How I almost was left with no money in Thailand

Before I went to Thailand, I read a lot of books and articles about life in Thailand. I was interested in the culture, customs and possibilities of international relationships between the foreigners and Thai women. Most of the stories are similar: first they tell you they love you, and after a while you find yourself feeding their buffalo in Isan.

It has been 1.5 years since I came back to Ukraine, so now I can look at this story in a new way. After switching from one Thai woman to another one, life went on – until the day I looked into my money exchange app to transfer another couple of thousand dollars for my daily life. I didn’t like the exchange rate and decided to wait for a week, expecting the rate to stabilize. As a freelancer who earns money on the Internet, I used the following scheme:

Webmoney=> Money exchange application => USD bank card of Privatbank => cashing the money out through an ATM in Thailand

I had to save money to spend a week on the money that I still had. By the end of the week, when the money was about to run out, I tried to withdraw the money, and that’s when the trouble started. For safety reasons (so nobody else can take the money out from my Webmoney account), they had enabled an extra security protection through text message. And exactly this text message with the code did not seem to arrive to my phone, no matter what I tried. I decided that this was probably a temporary phenomenon and decided to withdraw the next day. The next day, however, the texts did not come, nor the day after. The money I had in real life ended.

I’ll be honest – I started to panic. The last thing I needed was to be left without a dime in a country 7000 kilometers away from home. I had a habit of throwing the change from my pockets on a plate and on my night table. Usually girls would take money for a motorbike from there.

After going through all the places where I could have left any change,  I counted as much as 800 baht.

It also stressed me out that in a week I had to pay the rent for my condo, and that was about 13,000 baht.

I could have borrowed it from my buddies, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself. Especially – how to borrow, if I cannot pay back?
In the meantime, I had written to the online customer support of Webmoney and to my mobile operator Kievstar. I received the answer saying it was not their problem: they claimed that the text is being sent out correctly. I thought that maybe I had some troubles with the sim card, so I activated a previously prepared backup sim card. It didn’t help.

At that moment the Thai woman comes back home and sees that her “farang” became a beggar: he is building pyramids out of coins and counting the money. She asks me why I am counting the coins, if any trouble happened? So I explain to her: the money is gone and won’t be back anytime soon. So, you’re moving back home and we’re not living together anymore for a while, because it’s possible that even this little money I have, I’m going to need. So this is the reality: I already packed up your things for you.

The Thai woman didn’t like the idea at all: she started to cry right away.

“I’m sure that’s just an excuse to leave me. Let me give you the money, then you give it back when you have it later.” I replied to her that it didn’t seem a good idea to me, ’cause I didn’t know if I was able to support both of us at this moment. I didn’t even know what would happen next. The Thai woman gave me another option: to let her lend me the money + all the expenses for our food. And if I’m not able to get to my money by the end of the rental period, I could move to her condo since she still is paying for it anyway. Her main condition was obviously that she stays.

After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I wasn’t really in a position to refuse her offer. Who knows if anyone else would lend me money? So I agreed. I talked to my brother, asked him if he could borrow me some money. My brother offered me 500 hryvnias (about 50 USD at the time), and I decided that it wasn’t worth bothering him, since he had enough issues of his own.

5000 baht moved from my Thai woman into my pockets, but none of it was spent on food: she was buying all of the food, and I lived practically at her expense. When the money was gone a couple of days later, I moved out of my condo. From the money I got back from the deposit returned to me, I rented a new condo, plus I took around 5 or 7 thousand baht more from the Thai woman. This was really surprising: I was used to hearing stories when the Thai asked the foreigners for money, but this was a reverse story.

A couple of days later I found the solution to my problem on one of the online forums: the wrong text message reception operator was chosen automatically through my roaming service. By manually changing the settings in the phone, I was able to establish the correct operator of the network, and finally receive text messages.

I immediately transferred the money to my card. When I received the money, I did not rush to give my loan back to the Thai woman: she did not remind me about it even once! Moreover, the course of things changed: if earlier I was buying the food, nowadays she was the one spending money on the food we needed. I hadn’t paid her before, but this was an interesting story – I basically ended up living off her account. I returned the money to her on the last day before my flight back home. She knew that the tickets had already been purchased and even knew the date of my departure, and nevertheless she didn’t ever mention a word about the money.

Somebody might think it was a tricky plan to trick the foreigner into staying with her for a long time. But in this case it’s not true: I’ve repeatedly told the Thai woman that I ddin’t love her, and in the long run I’m not going to live with her. I never gave her an illusion that I would ever marry her or anything similar. And in general, I was going back to my home country anyway.

After this story, I have drawn some conclusions for myself: sometimes, even a Thai woman can help you in a difficult situation. The main thing is to choose the right one.

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