It wasn’t ‘can you tell me how to get to the hospital’ or ‘where’s a Thai police officer when you need one’ or even ‘will this movie work in my DVD player’?
No, the first phrase I wish I’d learned was ‘I think the toilet in our room seems to be blocked’.
I’ve also learned that Ikea in Bangkok is just as horrible as Ikea in Australia, except Thai shoppers walk twice as slow, 4-abreast, and with no apparent motive.
Last night, having been in Bangkok for just a handful of hours, I ventured out on an important mission. Not to help develop a peace plan between the warring red and yellow shirt brigades, or to work out why Thai water is not safe to drink.
My mission was to find nappies. I’d barely walked 50 metres down my street when an enormous explosion sent diners diving under their tables and a former breakfast presenter seeking cover behind a power pole.
Which turned out to be a bad choice, given the source of the explosion turned out to be a meter box two power poles up. Crisis averted, I’m happy to report the nappy mission was successfully completed.
Today we hear anti-Government forces are threatening to bring Bangkok to a halt on January 13. For her part, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called on the armed forces to stop being so darn neutral and to maintain law and order. Should make for a healthy introduction to life in the Thai capital.
Meanwhile in neighbouring Malaysia protestors in their thousands have taken to the streets, jacked off with the price of petrol and life in general. They painted their faces black, too.
And a stat to finish off my day one blog; since December 27, about 334 people have been killed on Thai roads. Most of them drunk drivers.