Heat Wave

Breaking news folks: The UK is having its first summer on record since the 1800’s!

Ok, not quite, but holy cow, it’s been warm here – as in 70’s to mid-80’s for the high pretty much everyday for the last MONTH. That’s right, a whole month. And yes, that is a big deal!

We started out cautiously optimistic and just grateful for the sun; everyone would flock to the parks in the city and just sit there soaking up as much of it as humanly possible. It was a sight to see. By the second week of no rain, we thought that our luck would be coming to an end very soon, and so frantically ran around the city trying to do every outdoor activity possible. By the third week, it became a working theory that the world was most likely going to end. But thankfully, we’re still here, and it’s still wonderfully nice out. Needless to say, this is already so much better than last summer, so I’m trying to enjoy every second of it, and keep it in perspective when our apartment is blazing hot (aka think of the alternative/this past winter & spring).

In keeping with our goal of taking advantage of the summer here, today was spent almost entirely outside watching our first polo match. I’m not sure how much I love the whole atmosphere surrounding polo matches, but I do love horses, and there were some gorgeous horses out on that field. I also got to do this:

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That’s not me just standing there weirdly, I was actually trying to do the whole ‘stomping the divots‘ thing that they let you do at half time. Whether I (or anyone really) actually helped with repairing the field or not, is still TBD. Either way, it was a lot of fun.

This also got me thinking about Thailand and all of the random activities we’ll get to do there. I wasn’t sure they were quite big on polo – or horses, for that matter, so I googled “bangkok and horseback riding” to see what would come back. The first thing that popped up was “Bangkok Equestrian Center – Horse Riding in Bangkok Since 1989.” Not exactly a long history, but it’s something!

We’ve learned a few other things about Bangkok in the last few weeks. I’ll narrow it down for now into a few obvious pros and what I’ll call the “not quite pros”:

Pros

  • The weather is absolutely fantastic. Others may describe it as “really freakin’ hot,” but for now I’m viewing it as “really freakin’ wonderful.” It seems that the temperature rarely goes below 70. Yes! And fun fact: Bangkok sits at the same latitude as Khartoum and Guatemala City. That explains a bit.
  • The embassy is huge, which equates to a large variety of job opportunities. There are quite a few agencies besides State Department there, and there are good number of NGOs.
  • There is endless nightlife and entertainment in the city.
  • The food is unbelievable. I literally have not heard or read one bad thing about the food there.
  • Everything is relatively cheap; at the very least, it is much less expensive to live there than London.
  • It’s a major hub for travel in East Asia. Japan, here we come!
  • They apparently have an obsession with malls. Being that I am a small town, mall-loving girl at heart, this will be wonderful, and will most definitely mean that I’ll need to get a job asap.
  • Cheap massages. ‘Nuff said.

Not Quite Pros
  • The embassy is huge. We’ve managed to meet a good group of friends here, but going to another large embassy (the 4th largest in the world), was not quite at the top of our preferences list. You meet tons of people, but there is a definite lack of a community, which can be hard at times.
  • Bangkok is very much a large, crowded city. We’d been hoping for a bit of a relief from life in a raging metropolis, but clearly we will not be getting that. Small price to pay.
  • It’s a long haul back to the states. Normal travel time from DC appears to be a little over 20 hours. Ouch.
  • Because the embassy is so large, competition for jobs is fierce. There are over 400 EFMs. Very few of them are actually working in the embassy, and it’s not for lack of want. We also do not have a bilateral work agreement with Thailand, so securing work outside of the embassy is a little more difficult to do. Difficult, but doable.

That’s it for now. I’ve learned much more than this, but other fun facts/observations are not quite appropriate for a pros & cons list format. More to share in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed that summer continues for us here!

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