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Vol. XI No.5 - Sunday August 19 - Saturday September 1, 2012


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ASK EMMA

 

Dear Emma,
I am new to town and want to make friends but it seems I end up in drinking holes listening to some rather unhappy men complain about life in Chiang Mai, women in Chiang Mai, the weather and anything else they can think of to complain about. Most of them don’t even seem to get out and meet Thai people other than in the bars. This is not the Chiang Mai experience I wish to have but I don’t really speak Thai, am a semi-retired professional man from the United States and am looking to meet like-minded Thai people with similar interest, both men and women, I just want to learn more about the place I am thinking of calling home. I am not sure how I should go about doing this though. I am not a big drinker and so hanging out in bars, either Thai or foreigner oriented, isn’t really my thing.
Yours,
Bob
Dear Bob,
Well you are in luck as Chiang Mai is filled with many interesting and educated English speaking Thai people who are more than happy to make your acquaintance. And you are right; you will meet none of them in bars! You may wish to consider attending some Rotary meetings; Chiang Mai has a very large and active Rotarian population. Additionally, there are the occasional seminars and networking events that attract both Thai and foreign residents. You may also wish to look into the Chiang Mai Creative City committee, you don’t mention what your profession is, but you may find that they can provide you with some references; additionally they occasionally hold coffee meetings and other seminars that you would find of interest.
It takes some time and please do remember to dress appropriately! Local business people do have a professional standard of dress and it would be difficult to be taken seriously were you to show up in a singlet and shorts!
Regards
Emma

Dear Emma,
Is there any way to make an appointment with Immigration so I don’t have to wait all day? I need to go in for my first retirement extension and am dreading it as I have heard the queues are tremendous and it can quite literally take the entire day. Someone suggested to me that I arrive at 6 a.m. and yet Immigration doesn’t open until much later!
Signed
Horrified by the queues
Dear Horrified,
There is! It is an online queue card for visa extensions only. It only works from the Thai pages, but the fields are written in English too. It is an extremely popular system so you will need to make your reservation well in advance. And if you must cancel then please remember to do so online so that the slot will open up for someone else. Good luck! http://chiangmaiimm.com/th/queue-online.html
Regards
Emma
Dear Emma,
I don’t know what to do, my internet is terrible, it stalls regularly. I have called many times and sometimes they come out and check the line and say its ok. Mostly they just tell me to turn off my router and turn it back on. I am at my wits end. Is there one internet service provider that is better than the others?
Signed,
It is all so frustrating!
Dear Frustrated,
The short answer is no, I am sorry to tell you. The truth is your internet can depend on the your location (be aware that not every area has access to different ISPs), the weather, usage on the line and whether or not you stepped on a crack on the sidewalk! Ok, not really on the sidewalk but everything else is true. Sometimes my internet is fantastic, super fast and works great. Other times it cuts out and even stops working. However, compared to how the internet used to be in Thailand things are definitely improving. I can’t say to go with a 3G mobile aircard but if you must be on the internet no matter what and cannot wait for some of the delays, you can always connect with one of these.
And when your internet cuts out, take a deep breath and go make a cup of tea!
Best of luck,
Emma

Dear Emma,
I am new to Chiang Mai and while I realize there is a large gay population here I am finding it difficult to find anyone I like in my age range. I am 27 and not really interested in older men, which seems to be the predominant age in Chiang Mai. I met a nice young Thai man but he is not interested in farang saying that anyone his own age never stays for long and its very difficult to get attached to people who aren’t going to stick around. I can’t argue with that since I don’t plan on living here for a long time but still, it would be nice to at least have some friends. How do I meet young gay men my own age in Chiang Mai? I am not really into the “bar scene” but realize that may be my only choice.
Yours,
Lonely gay
Dear Lonely,
Well, I feel your pain, I really do. It seems many people have these kinds of difficulties, either women, or men trying to meet someone compatible. Add in the cultural differences and it doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, meeting someone you like, that you click with can be difficult. I can’t really give you specific places to go, as I don’t believe that outside of the bars there are that many really gay specific places. The few that are aren’t necessarily of interest to you. One thing you will note here is that often the young gay men can be found with a large group, in fact this is true of both gay and straight Thai people of the younger ages. It is generally the norm for them to go out in groups, friends from work, from college, and they will feel wary of a lone person just hanging out. So, your best option is to make friends from work, or school and go from there. They will know people who can introduce you to someone you may like. It is difficult for the foreigner and it does take some time and effort but if you want to meet a nice guy than this is your best option.
Yours,
Emma


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