No opportunity to refuse. It seems that in Thailand, companies, private schools and the like insist that their employees are given thorough medical examinations. So it was that at 7.30 this morning I could be seen marching by the endless flow of traffic, past the stinking canal and the sleeping dogs, under the concrete flyover and onwards to the school campus where I met with the headteacher's PA and the school driver, Mr Chad. They were taking me to a company clinic for the first full medical of my life.
Of course there were many forms to fill in. One lady in a cerise tunic took a sample of my blood. A multi-skilled gentleman had two jobs - chest X-ray and ECG. I had been told not to eat or drink for eight hours before my appointment but I still had to provide a urine sample. A starched nurse from a nineteen sixties hospital weighed me, measured my height, measured my chest and waist - about which she appeared to make some disparaging remark to the school secretary who was shadowing me all the way. Who cares about confidentiality?
Then I went into a windowless office where a grey-haired gentleman was reading a newspaper. He put it down and indicated that I would need to remove my shirt (again). He asked me about syphilis and gonorrhoea but I said it was comedy duo I had never much appreciated. He donned his stethoscope and tested my reflexes and then when I was lying flat on his couch, with his ungloved hands he played around with my wedding tackle and told me to cough. I think he was disappointed that I was not ravaged by venereal disease.
Then more forms and signatures before stepping outside for my eye test, taken down a corridor with other victims watching from the adjacent waiting area. I swear I almost received a round of applause when I rattled off the letters al the way down to "Printed in Thailand". It's Superpudding with his X-ray vision but his slightly raised blood pressure.
Then we were out of there on our way to the Commercial Bank of Siam to set up an account. The colour theme was purple and the place was like an anthill - alive with bank workers. Outside a golden statue of the bank's founders looked down on fountains like a giant Buddha. Imagine that - a statue to bankers! Perhaps we "westerners" should follow suit and gather donations to erect statues of our own leading bankers. After all, their impact upon this planet has been err...amazing!
Leaving Bangkok for Koh Chang Island tomorrow