – I (hopefully doubles up as “me” too)
neung, sorng, sahm, see, hah – one, two, three, four, five
yee-sip hah – twenty-five
chai – yes
roy - hundred


Post a Comment

<< Home