What a day! It started off badly and sadly, as I was leaving Oakwood. It had begun to feel like home so I was sad to leave – even the camp man in the shop came out to wave when I left for work. I was thinking to myself in the taxi to work this morning how I keep mis-calculating how much money here is worth in the real world for example, I tend to think of 500 bhat as being about a fiver when it is nearer £9. Imagine my horror then to get out of the taxi, having paid the fare of 50 bhat only to realise that I had dropped a 500 bhat note in the back of the car. I have no idea how I managed it, or maybe I handed it to driver instead of a 20 (unlikely), but it was missing and I was fuming.
I consoled myself with a pineapple smoothie (not as nice as lime) and got into work a bit early and spent the morning being annoyed at stupid customers and myself for being so careless. Then we headed back to Oakwood to collect my stuff and make the epic journey to my new place. I say epic – the distance is not all that far, about 6 or 7 miles maybe, but the traffic … oh, the traffic. It took forever and a day to get there and even longer to get back.
We got to the place and brought everything upstairs and started doing stuff like switching on electricity, working out air conditioning and then we decided to plug the fridge in – I had to move it a bit to get to the switch and as I did, I discovered a giant cockroach behind the fridge – thankfully deceased. Everyone was horrified in the quiet, polite giggling way that Thais get embarrassed and I deftly swept it up and disposed of it. But when we told Leopard Lady and her toothless counterpart, they insisted on coming back upstairs later and cleaning the room again (so they said). Leopard Lady then introduced me to the fingerprint man and he scanned my thumb and gave me The Power to get in and out the building.
So, my stuff dropped off, we headed back to office where I spent most of the afternoon moving desks, talking to people in Glasgow and helping the odd customer that came my way. Visit hooked me up with an appointment with the internet people at 7pm, so I had to hurry home stopping only to purchase monthly train tickets and take a wrong turn up an escalator I just came down at the MRT station.
The walk from the MRT station to the apartment was a bit longer than I recalled but only took about 10 or 15 minutes in the end and thankfully the heat was not TOO oppressive. The end of my soi was full of food stalls, fruit sellers and tables full of people eating, so it was quite exciting to see that this will be the sort of neighbourhood I’ll be living in, i.e. exactly the sort I imagined before I got here.
I got in and Leopard Lady and her toothless pal had not had time to clean the room again yet, so they came upstairs with me and set to it, moving the bed, etc to sweep up and buffing the floor on their hands and knees, god love them. The room was pretty clean anyway – I imagine cockroaches are part and parcel of life in a country like this after all.
Anyway, I had to shoo them out and go and meet the internet man who turned out to be a lady, or more accurately a man who wants to be or is now a lady, or a katoey as they call them here. It was pretty hard to tell but the hands gave it away in the end. He/she was stunningly beautiful and I was a hot sweaty mess as usual. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as I didn’t have my passport on me and in the end it struck me that I was standing in a car park, with a transvestite handing over money for an internet connection that may or may not be switched on this Sunday. I frankly have no idea what is happening, but I do have to email a man tomorrow with a copy of my passport, presumably so that if I decide to skip the country with Thailand’s annual quota of interwebs, they can pass my details to Interpol.
Call me crazy, or even ting tong, but despite the fact that I was hotter than I have ever been and sweat was dripping from every pore, I decided that now would be a GREAT time to go to the supermarket along the road. I can’t really fathom why I thought that was a good idea, but I think it was mostly because I didn’t have a towel to dry off with if I went for a swim, so I toddled along and bought some supplies and a beach towel, trudged back, wanting to faint and dumped the bags on the as yet unmade bed and got downstairs into the pool. It was ACE to get in the water and several other people had the same idea, so it was pretty busy, even tho it was after 8.30 by that time.
I came back upstairs, waving to Leopard Lady on the way (who had been very keen for me to get in the swimming pool, presumably so she could laugh at my ungainly progress up and down the water) and saying hello the friendly security guards who have to stand outside what looks like 24 hours a day waving cars in and out. The security is very visible here – everyone has to sign in and out of the swimming pool and gym (I discovered a gym too by the pool), cars need a pass to get in and there is CCTV on the main doors which lets you see who is at the door on your TV (nifty!). So the rest of this evening I have spent unpacking, making the bed (the comforter I bought is slightly too small for the bed but still functional) and having a shower. There only appears to be 2 plug points in the apartment one of which the TV is plugged into (all Thai channels until Internet Wo/man’s friend TV man comes at the weekend) and the other of which is in the kitchen, so I am perched on a stool at the worktop now to write this. I have been watching some bizarre TV movie tonite which seems to feature dense Thai teenagers getting shot in a forest, somehow coming back to life and getting married in a western style church and then finding jars floating in a dirty river. I have no idea what is happening but the acting is appalling – if it was in English it would be Eldorado or perhaps something like Knotts Landing.
Right, I am off to sleep in my extremely hard bed with my too small covers – wish me luck!