Well, I have returned from the mall, which turned out to be rather more of a collection of random shops rather than a proper mall. There is a department store there which is like a cross between Frasers and Your More Store which houses a collection of the most hideous womens shoes known to man and one pair of nice Clarks shoes which cost approximately yours and my annual salary put together. There is also the usual McDonalds, donut shop and my personal favourite, Auntie Anne’s pretzels, some stalls selling tiny, grubby looking underwear at rock bottom prices and a big supermarket, at which I bought a giant pineapple for approximately 25 pence, some lime soda and some washing up liquid.
I also bought some storage jars to keep my cream crackers out of reach of my cockroachy pals from a shop even cheaper than Daiso, where everything cost 50p or less. The lady there told a Thai man off for skipping the queue in front of me and sent him to the back, so she is my new favourite person in South East Asia. Some people just walk straight past you when you are queuing here for anything – the supermarket, the train … at first I thought it was just me as a Westerner, but no, they do it to each other all the time that I have seen. Between that and the randomly stopping in awkward places, e.g. getting off an escalator with 300 people on it and stopping at the top to rummage in your bag or stare slack jawed into the middle distance – all irritating traits of my fellow city-dwellers!
So, I was circling the mall considering what to have for tea and assessing the limited choice of restaurants – there were 2 scary looking places that seemed to involve you cooking your own dinner on a brazier in the middle of the table (how can one small mall support 2 huge restaurants doing this same thing?), one which seemed to sell solely pastry (my usual idea of heaven, but it was all fish filled that I could see) and one which unashamedly announced on the outside FISH BALL NOODLE! I had given up and thought I would get something from one of the stalls on the way back when I spied down a quiet side alley a restaurant who’s name now escapes me but was fashioned around the premise of being in The Wild West. I really should have remembered the name because the place was equal parts hilarious and awful.
I tentatively pushed open the door after a flick thru their menu and the place was practically in darkness save a few spotlights highlighting the girl (and I think it was a real one) playing acoustic guitar on a small stage. She was, to put it politely, murdering the hits of the Eagles, the Beatles and just about every other popular ballad since 1964. There were a handful of people in the restaurant besides me – a couple of loud Thai middle aged men behind me, a farang and his beautiful Thai companion and another couple of guys on the other side. I had brought a book with me for passing the time in between ordering, etc and had thought to take a leaf out of Jamie’s book and just linger and read for a while, but I had clearly chosen the wrong place for that. I decided to order some steak tho, seeing as it was Sunday, I have had a week full of rice and it’s pay day weekend and all (and going to cost about £3), so sat back and read my book until it arrived, delivered by a teenager in a check shirt and waistcoat.
Now, I have had had some pretty bad meals in my time but this goes straight to the top of the league table for winner of the worst thing ever to have passed my lips. The steak was about 80% fat and came with some microwaved frozen carrots, something unidentifiable and some onion rings which appeared to have been cooked in lard. I pushed it around the plate for a good 15 minutes before I gave up and paid up and left. Let’s say I am very grateful for those cream crackers now!
Back home now and I thought the modem had a new light on, but I’ve tested it and it’s still not working. The TV is still full of Thai news and soap operas set in ancient China, so I guess I must have caught the wrong end of the nunchuck from the dude earlier. I’ll ask a colleague to call them tomorrow. I suspect it may be due to me not having supplied my passport in triplicate as I had expected to, but the guy didn’t seem interested in it earlier, so I think the wires have been well and truly crossed. I wish they’d just plug the wires in to the telephone exchange and have done with it.
So, this week – I am thinking that one evening after work I might take the boat up to China Town for a wander round and I also want to visit MBK to check out the shoe situation there and I may really push the boat out and take my adventuring to new levels with a trip to the cinema! Watch this space!