Chapter 3 - The first day at the office

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My first day started right off with a disaster, because I could not find the way to the office and being new to Bangkok the network of Sois (small side roads) can be quite confusing. So it took me almost an hour to find the office building, which at that time was one of the few 32 storey skyscrapers - if I would have known that before it would have been much easier to find it because the ITF Tower stuck out of the rest of the buildings surrounding it. Meanwhile it is surrounded by other high rise buildings most of which were constructed between 1993 and 1997, for example the ITF Tower II.

Being late, for a German is something terrible, I was so confused that I even forgot the floor in which the office of CIMCO was located. So I asked the security guard on the ground floor of the ITF-Building where the office would be located and of course he did not understand me, as I could not speak Thai yet. So here is the second thing I learned: To be able to get around in Thailand, you must have a basic command of Thai because most of the Thais don't speak English. And here is the third thing one must know about Thailand. There are millions of low or minimum income earners who are basically exploited by the middle- and upper-class. During my five year stay in Thailand I did not find even one security guard who had a clue about anything.

After I could not make any sense about what the security guard told me, I decided to take the elevator up to the 32nd floor, to walk down the stairs and to check every floor for CIMCO's office. That again took ages until I finally found the office on the 23rd floor. Victor had a heartily laugh about my odyssey and then introduced me to the rest of the staff. There were Kob and Tick whom I knew already, but now I got introduced to Nipon which was actually his real name (surprise), Kung, whose real name was Paranada, Ann, whose real name was Kannika, Pop and Sam whose real name was Samkan, but Victor could not remember it, so he called him Sam. I also met Bob Love (that was his real name) whom I was going to replace, because Bob had decided to move back to the U.S. with his Thai wife.

Then Victor told me how we would go about my work permit and permanent visa. There were basically two possibilities, the correct way which would take ages and the "fast" way which meant to pay under table money. No way Victor would go the easy way, after all he is British! So here was the deal, one could get a work permit only with a permanent visa and - you guess it - vice versa. While the visa application was underway, I had to stay in the hotel because it would have spelled trouble for CIMCO and for me if the officers from the immigration police would have found me working for CIMCO without visa and work permit. So Victor provided me with a PC which I took to the hotel later that day.

Victor also told me that it was ok when I went to customer sites together with Bob, which I did right on the next day.

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