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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Bangkok, Thailand

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Bangkok

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No cross cultural training was offered and this was a mistake!

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Expats living in Thailand interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

The language here is Thai which is a monosyllabic tonal language with Sanskrit like characters. I did not speak it when I arrived but I have made an effort to lean which has been a worthwhile effort.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

Before I arrived I was pretty oblivious to culture shock. I thought it was something that may worry others but I was going to do business with local partners so it would not be a problem for me. Wrong!

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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

There is a great difference between my home country and Thailand and these differences were interesting and enjoyable. In the beginning there was not much business related culture shock and I think, in hind sight, that that was because my new colleagues were shielding me from it. They, like pretty much everyone else, were making me feel comfortable.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

There is no doubt that there are stages that we go through when dealing with any significant change in our lives and certainly this is true when it comes to cultural change. I think I encountered all the stages of culture shock but by this time my company had recognised what was happening and had contacted a company called Orientations (www.orientations.com) who were able to give my family and I insight into what was happening. This was a great benefit to us as they were able to guide us through the minefield of cross cultural exchange.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

I was lucky to be involved with a company that had the foresight to hire a cross cultural trainer for us. People from Orientations helped us to understand what was happening and put it into perspective for us. Even with the training provided by Orientations though I still made mistakes at work where it was difficult not to get angry sometimes when confronted by what appeared to be indifference but was actually cultural difference.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

I have come to learn that the Thais are a very forgiving people and that they will always deal with problems in a non confrontational and conciliatory way. But perhaps the thing I notice most is the Thai smile and of course the food :)

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

From a business perspective the most challenging aspect of Thai culture is the apparent lack of a sense of urgency. There is a Thai saying "mai pen rai" which loosely translated means something more than "it's ok, no problem". This relaxed and laid back attitude is perhaps the best and worst of the Thai culture

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

There are a number of cultural taboos that should be observed in Thailand. Luckily the people from Orientations told me about many of them but I still made errors. Perhaps the most common for me was the use of the "Wai" which is the prayer like gesture the Thai use to greet each other. I found that I was initiating this gesture with Thai people and as there are fairly complex rules about who should do this first and even how high the hands should be held depending on the relative seniority I cause much embarrassment to my Thai friends. Once again, Orientations was able to put me on the right track with this.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

If you are moving from a western culture to Thailand, or even if you are moving from some eastern cultures I strongly recommend that you get someone like Orientations (www.orientations.com) to help you with cross cultural training. My family and I found them to be immensely helpful from both a personal and business perspective. They have both westerns and local staff so they know what the problems are going to be before they even happen.

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Time Stamp 12-Jul-20 07:25 PM
Locale English (US)
User Agent CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
Remote IP 172.69.62.46
Host Name 172.69.62.46


Execution Time

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2 ms  STARTUP, PARSING, COMPILING, LOADING, & SHUTDOWN
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GeneralSet (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=1, Cached Query) in /var/www/expatexchange.com/expat/queries/qry_GeneralSet.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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SELECT DISTINCT img, photocaption, summary, hpimg, fbimg, twimg
FROM answers 
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GetNetworks (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=153, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navmeta_rdesign4.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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SELECT *
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getarticlesection (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=338) in /home/www/html/breadcrumb_ctygd.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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WHERE section = 6
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SELECT DISTINCT img, photocaption, summary, hpimg, twimg
FROM answers 
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and natsentenceweight = 'high'
getnatadtopull (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
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getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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and headerparagraphweight = 'high'
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getguidesummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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	From articles, articlecityplace
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gethealthsummary (Datasource=expert, Time=4ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=9ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
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FROM allreports, Networks 
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and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
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FROM topics
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FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 65981
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
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getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT hpimg as photo
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	WHERE answerid = 65981 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '108'
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=10ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
and Networks.networkid = 108
and allreports.networkid = 108
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4236
and allreports.topicid = 11
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 11 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=5ms, Records=12) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 79541
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 79541 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '79541'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=3ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '79541'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT hpimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 79541 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '108'
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=6ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
            
         and allreports.answerid <> 25093         
         and networkid = 108
          and citynetworkid = 4236
         and city <> ''
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 73271 
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 26449 
gettaxgeneral (Datasource=expert, Time=6ms, Records=5) in /home/www/html/rspnet_ctygd_readnext.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement
	Where hitopic <> ''
	and articlePlacement.networkID = 108 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and keycity = '0'
   and cityintro = 'n'
    and summary <> ''
    and publishdate < "2020-07-12"
    and publishdate > "2014-01-01"

    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
    
gettopbanner (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	Select *
	From banners, bannerPlacement
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eebannercountry"
    and toDate > "2020-07-11"
    and fromDate < "2020-07-12"
    and bannerPlacement.networkid = 108
    and bannerPlacement.bannerid = banners.bannerid
    and banners.promised = ''
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 869 
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	Select *
	From banners
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND (position = "eehpbox" or position = "eehpboxglobal")
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-11 19:25:28'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-12 19:25:28'}
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
    
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 866 
GetMessages (Datasource=forum, Time=1ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
  SELECT *
  FROM comments m 
  WHERE m.tpcid = 25093 
  and m.commenttype = 2
  and m.isapproved = 1
  ORDER BY msgid ASC
getguidesummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	Select summary, hiimg 
	From articles, articlecityplace
	Where  articlecityplace.citynetworkid = 4236
	and articlecityplace.articleid = articles.articleID
    and articles.cityintro = 'y'
 
gethealthsummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	Select summary, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement, articleCategories
	Where articlePlacement.networkID = 108 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.section = 9
   	and articles.sectionintro = 'y'
    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=11ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
and Networks.networkid = 108
and allreports.networkid = 108
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4236
and allreports.topicid = 7
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 7 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 76833
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 76833 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '76833'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=3ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '76833'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT hiimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 76833 
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=5ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT answersphoto.photo, answersphoto.answerid, answersphoto.qid 
	FROM answersphoto 
	WHERE answersphoto.answerid = 76833 
	AND answersphoto.qid = '118'
	
	AND answersphoto.photo <> 'none'
	
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '108'
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=9ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
and Networks.networkid = 108
and allreports.networkid = 108
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4236
and allreports.topicid = 11
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 11 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=12) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 79541
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 79541 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '79541'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=3ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '79541'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT hiimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 79541 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '108'
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=2, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
            
         and allreports.answerid <> 25093         
         and networkid = 108
          and citynetworkid = 4236
         and city <> ''
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 73271 
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 19:25:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 26449 


Scope Variables

CGI Variables:
AUTH_PASSWORD=
AUTH_TYPE=
AUTH_USER=
CERT_COOKIE=
CERT_FLAGS=
CERT_ISSUER=
CERT_KEYSIZE=
CERT_SECRETKEYSIZE=
CERT_SERIALNUMBER=
CERT_SERVER_ISSUER=
CERT_SERVER_SUBJECT=
CERT_SUBJECT=
CF_TEMPLATE_PATH=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
CONTENT_LENGTH=
CONTENT_TYPE=
CONTEXT_PATH=
GATEWAY_INTERFACE=CGI/1.1
HTTPS=on
HTTPS_KEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SECRETKEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SERVER_ISSUER=
HTTPS_SERVER_SUBJECT=
HTTP_ACCEPT=text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING=gzip
HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE=en-US,en;q=0.5
HTTP_CONNECTION=Keep-Alive
HTTP_COOKIE=
HTTP_HOST=www.expatexchange.com
HTTP_REFERER=
HTTP_USER_AGENT=CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
PATH_INFO=
PATH_TRANSLATED=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
QUERY_STRING=rid=95&answerid=25093&networkid=108&start=25093
REMOTE_ADDR=172.69.62.46
REMOTE_HOST=172.69.62.46
REMOTE_USER=
REQUEST_METHOD=GET
SCRIPT_NAME=/rspnet.cfm
SERVER_NAME=www.expatexchange.com
SERVER_PORT=443
SERVER_PORT_SECURE=1
SERVER_PROTOCOL=HTTP/1.1
SERVER_SOFTWARE=Apache
WEB_SERVER_API=
Session Variables:
cfid=31781579
cftoken=76200976
sessionid=IBEXPATEXCHANGE.COM_31781579_76200976
urltoken=CFID=31781579&CFTOKEN=76200976
URL Parameters:
answerid=25093
networkid=108
rid=95
start=25093
Debug Rendering Time: 10 ms