Having a native partners helps overcome most of the issues which arise from the language and cultural barriers here in Thailand. A prime example being my visa applications issues, which would have be hell without The Missus.
It's pretty rare for an expat to help their Thai partner in a meaningful way beyond perhaps learning English or technology issues.
Well, I managed to show my value to The Missus this weekend.
The Missus has recently begun working part-time at a foreign-run business (contrary to my own opinion they do exist here in Saraburi) - first time since The Little One was born last October. Friday was her day off but we headed into the office to get her wage, in process of doing so she was bitten by the "friendly" (now past tense) soi (stray) dog that has adopted the office garden as home.
After cleaning the bites, yes there were two, we headed to our regular hospital for a quick check and precautionary vaccination.
A combination of twenty minutes of being ignored and the potential of paying up to 4,000 Baht (around £80) for this 'premium service' saw us swap the private clinic for the town's main public hospital instead.
Contrary to any hospital in London, at 7pm on a Friday night there were no drunks in Saraburi City hospital. In fact, there were far fewer patients than I expected. Most patients were old and seemingly pretty sick, a number of them lay flat in trolleys, waiting to be seen - it was certainly depressing (photos seemed inappropriate, so you just have my word on this.)
Ten minutes after registering we were waiting, again, in a room with no doctors, no nurses, no receptionists, none of the infirm patients, there were barely even seats - just us, there, still waiting.
Had we been forgotten, again?
I decided to see if I could speed things up.
Barely seconds after closing the door I was surrounded by a doctor and trainees. After impressing myself, and my audience, with my Thai we switch to England and I had found a nurse to take of the problem.
When I was asked to show the bites, I disappeared into the chairless waiting room , returning with The Missus.
The nurse wasn't too happy with my tactic but job never mind, you have to do what you do. Besides, we only needed a Nurse and we were all finished and gone within twenty minutes with The Missus safe from rabies and other soi dog nasties.
The less said about the organisation and staff the better - it was almost like watching Thai shop staff - they were laughing, chatting and hanging around while patients waited...'patiently'. On the balance of it, we'll stick with the private hospital but this trip was certainly insightful.