One farang among the Thais

Trip Start Aug 08, 2010
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Trip End Jun 10, 2011


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Where I stayed
Urbana Condos

Flag of Thailand  , Nonthaburi,
Saturday, August 21, 2010

My first real weekend here!  (I worked last weekend.)  I got up late-ish, and since the internet was out (bad rain storm, it's the rainy season)  I decided to go walking, walking, walking.  I got up to the Tesco Lotus and remembered that Watcharee told me there was a boat ride to Koh Kret island nearby.  A few blocks down and I'm at the river that I never knew was so close by. 

I squeeze through throngs of Thais (not a farang in sight) and booth after booth of stange offerings for sale.  Some things I figure out, sometimes the vendor has enough English to explain, most times I just wonder.  Like little opaque balls with maybe fish eggs inside?  Or is it tapioca?  I concluded long ago the only real way to find out is to buy the product and learn from experience.  And since almost everything is under 20B, it's no big deal if it does turn out to be fish eggs.  I saw deep fried quail eggs, beautiful lollipop scultures, fried flowers, pretty colored coconut candies sculpted into flowers and designs, some big flat tortillas (?), a vat of black tar substance that they make into a drink (the lady said ice coffee but I think she misunderstood me.) 

After I made my way through the courtyard of the Wat,  I was at the dock and took a 6 cent  creaky barge ride across the river to Koh Kret island, complete with musical accompaniment.  The island is like a huge flea market that you access by walking on elevated concrete paths around the circumference.  I bought a Koh Kret t-shirt (actually, I needed to break a bill and nobody had change so I had no choice), some fried flowers to nosh, Q-tips (? but they were so cheap!), and some green menthol smelling salve from a wrinkly  little old lady sitting outside her house.   She mimed and said that it would cure anything, sore arms, legs, mosquito bites, etc.  But since it was pure Thai, she may have been saying,  "Buy one, sucker.  I scrape this stuff off the end of the sewer pipe especially for you farangs."  I'm not sure, I'll let you know how it works.

I passed by many shops with gorgeous pottery, but I was already weighed down, and of course, I'll have to leave it all behind eventually. 

The shops thinned out, and an enterprising motorbike driver showed me on a map that it was 6 kilometers of not muchness back to the boat dock.  He convinced me to take a 30B motorbike ride the rest of the way (glad he did, it was a LONG way.)  A tiny little Thai girl is next in the que and pulls up for me to get on.  Away we go - remember, this is a narrow, elevated, concrete walk- way with what Americans might perceive to be sewage below.  Every 100 feet or so is a hump of macadam across the path to slow the drivers down and although she creeps over each one, my big American behind flies up in the air.   Every kilometer or so, the sidewalk takes a sharp 45 degree turn and although she navigates these with ease, I am convinced that this is where I will die.  Or become seriously injured or drown.   She beeps a tiny little bicycle type horn at the blind turns, circumvents the wild dogs and I pull my knees in suggestively tight to her body when other motorbikes pass in the opposite direction. 

Not my day to die, today.  I got back to the dock, back to the Tesco-Lotus for some groceries, and back to my condo in the sweltering heat.  By then I was loaded down with bags and I cut through a rather nice park/playground underneath the elevated expressway.  A few rats startled and ran across my path, but all in all a nice place.   Someone told me once that the King was concerned that Thais were getting out of shape, so every town must have an outdoor circuit training type exercise area.

By the time I reached the end of my soi, I must have looked so bedraggled because a Thai lady said, "Madame, Madame!" and offered me a ride on the back of her motorbike to the end of the street.

I always wonder what they're thinking when they take pity on me.  Guess I'll never know.





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