Foreign Service Blog Round Up

Well as been floating around on FS Blogrolls (and I am late on this), the theme for this month's blogroll is "5 positives & 5 negatives" of your post. And since Andrew and I are in the middle of bidding season, I figured I would help out fellow FS officers by participating. Using an explanation from  another blog (thanks Lees on the go) bidding, for those not in the FS, means we take this official list of countries and begin to categorize, organize, strategize & hypothesize about which country will be the best fit for ourselves & our family.  I will get more into our plans, aspirations, hopes and dream posts in another blog posting.  But on to Bangkok:
5 Pros!
1) Food, Food, Food:  The Restaurants and food in Bangkok is spectacular.  Granted Andrew has been more adventurous in the Asian cuisine than I have, but the food here rocks for USAID standards.  Each person who visits us at post rants, raves and gains 10 pounds.  As a hater on all things asian food (I know, im awful), I have been able to constantly find food and haven't starved.  Groceries stores are well stocked and the only thing we couldn't find was a lamb shank on Passover.

2) Travel:  Since Bangkok is practically the hub of Asia, we have easily been able to hop around and visit places we never thought possible.  We played with monkeys in Nepal, visited a Night Safari in Singapore, relaxed on the beaches of Vietnam and partied FS style in Cambodia.  All of this on our somewhat limited budget.  We have seen more of Asia than I ever imagined.  (Side note: Singapore = pricey)

3) Healthcare:  This may be because I am going through pregnancy and it may be because our friend just went to the hospital for her foot, but the health care in BKK is amazing.  I am constantly being asked WHY I am staying in BKK for the birth of our son, well its because its FIRST CLASS.  You know the photos of Beyonce's birthing room, yeah, imagine that but a tad smaller.  And for the same price.  Naturally the nurses don't speak english and my doctor can't understand why I am gaining weight during pregnancy, but all and all the health care is amazing here!

4) Always something to do:  Andrew and I were nervous at first that we would be bored on the weekends etc. in Bangkok, but there is ALWAYS something to do.  There are gallery openings, movies and fesitivals.  One of my favorite things was the symphony in the park.  It was great to picnic with friends and enjoy the music. That and the movie theatres are SPECTACULAR.  And if you know the Dubinskys, this has made adapting to life abroad much easier.  Yes, I saw Hunger Games opening week :) 

5) The work:  I have really enjoyed USAID/RDMA.  The work here is always changing and I have the chance to break into whatever I have wanted.  This has included project management, evaluation design, economic analysis (large scale economic analysis) and A LOT of work travel.  In fact, I am off to Lao PDR next week.  I have been really happy with my work here.

5 Cons!

1) Not the best place for pets:  Don't get me wrong, I am sooo glad we have Elko and Menlo with us.  And we have been able to board them when we needed too and when the MORONS ate Tylenol I was able to rush them to the hospital, where they got STELLAR care.  However, the day to day is a little rough on them.  This could also be because we are in apartments and not in a house.  But they don't get enough outdoor time (completely my fault) and Menlo is still terrified of everything.  He never lived off a street with cars constantly wizzing by and guards yelling out his name.  It is also not easy to get them in a cab.  I always have to offer baht and they look at me with disdain the whole time.  I will say though, in an emergency I got a cab and got them to the hospital.  Moronic dogs.

2) TRAFFIC TRAFFIC TRAFFIC TRAFFIC:  I have lived in Houston, DC and Boston.  It is easy to say that those three cities are all easily in the top 10 in the US for the WORST traffic, however, Bangkok TAKES THE CAKE.  My main complaint is no one knows how to handle traffic flows and the lights are run manually by men in booths.  Andrew once sat at a light that didn't change for and HOUR!  Seriously.  (They were holding it because a royal might have been driving by).  Another time, I literally had to YELL out the window for the guy in the booth to change the light after 25 minutes.  So when people ask how far I live from work the answer is...15 minutes to an 1.5 hours.  And for the record we are less than 2 miles away!  There is also no method to the madness.  Yes, its worse during "rush hour" which lasts until 9pm.  However, you never know when the expressway will stop or your street will be closed for 8 months for construction.  I am glad we brought the car, but ugggh!

3) Not a typical embassy community:  To me this is a negative, but to a lot of people this would be a positive.  Because BKK is SUCH a large embassy and we are in the middle of a metropolitan city there isn't much of a "embassy community feel."  Granted our building has been great about setting this up and we are a tight group of Esmeraldians, however, there isn't the same level of Embassy community that you see at posts.  For instance, my friends threw me a shower yesterday and most of the state department folks had never met USAID folks who didn't live in our building.  The CLO puts together events and people go (we like trivia nights), but its just not the same.  ** this is more based on hearsay too because BKK is our first post.
4) HEAT:  Ok, its hot!  Seriously its always hot!  I haven't needed a pull over or a shirt with a sleeve in over a year.  I am a Texan and the heat still gets to me.  To be honest, the worst part is my aversion to being outdoors as a result of it.  The pool is nice.  But if I am not indoors.  This has only gotten worse with the pregnancy.  Granted MOST places have some amount of AC.  And our apartment is an igloo (as andrew will agree), but in the end...HOT!
5) It is all downhill from here!  I work at USAID, life will never be this good again :(


  1. Plus people want to visit you there! :)

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  3. Just found your blog post about BKK. Just found out we are moving there for our second post. I have a question Whitney, what is the best route to fly your dog there? I am in DC at the moment. Been researching but figured you might know the best answer :) I have my dog and he is family so I have to bring him there, luckily he's a lazy dog so he doesn't seen much exercise. Really enjoying your site. Cheers Thy


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