Tuesday, September 29, 2009

God, eat a cheeseburger already.....

I broke down, I couldn't take it any more....soup and noodles, soup and noodles every day. I won't say it's the best burger I ever had, in fact it was one of the odder ones. The bun, might have been a donut in a previous life and was reincarnated as a hamburger bun, I'm not sure if they actually make cheese here but it couldn't be worse than what McDonald's puts on theirs.

Best thing so far, I finally rented a scooter. I did the math and by running all over town in tuk tuks and baht buses I'd spend more per month than on the rental. My training, as it were, consisted of 20 minutes out in a parking lot with a teenage Thai boy giving me what might have been instructions. I guess I did well enough for him because at the end he hopped on the back and said "O.K. you good now, you drive" and off we went back to the rental place to finalize the paperwork. I love it, the freedom is awesome. Chiang Mai is actually pretty spread out and I spent the evening booting all over town, whipping in and out of traffic. That's why I came here, to do something different and this one certainly counts.

On a housekeeping note, I also rented a condo, sweet 1 bedroom, brand new building with a pool. It costing me a whopping $350 a month, I'll post pics once I get moved in on Thursday. I looked at a few places but this one is the same price as other ones I saw and is so much nicer. I was at one of the big complexes, where many farang live and they are paying the same price for these tiny bachelors. Safety in numbers I guess.

I'm so done with hotel living and not having any kind of schedule, I can't wait for school to start in 6 days.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chiang Mai old city wall

Chiang Mai moat around the old city

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mom, are we there yet?

7 hours of travel today and outside of riding a donkey I think I covered most of the types of transportation in Thailand, songthaew, charter bus, taxi, airplane, hired car and tuk tuk.

The highlight, and not in a good way, was the 2 hour bus ride from Pattaya to Bangkok. For those of you who know me, I have a bladder the size of a walnut and being in southeast Asia one of the rules is drink plenty of water. Not really the best combination for a bus ride on what was either a really bumpy highway or a bus with the worst set of shocks ever. So, after putting off the inevitable for a long as possible, The deal had to be done. Imagine, if you will, a cramped bus toilet one step up from the squat toilets you hear about, a low ceiling, a broken door latch and said bumpy ride. At one point I was gripping the side of the toilet with my knees, one arm behind holding on for dear life to the broken latch with my head wedged into the corner of the wall for balance and stability. Needless to say, the next time I make a bus trip here I'll suffer through dehydration rather than go through that again.

Chiang Mai, from the little I've seen so far finally feels like Thailand. They talk about Thailand being the Land of Smiles but I didn't actually experience that until I stepped up to the gate at the airport to come here. All of a sudden it was all smiles and greeting and wai's which has continued for the short time I've been in the city.

I think I'm going to like it here......

This is Chiang Mai

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The 4 S's of tourism

Sun, sea, sand and sex. I'm sure my Grade 9 Geography teacher would be so proud that one thing I learned in his class actually stuck.

Beach! Just on day 3 in Pattaya, whore city by the sea and heading to Chiang Mai tomorrow morning. You can tell prostitution seems to be the main industry here as most of the women's clothing on sale in the street side vendors and markets are geared towards prostitutes or drag queens. Speaking of, I saw the most heinous lady boy in training walking back from the beach yesterday afternoon. Chubby, no older than 17 or 18 wearing a short muumuu, platform shoes, full tranny makeup and had hairier legs than I do. I was "what the????".

Everyone knows how much I love my iPhone but it's turned into a total flop over here. Being on a prepaid plan the data & web was just burning through my prepaid cards and for some reason the battery was running out. I'd go to bed with a full charge and in the a.m. it would be dead. So much for being all technamilogical while I'm away, I had to go pick up a crappy $30 Nokia, texting on it is so old skool.

I met up with a cute young guy from Isaan 2 nights ago, god bless the internet. We wound up going out for dinner last night, his English is pretty good and the only thing I could find fault with is he's a fan of Avril Lavigne. Luckily I don't think my eyerolling translated and he was surprised to learn that she's actually Canadian. I should have kept my mouth shut about her provenance and let him believe she was American.

I'm on day 5 of eating local food and so far so good. Ordering involves finger pointing, smiling, and shrugging of shoulders, I can't identify half of the ingredients but I haven't had any unfortunate side effects. It is actually fairly cheap to live here, dinner out last night at a roadside restaurant with Isaan boy wound up costing 220bht (about $8) and we had 3 dishes, rice and didn't even finish what we ordered.

I have to say I'm looking forward to getting to Chiang Mai. I really want to get settled in, get an apartment and stop living out of a backpack. It will be nice to actually have enough space to unpack and have somewhere that feels like home. I've always had a limited tolerance for feeling uprooted and usually by day 5 of any vacation I just want my own bed and my own pillows.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just a few pics

Bangkok at night


These boots are made for walking....

I hoofed around town so much today even an hour long foot massage didn't help, mind you they only cost $10 so I have the feeling I'll just keep going back over and over again until my feet don't feel like stumps. I went over to Siam Square today which is quite the shopping mecca ranging from Paragon Mall all Gucci, Prada, Versace to MBK which is also all Gucci, Prada and Versace except for the fact the MBK stuff was more than likely made in some sweatshop and oddly enough costs 1000's of baht less. Hmmm.

The shopping is crazy assed over here, I'm continuing my dress shirt splurge. It's hard to feel guilty when when the selection is overwhelming and the prices ridiculous. So after 6 long hours I finally packed it in and shuffled back to Silom and indulged in said foot massage which also includes a neck, shoulder and leg massage. During the leg massage my cute, young 20 something masseur discretely tried to get a bit more friendly, the whole time with one of those shit eating grins the Thai's are so good at.

Ended the day with dinner at Balcony Pub with an acquaintance from Vancouver who's now living here. It's down on one of the gay soi's, cute eager young waiters who would be more than happy to go on a "date" with you if the price is right. If you saw some the overweight older farangs hanging around you'd know they weren't there for the food which was mediocre at best. Speaking of food that delicious bowl of soup your looking at was my lunch today. There are 2 or 3 items which I'm not exactly sure what animal they're from but it was tasty as hell and set me back a whopping $1.50

Packing up tonight as I'm heading out early tomorrow to hop the bus down tot he beach. Should be an interesting excursion navigating the skytrain over the bus station with my honking big, and now filled to the brim, backpack.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hot town, summer in the city....

If you've ever been to Toronto in the middle of summer with the hot stink, pollution and sweat beading on your forehead 30 seconds after you walk out the door then you've been to the training camp for your visit to Thailand. Seriously, the only benefit of the aircon blasting in the cab from the airport is it slows the trickle of sweat down the crack of your ass.

Landing I felt the same way I did when I got off the plane when I moved to Vancouver.....I can't say I get excited it's just a "Oh, I'm here now, it's about time". Some people, and I won't name any names, gently mock me for being a bit of an over preparer for my trip. All I can say is, thank God I do. Hitting the ground here I felt like I was in a familiar place, knew how to navigate my way through the insanity of the airport. Unlike the gaggle of girls in front of me at the taxi kiosk (1 of 2 lines you wait in for a cab). Out came their Lonely Planet guide books as they milled around being a general nuisance.

I started this post about about 12 hours ago, saved the draft and just rolled back in the door, now past midnight. Mission accomplished today, SIM card for my phone, it's half working, I can make calls and text but can't get the internet to work. I also had a lovely meal out with this cute Thai boy.....of course I have dates lined up, who out there thought I wouldn't?

Time to crash, my body doesn't even know what time it is but I feel like I've been awake for 3 days...

How is it possible......

To actually sleep 12 out of the 14 hours you're on a plane? I'm convinced they slipped sedatives into the dinner they served at 4:00am. If you ever have the option ALWAYS pick Cathay over our national carrier. The level of service was outstanding. Plus all the flight attendants were attractive and charming, nothing like the hatchet faced battle axes I've experienced on another carrier **cough** Air Canada **cough**. As an added bonus you get complimentary socks, sleep masks, toothbrushes and they have 2 types of moisturizers in the washrooms.

And so it begins.......

Well, I've seen more people on a city bus than are at the airport at 1:00am. One of the things I love, and why I can spend hours at an airport, is the hustle and bustle. Unfortunately that isn't going on, no people watching to be done unless I sit and stare at the 4 people who are camped out in their sleeping bags. I guess I can always keep watch to make sure they are breathing, that should kill 5 minutes. No shopping and the only two kiosks that are open are Starbucks and Burger King. I don't think coffee or a greasy meal is anything I'd really need before boarding a plane at 2:45am and going on a 14 hour flight.

Gawd......there aren't even any cute boys to follow around and stalk. Those sleeping bags are starting to sound like a good idea, I'll see if I can go get my hands on one....Publish Post