well, yesterday was one of these days where i seriously doubted that thailand has made it beyond being a developing country. for the second time in 4 days, my visa card was suckered into an ATM, claiming an invalid pin code. while i got my card back the first time around, this time they tell me it will be destroyed by visa? this left me cash-strapped and somewhat worried. since oliver was in a similar position (ie having no money), we had a somewhat funny situation where we were financed by olivers thai girlfriend (usually its the other way around..)
apparently, thailand does not have a world-class atm backbone, despite silly stickers on atm’s claiming to be e-commerce outlets?! anyways, when i reverted to the old fashioned way of withdrawing money at the counter, it magically worked. thais love paperwork and clerks are being subsidized in massive numbers. for instance, thai companies in bangkok do not use public post despite its good and timely service. instead, they employ some fool whose job is to run errands all day. some days, one of these guys shows up every 30 minutes, usually to bring in a single check for sign-off? an network analogy would be if the internet consisted only of point-to-point links.. imagine the number of links needed, and the horrendous inefficiency. no wonder bangkok traffic is so bad if it is clogged by all these jerks.