The post that took three times as long as it should have

I thought that once we got here, I’d be blogging all the time. There’d be so many fascinating stories to tell, amazing pictures to share, I’d never run out of great material. It hasn’t quite been like that.

It seems like a lot of our time has been taken up with just… figuring things out. How to buy a car. How to rent a house. How to drive. How (and where) to shop. Everything has a learning curve to it. And there’s a basic rule of thumb here that everything will take about three times as long as you think it should, whether that’s paying a bill or picking up groceries.

But I do feel like we’re getting settled in, slowly. I was able to sign the girls up for a gymnastics class which was a huge triumph. That was something we’d talked about before we even moved here, thinking that in Thailand it would be more affordable than in the U.S. It took us a couple of months, but I finally found out about a class that had been arranged for expat kids and was able to get the girls into it two days a week. They love it! The gym is less than 7 km away from us, only about a 20 minute drive to get there. Getting home takes much longer, sometimes up to 45 minutes. Not only do we have to deal with rush-hour traffic getting home, but there are loads of one-way streets all over Chiang Mai. Sometimes we have to drive several kilometers in order to turn around and get going the right way! Everything goes the right way for getting to the gym, but getting home… not so much. 🙂

Traffic engineering here can really boggle the mind sometimes. There are some things that are great, like underpasses for through traffic at busy intersections. Other things are insane, like what I call The Roundabout from Hell. This is a roundabout that I approach from the east. My destination is a driveway that is on the north side of the roundabout. The challenge (aside from the normal challenges of Thai driving–like nebulous lanes and motorcycles zipping around like mosquitoes) is that oncoming traffic really doesn’t enter the roundabout. The eastbound lanes just go straight, with the roundabout sticking out like a growth. They don’t need to slow down or merge at all. I need to cross that traffic to get to the driveway, without getting rear-ended by the cars behind me that are continuing westbound or the ones coming in from the street that joined the roundabout from the south (especially those that are continuing around to the east), or cutting off any motorcycles that were planning on staying to my right while going through to the west. Fun times. I get to do this twice a week, as that’s the entrance to the stadium complex where the gymnastics classes are held.

I would add a picture to this post, but the internet’s running slowly today and the upload would take three times as long as it should.