Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thailand.....days 3 and 4

        Pretty relaxing weekend. Although I am glad the room is so comfortable, at times I wish it wasn't maybe I would be forced to get out. So I decided to go buy some shorts on Saturday. No big deal right? Wrong.....hours later I returned exhausted and empty handed. I looked on MapQuest for directions to the mall and they seemed easy enough. I wandered out and into the bustling city. A side note at 5 am this city is like rush hour on the streets elsewhere. Just like every other city I have been in, somebody is always trying to sell you something. Here so far, it has been tuk-tuk rides. A young guy who spoke English very well asked me where I was going. I told him I was just out wandering the city; just looking. He offered to take me to the mall. I told him I was just walking, no thank you, and kept going. He was persistent to say the least. Every 100 yards or so, he would pull up; asking the same questions. He pulled out a map, and showed me where I was heading, and coincidentally, and quiet conveniently; the mall. I once again dismissed him and headed on. The final time he told me the mall was the opposite way begging at this point. I thank him earnestly and kept walking. He showed me some picture of a well dressed lady and told me it was his boss or "sponsor" and asked me to go show her he was working. No dice. In hind sight it actually looked like an ad from a Macy's circular for women's business suits.....So trusting my instincts I headed the way I was going alone and on foot. Turns out that little bastard was pointing me in the wrong direction. Karma little tuk-tuk man....Karma!!!!  Like I said the mall was a wash. Shorts; yes plenty and ones I really liked; sizes, not so much. Once the 9th grade me comes to visit, I will take him shopping. I think US size 34 waist was the biggest I saw. So I figured, no harm done; I saw some sights and got some exercise in. I think I walked for about 45 minutes or so to get there. The walk back......about 2 1/2 hours. I was guilty of not really paying attention; but I think in reality, I was just going in circles. I saw a few really amazing buildings, one I think was a Temple, and the Thai Red Cross facility. The Red Cross complex was probably 3 blocks long....just immense! I finally gave up and hailed a cab. It was kind of disappointing to find out I was but a short walk, maybe a mile or two, from where I needed to be. Oh well, a 60 cent taxi ride.
     Oh Google! How did man scrape by before your existence? After the first days debacle I decided to do some research. I found out there was a second mall, and they did indeed have "Western" sizes. I choose to cut to the chase and start with the cab. I quickly got there just after they opened with the names of two stores that were suggested online. BOOM! Two pairs of shorts, $ what? I wandered the mall which was enormous. It was 6 floors with a movie theater and bowling alley in it. Whereas "Western" malls have a few kiosks in the middle of the aisles, this mall was filled end to end. They had more electronics accessories than I have ever seem. Literally 1000s of cell phone covers, adaptors, and headphones. The very cool part was the main part of the mall was what we would all recognize as a standard set up and floor plan; while one end was food court on each floor, and the other end was reminiscent of a flee market....yes all 6 floors....flea market! For anyone from PA who reads this, the best way to describe it is if they took the Montgomeryville Mall, cut the end off, and attached.....wait for it......The Montgomeryville Mart!!!! Does anyone even remember that place? Anyway, I roamed the huge cavernous expanse aimlessly, just looking at all they had to offer. I saw a few pairs of sandals I wanted to get, but once again, being in Smurf village, they only had men's shoes up to size 9 or so. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I looked at some electronics, but was utterly baffled by trying to do the conversions from Baht to US dollars in my head. Cameras, 80,000bht ; TV 20,000+bht; who knows.....
        Shopping done, and realizing that; once again; I was going in circles; albeit in the safe confines of the mall this time; I headed home. I figured mall....easy place to get a cab. Right. Easy place to find a cab that knows where my hotel is? Wrong! My hotel is, as I said in an earlier post; directly across the road  from the Muay Thai stadium. Its as if you were in NY and said you were in a hotel across from Yankee Stadium, or in Philly and said you were next door to Pat's! The one cabbie just kept yelling "Bigger...bigger word!!!!"? No idea what that meant. I gave them the card of the hotel, with the address on it.....I finally found one guy who looked at it and just stared with utter bewilderment. I said; "Lumpini...Muay Thai....boxing...boxing..." He said "Ohhhhh Lumpini"; which oddly enough it says on the card. The whole way back to the hotel he would just blurt out "Lumpini...boxing..." Funny thing about hindsight is that is sometime shocking, and you are glad you didn't make that realization at the time. My cabbie had turrets!
      I made it safe and sound after an interesting back alley tour from the driver, cutting through streets no bigger than the hallway of my hotel. I came in to unwind for a bit. By sheer accident I pushed on the TV in the bedroom and discovered it flipped around to face into the bathroom. There goes the night! I filled the hot tub, put on a movie and wasted the evening away, watching some B-movie in pure relaxation. Probably the most boring, relaxing, wonderful weekend I have had in a long time. Tomorrow, (today now) I am going to the Embassy for a visa.....where to?'s a the next post to find out! This should be an adventure!!!

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