It’s not all non-stop action here in the land of smiles. Even tho I am literally living my dream of living in a strange land and seeing how every day life is, I have not lost signt of the fact that there are sill another 200 odd countries out there that I have not yet explored yet. And for that reason, I love to read Flip Flop Flying, who’s author is currently taking his leisurely time of travelling around South America. I’ve also been particularly enjoying his tendency to blog all his random thoughts about the country he is in, it’s people and ways that are strange to foreigners. Maybe I’ll try to do more of that and less of prattling on about the weather.
Anyway, I write to you from the glamorous location of my bed. I am very snoozesome, but I want to do this tonite so I have room in my head to remember whatever tomorrow brings. The big news of today is that I signed the lease on the apartment! Leopard Lady is now my new land lady (does that make her Leopard Land Lady?) and I signed the thing and she’s all ready to scan my fingerprint on Friday when I’ll be moving in. I have literally no clue at all what the street is called but I do know how to get there which is the main thing. I am jumping ahead of myself tho, so let me go back to where I left off yesterday …
I was all set last nite to come back to casa del oakwood and have a nice swim and a bit of lounging around, but at about 6pm I was asked if I wanted to go to Commart, a computer expo at the Queen Sirikrit exhibition centre. Not being one to say no to royalty, I foolishly agreed to go along. I am not exactly what you would call a boffin, so I have to admit that I was a bit bored, the best thing about it being the food hall where we ate dinner (it was dinner for me, but probably a snack for everyone else – these people could snack as an Olympic sport) which, I know you’ll be dying to hear about – it was pork noodle soup and it was fantastic – price: about 40p. Me and Wan, one of my colleagues and the boss’ wife, wandered round aimlessly for a while, I think each of us trying to pretend that we were interested in what was going on, but in the end we gave up and hung around in a central location waiting for the others and chatting about general stuff. I wish I could look like Wan as she is impossibly gorgeous and always immaculately turned out and I feel like Babar’s wife standing next to her. (I was really pleased today as Visit asked me about my perfume as she really liked it but didn’t like to ask).
Anyway, speaking of elephants – the best thing about the expo was not the food after all – it was the fact that we saw an elephant! We caught a taxi back to the hotel/office and we were sat in a traffic jam (for a change) and I looked out the window and there was an elephant moseying along the pavement. It was being followed by a man with a big stick, so I think it was not unattended. I was so taken aback that it took me a few moments to reach for my camera, by which time of course, the traffic had miraculously unclogged, so I didn’t get a photo. But it was really strange to see – there was no particular ceremony to it, it was just being walked down the street like you’d walk your dog.
So today I thought I would wear something a bit smarter to work as I have been looking like a tramp all week owing to either having to wear a giant polo shirt for no reason at all or sweating profusely. I have a kind of turquoisey top and I thought they would match my turquoisey wedge shoes, so I set off feeling quite fresh for a change. I had this plan formulated in my head that this would somehow work out with no hiccups – but I did not forsee that I would be walking for long distances in the 35 degree heat. So I was resembling a baked blancmange by approximately 1pm. Also now my feet are aching so much that I am considering having them surgically removed and boiled up into noodle soup. My soles feel like they are on fire, urrrrgh. Lesson learned – wear comfortable shoes at ALL times. Good excuse to have a foot massage this weekend tho.
I took lots of photos of my new apartment, you can see them all on flickr, including a picture of leopard landlady fiddling with my drawers (ooer!). I had to choose an internet package and TV package for my apartment which basically consisted of LL and Visit jabbering away and me looking confused. The best thing about the apartment is that it overlooks the swimming pool. I am really looking forwards to being able to get in the water whenever I like. It looks like there are some tables and chairs by the pool and also possibly some sort of cafe – I couldn’t really see properly. There are loads of street food places just down the soi (side street) and of course the infamous cafe that had run out of rice the other day. We went in there today ostensibly for a drink and to use the facilities, but ended up having, you’ve guessed it, a snack. I had a lovely little blueberry cheesecake that was delightfully creamy and an apple yoghurt smoothie which was not really what i was expecting (especially as I’d asked for no yoghurt in it) but was very cold.
We eventually made it back to the office about 3pm by which time it was hotter than the surface of the sun outside. I had intially internally scoffed at Visit for handing me an umbrella as we’d left the office that morning, but I am glad I took him up on it as it turned out to be a valuable protection from the rays for my fair celtic skin! When we got back to the office, we learned that just after we left today, someone apparently jumped from the 10th floor – how awful. They would have had no chance of survival.
Tonight I came home and dropped off my laptop and had a quick shower and was back out in about 10 minutes. I headed off to Rama 3 mall to see what was there and have a nosey at bedsheets, duvets, etc as I need some stuff for new place. But I did not get very far as I was pretty hungry and having not eaten western food for well over a week, thought I would treat myself to some beef at a steak place in the mall. I had a burger that looked amazing, but in reality was pretty average. A lot of western foods here just don’t taste quite right – bread is too sweet, sausages are too rubbery and burgers are too pale. I think I should stick to the kao moo deng (pork and rice) and clear soup. Their idea of how Western restaurants work is also amusing to us – for example, they took my order and came back a few moments later with half a slice of cheese on toast. No explanation for this – it was nice tho! Also, they directed me to the salad bar, which was very Pizza Land circa 1988 but featured things like asparagus, unpickled beetroot, soup, jelly and my personal favourite, hard boiled quails eggs.
Apart from that I have spent the evening having a one sided conversation with Lee on Skype as the microphone on my headset seems to have packed up. I must try to get another one this weekend as it is most frustrating not being able to speak to him! Altho I am sure he was enjoying being able to get a word in edgeways!
So, what of this weekend? Well, I had hoped to hang out more with Liz, but forgot that she is off to Cambodia! So I think I am going to spend some quality time with the swimming pool, maybe some more sewing and perhaps a visit to Chatuchak market, which is the ENORMO market out past my new apartment. It sells EVERYTHING and I can probably get cheaper housewares there than in the department stores. I also would like to buy some sort of handbag this weekend as I only have a tiny teeny one with me that I can’t fit everything in and my rucksack is chafing my sweaty shoulders – ugh.
Some random thoughts:
Why do they make the bannisters out of metal on the staircases up to the overpasses over the roads? They heat up to about 1000 degrees by about 10am.
After a week here, I know what it is like to be famous as everyone stares at a reasonably fair-haired, very pale farang (foreigner) girl, especially a porky one.
I wonder if there are many frogs near my new apartment as I saw a dead, flat, black one on the road earlier today.
How can people stay so thin here when they eat ALL the time?
Right, I think that is all for now, I am almost dropping off. More soon!