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Sense of direction.


sipi

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I have a pretty good sense of direction. I can battle my way around the average multi-story shopping center or car-park with relative ease whilst others wander around aimlessly. I get lost driving in rural (and urban) Thailand occasionally, but who doesn't.

My wife, however takes it to a new level. I have followed her (3 paces behind) down nearly every soi in Thailand at a brisk pace. Ok, she is from Thailand; what else do I expect?

But then she is the same in Singapore Chinatown having never been there before. Races around the gigantic undercover markets like a race-car driver, without batting an eyelid; and then straight out the exit and directly back to the hotel. I can't remember which way is up by this.

I tried an experiment. My wife, her sister and her sisters husband were lying down in the back of a pick-up car (utility), staring at the sky. Actually the girls were staring at their phones and Du was staring at the sky smoking a cigarette. I drove for 30 minutes (we were eventually headed for Phon Cheroen big-com). I took short cuts, long cuts, did several u-turns..... and eventually pulled up. I jumped out and asked them where we were.."about 100mtrs from Wongchumpu clinic"..Exactly where we were; and no, they didn't cheat.

They think it is amusing that I can walk into the center of a large rubber plantation, shut my eyes, spin around 3 times, open my eyes; and not be able to point directly West South West. They do it with ease.

How? Did they evolve from migratory birds? I find it totally unbelievable.

Have you experienced the same from other Thais?

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i like your analogy to migratory birds sort of sums it up quite well however my own experience has been very different locally my wife is fairly accurate in that respect but in general terms its all pretty chaotic to my way of thinking but hey they seem to get by albeit out on a limb

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Sipi, I'm sorry to say you are useless.

On the other hand, I don't know how many times I've missed the entrance to my Soi.

If the wife is not next to me I usually pass it, have to drive further down and when I realise I gone too far have to do a U turn and come back.

Going anywhere in Thailand is a no go for me if the wife is not there.

I can head to Bangkok from Khon Kaen and land in Chiang Mai.

I'm amazed also with the sense of direction they have.

But that's one of the privileges you have being married.........you can never get lost.thumbsup.gif

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I agree - an amazing sense of direction + incredible memory of places we've been to - we always use one vehicle but have two so she rarely drives to the point I have to charge the Honda's battery while it basically sits 98% of the time - took mine to a shop I hadn't been to in ages to have a door lock looked at armed with a book & recharging cord for the phone (this is about 15-18K from home in an area we seldom go near) she'd been there once when I was driving //// I left early to be one of the first in queue. - who pops in with a fresh shiny smiley face about an hour later smile.png ......there's no escape I tell ya......

Places we've been to once she recalls as well as where to turn and park - I call her my GPS as one of the letters works with her name.....same with areas we've toured driving only once.....admirable recall....

Yes - the lefts and rights sometimes replace each other.......that's part of the fun.....

Edited by pgrahmm
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I have read a study that concluded that men navigate by directions (Go south 3 kms.....turn left at the 3rd road, 100 metres past the intersection etc) while women navigate by landmarks, (go towards the temple, it's on the road with the big green house, it's across from the market etc).

OP's wife in city situations is probably noticing things like tall buildings, the shoe department etc.

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My wife likes to give me driving directions.

But, she's a little dyslexic.

Sometimes she say 'right' when she means 'left'. And vice versa.

But, it's my fault for making the wrong turn. tongue.png

Oh yes, I forgot about the "left/ right" thing..

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Quite possibly during the OP's expreriment, the ladies were using GPS, they were after all looking at their phones.

GPS...damn, I knew they were up to something. Not only a good sense of direction but a lot smarter too.

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I have read a study that concluded that men navigate by directions (Go south 3 kms.....turn left at the 3rd road, 100 metres past the intersection etc) while women navigate by landmarks, (go towards the temple, it's on the road with the big green house, it's across from the market etc).

OP's wife in city situations is probably noticing things like tall buildings, the shoe department etc.

or the jewelry shop, the other jewelry shop, and the other jewelry shop....

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She has a skill me thinks.

My wife is similar in Thailand, but lost in Australia. She says everywhere looks the same.

Ive noticed Thai girls can be quite psychic. They seem to sense 'things' quite well, but I cant give one particular example.

My wife strangely gets an itchy lower back when rains on its way. Sounds weird but Ive taken enough notice and its accurate. Itchy in the morning,blue sky, she says its gonna rain, and it does everytime

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I have read a study that concluded that men navigate by directions (Go south 3 kms.....turn left at the 3rd road, 100 metres past the intersection etc) while women navigate by landmarks, (go towards the temple, it's on the road with the big green house, it's across from the market etc).

OP's wife in city situations is probably noticing things like tall buildings, the shoe department etc.

or the jewelry shop, the other jewelry shop, and the other jewelry shop....

To be fair, I used to give directions by proximity to pubs. "Go past the Oak and Whale, till you get to the road with the Shakespeare Tavern, turn left when you hit the Crafty Fox......"

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Yes. I think they're using familiar landmarks. My husband has a Thai friend who is a bank branch manager. When he gives us directions it's always in terms of the branch banks and ATM machines of his bank and those of his competitors. He must know the location of every banking location in northern Thailand. Who else but a bank manager would really pay attention to something like that?

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She has a skill me thinks.

My wife is similar in Thailand, but lost in Australia. She says everywhere looks the same.

Ive noticed Thai girls can be quite psychic. They seem to sense 'things' quite well, but I cant give one particular example.

My wife strangely gets an itchy lower back when rains on its way. Sounds weird but Ive taken enough notice and its accurate. Itchy in the morning,blue sky, she says its gonna rain, and it does everytime

Yes the psychic thing is certainly very real. But that is another story.

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My wife likes to give me driving directions.

But, she's a little dyslexic.

Sometimes she say 'right' when she means 'left'. And vice versa.

But, it's my fault for making the wrong turn. tongue.png

I hear ya! There's also the "Turn here there." pointing to some road behind us.

I can relate to that.

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You have an interesting take on 'sense of direction' here. It's been my experience that if you are talking to a Thai person about directions to some place and you use north, south, east and west, they have no clue where those are. I think you lucked out!

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Yes. I think they're using familiar landmarks. My husband has a Thai friend who is a bank branch manager. When he gives us directions it's always in terms of the branch banks and ATM machines of his bank and those of his competitors. He must know the location of every banking location in northern Thailand. Who else but a bank manager would really pay attention to something like that?

Bar girls?????

clap2.gifclap2.gifclap2.gifclap2.gifclap2.gif

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She has a skill me thinks.

My wife is similar in Thailand, but lost in Australia. She says everywhere looks the same.

Ive noticed Thai girls can be quite psychic. They seem to sense 'things' quite well, but I cant give one particular example.

My wife strangely gets an itchy lower back when rains on its way. Sounds weird but Ive taken enough notice and its accurate. Itchy in the morning,blue sky, she says its gonna rain, and it does everytime

Itchy back is real. I get it to, and I'm not Thai. But about the sense of direction, my wife is fairly average, and we infrequently get lost in BKK - usually because of talking, like recently taking someone to the airport. But I now know my way around Bang Na. What i don't understand is that my wife and others don't like asking shops or strangers for directions. Don't know why ?

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I have read a study that concluded that men navigate by directions (Go south 3 kms.....turn left at the 3rd road, 100 metres past the intersection etc) while women navigate by landmarks, (go towards the temple, it's on the road with the big green house, it's across from the market etc).

OP's wife in city situations is probably noticing things like tall buildings, the shoe department etc.

Don't know about that. In Australia it was always go down past the Rose and Crown, turn left, walk two blocks until you get to the Pig and Whistle and then....you get the picture.

In Australia I always had a really good sense of direction. I sailed a lot and always had a good sense of where I was heading without charts, etc. I don't know if it is because I am now in the northern hemisphere or just getting old but I seem to have lost my bump of direction.

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I have read a study that concluded that men navigate by directions (Go south 3 kms.....turn left at the 3rd road, 100 metres past the intersection etc) while women navigate by landmarks, (go towards the temple, it's on the road with the big green house, it's across from the market etc).

OP's wife in city situations is probably noticing things like tall buildings, the shoe department etc.

Don't know about that. In Australia it was always go down past the Rose and Crown, turn left, walk two blocks until you get to the Pig and Whistle and then....you get the picture.

In Australia I always had a really good sense of direction. I sailed a lot and always had a good sense of where I was heading without charts, etc. I don't know if it is because I am now in the northern hemisphere or just getting old but I seem to have lost my bump of direction.

I've thought about this often over the years and I reckon you've hit the nail on the head. I'm fine in the UK, but to a certain extent 'lost' anywhere in SE Asia. I believe our subconscious picks up small markers, reminders, that we can't when they are in another language, Thai, Khmer, Vietnamese.

I also found roles reversed, a lot of Thais struggle in the UK but can apparently navigate blindfolded at home. There's probably a scientific explanation for it but who has the time to be searching for useless info?

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