But first, back to Bangkok. I went to my local office supplies store, armed with a photograph of treasury tags, knowing perfectly well you DON’T attempt such a foolhardy task without photographic evidence. How many times have I attempted verbal only communication? A recent conversation in the Apple computer shop went something like this:
Me: Do you have an itornado cable?
Me: No, itornado? To move data between a PC and a Mac.
Me: No, I-T-O-R-N-A-D-O (slowly and clearly)
So you get the picture. This is no-one’s fault but mine. My Thai will get me food, find the loo and give directions to the taxi to get me home while chatting about my family; and thereabouts it stops.
It reminded me of another occasion when I was eighteen, and living in what, in those days, wasn’t über trendy Notting Hill Gate. I can’t remember anything else about the dinner party we were having except the shopping trip. Up the road in the supermarket, we’d got all the ingredients except the bouquet garni. When we asked for help the shop assistant looked blank. I grew up with cooks so I knew what they were, but not everyone would, so I explained: “it’s a mixture of different herbs,” I said, “and they sell them in what looks like a teabag.” She thought for a while and then she said: “Well, the herbs are in aisle 4 and the teabags are in aisle 11.”
So, you know what? It’s not just in Thailand.