There has been a bit of a delay in updating this with my goings on owing to the ongoing internet saga. Cutting a long story short, several phonecalls later and a visit from a man this morning a full 2 hours earlier than billed has left me, in my mind, no further forwards. I am writing this now with a view to uploading it when the internet kicks in – who knows when you will actually be reading this. I could well be back in the UK before this sees the light of day! The man this morning came to front door, passed me a piece of paper to sign and then muttered something about 3 o’clock before he disappeared off back in his van. The word engineer was also mentioned, but I have no idea if he was referring to himself or not. From the miming that was going on, I am given to understand that I should have civilised TV and internets at 3pm today, however it is now quarter past and I am still watching badly dubbed Thai TV (Mega Clever, the game show that is on now seems to be German possibly and features a lot of Teutonic people in white coats handling small animals. Right now there is a rat, a kitten and a bunny on screen for no discernable reason).
So, in the intervening time, what have I been doing, I hear you cry. Well, getting by in the heat has been taking up most of my energies. Thursday morning’s journey to work almost finished me off – I eventually arrived at the office looking like I’d fallen head first into a deep fat fryer. It was SO hot. Unless you are here sweating along with me, it’s hard to explain to you just how exhausting it is. I declared my intent never to go out of doors again when I arrived, but after a day inside, eating kang lang (downstairs) and a lime smoothie to cool me down, I felt ready and able to go for dinner with Jamie to dissect the week at work and reminisce on old times at iohell in Glasgow. We went to an authentic Italian place, with a real Italian owner and everything and the food was really simple but really good. The pasta came served in a bowl with some pizza dough cooked over the top which was unusual but also really tasty. I tried a bit of Jamie’s gorgonzola and apple pizza too which was fantastic, altho it sounds hideous.
After dinner, Jamie pointed me in the direction of the nearby second hand book shop which sells books in English amongst other languages. It was due to close soon, so I grabbed 4 books at random from the chicklit section and was most pleased to find that they came to roughly the same price as a new book cost me last week. Plus the shop buys them back or gives you a discount on others when you take them back and buy more, so good news all round (it’s near Phrom Phong BTS, fact lovers).
Friday was even more unbearable on the commuting front and I really did think that I could have lain down on the floor and passed out. The journey to the station at this end is not too bad and the trains themselves are air con-ed to the max, but the real killer for me is the other end from the station to work. It’s down 3 really steep flights of stairs, a mosey along by the 5 lane traffic jammed road, up 3 more flights of really steep stairs (why are they so steep? Thais are midgets! Everyone struggles, not just me.), a walk across the overpass in the blazing sunshine and down 3 flights more of really steep stairs at the other end. The traipse up the steps to the office building is a breeze after that. In reality, it’s not that far, but it’s the exposed trot up and down the stairs that really does me in for every morning.
Work itself is ok – frustrating at times though. Two new people started with me on the same day and one of them is being trained to work in the area I am the acknowledged company-wide expert in, over me. I can’t really complain as I knew full well that I was not coming here to work in that area, but that was before another girl who does work in that team decided to leave. It would have seemed common sense for me to have just slotted in there, as I can do the work with my eyes closed, but instead I am learning in a more technical area which I am finding hard to take in, but am getting there. At the moment, it seems like a small price to pay for this opportunity and I am still being paid handsomely for it, so I shouldn’t be whining about it.
Friday nite, I went to meet Liz who is back from Cambodia with tales of how amazing Angkor Wat is. I would love to go and see it for myself one day. We met at the end of the BTS line and headed up the river to meet some of her friends and Rob, her boyfriend to have dinner near Khao San road. I was most excited to finally be on a boat going up the river and it was quite surreal, a little like being on a ride at Disney World. The boat whizzed along up the river, stopping to let people on and off and shooting past some amazing temples and all the huge fancy hotels. We alighted at Banglamphu and headed for an Indian restaurant called Bombay Blues where we met up with the others and enjoyed some delicious food on a balcony, seated on cushions on the floor at the low table. After dinner, we headed to Khao San itself, to meet up with some more of Liz and Rob’s friends from the school they had taught at and we had a few drinks as more and more people joined the group. I left around 11pm and decided to take a taxi home across town, which turned out to be pretty hassle free, as I had managed to master the pronounciation of my address and 90 bhat and about 20 minutes later, I was home.
Saturday I had a nice lie in and felt really pleased not to be outside in the heat trying to battle my way to work. I got up a bit later and headed off to meet Liz and head to the fabled fair-trade craft fair that I have heard a lot about before coming here. It’s on once a month at a hotel in the Sukhumvit area of town which is not far on the trains for me. A friend of Liz’s from the UK joined us with her travelling pal and another girl from the USA and we all set off in the blazing heat to the hotel where the fair was being held. It was 3 enormous rooms (one outside) of really well-made crafts from handwoven baskets, carved benches and handmade jewellery to handwoven blankets, Karen hilltribe silver and beautiful tableware. I managed to keep my spending under control but did buy a new bin for the bathroom, some really delicious smelling salt scrub (coconut and jasmine flavoured) and a few things for my buddies back home. The fair is on every month and has different items at each fair, so I will try to go back for the next one in April.
After we managed to tear ourselves away from the fair, Liz took us to the Arabic area of town which was just a short walk away and we had some lunch. It was really tasty – a lamb and chicken shawarma, like a cross between a donner kebab and a fajita and for the bargain price of 50 bhat. We had a good chat and then all went our separate ways. I came back on the MRT and got off a stop early to check out some of the shops along from my apartment. I found the branch of Daiso which turns out to be a sort of Japanese pound shop and I spent a good half hour in there exclaiming over all the wonderous things they have in there, including some really great black lacquer style Japanese rice bowls adorned with gold bunnies. I bought a couple of things, including some baskets to keep my sewing stuff in and some envelopes and then headed next door to do one of my favourite things in foreign countries – visit the supermarket. This one is a Carrefour (or Car Foo as the Thais pronounce it) and it was much the same as Tesco without the breakfast cereal, I have to say. I bought some provisions and considered purchasing a microwave (about £20) as there are no cooking facilities in the apartment at all, and then came back home, I am not ashamed to say, in a taxi. I had a lot of bags and some heavy things from the supermarket and I was hot and .. I have no idea why I am explaining myself to you guys, it was hot and I am lazy 🙂
so, I came home and pottered about, read a bit, had a swim and then did some sewing which I got pretty engrossed in and before I knew it I was sleepy and it was past midnight. Today, Sunday, I have been mostly waiting around to see if someone is magically going to appear and turn on the TV/internets/phone. Apart from the guy this morning, that seems to have been it. The company has sent me 2 text messages today, but they were clearly in Thai which my phone does not recognise so I have no idea what they say. I have managed to get some laundry down tho downstairs and realise that I should have bought a drying rack at the supermarket yesterday as now I have clothes draped everywhere. I have also had a swim, but it was short lived due to 4 really odious kids being in there getting in my way and also an army of women in wellies cleaning all the tiles by the pool (with the pool water) on their hands and knees with scrubbing brushes in the blazing sunshine. I felt guilty that I was going to drip all over their handiwork, so I retreated inside to write this.
So, I am now thinking sod this, I should go out and to hell with internet man. It’s almost 4pm, so it should hopefully be cool enough to venture out in an hour or so, at which point I think I will probably head to the mall along the road to eat something and have a wander round (and use their AC rather than my own). Work tomorrow of course and I hope to make it in slightly less of a mess than last week. It’s hard to do tho, not matter how accepting of the heat I try to be. Right – I’m off to try the TV again and try and work out why the Germans are trying to blow up marshmallows in a microwave now …