Thai whiskey or, whiskey Thai

Vodka to Russia and wine to Italy is whiskey to Thailand.  I’ve seen men drink it as early at 6 a.m.  Aside from volunteers, I have never seen a woman drink it.

I could never touch the stuff in the states.  Now I’ve developed a tolerance for it where I can at least take a shot, if offered, and not allow my face to react like a four-year old drinking cough syrup.

On a Sunday afternoon during training, I took a bike ride by myself into the city to use the internet.  About a kilometer of the ride consists of biking through a lower-class village followed by a heavily forested path and eventually rice fields.  It was on the way back, in the forest part, that I ran into a party.  I’m still not sure why they decided to hold the party in the middle of a small forest.  The men saw a white dude walking his bike and got excited.

“Whiskey Thai!  Whiskey Thai!”

It’s not just whiskey in Thailand, it’s “whiskey Thai”.

Two or three men shoved glasses with a big swallow of whiskey in it.  Why not?  I took the shot, got on my bike before it hit the back of my throat to make sure I wasn’t offered another one and took off to the cheers of drunken Thai men.

My least-favorite whiskey story involves early morning, Thai children, pounding music and the zoo.  No shit – or as they say in Thailand – jing jing.

I had to go to Korat and it turned out so did a group of kids, their mothers and the men from my office to see the zoo and later the city of Korat.  Great, I thought, I can save bus fare.  I would have paid triple fare to avoid this trip.

They told me to be at the office at 5 a.m.  I was.  No one else was.  Around 6:30, there was a lot of people and a bus to take all the kids and moms.  I was dreading sitting on this bus full of frantic, undisciplined kids who wipe their asses with their hands.  Soon I was given a ride to the nay-yok of the office (aka the dude in charge).  There was a van and a number of men from the office waiting.  They’d already begun the whiskey drinking.  They offered me some and I politely declined.

By the time we left around 7:30 a.m., most of the men were drunk.  It was then I realized we were taking a party van, with a designated driver and pounding, horse shit Thai music and karaoke.  They kept offering me whiskey and I kept declining, a little less polite each time.  The guy next to me kept talking to me.  It’s difficult enough understanding a new language, but it’s next to impossible when the guy is slurring his speech with pounding worse-than-Creed music and another eight or nine drunks shouting their opinions behind me.

It's 9 a.m. and there's more than Coke in that glass.

The gossip got around the office because when I got back the next week I was told by some of the women who didn’t attend the trip how “serious” I was.

I told them, “I wasn’t serious!  I just wasn’t drunk!”

They gave me a thumbs-up for not being a typical Thai man.

Thailand, go ahead and love your whiskey, but let’s hold back when we’re taking five busloads of kids to the zoo early in the morning, okay?

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