Air-con bus was 8 baht and the non-aircon was 3 baht, so this expense was barely a few hundred baht a month.

Utility bills

Normal use of air-con in a regular size apartment would cost in the region of 1,500 baht.

Food – both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I look back and realise I never ate particularly well in those days. Not because I couldn’t afford it but I could never seem to get myself organised. My main meal of the day would always be lunch, which was often grabbed from the shopping mall opposite the school. A lady in the food court there did a particularly good ‘gaeng galee gai’ (Indian style curry) for 30 baht. In the evening I’d either throw some sliced ham between two slices of killer white or walk to the nearby McDonalds before I got the bus home.

In 1996, you had nothing like the choice of Western fast food that you have now. There weren’t that many McDonalds around, a few KFCs, Chester’s Grill was quite popular, and that was pretty much your lot.

I generally skipped breakfast most mornings or I’d grab 10 baht’s worth of ‘pathong go’ to dip in my coffee while I was preparing the day’s lessons.

I guess all in all, eating and supermarket shopping came to about 6,000 a month.

Nightlife and drinking

Saturday night was always the big night out. It was the highlight of the week and they always followed the same pattern. 3-5 of us would meet in the staff-room and with neckties stuffed in our pockets, we’d start the evening about 6pm with a few cheap beers at a cafe in the shopping mall, then pile into a couple of taxis and head for the fleshpots of Sukhumwit Road. The German Beer Garden on Soi 8 was always a popular starting point but we’d nearly always end up in Cowboy, Nana Plaza or down ‘The Pong’ if we fancied a change of scenery (I never liked Patpong though)

In those days, beers were 40-80 baht tops, lady drinks were 40 baht. You could have a skinful of ale, a Maccy D opposite Patpong, a taxi home as the sun was coming up and you’d still have plenty of change from a thousand baht note. So probably 4,000 a month on entertainment.

Very occasionally I would go to the movie theatre (50 baht a ticket) or have a couple of hours on the green baize at one of the many snooker clubs dotted around that you just don’t seem to see anymore. I can’t remember for the life of me how much snooker was per hour but it wasn’t expensive. And you always bunged a 50 baht tip to the markee (the young girl who worked at the club and who handed you the rest and put her hands in the pockets to fish your balls out)

Books, computers

These were the days well before the internet and smartphones so you never had those expenses to worry about. However, I was totally addicted to my Playstation and Lord knows how many hours of my life I wasted on Tomb Raider. A good friend and colleague would sometimes come round and we’d get a few cans from the old Chinaman at the dusty corner shop and have mammoth ‘Resident Evil’ sessions that would go on until the small hours. Not the smartest thing to do when you’ve got eight hours of teaching the following day.