Thai ATM Horror Story

So today turned out to be a big bummer because of the stupid Thai banking system. In short, I tried to withdraw 20,000 Baht from my Japanese bank with an international (PLUS system) bank card, which is something I’ve done many times before with no real problems. This time, however, the ATM (Thai Commercial Bank) flashed an error, “Communication Error,” and spat out my card but no cash and no receipt. I figured it might be an error with this particular bank and mine in Japan (Mitsui Sumitomo), so I tried again with the ATM to the immediate right of the first one (Thai Military Bank). Same error message, same exact result: No cash, no receipt.
Then I figured I’d try a little bit later so I pulled up to a Krung Thai Bank ATM at a gas station and tried again to withdraw 20,000 Baht. This time I got an “insufficient balance” error, and a sinking feeling in my stomach (and again, no cash and no receipt). Sure enough, when I rushed home to look at my balance online, it showed that 20,000 Baht had been withdrawn today.
I immediately called my bank in Japan and explained the situation. The man on the other end was sympathetic and said I needed to talk to the banks here in Thailand first, but that if nothing could be done on this side, he could probably launch an investigation into the matter which would take weeks to find anything (if at all), but sounded much better than nothing. At this point, I was pretty sure that appealing to the banks here would end in squat.
Sure enough, both Thai banks claimed since I wasn’t sure which bank had actually made the transaction, it absolved them both of responsibility until I found out this info from my Japanese bank. Of course, by the time I received this happy reply (via Nam, who went to go find the contact info on the ATMs while I watched sleeping baby at home), my bank in Japan had already closed for the day.
So.
20,000 Baht (68,000 yen or around $600) just disappeared into the ether, and, as of now, I have fuck all to show that this is what actually happened.
My question: At times like this is it more appropriate to hate computers, the third world, or banks in general?
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////
UPDATE: I called my bank in Japan to tell them that the Thai banks are not accepting responsibility (big surprise!) since I don’t know which one caused the problem, and they insist that the Japan side must initiate action of some kind. The guy at my bank who is following the case advised me to wait seven working days to see if the problem is corrected automatically, then to contact him again so he can initiate an inquiry which may take a couple months to finish. This blows.

Effluvian Cycle

20080430maximilian0032.jpg
I never imagined such a cute little thing could poop so often. Max, when not sleeping or breastfeeding, is soiling diapers (and our clothes as well) at a highly efficient rate. I would say at this point we are going through 30 diapers per day, as well as assorted towels, blankets, and baby clothes that get soiled as well (one downside to cloth diapers is that they have no plastic layer to keep the juiciness sealed in).
My mental checklist from the past 24 hours looks something like this:
Poo
Pee
Pee
Pee
Poo
Double double (2 pees + 2 poos consecutively/simultaneously, in random order)
Pee
Very wet fart/not quite poo
Pee
Pee
Poo
Super pee (soiled mommy/daddy’s clothes as well as own)
Pee
Poo
Hot squirt from bottom when changing
Pee
Pee
Super pee
Triple double (including attempted pee in daddy’s face when changing)
Pee
Poo
Pee with small poop squirt
/end of cycle
But so far, I have to admit this is kinda fun. My boy can pass gas loudly and unabashedly, sometimes on the very hand that changes his nappies, and that is something, as a man, of which I can be proud.
Today we must make a run for wet wipes, baby laundry detergent, and food at the local mini-Tesco. The best wet wipes and disposable diapers available in Thailand (that we’ve seen so far at least) is a Japanese brand called MamyPoko (parent company: Unicharm). Mamypoko makes great products at competitive prices… We don’t take Max out very often, but when we do, we’ve decided to use disposables… It’s one less thing to worry about, and the finished product makes a great projectile for idiots who double park.
Bonus trivia: Disposable diapers no longer employ adhesive tabs! They have a Velcro-like system, but the texture isn’t rough like normal Velcro. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s magic or something!

Went Shopping for a Car Seat…

20080425max-basket0005-edit.jpg
Guess he’ll have to grow into it. As a sidenote, this may have been the only car seat for sale in all of Mahasarakham. Since it was the last one in the only store that we know sells car seats, perhaps there is literally nowhere to buy them here anymore. It was about $90 and has genuine-looking European safety certification markings on it.

Taco truck ban?

(I need to take a quick break from baby blogging)
As if bacon-wrapped hot dogs being outlawed wasn’t enough, it seems taco trucks are now in jeopardy on the streets of LA:

Led by District 1 County Supervisor Gloria Molina, the L.A. Board of Supervisors has passed new restrictions that will effectively eliminate taco trucks from our streets. Under Supervisor Molina’s new rules, taco trucks will have to change location every hour, or face a misdemeanor charge carrying a $1000 fine and/or jail.

LINK: saveourtacotrucks.org
carneasada.png