Ate some mango soap …

Warning – epic post!  And this is it watered down!

Yes, mar-c, the irony is not lost on me either that I have been harrassing people about blogging and I have gone 3 days without posting.  So here I am!

I can’t believe it is Wednesday already – surely someone has been messing with the clocks?  I think I am just about getting into a proper sleep pattern now as I felt like I had a really good sleep last nite.  Weird dreams, but a good rest.

Monday was my first day at work and it was pretty good!  I was helping out with the area that I already know about, so it was pretty hassle free.  We all had lunch together at the massive food village downstairs and it was pretty nice!  I felt a bit like the new girl at school (and still do a bit) but everyone is nice and friendly.  It helps that there were 2 other new people started at same time as me (Prang and Pong – I know), so I am not the newest!

Monday nite I was pretty exhausted after getting back into the swing of working for a living, so I headed home after work and had some dinner, a swim and watched an awful film about the World Trade Center featuring Nicolas Cage who i hate.  He had a ridiculous moustache in it, which made me want to poke him in the eye further.

Yesterday I had good intentions of getting up early and having a swim before work, but I have quickly befriended the snooze button on my alarm again, so I didn’t.  I got to work and found that yesterday was set aside for going to look at possible apartments for me to live in which was quite exciting!

Visit (boss) and I set off in the first of about 700 taxis I was in yesterday for the first place.  It is fair to say that we were both a bit unimpressed with it!  It was a bit run down and altho the rooms were ok, opening the curtains revealed a great view of a traffic jam on an expressway bridge, and were fairly noisy.  We didn’t have anything else to compare it to by that point of course tho, so we reserved judgement.  It did have a nice rooftop pool tho and was near a BTS station (which is like a sort of train/monorail thing) which would make it easy to get to work.  It is fair to also say that the place was pretty immemorable as I can’t even remember where it was now.

Second stop (after sitting in a traffic jam for approximately 3 millenia) was out past Lumpini Park (Where the nite bazaar is) towards the giant Chatuchak market.  This was MUCH nicer!  The tiny woman there, clad entirely in leopard print velour (in the heat! crazy!) showed us about 8 different rooms ranging in price from about 150 pounds to about 350 a month.  My favourite was of course the huge room with 2 bedrooms, but at the top end of the price range, there is no way I could afford it!  But the rooms were all very clean, freshly decorated and with new furniture.

I think the one that would be suited to me was the studio flat – it was a big bright airy room with sofa, TV and desk at one end with a double bed and wardrobe at the other.  There is a little seperate shower room and a kitchen which is partioned off with a sliding patio door – and of course air con!  The kitchen and bathroom don’t have real glass windows, but have shutters (they lock from inside, don’t worry mum and Anne!) which somehow to me seemed really exotic!  The facilities in kitchen are basic (microwave, sink) but given the price of eating out here, I don’t think many people prepare food in their kitchens very often anyway.

That room that I have in my mind as my favourite there is on the 8th floor I think and overlooks the swimming pool which looked pretty sizeable!  There is also a security gate with 2 guards on duty 24/7, an office for the building management (i.e. the tiny leopard lady) for any problems as well as a laundry service (either serviced or self service) and a shop opening soon.  Oh, and I get a car parking space too – ideal for my skateboard!  Oh, oh and my favourite thing about it was that to get in the door to hallway you scan your fingerprint!  How very 21st century!

So, we left there and headed down the soi (side road) towards the main road and looking for some lunch – Visit suggested we try a little cafe at the end of the soi with air con (it was about 35 degrees), so we went in and sat down … only to learn that the cafe had run out of rice – yes, that’s right – run out of rice.  That is a little like McDonalds running out of burgers or perhaps the Colonel running out of chicken.  So, we moseyed along and round the corner there were lots of stalls selling food.  Visit enquired as to whether I could take the heat of a streetside stall and I gamely said I could, so we headed inside to what was a little like someone’s garage and had some of the best noodles I have ever tasted with only a desk fan for comfort.  I had a big bowl of egg noodles with some pork won tons, little porky squidgy ball things and spring onions and a bowl of chicken broth (they seem to give you that with everything) and it was reaaaaaally good.  I paid for both our lunches and some drinks and it cost about 80 pence.  Bargain!  But I was sweating like Michelle McManus in Greggs (joke for the Scots there).

So, after lunch we headed to the MRT (Underground train) station to see the distance from the apartment.  The leopard lady had told Visit (she told me too, but I had no idea what she was saying of course) that it was “10 minutes of sweating” to the station, but we found it to be more like 15 or 20.  I think that we perhaps walked in the wrong direction as from my map the other, further away station looked a bit nearer, but we did get to see the neighbourhood which looked pretty decent, lots of shops and a big mall with supermarkets etc close by.  We took the MRT back along to the downtown area and then hopped into cab number 87 of the day to the next place which is, fact lovers, on Rama 3. 

 I was a bit dismayed with the look of the place from outside – the area looked very industrial shanty town chic apart from the apartment building which was pretty new looking.  It was next door to a small mall, which we decamped to as the apartment owner had not arrived yet (wouldn’t you know, stuck in traffic).  We had a wander to the mobile phone stand and after much to-ing and fro-ing which I did not follow at all, I bought a SIM card and a load of credit for approximately 2.40 GBP (sorry, I have a Thai keyboard and there is no pound sign!) – bargain!  So I have now got a new phone number which I will email to you all forthwith.

So after that, we had a quick snack from the bakery there (Thais eat about 7 times a day – little and often is the key – people in the office are always snacking like their lives depend on it) which was fantastic.  I had a little zebra croissant, which was a croissant made from white and dark chocolate pastry – heavenly! Sadly no photos for cake tourism, sorry.  We headed back next door to the apartment block and the owner was there, another immacuately turned out Thai lady who looked completely unphased by the searing heat outside.  You must bear in mind that by this point I probably looked like a half-baked rat, with make up well and truly slid off and a giant polo shirt on which was about 2 sizes too big thanks to Tuesdays being uniform day at the office.  I was, what we term in the west of scotland, a mogre.

 So, we went upstairs to see the room (swipe card this time, no fingerprints, booo) and it was really nice!  A studio again, but a bit better layout with kitchen and bathroom again and a tiny balcony for drying clothes etc (with a tap too – why!?).  The lady was really nice and was keen that I liked it.  She showed me the swimming pool too which looked amazing and also the gym – I asked Visit to tell her did I look like I would be interested in the gym 🙂  This was definitely my favourite of the 3 rooms, but the location means that I would always have to get a taxi from and to there which altho very cheap, I would rather have the option of the train or subway. 

I think we still have another few places to see, but I think number 2 will be the one!  How exciting.  We made it back to the office about 3 ish I think, just in time to finish some helpdesk tickets and get some training from Jamie on email.  Jamie used to work in office in Glasgow, and I have known him for about 6 years now, altho he moved out here 2.5 years ago.  So it is nice to have a friendly Scottish face and be able to speak in English without worrying about being understood.  Jamie is like the little brother I never had!  So last nite after work, we went to have dinner in a nearby mall to catch up, which was good fun.  One of the guys in the office offered us a lift – big mistake!  Lesson learned – don’t take a lift from anyone at rush hour.  We were sat in traffic for over an hour to go a very short distance and couldn’t get out and walk as we were in middle of 6 lane highway with motorbikes swarming like ants in between the gridlocked cars.  This is “normal”!

We eventually got to the Central World mall and had dinner at a really nice Japanese place called Otoya – miso charcoal chicken, mmm!  Then by that time it was home time, so I headed back to the ranch to watch TV for a while to cool down and break the safe in my room by entering the wrong pin code 🙂

Today it is rawn – thai for hot.  But remarkably, I thought, not as hot as yesterday.  We have been learning new stuff today and went for lunch at a place about 10 minutes walk away from office.  10 minutes walking does not sound much, but when it is in the baking tropical humid heat thru the congested pavements of Bangkok, it’s very tiring!  At lunchtime the pavements around the big office buildings are crammed with stalls on wheels selling every type of snack imaginable from whole barbecued fish on sticks (on sticks, Jo!) to plastic tubs of fresh sweetcorn, just scraped off the cob (I am going back for this one day!). 

Panny, the girl I sit next to in the office has been teaching me a new word every day in Thai – today I learned how to say breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as how to say something tasted very nice (aloi mak mak!).  She also pointed out to me on the way back that everyone was buying snacks for the afternoon even tho we had just eaten lunch – this it the Thai way!  Lunch, incidentally, was really good – rice and barbecued duck with some red peppers in a brown sauce, served with the ubiquitous bowl of clear soup.  It comes with slices of what I think are celery in it – but it’s cooked so tastes more like cabbage – not celery like at all Lee!  (It might not actually be celery, mind you, but that is what it looks like, to give you the picture)

Now, I am just back to the office, wanting to get this post finished so that you all have something to read about when you wake up!  I have become rather addicted to the juice bar in the downstairs food court (hang lang = downstairs).  A “smoothie” with lime juice costs about 30p and is essentially ice and lime juice blended together in a smooth kind of slush – a healthy slush puppy!  I had one for breakfast and now another one for after lunch cooling downage.  They have a menu of different varieties about 8 feet tall so I will look forwards to trying the rest of them – pineapple for breakfast tomorrow maybe!  That will see me thru the afternoon’s helpdesking.

Now – what have you all been up to? 🙂

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