-it is hot, but not as hot as Bangkok, and it is perfect at night.
-there are cows on your left and whizzing traffic on your right with nothing separating the two.
-the inner city is surrounded by a square moat, and in the corners, remnants of the old walls
-there is absolutely no shortage of white men with young Thai girls (some of whom are not actually girls)
-there is a thriving gay community, though I can’t figure out if it’s just tourists or if they actually live here
-you can get a fruit shake made in front of you for 10Baht, which is about 30 cents.
-there are driving audio commercials, vans that drive around the city with speakers blaring, advertising different things.
-you should not drink the water, reasons for which are very clear when you see standing water anywhere in the city. This also means there is no ice for drinking, though cold bottled water is about 25 cents.
-there are no public toilets/garbage bins unless you are in a restaurant/mall/university.
-two Starbucks shops exist not even a mile from each other, though they seem to be the only ones in the city. Makes it pretty easy to figure out where the tourists belong, especially because one of them is next to a McDonalds.
That’s enough of the list for now. In other news, I have somewhere to sleep tomorrow night, and also a working mobile phone! The latter took about 2 hours in all. (Hey mom, I just saw an ad on the BBC for health care holidays in India! An actual ad, with an Aussie guy saying he had knee surgery and is enjoying his stay there. Weird.) Anyway, mobile phone trials. I went to the mall. Yes, the mall. The third floor is pretty much devoted to mobiles and other techie things. I asked at a few booths about getting a sim card/unlocking the phone and eventually was helped by some girls who kept running over to another desk to get help. It was pretty funny. They had basic English, and I had much less than basic Thai, but they were patient and so was I. My phone works, but I have no idea how much I am paying per minute or how to call internationally. I plan on finding out soon, but everyone is asleep anyway, so not much rush.
Tomorrow I will be a resident of CM apartments, for the bargain price of about $90 a month after all of the utilities (if you can call Internet a utility…). I have a balcony and a bathroom, a big bed with no sheets, pillows, or blankets, and a pretty Spartan atmosphere. This is all fine with me, as long as I can finally unpack my stuff. It is in a pretty neat neighbourhood with lots of guesthouses but not near a busy road, which is good. Quite a few little restaurants and a guesthouse across the street that shows movies every night, should I get bored/lonely. ☺
Today’s stories of VCL (very cool locals):
->I sat down on a bench at the mall to eat my Auntie Anne’s pretzel (yes, they have pretzels!) while waiting for my mobile phone to be unlocked and a woman sat down and offered me a fried plantain looking thing. It was very tasty and she was sweet. She didn’t really speak English, but she made a circle around her face with her finger, pointed to my own face, and said ‘very nice.’ We chatted (surprisingly, seeing as we didn’t speak each others’ language) and went on our ways. It struck me just how many people I’ve talked to without saying anything really. It is a matter of dispositions.
->I was wandering through the night market as they were setting up and stopped at a stall with bootleg dvds. The man there and I got to chatting and I found out he was from Burma/Myanmar and has been living in Thailand for 7 years. He worked at a factory in Bangkok but didn’t like it so he moved up to CM to work at the night market. He was quite nice and spoke good English, which he is learning at an NGO school in the area. I didn’t buy anything (I was out of money by then) but told him I’d return for my dvd purchases- not that it matters to him, he makes a flat salary. I forget his name now. Damn.
I suppose that’s all for now, I’m going back out to the night market to look for sheets… or anything to put between me and the mattress until I can find sheets. Hmm. Tomorrow I move and Sunday I will be catching up on emails and such (assuming the internet transition at my apartment goes slowly) so thanks for all the responses, I will get back to you!