Once Upon a Time When Romania Moved to Thailand
Published 17th January 2010 - 3 comments - 1567 views -
photo credits Bradut Florescu
3 months ago, a Romanian advertising man took a sabbatical year off the rat race, left to an island in Thailand where he set his main headquarters and started living like a local with short escape-monotony trips in other Asian neighborhoods. Why he's done it is not very important. What is important and turns his last 3 months into a worth sharing story are those little details that make the difference between a self sufficient consumer living in the city and a happy camper that proves that being green can be reduced to being.
Sustainability is in the hands of the pursuer but many times it comes out of the blue. Today it goes like this.
Teachings from Baloo bear to his son Teodosie
(via 'We shall live and shall be free' - content in Romanian)
(sorry, guys, you gotta be Romanian to fully get the title, but yes, Baloo is in reference to that* Jungle Book bear)
Am I cleaner? Am I greener? Am I more responsible? Would the Earth marry me if I'd pop out the question?
Simple math says yes. But it's not because of me. It's because of this place. I don't think this is possible in Bucharest. In Bucharest and, in general, in the city, people are alone and have no roots. They are sad and angry. They must consume, so they don't go nuts. They must kill and kill themselves. Otherwise the global economy gets blocked, the flat Earth re-becomes round and we all go to hell as happened in 2012.
On what's concerning me, things were simpler. Poor Earth is powerful enough to push a buffalo like me to a natural moderation. Without efforts, in the last 3 months, I've given up to the following orders and medals of the civilized man:
1. Car. My Forrester (in Romania) burns 12-15-20 liters/ 100 km (season trends, road type, style of driving). My scooter (in Thailand) needs 1.5 - 2 liters. It's enough for my small shopping needs. I don't need anything big, as explained at point 2.
2. Goods. I only buy what I need. I didn't buy a plasma TV, audio system, game console, furniture, accessories and other stuff to make my life more beautiful. In the last 3 months, I bought two mattresses so I can lounge comfortable on the porch with my friends; two small audio speakers , a mouse, tableware and some glasses. All in all, about 100 euros.
3. Excessive electricity consumption. I wake up as early as I can (between 7 and 9 am, depending of the play mood of my kitties). I stay outside all day long. In the evening I light a candle and watch a movie, listen to music on my iPod or write on my blog. When sleepy, I go to bed. I no longer watch ...
4. ...TV. Until I left (Romania), I couldn't understand the ones who had already given up TV. Well, I couldn't have to anyway, as I was working in the television and TV consumption was part of the dream job. But here, I don't have a TV and I wouldn't have anything to watch anyway. I have the internet for news, and for entertainment, a stash of movies on a hard drive, 10 thick books, a sea filled with fishes and, from now and then, a Full Moon party.
5. Food. I eat once, maximum twice per day. Two hard boiled eggs for breakfast or veggies and noodles for lunch. Dinner, rarely, because I'm lazy. Between meals - fruits. Once a week, pizza, so I don't go crazy. Once a month, when it's someone's birthday, we make a barbecue - chicken and pork. No beefsteak, it's expensive and stringy. It's said it's a pollutant, as if I care.
6. Drinks. I like white wine, which is very expensive in Thailand and, often, it's of low quality, too. And if I'd have enough money to splurge on alcohol, I would still not pay 15 euros on a bottle. On the other hand, I buy a bottle of tequila and one of Caribbean rum every month (25 euros both) and mix them in cocktails. Healthier, fresher. From now and then I drink a beer, but beer here is either watery or gives you headaches the next day. Or both.
7. Water. Yes, I still bathe myself, even more than before. A shower in the morning, another one after the first swim, a third one after the next swim and a last one before bed time. But I bathe just to be clean, not to get warm, not to relieve stress (which stress?). 3-4 minutes, a medium flux it's as much as the water pump handles. Where are the tubs of passed times, where I used to let the water run and forget about it until the neighbor started to knock in the pipes? I estimate I use a maximum of 100 liters of water every day, dish washing included
8. Chemical products. When living in Bucharest, I had all Johnson&Johnson, Procter&Gamble, Uni&Lever collections. The small bag of detergent I bought when I came here, emptied two days ago, because I cleaned a small carpet the kittens had peed on. Dirty laundry goes to a family who offers laundry services. Obviously, they use detergent, but they are more frugal than I would ever be. Besides, in one week, I gather less than 2 kilos of dirty laundry. Tshirts, underwear and swimming briefs, because I don't wear anything else, not even socks.
Disclosure: Fostered by the oligarch friend, I bought a Baygon spray to get rid of the insects. Last night I used it for the first time, straight on the head of a little beetle I found in the bathroom. It died wriggling and I felt so bad that I hid the spray some place where only the next tenant of the hut I live in might find it. In the end, I am the intruder. The beetles should spray my nose, not the other way around.
9. Clothing, as already left for your guessing. I took few from home, thinking that if I need anything, I can buy from here, cheap and reliable. I wore half of what I brought with me and, after 3 months, clothing news can be summarized in 3 t-shirts and a funky hat. The t-shirts were presents, I paid for the hat. My main wardrobe consists in 3 swimming briefs, 3 shorts, 5 t-shirts and 4 sleeveless t-shirts, 5-6 pairs of underwear and 6 towels. I only wear the hat on special occasions.
10. Garbage. Beyond compare, I produce less garbage than before. And the one I make, it's either organic or recyclable. Let me explain: food leftovers are given to the dogs (as used to do back in the old days, in the countryside). Veggies and fruit leftovers are for the ouzels that come to green me every morning. Shopping bags are either refused or reused as garbage bags. I don't buy chips or other bagged snacks. Plastic bottles - rarely: Coke for Cuba Libre, a bottle a week. All batteries I use are rechargeable and new; so far I haven't thrown away any.
11. Mobile phone. As soon as I arrived, I bought a sort of Nokia 5110 (do you remember?) which, if I hadn't lost last week, I would still own. I admit, by losing it, I polluted, but it wasn't on purpose. As it's not on purpose the way I use my new phone 2 minutes on average every day, as a proto-GPS with Cristi, Ioana, Diana or Andrei. "Where are you? At the North Beach. Okay, I'm coming, too. Come." I call my mom once per week. We speak 3 minutes, enough for my credit to run out, because Romania is expensive to talk to (there is a word game in the original language that gets lost in translation): over 1 euro/minute. In comparison, Israeli and Russians pay ten times less. But, unlike me, they come from poorer countries.
12. Gas. Along with the key for my hut, the owner - Mr. Ong - gave me a gas tank, with similar dimensions to the ones we have (in Romania). It's almost full. And I did cook. But Thai food, including rice, takes 10 minutes to prepare. Water for coffee takes 60 seconds to boil. In this rythm, many months will pass until I have to go out in the road to wait for the car coming to replace the gas tank, as my grandma used to send me on the 23 August Street (now known as Mihai Viteazul) in Urziceni. (his home town)
The list can go on. I lost 10 kilos of my own being. I gave up to the eye-pouch-advertising and lost-nights-advertising. I ended up spending 5 times less I used to spend before in a country with prices comparable to the ones at home, for a quality of life beyond any comparison to the one at home.
You draw the conclusions.
a. Underlined comments between the brackets are notes I've added to make the text easier to follow for a first time reader.
b. There is a tech issue that still doesn't allow me to comment anywhere on the platform, but it doesn't mean I don't read everything you write.
About the author
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