Sunday, October 25, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Well, in this case I actually mean home in Chiang Mai, not home in Vancouver. 4 days of the beach....I wish I had something more exciting than that to report about my days but really, it was me, a beach chair, an umbrella, a book, my iPod and little else. Mind you it's not all relaxation as there is the never ending stream of vendors who even after their 20th pass of your chair still think you might be interested in their deep fried shrimp, designer sunglasses, useless trinkets and DVD porn. At least when you say no to the beach whores they tend to not come back again.

What's that you ask, beach whores? Oh yes, beach whores. For those of you who don't know, Pattaya has more prostitutes per square foot than probably anywhere else on God's green Earth. In the bars, the discos, go go bars and there are even streets lined with open air beer bars all of which are stuffed to the brim with prostitutes: male, female, ladyboy you name it. I'm not sure why some choose to ply their trade on the beach but hey, if you're ever in the mood for some afternoon delight it's readily available.

The evenings were not much to write about either, unless I start segueing into written porn. Pattaya boy (OK, he has a name, Jay) and I wound up spending the evenings together, out for dinner, we hit a few movies, one of which was a Thai horror film (the subtitles weren't really that necessary to follow the story) and then sleepovers on the nights he'd remember to bring earplugs. No, my snoring isn't that bad that someone needs earplugs! It's that damn karaoke place across the soi from my hotel. Some nights the high pitched screeching of the lady boys belting out Mariah Carey just drilled into your brain like some alien thing in a Star Trek episode.

Yet again, the travel to & from was the usual get there and wait and wait and wait. That and the haggling every time you try to plant your ass into a baht bus or taxi. I'm dying to find the tourists who actually agree to the prices they quote, someone must because they keep asking them. Quoted price for a taxi from the bus station to the train station - 300 baht. The price I paid last time, 100 baht. There are days I get tired of the haggling and I know it's only the difference between paying $10 and $3.50 but I didn't just fall off the turnip truck loaded with dumbass tourists so I have to get into the whole routine of scoffing at their price, counteroffer, they scoff at mine and counter again. On and on it goes until we settle to price I paid the last time. A price which I'm sure is still way too high but give me some credit, I saved $6.50!

I'm glad I scored the lower bunk this time for the overnight train home. It was the bumpiest train ride ever, I'm not prone to motion sickness but I was feeling queasy on this round. That top bunk probably would have killed me. It didn't help that there was recently a train derailment here so of course I could barely sleep because I was expecting every bump and jostle would result in us hurtling off the tracks. Sadly the only thing I could think of was, "I hope my laptop survives the crash". Needless to say, your reading about my trip here and not about it in the newspapers with a headline like "Canadian tourist dies in another Thailand train wreck".

On a good note my seat mate was a cute young British man who lives in New Zealnd. We wound up talking for hours and shared a baht bus into town this morning. We ended our brief friendship at my usual haunt, the Starbucks at Tha Pae Gate where I was warmly greeted by the staff, all of whom wondered where I had disappeared to for 4 days. I must say it was quite refreshing to speak with someone who is fluent in English. I love my Thai friends but fluent doesn't mean they are the best conversationalists. Mind you with a cross between a British and NZ accent there were still times I was like "huh?".

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad it's getting better for you! When do we get to see the tan??