how to go see a movie in Thailand

1. Go to church in Pra Puddabaat and accept your friends offer to go to Future Park (in north Bangkok), to go see a movie later on.
2. After church, wait for the Pastor to show up (who’d been preaching at another church), so that your friends can discuss with him about getting an air-con for the bedroom at their house.
3. Talk to some members of the church in your limited Thai and their limited English.
4. Be thankful that this conversation is not one-on-one, but that your roommate is also there talking to these two males.
5. Play dumb when they start making comments like “You single. You single. (to both of us). He single. Ha ha ha. Hansom? Hansom? You beautiful. You beautiful. He hansom?”
6. Continue to play dumb and pray that your friends will soon finish their conversation with the pastor so we can go.
7. Conversation finished and head out the door.
8. Stop by “Power Buy” at “Big C” so your friends can buy their air-con. Park in an interesting spot, buy air-con and get back in truck.
9. Stop by your house to change out of church clothes.
10. As you’re leaving your house, hear the sound of the toilet running and run upstairs and jiggle the knob on the toilet. Run back downstairs and out the door.
11. Drive to Sa Keow market and your friends park their truck in front of the VCD rental place.
12. Look for blue songthaew #1.
13. Run into 7-11 to buy a snack.
14. Run back out to get on blue songthaew #1.
15. Ride on songthaew to the monkey end of town (also known as downtown or close to Thessabon market).
16. Get off just before the songthaew’s last stop.
17. Quickly walk to mini-bus place.
18. Enter mini-bus place and be overwhelmed by a moth ball smell.
19. Pay 90 baht for trip to Bangkok (Future Park).
20. Be ushered outside to mini-bus (12-15 passenger van with air-con).
21. Be relieved when you can sit in the second row and not in the back. Also be thankful that my snack that I bought at 7-11 was put in a plastic bag. It could come in handy…
22. Even with the air-con on, continue sweating.
23. Have your friend tell you that “this is the fastest that we’ve ever gotten to the “Friendship Hwy.””
24. Arrive at Future Park in Bangkok an hour and maybe 10 minutes after leaving the mini-bus station. Think to yourself, “when I came up from Bangkok to Lopburi, it took us at least 1 hour and 30 minutes, if not even 2 hours. Be thankful for the safe trip.
25. Go into mall to scope out the movies. Realize you’re all hungry and want to eat dinner before watching the movie. Realize you need to get some money out.
26. Find your bank (Thai Farmers Bank) and get in line for the one ATM machine.
27. Once you get to the ATM, attempt to check your account’s balance. Have screen read, “invalid request” and have ATM spit out your card. Try to insert card again and ATM WILL NOT accept it.
28. Sheepishly walk away, hoping that you didn’t just temporarily break the ATM for ALL the people who were standing in line behind you.
29. Go to “The Pizza Company” for a treat for dinner. Eat meal with new friends. Relatively uneventful, except for the exploding glass at the table next to yours. Be sprayed (a little) with whatever had been in the glass. Chuckle at the waitress’ face when she comes and surveys the scene. <:O
30. Go through department store to get to the movie theatre floor. Find a hair dryer with a diffuser (actually find a large number of hair dryers with this description). Decide to wait until the next time you’re in Bangkok to buy it.
31. Go buy movie ticket and popcorn. Find your seats and sit and watch “Stealth.” (one of the two movies playing in English)
32. Get out of movie at 10:07pm.
33. Head to back/emergency exit, following other movie goers out of the mall.
34. Somehow lose the Thai people leaving the mall. Pray for safety and God’s help.
35. Come out to parking garage, and realize that you’re too far up and need to go down several levels.
36. Ask people clearing carts how to get out (in Thai).
37. Ask a young security guard how to get out and get to the bus stop (mini-buses don’t run past 8pm).
38. Be thankful that you’re finally out of the parking garage, even though you’re on the wrong side of the mall that you need to be.
39. Have the security guard continue to give you directions.
40. Get to proper side of mall and have things start to look familiar. Pray that a bus will soon come to take you back to Lopburi.
41. Realize there’s a bus at the stop across the street and think that it could be your bus.
42. Quickly climb the massive staircase/people pass to cross the several lanes of highway.
43. Ask the bus station man about getting back to Lopburi.
44. Have him say “Saraburi.”
45. You repeat Lopburi and then he moves his hand from side to side. Think to yourself, “Does that mean that it may go to Lopburi, but it may not?”
46. Decide with your friends to go to Saraburi (closer to Lopburi than Bangkok). The bus man seems to imply that at Saraburi that there will be a connecting bus there to Lopburi.
47. Sing along to Thai Kareoke that’s playing loudly on the bus ride.
48. Arrive in Saraburi at 11:45pm. Be told that the Lopburi bus will be here/leave at 12:15am.
49. Find a vacant bench and wait.
50. Start asking again about the bus to Lopburi around 12:20am. Be told that there isn’t another bus to Lopburi until 4am. “Uh oh.”
51. Spot a random mini-bus driver cleaning his van, close to the bus station. Bargain with him about getting a ride back to Lopburi.
52. Pay 125 baht per person for a ride that should cost you about 30-40 baht on the bus. But be thankful that you have some way to get home.
53. Climb in the van, and sit in the nice air-con. See driver turn on light and do something up front. Be blown away by the bass of the loud music that he’s just turned on.
54. Arrive back in Lopburi at 12:55am. What should’ve taken 45 minutes to an hour only took 30 minutes. Be thankful that you arrived safely.
55. Find your friends’ truck. Get driven home.
56. Decide along with your friends that if you’re going to go to Future Park again, you MUST leave earlier in the day.

[note: it’s usually not this difficult]
[note #2: some of this story has been omitted for various reasons…]

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