Peace Corps
Thai 27
Ernie's Stories
Riding to work on a Thai bus


We arrived in Bangkok in l969 and 3 volunteers and myself rented a nice big house together on Soi Aree Samphan Saam off of Paholyothin Rd.
When we got settled in Bangkok several of us decided to go shopping for some western food.
Back then there weren’t any big shopping malls or “Costco” type warehouses that you find everywhere in Bangkok today. If you wanted western food you had to go to a specialty store.
One well known store was the BANGKOK HAM, a small shop with a limited supply of frozen meats like pork chops.
Thais refer to the BANGKOK HAM as ‘BANGKOK HAM”.
But being new to the country, we thought we had to do a bit of translation, so we went out to Paholyothin Rd. one day and hailed a taxi.
We asked the driver to take us to “Grung Thep Muu” ..which was a literal translation of “Bangkok” plus “Pig”.
As hard as we tried to explain ourselves to the taxi driver, he was totally perplexed. He had never heard of the “Grung Thep Muu”.
We never got to go shopping there that day.
But we did later on when we discovered our error.

We made the same mistake trying to get to Nick’s No. 1, a popular steak house with volunteers back then (the place is still there I understand).
We asked the taxi driver to take us to “Nicks Burr Nung”
(which literally translates “Nick’s Number One”), not knowing that Thais refer to it simply as “Nick’s Number One”. I don’t think we got there that day either.